Twitter Posts $270 Million Loss In First Earnings Report Since Elon Musk ‘Terminated’ $44 Billion Takeover Deal

 

San Francisco-based Twitter reported revenue of $1.2 billion in the second quarter, falling short of average analyst estimates calling for $1.3 billion and slipping 1% from the same period last year.

The company also reported a worse-than-expected loss of $270 million, or 35 cents per share—compared to expectations for a loss of 7 cents per share and a profit of $66 million in the second quarter last year.

In its earnings release, Twitter blamed the disappointing performance on advertising industry headwinds associated with broader economic concerns and uncertainty around Musk’s deal to buy Twitter and take it private.

The firm says it’s not hosting an earnings call, issuing a shareholder letter or sharing financial projections with the deal still in flux.Twitter also disclosed it spent about $33 million related to the acquisition in the second quarter and $19 million on costs associated with layoffs, including some affecting about a third of the firm’s recruiting team.

Twitter stock futures were down 2% to about $38.50 within minutes of the announcement; shares have plunged more than 40% over the past year, while the S&P 500 has fallen about 16%.

Twitter stock has been on a wild ride since Musk acquired a 9% stake in the firm in April, announced a bid to acquire it at a massive premium weeks later and then decided he was “terminating” the deal earlier this month. Shares skyrocketed as much as 60% as the deal gained traction, but soon started collapsing as Musk voiced concerns about fake and spam accounts on the platform. Though Twitter’s board had already approved the takeover, Musk backed out on July 8, pushing shares down nearly 40% from their April highs.

On July 12, Twitter’s board sued Musk for backing out of the deal, asking a Delaware judge to order the billionaire to move forward with the agreement. The trial is being scheduled for October, according to Twitter on Friday. In a note to clients, Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives called Musk’s decision “a disaster scenario for Twitter,” predicting a long legal battle for Twitter to either force the deal through or get Musk to pay a $1 billion termination penalty.

$30 billion. That’s Twitter’s market value on Friday, roughly 22% below Musk’s proposed takeover bid.

I’m a senior reporter at Forbes focusing on markets and finance. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill..

Source: Twitter Posts $270 Million Loss In First Earnings Report Since Elon Musk ‘Terminated’ $44 Billion Takeover Deal

Critics by:

Twitter and Elon Musk are scheduled to face off in a five-day trial in October over the billionaire’s change of heart about buying the social media company for $44 billion. The decision from Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick, the chief judge at Delaware’s Court of Chancery, was a blow to Musk, whose lawyers sought a trial early next year. But with the Twitter deal now in limbo, McCormick agreed to fast-track the trial during a hearing over Zoom on Tuesday.

“The reality is that delay threatens irreparable harm to the sellers and Twitter,” McCormick said in her ruling from the bench. “The longer the delay, the greater the risk.” Earlier this month, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO said he was calling off the deal because of concerns over how many accounts on Twitter are fake or spam. Last week, Twitter sued Musk to force him to go through with the purchase, accusing him of using the issue of automated bot accounts as a pretext to get out of a deal that was no longer good for him financially.

The October trial date is a win for Twitter, which had requested an expedited four-day trial in September. The uncertainty caused by Musk’s threat to pull out of the deal “inflicts harm on Twitter every hour of every day,” Bill Savitt, Twitter’s lead lawyer, said at the hearing. Musk’s lawyers argued they need more time to investigate his concerns over Twitter’s user figures, and that a trial should not take place before February.

Andrew Rossman, Musk’s lawyer, called Twitter’s request for a September trial “completely unjustifiable,” saying it would take months to analyze Twitter’s data and consult experts. He said Twitter had already dragged its feet about sharing information that Musk said he needed to vet the company’s estimates of fake accounts.

“The answers that he got were alarming,” Rossman said. “The runaround that he got from the company was even more alarming.” Savitt accused Musk of trying to “sabotage” the deal and run out the clock past April 2023, when the $13 billion Musk has lined up from banks to fund the deal expires.

“Mr. Musk has made perfectly clear he has no intention of keeping any of his promises,” Savitt said. “Candidly, we suspect that Mr. Musk wants to delay this trial long enough to never really face a reckoning.”Twitter argued Musk’s fixation on bots is a distraction from the question facing the court: whether Musk broke his legal agreement to buy the company.

Twitter has long said that it estimates less than 5% of daily users are not real people. Musk says he believes the true figure is much higher, but has not presented any evidence for his claim that Twitter is misrepresenting the prevalence of fake accounts on the platform.

