It’s almost time. The conference we’ve been building for more than a year is just over a week away: Fortune’s first-ever Brainstorm Finance conference kicks off on the beach in Montauk next Wednesday, June 19.
My Ledger co-authors (Jeff and Robert) and I, along with our fantastic events team, have been working night and day to ensure that all the topics, issues and controversies you care about—everything that keeps you reading this newsletter—are literally center stage at Brainstorm Finance. And we can also guarantee it’s going to be just a heck of a great time, with keynote interviews interspersed with water sports and beach parties.
Speaking of interviews, we’ve lined up the CEOs of Bank of America and Citigroup to talk the future of banking—along with the heads of their biggest startup rivals. We’ll talk strategy with brands including Venmo, eBay and Amazon, and get updates from cryptocurrency executives at Coinbase, Digital Currency Group, Circle and more.
We’ll learn the inside scoop on IPOs from the overseers of Spotify’s direct listing as well as Uber’s public market debut. And we’ll dissect the current cyberthreat environment facing those guarding Wall Street’s biggest honeypots. We also anticipate breaking some significant news on stage.
If you’d like to request an invitation, please email us with some details about who you are and why you want to come, or you can apply directly here.
But if you can’t make it to the Hamptons next week, don’t fret—we’ll be live-streaming the event on fortune.com, so you can follow along in real time.
THE LEDGER’S LATEST
Does the SEC’s ICO Lawsuit Against Kik Go Too Far? by Jeff John Roberts
Venture Capitalists Weigh In on the SEC-Kik Case by Polina Marinova
The SEC’s Kik Crypto Case Shows Just How Far Crypto Has To Go by Adam Lashinsky
To the Moon… Investors are betting on $50,000 Bitcoin. IT company foils a cryptocurrency heist scheme. Insurance startup Lemonade eyes an IPO. Blockchain voting startup raises $7 million. Uber is staffing up a fintech unit. Money is pouring into ‘IEOs.’
…Rekt. Executive exodus at SoFi. Hackers attacking U.S. cities are demanding payment in Bitcoin. The SEC charges defunct fintech company Longfin with fraud. U.S. fintech company censors news stories in China. A new theory says Satoshi Nakamoto is really a well-known criminal kingpin. Former Mt. Gox CEO is starting a blockchain company.
BALANCING THE LEDGER
In lieu of “Balancing the Ledger,” check out the full video of one of the panels I moderated at the Consensus conference in New York last month, entitled “Policing the Blockchain.” During the session, I interviewed David Silver, a lawyer representing cryptocurrency fraud victims; Michael Terpin, a crypto PR advisor (and theft victim); and Duane Pozza, a law partner at Wiley Rein who previously oversaw fintech enforcement at the FTC. Part of the discussion centers around AT&T’s relationship with cryptocurrency theft, which I covered recently in this newsletter, but the conversation extends well beyond that, and includes many tips on how investors can better protect their digital funds.
MEMES AND MUMBLES
This is not legal advice. Even if you’ve already read the SEC’s complaint against Kik, as well as the many think pieces analyzing the situation (including several published by Fortune), it’s still worth taking a look at Katherine Wu‘s colorful “annotated guide” to the 49-page document. Wu, who formerly oversaw business development for crypto research firm Messari, has highlighted and marked up the SEC document with a rainbow of colors and emojis, and served up insights such as, “Breaking news: Tokens are not the way to monetize a previously shitty business model.”
Let’s hope we’ll see more colorfully annotated versions of the many SEC documents that are surely to follow this precedent-setting case—because anger, cold sweat, and nauseated emojis get the message across better than legalese ever could.
That’s the percentage of Bitcoin transactions that currently comes from merchants—in other words, when Bitcoin is used to purchase actual goods or services—according to Chainalysis, via Bloomberg. The bottom line: “Bitcoin’s top use case remains speculative,” Chainalysis senior economist Kim Grauer told the news outlet.