Trump Stock Takes Washington by Storm

Apr 1, 2024

First Read

Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

I am sorry to report that April Fool’s Day has been canceled.

Today JLN has four videos in the newsletter. Two are from our JLN Industry Leader video series from FIA Boca 2024. One is with Travis Schwab of Eventus and the other with Leo Melamed. Leo was at Boca and spoke to the NFA during a dinner there about the start of the organization.

He sat down for a quick interview with us to talk about what he is up to lately, including writing a sequel to his 1984 science fiction book “The Tenth Planet.” He also talked about the U.S. and China’s relationship and his work with the CME’s Competitive Market Advisory Council, including a recent meeting where AI was the subject.

He also signed a copy of his most recent book, “Man of the Futures,” for me. I now have two inscribed copies of this book.

Travis Schwab gives an update on Eventus and the major themes of the year.

Commissioner Caroline D. Pham is set to be honored on April 5, 2024, when she will be presented with the 2024 Belva Lockwood Award by The George Washington University Law School and Law Association for Women. The event will commence at 12:00 p.m. (EDT) at The George Washington University Law School, located at 716 20th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052, in the FCC on the 5th floor.

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 Canadian Annual Derivatives Conference will be held in Montreal, May 22-23, 2024, at the Le Westin Montreal Hotel. Learn more and register HERE.~SAED


Leo Melamed Discusses AI, China-U.S. Relations, and Literary Ventures at FIA International Futures Industry Conference

John Lothian News caught up with Leo Melamed during the FIA International Futures Conference in Boca Raton, FL, where he sat for a quick interview. He shared that he is currently writing a sequel to his 1984 science fiction book, “The Tenth Planet.”

Watch the video »


Eventus CEO Unveils Regulatory Challenges and Surveillance Trends at FIA Conference

AI, the major theme of the FIA Boca conference, is a big theme in the world of trade surveillance, according to Travis Schwab, CEO of Eventus. “Applying those technologies to surveillance is becoming very commonplace,” he said. Schwab was interviewed at the FIA International Futures Industry Conference in Boca Raton, FL by John Lothian News as part of the JLN Industry Leader series sponsored by Wedbush.

Watch the video »


Options Discovery Episode 31: Technical and Fundamental Analysis in Options; Bret Kenwell, Options Analyst at eToro, Discusses This and More With JLN’s Asma Awass.

In this episode of Options Discovery, Asma Awass discusses technical and fundamental analysis in options. This episode includes a breakdown of why price movements are essential to technical analysis and why intrinsic value is the main indicator in fundamental analysis. Asma then sits down with Bret Kenwell, an options trader at eToro, who shares more insight into these two types of analysis. You can check out eToro here:

Watch the video »


Technical and Fundamental Analysis in Options; Bret Kenwell, Options Analyst At eToro, Discusses Options Analysis Strategies In This Options Discovery Full Interview

In this Options Discovery full interview, Asma Awass speaks with Bret Kenwell, an Options Analyst at eToro. Bret addresses a variety of topics from his career, including his background in financial journalism. He gives more insight into the different kinds of technical analysis, technical indicators, and price trends. Bret also talks about the basics of fundamental analysis and the influencers behind it. You can check out eToro here:

Watch the video »


Gmail revolutionized email 20 years ago. People thought it was Google’s April Fool’s Day joke
Michael Liedtke – Chicago Tribune
Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin loved pulling pranks, so much so they began rolling outlandish ideas every April Fool’s Day not long after starting their company more than a quarter century ago. One year, Google posted a job opening for a Copernicus research center on the moon. Another year, the company said it planned to roll out a “scratch and sniff” feature on its search engine. The jokes were so consistently over-the-top that people learned to laugh them off as another example of Google mischief. And that’s why Page and Brin decided to unveil something no one would believe was possible 20 years ago on April Fool’s Day.

***** Gmail replaced AOL as the generic email of choice.~JJL


A Total Solar Eclipse Is Coming. Here’s What You Need to Know; These are answers to common questions about the April 8 eclipse, and we’re offering you a place to pose more of them.
Katrina Miller – The New York Times
On April 8, North America will experience its second total solar eclipse in seven years. The moon will glide over the surface of our sun, casting a shadow over a swath of Earth below. Along this path, the world will turn dark as night. Skywatchers in Mexico will be the first to see the eclipse on the mainland. From there, the show will slide north, entering the United States through Texas, then proceeding northeast before concluding for most people off the coast of Canada.