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Five Types Of Talent Behind The Great Resignation

Last summer, Shannon Harrell left a marketing role at Nestlé to work in the then booming telehealth industry at Teladoc Health. Several months later, as her new employer’s stock was falling amid disappointing results, Harrell switched her LinkedIn status to “open to work.” By April, she’d been recruited to run strategic communications and channel marketing at pet insurer PetPartners.

“I saw the writing on the wall,” Harrell says. “The growth of that category looked a little uncertain, so I was—as anyone would be—concerned.”

Harrell is what McKinsey would call a traditionalist, one of five types of talent that has spurred The Great Resignation—and may be key to defeating it. In a new study released Wednesday, the consultancy analyzed data and surveyed more than 13,000 workers worldwide to determine what motivated people in different industries to quit over the past two years in order to figure out what might make them stay.

One thing that cuts across all types of workers is a persistent sense of optimism. Three-quarters of respondents felt it would not be difficult to get a job that’s comparable to, or better than, their current role. “People are confident enough that they don’t even need the other job in hand when they do move,” says Aaron De Smet, a senior partner and co-author of the report. “They’re like, ‘I’ll just quit and go find another job,’ and they’re not worried about it.”

Quitting Trend That Just Won’t Quit

With record-low U.S. unemployment and 11.3 million open jobs, it’s easy to understand the optimism. High demand has enabled more than half of those who quit to not only move into new jobs but also move into new industries. Only 6% made what could be considered a lateral move within their industry. The public and social sector had the greatest attrition rate in the survey, with 57% leaving the sector, while healthcare and pharma had the least.

What matters is that many of them aren’t returning to their former industries or even the job world anytime soon. Of those who quit without a new job in hand, only 47% have returned to the workforce, with 29% returning to traditional full-time employment. “Some companies are waiting for those people to come back,” De Smet says. “And they might be waiting a long time.”

The Five Personas of Quitters

That means employers have to recognize who is open to new jobs—and figure out what it will take to hire and retain them. In the study, McKinsey identified five personas:

  • Traditionalists — Like PetPartners’ Harrell, these are career-oriented workers who are willing to make some trade-offs for the right price. They’re less likely to quit without a job to go to and more likely to stay if they get enough money.
  • Do-it-yourselfers — They emerged as the largest cohort in the study, a group that tends to value flexibility, meaningful work and compensation. Typically 25 to 45, they can be self-employed or doing gig work or part-time jobs. They want flexibility and a friendly work environment.
  • The caregivers and others — These are the people at home but are wanting more. Typically 18 to 44, with more women than men, they decided to sit it out at home and are looking for roles with flexibility that allow them to still continue their caregiving and responsibilities outside their jobs.
  • The idealists — Typically a younger cohort of students and younger part-timers, 18 to 24, this persona wants flexibility, strong organization culture and clear career advancement trajectories. They ranked belonging to an inclusive and welcoming community more highly than the other personas.
  • The relaxers — These are a mix of retirees, those not looking for work and others who might return to traditional work if the job is right. They want meaningful work and balance. Many retired workers are increasingly returning to work following a surge in retirement during the onset of the pandemic.

To appeal to these cohorts and address the attrition-attraction issue, companies need to double down on their value propositions—both traditional, which includes pay, title, benefits and career paths, and nontraditional, which involves flexibility, company culture and personalization, McKinsey outlines.

“There are some super talented people out there sitting on the bench because the offer is still the traditional offer,” De Smet says.

Source: Five Types Of Talent Behind The Great Resignation

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The 6 Biggest Money Secrets Most Rich People Won’t Tell You

Life would be a whole lot easier if someone would just Venmo us $1 million, but unfortunately the chance of that happening is, well, probably zero. (Venmo doesn’t allow transactions that large anyway.)

But even though our chances of becoming a millionaire are slim, we can still manage our money like one. No, we’re not going to tell you how to buy hundreds of shares of Apple stock. Or how to pick out the perfect yacht.

These are simple money moves any normal, non-millionaire person can make today. Each secret can get you closer to achieving your big goals.

Take a look:

1. You Can Cancel Your Car Insurance

Did you know you can save some serious money just by switching car insurance companies?

Its true — rates are at historic lows, and you could be paying way less for the same coverage. All you need to do is look for it.

But don’t waste your time hopping around to different insurance companies. Use a website called EverQuote to see all your options at once.

