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Grayscale Investments said it had a record-breaking Q3 with $255 million invested in Grayscale products like its Bitcoin Investment Trust and Ethereum Trust. Yahoo Finance’s Dan Roberts, Anjalee Khemlani and Scott Gamm discuss with Grayscale Managing Director Michael Sonnenshein.
Oct.14 -- Jeanne Zaino AppliedTechonomics Senior Advisor, discusses Elizabeth Warren taking on Facebook and the impact they have on the election. She speaks over the phone with Bloomberg's Sarah Frier, Eric Newcomer, and Taylor Riggs on "Bloomberg Technology".
With the Dow rising, and risks from Brexit and the trade war lower, investors are apparently ready to take a little risk. They’re selling utilities and staples and buying the market’s most risky stocks.
Senator Elizabeth Warren and former vice president Joe Biden are both critics of how Facebook runs its huge advertising business.
(Bloomberg) -- Elizabeth Warren pledged Tuesday to forgo any high-dollar fundraising events if she becomes the Democratic nominee, a move that would make her the first general-election candidate to do so and could be a high-stakes gamble against a cash-rich incumbent and a well-funded GOP apparatus.But Warren would still accept high-dollar contributions from most people who choose to write her a check without getting special access or seeing her in person. She also vowed to refuse to accept “any contributions over $200 from executives at big tech companies, big banks, private equity firms, or hedge funds.”Warren’s pledge also wouldn’t stop the party or super-PACs from raising vast amounts of money on her behalf. But it may stop wealthy donors from cutting big checks if they believe it won’t help them get access to the nominee.“When I’m the Democratic nominee for president, I’m not going to change a thing in how I run my campaign: No PACs. No federal lobbyists. No special access or call time with rich donors or big dollar fundraisers to underwrite my campaign,” Warren said in a statement released by her campaign.Still, some Democrats fear it would put the party at a huge fundraising disadvantage against President Donald Trump, who’s raking in vast sums of money from big donors by his own campaign and by super-PACs that support him.Rufus Gifford, the finance director for former President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign, has said Warren’s earlier suggestions to avoid high-dollar events was “a colossally stupid decision” that would cost Democrats not only in the presidential contest but also in down-ballot races.But it also reflects her populist pitch to be a different kind of candidate who isn’t corrupted by special interest money, and so far she has proven adept at generating small-dollar contributions that are envied by her party rivals.A Warren campaign aide said the decision to accept no more than $200 from executives and big tech or financial firms was “retroactive” and any contributions above $200 from those people would be returned.The aide also said that big tech companies under this guideline will include Alphabet Inc., which is Google’s parent company; Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc., Facebook Inc., Microsoft Corp., Lyft Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc.Nominees traditionally complain about the amount of time needed to raise money in a campaign and call for changes in financing presidential races, but then say they can’t “unilaterally disarm” against a well-funded opponent.Warren’s bet is that her pitch will propel her campaign in the Democratic contest -- where she’s tied with Joe Biden for the top spot -- and mobilize many of the estimated 100 million eligible voters who didn’t turn out in the 2016 election. Biden spends a significant amount of time raising money from traditional donor bases.It’s unclear how Warren’s pledge would apply to the Democratic National Committee, which can accept contributions from individuals of as much as $355,000 for various accounts, including $35,500 per donor that can be used to influence the election.And it wouldn’t apply to outside groups like super-PACs, which under federal law cannot coordinate their activities with campaigns. In 2016, Priorities USA had more than 30 individual donors who contributed more than $1 million.Obama barred contributions from registered lobbyists and corporate PACs. The DNC was outraised by its Republican counterpart in 2012 by almost $100 million, yet Obama, a popular incumbent, won overwhelmingly against rival Mitt Romney in the election. The party lifted the bans in 2016, and the DNC raised $354 million compared to $343 million for the Republican National Committee.Warren often highlights her approach to fundraising on the campaign trail, reassuring prospective voters that her campaign is fueled by them, not big dollar donors.“I don’t spend my time at fundraisers for bazilionaires and corporate executives,” Warren said during a town hall in Austin, Texas, last month. “I just don’t do it.”When asked whether her grassroots fundraising model could leave her without enough money to go against Trump in the general election, Warren was adamant that a flurry of contributions between $5 and $25 would be enough. Trump and the RNC raised $125 million in the first quarter, more than all of the major Democrats combined.“If you think it’s going to be all about scooping up a bunch of money from rich people, and then buying a bunch of TV ads, and that’s how it is someone’s gonna win, then, yeah, it looks like Trump’s doing a lot here,” Warren said recently in San Diego. “I just don’t think that’s how democracy works anymore. And I sure don’t think that’s how it’s going to work in 2020. I think it’s going to be about getting out and building a grassroots movement.”In his battle against Hillary Clinton in 2016, Bernie Sanders relied primarily on small-dollar donors to raise $235.4 million through the end of May 2016, nearly matching the $238.2 million she raised over the same period.But Clinton also had joint fundraising committees that raised millions for the Democratic National Committee and state parties.Trump is using the same arrangements to build a huge financial advantage over his rivals. His campaign and the RNC, plus a pair of joint fundraising committees that raise money for each, have taken more than $300 million through this year, according to Federal Election Commission reports and totals announced by Trump’s re-election effort.Warren has raised $60.2 million in the same period, including about $10 million she transferred from her Senate campaign.