America Has Too Much Pork

May 26, 2023

First Read

Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

Today we published the interview I did with Richard Baker of Tokenovate at ISDA’s AGM in Chicago recently. In this podcast, Baker talks about blockchain and how he is using it to implement the digital work ISDA has done the last few years. He also said he is not a fan of the crypto journey and it has distorted the blockchain story. Richard is a technologist who dug deep into the Dodd-Frank bill by reading all 900 pages when he created the ClearTrade Exchange. He also dug deep into blockchain and has some strong opinions about its potential, which is why he created Tokenovate.

His passion for blockchain reminds me of Don Wilson‘s early commitment to Bitcoin and creating Digital Asset to harness the potential of the technology. Here we are years later and Richard is leveraging the work of ISDA to make blockchain work, perhaps as Don had in mind originally, or at least as he expressed to me.

Monday is the Memorial Day holiday in the U.S. and all the markets will be closed and there will be no JLN on Monday. We will be watching parades, enjoying family and honoring those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

One of the benefits of my recent connection with my third cousin, twice removed Stuart Lothian, is that I learned more about the military history of my great uncle Thomas Archer Lothian, who died in World War I. He was a Scotsman who was a member of the 1/6th Seaforth Highlanders battalion of the Territorial Army formed at Elgin in August 1914. They arrived in France on May 1, 1915 as part of the 152nd Infantry Brigade, which was part of the 51st (Highland Division). Thomas is not a U.S. soldier, so Memorial Day is not for him. His brother, my grandfather, also served in France. Upon returning home to Scotland, he did not find enough economic opportunity, so he emigrated to the U.S.

During World War II, my grandfather was the foreman in a bombsite making plant in Cleveland, working three shifts a day. He would work part of one, a full one, and part of another. When the war ended and the plant was shut suddenly, he had a breakdown and was hospitalized. There he caught pneumonia and died, leaving two teenage boys and a wife behind. While my grandfather was not a soldier to be memorialized by this important holiday, in some ways he was just as much a casualty of the war as some others. And so on Monday, I will remember John James Lothian and his brother Thomas Archer Lothian for their contributions to peace and democracy.

Our good friends at FTSE Russell are getting ready for one of the most widely anticipated market events, Reconstitution or “Recon day,” which ensures that the indexes continue to accurately reflect the current state of the US equity markets and their market capitalization segments, industry breakdowns and style segment. The role of derivatives is explained by market experts from CME Group Cboe Global Markets and FTSE Russell on June 1, 2023 at 10:30am CDT in a webinar titled “Russell US Reconstitution: mitigating risk with derivatives.” The speakers are Rick Rosenthal (Cboe Global Markets), Paul Woolman (CME Group) and Catherine Yoshimoto and Indrani De (FTSE Russell).

Fiserv is moving its listing to NYSE from Nasdaq and expects to begin trading on the NYSE June 7, 2023, under the new ticker “FI.” JLN’s friends at NYSE gave us some color about this move. Fiserv represents the second-largest listing transfer to the NYSE in the exchange’s history and its largest in the past 10 years. It also represents an industry-leading 10th transfer to the NYSE so far in 2023. Combined, the NYSE’s 2023 transfers have brought the exchange nearly $100 billion in additional market capitalization. This follows the NYSE’s 34 transfers in 2022, which also led the industry and was its highest number since 2002. Let’s just say that listing competition between NYSE and Nasdaq is alive and well and NYSE likes the trends.

Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL


The top three stories in JLN Options yesterday were: Friday Is Now an Options Feeding Frenzy as Big Tech Meets Zero-Day Options and Massive Skew To The Call Side (Cboe video) and The stock market could get buffeted by headwinds including the Fed-market rift on rates and credit-related risks, analyst says. Have a great weekend! ~JB

The Climate Investment Summit is June 28, 2023, at the London Stock Exchange. The summit convenes governments, asset owners, financial institutions, international organizations, energy companies and developers to accelerate and deploy investments in global climate solutions in this decade. Market-oriented discussions will explore strategies, partnerships and business models related to climate finance. The summit can be attended live or online. Learn more and register for the Climate Investment Summit here.~SAED


SMALL CAPS TELL US MORE. The Russell 2000 Index provides live index tracking data, with historical performance dating back to January 1984. Academic and practitioner research confirms that large-cap stocks behave differently to small-cap stocks and performance is variable. There are sub-periods during which the Russell 1000 outperforms the Russell 2000 and vice versa. Quarterly performance assessments provide valuable datapoints for understanding market sentiment and US economic activity. Read now: Russell 2000 Index Quarterly Chartbook Q1 April 2023 (


Technologist and Exchange Builder Richard Baker’s Deep Dive into Blockchain with Tokenovate

John Lothian News interviewed Richard Baker at the ISDA 37th Annual Meeting in Chicago. JLN spoke to the former CEO of ClearTrade Exchange about his experience creating, running and selling the exchange in this podcast interview. We also talked to him about his new enterprise Tokenovate, which uses blockchain and the ISDA agreements to build smart contracts to digitize and automate trading.

Listen »


Why it may be time for Chicago’s central business district to become more residential
Alex Zorn – Chicago Business Journal
Adapt or die. At least that’s how some are looking at central business districts (CBDs) across the country, including in Chicago. A new report from JLL finds that adopting alternative uses for existing properties is one way that CBDs can remain relevant for residents, visitors, businesses and investment. The report points specifically to repurposing uncompetitive offices into residences, and estimates that converting 10% of a city’s older office product could yield thousands of residential units, including 17,343 new units for Chicago.