EverQuote is the largest online marketplace for insurance in the US, so you’ll get the top options from more than 175 different carriers handed right to you.

Take a couple of minutes to answer some questions about yourself and your driving record. With this information, EverQuote will be able to give you the top recommendations for car insurance. In just a few minutes, you could save up to $610 a year.

2. You Can Stop Paying Your Credit Card Company

If you have credit card debt, you know. The anxiety, the interest rates, the fear you’re never going to escape…

And the truth is, your credit card company doesn’t really care. It’s just getting rich by ripping you off with high interest rates — some up to 36%. But a website called Fiona could help you pay off that bill as soon as tomorrow.

Here’s how it works: Fiona can match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every credit card balance you have. The benefit? You’re left with just one bill to pay every month, and because the interest rate is so much lower, you can get out of debt so much faster. Plus, no credit card payment this month.

If your credit score is at least 620, Fiona can help you borrow up to $250,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 2.49% and terms from 6 to 144 months.

Fiona won’t make you stand in line or call a bank. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online. It takes just two minutes, and it could save you thousands of dollars. Totally worth it.

All that credit card debt — and the anxiety that comes with it — could be gone by tomorrow.

3. This App Will Pay Off Your Credit Card Debt

Credit card debt is the worst. It’s the most expensive kind of debt you can have.

First, you fall behind on your payments. It can happen to anybody. Next thing you know, the credit card companies are gouging you — charging you more than 20% interest on your balance.

But an app called Tally can pay off your credit card debt. Like, all of it. Here’s how it works: Tally gives you a line of credit with a lower interest rate (rates start as low as 7.9%) that you can use to pay off your high-interest credit card debt. Then you’ll just have one monthly payment — and you’ll save tons of money on interest.

If you qualify and have a FICO score of 580 or higher, you can get a line of credit from $2,000 to $25,000 pretty much immediately.

It’s easy to get started, and it won’t affect your credit score just to check your rates. See how much money you could save.

4. Get Paid up to $80/Month — Just for Sharing Your Opinion

Taking surveys might not sound like the best way to make money, but if you’re just vegging out on the couch — or pretending to be interested in your partner’s new favorite show — why not click a couple buttons? It could earn you up to $80 a month. Seriously.

There are a bunch of paid survey sites out there, but one of the best we’ve found is Survey Junkie.

They’ll ask you questions about things like, what kind of laundry detergent you use, or if you prefer Pepsi or Coke. You get points for answering, and many people accumulate enough points to request a check within a few hours.

More than 10 million people already use Survey Junkie, and it has 4.5/5 stars on TrustPilot.  Give it a try by visiting Survey Junkie and clicking the “Join Now” button. It’s free.

5. See if You Could Lower Your Car Payment by Hundreds a Year

You know you can refinance your house to save money on your monthly mortgage payment — but did you know you can refinance your car, too?

It’s not a money-saving tactic people talk a lot about, but it could save you a ton of money. A website called Upstart is helping borrowers save an average of $1,025 a year on their car payments. That’s about $4,800 back in their pockets over the lifetime of their loan.

There are no origination fees, and you only need a minimum FICO score of 510. You don’t even need to enter your car’s VIN, and you won’t get any spam calls.

And with an APR range of 2.20% to 29.99% Upstart is saving customers over 17% per month when they refinance. Upstart has helped borrowers save more than $20 million on their car payments in the past year alone*.

Ready to start saving? It takes just minutes to check your rate and see how much you could save

6. Scared to Invest? This App Gives You Between $2.50 and $200 in Free Stock

If you feel like you don’t have enough money to start investing, you’re not alone. But guess what? You really don’t need that much — and you can even get free stocks (worth $2.50 to $200!) if you know where to look.

Whether you’ve got $5, $100 or $800 to spare, you can start investing with Robinhood.

Yeah, you’ve probably heard of Robinhood. Both investing beginners and pros love it because it doesn’t charge commission fees, and you can buy and sell stocks for free — no limits. Plus, it’s super easy to use.

What’s best? When you download the app and fund your account (it takes no more than a few minutes), Robinhood drops a share of free stock into your account. It’s random, though, so that stock could be worth anywhere from $2.50 to $200 — a nice boost to help you build your investments.

