Onchain: The future is Cypherpunk, maybe

Onchain: The future is Cypherpunk, maybe

Story One

Vitalik advocates a return to OG values

Wake up babe, new Vitalik blog post dropped. The Ethereum founder is trying to kick off a mindset shift with his blog that highlights that we should all become Cypherpunk again. He highlights that as the sole focus has become number go up, or as Paradigm would put it, building a casino on Mars, some of the initial values of the space went out of the window.

Among those are censorship resistance, credible neutrality, and decentralization. Vitalik further acknowledges that it's hard to resist the centralizing pressures when giving in seems more highly rewarded by the market. Take censorship resistance; on Ethereum, the introduction of MEV Boost has led to a situation where even Coindesk warns of the chains' censorship problem. 

Last but not least, Vitalik also uses this post to throw some shade at multi-sigs identifying as Layer-2s (Blast, that you?) and NFT projects storing their data on Google Cloud. ☁️

Takeaway: The 2008 class of Bitcoiners would probably find it quite pathetic that we need a blog post from a central figure to remind us of the original vision of the space. While the aspiration is great, it remains to be seen how much of that will be implemented in tech - considering people like to gamble their money on dog coins and not necessarily censorship resistance or privacy. 

Story Two

Avalanche Foundation seizing the memes

The end-of-year memecoin hype didn't go unnoticed at the Avalanche Foundation, which observed the rise of BONK and the consequent namecoin-generated wealth driving trading volumes in Solana DeFi. Instead of just watching it play out, they decided to use some of their funds to pump their own ecosystem. Who wants to invest in RWAs if you have memes? 

AVAX holders rest assured, it's not their entire fund they'll yolo into a dog or hen coin, but just a part of their budget. There is even a due diligence process, which includes looking at the number of holders, liquidity, and adhering to fair launch principles. With quality assets like Coq Inu and kimbo, what could go wrong?

Cardi B in Balenciaga

Avalanche founder Emin further justified the drive on Twitter, comparing memecoins to buying Balenciaga. While he doesn't own any haute couture, he states that just like buying overpriced coats, meme coins are more about the culture and the social signaling. Plus, Avalanche already has so much institutional activity, it's time to have FUN and f*ck around. 

Takeaway: Balenciaga and memecoins are not the same. Balenciaga is known for craftsmanship and Cardi B-approved; the memecoins have, at best, a positive culture and good memes. Of course, memecoin gains can result in increased DeFi activity, but Vitalik would probably tell them to be more cypherpunk (and I tend to agree) and less casino. 

Story Three

New year, new bridge hack

Instead of the new year, new me BS that many engage in (all body cells refresh only every seven years according to common half-truths, so you can't say that every year) - some people woke up to being a broke me instead. Orbit Bridge is the latest to enter the long list of cross-chain bridge hacks. And with nearly $82 million in funds exploited, it comes in 9th place among the largest cross-chain hacks. Congrats. 

Orbit is part of Orbit chain, launched in 2018 in South Korea, and seems to have close ties to Klaytn, another Korean blockchain project. This time, the hack was due to an unauthorized breach of access to the Orbit ecosystem, allowing the hackers to drain funds locked in the bridge.

The project asked major exchanges to freeze any assets associated with the hack, while researchers have already found their culprit: North Korean Hacker groups. No paid time off for that crew. 

The good news is that the Hackers are sitting on the funds and haven't moved them. The bad news is, even if identified, if they are really North Korean hackers, chances are nothing happens. 

Takeaway: Hacks will continue as long as people build without utmost attention to securing assets locked in protocols. In 2023, losses range between $1.5 - $2 billion. While that's down from 2022's $4.38 billion, it's still too high of a number for retail users. Ironically, being more cypherpunk decentralized might help with this problem. 

Fact of the week: Because of their reputation for being haughty and condescending to models, Balenciaga's fitters earned themselves the nickname "monsters".

Naomi for CoinJar

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