Monday, October 19, 2020

Bitcoin Bar 'Room 77' Shuts Down

By Jeffrey Gogo
Bitcoin.com
Monday, October 19, 2020

https://news.bitcoin.com/mission-accomplished-worlds-first-bitcoin-bar-shuts-down/

Room 77, the German bar and restaurant that claims to be the first retail outfit in the world to accept bitcoin payments, has shut down. Cypherpunk Holdings chief economist Jon Matonis broke the news on Twitter. Bar owner Jorg Platzer later confirmed it on Reddit.

“Room 77 is closing for good,” Platzer revealed in a rather futuristic, celebratory post on Oct. 18. “We think our mission is accomplished and it is time to go back to our home planet. Thanks for all the fish and the generous tips!”

No official reason was given for the closure of the Berlin-based joint. But there’s suspicion this may have been related to the coronavirus pandemic. Lockdown restrictions linked to Covid-19 have hit the global hospitality industry hard.

In Berlin, strict restrictions on the sale of alcohol remain in place, with bar operators banned from selling the product from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. The measures have badly affected profits.

Located in Kreuzberg, Berlin, Room 77 began accepting bitcoin (BTC) as a means of payment in 2011, becoming the first bar, and most likely the first private retail outlet, in the world to do so. Since then, the drinking spot has developed into something of a pilgrimage site for bitcoiners, who patronize the place for its BTC payments and more.

“Before we did that (accept BTC), all media coverage about bitcoin was about hackers stealing credit card details and selling them on the black markets,” Platzer said in a 2018 interview, highlighting how the establishment had changed media perceptions and coverage around the top cryptocurrency.

In the crypto community, people responded to Room 77’s closure with fond memories of the past.

“End of an Era: Room 77 in Berlin closes doors permanently!” tweeted Jon Matonis, the Cypherpunk Holdings chief economist. “Blame it on Covid or blame it on gentrification. Either way, this Kreuzberg landmark has served as a Bitcoin watering hole for over 10 years, with thousands making the obligatory pilgrimage. Thx for the memories, Joerg!”

Redditor @etrnetm said: “Thanks for providing the unofficial embassy of Bitcoin in Berlin to us earthlings. We shall meet again.”

In his Reddit post, Platzer concluded:
It is clear by now that nobody will stop bitcoin anymore. Sound money on a global scale will soon make it unfeasable to wage wars and it will create economic equality amongst mankind. We estimate it will take you less than another century to rise and join the intergalactic community.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Human Rights Foundation Funds Bitcoin Privacy Tools Despite ‘Coin Mixing’ Legal Stigma

By Leigh Cuen
CoinDesk
Wednesday, June 10, 2020

https://www.coindesk.com/human-rights-foundation-bitcoin-privacy-tools-developer-fund

On one hand, the bitcoin industry has matured to include traditional brokerages and institutional traders. On the other, bitcoin privacy tech is still shrouded in a legal gray zone.


Critics like Reckless VR founder Udi Wertheimer and Jon Matonis of Cypherpunk Holdings, the latter of which invested in both the privacy-oriented Samourai Wallet and Wasabi-maker zkSNACKs, say blockchain analytics firms are overestimating the amount of illicit transactions when they flag mixed bitcoin.

“Exchanges, banks and regulators are being sold a false narrative if they believe that this [analytics] technology provides reliable, or more importantly, actionable results,” Matonis said. “It is purely a dangerous game of probabilities and false positives, disingenuously overstated to peddle more forensic services.”

HRF’s Gladstein recently took Elliptic, another blockchain analytics firm, to task for its “surveillance” work. “The tools you’re building regardless of your intentions will be used for policing bitcoin,” Gladstein said during a panel with Elliptic’s Tom Robinson at an event this month. “At the end of the day what you’re doing is warrantless surveillance against people in other countries.”

For his part, Matonis’s investment thesis revolves around the belief the legal community will adopt compliance norms that don’t restrict or criminalize privacy-tech like mixers.

“The concern around mixing technology, or coin hygiene, stems from the flawed thinking that cryptocurrency transactions are identical to bank transfers using fiat currency,” Matonis said. “This is a grand societal battle that must be won by privacy advocates, not because it is a cute feature or a principled position, but because it is an existential economic necessity. A peer-to-peer value transfer system fails without underlying coin privacy at its core, because the entire system would lack fungibility if all coins were not treated equally the way paper cash is today.”