Source: The 6 Biggest Money Secrets Most Rich People Won’t Tell You – The Penny Hoarder

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How Digital Currencies Went From Boom To Collapse

Yuri Popovich had watched his neighbours’ houses burn down to the ground in Kyiv and he needed a safe place to put his money. So he did what millions of amateur investors have done in recent years: he turned to cryptocurrency. “It was impossible and unsafe to store funds in the form of banknotes. There was a big risk of theft, we also had cases of looting. Therefore, I trusted a ‘stable and reliable’ cryptocurrency. Not for the purpose of speculating, but simply to save,” he says.

The digital asset that Popovich chose in April was terra, a “stablecoin” whose value was supposed to be pegged to the dollar. It collapsed in May, sparking a rout in the cryptocurrency market whose victims include Popovich. He lost $10,000 (£8,200). Popovich says his losses were “devastating”, although donations from sympathetic onlookers on social media have helped make up some of the shortfall. He says: “I stopped sleeping normally, lost 4kg, I often have headaches and anxiety.”

Popovich is one of many experiencing the deep chill of the current crypto winter, more than four years after the market’s cornerstone, bitcoin, marked the first digital freeze by tumbling from its then peak. It went on a long tear after that but it has come to a juddering halt, with bitcoin falling below the $20,000 mark at one point this month – far below its peak of nearly $69,000, which it hit last November.

The fall has been sharp and spectacular: an overall market that was estimated to be worth more than $3tn barely six months ago is now worth less than $1tn.

Crypto boom: a new digital economy

The beginnings of the latest crypto boom held all the hallmarks of being another instance of the “Robinhood economy”, named after the popular American stock trading app. Bored white collar workers, stuck at home because of pandemic lockdowns but awash with disposable income, turned to day trading as a way to pass the time. Subscribers to the r/WallStreetBets forum on the popular online discussion site Reddit doubled over the course of 2020 and then quadrupled in the first month of 2021, as a small army of retail investors flooded into assets as varied as the then bankrupt car rental company Hertz, the troubled video game retailer GameStop and the electric car manufacturer Tesla, pushing the latter from $85 at the beginning of the pandemic to a high of $1,243 towards the end of 2021.

Cryptocurrencies also benefited from the surge in day trading. Bitcoin soared from a low of $5,000 in March 2020 to more than $60,000 a year later. The currency has had that sort of precipitous increase before: in 2017, it had risen 20-fold, to its then peak of $19,000. But in the latest boom, ethereum, the number two cryptocurrency, had an even more impressive climb, from just $120 to a high of almost $5,000 in 2021.

Cryptocurrency is the name for any digital asset that works like bitcoin, the original cryptocurrency, which was invented in 2009. There is a “decentralised ledger”, which records who owns what, built into a “blockchain”, which secures the whole network by ensuring transactions are irreversible once made. In the years since then, a dizzying amount of variations have arisen, but the core – the blockchain concept – is remarkably stable, in part because of the social implications of truly decentralised networks being immune to government oversight or regulation.

Where, 10 years ago, people simply spoke of trading in bitcoin, the space has ballooned. As well as cryptocurrencies themselves, , the sector has developed in a complex ecosystem. It encompasses Web3, a broader selection of apps and services built on top of cryptocurrencies, DeFi, an attempt to bootstrap an entire financial sector out of code rather than contracts, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which use the same technology as cryptocurrencies to trade in objects rather than money.

The flood of money washing into the world of crypto did more than simply inflate the paper wealth of pre-existing shareholders. Instead, it led to a surge of interest in, and funding for, the vast array of projects that aimed to capitalise on the underlying technology of cryptocurrencies. For a generation of new investors, the “decentralised finance” opportunities of the sector were appealing. Built on top of the “programmable money” of the ethereum cryptocurrency, the “DeFi” [decentralised finance] sector is an attempt to expand bitcoin’s anti-establishment ethos to cover the entire economy.

Take the comparatively small sector of the crypto market known as NFTs. A product dating back to 2014, NFTs take the tech used to create cryptocurrencies, but let creators link unique assets to the blockchain, instead of money-like currencies. That means NFTs can be traded that represent works of art, virtual collectibles, or even function as tickets to events or membership of clubs. And like cryptocurrencies, they can be bought or sold in open exchanges, held pseudonymously, and packaged up or securitised in complex financial instruments.