***** People have been sleeping in offices downtown for years. That might not make offices residential, but it does make them home away from home.~JJL


Silicon Valley tech leaders promised to put people first. It didn’t happen.
Dustin Siggins and Robert Kuykendall – USA Today Opinion
When federal regulators took over Silicon Valley Bank’s assets on March 10, the financial world breathed a sigh of relief. Quick actions had averted a devastating bank run, and taxpayers were funding all of SVB’s depositors. But that relief didn’t trickle down to tens of thousands of people who woke up without a paycheck that morning. Unbeknownst to them, their companies’ payroll firms used systems that relied on SVB’s solvency.

***** Always put your employees first. If your employees are not happy, they will not give your customers a good experience. I have been through this experience of having my paycheck in jeopardy. The Price Group paid their employees even though they had not been paid when MF Global went bankrupt. Tom Price made sure employees were paid. He did the right thing and taught an important lesson to me. ~JJL


Don’t Wear Blah Gingham Like a Finance Bro. Go for This Actually Cool Pattern Instead; Why giant checks are the most appealing print in menswear now-and five winning designs to try
Grace Cook – The Wall Street Journal
EARLIER THIS YEAR, Brett Miles surprised himself. The 37-year-old left his London finance job and moved to Milan to start afresh. Step one: He bought a pair of pants bolder and more fashion-forward than anything he’d worn in his previous corporate life. A wide-leg style by British brand Story mfg, they feature a giant, slightly hazy indigo check that would resemble a picnic blanket designed by Mark Rothko, had the late painter been given to designing picnic blankets. “They’re my liberation pants,” said Miles.

***** I love dressing like a restaurant tablecloth.~JJL


Thursday’s Top Three
Our most clicked item Thursday was a tie between Court system in Cook County is so bad: Terry Duffy, a video from Fox Business, and It’s Millionaire vs. Billionaire in the Battle of the SoHo Pergola, from The New York Times. Second was The Wall Street Journal’s Inside Wall Street’s Playbook to Prevent Debt-Ceiling Chaos. And third was Shaq appeared to make a joke about FTX on national TV, right before he was served – again, from Business Insider.


MarketsWiki Stats
27,328 pages; 244,905 edits
MarketsWiki Statistics


Lead Stories

America Has Too Much Pork; Glut of pigs squeezes hog farmers and meat companies, but consumers aren’t seeing lower prices
Patrick Thomas – The Wall Street Journal
Years of rapid expansion have left the $54 billion U.S. pork industry oversupplied as demand wanes, costs rise and new regulation looms, according to meatpackers and farmers. So far, though, the glut of pork on the market has yet to translate into lower prices for consumers.

UK regulator probes sustainable loans market; FCA interviews bankers and borrowers about transparency of loan targets
Kenza Bryan – Financial Times
The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority is probing the market for sustainable loans, following concerns that the environmental targets in such deals are too easy for companies to meet. The watchdog has started interviewing bankers and borrowers about loans that potentially reward borrowers with lower rates but fail to have a significant environmental impact. It is considering whether to bring in a voluntary code of conduct that would set out best practices for loan design.

Euronext taps Societe Generale for new chief executive of clearing house; Incoming CEO will replace Marco Polito, who left at the end of April by mutual agreement to pursue new professional projects.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Euronext has appointed Roberto Pecora as chief executive office and general manager of its clearing house, effective from 3 July. Pecora joins the firm from Societe Generale Group, where he most recently served as chief executive and general manager of SGSS SpA, the Italian bank specialising in securities services, and member of the global executive committee of the SGSS division.

Flight risk? London listings are the most vulnerable to New York’s allure; An FT ranking of 50 companies listed in Europe with the strongest rationale to move their primary listing to Wall Street
Patrick Mathurin and Anne-Sylvaine Chassany – Financial Times
London is the European stock exchange most at risk of suffering big departures to the US, according to a ranking compiled by the Financial Times identifying large companies with the strongest business case to consider a New York listing. The FT assessed 111 European companies, each with a market capitalisation of at least $10bn and each with their shares trading at a discount to US rivals, to determine which have the strongest case to switch to a New York listing. London-listed groups made up just a fifth of the total – but half of the top 10, and 18 of the top 50.

Jump Trading star says he can’t hold secret code in his head to take to rival
Crain’s Chicago Business
The star quant trader at the heart of a London poaching lawsuit between Jump Trading LLC and a hedge fund said it was impossible to remember the millions of lines of secret code and then take them to set up lucrative strategies at a rival. Lawyers for Damien Couture, who left Jump last March, said in a court filing that he had access to the high-frequency fund’s core software, but could never dream of retaining the code that underpins its trading models.

Singapore signs new China ETF connect agreement with Shanghai; Only a handful of products are being traded on existing master-feeder ETF link with Shenzhen
Julienne Raven Lingat and Ernest Chan – Financial Times
The Singapore Exchange and Shanghai Stock Exchange are working to establish a new exchange traded fund scheme as they seek to deepen cross-border connectivity for issuers and investors in Singapore and mainland China. The two exchanges have signed a memorandum of understanding for an ETF scheme with a master-feeder fund model, allowing investors in both markets to access feeder ETFs that link to locally listed ETFs on each other’s exchanges, according to a joint statement released on Monday.

Pimco Weighs Joining Investors Suing Over Credit Suisse AT1s
Laura Benitez – Bloomberg
Pacific Investment Management Co. is considering joining hundreds of investors in challenging the Swiss regulator’s decision to wipe out about $17 billion of Credit Suisse Group AG bonds following the bank’s takeover by UBS Group AG.

