🧘‍♂️Seriously, who DOES this?

Market Meditations | August 11, 2021

And why in #crypto?

Dear Meditators

It’s been a crazy 24 hours.

? We experienced one of the biggest scams in history. Over $600 million seized. And now… it’s being returned. Seriously, who DOES this? More info below ?

?? We also share today’s Market Meditation and some thoughts on the Crypto Infrastructure Bill.

? Tomorrow, we’ll discover the true meaning of the EIP 1559 update for Ethereum. Is this the reason ETH has been soaring? Will it lead us to ATHs? To be discussed.

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⏰ In A Rush? 

Here’s 5 things you need to know about the crypto markets:

? A Cross Chain

As mentioned in yesterday’s newsletter, Poly Network, a cross-chain swapping protocol, has been hacked for more than $600 million, in what some are calling the largest DeFi hack to date. The company has since pleaded with exchanges and the hacker to freeze or return the funds, but how the protocol was exploited is still unclear. Here are some things we do know:

  • Cross-chain protocols allow crypto users to access liquidity for tokens across multiple blockchains, helping them quickly find the best prices.

  • Poly Network admitted yesterday that approximately $610 million was transferred via their protocol to hacker-controlled addresses from three blockchains: Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain and Polygon.

  • Tether quickly moved to freeze $33 million worth of USDT tokens, effectively rendering them useless (yes, stablecoin companies can do that!). However, the hacker was able to transfer nearly $100 million USDC into Curve’s stablecoin pool, making a recovery near impossible.

  • For improved security, multiple signatures (keys or ‘keepers’) are usually used to approve transactions, and Crypto Twitter detectives initially suspected the leak of a single private key rather than a vulnerability in the smart contract. However, Poly Network later stated that the “hacker exploited a vulnerability between contract calls” and the “exploit was not caused by the single keeper as rumored”.

  • SlowMist, a blockchain security firm, issued a news alert claiming to have identified the hacker’s ID. This may be linked with claims on Twitter that the hacker had previously withdrawn KYC-eligible amounts from FTX and Binance.

The truth could range anywhere from a professional hack to an inside job. On a personal level this serves as a reminder to educate ourselves about the risks of using smart contracts and ensuring we have at least followed these 9 steps of essential security.

Our Market Meditations are longer format educational segments. Each letter features a Market Meditation which will deep dive and analyse a relevant crypto event, theme or tool. 

⚒️ Maslow’s Hammer: Avoiding Tunnel Vision 

Maslow’s Hammer, describes our tendency to apply the same set of skills to every problem we encounter, even when they are not relevant. Not only does this restrict us from implementing the right solution, it can also obscure the true nature of the problem itself! In Maslow’s own words, “if the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail”. We are also prone to develop a preference based merely on familiarity (this is known as the mere-exposure effect ). The issue is that these effects can lead to an overreliance on skills that we are familiar with and that have worked in the past.

If we are not careful, always applying the same tools will be disastrous for our profits. For example, if market conditions shift or if you are trying to trade on a different time frame, your once successful system may become defunct. Ultimately this cognitive failure limits our ability to creatively problem solve – regardless of what area of our life the issue is related to. So how do we avoid falling into the trap of Maslow’s Hammer?

1️⃣ Attempt to understand the core principles of a problem. Look at the problem from first principles and do not dive straight into solutions before you fully understand your problem.

2️⃣ Be self aware of your strengths and weaknesses. If you understand what you are good at, your existing tool set will likely come in handy during those moments. Applying the same tool set to areas you are weak in, is unlikely to result in a positive outcome.

3️⃣ Be curious to learn new skills. Actively ask yourself, would there be a better way to solve this problem. If the answer is yes however you do not have relevant skills, it may be the perfect opportunity to learn! Merely being open to solutions you are unfamiliar with helps mitigate the negative effects of Maslow’s Hammer.

Maslow’s hammer can lead to tunnel vision where we become unable to solve what are seemingly basic problems. Look to fully understand your problem, be curious, understand your weaknesses and you may be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

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? Pay To Play Politics

Recently we have seen an abundance of headlines regarding crypto regulation and taxation. Unfortunately we cannot go on the blockchain and see who prompted this witch hunt, but if crypto were to reach its full potential, the banking industry certainly stands to lose the most. 

Is it possible that big banks have been whispering in the ear of regulators, hoping to stifle the crypto flame? SEC Chair, Gary Gensler hinted at this when he spoke about the proposed Facebook stablecoin, Diem (formerly Libra):

…this has gotten a lot of attention from central bankers and regulators…, but also due to Diem’s potential impact on monetary policy, banking policy, and financial stability.”

Within days, we had a vague crypto tax added to an Infrastructure Bill. When senators came together to write an amendment in a bipartisan way providing clarity, the White House came out in support of a new amendment. It was rumored that US Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen was behind the White House’s push for this amendment that appeared out of thin air and initially supported “proof of work” consensus mechanisms. 

Before being nominated as Treasury Secretary, Yellen served as chair to the Federal Reserve. Although controversial, many former officials earn public speaking fees after leaving office, but Yellen has disclosed earning more than $7 million in speaker fees in 2019-2020 from clients such as Citi, Goldman Sachs, Citadel, and Bank of America!  

If the crypto community wants intelligent regulations and space for innovation, will we have to play the game of politics? Will we have to send lobbyists, donate to campaigns, and possibly pay former policymakers millions of dollars in speaker fees?  

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??‍♂️✍️ Stories in this newsletter were written by D. Beverly, Isambard FA, Nick T., Max P., Kimia K., Ellen B. and Koroush AK. Graphics were produced by Gerasimos P.

Not financial or tax advice. The content in this newsletter is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this email is intended to serve as financial advice. We are not financial advisors. Every investment and trading move involves risk. Do your own research when making a decision. See our important security disclaimers here

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