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Money Stuff: Don’t Spend Your Litecoins at Walmart

by
Matt Levine
Money Stuff
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Litecoin's Fake Partnership with Walmart

  • On Monday, GlobeNewswire announced that Litecoin was going to partner with Walmart, which sent the cryptocurrency soaring. Walmart later refuted the statement.
  • Litecoin's Twitter account posted a link to the article, confirming the press release but later took it down after realizing it was fake.
  • Potential consequences:
    • US authorities will probably be looking for whoever did it because this is surely wire fraud.
    • The SEC could get involved for securities fraud because Walmart's stock moved on the news after this fake press release.

ESG: Bar Charts

  • There are 3 theories of ESG:
    • Not investing in environmentally unfriendly companies will drive up their cost of capital, reducing their harmful impact on the world.
    • Unsustainable companies will eventually go bankrupt.
    • Invest in environmentally unfriendly companies to make them environmentally friendly through shareholder activism.
  • Engine No.1 successfully implemented the third theory by running a proxy fight with Exxon Mobil and placing their own directors on the board.
  • On Monday, a Bloomberg article reported Engine No.1 would integrate ESG data with conventional financial analysis to scrutinize companies and pick investments.
    • The reasoning here is that over time, companies will have to internalize their negative externalities by paying carbon taxes, losing employees, etc.
  • The "acitivism" part of this strategy is really confusing because "internalizing your externalities" simply reduces shareholder value.

Gary Gensler Interview/Congressional Testimony

  • Overview of what Gensler is up to at the SEC:
    • Mandating disclosure for positions in security-based swaps and related securities, which were at the heart of the failure of Archegos Capital.
    • Working to enhance disclosures concerning how Chinese companies issue securities in the U.S.
    • Considering ways to determine what information stands behind "sustainability" and "low-carbon" claims to ensure the public isn't misinformed.
  • Other opinions by Gensler:
    • He isn't fond of crypto because we don't have enough investor protection, leading to a lot of illicit activity.
    • Anything that the SEC does to bring investor protection to crypto has benefits.
    • Laws currently governing the market, which date back to the Great Recession, are sufficient to handle the modern crypto market.

Briefcase Companies

  • Briefcase companies act as conduits for traders' bribes to officials, taking a cut and directing state business back to the traders.
  • Glencore Plc oil trader confessed to paying bribes, through these briefcase companies, to African government officials.

NFTs

  • Sarah Meyohas has a new NFT called "Non-Existent Token," which is basically a Ponzi scheme. How it works:
    • Each bid must be 10% higher than the one before.
    • The winning bid receives an NFT in their wallet of a bubble.
    • As soon as there is a subsequent bid, the bubble passes on to the next winner.
    • The auction goes on forever.
  • This shows that a lot oof existing NFTs have almost no consumption value outside of participating in a bubble.
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