Five major insurers quit industry net zero initiative; Members fear lawsuits and have come under attack from Republican politicians in US
Ian Smith and Kenza Bryan – Financial Times
Three of Europe’s biggest insurers and large Japanese and Australian insurers have quit the Net-Zero Insurance Alliance as growing US political pressure and legal fears plunge the climate initiative into crisis.

****Related news from Reuters, Bloomberg, and Business Green.

We’re Obsessed With Caroline Ellison’s Diary Being Evidence in the FTX Case
Noor Al-Sibai – Futurism
In one of the strangest cases in financial history, a key figure is a millennial who used to blog about her love life – so naturally, we’re morbidly fascinated to see what’s inside her diary, which is apparently a key piece of evidence in the upcoming trial. As the New York Times reports, federal prosecutors purportedly have a “mountain” of evidence in their case against FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, who’s being accused of everything from defrauding investors to campaign finance violations.

Why the Frog Memecoin Craze Is a Stress Test for Bitcoin
David Pan – Bloomberg
Bitcoin may be the most widely recognized name in crypto, but its chief rival Ethereum has cornered a bigger share of the recent innovation in digital assets, whether it’s nonfungible tokens or decentralized finance apps. That’s because Ethereum’s underlying software is seen as more versatile and better able to handle bursts of activity without getting clogged up and slowing down.

Robinhood once declared itself a ‘remote-first company.’ Now it’s sending employees back to the office, a leaked message shows.
Ashley Stewart – Insider
Robinhood, which last year declared itself a remote-first company, has just told employees they will be spending most of their time back in the office beginning September 18, according to an internal Slack message viewed by Insider.

Record $279 Million Whistleblower Award Went to a Tipster on Ericsson; The largest-ever award in the SEC’s cash-for-tips program was related to Ericsson’s bribery case
Mengqi Sun – The Wall Street Journal
The record $279 million whistleblower award issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this month stemmed from a bribery case against telecommunications company Ericsson. The award from the SEC’s cash-for-tips program was related to the $1.1 billion settlement the Swedish company reached with U.S. authorities in 2019 over allegations it conspired to make illegal payments to win business in five countries, in violation of U.S. antibribery laws, according to people familiar with the matter.

Ukraine Invasion

Black Sea grain deal uncertainties stall Ukraine shipments
Jonathan Saul – Reuters
Dozens of ships are unable to reach Ukraine, days after a Black Sea grain deal was extended and the pace of shipments is unlikely to pick up because of slow inspections and other uncertainties, according to data and three sources. The United Nations-backed deal, which allows the safe passage of grains through three Ukrainian ports, was extended on May 17 for two months – a shorter time than expected.

Russia’s ‘invincible’ hypersonic missiles prove anything but, as Ukraine utilizes U.S. Patriot defenses
Michael Weiss and James Rushton – Yahoo News
It was meant to be the Russian “wonder weapon,” but it turned out to be just another example of Vladimir Putin’s military over-promising and under-delivering. The Kh-47M2 “Kinzhal” – which means “dagger” in Russian – was billed as a state-of-the-art hypersonic missile, “invincible,” in Putin’s words, to Western air defenses. For the early months of Russia’s full-scale war on Ukraine, it seemed to be just that. The missile had been used in the first year of the war to successfully strike several targets across Ukraine, no doubt causing significant damage.

F-16s might not win Ukraine’s war, but they promise a more equal fight; The aircraft will restore an edge to Kyiv’s forces and push Moscow’s pilots back into Russia
Edward Stringer – Financial Times
Many have questioned why President Volodymyr Zelenskyy so determinedly pressed for the supply of F-16 fighter planes to his forces in Ukraine. Can one particular aircraft make such a difference? The answer, in the case of the F-16, is yes.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

IEX Improves Protection Against Adverse Price Moves
Shanny Basar – MarketsMedia
IEX Exchange has updated the Signal, its predictive model that targets adverse price changes, to include new US equities exchanges as well as adapting to increased volatility, volumes and retail trading.

Fiserv to Transfer Listing to New York Stock Exchange; New Ticker Signals Company’s Commitment to Leading Fintech Innovation
Fiserv, Inc. (NASDAQ: FISV), a leading global provider of payments and financial services technology solutions, today announced that it is transferring the listing of its common stock to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) from the NASDAQ Global Select Market (NASDAQ). The Company expects to begin trading on the NYSE June 7, 2023, under a new ticker “FI.” The stock will continue to trade on NASDAQ until the transfer is complete.

ICE Reports Record Trading in SONIA as the Market Manages New Expectations for U.K. Interest Rates
Intercontinental Exchange
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology, and market infrastructure, today announced that a record 1.37 million SONIA futures and options contracts traded on May 24, 2023, as the market manages new expectations for U.K. interest rates. On May 24, 2023, over 1 million SONIA futures traded, with high levels of activity in the June, September and December 2023 SONIA contract months. “As the market digests the latest U.K. inflation data and reviews expectations for interest rate changes, investors are using SONIA futures and options to manage and adjust their exposure for the potential of higher interest rates to continue for longer in the U.K.,” said Caterina Caramaschi, Vice President, Financial Derivatives at ICE.

