Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff
NYSE has made two personnel moves, naming Meaghan Dugan head of options and Jim Hyde as head of business development and strategic partnerships, according to a reliable NYSE source. In the head of options role, Dugan replaces Ivan Brown, who quietly left the NYSE prior to the Options Industry Conference. Brown was head of options and business development for NYSE. Both Dugan and Hyde are part of Jon Herrick’s team at NYSE Markets and are well-liked and respected industry professionals.
Dugan was interviewed by JLN for The Path to Electronic Trading video series from JLN and MarketsWiki Education and started in the industry at the Pacific Stock Exchange. Hyde is a former vice chairman of the American Stock Exchange. Congratulations to Meaghan and Jim on your promotions.
U.S. President Joseph Biden has contracted the Covid-19 virus, though it is a mild case, the White House said. President Biden shot this video to tell the world.
The second quarter edition of The TRADE Magazine is now available online and features the incomparable Supurna VedBrat, global head of trading at BlackRock, on its cover.
The CFTC will hold an open meeting on July 27th. Chairman Rostin Behnam will deliver remarks and join a conversation on crypto regulation at the Brookings Center on Monday, July 25, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. EDT. And Commissioner Christy Goldsmith Romero will participate in a DC Bar Derivatives and Futures Law Committee fireside chat on July 25, 2022 at 12:00 p.m. EDT.
The 113th Race to Mackinac is this Saturday.
The Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac presented by Wintrust is one of the world’s largest annual offshore races, drawing top-notch sailing talent from around America and the world. Known as “The Mac” to everyone in the region, the ultimate test of Great Lakes navigation starts each July just off Chicago’s Navy Pier. Passing through some of the most beautiful coastal waters in the world on the 333-statute mile (289 nm) race route, the fleet faces the storms, reefs, calms and competition that truly make it “America’s Offshore Challenge.”
A 102-year-old World War Two veteran says the key to a long and happy life is fine wine and good food, Bloomberg reported. I am not going to argue with him.
Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL
JPMorgan Gold Trader Says Boss Coached Him to Lie About Spoofing
Eddie Spence – BNN Bloomberg
A former JPMorgan Chase & Co. precious-metals trader said his boss coached him to lie to compliance officials about price-manipulating orders and later counseled him against pleading guilty as prosecutors were preparing criminal charges against top executives on the trading desk. Christian Trunz, who spent more than a decade at JPMorgan, told a Chicago jury that so-called spoof orders he’d placed and quickly canceled for palladium had sparked a four-month probe by bank officials. Trunz said Michael Nowak, the managing director who ran the precious-metals business, advised him to mislead investigators about his intent to execute the trades.
***** A good boss coaches and mentors you during your career. A really good boss teaches you how to lie to compliance?~JJL
Don’t Call it a Swap: The CFTC Asserts Jurisdiction Where it Shouldn’t
On April 27, 2022, the CFTC took the position in a complaint alleging fraud filed against Archegos, and in related settlements with Archegos executives, that certain derivatives with returns based on shares of ETFs that track broad-based security indexes, such as the S&P 500, are swaps rather than SBSs. In settlements with two senior Archegos employees, the CFTC stated in a footnote that “because certain swaps in connection with the fraud . . . are based on a broad-based securities index, this matter falls within the [CFTC’s] jurisdiction” (and there is substantively similar language in the Archegos complaint).
****** Covet not thy neighbor’s regulatory turf.~JJL
Biden’s Covid Diagnosis Is a Wake-Up Call for America; Americans may want to be done with the pandemic, but the pandemic is not done with them.
Tyler Cowen – Bloomberg
The news that President Joe Biden has tested positive for Covid should serve as a wake-up call for the rest of us: Almost three years on, the pandemic is still not going very well. Perhaps it’s human nature to put bad news out of mind. Still, one reason so many people have chosen to ignore Covid-19 may be that they are wary, and weary, of public health authorities. If people admit Covid is still a big problem, they are implicitly giving regulators permission to control their lives once again. But people are tired of lockdowns, mandatory testing, canceled school sessions and travel restrictions. And so they are fighting back with the ultimate form of non-violent resistance — forgetting about the issue altogether.
***** Alexa, set a wake up alarm for America for today at noon.~JJL
Thursday’s Top Three
Our top story Thursday was Bloomberg’s JPMorgan Trader Spoofed So Fast Colleagues Urged Ice on Fingers, about Gregg Smith, who is on trial with two other senior JP Morgan employees for spoofing in precious metals trading. Second was How Troy Kane went from a 14-year-old trading floor clerk to global head of derivatives and FICC development, from Insider via Citadel Securities, which was our top story Wednesday. And third was, once again, the picture of the late Ralph Goldenberg with Chris Hehmeyer and Jessica Hehmeyer.
26,931 pages; 239,596 edits
The US’s first crypto insider-trading case could mean serious trouble for Coinbase
Scott Nover – Quartz
The US government is prosecuting its first ever insider trading case involving cryptocurrencies, against a former employee of the crypto exchange Coinbase and two people he allegedly tipped off. Though the alleged scheme may have been an isolated incident, the ramifications could be much more widespread. In addition to criminal charges brought by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) in federal court in Manhattan, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) brought civil charges for securities fraud in federal court in Seattle.
US charges former Coinbase employee with insider trading; Ishan Wahi and two associates accused of profiting on internal information on listing decisions
Scott Chipolina and Stefania Palma – FT
US prosecutors charged a former Coinbase employee and two associates with insider trading in the latest sign of how authorities are stepping up enforcement in the digital asset industry. Ishan Wahi, 32, was charged with sharing with his brother and friend tips on digital tokens that were due to be listed on Coinbase, according to an indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court.
Citadel’s Miami Tower Offers a Chance to Put Stamp on Waterfront; Ken Griffin and developer Sterling Bay are at work on the South Florida tower that will house the billionaire’s firms.
Natalie Wong, Josephine Walker, and Amanda L Gordon – Bloomberg
Ken Griffin’s new Miami office tower is shaping up to be developer Sterling Bay’s most ambitious headquarters project yet. Sterling Bay, which has more than $20 billion in its development pipeline, is set to build its largest tower with Griffin’s Citadel. It’s one of the few remaining opportunities to make a mark on Miami’s waterfront and a rare chance to work with one of the finance industry’s biggest titans, who will have the final say over plans.
EU lawmaker calls for ban on ‘payment for order flow’; Danuta Hübner backs clampdown on practice that critics say only maximises profits for brokers
Javier Espinoza, Sam Fleming, Philip Stafford and Adam Samson – FT
A key EU lawmaker is set to back calls for a formal ban on brokers selling customers’ share trades to market intermediaries, adding to momentum in favour of clamping down on the practice. Danuta Hübner, a senior lawmaker in the European Parliament, said in a draft statement seen by the Financial Times that the concerns around the practice known as payment for order flow are “symptomatic of a broader issue” of national EU regulators interpreting rules differently.
Crypto Trading Platform Coinbase Blasts SEC Enforcement Efforts; Company petitions regulator to instead write rules that are friendlier to crypto firms
Paul Kiernan – WSJ
Coinbase Global Inc. criticized the Securities and Exchange Commission for its approach to policing cryptocurrencies, raising questions about the regulator’s prospects of convincing the largest U.S. trading platform to adhere to its investor-protection rules. SEC Chairman Gary Gensler, who has likened cryptocurrency markets to the Wild West, has repeatedly urged trading platforms such as Coinbase to register with the agency as securities exchanges. The companies have refused, and several—including Coinbase—are under SEC investigation. “The Commission has yet to constructively engage with digital asset market participants on the design of a workable regulatory framework,” Coinbase said in a rule-making petition to the SEC it released Thursday. The firm added that the SEC’s failure to adapt its regulations to cryptocurrency markets leaves investors at risk, constrains investment and “is wholly inconsistent with the SEC’s mission.”
