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Bennett's Articles

Bennett's Articles

By Bennett Tomlin
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Tether and Bitfinex Introduction
Tether and Bitfinex are two of the most important companies in the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Tether is the largest stablecoin, and the primary driver of volume and liquidity. Bitfinex used to be the largest cryptocurrency exchange, and still is a frequently used exchange. Tether and Bitfinex have an incredibly problematic past and are quite possibly the largest corporate fraud in history. Read more:
August 8, 2021
An Introduction to the Tether and Bitfinex Controversy
August 1, 2021
A Non-Exhaustive List of Bitfinex and Tether’s Misdeeds and Red Flags
July 31, 2021
A History of Tether and Bitfinex’s Audits, Attestations, Memos, and Letters: Both Promised and Actual Amidst all the confusion surrounding Tether and Bitfinex it can be difficult to keep track of what they have actually provided in terms of audits, attestations, and other documents to support their contentions. Here I will summarize, but the important note that needs to be included at the top is that both Bitfinex and Tether once hired an auditor, but neither ever completed the audit. Ever since Tether was founded they have promised to provide a full financial audit. It feature prominently in their whitepaper and on their website for years. They have never provided this audit, but have provided a variety of other documents meant to convince the public that they had sufficient backing for the tethers in circulation. In March of 2015 Tether and Factom announced (archive) they had formed a partnership to provide greater transparency into Tether’s holdings. The partnership never provided any additional transparency into Tether or its operations. In August of 2016 Bitfinex promised (archive) to provide a full financial and security audit after they were hacked. They initially announced that Ledger Labs was hired to perform both. No audit from Ledger Labs was ever released. This was likely in part due to the fact that Ledger Labs was not able to provide financial audits. In May of 2017 Bitfinex announced (archive) they had engaged Friedman LLP out of New York to audit them. As of today in 2021 we have yet to get an update from Bitfinex on the status of this audit. In September of 2017 Tether announced (archive) that they had engaged Friedman LLP out of New York to audit them. This audit would never occur, we would eventually get an update from a Tether spokesperson saying the relationship dissolved, citing the “excruciatingly detailed procedures”(archive) that the auditor wanted to undertake. Also in September of 2017 Tether released from previous attestations from a small accounting firm in Taiwan called TOPSUN. These were monthly attestations attesting to Tether having sufficient backing for the end of the month from December 2016 through March 2017. Strangely these were not completed at the end of the respective months but were all completed on May 23rd 2017. (Strangely approximately two weeks after they announced that Friedman had been brought on to audit Bitfinex) Read more...
July 30, 2021
The Available Evidence that Tether and Bitfinex Committed Bank Fraud Recently Bloomberg reported that several Tether executives (archive) have gotten ‘target letters’ for bank fraud from the Department of Justice. There is evidence that Tether and Bitfinex may have participated in bank fraud. We have several reasons to believe that Tether may have committed bank fraud starting by this video that was saved by Bitfinex’ed. We’ve had banking hiccups in the past, we’ve just always been able to route around it or deal with it, open up new accounts, or what have you… shift to a new corporate entity, lots of cat and mouse tricks. Sometimes those accounts get shut down because the correspondent banks realize this is Bitcoin related. The specific claim that Bloomberg is claiming is under investigation is that Tether may have misrepresented to banks their line of business and tried to hide that it was cryptocurrency related. I think the above quotes make it extraordinarily likely that Tether was doing exactly what they are accused of. Update: I forgot to mention the below story that the NYAG revealed. (Archive) (My copy) When the New York Attorney General filed their request for an ex parte order they revealed that for a period that Bitfinex depended on ‘friends of Bitfinex’ who would use their accounts to service withdrawals. It is very likely in my opinion that this was not fully disclosed to their banks. It is also important to remember that Bitfinex and Tether relied on Crypto Capital Corp to provide ‘Bank Fraud as a Service’. Crypto Capital Corp would misrepresent to banks that they were in real estate, while actually providing shadow banking services to Bitfinex, Tether, Kraken, Quadriga, Bitmex and others. They would also use fake bond certificates to claim to have more funds than they actually did, and the principal was arrested with counterfeited bills and the ability to issue more. It is thanks to this fraudulent behavior that Crypto Capital Corp was able to maintain banking relationships for the periods where they could. When Tether lost banking in 2017, they likely depended on Crypto Capital Corp. It would be Crypto Capital Corp eventually having their bank accounts seized that would lead to Bitfinex robbing hundreds of millions of dollars from Tethers account. Moral of the story, don’t lie to your bank.