Intercontinental Exchange Chair & CEO Jeffrey C. Sprecher to Present at the Piper Sandler Global Exchange and FinTech Conference on June 8
Intercontinental Exchange
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE:ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology, and market infrastructure, announced today that Jeffrey C. Sprecher, Chair and CEO, will present at the Piper Sandler Global Exchange and FinTech Conference. The presentation will take place on Thursday, June 8 at 11:00 a.m. ET. The presentation will be available live and in replay via webcast and can be accessed in the investor relations and media section of ICE’s website at

Dividend derivatives buoyed by fundamentals in 2023
With the European market halfway through its dividend payment season, Eurex caught up with Lorenzo Longo, Head of EMEA Equity Forwards Trading at Goldman Sachs to get his views on the route ahead and prospects for the dividend derivatives market for the rest of this year. We also took the opportunity to look back on a survey conducted earlier this year and measure how the expectations of respondents have played out since then, both for the asset class and the broader economic conditions that underlie it.

Publication of Constituents and Methodology for JPX Prime 150 Index
Japan Exchange Group
As announced on March 30*1, JPX Market & Innovation, Inc. (JPXI) is working on the preparation for the “JPX Prime 150 Index,” a new index focusing on value creation, and will start the calculation from July 3. We are pleased to announce that we have finalized the constituents and methodology, as you will see below.

Amendments to the list of fees of Bourse de Montreal inc. (effective june 1st, 2023)
Bourse de Montreal
Bourse de Montreal Inc. hereby announces the following amendments to its List of Fees effective June 1st, 2023. The new List of Fees in blackline and clean version is attached for your information.

Retail Liquidity Program Launch
Currently, NYSE and NYSE Arca offer Retail Liquidity Programs in which marketable Retail Member Organization orders may execute against Retail Price Improvement Orders that offer price improvement over the NBBO. Pending regulatory approval, beginning in September 2023, NYSE National will launch a Retail Liquidity Program (RLP).


Fintech Company Ballerine Announces $5 Million Seed Funding to Deliver Open-Source Risk Decisioning Platform; First-of-its-kind open-source platform allows companies to verify and underwrite their business customers globally or at scale; Funding round led by Team8, with participation from Y Combinator, Vera Equity, and executives from Brex, Trulioo, Venmo, Melio and Coinbase
Business Wire
Ballerine, an open-source risk decisioning platform, has raised $5 Million in a seed funding round led by Team8. The company provides an open-source platform that integrates global data sources, along with the necessary tools to automate and enhance decision-making processes for tasks such as onboarding (KYB), underwriting, and transaction monitoring. Ballerine caters to any business handling financial transactions subjected to KYB, KYC, and anti-money laundering regulations, including most financial institutions, FinTechs, e-commerce, marketplaces, and other businesses. Ballerine is experiencing rapid growth and traction, its open-source GitHub repository has attracted over 1500 developers worldwide, with dozens of fintech companies using its code in production.

Klarna’s losses halve as Swedish fintech predicts return to profit; Buy now, pay later pioneer says it expects to be profitable again by end of year
Richard Milne and Siddharth Venkataramakrishnan – Financial Times
Klarna halved its losses in the first quarter as the Swedish buy now, pay later pioneer said it was on course to return to profit by the end of the year. Once Europe’s most valuable private tech company, Klarna said on Friday that its net losses narrowed to SKr1.3bn ($120mn) in the quarter while credit losses shrank more than a third. Its revenues rose 13 per cent to SKr4.9bn.

Fintech Veteran Randy Little Joins 1Roundtable Partners and 10T Holdings as Partner
1RoundTable Partners – Business Wire
1RoundTable Partners (“1RT”), a mid-to-late-stage growth equity firm that invests in private companies operating in the digital asset ecosystem, and 10T Holdings (“10T”) today announced that Randy Little has joined the firms as a Partner, effective June 1, 2023. In this role, Mr. Little will work closely with Dan Tapiero, Founder, Chief Investment Officer, and Managing Partner of both 1RT and 10T, to source investment opportunities and support portfolio companies on corporate development efforts and capital markets activities.

Centralized Exchanges Are Here to Stay
Lionel Lim – CoinDesk
This month marks one year since the Terra-Luna fallout and six months since the implosion of FTX. These spectacular events, which marked the beginning and culmination of several other collapses respectively, severely shook confidence in cryptocurrencies and arguably triggered the industry’s most daunting existential crisis in its 15-year history.

Digital Currency Group Closes TradeBlock Institutional Trading Platform; Unit offers trade execution and prime brokerage services; Shutdown of trading platform is effective as of May 31
Olga Kharif, Anna Irrera and Hannah Miller – Bloomberg
Digital Currency Group, the digital-asset conglomerate that is negotiating with creditors of its bankrupt lending business, is closing down its TradeBlock subsidiary that provides trade execution, pricing and prime brokerage services to institutional investors. CoinDesk Inc., the cryptocurrency media and events company that is also controlled by Stamford, Connecticut-based DCG, purchased TradeBlock in 2020 in a transaction where financial details weren’t disclosed.

Zimbabwe Touts Digital Gold in Currency Crisis
Ray Ndlovu – Bloomberg


Early-Warning Ransomware Tip-Offs Help Block Imminent Attacks; American companies, schools and hospitals are already benefiting from new alerts from the US government’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
Katrina Manson – Bloomberg
Jamil Farshchi was waiting for an Uber in Midtown Manhattan one afternoon in late March when he got a flurry of text messages. One was from the FBI, asking him to call the US government’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Another was from a CISA staffer named Klint Walker, saying he needed to speak with Farshchi. It was clear to Farshchi that there was an emergency.

