Bit of a Tangent

006 | Libra, crypto, and the future of humanity

July 15, 2019

Gianluca and Jared are joined by crypto expert Thomas Tumiel in a discussion about the details of Facebook’s new Libra cryptocurrency. They give a brief primer on the fundamentals of blockchains and cryptography, examine how Libra is implemented (compared to Bitcoin and Ethereum), discuss Facebook’s strategy for rollout, consider possible failure modes, and contrast the dystopian and utopian outcomes of a truly global cryptocurrency.

 

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Shownotes:

Mined For Change: https://minedforchange.org/

AI and Crypto Soc: https://www.facebook.com/UCTCryptoSoc/

Libra announcement: https://libra.org/en-US/

Early rumours about Libra: https://www.theverge.com/2018/5/8/17332894/facebook-blockchain-group-employee-reshuffle-restructure-david-marcus-kevin-weil and https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-12-21/facebook-is-said-to-develop-stablecoin-for-whatsapp-transfers

Facebook crypto job postings: https://www.coindesk.com/facebook-is-hiring-5-new-staff-members-for-its-blockchain-team

Intro to Blockchain (from 3blue1brown): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBC-nXj3Ng4

“How does the blockchain work” by D’Aliessi on Medium:

https://medium.com/blockchain-review/how-does-the-blockchain-work-for-dummies-explained-simply-9f94d386e093

Hash functions: https://medium.com/@isuruj/introduction-to-hashing-5b4daf343889 and

https://blockgeeks.com/guides/what-is-hashing/

Merkle Trees: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merkle_tree

Transaction times across different blockchains: https://medium.com/@johnhinkle_80891/the-fastest-cryptocurrency-transaction-speeds-for-2018-498c1baf87ef

Libra technical whitepaper: https://developers.libra.org/docs/assets/papers/the-libra-blockchain.pdf

Smart contracts (e.g. on Ethereum): https://blockgeeks.com/guides/smart-contracts/

“On the blockchain, nobody knows you’re a fridge” —Richard Gendal Brown: https://gendal.me/about/

Gas prices: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/g/gas-ethereum.asp

Cloud computing on the blockchain vs. with cloud service providers (AWS, Google, etc.): https://medium.com/@eternacapital/blockchain-based-decentralised-cloud-computing-277f307611e1

Facebook (instagram + whatsapp) daily active users: https://www.statista.com/statistics/272014/global-social-networks-ranked-by-number-of-users/

Superforecasting by Phillip Tetlock: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23995360-superforecasting

Prediction markets: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prediction_market

Eliezer Yudkowsky and Civilisational Inadequacy: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/zsG9yKcriht2doRhM/inadequacy-and-modesty

Efficient markets: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/efficientmarkethypothesis.asp

Shorting the market: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/shortselling.asp

WeChat and its ubiquity in China: https://www.theverge.com/2018/2/1/16721230/wechat-china-app-mini-programs-messaging-electronic-id-system

“Critical Vulnerability” pull request: https://cryptonews.com/news/cryptoverse-reached-level-9000-in-trolling-facebook-and-libr-4071.htm

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