****** If you want a hotel room anywhere near the eclipse, be prepared to pay through the nose.~JJL


Bird Flu Found in Michigan, Idaho Cows as Virus Spreads in US
Alastair Marsh – Bloomberg
Highly pathogenic avian influenza has been discovered in dairy herds in Michigan and Idaho, indicating the virus is spreading into new US states. The National Veterinary Services Laboratories has confirmed the presence of bird flu in a Michigan herd that recently received cows from Texas, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Friday. In a joint statement with the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the USDA also said presumptive positive test results have been received in New Mexico, Idaho, and Texas.

***** If only the birds had gotten the vaccine.~JJL


South Africa Wants to Preserve Its Wild Animals by Eating Them; As part of an ambitious biodiversity economy strategy, the country aims to sextuple the size of its game meat industry by 2036. First up: antelope.
Antony Sguazzin – Bloomberg
South Africa has come up with a novel strategy to protect and expand its already abundant wildlife herds: It wants people to eat more of the animals. The idea may seem distasteful to many. But for the environment department tasked with making South Africa’s natural riches pay their way in the world’s most unequal country, it solves a number of problems: adding to the value of antelope that inhabit vast tracts of marginal or degraded land, increasing the incentive to preserve their habitats, and potentially bringing a revenue stream to many of the country’s poorest communities in remote rural areas.

***** In other related news headlines, Australia’s Kangaroo Conservation Efforts: Hop to It and Grill for Good! and Canada’s Maple Syrup Miracle: Tapping Trees by cutting them down.~JJL


Friday’s Top Three
Our top story Friday was the Financial Times’ Crypto group Copper launches review after ’embarrassing’ sushi party. Second was FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried sentenced to 25 years in prison for fraud, also from the Financial Times. Third was Meet The World’s Richest 29-Year-Old: How Sam Bankman-Fried Made A Record Fortune In The Crypto Frenzy, from Forbes.



Lead Stories

Trump Stock Takes Washington by Storm; Surprise possible $5 billion windfall for GOP candidate adds a new twist to the race for the White House
Amrith Ramkumar – The Wall Street Journal
Wall Street has always played a big role in politics, but never like this. Former President Donald Trump is tantalizingly close to tapping a multibillion-dollar windfall that could help pay his legal bills and give a much-needed cash injection to his presidential campaign. Almost no one saw it coming. Nearly everything went wrong with the get-rich-quick plan for Trump’s social-media platform to go public by riding one of the biggest speculative waves in market history. As has often been the case with Trump, missteps and obstacles didn’t matter. The combination of luck and his most passionate followers has added a great unknown to the presidential race. And it has suddenly brought everything about social media’s growing influence over financial markets into politics.

Beyond memes: Robinhood seeks to broaden its appeal; Can the broker’s first credit card help it shake off a reputation based on short-term trading?
Jennifer Hughes – Financial Times
When Robinhood launched its first credit card this week – including a flashy solid gold version – founder Vlad Tenev said it represented “just the beginning” of what the broker intended to offer its customers. The move might jar with those who know Robinhood from the pandemic era, when it enabled first-time traders to make commission-free bets on soaraway “meme” stocks that soon fell short of hopes. True to its trading app image, Robinhood also rolled out cryptocurrency trading in Europe in December and launched its first overseas broking operation in the UK this month.

Huge AI funding leads to hype and ‘grifting’, warns DeepMind’s Demis Hassabis; British AI pioneer says the billions of dollars being poured into start-ups is obscuring scientific progress in the field
John Thornhill – Financial Times
The surge of money flooding into artificial intelligence has resulted in some crypto-like hype that is obscuring the incredible scientific progress in the field, according to Sir Demis Hassabis, co-founder of DeepMind. The chief executive of Google’s AI research division told the Financial Times that the billions of dollars being poured into generative AI start-ups and products “brings with it a whole attendant bunch of hype and maybe some grifting and some other things that you see in other hyped-up areas, crypto or whatever.