The SEC decides some alt-coins are securities; That means you can, in fact, get in trouble for insider-trading them
Alexandra Scaggs – FT
The institutionalisation of cryptocurrencies continues at pace. The latest development: we have learned that some alt-coins are securities, because you can catch SEC charges for insider-trading them. (Criminal charges too, though that’s a different matter.) The US Securities and Exchange Commission has charged a few lads with trading alt-coins ahead of their listings on Coinbase Global’s exchanges, which pretty reliably caused a bump in the coin price. And the US attorney in the Southern District of New York is bringing criminal charges against the trio, claiming the wire-fraud charges are its “first ever” insider-trading tipster case in cryptocurrency markets. (Contrast that with its “first ever digital asset” insider-trading case, where the guy with the inside information was trading on his own.)
Terra Co-Founder’s Home Raided as Korea Widens Crypto Probe; Daniel Shin’s home and his company Chai Corp. were raided; Prosecutor has said it raided 15 areas including 7 exchanges
Hooyeon Kim and Sohee Kim – Bloomberg
South Korean prosecutors raided the home of Terraform Labs co-founder Daniel Shin, deepening a probe into allegations of illegal activity behind the collapsed stablecoin TerraUSD. A series of raids on crypto-exchanges and offices on Wednesday also included Shin’s home and his payment app Chai Corp., the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors Office said via a text message, confirming an earlier report from MBC News. Police also visited two affiliated firms, a spokesperson for the prosecutors said, declining to provide further detail in an ongoing investigation.
Three Arrows Founders Break Silence Over Collapse of Crypto Hedge Fund; Zhu, Davies say losses sparked by fund collapse ‘regrettable’; Creditors claim $2.8 billion owed to them by Three Arrows
Joanna Ossinger, Muyao Shen, and Yueqi Yang – Bloomberg
After five weeks in hiding, the disgraced founders of Three Arrows Capital spoke extensively about the spectacular implosion of their once high-flying hedge fund, saying their bungled crypto speculation unleashed cascading margin calls on loans that should never have been made. Su Zhu and Kyle Davies, both 35, first became friends in high school. They built 3AC into a crypto-trading behemoth before its collapse bankrupted creditors and exacerbated a selloff that foisted steep losses on mom-and-pop owners of Bitcoin and other tokens. At times contrite and at times defensive, Davies and Zhu, speaking from an undisclosed location, described a systemic failure of risk management in which easy-flowing credit worsened the impact of wrong-way bets.
UK Set for Most Expensive Summer Weekend Electricity on Record; Power for Saturday to cost nearly five times seasonal average; Soaring electricity costs spurring cost of living crisis
Will Mathis – Bloomberg
The summer weekend is no break from soaring UK power prices that are underpinning inflation and a worsening cost-of-living crisis. Day-ahead power prices usually tumble over the weekend when demand declines, especially during long summer days that delay the need to turn on the lights. But with natural gas prices surging, electricity costs this weekend are far above levels that would be considered high even in most winters.
Europe’s Energy Crisis Risks Slashing Aluminum Production Further; A third of smelters are losing money and more may close: CFO; A million tons of smelting capacity are at risk of closing
Mark Burton and Tom Mackenzie – Bloomberg
Norsk Hydro ASA issued a fresh warning over the grave threat that Europe’s energy crunch poses to aluminum supply, saying the heavy slate of production cutbacks seen so far is at risk of doubling over the winter months. Aluminum is one of the most energy-intensive metals to make, and the surge in power prices already knocked about 900,000 tons of smelting capacity offline in Europe and North America over the past two years, Chief Financial Officer Pal Kildemo said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. With more than a third of smelters globally currently losing money, there’s a risk that another 1 million tons of capacity will be curtailed.
Singapore Exchange, NYSE join hands for company dual listings, ETFs
Singapore Exchange Ltd (SGX) (SGXL.SI) said on Friday it will team up with the New York Stock Exchange for dual listing of companies on both the bourses, allowing investors to tap overseas investment opportunities on the two major exchanges.
Coinbase Petitions SEC to Propose Rules for Trading; Asks for clarity on which assets are considered securities; SEC holds the view that most digital assets are securities
Alex Nguyen and Allyson Versprille – Bloomberg
Coinbase Global Inc., the largest US cryptocurrency platform, is calling on the Securities and Exchange Commission to propose clear rules for the trading of digital assets. In a petition submitted on Thursday, the exchange — which has clashed with the SEC in the past — asks the regulator to clarify which digital assets it considers to be securities. The company also stresses the importance of establishing guardrails, given the market meltdown that has wiped out trillions of dollars and bankrupted several companies. “The U.S. does not currently have a functioning market in digital asset securities due to the lack of a clear and workable regulatory regime,” read Coinbase’s petition.
Spread betting: how will the ECB’s new bond-buying tool work? Policymakers hope new programme will give central bank cover to raise rates without triggering market turmoil
Martin Arnold – FT
Christine Lagarde proclaimed a “rather historical moment” on Thursday after the European Central Bank’s rate-setters unanimously agreed to create a bond-buying tool the ECB president hopes will stop higher interest rates from sparking a new eurozone debt meltdown.
Evolution Of Broker-Dealer Business Models
Boris Dus – Forbes
There’s been a lot of news recently about falling margins and cutoffs in financial startups like Robinhood, Mainstreet, Coinbase, etc. Business models of broker-dealer companies have changed significantly over time. Ten years ago, brokers made their money on trading commissions. With Robinhood changing the rules of the game, trading became “free.” In this article, I would like to examine how brokers make their money now.
Venture Capital Is Pouring Billions Into Crypto. Bitcoin’s Crash Is a Distant Memory.
Jack Denton – Barron’s
Bitcoin may have just capped its worst quarter in more than 10 years, but venture capital doesn’t care—and private money is piling into crypto at a historic, breakneck pace. The Bitcoin bull run of 2020-2021 saw prices advance from $10,000 in September 2020 to nearly $69,000 by November 2021, kicking off a new round of private money buying up both tokens and stakes in crypto businesses.
Bitcoin Miners Cut Power the Most Since China Ban Amid Heat Wave; Mining difficulty falls 5%, the biggest drop since 2021; Texas has become one of the largest mining hubs in the country
David Pan – Bloomberg
Bitcoin miners saw the biggest drop in computing power since China banned crypto mining last May due to a record heatwave in Texas. A leading indicator of closures, Bitcoin mining difficulty, has plunged 5% — the largest drop over a two-week period since Chinese operators were forced to unplug millions of machines due to a sweeping mining ban by the central government.
World’s Growing Thirst for American Gas Tests U.S. Ability to Meet Demand; Exports of American LNG are booming, but constraints at home and abroad limit how much natural gas the U.S. can add to global supplies
Benoît Morenne and Benoit Faucon – WSJ
Shrinking flows of Russian natural gas to Europe have triggered a global race among U.S. allies to secure American gas exports, testing the country’s ability to meet fast-growing demand. Russia throttled deliveries of natural gas to Europe after the continent adopted a flurry of sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine. That change has left Europe scrambling to secure alternatives, especially from the U.S. The continent’s liquefied natural gas, or LNG, imports from the U.S. more than doubled between March and June from the year prior, according to consulting firm Rystad Energy.