NIST Issues Proposed Revision To Cybersecurity Controls And Requirements To Protect Information On Non-Federal Information Systems – Security
Press Release
On May 10, 2023, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released a public draft of Revision 3 to NIST Special Publication (SP) 800-171, Protecting Controlled Unclassified Information in Nonfederal Systems and Organizations (Revision 3), which establishes security controls that apply to non-federal information systems that store, process, or transmit controlled unclassified information (CUI) or that provide protection for such components, and only where no other applicable law, regulation, or policy prescribes different or more specific safeguarding requirements. This proposed revision accounts for over a year of data collection and public comments to better align cybersecurity requirements between federal and non-federal information systems to address specific threats to CUI, such as defense information, export-controlled information, health information, personally identifiable information, critical energy infrastructure information, and intellectual property.

Remarks by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield at a UN Security Council Arria-Formula Meeting Co-Hosted by the United States on Cybersecurity
Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield – United States Mission to the United Nations
We convened this meeting for a simple reason: the technology, internet, and digital services that we rely on, are under invigorated and escalating attack. This includes news sites and government pages, internet services that monitor our air and water, control our electricity and transportation, and facilitate our day to day lives. More and more often, the threats we are facing online are not only coming from rogue actors, but also from states seeking to disrupt critical infrastructure. And in some cases, those very same states – and we know who they are – are putting forward bad-faith side-efforts to shape our laws and norms around cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity: The Best Defense Is A Better Offense
Mark Carney – Forbes
Since the mid-’90s, traditional security focused on identifying vulnerabilities, testing network perimeters and defending data centers. Then the cloud dominated the world. An exploding attack surface has forced a new paradigm in cyber best practices, where security teams embrace a real-world, threat-informed defense (TID) in favor of the fortress mentality of the past. TID means prioritizing resources toward the most opportunistic and relevant vulnerabilities to a company’s profile, then taking traditional defensive measures like patching, fixing misconfigurations and deploying cyber safeguards to build business resiliency.


Coinbase-Backed Lawsuit Says U.S. Treasury Violated Law with Tornado Cash Sanction
Kyle Torpey – CoinDesk
A group of six crypto investors, with the support of Coinbase, have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Treasury for imposing sanctions on Tornado Cash, a decentralized protocol that allows users to anonymize their Ethereum transactions. The lawsuit claims that the Treasury has violated the law and the Constitution by banning U.S. persons and entities from interacting with the Tornado Cash smart contracts.

DigiAssets 2023: Steps needed to increase institutional adoption of digital assets; Panellists highlighted the need for increased regulation within the asset class, while noting the need to work with existing workflows and processes to help with mass adoption.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
At DigiAssets 2023, panellists discussed the latest developments in the digital assets ecosystem to help create safe, secure and liquid markets that will be accessible to buy-side firms and financial institutions. Panellists shared their insights as to what more needs to be done for digital assets to experience mass adoption for institutional investors.

Bitcoin Payments Firm Strike’s Headquarters to Stay in U.S., Despite New El Salvador Office
Frederick Munawa – CoinDesk
Digital payments firm Strike has established a new headquarters in El Salvador for its international entity that could serve as a beachhead as it expands to more than 65 countries. But Strike says its primary headquarters is still in Chicago, despite regulatory uncertainty that has caused other crypto companies like Bittrex to exit the U.S. market.

Why the Frog Memecoin Craze Is a Stress Test for Bitcoin
David Pan – Bloomberg
Bitcoin may be the most widely recognized name in crypto, but its chief rival Ethereum has cornered a bigger share of the recent innovation in digital assets, whether it’s nonfungible tokens or decentralized finance apps. That’s because Ethereum’s underlying software is seen as more versatile and better able to handle bursts of activity without getting clogged up and slowing down.

Paradigm broadening crypto-only focus to areas including AI
Yogita Khatri, Frank Chaparro, and Nathan Crooks – The Block
Crypto venture capital firm Paradigm, one of the most established and active players in the space, is going beyond just blockchain and highlighting a focus on a broader array of “frontier tech” that includes artificial intelligence, two sources with knowledge of the matter told The Block. The change is subtlety visible on the firm’s website, with the company now calling itself a “research-driven technology investment firm” as opposed to one that specifically invested in “disruptive crypto/Web3 companies and protocols.”

DCG Sunsets Trade Execution, Prime Brokerage Unit TradeBlock; The crypto conglomerate suffered a loss of more than $1 billion last year.
Stephen Alpher and Aoyon Ashraf – CoinDesk


DeSantis and the Growing Culture War Around Bitcoin
Daniel Kuhn – CoinDesk
This week CoinDesk published one of the most thought-provoking and balanced articles on bitcoin mining I’ve ever read. The report is focused around the Greenidge bitcoin mining company in upstate New York, which was at the center of a protracted media cycle last year after environmental activists claimed the facility was boiling the waterways and poisoning delicate ecosystems. Those claims went on to influence an actual policy decision by Governor Kathy Hochul restricting bitcoin mining in the state.

Governments Owed Taxes Can’t Seize More Than They Are Due, Supreme Court Rules
Jess Bravin – The Wall Street Journal
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday that government agencies that seize private property to satisfy delinquent taxes can’t keep the surplus if it sells for more than the taxpayer owes. The case came from Minneapolis, where Hennepin County officials seized and sold an elderly woman’s condominium after she accrued $15,000 in penalties and delinquent taxes for failing to pay the property tax bill for five years.