What Kim Kardashian teaches us about conflicts of interest in finance; There is no perfect answer for how best to align the motivations of management and investors
Patrick Jenkins – Financial Times
Kim Kardashian has been in the news these past few days for the usual reasons: gossiping about other celebrities, changing her look. But 18 months ago the queen of influencers – estimated net worth $1.7bn – was suffering more painful headlines, after having agreed, without admission of wrongdoing, a settlement of $1.26mn with US regulators over her social media promotion of a crypto coin. Plenty of other celebrities have been pursued since. The accusations against them? Not fully disclosing that they had been paid to promote crypto securities.

Two Sigma Says Co-Founder Rift Yet to Abate as Veteran Exits; Overdeck, Siegel continue to disagree over a range of issues; The firm’s head of investor relations is set to depart in May
Hema Parmar – Bloomberg
Two Sigma Investments disclosed that a years-long dispute between its billionaire co-founders is continuing to pose material risks to clients and affect its ability to keep staffers from leaving, with a 12-year veteran of the $60 billion hedge fund set to depart. Co-founders John Overdeck and David Siegel still disagree on the authorities, responsibilities and compensation for their own roles as well as a range of senior executives, including chief investment officers, the firm said in an updated regulatory filing Friday. Their rift also extends to how teams are structured, corporate governance and oversight matters, and succession planning.

London Is Losing Out on New Job Listings for Head Office Staff; Firms move roles outside UK capital due to high cost of living; Manchester positions itself as an alternative to London
Irina Anghel – Bloomberg
UK businesses are moving more traditional head-office jobs outside of London after a surge in the cost of living and housing costs makes it cheaper to employ people elsewhere. Data on vacancies from the analytics firm Vacancysoft provided to Bloomberg shows London-based postings in executive management, human resources and marketing have dropped to 41% of all open roles. Before the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020, London had almost 50% of those jobs. Advertisements for remote work also doubled over that period, while there were also gains in the North of England and the Midlands. The findings suggest London is struggling to maintain its status as the go-to place to live and work, adding to the challenges Mayor Sadiq Khan faces in his bid for a third term.

Citigroup’s Chief Executive Prankster Doesn’t Wait for April 1; Jane Fraser’s gags include kidnapped teddy bears and embarrassing photos; the planning is elaborate
David Benoit – The Wall Street Journal
In early 2022, Citigroup Chief Executive Jane Fraser startled her senior team with a request: Please sign these waivers to go skydiving. Executives questioned the sanity of the bank’s leaders all jumping out of a plane. Does the board know, one of them emailed. I’m not sure my heart is healthy enough, another replied. Karen Peetz, the chief administrative officer hired to repair Citigroup’s relationships with regulators, tried to calm the kerfuffle. She said she’d gone with her old bank and it was great.

What Sam Bankman-Fried’s Long Stretch in Prison Might Look Like; FTX founder could finish serving his sentence by age 50
Corinne Ramey and James Fanelli – The Wall Street Journal
Inmates can make ceramics or crochet at a federal prison in Lompoc, Calif. At a federal prison in Mendota, a few hours away, inmates can have a harmonica or play basketball on one of five facility courts. Those prisons represent possible landing places for FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, who will in coming months report to begin serving his 25-year sentence, imposed Thursday by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan.

FTX bankruptcy estate aiming to begin repaying creditors by the end of 2024
Zack Abrams – The Block
The FTX bankruptcy estate has set a goal to begin repaying customers by the end of 2024, according to notes from a meeting of FTX Digital’s Joint Official Liquidators in the Bahamas. FTX’s bankruptcy is made up of two separate processes running in parallel: the Chapter 11 bankruptcy being adjudicated in a Delaware court in the United States and the official liquidation process of FTX Digital, FTX’s subsidy based in the Bahamas, due to the “hopelessly commingled” nature of FTX’s accounting. However, both sides of the estate have agreed to work together such that creditors may submit their claim to either entity and that no creditor receives less than the value they’re entitled to.

Canada’s Niagara region declares a state of emergency to prepare for an influx of eclipse viewers
Associated Press
Ontario’s Niagara Region has declared a state of emergency as it prepares to welcome up to a million visitors for the solar eclipse in early April. The total solar eclipse on April 8 will be the first to touch the province since 1979, and Niagara Falls was declared by National Geographic to be one of the best places to see it.