This is why some bitcoiners continue to work on privacy tech, regardless of exchange policies and other hurdles.

Continued growth

Meanwhile, CoinJoin usage continues to increase, with roughly 13,500 new Wasabi Wallet downloads this year.

So far in June, more than 10,000 fresh bitcoin were used in Wasabi CoinJoin transactions for the first time, the highest record since the all-time peak in August 2019 according to the Wasabi team.

Overall, usage has more than tripled since May 2019, when roughly 9,764 total bitcoin were used in Wasabi’s CoinJoin transactions, compared to 35,697 total bitcoin used in May 2020, they said.

And that’s not even to mention the few thousand bitcoin sent using other CoinJoin tools since the coronavirus began, including Samourai Wallet and JoinMarket. Generally speaking, usage appears to be up across the sector.

Matonis said as long as companies and public individuals focus on non-custodial, open source software, he believes privacy-tech projects will actually bear less compliance costs over time as the tools become normalized. For example, mixing protocols could become a “standard default feature” in bitcoin wallets.

“Both the bitcoin industry and law enforcement need to resist falling for the myth of blockchain forensics as perpetrated by the blockchain surveillance firms,” Matonis said of companies that routinely flag mixed coins as suspicious.

“Law enforcement methods will undoubtedly have to evolve beyond simply using money as an identity tracking device or simply relying on metadata through non-targeted driftnet surveillance,” he added. “This means employing real and sometimes cumbersome police work that doesn’t violate the rights of any individuals.”

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Blockchain Rock Interview with Jon Matonis

Blockchain Rock
Tuesday, March 24, 2020


We are back, and we open this new season with an outstanding guest: Jon Matonis! A legend of the crypto-world (and you’ll know why by the end of this episode): he’s the Chief Economist at Cypherpunk Holdings, a Forbes and Coindesk recurrent author, and the Founding and Executive Director of the Bitcoin Foundation.

This episode explores Jon’s story as well as the story of digital cryptography: starting from encrypted email, to Verisign, Digicash, eGold, and the work of the Bitcoin Foundation. We also discuss themes such as financial privacy and its importance to economic and political freedom, the Crypto Arms Race, the end game for Bitcoin, and the three primary functions of money.

Also available on Apple podcast:

Also available on Spotify podcast:

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Cypherpunk Holdings Inc. Takes 4.5% Stake in Wasabi Wallet

Press Release
Newsfile
Thursday, November 21, 2019


Toronto, Ontario--(Newsfile Corp. - November 21, 2019) - Cypherpunk Holdings Inc. (CSE: HODL) ("Cypherpunk" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that it has completed an equity investment in zkSnacks Limited ("zkSnacks"), whose products include Wasabi Wallet. Wasabi Wallet is an open-source, non-custodial, privacy-focused Bitcoin wallet for desktop use, that implements trustless coin shuffling with mathematically provable anonymity.

Under the terms of the transaction, Cypherpunk Holdings acquired ordinary shares of zkSnacks from its founding shareholders, representing 4.5% of the issued and outstanding ordinary shares of zkSnacks, for an aggregate purchase price of $337,500. In addition, the Cypherpunk Holdings' Chief Investment Officer, Moe Adham, has joined zkSnacks' board of directors.

Commentating on the investment, Cypherpunk Holdings, President and CEO, Dominic Frisby, said: "It's taken a lot of work and several months to get this deal over the line, so I would like to both thank and congratulate everyone involved. We have been most impressed with the Wasabi product and with the growth zkSnacks has displayed. We also believe its role in restoring fungibility to bitcoin will be vital. We are very excited to be coming on board as shareholders and participating in the continuing growth of zkSnacks."

ZkSnacks CEO, Bálint Harmat, added, "In Cypherpunk Holdings, we believe we have found not only an investor, but a strategic partner with whom we share common interests and goals regarding privacy. We are looking forward to participating together as we continue to grow the business of zkSnacks."

Cypherpunk Holdings Inc. invests in companies, technologies and protocols, which enhance or protect privacy. Its strategy is to make targeted investments in businesses and assets with strong privacy, often within the blockchain ecosystem, including select cryptocurrencies. Cypherpunk's common shares trade on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the symbol "HODL".

