SNX Surges on a16z Rumors, Debate Over Bitcoin Failing Cypherpunk Roots

Happy Friday defiers! Here’s what’s up:

  • Synthetix’s token SNX is soaring on a16z rumors

  • Joe Weisenthal says Bitcoiners have strayed from their roots


Synthetix Surges on Rumors that a16z is Loading Up

Synthetix’s token SNX is surging on speculation that Andreessen Horowitz, a.k.a. a16z, is loading up on tokens.

Two days ago, SNX holder who goes by the Twitter name @DegenSpartan said the second-largest investor in MakerDAO’s MKR tokens has started accumulating SNX, to which Twitter responded: “That’s a16z’s wallet!” and SNX soared 50 percent to as high as $0.75.

a16z last year announced it bought 6 percent of the total supply of MKR tokens, or 60k tokens. The Ethereum address accumulating SNX holds 60k MKR tokens, worth almost $29 million (and about $790,000 of Augur’s REP tokens). Now everyone’s waiting for Andreessen to make it official, though it’s fair to say traders already bought the rumor.

The address identified as a16z’s has received about $250,000 worth of SNX from a different, unidentified wallet. This being crypto, the rumor has evolved into the conspiracy theory that someone is sending SNX to a16z’s wallet to pump up the price.

The Block’s Larry Cermak calculated the person would have to have between $650k and $2 million worth of SNX to pull it off.

Beyond the rally in the past two days, SNX has soared about 1,600 percent this year. The synthetic assets trading platform is the gaining traction in DeFi with almost $68 million locked, the most after MakerDAO and Compound, and about $1 million of trading a day. [Read my interview with cofounder Kain Warwick here]

a16z is one of the most active investors in DeFi, with holdings in three of the top five projects by value locked: Maker, Compound and dYdX. It wouldn’t be surprising if they wanted to add a fourth one.

Joe Weisenthal Lights Up Crypto Twitter Criticizing Bitcoin

Joe Weisenthal of Bloomberg News said in a recent Twitter thread that until Bitcoin is truly anonymous (and it’s not because regulators are regularly able to track down criminals using it), then it’s not censorship resistant (if law enforcement knows users’ identities, then users can be censored). If it’s not censorship resistant, then Bitcoin hasn’t delivered on its promise.

This was extremely controversial, and enthusiasts responded mainly with two lines of arguments: 1) There are ways to obscure transactions, and 2) Bitcoin is valuable for other reasons, not just because it’s supposed to be private. Some of those reasons are that it protects against inflation, that it’s a better store of value than gold, that it’s programmable money, and so on.

Joe fanned the flames writing in the Markets newsletter that Bitcoin’s power and main value proposition comes from enabling people to do the transactions that '“THE MAN” doesn’t want them to do, and that includes illegal transactions. “The allowance of a Bitcoin ETF would essentially be a big subsidy to this market,” he wrote.

Essentially, his point is that those whitewashing Bitcoin’s radical roots are trying to shove crypto into mainstream financial markets, with futures and ETFs, probably for their own self-interest.

It was odd to see some in the Bitcoin world be upset at criticism saying they should be more anti-establishment, and less “guys in loafers, jeans and blazers, whose careers consist of sitting on panels, spouting pablum on ‘programmable money.” I think Bitcoin can still be valuable, even if it’s pseudonymous and not anonymous, but I agree with Joe that trying to get old men in legacy institutions to like Bitcoin goes directly against its roots.

Want to go where the cypherpunk dream isn’t dead? Then you’re in the right place. DeFi builders aren’t rooting for ETFs or gushing over stock exchange listings. For better or worse, they’re not pandering to regulators either. Decentralized finance isn’t trying to get legacy institutions on board; it’s rebuilding them.


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About the author: I’m Camila Russo, a financial journalist writing a book on Ethereum with Harper Collins. I was previously at Bloomberg News in New York, Madrid and Buenos Aires covering markets. I’ve extensively covered crypto and finance, and now I’m diving into DeFi, the intersection of the two.