Brazil’s Petrobras Disappoints Despite World’s Thirst for Crude; President Jair Bolsonaro has pressured the state-controlled oil producer to lower gasoline prices, sinking its shares even as other big global producers soar
Luciana Magalhaes and Samantha Pearson – WSJ
Soaring oil prices are normally good news for oil companies. Not in Brazil. Even as the price of crude oil has risen above $100 a barrel since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, investors have fled Brazil’s state-controlled oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA, sending its shares down about 13% since February.
Inside Ukraine’s open-source war; Digital networks are helping Ukraine resist the Russian invasion. Will they also reshape the future of conflict?
Gillian Tett – FT
Andrey Liscovich was at home in downtown San Francisco when he saw a tweet from the American politician Marco Rubio: “The #Russian invasion of #Ukraine is now underway.” He felt sick. The 37-year-old Ukrainian had spent most of the previous decade working far from his native country, including as chief executive officer of Uber Works, a subsidiary of the ride-booking group, before creating his own tech start-up. But Liscovich was born in Zaporizhzhia, on the border of the south-eastern Donbas region now suffering intense Russian bombardments.
Britain must raise its defences against weaponised finance; The use of sanctions against Russia during the Ukraine conflict has underlined the importance of economic statecraft
Tom Keatinge – FT
When Russian troops massed on Ukraine’s border late last year, western leaders warned that an invasion would bring massive economic consequences for the Kremlin. When these attempts at deterrence failed and the tanks rolled in, the US, UK and EU implemented a campaign of co-ordinated sanctions. While many have questioned the execution and effectiveness of this response, it provides a valuable test case for the power of finance as a tool of statecraft.
MI6 chief says Russia ‘about to run out of steam’ in Ukraine; Head of UK secret intelligence service describes war by president Vladimir Putin a ‘strategic failure’
Demetri Sevastopulo and Ben Hall – FT
MI6 chief Richard Moore said Russia was “about to run out of steam” in Ukraine, giving the country’s military a chance to strike back in the conflict he described as a “strategic failure” for Vladimir Putin.
Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine block Google search engine
Russian-backed separatists in a breakaway region of eastern Ukraine have blocked access to the search engine Google (GOOGL.O), their leader said on Friday, citing what he calls “disinformation”. In a message posted on his Telegram channel, Denis Pushilin, head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), accused Google of promoting “violence against all Russians” and said that its “handlers from the U.S. government” were to blame.
Ukraine’s Grain Challenge Involves Clearing Mines, Finding Ships and Trusting Putin; Ukraine and Russia look set to sign grain-export deal; But there are lots of challenges to restarting sales
Megan Durisin, Aine Quinn, and Alberto Nardelli – Bloomberg
Ukraine is about to finally secure a deal aimed at restarting crucial Black Sea grain exports that have been crippled by Russia’s invasion. But getting them going won’t be easy. A deal is expected to be signed Friday by representatives of both countries, which may help revive shipments from one of the world’s top wheat, corn and vegetable-oil exporters. That would be good news for a strained global food market and Ukraine’s economy that’s been wrecked by the war.
Captured nuclear plant doubles as launch pad for relentless Russian rocket attacks; Town of Nikopol is being targeted by missiles fired from the site of the giant Zaporizhia atomic power facility
Ben Hall in Nikopol – FT
Mykhailo Poperechnyuk was driving towards the town of Nikopol, in southern Ukraine, earlier this month when he saw a barrage of Russian rockets streaking across the night sky. The missiles were fired from what may be the most impregnable Russian positions along the entire front line: those around the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant just 5km away on the other side of the Dnipro River.
Turkey, U.N. Officials Say Deal Reached With Russia, Ukraine on Grain Exports; Pact is expected to be signed Friday, but some worry about implementation
Jared Malsin, William Mauldin and Alistair MacDonald – WSJ
Officials from Russia, Ukraine and the United Nations planned to sign a deal to resume exports of Ukrainian grain via the Black Sea on Friday, Turkish and U.N. officials said, in an announcement that raised hopes of freeing food supplies trapped by the Russian invasion. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres landed in Istanbul on Thursday evening, a U.N. official said, adding that the parties involved had come to an agreement but cautioned that last-minute problems could still arise before they sign off on the deal, expected on Friday.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
The New York Stock Exchange and SGX Group Announce Wide-Ranging Collaboration including Dual Listing of Companies; The two exchanges on opposite sides of the world will also explore new products in ESG, ETFs, and indexes
The New York Stock Exchange, part of Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology, and market infrastructure, and Singapore Exchange (SGX Group), Asia’s leading and most international multi-asset exchange, announced today the signing of a new agreement to collaborate on the dual listing of companies on both exchanges and work together in a number of other key areas focused on the capital markets. This collaboration represents an important initiative for both markets. In a virtual ceremony today, NYSE President Lynn Martin and SGX Group Chief Executive Officer Loh Boon Chye signed a memorandum of understanding outlining the terms of the agreement.
Exploring the Future of Markets: Part 2 – ESG Becomes Part of the DNA of Markets
In June 2022, as HKEX marked its 22nd anniversary as a listed company, we sat down with senior executives from across the business to reflect on the progress of our organisation over the past two decades, and explore the key drivers and trends impacting our markets and the global exchange landscape. Data, ESG, technology and clients were the four themes that jumped out. In the first part of this “Future of Markets” series, we explored how the world of data looks set to evolve over time, becoming richer and more integrated into business and daily life. In this edition, we turn our attention to ESG and take a look at how markets will start to “walk the walk”, find innovative ways to transition to net zero and embed ESG into almost everything. We also explore the key role that exchanges will play in this journey.
SIX Closes First Half of 2022 with Stable Results on the Back of Challenging Market Conditions; Selected key financial figures for the first half of 2022
Operating income amounted to CHF 751.7 million (+0.8%, currency-adjusted +2.6%).Operating earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) amounted to CHF 213.7 million (-5.5%). The non-operating result increased year-on-year thanks to one-off effects in the financial result. Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) increased by 4.9% to CHF 161.4 million. Net profit increased by 12.1% to CHF 121.3 million.
US Dependence on Taiwan Chips Is ‘Untenable,’ Raimondo Says; Commerce secretary says America faces a Sputnik moment; Chips legislation is still awaiting House, Senate approval
Iain Marlow – Bloomberg
The US can’t keep relying on Taiwan for semiconductors and needs to pass legislation to support the domestic production of high-end computer chips, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said. “Our dependence on Taiwan for chips is untenable and unsafe,” Raimondo told a crowd at the annual Aspen Security Forum in Colorado, a gathering of White House officials, diplomats and executives. She appeared via video conference from Washington, DC.
Microsoft Cuts Many Open Job Listings in Weakening Economy; Company slows its hiring in businesses like Azure and security for the foreseeable future
Dina Bass – Bloomberg
Microsoft Corp. is eliminating many open jobs, including in its Azure cloud business and its security software unit, as the economy continues to weaken. These hiring cuts will continue for the foreseeable future, Microsoft said, while declining to comment on which departments and businesses are affected. The company said it is honoring job offers that have already been made for open roles and will make some exceptions for critical jobs.
Bloomberg invests in trade surveillance fintech; The new collaboration advances Bloomberg’s surveillance, trade reconstruction, and behavioural analytics capabilities across more than 120 channels.
Laurie McAughtry – The Trade
Bloomberg has made a strategic investment in London-based Insightful Technology, parent company of the trade surveillance solution Soteria Integrated Compliance. The collaboration will integrate Soteria with the existing Bloomberg Compliance Solutions — including compliance system Bloomberg Vault, among other real-time Bloomberg surveillance systems and preventative controls.