(Updates with Warren aide saying big tech donation policy was retroactive in eighth, ninth paragraphs.)To contact the reporters on this story: Sahil Kapur in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org;Bill Allison in Washington at email@example.com;Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at email@example.com, Max BerleyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) stock plunged 18% off its highs this spring as slowing iPhone sales prompted many on Wall Street to say the company's growth days are over. Since then, Apple's shares have staged a remarkable rebound, rising 50% year to date as sales of the iPhone 11 beat expectations and amid raised forecasts for both its new entertainment streaming service and its share price. Apple's gain has created a striking divergence from its fellow FAANG stock members, all of which once were regarded as growth stocks.
Profit declines for Apple, Boeing, Exxon, Facebook and Micron led the S&P 500 to the first string of consecutive quarterly earnings declines since 2017.
Plans for Facebook’s proposed “stablecoin,” Libra, appear to be unraveling. This is hardly surprising, given growing awareness of Libra’s potential adverse consequences. If it offers anonymity to its users, Libra will become a platform for tax evasion, money laundering and terrorist finance.
Snap (SNAP) stock has been on a downtrend recently. It's dropped nearly 20% since September 25 despite the absence of any significant news.
DICK'S Sporting (DKS) witnesses strong momentum on efforts to build the best omni-channel platform as well as robust merchandising initiatives.
The risks posed by cryptocurrencies such as Facebook's Libra must be addressed before any launch, a senior Bank of France official said on Tuesday, adding to a chorus of regulatory scepticism that threatens to derail the project. Since Facebook announced its plans for Libra in June, politicians and regulators around the world have voiced concern about the project, saying it risked upsetting global financial stability, undermining users' privacy and enabling money laundering. In the latest warning shot, Denis Beau, first deputy governor of the Bank of France, said the widespread use of such cryptocurrencies was fraught with peril.
Shopify has been a huge winner in 2019. Earnings are booming and the company plans to compete more with Amazon. But with software stocks under pressure, is SHOP stock a buy now?
(Bloomberg) -- The Libra Association, which oversees a controversial cryptocurrency, was officially formed on Tuesday, and its five board members have one thing in common: close relationships with Facebook Inc. and its executives.When Facebook first announced Libra, the company was quick to point out that it wouldn’t be alone in managing such an ambitious endeavor. Instead, it hoped to be one out of as many as 100 companies controlling the new digital coin. But as regulatory pressures have mounted and early partners have been leaving the project in droves, Facebook finds itself resorting to close allies to fill the Libra leadership team.David Marcus, who heads the Facebook team that proposed Libra in the first place, is on the board. Marcus is also an investor in Xapo Inc., whose Chief Executive Officer Wences Casares is on Libra’s board as well.Joining them is Katie Haun, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, which was an early investor in Facebook. Another early Facebook backer, Digital Sky Technologies, is part-owned by Naspers, which has majority ownership of the parent company of PayU, the home of another Libra board member, Patrick Ellis.The fifth board member, Matthew Davie of micro-lending service Kiva, also has ties to Facebook. One of Kiva’s board members is John Muller, associate general counsel at Facebook who, like Marcus, hails from PayPal Holdings Inc.“Silicon Valley boards nearly always have these kinds of interconnections,” Aaron Brown, an investor and a writer for Bloomberg Opinion, wrote in an email. “Even someone without formal ties to Facebook will have informal and indirect ones. So no one qualified to be on the board is likely to be fully independent of Facebook. But I don’t see the board as being essentially an independent check on Facebook. I see it as a group of qualified and interested people.”The board members and the Libra Association didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.“Yes, David is a very small investor in Xapo like dozens of other people from Silicon Valley. Yes, Wences and David are both in payments and fintech in Silicon Valley and because of that they have known each other for a few years now,” a spokesperson for Xapo said. “Neither David being a small investor in Xapo nor David and Wences having known each other for a few years compromises Wences’ independence in Libra’s board.”The Libra Association board was formed after high-profile exits by a number of companies, including Mastercard Inc., Visa Inc. and PayPal. The exodus followed scrutiny by lawmakers and regulators who have expressed concern about Facebook’s poor track record in protecting user privacy.Facebook has described Libra as a community effort. But the original group of about 28 partners has dwindled to 21 organizations that signed on as members on Tuesday. Facebook’s challenge will be to convince more companies that there is value for them in a project that has the social-media giant firmly in the driving seat, whether it intended that to be the case or not.(Corrects number of original partners in final paragraph)To contact the reporter on this story: Olga Kharif in Portland at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Nick Turner at email@example.com, Vlad SavovFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Everyone wants a positive earnings surprise this time of year. And investors who own the right S&P; 500 stocks routinely get them.