Texas Panel Files Articles of Impeachment Against State Attorney General
J. David Goodman – The New York TImes
A Republican-led committee of the Texas House of Representatives recommended on Thursday that the state’s attorney general, Ken Paxton, be impeached for a range of abuses of his office that the committee’s investigators said may have been crimes. The recommendation thrust the State Capitol and its Republican leadership into uncharted political territory in the waning days of the legislative session, setting the stage for the House to hold a vote on impeachment, its first in decades and one of the few ever conducted in the state’s history.

India Is Once Again Making Money a Plaything; The manner in which the central bank is retiring the 2,000 rupee bill has reignited memories of the monumental disaster of demonetization in 2016.
Andy Mukherjee – Bloomberg
When it comes to money, ignorance is bliss. For the second time in recent years, India seems to have disregarded this maxim. In November 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi shocked the world by outlawing the 500 ($6) and 1,000 rupee bills in which the country held 86% of its cash. This time, the coup de grâce has fallen on the 2,000 rupee banknote. Since it accounts for only 11% of the currency in circulation, and people have until Sept. 30 to change them into other denominations, it’s not as big a problem as the draconian ban back then.


U.S. Regulator Vows Tough Line on Problem Banks; The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said it would consider taking corrective action against persistently weak banks, including forcing them to exit certain businesses
Richard Vanderford – The Wall Street Journal
Large U.S. banks found to have consistently poor risk management and other failings will face more heavy-handed government intervention, including demands to shore up capital or exit lines of business.

DOJ reviewing First Republic Bank staffers’ stock trades
Yahoo Finance
Yahoo Finance’s Julie Hyman analyzes a report from Bloomberg that the U.S. Department of Justice is reviewing First Republic Bank staffers’ stock trades.

UBS gains EU antitrust approval to acquire Credit Suisse
Foo Yun Chee – Reuters
UBS on Thursday won unconditional EU antitrust approval to acquire Credit Suisse as part of a government-orchestrated rescue of its Swiss rival. The European Commission said the deal would not raise competition concerns in Europe, confirming a Reuters story earlier this month.

Do Kwon’s Detention in Montenegro Extended After High Court Decision to Revoke Bail
Sandali Handagama – CoinDesk
Terraform Labs co-founder Do Kwon will remain in detention while he faces charges of falsifying official documents in Montenegro after a request for bail was approved and later revoked, according to a court statement from Thursday. Although the Basic Court in the country’s capital Podgorica had initially accepted a bail proposal from Kwon’s lawyers, Bloomberg reported that a high court had annulled the decision on Wednesday.

CFTC Orders a California Commodity Trading Advisor to Pay More Than $4 Million for Fraud and Registration Violations
Commodity Futures Trading Commission
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today issued an order filing and simultaneously settling charges against Sharief Deona McDowell, of Loma Linda, California, for fraud in connection with options on commodity futures contracts by a commodity trading advisor (CTA) and for failing to register as a CTA. The order requires McDowell to pay $2,376,509.96 in restitution and a $2,376,509.96 civil monetary penalty.

SEC Resolves Fraud Case Against Former CEO of New York-Based iFresh, Inc.
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced a settlement in its fraud action against Long Deng, the former CEO of iFresh, Inc. Deng agreed, without admitting or denying the allegations, to the entry of a final judgment that requires him to pay $44,706 in disgorgement and prejudgment interest, a $90,000 civil penalty, and bars him from acting as an officer or director of a public company for a period of five years.

May 2023 Board Update
The FINRA Board of Governors held its second meeting of the year last week, and I am pleased to share some updates from our discussions.
The Board appointed Presidential Professor and Co-Director of the Institute for Law & Economics at the University of Pennsylvania Lisa Fairfax as its newest public governor. Lisa’s long history of leadership combined with her deep expertise in securities law and familiarity with FINRA will make her an effective voice for investors and an ideal fit for our Board. We look forward to working closely with Lisa as we continue our mission of protecting investors and promoting market integrity.

Understanding the new climate-related disclosures regime
Financial Markets Authority
FMA’s Jenika Phipps, Manager, Climate-related Disclosures, gave the audience of CEOs, CFOs, Board members and Directors an overview of the FMA’s expectations and approach to monitoring for entities that fall under the new the climate-related disclosures regime. Jacco Moison, Head of Audit, Financial Reporting and Climate-related Disclosures, then talked about how climate impacts financial statements and audits, and what this might mean for directors.

Joint statement from FCA, PRA and Bank of England on the government’s proposed amendments to the CCP run-off regime
The FCA, the PRA and the Bank of England (the regulators) welcome HM Treasury’s statement and the government’s proposed amendments to the Financial Services and Markets Bill relating to the CCP run-off regime. The regulators recognise and fully support the intention to facilitate the continuity of these clearing services to UK firms consistent with the original amendment tabled for these purposes in January 2023. The regulators continue to work together towards this aim, having regard to their respective duties. In the event of a gap between 1 July and Royal Assent, the regulators will take a proportionate and risk-based approach when giving consideration to the use of their supervisory powers in relation to firms that may be impacted pending Royal Assent.

CMA report provisionally finds that Citi, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Morgan Stanley, and Royal Bank of Canada breached competition laws in gilts-related activity; The parties in question have now been invited to make representations to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) before a final ruling is made.
Claudia Preece – The Trade
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has confirmed that five banks – Citi, Royal Bank of Canada, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, and Morgan Stanley – have been provisionally found to have broken competition laws.