Ethereum’s Newest ETF Applicant Wants The SEC To Delay Approvals Until December; Bitwise CIO Matt Hougan argues that the asset management industry is too focused on bitcoin products to provide ether ETFs the necessary attention to thrive.
Steven Ehrlich – Forbes
Matt Hougan is the chief investment officer for Bitwise Asset Management, a provider of cryptocurrency index funds. On January 11, Bitwise launched its spot bitcoin ETF, the Bitwise Bitcoin ETF (BITB). It currently sits fifth in the “Cointucky Derby” with over $2 billion in assets under management. On March 28th, the firm filed S-1 and 19-b4 forms with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to list a spot Ethereum ETF.

Ukraine Invasion

Ukraine faces retreat without US aid, Zelensky says
Mariya Knight and Chris Lau – CNN
Ukrainian forces would have to cede further territory to Russia if US military aid does not arrive soon, President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned, in his latest appeal to Congress to pass a multibillion-dollar package.

Europe must get ready for looming war, Donald Tusk warns; Polish prime minister urges countries to step up defence spending after Russian missile bound for Ukraine breaches airspace
Lili Bayer – The Guardian
The Polish prime minister, Donald Tusk, says Europe is entering a “prewar” era, cautioning that the continent is not ready and urging European countries to step up defence investment. In an interview with a group of European newspapers reported by the BBC, Tusk said: “I don’t want to scare anyone, but war is no longer a concept from the past. It’s real and it started over two years ago.”

Bank of Russia Sees No Alternative to Yuan for Its Reserves
Bloomberg News
Russia’s central bank said it has no better options than the Chinese yuan for its reserves after two years of the Kremlin’s war on Ukraine and the subsequent seizure of its international assets. There are limited alternatives to China’s currency for use as reserves because the financial instruments of nations that are friendly to Russia carry too many risks, the central bank wrote in its annual report released Friday.

Zelenskiy Vows Drone Strikes on Russia Despite US Dissent; Ukraine’s leader says US view of attacks ‘was not positive’; Kyiv’s forces struggle against Russia’s ammunition advantage
Volodymyr Verbianyi – Bloomberg
Ukraine will keep targeting Russian oil-refining facilities despite US discontent with its campaign, according to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who warned that Kyiv’s forces may be forced to retreat “step by step” without more military aid from allies. The drone attacks are in retaliation against Kremlin strikes on Ukraine’s energy grid and part of an effort to compel Moscow to stop them, the Washington Post’s David Ignatius wrote in a column, citing an interview with Zelenskiy done Thursday in Kyiv.

Zelenskiy Ousts Friend as He Continues His Team’s Reshuffle; Ranks of allies being thinned as war grinds into third year; Two recently fired officials have been named as ambassadors
Volodymyr Verbianyi – Bloomberg
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is cleaning out the ranks of his allies amid setbacks on the battlefield and increasing fatigue surrounding the war effort. Eight officials, mostly among Zelenskiy’s advisers, have been fired in the past two days. That includes two deputy heads of his administration and Serhii Shefir, a top aide who’s also been Zelenskiy’s business partner for decades.

Putin signs decree on spring military conscription

Russian disinformation on Ukraine has grown in scale and skill, warns Berlin; German diplomat says Moscow’s messaging combines greater subtlety and plausibility with automation
Sam Jones – Financial Times

Israel/Palestine Conflict

Families of Israeli hostages join protests calling for Netanyahu to go
Shira Rubin and Louisa Loveluck – The Washington Post
Tens of thousands of demonstrators flooded Israel’s streets for a second straight night Sunday, calling for immediate elections and for the government to urgently negotiate the release of more than 100 hostages still held by Hamas in Gaza. The twin demands represented a merging of two distinct protest movements – one including the families of hostages, the other led by civil society and the political opposition – which could become the greatest threat yet to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his far-right government.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

ICE Mortgage Monitor: Trading Up to a 25% More Expensive Home Would More Than Double the Average Mortgage Holder’s Payment
Intercontinental Exchange
From 2000 to 2022, upgrading to a 25% more expensive home would have required the average homeowner to increase their principal and interest payment by roughly 40%, or about $400 per month. Today, that same trade-up buyer’s payment would increase by an average of $1,384 per month, a 103% jump that highlights the real-world pressures keeping current mortgage holders “locked in” to their homes. Simply giving up their current rate to move across the street to an equivalently priced home in today’s market would result in a nearly 40% increase in P&I – roughly as much as the historical trade-up cost. Homeowners who took out mortgages when rates were near record lows in 2020 and 2021 face an even steeper “move across the street” cost, with such a lateral move requiring a 60% higher monthly payment

Revisions to the Components and Component Weight Ratios of the Nikkei-JPX Commodity Index and Its Sub Indexes
Japan Exchange Group
The components and component weight ratios of the Nikkei-JPX Commodity Index and its sub indexes after June 3, 2024 will be revised as follows in accordance with the periodic rebalancing stipulated in the Nikkei-JPX Commodity Index Guidebook.
Please note that as a result of the revisions, there will be no change in the components.