Facebook (FB) is not deterred by notable digital payment companies disassociating themselves from Libra. Advancing efforts on Libra brings other major blockchain players under the spotlight.
The event was promoted on Facebook and all the photos have been posted there. The organizing committee used Facebook, last known addresses, old fashioned snail mail and networking to get the word out about the evening. Facebook has allowed classmates from Alaska and California to be connected and involved.
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook’s Portal does exactly what the company says: it serves as a high-end home camera for video conferencing. With an improved design, this year’s iteration better blends into home decors, and with a lower price, it’s attainable for a wider group of people. What it doesn’t do, however, is offer any reassurance that Facebook has finally solved the privacy worry trifecta of always-listening voice assistants, self-activating video cameras and its own tarnished history with user data.The new 10-inch device looks like a picture frame that could fit into a row of family photos on a mantelpiece. It can be situated in either portrait or landscape orientation, and its build quality is fine for a $179 device (there’s also an 8-inch Portal Mini for $129). The star attraction of this product line is its wide-angle video camera, which can automatically follow a person and zoom in on them as they move around a room during a chat. It neatly combines the unnerving and the magical aspects of technology, and if multiple people are present in the frame, the camera will move between them as they are talking and users can choose a person to focus on at any time.In calls, you can pin animated masks, such as a dragon, over users’ faces and also modify their voices. That’s one small step toward giving people more control over what representations of themselves they send over the internet. There are also options to share a book or listen to music together with the person on the other end of a call with the help of Spotify, Pandora or iHeartRadio. The integrated speaker sounds great for video chatting, but it isn’t likely to replace a dedicated music device.As a video chat tool, Portal works as advertised. But it’s difficult to recommend when you can buy a far more functional device like a tablet or a smart home speaker with a screen and camera for either the same price or a little bit more. The Portal platform still suffers from a pronounced paucity of apps, including ones to make video calls with that aren’t provided by Facebook itself.Facebook is banking on its advanced camera to pull users away from more functional smart screens, but that feature alone probably isn’t enough for most people. Amazon’s new Echo Show 8 costs the same as the smaller Portal, while Google’s Nest Hub Max costs $50 more than the Portal and is a much more comprehensive product thanks to Google’s smart assistant and web integrations. If users are looking just to video chat, that could also be accomplished via video conferencing capabilities now built into virtually every modern phone and tablet.With the Portal, Facebook could have rivaled the Amazon Echo Show and smart displays running Google’s optimized version of Android by creating a device that sits at the center of the Facebook ecosystem with better video chat as its key selling point, but the company limited itself by focusing solely on the video conferencing. Built-in Alexa functionality gives the Portal some added capabilities, but even that has the downside of forcing users to balance two voice assistants, with one for things like the weather and another for controlling video chat and device settings. Two voice assistants also mean two potential points of privacy vulnerability — and both Amazon and Facebook have had contractors listening to users’ voice requests to their respective assistants. The main software screen on the Portal shows you a grid of your favorite contacts. Calls take place over Facebook Messenger so you can reach people on whatever device they have that app running. WhatsApp is also integrated. Beyond the main screen, there is a screen saver mode, which turns the Portal into a digital picture frame of your photos from Facebook. There’s also a grid of giant app icons, though the built-in app selection is currently a ghost town. It does include a web browser, Facebook Watch, and the same music apps available within video calls, and Facebook says it will be sharing information on additional apps “in the coming months.”The device might have been useful as a mini recording studio for live streaming — which would effectively leverage Facebook’s vast user base and established streaming platform -- but that’s not a feature that’s currently on offer. Facebook says it’s in the works, however, and is coming later this year. In terms of privacy, Facebook’s hardware team is doing as much as it probably can. The Portal has a built-in mechanical shutter to cover the camera and the same toggle can also disable listening. The device easily allows users to opt out of having their voice command recordings stored and listened to by Facebook, though there isn’t a unified menu to simultaneously disable such a setting for both Facebook and Amazon’s on-board assistants. Facebook also says that it doesn’t listen to or store any video calls and that those are encrypted.Those protections don’t change the fact that the Portal inherently is a Facebook product. That means, according to the company, that the Portal will collect information on user logins, if they made a call, and how often they used a particular feature. Facebook says this is in order to inform which ads a user sees on Facebook. For example, Facebook says that if a user makes many video calls, they might see Facebook ads about video calling. Voice input or things said on a video call won’t be used for advertising, however. The existing public perception of Facebook, given its several privacy-related scandals in recent years, won’t help. Throw in Amazon’s recently controversial listening practices with Alexa, and this is a device that some people — no matter how great the camera technology — will simply refuse to have in their personal space.One of the best tech features of the Portal device could also double as a privacy concern for some. During a video call, because of the wide-angle lens, a user is able to pan around the other caller’s video frame without explicit permission. College kids in dorm rooms everywhere are likely to find this a particularly challenging and invasive feature when calling back home to their parents.