Three Reasons Young People Will Change Cybersecurity
Arti Raman – Forbes
No industry has more to gain from the minds of young people than cybersecurity. An industry that’s so deeply dependent on innovation and fresh thinking must eventually place its faith in younger generations or risk falling behind.
Second Cybersecurity Summit grows beyond expectations
Theresa Schmidt – KPLC TV
Cyberattacks are an ever-increasing threat, and now the cost of doing business for those who want to protect customers.
The second Cybersecurity Summit in Lake Charles had a waiting list, which shows businesses and government alike are seeking solutions.
Blockchain and cybersecurity awareness on the rise: PolySwarm CEO
Ezra Reguerra – CoinTelegraph
As the blockchain space becomes more extensive, cybersecurity becomes a more crucial requirement for many. Because of this, PolySwarm CEO Steve Bassi argued that there is a need to leverage blockchain for cybersecurity.
Ex-Coinbase Manager Among 3 Arrested on Crypto Insider Trading Charges
Nikhilesh De – CoinDesk
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) charged former Coinbase (COIN) product manager Ishan Wahi, his brother Nikhil Wahi and Sameer Ramani on allegations of wire fraud and insider trading on Thursday. The DOJ alleged in a press release that Ishan Wahi shared information about what crypto assets Coinbase would list with Nikhil Wahi and/or Ramani prior to the actual listing. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) also brought charges against the three tied to the same insider trading allegations. In a statement, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams of the Southern District of New York noted this was the second insider-trading case in crypto the DOJ has brought.
Ex-Coinbase product manager charged with insider trading
David Hollerith – Yahoo! Finance
The U.S. Department of Justice charged a former product manager at Coinbase (COIN) with insider trading in an indictment unsealed on Thursday. The DoJ noted this is the first insider trading case the Department has brought related to activities in cryptocurrency markets. The former employee, Ishan Wahi, and two accomplices, Nikhil Wahi and Sameer Ramani, allegedly made illegal trades involving at least 25 different crypto assets, realizing gains totaling approximately $1.5 million, according to the DoJ. “Today’s charges are a further reminder that Web3 is not a law-free zone,” Damian Williams, a U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, stated in the release.
Decentralized Crypto Exchange Hashflow Raises $25M at $400M Valuation
Brandy Betz – CoinDesk
Decentralized finance (DeFi) trading platform Hashflow has raised $25 million in a Series A funding round to now be valued at $400 million. The capital will be used to scale the product, expand the team and launch structured products later this year. Investors in the round included Jump Crypto, Wintermute, GSR, LedgerPrime, QCP, Altonomy, Dragonfly Capital, Electric Capital and the venture capital arms of cryptocurrency exchanges Coinbase (COIN) and Kraken. Founded in 2021, San Francisco-based Hashflow offers a decentralized exchange (DEX) backed by a request-for-quote (RFQ) pricing model that allows for cross-chain interoperability, low transaction or gas fees, high liquidity and no slippage, a common problem in volatile markets where the price of a trade changes between initiation and completion.
Texas’s Summer is Bitcoin Mining’s Winter
David Pan – Bloomberg
Heat Changes Everything: When China banished Bitcoin miners in May 2021, Texas must have seemed like the promised land. The state offered one of the most liberal regulatory regimes for crypto mining and a competitive rate for electricity that gave such businesses a profit margin on par with the luxury industry. These conditions have persisted for the displaced miners and others that joined them in flocking to Texas — until this summer. A heatwave has pushed the state’s grid to its brink and sent power prices soaring.
Crypto-Asset Platforms to Face Stricter Rules in Thailand; Digital-asset platforms need more supervision to limit risk; Thai SEC chief says custodian licensing is being mulled
Anuchit Nguyen – Bloomberg
Thailand plans to tighten supervision of digital-asset firms after a cryptocurrency selloff saddled retail investors with large losses and toppled several companies, the country’s top regulator said. The Securities & Exchange Commission is looking to amend existing digital-asset regulations, most of which were approved in 2018, said Secretary-General Ruenvadee Suwanmongkol. Proposals include stricter qualifications for management and licensing of crypto custodians, she said, without providing specific details. “The extreme volatility of digital-asset prices has spurred the urgent need for improved supervision,” Ruenvadee said in an interview. “Our main focus will be to provide more protection for small investors, some of whom are putting most of their savings into these assets.”
Decentralized Finance Versus Traditional Finance: Key Differences; Is DeFi entirely new, or taking the best from traditional finance and improving on it?
Victoria Vergolina – Bloomberg
Something we say a lot here on the Bloomberg Crypto team is, “everything old is new in crypto.” And what we mean by that is that while there’s a perception that ideas like the blockchain are novel and groundbreaking, the reality is there’s lots of precedents for concepts like DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations) or ICOs (initial coin offerings). This is particularly clear right now, as crypto experiences its own version of a “Bear Stearns moment.” Which all begs the question: Is decentralized finance just reinventing traditional finance with more complexity and a sprinkling of blockchain? Or is there genuine novelty here? Bloomberg Opinion columnist Matt Levine and Bloomberg reporter Muyao Shen join host Stacy-Marie Ishmael on this episode.
Ex-Coinbase employee charged in $1.5M crypto insider trading scheme
Thomas Barrabi – Bloomberg
A former Coinbase employee was arrested and charged for his alleged role in a brazen insider trading scheme involving cryptocurrencies listed on the platform, the feds said on Thursday. Ishan Wahi, a 32-year-old ex-product manager at Coinbase, is accused of tipping off his brother, Nikhil Wahi, and a friend, Sameer Ramani, about the company’s confidential plans to begin offering certain digital tokens.
FT Cryptofinance: Digital asset groups rush to scoop up crypto registrations in Europe
Scott Chipolina – FT
Story of the week: Digital asset groups rush to scoop up crypto registrations in Europe
Cryptocurrency exchanges are racing to plant their flags across Europe in anticipation of EU-wide regulation that will co-ordinate the bloc’s approach to the digital finance industry.
Blockchain Bros Should Beware India’s Crypto Crackdown; India has almost killed domestic crypto trading with draconian taxes that signal potentially more pain for virtual-currency investors
Megha Mandavia – WSJ
China has banned cryptocurrencies outright, and the West is looking to regulate them. India is taking a different approach: Tax them to death. One of the world’s most spectacular crackdowns on cryptocurrencies has unfolded in the world’s second-most populous nation over the past several months. If other developing countries in Asia choose to take a similar approach, already suffering crypto investors could find themselves in for more pain in the months and years ahead. Investment in India’s crypto sector surged after the Supreme Court quashed a ban on banks facilitating crypto trades in 2020. According to data shared by private-markets data provider Tracxn Technologies, India’s cryptocurrency industry has raised $24.2 billion in funding since the beginning of 2020.
NFT World Shaken by Surprising News; Minecraft, one of the most popular video games, has just made an about-face with huge consequences.
Luc Olinga – The Street
The crypto industry didn’t need this, especially at a time when it’s trying to catch its breath after the devastation caused by the liquidity crunch affecting prominent lenders like Voyager Digital, BlockFi, Celsius Network and Babel Finance. The prices of cryptocurrencies that had fallen are stabilizing. Unfortunately, it is another sector of the industry, and not the least since it is non-fungible tokens or NFTs, which has just suffered a severe blow. Mojang Studios, the developer of Minecraft, one the most popular video games, has just banned NFTs and Blockchain technology, because they are, claims the company, against its values ??of inclusivity.
Why You Should Be Training in the Metaverse
Get Real XR
It’s 2022 and traditional training methods are no longer working as effectively as they used to. Learning and development professionals are more commonly seeking an interest in virtual reality training and how it can improve the effectiveness of training at their organization. There are numerous reasons why businesses should adopt virtual reality for soft skills training. Here are three reasons you should be training in the Metaverse.