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Information

This news release contains "forward-looking information" within the meaning of applicable securities laws. Generally, any statements that are not historical facts may contain forward-looking information, and forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or variations of such words and phrases or indicates that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will be" taken, "occur" or "be achieved". Forward-looking information includes, but is not limited to the Company's goal of making investments in businesses and assets with strong privacy, within the blockchain ecosystem, including select cryptocurrencies, or otherwise and enhancing value. There is no assurance that the Company's plans or objectives will be implemented as set out herein, or at all. Forward-looking information is based on certain factors and assumptions the Company believes to be reasonable at the time such statements are made and is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information. There can be no assurance that such forward-looking information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such information. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. Forward-looking statements are made based on management's beliefs, estimates and opinions on the date that statements are made and the Company undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements if these beliefs, estimates and opinions or other circumstances should change, except as required by law. Investors are cautioned against attributing undue certainty to forward-looking statements.

Investor Relations Contact:
Dominic Frisby
President and CEO

Cypherpunk Holdings Inc.
130 King Street West
The Exchange Tower, Suite 3680
Toronto, ON M5X 1B1
Telephone: 416.599.8547
Website: cypherpunkholdings.com

Maker of Wasabi Bitcoin Wallet Valued at $7.5M in First Equity Round

By Leigh Cuen
CoinDesk
Thursday, November 21, 2019


The privacy-centric bitcoin wallet Wasabi, launched by zkSNACKs Ltd. in 2018, just raised its first equity investment from Cypherpunk Holdings, a publicly-traded Canadian firm. 

Cypherpunk Holdings CEO Dominic Frisby said the firm invested $337,500 in exchange for a 4.5 percent stake, valuing the wallet startup at $7.5 million. 

“It’s extraordinary for a tech company, this early in its evolution, to have the revenues that Wasabi already has,” Frisby said. “It’s one of the only forms of a crypto wallet that have a revenue model.”

Although the zkSNACKs team didn’t respond to requests for comment, co-founder Adam Fiscor previously told CoinDesk the company’s mixer transaction fees earned 14 bitcoin in July 2019 alone (roughly $112,000 by current prices). It appears Wasabi Wallet processed at least 5,373 mixed CoinJoins in July, August and early September. If that trend continued for 12 months, it would put revenues at over $1 million. 

This newest addition rounds out Cypherpunk’s holdings, which include roughly 2,000 monero and 180 bitcoin, Frisby said, in addition to equity in the rival privacy project Samourai Wallet (valued at $6.6 million, based on Cypherpunk’s $100,000 investment for 1.5 percent equity) and the blockchain startup Chia, founded by cypherpunk legend Bram Cohen. 

“Both wallets, and privacy-enabling services, have very impressive network effects in that the more participants there are, the more private each participant is,” Cypherpunk’s CIO Moe Adham said. “Wasabi is well-positioned to capture much of that market … not only for personal use but also for enterprises.”


Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Cypherpunk Holdings Inc Announces Appointment of Jon Matonis as Chief Economist

Press Release
Newsfile
Tuesday, February 13, 2019

https://www.newsfilecorp.com/release/42804/Cypherpunk-Holdings-Inc-Announces-Appointment-of-Jon-Matonis-as-Chief-Economist

Toronto, Ontario--(Newsfile Corp. - February 13, 2019) - Cypherpunk Holdings Inc (CSE: HODL) ("Cypherpunk" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that Jon Matonis has joined the company as Chief Economist.

Jon Matonis is a monetary economist with a particular focus on non-political digital currencies and privacy technologies. His career has included senior influential posts at VISA International, VeriSign, Sumitomo Bank and Hushmail. He was a founding director of the Bitcoin Foundation.