Trading Overview in FY2023 & March 2024
Japan Exchange Group
Japan Exchange Group released Trading Overview in FY2023 & March 2024. Cash Equity Market. In FY2023, daily average trading value for the Prime Market (domestic common stocks) reached JPY 4.3804 trillion. In the ETF market, trading value was JPY 65.1270 trillion (daily average: JPY 266.9 billion). In March 2024, the daily average trading value for the Prime Market (domestic common stocks) was JPY 5.8549 trillion. The daily average trading value for the ETF market was JPY 332.6 billion.

Honorary Membership – Mr Edward Album
London Metal Exchange
Summary 1. This notice confirms that Mr Edward Album OBE has been made an Honorary Member of the LME in recognition of his services to the Exchange. Background. 2. Edward has had a long and distinguished career serving for over 25 years on the LME arbitration panel. 3. From December 2010 to November 2023, Edward served as Chair of the Arbitration Panel Committee. During this time, he presided over numerous arbitrations and was instrumental in overseeing several revisions to the LME’s rules of arbitration (under Part 8 of the LME Rulebook). 4. While he has recently retired as Chair of the Arbitration Panel Committee, Edward remains a valued member of the arbitration panel. 5. The LME wishes to thank Edward for his dedicated service to the Exchange over the last 25 years.

MCX successfully conducts Live Trading session from Disaster Recovery (DR) site
Multi Commodity Exchange of India
Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd. (MCX), India’s largest Exchange in the Commodity Derivatives Market segment, has successfully conducted live trading session from Disaster Recovery (DR) site during March 25, 2024 to March 28, 2024. Incidentally, this is conducted for the first time since implementation of new Commodity derivatives platform in October 2023. About MCX: Having commenced operations on November 10, 2003, Multi Commodity Exchange of India Limited (MCX) is India’s first listed, national-level, electronic exchange, and India’s leading commodity derivatives exchange with a market share of around 95.6 per cent in terms of the value of commodity futures contracts traded in financial year 2023-24 (April 2023 – December 2023). MCX offers the benefits of fair price discovery and price risk management to the Indian commodity market ecosystem.

NSE Academy Limited collaborates with Institute of Internal Auditors
National Stock Exchange of India
NSE Academy Limited (NAL), a wholly owned subsidiary of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) has signed an agreement with Institute of Internal Auditors-India (IIA-India), affiliated to The Institute of Internal Auditors Global (IIA Global), to offer joint certificate programs for internal audit professionals and aspiring students. Under this collaboration, NSE Academy and IIA-India will offer specialized training programs leading to the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) and Internal Audit Practitioner (IAP) certifications. NAL and IIA-India will combine the expertise and resources of both organizations to provide unparalleled educational opportunities and support for individuals pursuing careers in internal auditing.

SGX RegCo requires regulatory clearance on the appointment of Mr. Cao Shixuan, former director of ecoWise Holdings Limited
Singapore Exchange Group
Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo) refers to the Notice of Compliance issued to ecoWise Holdings Limited on 25 June 2021 and the company’s announcement dated 28 March 2024 on the findings of the special audit by the special auditor, Ernst & Young Advisory Pte Ltd (“EY”). EY reports the findings directly to SGX RegCo and the company’s relevant sponsors during the relevant period.


Tech CEOs Find Friendly Podcast Hosts Help Get Out Their Talking Points
Ellen Huet – Bloomberg
If you’re a tech chief executive officer looking for a way to reach the public, you might skip right past journalists and news outlets and instead consider Lex Fridman. Fridman, a prolific podcaster, films interviews with headlining names in tech, science and business, often asking open-ended and laid-back questions. Videos of his conversations on YouTube, which can stretch three or four hours, feature him with a deadpan air and his signature black suit and tie.

