Creative Commons License

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

On Our "Virtual Route 66" This Week (Special Thanksgiving Eve Edition)


As we go dark through Thanksgiving here in the United States, our world reached a milestone:  8 Billion People!!

We present the following #RandomThoughts on our World in line with the mission of our Education Property to present insights into our World.  The following are courtesy the Visual Capitalist , Conbase & Robinhood.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!

Crypto winter has taken a harsh turn in the wake of FTX’s collapse. We’re breaking down what you need to know. [Image via Adam Chang]

Price changes are for the past week, ending on Nov 17, 2022 at 03:27 AM UTC


4 key questions about the impact of FTX’s collapse

Last Friday, the beleaguered crypto exchange FTX filed for bankruptcy after a stunning five-day collapse of the once-$32 billion dollar crypto empire. The company is now facing investigations in both the Bahamas and the U.S. for its handling of users’ assets. 

FTX’s books revealed the exchange had more than $9 billion in liabilities, but less than $1 billion in liquid assets the day before its bankruptcy filing. And after an apparent hack drained $477 million of the company’s remaining assets on Friday night, customers are facing long odds of ever recovering much of their deposits. At least $1 billion in customer funds are unaccounted for, and FTX may owe as many as one million creditors.

As the business world tries to keep pace with this fast-moving story, we’re attempting to answer a few bigger picture questions about FTX’s collapse and its implications for the crypto industry. Let’s dive in.  

How have crypto markets and businesses been affected?

  • Crypto’s total market cap has dropped below the $1 trillion mark since FTX’s trouble started early last week, and sits near $826 billion as of Wednesday morning. After the firm’s Friday bankruptcy filing, BTC sank nearly 25%, dropping below $16,000, before slightly recovering; ETH fell by more than 30% in the same span.
  • Market contagion and liquidity issues have spread to a growing number of crypto businesses, from lenders including Genesis Global Capital, BlockFi, and Voyager to web3 VCs like ParadigmIkigia, and Galois. On Wednesday, Genesis, a leading lender in the crypto industry, suspended redemptions, citing “extreme market dislocation … caused by the FTX implosion.” Last week, BlockFi halted withdrawals and cited “significant exposure to FTX.” They are now planning to file for bankruptcy. Voyager, a bankrupt lender that FTX had planned to purchase for $1.4 billion, no longer has a buyer, meaning its customers might not be able to recover funds.
  • FTX’s collapse has also disrupted the Solana ecosystem. The exchange was heavily invested in SOL and many of Solana’s DeFi projects were also allegedly backed by FTX. The token lost more than 60% of its value in the week after rumors of FTX’s insolvency began. 

Have larger investors and traditional firms been impacted?

  • Since its founding in 2019, FTX raised nearly $2 billion in capital from sources like venture capital firms and pension funds, and its bankruptcy means that many of its investors will likely need to write their investments off as losses
  • SoftBank, Tiger Global, and Sequoia Capital are among the many well-known firms who made now-worthless bets on FTX. Last Wednesday, Sequoia sent a letter to investors that the firm was marking its $213 million stake down to $0. 
  • The impact isn’t limited to venture capital firms either — the Ontario Teachers Pension Fund lost $95 million investing in FTX’s funding rounds and athletes like tennis star Naomi Osaka and NFL quarterback Tom Brady are among the individuals who had equity stakes in the company. 

What does this mean for the future of crypto regulation in the U.S.?

  • In the wake of the exchange’s collapse, there has been a chorus of calls from business leaders and lawmakers regarding the need for greater oversight of the crypto industry. U.S. Congressman Patrick McHenry, the top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, said last week: “It’s imperative that Congress establish a framework that ensures Americans have adequate protections while also allowing innovation to thrive here in the U.S.”
  • Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong noted in an op-ed for CNBC on Friday that the U.S.’s confusing array of existing regulations have failed to provide a workable framework for how crypto services “can be offered in a safe, transparent way.” As a result, users have been engaging with risky, offshore platforms like FTX that have little regulatory oversight and are largely outside the protection of U.S. regulators.
  • The solution, said Armstrong, is to create smarter regulation that protects consumers and makes the U.S. a more attractive place for crypto companies to operate. “Those of us who care about the future of crypto want to create sensible regulation for centralized exchanges and custodians in the U.S. and other regions,” he said. 

What should I know as a Coinbase customer?

Coinbase has a clear approach to transparency, risk management, and consumer protection, as outlined in a recent blog post by CFO Alesia Hass. Here’s the TLDR.

  • Coinbase has very little exposure to FTX and our customers are not in any direct danger of liquidity or credit risk.
  • There can never be a “run on the bank” at Coinbase because we hold all consumer assets 1:1, which can be reviewed in our publicly filed, audited financial statements.
  • Coinbase is extremely well capitalized, with $5 billion in cash and cash equivalents.
  • Our risk team has decades of experience managing trading and credit businesses across a range of economic cycles. Our prudent approach to risk management is part of how we keep customers safe.