Commenting on his appointment, Matonis said, "The financing and support of privacy technologies is more important now than ever before in history. I am honored to join the team effort at Cypherpunk Holdings in funding those critical projects that not only should prevail, but that must prevail."
Cypherpunk interim CEO, Marc Henderson, said, "Jon Matonis is one of the foremost intellects in the blockchain, cryptocurrency and privacy technology sector. This appointment at such an early stage in the evolution of Cypherpunk Holdings shows the scope of what we are looking to achieve with this company. We are delighted that Jon is onboard with that. Things are starting to move forward, and we are very excited. We are hoping to make further announcements in the coming weeks."
Cypherpunk Holdings Inc is a Canadian-based holding vehicle set up to invest in companies, technologies and protocols, which enhance or protect privacy, as well as freedom and trust. Its strategy is to make targeted investments in and acquisitions of businesses and assets with strong privacy, often within the blockchain ecosystem, including select cryptocurrencies. The company believes privacy will be an increasingly strong narrative across the technology sector going forward.
The stated mission of Cypherpunk Holdings is "to become the world's leading privacy-focused investment vehicle." More details, and the latest company presentation, can be found at the company website: https://cypherpunkholdings.com/.
Jon Matonis is an economist and e-Money researcher. He serves as an independent board director to companies in the Bitcoin, the Blockchain, mobile payments, and gaming sectors. He has been a featured guest on CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, NPR, Al Jazeera, RT, Virgin Radio, and numerous podcasts. As a prominent fintech columnist with Forbes Magazine, American Banker, and CoinDesk, he recently joined the editorial board for the cryptocurrency journal, Ledger. His early work on digital cash systems and financial cryptography has been published by Dow Jones and the London School of Economics.
Matonis advocates worldwide for Bitcoin to a wide variety of audiences, including members of the Federal Reserve Bank, the Bank of England, the European Central Bank, SWIFT, the US Department of Justice, retail payment networks, major financial institutions, financial regulatory bodies, mobile money issuers, iGaming operators, information security firms, hedge funds, gold investors, and family offices.
The Company has today granted a total of 900,000 options to purchase shares of the company at a price of $0.07 per share until June 1, 2023.
Following its recent name change to Cypherpunk Holdings, the Company's common shares trade on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the symbol "HODL". The new name references the important contribution of the Cypherpunks and the Cypherpunk Manifesto to the development and ultimate emergence of cryptocurrencies.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Information
This news release contains "forward-looking information" within the meaning of applicable securities laws. Generally, any statements that are not historical facts may contain forward-looking information, and forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or variations of such words and phrases or indicates that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will be" taken, "occur" or "be achieved". Forward-looking information includes, but is not limited to the Company's goal of making investments in the blockchain and other sectors and enhancing value. There is no assurance that the Company's plans or objectives will be implemented as set out herein, or at all. Forward-looking information is based on certain factors and assumptions the Company believes to be reasonable at the time such statements are made and is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information. There can be no assurance that such forward-looking information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such information. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. Forward-looking statements are made based on management's beliefs, estimates and opinions on the date that statements are made and the Company undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements if these beliefs, estimates and opinions or other circumstances should change, except as required by law. Investors are cautioned against attributing undue certainty to forward-looking statements.
Investor Relations Contacts:
Marc Henderson
Cypherpunk Holdings Inc.
Interim President and Chief Executive Officer
Office: 416.599.8547

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Featured Articles and Writings of J. Orlin Grabbe


James Orlin Grabbe (/ˈɡreɪbiː/; October 8, 1947 – March 15, 2008) more commonly referred to as J. Orlin Grabbe, or just JOG, was an American economist and prolific writer with contributions in the theory and practice of finance. He was known by his book International Financial Markets, and for mathematical models for options and derivatives used in international finance and foreign exchange.

Grabbe wrote articles and essays about personal freedom and governmental abuse, and was an editor of Internet magazines such as the Laissez Faire City Times. Born and educated in the U.S., he pursued his business interests around the world. He died from heart failure around March 15, 2008 in San José, Costa Rica. [reprinted from the Wikipedia page of James Orlin Grabbe]

 

Featured articles and writings of J. Orlin Grabbe (archived):
https://web.archive.org/web/20110724003357/http://orlingrabbe.com:80/?page_id=1462637635

Read this first for background:
https://web.archive.org/web/20110709112450/http://www.orlingrabbe.com/dcguide.htm

Wikipedia Page of Digital Monetary Trust
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Monetary_Trust

Ambassador College and Harvard graduate, economist, physicist Orlin Grabbe dies:

Quantum Tantra obituary:


J. Orlin Grabbe Memorial Archive:

AgoristRadio.com:
https://web.archive.org/web/20130729094232/http://agoristradio.com/

Cypherpunkd Episode 042: “Bitcoin Mania 4″ – The Social, Economic and Political Disruptive Technology of Bitcoin with Austrian School Economist Jon Matonis (I had the privilege of being interviewed by Hiro White of AgoristRadio.com):
https://web.archive.org/web/20110819123324/http://agoristradio.com/?p=446

Listen to the SoundCloud version:
https://soundcloud.com/jon-matonis/cypherpunkd-ep042