OpenAI to Open New Office in Tokyo as Part of Global Expansion; Tokyo to be third international office after London and Dublin; OpenAI plans to expand in AI services in Japanese language
Shirin Ghaffary and Akemi Terukina – Bloomberg
OpenAI plans to open an office in Tokyo in April, according to a person familiar with the matter, as the artificial intelligence pioneer begins to build out its international operations. The Japan office will be its first in Asia, the person said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information. It will be the third international location after opening offices in London and Dublin last year.

OpenAI Reveals Audio Feature That Clones Human Voices; Voice Engine, which can read words aloud in an AI-version of a person’s voice, adds to fears about deepfake risks in an election year
Ginger Adams Otis – The Wall Street Journal
OpenAI on Friday showcased technology that can recreate a human voice from a 15-second clip, but said it would not release it publicly until it knows more about potential risks for misuse. The program, Voice Engine, creates an AI-generated version of a person’s voice from a short recording and can use it to read text aloud. Voice Engine can also recreate a person’s voice in foreign languages, even if the original sample is provided in English, OpenAI said.

The Chess Master Trying to Propel Google’s AI Push; Demis Hassabis is tasked with keeping Google ahead on a technology that its CEO has called more profound than the invention of fire or electricity
Miles Kruppa – The Wall Street Journal
Demis Hassabis, the neuroscientist tasked with keeping Google at the vanguard of artificial intelligence, was on a hot streak. Then the AI went haywire. Google’s AI chatbot began angering users with biased and ahistoric responses. Hassabis wanted to make something clear: It wasn’t the intended behavior of the system his team built. “There’s more nuances there than I think the product folks fine-tuning these things further down the line had realized,” Hassabis said in a February interview with The Wall Street Journal hours after Google stopped letting its Gemini chatbot generate images of people.

Chaotic departure of StabilityAI chief raises doubts over start-up’s future; Emad Mostaque’s resignation from group valued at $1bn came after legal skirmishes and battles with investors
Cristina Criddle and Madhumita Murgia in London, George Hammond in San Francisco – Financial Times
The future of StabilityAI, once seen as among the world’s most promising artificial intelligence start-ups, has been thrown into doubt following the chaotic departure of its founder and concern it will struggle to become profitable. Emad Mostaque resigned last week as chief executive of the London-based group behind Stable Diffusion, an AI model that can create images through simple written prompts, with its app being downloaded more than 150mn times.

Huge AI funding leads to hype and ‘grifting’, warns DeepMind’s Demis Hassabis; British AI pioneer says the billions of dollars being poured into start-ups is obscuring scientific progress in the field
John Thornhill – Financial Times
The surge of money flooding into artificial intelligence has resulted in some crypto-like hype that is obscuring the incredible scientific progress in the field, according to Sir Demis Hassabis, co-founder of DeepMind. The chief executive of Google’s AI research division told the Financial Times that the billions of dollars being poured into generative AI start-ups and products “brings with it a whole attendant bunch of hype and maybe some grifting and some other things that you see in other hyped-up areas, crypto or whatever.


AT&T Says Data From 73 Million Accounts Leaked on Dark Web; Event hasn’t had a material effect on operations, company says; Dark web data leak appears to be from 2019 or earlier
Alicia Diaz – Bloomberg
AT&T Inc. said that personal data from about 7.6 million current account holders and 65.4 million former customers was leaked onto the dark web. The data – leaked about two weeks ago – includes personal information such as Social Security numbers and appears to be from 2019 or earlier, the company said Saturday in a statement. The source of the data is still being investigated, according to AT&T, and it’s not known whether it came from the company or a vendor.

Data Privacy and Cybersecurity in Cloud Outsourcing
An outline of data privacy and cybersecurity issues for organizations to address when engaging a third-party cloud service provider (CSP), taking into account an organization’s need to balance its operational goals with reasonable risk mitigation strategies.

How to fix the growing cybersecurity skills gap
Steve Benton – Security Magazine
Cyber and ransomware threats are growing at a rapid rate, critically endangering organizations’ sensitive data. In 2023, the global average cost of a data breach reached USD 4.45 million, a 15% increase over 3 years – predicted to reach $9.5 trillion USD in 2024. What’s more, organizations are now facing highly intelligent, AI-powered threats – including advanced phishing attacks, deep fakes, and fraudulent phone calls – that are increasingly challenging to identify and respond to. Just recently, the FBI warned of hackers burrowing deep into U.S. cyberinfrastructure – with the intention to cause damage to our nation’s electrical grid, transportation systems, and other critical infrastructure. Clearly, AI-powered threats are now reaching critical levels, and organizations across all sectors must respond.