Investing and Trading

Grain trader Viterra in talks to merge with rival Bunge
Anirban Sen – Reuters
Global grain trader Viterra is in talks to merge with U.S. rival Bunge Ltd, according to a person familiar with the matter. There is no certainty that Viterra, part-owned by Switzerland-based mining and trading giant Glencore, will be able to reach an agreement on the terms of a deal, the source said, requesting anonymity as these discussions are confidential.

Carl Icahn Is Fighting a Stock Drop, Wealth Slide and Bill Ackman’s Jeers; Another 25% drop in Icahn Enterprises shares is raising questions, including the big one: How is the billionaire going to get out of this?
Hema Parmar and Benjamin Stupples – Bloomberg
It keeps getting worse for Carl Icahn. Icahn Enterprises LP is sinking on the stock market – again. On Thursday, it plummeted as much as 25%, on pace to close at its lowest point since 2004. Icahn’s personal fortune is dwindling – again. On paper, today’s loss has cost him $979 million. It’s one more bad day in a weeks-long run of bad days for Icahn since short-seller Hindenburg Research trained its sights on the legendary Lone Wolf of Wall Street.

US credit squeeze triggers rise in corporate bankruptcies; Chapter 11 filings by indebted companies jump in May, including five during a 24-hour span
Sujeet Indap – Financial TImes
More large US companies are taking shelter in bankruptcy court, a sign of a tightening credit squeeze as interest rates rise and financial markets become less hospitable to borrowers. Eight companies with more than $500mn in liabilities have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this month, including five in a single 24-hour stretch last week. In 2022 the monthly average was just over three filings.

Yield-hungry investors push US money market assets to record $5.4tn; Low-risk cash vehicles absorbed tens of billions of inflows during a season of bank turmoil
Harriet Clarfelt and Kate Duguid – Financial Times
US money market fund assets have swelled to a record high this week, as the best yields available in years and the early May collapse of First Republic Bank kept investors piling into the low-risk vehicles.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

US property developers cheer Supreme Court decision limiting oversight of water pollution; Experts say ruling undercutting Environmental Protection Agency’s authority will lead to dumping of pollutants into water bodies
Stefania Palma and Aime Williams – Financial Times
US property developers scored a big win after the Supreme Court imposed new limits on the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority over the country’s wetlands. In the latest blow to the EPA, the decision from US’s highest court has restricted the scope of the 1972 Clean Water Act, which allows the agency to regulate pollutants dumped into “waters of the United States” such as lakes, rivers and oceans.

*** More reporting from Washington Post, Vox, Roll Call, Al Jazeera, NBC news, and BBC.

Concern Mounts for EU Nature Restoration Law
Emmy Hawker – ESG Investor
Blue NGOs have urged MEPs to “listen to citizens and scientists” and uphold the European Commission’s ambitions on protecting nature and biodiversity, following the European Parliament fisheries and agriculture committees’ votes this week against the EU’s Nature Restoration Law (NRL). Ahead of the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI), the lead committee on this file, voting on the NRL on 15 June, NGOs have highlighted the importance of adopting legally binding rules to restore damaged marine ecosystems, reverse biodiversity loss, and secure long-term prosperity for coastal communities.

Shell Agrees to Pay $10 Million After Permit Violations at its Giant New Plastics Plant in Pennsylvania; The multi-billion dollar Shell plant only became fully operational in November but by December it was already cited for exceeding some yearly pollution limits.
James Bruggers – Inside Climate News
Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro on Wednesday announced that he had reached an agreement with Shell to pay $10 million in penalties because the company’s new plastic manufacturing plant in Beaver County near Pittsburgh put more pollution in the air in its first months of operation than its state permits allow.

Guest post: Half of developing countries still struggle to report greenhouse gas emissions
Dr Chisa Umemiya – Carbon Brief
Virtually every country in the world has set a target for cutting emissions under the Paris Agreement. As part of their obligations under the climate treaty, they have also committed to regularly reporting on their efforts. In the race to cut fossil fuel use and preserve carbon-rich landscapes, it is essential that governments understand the flows of greenhouse gases that fall within their jurisdictions.

The Carbon Brief Profile: Pakistan
Daisy Dunne and Aruna Chandrasekhar – Carbon Brief

Anti-ESG Movement a “Red Herring”; Investors can still take the “middle path” to appease US clients while upholding sustainability-related commitments.
Emmy Hawker – ESG Investor


China Hedge Fund Loses Case Against Top Quant Who Joined Rival; Ex-Citadel researcher’s firm is ordered to pay damages; Lawsuit highlights cutthroat competition for quant talent
Shanghai Ruitian Investment LLC, a top Chinese quantitative hedge fund founded by an ex-Citadel researcher, lost a high-profile lawsuit claiming a former staff member infringed its technology secrets when he joined a larger rival. The case centered on Ruitian’s former head of high-frequency trading strategy, Yang Yunhao, who joined Zhejiang High-Flyer Asset Management.

MUFG’s $4 Billion Bond Deal Is Japan’s Biggest This Year
Rie Morita and Ayai Tomisawa – Bloomberg
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. raised 570 billion yen ($4 billion) worth of debt in what is Japan’s biggest yen bond deal this year. With yields rising, the lender offered a coupon of 2.127% on the perpetual non-callable 10-year and one-month Additional Tier 1 bonds, underwriter Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co. said. That’s the highest coupon on such notes for the bank since 2015, according to Bloomberg-compiled data.