July 30, 2021
51: Nutrient Partitioning Effect
In this episode, inspired by Dr. William Lagakos' book "The poor, misunderstood calorie" I decide to take a deep dive into the science behind nutrient partitioning and simple things we can do to help maximize the effect. Link to book:
June 15, 2018
50: Thoughts on 50 Episodes
This episode is not normal, and you may want to skip. I give my thoughts on the first 50 episodes and some things I have learned. Unscripted and unedited, it is much less produced than many of my episodes.
June 14, 2018
49: Trans Fats and Rage
This is a fun episode about a potential link between Trans fats and aggression. There was an interesting study done that suggested greater consumption of trans fats increased the aggression in people. Study: Lambda School Link:
June 4, 2018
48: Saturated Fats
In this episode I take on the dietary recommendation agencies who have made it their mission to unfairly demonize saturated fats, which are at best very weakly linked to mortality.
May 15, 2018
46: Open Journals, Open Data, Open Review
In this episode I rant about how I think open journals and open data are important for science to progress.
May 11, 2018
45: Magnesium
In this episode, another request, I analyzed the health effects of magnesium. It may be useful for depression, anxiety, insulin sensitivity, glycemic control, and even testosterone.
May 10, 2018
44: Arginine Precursors, Macrophages, and Recovery
This episode is heavy on the science. I got a question about whether or not arginine precursors may contribute to muscular recovery through interactions with macrophages and I had no idea so this whole episode you get to learn right along side me.
May 8, 2018
43: Nicotine
DO NOT START SMOKING, DO NOT START DIPPING. TOBACCO IS CANCEROUS. But nicotine may be a useful treatment for Parkinson's disease, may help with cognition, and could be useful for depression.
May 4, 2018
42: Football and Heart Disease
I love the sport of football. I played for 10 years and coached for 7. It is a sport that helped make me who I am today. However, there is increasing evidence, especially for linemen, linking it to higher rates of heart disease.
May 3, 2018
41: Creatine
Creatine is a popular supplement among athletes, bodybuilders, powerlifters, and weightlifters. It has pretty significant evidence suggesting that it will improve muscular strength and sprint performance and limited evidence that it will improve your intelligence.
May 2, 2018
40: Reproducibility Crisis
The reproducibility crisis is the biggest threat facing medicine right now in my opinion. A huge number of studies are failing to replicate and that is a terrifying thing, because decisions are being based on studies that may be inaccurate. There is one study that estimates as much as 50% of preclinical research may fail to replicate at a cost of $26 billion per year.
May 1, 2018
39: Resveratrol
This episode is a bit longer than most, but the last several minutes are optional bonus content. I wanted to finally discuss my favorite polyphenol with you guys, resveratrol. It is commonly found in red wine, and for a long time many of the health benefits of red wine were attributed to it. However, many of those were based on mouse studies, and in this episode we see how many of those effects persist when we instead focus on human studies.
April 30, 2018
38: Tequila and Weight Loss (Science Reporting Sucks)
This is an episode about a study that I have seen circulating again that certain outlets claim suggests that tequila can help with weight loss. This is not supported by the study and moreover, represents a dangerous precedent in science reporting. The worse science reporting is the less people will trust science as a whole and more likely they will be convinced by pseudoscience.