\--With assistance from Kurt Wagner and Sarah Frier.To contact the author of this story: Mark Gurman in Los Angeles at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Vlad Savov at email@example.comFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
When Facebook unveiled ambitious plans in June to spearhead the creation of a global digital currency, co-founder David Marcus promised unprecedented co-operation between some of the biggest names in technology and payments. “Everyone will play their role,” the Facebook executive said of the 28 initial founding members of his Libra scheme. Members of the so-called Libra Association became wary of the project after regulators and politicians across the globe warned that a mass-market digital currency could pose a threat to the financial system, as well as lead to money laundering and increased financing for terrorism.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- It’s just as well that big companies that process and facilitate payments have quit Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency project, fearing a regulatory backlash. If Facebook really wants to bring financial services to the “unbanked,” it should try doing it on a smaller scale than these companies’ presence promised. And even then, the probability of failure will be high.It’s clear why PayPal Holdings Inc., Stripe Inc., eBay Inc., MasterCard Inc. and Visa Inc. have decided not to join the Libra Association, which Facebook has been organizing to run the proposed digital currency. They took seriously the recent warning of Senators Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Sherrod Brown of Ohio that because of their membership, they could “expect a high level of scrutiny from regulators not only on Libra-related payment activities, but on all payment activities.” The concern is that a cryptocurrency used in conjunction with encrypted messaging could potentially be used in illegal transactions, and anyone involved in creating such an opportunity would be suspect.U.S. regulators are perfectly capable of scuppering major cryptocurrency projects. On Oct. 11, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced it had stopped Telegram Group Inc. from distributing digital tokens, so-called Grams, to the investors who contributed $1.7 billion to the creation of the cryptocurrency last year. These include major U.S. venture capital firms such as Benchmark, Sequoia and Lightspeed. The same could easily happen to Libra.That’s the problem with starting so big. Telegram’s token offering was the biggest ever recorded. Facebook made a big announcement on Libra and presented a list of partners that read like a Who’s Who of the payments industry. They envisaged global launches for their cryptocurrencies. Of course regulators and politicians were alarmed.To avoid this kind of outcome, Facebook — whose stated goal with Libra is to offer affordable payment services and loans to people currently priced out of the financial services market — could have tried the strategy that got results for one of its remaining partners, Vodafone Group Plc. Vodafone launched M-Pesa, Kenya’s storied “mobile money,” in 2007, and one of the project’s major assets was the Kenyan central bank’s consent to the launch without any formal regulation. Vodafone’s local cellular operator, Safaricom Plc, quickly built up a network of stores where people without bank accounts could pay in and receive cash, and old-fashioned mobile phones began to double as wallets for transfers and purchases. The lack of regulatory intervention and the large physical network, fed by relatively generous commissions, made sure that by 2019, M-Pesa claimed 37 million active customers in seven African countries. But attempts to transplant the service to many other markets have failed. Vodafone has closed M-Pesa in India (in part because of regulatory obstacles), South Africa (low customer interest), Romania and Albania (apparently it was unprofitable). Vodafone discovered there was no cookie-cutter solution. In different countries, lenders, retailers and mobile operators offered competing services, and regulatory scrutiny varied. To find countries in which to launch such an electronic money service, one would need to go down the list of nations with large populations of the unbanked. The top 20, according to the World Bank, includes big ones, such as China, India, Indonesia and Brazil.But in most of these countries, people are already using some form of digital money in lieu of dealing with traditional financial institutions. That’s why the list of 20 countries with the smallest percentage of people who have recently made or received digital payments looks completely different.In other words, it’s not easy to find a country where a lot of people have neither a bank account nor access to other kinds of financial services. And then there’s a chance that the cash-using population