Friday, July 28, 2017

Trouble in Crypto Paradise

Who says that cryptocurrencies are immune to arbitrary manipulation by powerful entities?  Not us.
Recently the biggest Bitcoin exchange blasted an email notifying interested parties of an impending "fork" in the Bitcoin chain, and of its intention to "not support it."
The reason Coinbase gave for this refusal to support the fork was "questions about its future value", and of course this is wrapped in the warm blanket of the company's altruistic "concern for customer funds."
We're skeptical of the motivation, because by now even preteens are savvy enough to know that any currency, and especially vapor-currencies like Bitcoin, would not, could, not exist without "support" -- that is, widespread adoption.  And that is something that is born of "support."
Perhaps, from a technological standpoint, not supporting the fork is wise.  Perhaps not.  We don't pretend to have an authoritative technological opinion.  But after a lifetime of reading press releases, the stated rationale for the decision seems like bunk, on the face of it.
Perhaps Coinbase's policy of preemptively denying support to any cryptocurrency is a proactive effort to suffocate it. If that is the case, we would have to conclude that there is still nothing new under the sun.


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