Additional resources from around Coinbase

  • There has been a surge in questions this week around how to safely and securely transfer assets to Coinbase. Here’s a guide to doing so. And if you’re looking for an alternative to import your self-custody wallet, check out Coinbase Wallet. You can import today following these steps and pay no gas fees along the way.
  • Brian Armstrong will be hosting a Twitter Spaces with Ryan Selkis, co-founder and CEO of Messari, on Wednesday November 16 from 11am-12pm PT to talk about the FTX news and where we go from here.  If you miss the chance to listen live, you can find a recording of this conversation through our Around the Block podcast on Thursday via Spotify or YouTube.
  • Coinbase’s Institutional Research team has published a new report that looks at how the FTX bankruptcy could continue to impact the crypto industry. 



How U.S. midterm election results could impact crypto regulations

According to a recent survey conducted by GMI PAC, a crypto-focused group, 44% of U.S. voters are “crypto voters,” which pollsters define as owning or considering owning digital assets. With the U.S. midterm results nearly settled, and calls for clear crypto regulation mounting in the wake of FTX’s collapse, a group of newly elected, and re-elected, politicians in Washington will likely play a pivotal role in shaping the regulatory conversation. Here’s a quick look at some of those politicians. 

  • Rep. Harriet Hageman: A newly elected Republican from Wyoming, a state that has taken a leading role in proposing crypto-friendly laws, Hageman is a proponent of limiting the federal government’s influence over parts of the industry, like mining operations. Crypto is “an important states’ rights issue,” she said over the summer. Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), a vocal crypto advocate and co-author of the Responsible Financial Innovation Act, called Hageman “an excellent teammate” to have in Washington.
  • Rep. Jonathan Jackson: An incoming Democrat from Illinois, Jackson was propelled to office in part due to a swath of donations from crypto-related political groups including Three PACs, DAO for America, Web3 Forward, and Protect Our Future. Jackson has said he supports regulations that promote innovation “and add clarity and protection for those entering this burgeoning arena.”
  • The Congressional Blockchain Caucus: Several representatives in this bipartisan group won re-election, including chairs Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) and Bill Foster (D-Ill.), and caucus members Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), and Richie Torres (D-N.Y.) The congressional group says that it supports a “light touch regulatory approach” and is focused on blockchain technology applications like “identity management, asset tracking and ownership, healthcare records management, [and] intellectual property rights.”  

Why it matters… As calls for regulatory clarity grow from business leaders and politicians alike, the 118th U.S. Congress will likely face increased pressure to formulate clear laws to guide the crypto industry in the U.S. A possible starting point? Three key bills proposed earlier this year are already awaiting congressional action in 2023.

Visualizing the Social Media Universe in 2022

From Twitter to TikTok, this infographic compares the universe of social media and messaging platforms by number of monthly active users.

View the Infographic

Mapped: Global Energy Prices by Country, in 2022

Energy prices have been extremely volatile in 2022. Which countries are seeing the highest prices in the world?

We take a look at gasoline, electricity, and natural gas prices in these three maps.

View the Maps


Healthcare Spending vs. Life Expectancy, by Country

What's the relationship between healthcare spending per capita and life expectancy at birth?

We show the data visualized, along with the 30 countries that have seen the biggest increases in life expectancy.
View the Chart

Wall Street’s waiting (Kena Betancur/Getty Images)

Last Week’s Market Moves
Dow Jones
33,748 (+4.15%)
S&P 500
3,993 (+5.90%)
11,323 (+8.10%)
$16,858 (-20.27%)

Hey Snackers,

It’s that time of year: the National Toy Hall of Fame inducted its three newest members, including a spinning top and Masters of the Universe figurines. Honorary mentions: bingo and the piñata.

Stocks rallied majorly last week after encouraging inflation data. The Nasdaq spiked 8% as investors hoped the Fed would slow its roll on rate hikes. Cryptocurrencies plunged as the FTX drama unraveled. On Friday the crypto exchange filed for bankruptcy.

Btw... Do you want to start getting Snacks daily? Or prefer to unsubscribe? Manage your subscription preferences here.


How midterms could affect the markets, from inflation to energy to cannabis

The midterm hangover… isn’t over. It’s still too close to call, but the US might get a split government, with one GOP-controlled chamber of Congress. Stocks plunged Wednesday after midterm results didn’t show clear gridlock. Investors generally prefer when power’s shared, because historically that’s meant less legislation (it’s harder to agree on things). That can mean fewer potential blockers for business, regardless of which party’s in power.

  • Democrats maintained their slim majority in the Senate after key victories in Nevada and Arizona over the weekend. Georgia’s runoff election is slated for December 6.
  • If Republicans take the House (which they’re favored to) that’s enough to unlock gridlock. Either way, majorities will likely be slim within both chambers.