Lawmakers Near Deal on Tougher Rules for Stablecoins; Bipartisan House bill envisions banklike regulation for volatile digital assets
Andrew Ackerman and Paul Kiernan – WSJ
U.S. lawmakers moved closer to a bipartisan agreement on new legislation that would regulate so-called stablecoins as part of efforts to impose basic safeguards on volatile cryptocurrency markets. The potential deal would mark the first significant step to apply tougher rules on an industry that developed with virtually no regulation. Biden administration officials and a bipartisan group of lawmakers worry that current laws don’t provide comprehensive standards for the new assets and have warned of potential risks to financial stability posed by stablecoins, a type of cryptocurrency intended to be pegged to the dollar or another national currency.
Biden Contracts Covid as Pandemic Shows Its Staying Power; White House plans daily updates on Biden’s condition; President returned this week from Israel, Saudi Arabia
Josh Wingrove and Justin Sink – Bloomberg
President Joe Biden tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday, finally contracting the virus whose control and ultimate defeat he had made a centerpiece of his campaign for the White House. Biden’s illness, coming after a five-day trip to the Middle East during which he made few efforts to avoid infection, highlights the endurance of a pandemic that has killed millions of people worldwide and upturned the global economy. Biden, 79, is experiencing mild symptoms and has begun taking Pfizer Inc.’s Paxlovid treatment for the disease, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said in a memo to staff obtained by Bloomberg. He will isolate at the White House while continuing his duties via phone and Zoom until he tests negative.
Factbox: World leaders who contracted COVID-19
Many world leaders and senior officials have contracted COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic more than two years ago. Some, such as Canada’s Justin Trudeau and Mexico’s Andres Manuel Lopez Obrado, have caught the virus twice. On Thursday, Joe Biden, 79, the oldest person ever to serve as president of the United States, tested positive.
‘This was entirely predictable’: Doctor on Biden testing positive for covid
Jonathan Reiner – CNN
CNN medical analyst Doctor Jonathan Reiner joins Newsroom to discuss why President Biden testing positive for coronavirus was “entirely predictable.”
Crypto Crash Be Damned, Some Workers Still Choose Digital Pay; About 5% of all remote-work payments taken in crypto this year; Latin America accounted for two-thirds of crypto withdrawals
Matthew Boyle – Bloomberg
Even though crypto winter has settled in, remote workers in Latin America and elsewhere still want digital currency in return for their labor. About 5% of all payments accepted by remote workers were taken in crypto in the first six months of the year, up from 2% in the last six months of 2021, according to more than 100,000 worker contracts analyzed by Deel, which helps companies hire and pay people in more than 150 countries. More than two-thirds of the crypto withdrawals happened in Latin America.
Temperatures Rise at Celsius; What happens next is an open question as the crypto lender files for bankruptcy
Victoria Vergolina – Bloomberg
The crypto winter of 2022 has claimed several casualties so far, but as of late, there’s one name that’s on everyone’s lips: Celsius Network, the crypto lender that’s now trying to save its skin through Chapter 11 bankruptcy. As crypto prices spiraled and customers rushed to withdraw their holdings from the platform, Celsius buckled under the weight. Now we know it has amassed around $5.5 billion in liabilities, but only has about $4.3 billion in assets to back it up. For the debrief on what’s happening at Celsius, you’ll hear from Bloomberg crypto senior editor Anna Irrera and reporters Olga Kharif and Emily Nicolle.
Finland Liquidates Seized Bitcoin Stash Amid Crypto Bust; Finland raises $47.5 million in sale of forfeited Bitcoins; Proceeds from sale to be donated to war-torn Ukraine as aid
Kati Pohjanpalo – Bloomberg
Finland has sold its hoard of confiscated Bitcoins just as the market for cryptocurrencies is cooling, raising less than previously anticipated. The Customs has liquidated 1,889.1 Bitcoins during the summer via two brokers, raising 46.5 million euros ($47.5 million), it said in an emailed statement on Thursday. The coins had been seized in drug busts and had been legally forfeited to the state following court rulings. While the US government was the first to sell confiscated Bitcoins at an auction in 2014, other countries have also increasingly sold cryptocurrencies seized in criminal investigations.
Lenders Are Thwarting Digital Currency’s Adoption in Nigeria; Low cost e-naira may curb mobile banking income for lenders; Central bank to partner MTN Nigeria to improve e-Naira usage
Emele Onu – Bloomberg
Nigerian lenders are impeding the use of the nation’s digital currency because they are concerned about losing revenue from traditional banking services, according to central bank Governor Godwin Emefiele. Only about 700,000 customers have created an e-naira wallets since its introduction in October last year, the central bank said early this year. There are about 55 million bank accounts in Africa’s most populous nation. E-naira-based transactions have also failed to pick up.
The Jan. 6 Hearings Hit the Bull’s Eye; The targets were wobbly journalists, worried Republicans, social-media influencers and even Donald Trump himself, and the aim turned out to be sure.
Jonathan Bernstein – Bloomberg
What was once billed as six hearings over two-plus weeks by the House Select Committee investigating the attack on the US Capitol of Jan. 6, 2021 has now reached a break after eight hearings, stretched out over more than a month, with more promised in September. The committee has done about as good a job with that time as possible.
UK Politicians’ Concern Over HSBC China Communist Committee; British lawmaker says the move should ‘worry’ the lender; HSBC is among global firms with internal party branches
Harry Wilson – Bloomberg
British politicians have criticized HSBC Holdings Plc after a report that a Chinese communist party committee was set up at its local investment banking arm. Chris Bryant, a former Labour government minister and member of the UK parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said the development should “worry” HSBC.
Banned in Europe, Kremlin-Backed RT Channel Turns to Africa; RT setting up an Africa English language hub in South Africa; An earlier African plan had focused on a Nairobi office
Antony Sguazzin – Bloomberg
RT, the Kremlin-backed TV network formerly called Russia Today, is setting up its first Africa bureau as President Vladimir Putin seeks to entrench support in a continent that’s largely refrained from criticizing his invasion of Ukraine. The company said in a response to a query that it’s “currently focused on developing our English-language Africa hub in South Africa,” which will be headed up by Paula Slier, a South African broadcaster who ran RT’s Jerusalem bureau.
Three Arrows Liquidators Seize $40 Million as Asset Probe Widens
Jeremy Hill – Bloomberg
Liquidators overseeing the winding down of Three Arrows Capital have so far gained control of assets worth at least $40 million, or just a tiny fraction of what the crypto hedge fund’s creditors say they’re owed. The fund’s assets mainly consist of bank accounts, cryptocurrencies, nonfungible tokens and stakes in digital-asset firms, a British Virgin Islands-based liquidator from Teneo said in US bankruptcy court filings. The liquidators believe Kyle Davies and Zhu Su, Three Arrows’ founders, are still in possession or control of “certain digital assets and bank accounts,” Teneo’s Russell Crumpler said in a sworn declaration Wednesday.
Inca Digital Names Anita Nikolich and Brian Quintenz to Senior Regulatory Affairs and National Security Positions
Inca Digital – PRNewswire
Inca Digital, a digital asset intelligence company that provides data, analytics and expertise to many of the world’s leading exchanges, financial institutions, regulators and government agencies, today announced that Anita Nikolich has joined the firm as Lead Research Advisor, and Brian Quintenz has joined Inca Digital’s Advisory Board. In these positions they will help design and deploy Inca’s industry-leading data analytics and services to the world’s leading exchanges, financial institutions, regulators and government agencies, focusing on the regulatory affairs and national security implications of digital assets.