One token, representing years of work by the digital artist Beeple, sold for $69m; another, linked to the first tweet sent by the Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, was bought for $2.9m. Individual NFTs in the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection – the most consistently desired examples of “profile pic” NFTs, designed to be used as pre-packaged online identity – regularly sold for $1m-$3m apiece. But by the beginning of 2022, the NFT bubble appeared to have already popped. “Floor” prices for large NFT collections had plummeted, and, while many large NFT acquisitions have stayed in private collection, those that have been put back on the market have fared poorly: the Dorsey tweet was withdrawn from sale after achieving a top bid of just $14,000.

And then: the crash

The crypto crisis has played out against the backdrop of wider market problems, as fears over the Ukraine conflict, rising inflation and higher borrowing costs stalk investors. Some market watchers play down the prospect of a crypto crash triggering serious problems elsewhere in the financial markets or the global economy. The total value of all cryptocurrencies is about $1tn currently (with bitcoin accounting for about 40% of the total), which compares with approximately $100tn for the world’s stock markets.

Since November the value of all cryptocurrencies has fallen from $3tn, meaning that $2tn worth of wealth has been wiped out, with no serious knock-on effects to the broader stock market – so far. Teunis Brosens, the head economist for digital finance at the Dutch bank ING, says the traditional financial system is relatively well shielded because established banks – the cornerstones of the financial world that buckled in 2008 – are not exposed to cryptocurrencies because they do not hold digital assets on their balance sheets, unlike during the financial crisis when they held toxic debt products related to the housing market.

“What has happened in the crypto market has caused great losses for some investors and it’s all very painful and not something I want to downplay,” he says. “But it would be overplaying the role that crypto currently has in the economic and financial system if you were to think there could be systemic consequences for the wider financial system or even a global recession directly caused by crypto assets.” To date, the turmoil has been limited to the crypto sector. Digital assets have been hit by some of the same economic issues that have affected the wider global economy and stock markets. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been affected by concerns over rising inflation and the ensuing increases in interest rates by central banks, which has made risky assets less attractive to investors. This meant that as stock markets declined, so too did crypto assets.

But the collapse last month of terra also hit confidence in cryptocurrencies. In June, a cryptocurrency lender, Celsius, was forced to stop customer withdrawals. And a hedge fund that made big bets on the crypto markets slid towards liquidation. Crypto investors and firms that had made bets on the crypto market using digital assets as collateral were forced into a selling spree. Kim Grauer, the head of research at the cryptocurrency data firm Chainalysis, says: “It was a combination of the stock market plus the kind of excessive reaction that is typical of crypto markets because of these cascading liquidations. In this case the key event was terra.”

She added: “Crypto is not going away. And it has experienced crashes more severe than this crash.” Regulators and various government agencies are looking closely. Harry Eddis, the global co-head of fintech at Linklaters, a London-based law firm, says recent events in the crypto asset market will strengthen regulators’ determination to rein in the industry.“nI think it will certainly stiffen the sinews of the regulators in saying that they’re more than justified in regulating the industry, because of the obvious risks with a lot of the crypto assets out there,” he says.

In the UK, the financial watchdog continues to expand safeguards on crypto products. Its latest proposals on marketing crypto products to consumers could lead to significant restrictions on crypto exchanges operating in the UK. Consumers reported 4,300 potential crypto scams to the Financial Conduct Authority’s website over a six-month period last year, far ahead of the second place category, pension transfers, which had 1,600 reports. The FCA has 50 live investigations, including criminal inquiries, into companies in the sector.

The terra collapse has also heightened regulatory concerns about stablecoins, because they are backed by traditional assets and therefore could pose a risk to the wider financial system. In the UK, the Treasury wants a regime in place for dealing with a stablecoin collapse, saying in May that a terra-like failure could endanger the “continuity of services critical to the operation of the economy and access of individuals to their funds or assets”.

“Even just the top three stablecoins hold reserves totalling $140bn in traditional assets, much of this being in commercial paper and US treasuries. A run on redemptions of the largest coin (tether) could destabilise the entire crypto asset system and spill over into other markets,” says Carol Alexander, the professor of finance at University of Sussex Business School.

Elsewhere, the EU is drawing up a regulatory framework for crypto assets with the aim of introducing it by 2024, while in the US Joe Biden has signed an executive order directing the federal government to coordinate a regulatory plan for cryptocurrencies including ensuring “sufficient oversight and safeguard against any systemic financial risks posed by digital assets”. The Federal Trade Commission, the US consumer watchdog, says 46,000 people have lost more than $1bn to crypto scams since the start of 2021.