U.S. Treasury Identifies Cybersecurity Risks and Challenges of AI in Financial Services
Monitor Daily
Last week, the U.S. Department of the Treasury released a report on managing artificial intelligence cybersecurity risks in the financial services sector. The report was written at the direction of Presidential Executive Order 14110 on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence. The U.S. Treasury’s Office of Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Protection (OCCIP) led the development of the report.


Goldman Sachs Reveals Bitcoin Game-Changer As $300 Billion Price Earthquake Hits Ethereum, XRP And Crypto Market
Billy Bambrough – Forbes
The bitcoin price has topped $70,000 per bitcoin, coming back to within touching distance of its all-time high of almost $74,0000. EthereumETH 0.0%, XRP and other top cryptocurrencies have also powered higher, adding $300 billion to the combined crypto market over the last week, despite Elon Musk’s dramatic return to crypto’s front lines falling flat.

KuCoin Withdrawals Spike to $1B in Crypto Amid U.S. Regulatory Clampdown; The surge occurred as U.S. federal prosecutors charged the exchange and two of its founders with violating anti-money laundering laws on Tuesday.
Krisztian Sandor – CoinDesk
Crypto exchange KuCoin saw about $1 billion in crypto withdrawals over the past 24 hours and assets under management (AUM) slumped 20% as the trading platform faced charges from U.S. authorities, data from Nansen and Arkham Intelligence shows. The exchange experienced $1.083 billion in outflows via Ethereum Virtual Machine-compatible (EVM) chains during the period, and only $144 million of inflows. Nansen data did not include bitcoin (BTC) withdrawals. Net outflows on the Ethereum network reached $840 million, according to Nansen.

Future of Finance: Coinbase’s Alesia Haas on why Ethereum isn’t a security and the crypto industry rebuilding trust after the FTX ‘travesty’
Sheryl Estrada – Fortune
Welcome to Future of Finance, where Fortune asks prominent people at major companies about their roles in this vast, ever-changing ecosystem-and what it all means for how we use money. Coinbase is the largest centralized crypto exchange in the U.S., posting $273 million in net income for the fourth quarter of 2023, putting the firm’s net profitability for all of 2023 at $95 million.

Bitcoin Becomes More Volatile Than Ether as Halving Approaches
Omkar Godbole – CoinDesk
Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency by market value and trading volumes, is supposed to be relatively steady compared to other digital assets, protecting a trader’s portfolio from wild swings in the broader market. However, bitcoin has been more volatile than ether {{ETH}} recently. Bitcoin’s annualized 30-day historical or realized volatility rose to nearly 60% late last week, surpassing ether’s 30-day realized volatility by nearly 10 percentage points. That’s the highest spread in at least a year, according to data tracked by Paris-based Kaiko. Historical volatility indicates the degree of price turbulence observed over a specific period.

Stablecoins: What Are They Used For?
Mark Lurie – Forbes
Stablecoins are one of the most practical use cases for blockchain technology. Over $150 billion of these digital dollars are held by millions of people across the globe. Proponents tout their use for real-world payments, but is that actually how they are used? This report examines the use cases for stablecoins, evaluates them using blockchain data, and discusses implications for the future of the economy.


Trump Media Investors Look Past the Numbers
Alex Webb – Bloomberg
Let’s assume, for a second, that Trump Media & Technology Group Corp. is a normal company whose stock should be judged by the merits of any other normal stock. With that in mind, let’s examine some of the financial fundamentals. In case you need to get up to speed, TMTG (as I’ll call it) is the parent company of Truth Social, the social network founded in 2021 by Donald Trump. In October 2021, it agreed to merge into Digital World Acquisition Corp., a blank-check company.