April 26, 2018
37: Nocebo Effect
The nocebo effect is the opposite of the placebo effect we covered in episode 36, it is when bad things happen when you take a sugar pill because you expect bad things to happen. This is actually surprisingly common and you can even see severe side effects like respiratory depression arising as a result of the nocebo effect. Overall, in considering both the nocebo and the placebo effect the most important thing to keep in mind is that your psychology has power. It is important to remember that your mindset and your beliefs are going to have measurable impacts on your physiology and your health.
April 25, 2018
36: Placebo Effect
While most people do know what the placebo effect is they often fail to realize just how large the effect can be. The brain can respond in the same way to antidepressants and placebos. Placebos can actually induce respiratory depression in the same manner as opioids.
April 24, 2018
35: Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
In this we look at the science of monosodium glutamate (MSG) a common food additive that many people claim to be sensitive to. It appears that it could be a useful tool for improving the nutrition of at risk populations.
April 23, 2018
34: Saunas
Inspired by profiles in Tim Ferriss' book Tools of Titans I decided to try to determine the health effects of saunas on athletic performance. I feel for elite level athletes they are a potentially useful tool.
April 20, 2018
33: Magnetized Water
This episode is dedicated to confronting the stupidity of magnetized water, which is apparently a thing that people are marketing now. It's dumb. Do not buy it. They are trying to scam you. Or they got scammed and didn't realize it. Either way there are scam artists involved.
April 19, 2018
32: Low Carb Diets, Glycogen, and the Week 1 Effect
This is quick episode in which I rant about online communities that treat unsustainable weight loss as sustainable, or about communities that treat water weight loss as fat loss. Both of these are pet peeves of mine, because they are inaccurate, and make it less likely people will stick to the diets.
April 18, 2018
31: Blue Blockers
Inspired by Calories Proper and Dr. Lagakos I take a look at the science behind blue blockers and whether or not they can help with sleep.
April 17, 2018
30: Cordyceps Mushroom
As we dive back into medicinal mushrooms we look at what is in my opinion one of the most fascinating, with kidney and liver protection, pain relief, anti-inflammatory effects, and it may even make you smarter.
April 16, 2018
29: Calorie Restriction and Longevity
This is my longest and probably my most in depth episode so far. In it we dive deep into trying to figure out whether there is a convincing link between calorie restriction and longevity, and what mechanisms may support this link.
April 13, 2018
28: Garcinia Cambogia is a Scam
Garcinia Cambogia, commonly marketed as a weight loss supplement does not work, and you should not purchase it. I get incredibly frustrated with charlatans and snake oil salesmen who try to market and sell things like this.
April 12, 2018
27: Nitrates
We are back in myth busting mode today, and I look at the especially pernicious one that nitrates cause cancer. They do not, and people who promote that narrative are probably making money off of you.
April 11, 2018
26: Chaga Mushrooms
This episode is all about the incredible health effects of chaga mushrooms. They are a potent antioxidant, anti-cancer agent, and may even help with a wide variety of other ailments.
April 10, 2018
25: Glycolysis
This episode is an instruction episode, where I teach you some of the basic features of glycolysis. It is not directly applicable, but is interesting to learn if you have any interest in biochemistry.
April 9, 2018
24: Lion's Mane Mushrooms
Lion's mane mushrooms are a potent nootropic, potential antibiotic and anti-cancer agent, powerful antioxidant, and an immunostimulant. One of the most powerful nootropics I have ever used and a compound I personally enjoy. If you want to try an extract from these I recommend FourSigmatic and if you use the code "scinutrient" at checkout you will get 10% off. Full disclosure, I do receive a small commission if you do this.
April 6, 2018
23: Coffee
This episode addresses the health risks and benefits of coffee consumption. Coffee is a widely used, and quite potent health compound, with numerous benefits.