In general, regulators have been talking tough about cryptocurrencies. The chair of the FCA has called for “strong safeguards” to be put in place for the crypto market, while the head of the US financial regulator has warned consumers about crypto products promising returns that are “too good to be true”, while Singapore has said it will be “brutal and unrelentingly hard” on misbehaviour in the crypto market.

‘I’m sure crypto will bubble again

Where crypto goes from here is an unanswerable question. For proponents, such as Changpeng Zhao, the multibillionaire owner of the Binance cryptocurrency exchange, the sector is sure to recover – though it might take some time. “I think given this price drop … it will probably take a while to get back,” he told the Guardian last week. “It probably will take a few months or a couple of years.”

For sceptics, however, the plummet could be a lasting wound. “Bitcoin will be around for decades,” says David Gerard, author of Attack of the 50-Foot Blockchain. “All you need is the software, the blockchain and two or more enthusiasts. Unless there’s new stringent regulation, I’m sure crypto will bubble again. But if there’s a genuine consumer bubble, it may not reach the heights of this one. The 2021-22 bubble made it to the Super Bowl. As many a dotcom found out 20 years ago, there’s nowhere to go from there – you’ve reached every consumer in America.”

But one thing both sides agree on is that the dividing line between “survivable downturn” and “cryptoapocalypse” is likely to involve neither bitcoin nor ethereum, but the third biggest cryptocurrency: a stablecoin called tether. Stablecoins are a foundational part of the crypto ecosystem. Their value is fixed to that of a conventional currency, allowing users to cash out of risky positions without going through the rigamarole of a bank transfer, and enabling crypto-native banks and DeFi establishments to work without taking on a currency risk.

In essence, stablecoins function like the banks of the crypto economy, allowing people to park their money safely in the knowledge that it is not exposed to wider risk. Which means that when a stablecoin collapses, it has a very similar effect to a bank failure: money disappears across the ecosystem, liquidity dries up, and other institutions begin to fail in a domino effect. The beginning of the latest crisis in crypto was sparked by exactly that: the failure of the terra/luna stablecoin. The algorithmic checks and balances put in place to keep it stable broke – triggering a death spiral.

And so on 9 May, a stablecoin called UST “depegged”, dropping from $1 to $0.75 in a day, and then falling further, and further and further. Within four days, the luna blockchain was turned off entirely, the project declared dead. A domino effect took out other crypto establishments. Some of the “contagion” has been prevented, in part through huge loans made by Alameda Ventures, the investment arm of 30-year-old crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried’s empire. Drawing comparisons to JP Morgan in the panic of 1907, “SBF” has stepped in to support the crypto bank Voyager and the embattled exchange BlockFi, and been loudly calling for support from others.

Unlike terra, tether is a “centralised” stablecoin, maintaining its value through reserves which, the company says, are always redeemable one-to-one for a tether token. The model means it cannot enter a “death spiral” like terra, but also means the stability of the token is entirely a function of how much one trusts tether to actually maintain its reserves. That trust is not a sure thing. Tether once claimed to hold all its reserves in “US dollars”, a claim that the New York attorney general’s office concluded in 2021 was “a lie”.

Tether, and Bitfinex – a bitcoin exchange that shares an executive team with, but is legally distinct from, Tether – “recklessly and unlawfully covered-up massive financial losses to keep their scheme going and protect their bottom lines”, Letitia James, the New York attorney general, said at the time. The two companies had transferred money back and forth to cover up insolvency, she said, and had failed to ensure tether was “fully backed at all times”, the investigation concluded.“Te ther has been the timebomb under the market since 2017,” says Gerard.

“It has reduced its market cap by 15bn USDT in the last month, and has claimed that these are redemptions, or a reduction in their holdings of ‘commercial paper’,” she says, referring to one of the key assets that Tether uses on its balance sheet: commercial paper, short-term debt issued by banks and corporations to cover immediate funding needs. Tether, for its part, remains extremely bullish – and has even suggested it may publish a formal audit of its reserves, something it said was “months away” in August 2021.

In late June, Tether announced another expansion: the introduction of the first GBP stablecoin. “We believe that the UK is the next frontier for blockchain innovation and the wider implementation of cryptocurrency for financial markets,” says Paolo Ardoino, the chief technology officer of Tether and Bitfinex. “Tether is ready and willing to work with UK regulators to make this goal a reality.” More regulation, and further market volatility, are a given. Popovich says he is still receiving donations. “I’m extremely embarrassed. Yesterday an anonymous person sent me $50 in the form of cryptocurrency. And I’ve never borrowed anything from anyone in my life. I’m scared and restless.”

