Re: What exactly is new here?
Thanks for beating me to saying this. Half the report this quotes seems to be rehash of the whitepapers all of this was based on. Duh, yes in Bitcoin 51% of the pool can steer future transactions. That is literally how it is designed to operate. Yes, there are issues with that, and yes newer protocols have taken different approaches.
The article also points out that the mining pools, and the bitcoin market in general has been take over by large groups and individual whales. While that's not great, it also fails to mention that OG Bitcoin isn't being used as a digital currency to any meaningful degree. A certain south American country aside. It's been taken over as vehicle for speculation, and isn't even trying to compete at that level. So whining about it becoming "undemocratic" is meaningless. Don't like it? There are plenty of alternatives.
Some of the other coins ARE being used as currency, but arguably the best example is the one no-one wants to talk about. Monero. Probably 75-85% shady business, but you can't argue it isn't getting the job done at a technical level. Don't want to be tangled up in other people dirty laundering? Plenty of other choices, and if you still can't find one that suits your needs in the 19,000 shitcoins and alt-tokens? Start your own and make it 19,001!
Sarcastically and in no seriousness I wonder if the original article was just an excuse to use the computers at work to do Crypto "research" and sign of on the electrical bill. Papers author could have spent two months in the can and came to more original conclusions.