April 5, 2018
22: Good Studies and Bad Studies
In this episode I discuss five rules to help you distinguish good studies from bad studies, which is important when you are reading different studies.
April 4, 2018
21: Reishi Mushrooms
Normally I am immensely skeptical of alternative medications, but there is some interesting science behind these reishi mushrooms. There is some compelling evidence that they may actually be a useful anti-cancer agent, and immuno-potentiating agent.
March 22, 2018
20: Go for a Walk, Even if It's Just 1 Minute and 40 Seconds
This episode is all about the incredible health benefits of walking, even for just small amounts of time. Seriously, I'm shocked at how huge these health effects are. Hat tip to Dr. William Lagakos Ph. D who started me down this research rabbit hole.
March 21, 2018
19: Caffeine
This piece is all about one of my favorite drugs: caffeine. A nootroopic, performance enhancing drug, that has helped me write a book and stay awake in awful meetings. It is beautiful.
March 20, 2018
18: Fraud in Science
This episode is meant to discuss the prevalence of fraud in science, and briefly part of the reason this is such an endemic problem. Unfortunately I do not have a solution.
March 19, 2018
17: Dietary Fiber, Gut Bacteria, And Type 2 Diabetes
This episode is all about a brand new study in science that posits a mechanistic link between fiber consumption, gut bacteria, and alleviation of Type 2 Diabetes.
March 16, 2018
16: On Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking was a great and gentle man who gave us a better understanding of both the nature of the cosmos, and the beauty of humanity. He is one of the truly great men, and we all should mourn the passing of this incredible man, but always remember how Hawking would say "Life would be tragic, if it weren't so funny". I believe he would want us to fight life and light and joy despite this.
March 15, 2018
15: Omega 3's, Something Fishy
This episode is all about a new meta-analysis that just came out challenging many people's assumptions about Omega 3 fatty acids.
March 14, 2018
14: Raw Water and the Ways it Will Kill you
Warning: This episode contains significant vulgarity Raw water is mostly just a few people on the west coast, but I still want to address this before it becomes a more serious issue. Do not drink raw water, you are risking your health for no benefit. Do not do it. Anyone trying to sell it to you is a charlatan, a quack, or a snake oil salesman. They do not deserve a penny of your money.
March 13, 2018
13: Weight Loss and the Whoosh
This episode is about why you sometimes wake up and see your weight loss has just accelerated and jumped down several pounds.
March 12, 2018
12: Beans and Heart Disease and Cancer and P Hacking
This episode is about the entire reason this podcast, my website, and everything else I do exists. Basically most nutritional science is awful. This episode explains my problems with one particularly problematic study and why nutritional science is such a struggle.
March 9, 2018
11: What is DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)?
In this episode we discuss some of the current theories about what delayed onset muscle soreness is and how it develops, and also some ideas about how to help manage it.
March 8, 2018
9: Hack Your Cardio with High Intensity Interval Training
In this episode I discuss one of the most interesting ways to increase your return on investment in cardiovascular with high intensity interval training
March 6, 2018
8: The Effects of Alcohol on Health both Good and Bad
In this episode I discuss the health effects of alcohol both positive and negative
March 4, 2018
4: Trend Line Dieting
Today we discuss a way to master the cruelty of the scale, and gain control of your weight using a technique from John Walker, the founder of Autodesk
February 28, 2018
3: How to Gain Weight with Only a Little Fat
In this episode we help out another friend of mine to gain weight. This time though he doesn't need it to be quick, so we can try to minimize fat gain.
February 27, 2018
2: How to Gain Weight Quickly
In this episode I discuss five simple rules to remember if you want to gain weight safely. Remember to never start a diet without medical supervision
February 26, 2018
1: Obesity as a Disease of Addiction
In this brief episode I discuss a couple of paradigm shifts in my thoughts on obesity after listening to Tim Ferries’ podcast with Dr. Mate
February 25, 2018