Ex-bank CEO and associate of Alex Murdaugh indicted on wire and bank fraud charges; Russell Laffitte, the fired CEO of Palmetto State Bank in South Carolina, is accused of working with Alex Murdaugh in siphoning millions of dollars from client accounts.
Marlene Lenthang – NBC News
A former bank CEO has been indicted by a federal grand jury, accused of conspiring with disbarred lawyer Alex Murdaugh to misappropriate funds from clients, diverting millions of dollars. Russell Laffitte, the former CEO of Palmetto State Bank in Hampton, South Carolina, was hit with a five-count indictment Wednesday, charging him with wire fraud, bank fraud, and misapplication of bank funds, the U.S. Attorney’s Office District of South Carolina announced Wednesday.
Crypto-Asset Platforms to Face Stricter Rules in Thailand; Digital-asset platforms need more supervision to limit risk; Thai SEC chief says custodian licensing is being mulled
Anuchit Nguyen – Bloomberg
Thailand plans to tighten supervision of digital-asset firms after a cryptocurrency selloff saddled retail investors with large losses and toppled several companies, the country’s top regulator said. The Securities & Exchange Commission is looking to amend existing digital-asset regulations, most of which were approved in 2018, said Secretary-General Ruenvadee Suwanmongkol. Proposals include stricter qualifications for management and licensing of crypto custodians, she said, without providing specific details.
Statement of Commissioner Caroline D. Pham on SEC v. Wahi
The case SEC v. Wahi is a striking example of “regulation by enforcement.” The SEC complaint alleges that dozens of digital assets, including those that could be described as utility tokens and/or certain tokens relating to decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), are securities. The SEC’s allegations could have broad implications beyond this single case, underscoring how critical and urgent it is that regulators work together. Major questions are best addressed through a transparent process that engages the public to develop appropriate policy with expert input—through notice-and-comment rulemaking pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act. Regulatory clarity comes from being out in the open, not in the dark.
Statement of Commissioner Kristin Johnson on Policing Insider Trading in Digital Asset Markets
Today, a federal district court will begin to consider the application of insider trading jurisprudence to digital assets or, more specifically, cryptocurrencies. While conversations regarding the regulation of this emerging and novel asset class may invite lively (and in some instances passionate) debate, there is one issue about which crypto enthusiasts and skeptics may agree—fraud, misrepresentation, and deception or lying, cheating, and stealing—are not be permitted. Our commitment to enforcing against such conduct rises to singular and critical importance when fraudsters intentionally target vulnerable retail market investors. Existing laws and regulations expressly prohibit such misconduct in our markets for good reason. Financial market regulators and law enforcement stand united, prepared to enforce against such predatory and abusive behavior.
AARP, FINRA Foundation Team Up to Address Victim Blaming in Financial Fraud; New paper is a catalyst for a cultural shift to end the practice of blaming fraud victims for the crimes they experienced
A new report from the AARP Fraud Watch Network and FINRA Investor Education Foundation says shifting how our society talks about victims of financial fraud could lead to a much-needed change in how our country responds to this growing crime. “As a society, we tend to use words that blame fraud victims for the crime they experienced,” said Kathy Stokes, AARP director of fraud prevention programs. “Scam victims also blame themselves, and this combination serves to diminish the perception that these are crimes and that victims deserve justice.” According to Blame and Shame in the Context of Financial Fraud, words such as “swindled” and “bilked” put the focus on the fraud victims, even unintentionally. Rather than saying a victim was “duped” or “fell for it”—as if the victim were to blame—the focus should be on the criminal and the crime. Saying a perpetrator stole a person’s life savings has a much different connotation than saying a person was duped for $250,000.
SEC Charges Former Coinbase Manager, Two Others in Crypto Asset Insider Trading Action
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced insider trading charges against a former Coinbase product manager, his brother, and his friend for perpetrating a scheme to trade ahead of multiple announcements regarding certain crypto assets that would be made available for trading on the Coinbase platform. The SEC’s complaint alleges that, while employed at Coinbase, Ishan Wahi helped to coordinate the platform’s public listing announcements that included what crypto assets or tokens would be made available for trading. According to the SEC’s complaint, Coinbase treated such information as confidential and warned its employees not to trade on the basis of, or tip others with, that information. However, from at least June 2021 to April 2022, in breach of his duties, Ishan repeatedly tipped the timing and content of upcoming listing announcements to his brother, Nikhil Wahi, and his friend, Sameer Ramani. Ahead of those announcements, which usually resulted in an increase in the assets’ prices, Nikhil Wahi and Ramani allegedly purchased at least 25 crypto assets, at least nine of which were securities, and then typically sold them shortly after the announcements for a profit. The long-running insider trading scheme generated illicit profits totaling more than $1.1 million.
Testimony on “Oversight of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement” Before the United States House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship, and Capital Markets
Gurbir S. Grewal – SEC
Chairman Sherman, Ranking Member Huizenga, and Members of the Subcommittee: Thank you for inviting me to testify today on behalf of the Division of Enforcement (“Enforcement” or the “Division”) of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or the “Commission”). Since its founding more than 85 years ago, the SEC has stayed true to its three-part mission of protecting investors, maintaining fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitating capital formation. Central to that mission is the work of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. The Division conducts investigations into possible violations of the federal securities laws and prosecutes the Commission’s civil suits in the federal courts and in administrative proceedings. And each year, the Commission brings hundreds of civil enforcement actions and obtains meaningful relief, including disgorgement of ill-gotten gains and civil monetary penalties – which are frequently returned to harmed investors – as well as injunctions and other prophylactic relief.
SEC Obtains Final Judgment Against Foreign National Charged with Selling Purported “Insider Trading Tips” On the Dark Web
On July 19, 2022, the Securities and Exchange Commission obtained a final judgment against Apostolos Trovias, a Greek national, whom the SEC previously charged with perpetrating a fraudulent scheme to sell what he called “insider trading tips” on the Dark Web. The Dark Web, which facilitates anonymity by obscuring users’ identities, allows users to purchase and sell illegal products and services. According to the SEC’s complaint, filed on July 9, 2021, in federal district court in New York, New York, Trovias-operating under the pseudonym “TheBull”-engaged in a deceptive scheme to offer and sell so-called “insider trading tips” on Dark Web marketplaces. As alleged in the complaint, Trovias claimed that the information he was selling consisted of order-book data from a securities trading firm that was provided to Trovias by an employee of the firm. Trovias allegedly sold over 100 subscriptions for daily tips to investors via the Dark Web over the course of the scheme. The complaint alleges that, in addition to order-book information, Trovias sold the pre-release earnings reports of publicly traded companies.
ASIC to extend deadlines for 30 June 2022 unlisted entity financial reports
ASIC will extend the deadline for unlisted entities to lodge financial reports by one month for balance dates from 24 June 2022 to 7 July 2022 (inclusive). The extended deadlines will assist with any pressures on resources for the financial reporting and audits of smaller entities and provide adequate time for the completion of the audit process considering challenges presented by COVID-19 conditions.
ASIC places stop order on advertisements for PPM Units in RES Investment Fund
ASIC has made an interim stop order preventing advertisements containing certain misleading or deceptive statements about PPM Units, a class of interests in RES Investment Fund (Fund). The responsible entity of the Fund is Responsible Entity Services Limited (RES). The order stops RES from advertising or publishing any statement regarding PPM Units that suggests an investor will acquire equity in Pleasure Point Mine Pty Ltd (PPMPL), a related entity of RES. The stop order is valid for 21 days unless revoked before then.