of a specific country wants to stay that way. One possible reason M-Pesa didn’t quite work in Albania and Romania is that these countries have large informal economies. With up to a third of gross domestic product “in the shadow,” traceable electronic transactions are unattractive compared with cash. These difficulties of finding good target markets, and ones with friendly regulators to boot, should explain Facebook’s desire to launch at scale, to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. But the risk with this approach is that the idea of offering cheap financial services to the unbanked begins to look like a smokescreen for building a huge unregulated bank in the developed world — just what regulators in Europe and the U.S. fear the most.Instead of pushing ahead with the remaining partners and risking the same kind of trouble as Telegram, Facebook should go back to the drawing board and start thinking of smaller projects tailor-made to specific countries’ requirements. Expansion would be slow, and there would be failures and miscalculations along the way, but regulators in each market might be easier to persuade that the project’s goals aren’t nefarious. To contact the author of this story: Leonid Bershidsky at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Tobin Harshaw at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Leonid Bershidsky is Bloomberg Opinion's Europe columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Paytm is close to scoring $2 billion of new financing from investors including Jack Ma’s Ant Financial and SoftBank Group Corp., a person familiar with the matter said, describing a mega-deal that will raise the temperature in India’s increasingly heated financial payments arena.Rob Citrone’s Discovery Capital Management is also in discussions to join a funding round that values the country’s top online financial services firm at $16 billion, the person said, asking not to be identified talking about a private deal. The funding will be split evenly between equity and debt and is aimed at helping Paytm fend off an influx of rivals, the person said. Talks are in their final stages but the terms could still change, the person added.If a deal is finalized, Paytm could outstrip fellow high-profile Asian startups such as Grab and Gojek in valuation. Billionaire Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma is raising capital to protect the startup’s share of a potentially $1 trillion Indian payments market from newer entrants Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Walmart Inc.-owned Flipkart’s PhonePe. Over the past year, a string of new apps have made payments increasingly easy, bringing discounts and cash bonuses to young, smartphone-savvy users.Paytm remains the leader for now. The firm has in a decade become India’s biggest digital payments brand, attracting big names in investing from Alibaba co-founder Ma and SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son to Warren Buffett. Sharma got a huge boost in 2016 after India’s government moved to eliminate most of the nation’s paper money in circulation in a bid to curb corruption. His startup, a pioneer in the country’s nascent field, saw tens of millions of consumers and hundreds of thousands of businesses sign up for digital services in a matter of months.“India is a large market,” said Kunal Pande, head of financial services risk consulting at KPMG. “Digital payments adoption is growing quickly, yet there is room for massive growth as users get comfortable transacting digitally. The large business opportunity makes it attractive for both domestic startups and large global players.”Read more: Facebook and Google Chase a New $1 Trillion Payments MarketPaytm, which is also backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., declined to comment in response to emailed questions. Ant had no immediate comment when contacted, while Discovery Capital and SoftBank declined to comment.Sharma is now extending his online empire into e-commerce and banking, even as others encroach on his turf. The Indian payments market remains a chaotic field where the rules are hazy on what players can offer, yet its promise has lured a string of competitors including Indian banks, its postal service and its richest man, Mukesh Ambani.Credit Suisse Group AG now estimates that the Indian digital payments market will touch $1 trillion by 2023 from about $200 billion currently. It’s a market with huge potential: Cash still accounts for 70% of all Indian transactions by value, according to Credit Suisse, and neighboring China is far more advanced with a mobile payments market worth more than $5 trillion.Ant Financial, China’s largest provider of internet financial services and one of Paytm’s earliest backers, has said it will continue investing in mobile-payment providers around the world to boost offshore revenue and buttress itself against rising competition and tighter regulation at home.It’s not clear how much SoftBank would contribute, but the Japanese company is going through a rocky stretch. SoftBank’s shares are down about 30% from their peak this year as investors, unnerved by the WeWork turmoil and Uber Technologies Inc.’s disappointing debut, grow skittish about startup valuations.\--With assistance from Lulu Yilun Chen, Hema Parmar and Vincent Bielski.To contact the reporter on this story: Saritha Rai in Bangalore at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Arijit Ghosh at email@example.com, ;Sarah Wells at firstname.lastname@example.org, Edwin Chan, Vlad SavovFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
#DeleteFacebook trends after report he had hush-hush meetings with them over the summer; he defended his actions, suggesting everyone listen to many viewpoints