Nic Carter is a partner at Castle Island Ventures, a venture firm focused on public blockchains. He also created Coinmetrics, a site that provides key metrics for crypto assets.
All coin and product reviews by expert Nic Carter.
Something is deeply wrong with NEM, but I haven't quite figured out what it is yet.Full review
I know lots of really smart people that are EOS fans; maybe I'm missing something here, but I've never heard a good justification for the structure of the sale. On balance, going for the continual-outflow model was a huge reputational risk that few things would have justified.Full review
[Nano] is a DPoS coin that claims to have free transactions with no trade-offs. It was heavily astroturfed on Reddit. I felt that its consensus mechanism might entirely fail, and that the considerable enthusiasm was contrived. Amazingly, January 1 was almost its precise all-time high — its market cap on that day was an eye-watering $4.6 billion.
In fact, the consensus mechanism for RaiBlocks (rebranded to Nano) did not fail, but its major source of liquidity, the BitGrail exchange, did get extremely hacked in February. This wasn’t a trivial hack, either — approximately $150m (at February prices) went missing. That was a mammoth 13% of the entire supply. Despite the immense setback and a truly impressive price collapse, development appears to be ongoing.
Dash remains fairly active both on the development side and the community development side. The plutocratic “governance” process continues to fund (mostly unproductive) projects with a pool of capital subsidized by 10% of new issuance. On the adoption side, Dash has been redirecting its marketing budget towards buying ads on planes (smart: you literally can’t look away!) and lobbying businesses in Venezuela to accept the currency. I’ll admit it, I’m pretty impressed with the willingness of the Dash community to stubbornly crusade about banking the unbanked… with an asset that exists to facilitate rent-seeking on a massive scale.Full review
Augur deserves credit for being a functional and interesting dapp, although it’s unclear whether the decentralized reporting will prove robust enough to support liquid markets and induce large punters to join the platform. And I personally believe it would be less fragile as an open source launch with an anon/non US dev team, rather than an ICO-funded venture.Full review
Storj is a distributed data storage token project that raised about $30m in an ICO in May 2017. It’s in a rough category of troubled data storage projects along with Filecoin, Sia, and MaidSafe. It has seen its fair share of drama and founder exits. When I’ve asked, technical experts with domain knowledge will concede that distributed file storage is a near-intractable challenge, and a mainstream application of the technology is still years away.Full review
Siacoin's model, while convoluted, is also a nice innovation. A portion of every contract for storage goes to founders, so developers are incentivized to enable the production of many economically significant contracts rather than just pumping the price.Full review
BNB markets itself as having a fundamental backstop (cashflows) when it does not. [Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao] encourages these valuation models and [retweets] them.
BNB could be a great instrument if:
- they paid pro rata dividends to holders in perpetuity, not this insipid burn
- they actually released real 10ks/ quarterly earning reports
- they stopped pretending that there was a utility component for valuation
Bank deposit-backed stablecoins will win (and have already won) simply because they're more capital efficient, and that trumps everything.
You can get censor-resistance lite from a network of shadow banks willing to back stablecoins. As long as there's some bank worldwide willing to facilitate the issuance of these things, they will exist.
Even the decentralized™ stablecoins like Dai/Sai clearly have an issuer/administrator . . . so it's not clear that they're any more able to resist coercion than, say, an overseas bank in some tax haven somewhere.
There's a reason there's $4.5b worth of Tether outstanding, $450m of USDC, and only ~$100m worth of Dai. It costs >$1.5 to create $1 of Dai, and it costs ~$1 to create $1 of USDT/USDC. The economics is persuasive.
Consider that banks issuing unaccountable stablecoins might converge, censor-resistance-wise, to administrators of crypto-backed stablecoin systems (which do exist).
In that case, the bank-issued coins are cheaper.Full review
[The] TON [whitepaper] was just blockchain fanfic. Investors almost certainly got implicit or informal assurances there weren't present in the whitepaper from Telegram.Full review
Decred ticket price: ~80 DCR or about $2200. Anyone with a balance lower than that cannot stake and their funds are diluted away.
No one seems concerned about the distribution of wealth in Decred but I'd wager that ticket price excludes 50%+ of tokenholders. This is what I mean when I say staking introduces a regressive tax.Full review
Bank deposit-backed stablecoins will win (and have already won) simply because they're more capital efficient, and that trumps everything....To be fair I think there’s a big chance something like Dai is able to retain its true censor resistant characteristics and so remains differentiated, but I think it’s likely to stay somewhat niche.Full review
The best argument I have against Ripple is: Imagine if another company, not named Ripple, was started in 2020 and announced their intention to monetize by selling a new currency/asset to retail with no restriction, disclosure, or securities exemptions.
They would be hit with an SEC action so fast.Full review
USDC might claim that it's playing nice but it's exploiting a arb between cosplaying as regulated and actually being regulated. they haven't blacklisted an address yet. it's effectively permissionless (with all the issues that inculcates) until regulators wake up.Full review