ESMA Fiinds NCAS’ Scrutiny And Approval Of Prospectuses Satisfactory
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, is today publishing its Peer Review Report on the scrutiny and approval procedures of prospectuses by competent authorities. This peer review also assessed the impact of different approaches regarding scrutiny and approval by competent authorities on issuers’ ability to raise capital in the European Union.
Appointments to Disciplinary Chair Committee
Securities & Futures Commission of Hong Kong
The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Bernard Man, SC and Mr José-Antonio Maurellet, SC to the Disciplinary Chair Committee (DCC) for a term of two years with effect from 21 July 2022.
Members of the DCC are nominated on the basis that they are duly experienced Senior Counsels. Their role is to act as Chairman of the Takeovers and Mergers Panel in disciplinary proceedings under the Codes on Takeovers and Mergers and Share Buy-backs or the Takeovers Appeal Committee on a case-by-case basis.
Individual sentenced to four months imprisonment for contempt of court
The FCA has brought two contempt of court applications before Southwark Crown Court regarding ten breaches by an individual of a restraint order obtained under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
The restraint order is in place to protect any assets the individual may have an interest in (whether the proceeds of crime or otherwise) pending the completion of an ongoing investigation by the FCA. The individual accepted all ten breaches and the Court sentenced him to four months imprisonment for each breach, to run concurrently. All ten breaches were in respect of his failure to disclose financial interests as required by the restraint order, which frustrated the FCA’s ability to identify and secure assets required to be frozen by the Restraint Order.
Investing and Trading
Robinhood’s fractional trading drove a phantom surge in volume of Berkshire Hathaway’s hugely expensive Class A stock, according to study
Matthew Fox – Markets Insider
Warren Buffett was reportedly bewildered by a massive surge in trading volume in his Berkshire Hathaway Class A stock over the past year, according to The Wall Street Journal. The stock, which has never been split and currently trades for more than $429,000 per share, saw its average daily trading volume more than quadruple from less than 400 shares prior to February 2021 to about 2,000 shares today. Buffett himself reportedly thought the data was wrong. The trading volume surge led some to speculate that a mystery buyer was vying for control of the storied conglomerate, but instead, the trading frenzy was being driven by everyday retail investors that were executing fractional share trades in the stock, enabled by brokerage firms like Robinhood, according to a new research study.
Why You Should Be Wary of Wall Street’s Upbeat Stock Forecasts; Amid rising inflation and the threat of recession, corporate earnings are coming under pressure.
Jeff Sommer – NY Times
Streams of freshly minted quarterly earnings reports are beginning to arrive from corporate America, promising a fuller picture of how important segments of the economy fared as the stock market fell in the spring and early summer.
Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance
China solar installations more than double in first half – assn
China built nearly 31 gigawatts (GW) of new solar power capacity from January to June, up 137% from a year earlier, with full-year installations on course to hit a record high, an industry group said on Thursday. Total solar power capacity now stands at 340 GW, up 25.8% compared to last year, Wang Bohua, the honorary chairman of the China Photovoltaic Industry Association, said in a presentation. Total installations over the year are expected to stand at between 75 GW and 90 GW over 2022, Wang said, breaking last year’s record of 54.9 GW.
China Is Preparing to Step In to Curb Soaring Solar Prices; Ministry will coordinate on issues of rising polysilicon costs; Prices for the material have recently surged to a 10-year high
China’s government is preparing to intervene to halt soaring polysilicon prices that have suppressed demand for solar panels. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is in the midst of “intensive progress” in leading relevant departments to coordinate on the issue, according to Wang Bohua, head of the China Photovoltaic Industry Association.
Australia’s Soil Carbon Pioneer Sees an Offset Fortune in Dirt; AgriProve says falling costs are making soil sequestration increasingly viable, and the firm is aiming to install projects across an area almost the size of Cuba.
Sybilla Gross – Bloomberg
There are billions of dollars to be made from capturing emissions in Australia’s dirt, according to the only developer to have been awarded national offset credits for using the land management technology. AgriProve is seeking to install carbon farming projects across an area almost the size of Cuba and sees potential to store more than 25 million tons of the nation’s emissions in 2030, equivalent to 5% of last year’s total. That would generate income of A$750 million ($517 million) a year at current prices for the Australian Carbon Credit Units the projects would receive.
ESG Fund Closures Pile Up as Do-Good Investing Takes Back Seat; Cathie Wood’s transparency-themed fund is latest set to close; ESG ETFs make up disproportionate share of closures this year
Elaine Chen – Bloomberg
A deluge of do-good ETFs once flooded US exchanges and drew in billions. But as investors contend with fears of a recession, the trend is reversing and more of these funds are closing up. Cathie Wood’s Ark Transparency ETF (ticker CTRU) is the latest ESG exchange-traded fund set to shutter, bringing the total to seven this year. While do-good funds were popular during the post-pandemic bull market when virtually every strategy surged, they now account for 15% of all US ETF closures this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. They only made up about 4% of the funds in the industry at the start of the year.
ESG Fund Bets Big on Weapons and Beats 98% of Peers; Alken fund posts gain in year when most rivals report losses; Defense stocks are controversial stance for most ESG managers
Lisa Pham – Bloomberg
An ESG fund run by Alken Asset Management Ltd. has outperformed 98% of its peers over the past year after betting on European defense stocks while they were still cheap. The Alken Fund Sustainable Europe (ALCSEU1 LX) is up about 9% in the period, compared with an average drop of roughly 9% among similar funds, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
A Green Hydrogen Economy Depends on This Little-Known Machine; The electrolyzer, obscure for decades, sees its sales soar. Here’s how the technology works.
David R Baker – Bloomberg
Solar power depends on the solar cell. Wind power, the wind turbine. The key to the green hydrogen economy is a little-known machine with a name out of 1950s sci-fi — the electrolyzer. And after a century of obscurity, the electrolyzer’s moment has come. The device uses electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. If that electricity comes from wind turbines, solar panels or a nuclear reactor, the whole process gives off no greenhouse gases. Factories, power plants, even jet aircraft can then burn that hydrogen without warming the earth.
BNP Paribas Prime-Brokerage Boss Wilson Leaves for Rival UBS; Wilson joined BNP Paribas as part of 2019 Deutsche Bank deal
UBS have hired Wilson for role linked to financing: sources
Donal Griffin – Bloomberg
The head of BNP Paribas SA’s business catering to hedge-fund clients has left for UBS Group AG, a blow for the French bank as it attempts to build out the division. Ashley Wilson, global head of prime finance at BNP Paribas, will take up a role related to financing at Zurich-based UBS, according to people familiar with the matter. He had joined as part of a much-heralded 2019 deal that saw Deutsche Bank AG transfer clients and technology to the Paris-based lender.
Nomura co-head of investment banking foresees huge rise in ESG dealmaking; The bank’s acquisition of M&A boutique Greentech is central to its growth and sustainability strategy
Leo Lewis – FT
In early 2020, when the world’s attention was on the emerging terrors of the Covid-19 pandemic, Japan’s biggest investment bank, Nomura, took its most daring gamble in more than a decade.
China’s Shenzhen vows to ‘mobilise all resources’ to curb COVID spread
David Kirton and Roxanne Liu – Reuters
China’s southern megacity of Shenzhen vowed to “mobilise all resources” to curb a slowly spreading COVID-19 outbreak, ordering strict implementation of testing and temperature checks, and lockdowns for COVID-affected buildings. Shenzhen, with a population of nearly 18 million, reported 22 new locally transmitted cases for Wednesday, with the daily count creeping up from single digits earlier this month. Though the caseload is still negligible by global standards, the slow uptick has pushed Shenzhen authorities to step up vigilance, to comply with the central government’s “dynamic zero” policy of containing outbreaks as soon as they emerge. Shenzhen has not ordered blanket closure of businesses or tough curbs on people’s movement but has sealed residential compounds and buildings identified as being at higher risk. Officials have been told to make their virus measures more targeted to avoid unnecessary disruption to the economy.