Source: Crypto crisis: how digital currencies went from boom to collapse | Cryptocurrencies | The Guardian

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Tech Stock Rally on Alibaba Results May Be Short Lived, as Pandemic Impact on Industry, Consumer Spending Come Into Focus

Alibaba Group Holding’s better-than-expected results may offer only a temporary boost to Chinese technology stocks, as fallout from pandemic lockdowns depresses consumer spending and causes analysts to cut earnings forecasts by as much as 11 per cent.

Alibaba’s shares surged 12 per cent in Hong Kong on Friday after the release of its quarterly report, as the Hang Seng Tech Index rose nearly 4 per cent.

However, major brokerages China International Capital Corp (CICC) and Citic Securities cut earnings projections for the e-commerce giant. They cited the Covid-19 outbreaks that have ravaged about 40 cities in China this year, disrupting supply chains and prompting consumers to tighten their purse strings.

A weak result from Baidu has bolstered the argument. The nation’s biggest search-engine saw its advertising revenue drop 4 per cent from a year earlier in the first quarter, reflecting a tough macroeconomic environment.

The latest brokerage calls reinforce the view that the worst for China’s tech juggernauts is yet to come, as the pandemic takes over from the regulatory crackdown as the factor holding sway over the sector. Alibaba, Tencent soar in Hong Kong as report cards ease earnings concerns

A flurry of high-level government meetings over the last month signal an end to the year-long regulatory storm that wiped out more than US$1 trillion in market cap. Top policymakers have made it clear they want tech platforms to play a bigger role in reviving growth, as the outlines of a consumer-spending slowdown and a “big shock” to industrial profits become clear following lockdowns that started in April.

“Consumer spending and the development of the pandemic are the key to the tech stocks now,” said Dai Ming, a fund manager at Huichen Asset Management in Shanghai. “People won’t spend even online now, with the courier service devastated by the pandemic. The regulatory factor is less of a major concern now.”

CICC reduced Alibaba’s earnings forecast for the financial year by 7 per cent to 131.8 billion yuan (US$19.6 billion) and that for the following year by 1 per cent to 169.1 billion yuan. The investment firm also slashed the price target of Alibaba’s Hong Kong-traded shares by 4 per cent to HK$137, representing 13 times estimated earnings, amid a compressing valuation within the tech sector.

Citic Securities, China’s biggest publicly traded brokerage, also slashed Alibaba’s profit forecast, by 11 per cent to 124.9 billion yuan for this year and by 12 per cent to 147.7 billion yuan for next year. The share-price estimate is set at HK$160.

Alibaba’s customer management revenue (CMR), its biggest source of revenue, will probably decrease by more than 10 per cent for the quarter ended in June as a result of dwindling demand for online shopping and supply-chain disruptions, the brokerage said in a report on Friday.

“Looking to the whole year, investors still need to wait until the recovery in the macroeconomy for the improvement in Alibaba’s earnings,” Citic analysts led by Xu Yingbo wrote in the report. “We estimate that earnings will begin to pick up after the third or the fourth quarter.”

Beijing has reaffirmed its adherence to the zero-Covid policy, which JPMorgan has said the government sees as necessary because of a low vaccination rate among China’s elderly and a fragile healthcare system. The US bank, as well as Swiss private bank Union Bancaire Privee, predict a contraction in China’s growth in the second quarter. Premiere Li Keqiang highlighted the gravity of the situation for the nation’s economy at a meeting this week, saying that it was even worse in some aspects than the aftermath of the Wuhan Covid-19 outbreak in 2020.

Alibaba, the owner of the Post, jumped 12 per cent to HK$90.85 on Friday in Hong Kong. The rally has pared the stock’s loss to 23 per cent this year after a 49 per cent slump in 2021. Revenue for the March quarter rose 9 per cent from a year ago, beating estimates, but the company swung to a net loss in the span on increased investments in new businesses, according to results released on Thursday.

Alibaba’s future earnings may risk trailing the estimate, “given the uncertainty of putting the pandemic under control,” said Tang Jiarui, an analyst at Everbright Securities in Shanghai. “The logistics snarls have reduced consumers’ willingness to spend.”

By: Zhang Shidong

Source: Tech-stock rally on Alibaba results may be short-lived

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