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Must-reads for September 4, 2018: The Mueller Bitcoin connection, un-Lady-like behavior, wasted crypto energy, and more

Here are the crypto stories you should be watching today

Bitcoin Suspect Could Shed Light on Russian Mueller Targets (Bloomberg)
Remember the name Alexander Vinnik? He ran BTC-e, the cryptocurrency exchange that appeared all too willing to launder money for Bond villain-type characters. He was taken down by FinCEN, with the help of the IRS, and now sits in a Greek prison. Some of the bitcoins Vinnik allegedly helped launder belonged to a Russian hacking unit now under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller. See? It’s all connected.


The baroness, the ICO fiasco, and enter Steve Wozniak (Financial Times)
Michelle Mone, aka Baroness Mone, of Mayfair in the City of Westminster, OBE, sits in the British House of Lords thanks to former prime minister David Cameron, so we know where this is going. Lady Mone and her boyfriend, Doug Barrowman, was launched an ICO for something called EQUI Capital. Not surprisingly, it too was a botched mess. In the process, investors and promoters were infuriated and Steve Wozniak’s name somehow got thrown into it. When the Financial Times’ Jemima Kelly began reporting on it, EQUI sent her a creepy, vile, and threatening email meant to intimidate her (it’s reposted in the article).


How much electricity is consumed by Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Monero? (Great Wall of Numbers)
If there’s just one piece you can read this week, it’s this one. Maybe one of the smartest pundits on crypto today is Tim Swanson, founder of Post Oak Labs. He has been discussing energy use and coin mining for years. His latest piece dissects the energy usage of several ecosystems, including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Monero. “You don’t have to be a hippy tree hugger (I’m not) to clearly see that a proof-of-work blockchains (such as Bitcoin and its derivatives) are currently consuming significantly more resources than they create. However this math is hand-waved away on a regular basis by coin lobbyists.”


Google releases tools for probing Ethereum’s blockchain (TheNextWeb)
Got crazy data questions about what’s going on in the Ethereum universe? You’re in luck! Google has now added Ethereum to its BigQuery tool, a product that was launched earlier this year allowing users to analyze Bitcoin. What makes it perhaps even more important than data mining Bitcoin is that the new plugin covers not only ether but also all those smart contracts and tokens in the ecosystem. In other words, we’ll be kept busy making all sorts of weird queries for the next few months.


Former Ripple CTO’s Blockchain Project Coil Enters Closed Beta (CoinDesk)
Stefan Thomas, the former Ripple CTO who created the company’s version of smart contracts, left in May to form Coil. Coil uses some of Ripple’s technologies to let content creators get paid from users in other ways besides, say, advertising. Now it’s live—well, sorta. It’s in a closed beta. Let’s see what happens.


Bitcoin Gets a Mention on Rapper Eminem’s New Album ‘Kamikaze’ (CoinTelegraph)
If a tree falls in the forest…?


California Passes Bill Defining Blockchain and Crypto Terms (
The Golden State has jumped on the crypto bandwagon. Joining states like Arizona and Ohio, the legislature has just passed a bill that would define certain terms and modify the electronic signatures statutes to include smart contracts.


Bittrex to Delist Bitcoin Gold by Mid-September, Following $18 Million Hack of BTG in May (CointTelegraph)
If a crypto exchange feels your coin is too dangerous to trade, then you know you’re in trouble. Such is the case with Bittrex’s delisting of Bitcoin Gold. The currency, hard-forked from Bitcoin, was the subject of a “51 percent” hacker attack earlier in the year, allowing the thieves to “double spend” make off with $18 million in the coin. One of the exchanges that suffered was Bittrex.


Thailand is becoming a critical country for blockchain (TechCrunch)
Thailand has been on the cutting edge of consumer technology for years. They were using cellphones to pay for things back in the ‘90s while most Americans were shocked to get a text message. Now they’re going full-on crypto and their government is stepping on the gas.


Alibaba leads China’s drive to secure new blockchain technologies (Nikkei Asian Review)
Ten percent of the world’s blockchain patents filed in 2017 were done by China’s dominant online retailer, Alibaba. In total, 56 percent of all U.S. patents were filed by Chinese companies last year.


Former Estonian Prime Minister Becomes Blockchain Startup Advisor (CoinDesk)
While the American president grapples with controlling himself on Twitter, other countries have leaders who go on to work in the crypto space. Murica!

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Lawrence Lewitinn, CFA was the founding editor in chief of Modern Consensus. Disclosure: Lewitinn owns no cryptocurrencies in his portfolio.