America Was in an Early-Death Crisis Long Before COVID; Even before the pandemic began, more people here were dying at younger ages than in comparably wealthy nations.
Ed Yong – The Atlantic
Jacob Bor has been thinking about a parallel universe. He envisions a world in which America has health on par with that of other wealthy nations, and is not an embarrassing outlier that, despite spending more on health care than any other country, has shorter life spans, higher rates of chronic disease and maternal mortality, and fewer doctors per capita than its peers. Bor, an epidemiologist at Boston University School of Public Health, imagines the people who are still alive in that other world but who died in ours. He calls such people “missing Americans.” And he calculates that in 2021 alone, there were 1.1 million of them.
Chronic illness makes UK workforce the sickest in developed world; Every country saw economic inactivity spike during Covid but only in Britain is a rise in worklessness continuing
John Burn-Murdoch – FT
Ever since Tsar Nicholas I’s rumoured coining of the phrase to describe the Ottoman Empire in 1853, the “sick man of Europe” has been a metaphor for decline. But for the UK in 2022, it is a precise diagnosis of an underlying problem that appears exclusively British.
New top Covid symptom in patients revealed by latest data as infections surge across UK; A total of 2.7 million people are estimated to have had the virus latest figures show, up from 2.3m the week before
Thomas Kingsley – Independent
Covid-19 infections in the UK have jumped by around 400,000, with the ongoing rise still driven by the newest Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.. Hospital numbers are also continuing to increase, with early signs of a rise in intensive care admissions among older age groups.
BA.5 COVID Symptoms Doctors Are Seeing The Most Right Now; The new COVID-19 variants are more transmissible than ever, but how different do symptoms look compared to a year ago?
Jillian Wilson – Huffpost
The current COVID-19 variants are more transmissible than ever, leading to a higher rate of infection throughout the country and increased risk associated with most activities. “The current variants, which are BA.4 and BA.5, constitute for about 82% of our current variants within our health system,” Dr. Janak Patel, director of the Division of Infectious Disease and Immunology at the University of Texas Medical Branch, told HuffPost.
Malaysia’s AMMB Muling Sale of $300 Million Asset Manager, Sources Say; Other industry players, buyout firms have expressed interest; AmInvest has over $10 billion of assets under management
Elffie Chew and Manuel Baigorri – Bloomberg
AMMB Holdings Bhd., a financial services group in Malaysia, is weighing a sale of its asset management unit that could be valued at as much as $300 million, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
After $30 Billion Exodus, Global Money Trickles Back Into India; Foreign funds on track for first weekly net buying since April; Drop in oil prices, dollar weakness helping improve sentiment
Ashutosh Joshi – Bloomberg
Foreign funds are showing signs of a return to Indian equities as recent declines in oil prices and the dollar bring some reprieve for emerging markets. Overseas investors have bought a net $1 billion of local stocks in the first three days of this week, according to the latest available exchange data compiled by Bloomberg. That puts them on course for the first weekly purchases since April. They dumped almost $30 billion of shares in the year through last Friday.
Ukraine war spurs LNG demand in Japan despite fossil fuel activism; Climate groups target Japanese company AGMs over finance for liquefied natural gas
Antoni Slodkowski – FT
Reliance on LNG: a storage tank at the Tokyo Electric Power Co.mpany’s gas-fired thermal power plant in Futtsu © Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg
Green activists have put in a record number of demands to Japanese companies for action over fossil fuel investment — just as experts warn that liquefied natural gas (LNG) project financing will be necessary for several years because of the war in Ukraine.
Kuwait Wealth Fund Names New Head of London Arm After CEO Ousted
Nicolas Parasie – Bloomberg
The $769 billion Kuwait Investment Authority appointed Hussain Al-Halabi to lead its London arm, replacing Saleh Al-Ateeqi who was removed late on Thursday, according to two internal memos seen by Bloomberg.
Germany Bails Out Uniper in Fallout From Russian Gas Squeeze; Government to get veto rights at Uniper through 30% stake; Energy giant was vulnerable to Putin’s moves to curb gas flows
Vanessa Dezem, Arne Delfs, and Josefine Fokuhl – Bloomberg
Germany hammered out a rescue package for Uniper SE to prevent the collapse of a linchpin in the country’s energy network in the wake of Russia’s moves to slash gas supplies. The government will get about 30% in Uniper, a holding big enough to give it veto rights on important strategic decisions, Uniper said in a statement on Friday. Fortum Oyj, Uniper’s main shareholder, will retain a majority.
Saudi Arabia and Iraq Come to the Aid of Europe’s Oil Refiners; Shipments of crude oil through Egypt to Europe are soaring; Russian shipments have been diverted toward China and India
Alex Longley and Julian Lee – Bloomberg
Saudi Arabia and Iraq are diverting more and more of their crude oil toward Europe, helping the continent’s oil refineries to overcome a pivot away from Russia. More than 1 million barrels a day of crude has made its way to Europe from the Middle East in the first thrtee weeks of July via a pipeline that crosses Egypt, according to vessel-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg. Volumes have roughly doubled from a year ago.
The Sinking Gold Town; Illegal mining has exploded around the world. One Ecuador town is being consumed by miners’ sinkholes.
Peter Millard and Stephan Kueffner – Bloomberg
Deep in the lush forests of southern Ecuador, in a cloud-covered village perched on the western edge of the Andes, a hole opened in the Earth one night late last year. Small at first, it began to slowly expand and, over the course of an hour that evening, proceeded to swallow huge chunks of cobblestone road in the historic center of Zaruma. Panic spread among residents. They fled their homes—grand, early 19th century structures bathed in tropical pastels—and scurried to safety.
Older Americans Go Back to Work in Next Frontier of Labor Force; People ages 75+ in labor force to grow 96.5% in next decade; Inflation, depleted savings forcing older adults to get jobs
Amy Yee – Bloomberg
Julie Diaz stepped down from her job as a legal secretary last spring. Her retirement ended up being short, and not so sweet. Now 70, Diaz is working day and night. She took a job in March at Home Instead, a US home care provider for seniors. Diaz works 12-hour overnight shifts in Phoenix taking care of a 79-year-old with Parkinson’s disease and mild dementia. After work, she takes a nap, then drives more than 50 miles to babysit her granddaughters. Diaz’s daughter recently separated from her husband and started working at a restaurant, so she needs childcare and help paying thousands in legal fees to her divorce lawyer. Diaz exemplifies the push-and-pull dynamics resulting in more seniors in the US labor force. On the one hand, millions of job openings and desperate attempts from employers to hire are opening the playing field. On the other, a decades-high inflation rate and retirement savings gouged by the falling stock market are forcing many to work to make ends meet. What started out as re-entering the workforce opportunistically soon became a necessity.
Fine Wine Is Key to Long and Happy Life, Says Veteran Marking 102nd Birthday
Lauren Gilmour – PA Scotland
Fine wine and good food are the secret to a long life, according to a Second World War pilot who celebrated his 102nd birthday this week. Harry Gamper was born in 1920 and celebrated his milestone on Tuesday at Malin Court Care Home in Maidens, South Ayrshire, having been unable to mark his 100th birthday properly in 2020 due to the pandemic.