Credit Suisse ordered to pay $926mn to former prime minister of Georgia; Ruling from Singaporean judge comes shortly before UBS is expected to complete takeover of Swiss rival
Owen Walker – Financial Times
Credit Suisse has been ordered by a Singaporean judge to pay $926mn to former Georgian prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, a final blow to the bank before UBS is expected to complete its takeover as soon as next week. Ivanishvili, who is Georgia’s richest man, had already won a case against the Swiss bank in Bermuda last year, where he was awarded $607.5mn.

JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon set to face questioning in Jeffrey Epstein cases; Wall Street bank has denied its top boss played a role in the decision to keep the sex offender as a client
Joe Miller and Joshua Franklin – Financial Times
JPMorgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon is set to answer questions under oath on Friday about his knowledge of Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes, as the legal reckoning over the bank’s decision to retain the late sex offender as a client reaches Wall Street’s highest echelons.

Lazard Names Peter Orszag as Next CEO; Former Obama administration official to succeed Ken Jacobs, who will become executive chairman
Cara Lombardo – The Wall Street Journal
Lazard named Peter Orszag its next chief executive, putting the former Obama administration official at the helm of the storied investment bank as it seeks to recover from a string of setbacks. Orszag is set to succeed longtime Lazard CEO Ken Jacobs, who will become executive chairman, the company said Friday, confirming a report last week by The Wall Street Journal. Orszag has run Lazard’s financial-advisory unit since 2019.

JPMorgan Faces Reckoning for Long Ties With Jeffrey Epstein; Two lawsuits claim that the nation’s largest bank ignored signs about Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking because it was profiting from its relationship with him.
Matthew Goldstein – The New York Times

Work & Management

JPMorgan Tells 1,000 First Republic Employees They’ll Lose Their Jobs; Almost 85% of workers to get full-time or transitional roles; Bank’s update is meant to ‘bring clarity and closure’
Hannah Levitt – Bloomberg
JPMorgan Chase & Co. notified about 1,000 First Republic Bank employees that they aren’t being given jobs – even temporarily – following its takeover of the failed lender. The biggest US bank on Thursday offered full-time or transitional roles to almost 85% of the nearly 7,000 employees still working at First Republic when it collapsed, while the rest were told they wouldn’t get offers, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Slack Founder Stewart Butterfield on AI, Software and the End of the Tech Boom; A CEO who has been at the forefront of two historic eras for software.
Tracy Alloway and Joe Weisenthal – Bloomberg
Stewart Butterfield has been at the forefront of two epochal turning points for tech. First, he was the co-founder of the photo sharing site Flickr, that was one of the defining brands of the so-called Web 2.0 and the world of user-generated content. (It was later sold to Yahoo.) Several years after that, he co-founded Slack, which sold to Salesforce, and one of the big winners of the software-as-a-service wars, changing how people work and how companies operate.

Wellness Exchange

Hundreds of Thousands Have Lost Medicaid Coverage Since Pandemic Protections Expired; As states begin to drop people from their Medicaid programs, early data shows that many recipients are losing their coverage for procedural reasons.
Noah Weiland – The New York Times
Hundreds of thousands of low-income Americans have lost Medicaid coverage in recent weeks as part of a sprawling unwinding of a pandemic-era policy that prohibited states from removing people from the program. Early data shows that many people lost coverage for procedural reasons, such as when Medicaid recipients did not return paperwork to verify their eligibility or could not be located. The large number of terminations on procedural grounds suggests that many people may be losing their coverage even though they are still qualified for it. Many of those who have been dropped have been children.

How a Pandemic-Era Program Became a Magnet for Fraud; The Employee Retention Credit has spawned a cottage industry of firms claiming to help businesses access stimulus funds, often in violation of federal rules.
Alan Rappeport – The New York Times
In early February, federal prosecutors in Utah accused Zachary Bassett and Mason Warr of cheating the United States government out of millions of dollars. The accounting firm they operated had submitted more than 1,000 fraudulent tax forms to the Internal Revenue Service on behalf of businesses trying to claim pandemic-era stimulus funds, the prosecutors said.


Power of Siberia: China keeps Putin waiting on gas pipeline
Anastasia Stognei, Joe Leahy and Yuan Yang – Financial Times
Russia’s prime minister left China this week without a reward Moscow has long prized: a clear commitment from Beijing on Power of Siberia 2, a grand gas pipeline project to transform energy flows across Asia. Conceived more than a decade ago to help Russia “turn to the east”, the pipeline through Mongolia to China was a way to diversify gas sales, bolster revenues, and give the Kremlin more diplomatic clout.

‘Outraged and furious’: Germans rebel against gas boiler ban; Green policy forcing homeowners to install heating systems powered by renewables dubbed the ‘heat hammer’
Guy Chazan – Financial Times
Frank Krusche says he is not against heat pumps in principle. It is just that to install one he would have to knock down his house and build a new one. “They only work in low-energy houses – and mine isn’t,” said Krusche, an engineer from eastern Berlin. “To make it truly energy efficient, you’d have to rebuild the whole shell, including the roof.”

Colombia Studies Need for New Oil and Gas Exploration as Reserves Dwindle, Minister Says; Colombian Trade Minister Umana speaks in phone interview
Oscar Medina and Eric Martin – Bloomberg
Colombia is studying the need for more exploration contracts after a report showed oil and gas reserves dropping, according to a senior minister. The government wants to lead a transition away from fossil fuels while limiting any negative impact on the economy, Trade Minister German Umana said Thursday in a phone interview. “We’ll certainly take measures to ensure environmental sustainability, but also economic sustainability,” Umana said, speaking from Washington where he was meeting with US officials to discuss the trend toward growing global protectionism.

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