Ballot bubbles giving SAT flashbacks… From choosing lawmakers to voting on propositions, Americans’ ballot decisions could have big implications. A few sectors that could be affected:

  • Energy: Republican lawmakers have supported US energy independence, and that could lead to easier access to drilling permits if the GOP takes the House.
  • Cannabis: Voters in Maryland and Missouri legalized recreational marijuana, joining 19 other states and DC. Meanwhile, Colorado voted to decriminalize and regulate some psychedelic substances (think: magic mushrooms).
  • EVs: California voted down an extra tax to build EV infrastructure. Lyft was the biggest backer of the prop, since the funds would’ve helped it meet the state’s requirements.
  • Gambling: CA voters also struck down a prop that would’ve allowed gambling companies like FanDuel and DraftKings to offer online sports betting.
  • Tobacco: And CA became the largest state to ban flavored-tobacco products after voters upheld the state’s ban. Tobacco titans like Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds had spent big in hopes of overturning it.

Investors care more about the Fed right now… Because the central bank has the levers to influence rates and inflation. Inflation was voters’ most pressing issue in these elections (two years ago it wasn’t on the radar). Markets rallied hard Thursday after news that inflation cooled more than expected last month, which suggests the Fed might slow its rate hikes (top of mind for investors).


Stories we’re watching...

Major whiplash… Crypto exchange FTX (including FTX US and 130 affiliated companies) filed for bankruptcy Friday after a whirlwind week revealed an $8B balance-sheet hole — and rival Binance bailed on its takeover plan. Oh, and FTX halted customer withdrawals — but that didn’t stop $515M from being moved out of the exchange Friday night in a possible hack. Sam Bankman-Fried, the exchange's now former CEO, had been a Capitol Hill regular lobbying for industry-friendly regs. Now, that regulation's in doubt. Meanwhile, investors fear FTX's "contagion" could spread. One sign that it may have already: BlockFi (which got bailed out by FTX in June) suspended withdrawals, citing FTX's downfall.

Googling “packing hacks”... to avoid the $50 luggage fee. Budget airlines are booming as more travelers turn to no-frill flights to hit the inflated skies. Last week, Irish airline Ryanair reported record passengers and profits for its summer quarter. Meanwhile, US-based Frontier saw sales jump 35% as passengers paid extra for perks (think: bearable legroom). Travel is still hot: even with airfare forecast to be the priciest in five years, half of Americans plan to travel this holiday season.


Coming up this week...

Xi Jinping saw his shadow… and Chinese stocks may have six more weeks of winter. China’s tech giants posted their slowest growth ever in August as Beijing’s zero-Covid policy raised costs and hurt demand (because: more lockdowns). Chinese stocks popped this month on reopening rumors. But as Covid cases surged last week hawkish President Xi said he planned to “hold fast” to the strict policy (though he relaxed some rules on Friday). We’ll see how wounded giants, and Tencent Music are faring when they report this week.

Jingle bells in November… Retailers are getting into the holiday spirit early. Walmart’s sales jumped 8% last quarter, but profits were squeezed as inflation-fatigued shoppers avoided big-ticket items like TVs. Target’s profits fell 90% as it offered steeper discounts on overstocked goods. Still, holiday sales are expected to rise from last year, and retailers are already setting up festive displays to hype demand. But an unmerry combo of discounts and high costs could keep Walmart and Target from wowing investors when they report this week.


Last week's highlights...

  • HitTok: From Sony to Universal Music, the largest record labels want a bigger cut from TikTok as the app becomes a hit-maker. While TikTok needs the music industry, the industry increasingly needs the Tok.
  • iSag: Apple's expecting a drop in iPhone shipments this holiday season (picture: 3M fewer iPhone 14s than anticipated). Last week, China’s Covid policy triggered a weeklong shutdown at the main iPhone assembly site.
  • Alexa: Amazon's reportedly looking to cut costs, and Alexa could get downsized. But instead of Meta-sized layoffs, Amazon is said to be pushing workers to find roles in more lucrative divisions of the company.

What else we're Snackin'
  • Loanly: The Biden admin stopped taking applications for student-loan forgiveness after a federal judge in Texas blocked the president's plan, putting 26M applications on hold. Biden plans to fight the decision.
  • Cooling: The once booming housing market has hit a wall. Online brokerage Redfin cut 13% of its staff last week as the housing market slides into what’s expected to be its second-worst correction since WWII.
  • Power: It's not luck that last week's lotto jackpot ($2B) was the largest in US history. Advertised prizes are based on estimated returns for 30-year bonds, and Fed rate hikes mean those estimates have soared.
Snack Fact Of the Day
China is nearly as wide as the US, but the entire country officially has just one time zone

No comments:

Post a Comment