Donald Trump, Come On Down; Letitia James puts him in jeopardy with a twisted game of ‘The Price Is Right.’
Andy Kessler – The Wall Street Journal
Bob Barker hosted “The Price Is Right” for 35 years. Contestants-come on down!-would bid on featured items, trying to guess their retail prices without going over. The show’s conceit for vendors promoting appliances and cars was to focus viewers on the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, not the actual price in stores. The winning strategy for a final “Showcase” round, Jon Hartley noted in the Journal, involved “people behaving ‘irrationally’ by not following optimal decision rules.” Viewers were being trained that the MSRP was right, even though it was wrong, and to be irrational shoppers. It was brilliant, actually.

Donald Trump pioneers the leveraged financial donation; The former US president gained billions on paper this week when his Truth Social media business went public
John Gapper – Financial Times (opinion)
Donald Trump endorsed the Bible this week. You might have thought that God’s presence was enough for believers at Easter, but the former US president has licensed his name, likeness and image to the “God Bless the USA Bible”, which sells for $59.99. “All Americans need a Bible in their home and I have many. It’s my favourite book,” he declared winsomely in a video on his Truth Social site. The Bible pales in comparison with Truth Social itself as a wealth-generating venture linked to the Trump brand. He became $4.6bn richer on Tuesday, at least on paper, when his shares in its parent Trump Media & Technology Group rose sharply as it went public under the stock ticker DJT. “It’s hot as a pistol and doing great,” he said earlier. For once, he was not exaggerating.

Trump Eyes High-Profile Wall Street, D.C. Veterans for Treasury Secretary; The former president and his aides view experience in finance as a key factor in the selection
Alex Leary, Andrew Restuccia and Cara Lombardo – The Wall Street Journal
Donald Trump and his allies are discussing several high-profile Wall Street and Washington veterans as candidates for Treasury secretary if the former president clinches a second term, ahead of a major fundraiser that will feature two likely contenders for the job. The April 6 event in Palm Beach, Fla., is being hosted by billionaire hedge-fund manager John Paulson and co-chaired by investor Scott Bessent, both of whom have caught Trump’s eye as he weighs who he will nominate for key cabinet positions, according to people familiar with the matter.

Joe Biden vows to keep pushing for release of US reporter held in Russia; Congress also condemns Moscow’s year-long detention of WSJ journalist Evan Gershkovich
James Politi – Financial Times
Joe Biden has vowed to keep working to secure the release of Evan Gershkovich, the Wall Street Journal reporter who has been detained in Russia for a year, as Republicans and Democrats in Washington united to denounce his imprisonment. “Journalism is not a crime, and Evan went to Russia to do his job as a reporter – risking his safety to shine the light of truth on Russia’s brutal aggression against Ukraine,” the US president said in a statement on Friday.

China’s Advancing Efforts to Influence the U.S. Election Raise Alarms; China has adopted some of the same misinformation tactics that Russia used ahead of the 2016 election, researchers and government officials say.
Tiffany Hsu and Steven Lee Myers – The New York Times
Covert Chinese accounts are masquerading online as American supporters of former President Donald J. Trump, promoting conspiracy theories, stoking domestic divisions and attacking President Biden ahead of the election in November, according to researchers and government officials. The accounts signal a potential tactical shift in how Beijing aims to influence American politics, with more of a willingness to target specific candidates and parties, including Mr. Biden.

Opinion: What’s behind Europe’s surly mood? ‘Whaddya got?’
Lee Hockstader – The Washington Post


Court Freezes $8.4M of Craig Wright’s Assets Amid Evading Court Expenses Allegations
Hope C – CoinMarketCap
A recent court ruling in the United Kingdom has authorized the freezing of £6.7 million ($8.4 million) worth of assets belonging to Craig Wright in order to prevent him from evading court expenses. The decision was made after Wright, who falsely claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the founder of Bitcoin, moved some of his assets outside of the U.K. following a court verdict that debunked his claims.

Statement of Commissioner Caroline D. Pham Regarding KuCoin Complaint
Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Commissioner Caroline D. Pham today released the following statement regarding the CFTC’s complaint filed March 26, 2024 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York: “The CFTC has filed another aggressive enforcement action exercising our authority to pursue alleged unregistered crypto asset derivatives trading platforms and other violations of law. I commend the Division of Enforcement’s vigilance in protecting our markets. However, I note that the complaint appears to assert that fund shares held by investors-namely, securities-can themselves constitute leveraged trading pursuant to section 2(c)(2)(D) of the Commodity Exchange Act. This interpretation fails to distinguish between an investment in a fund, which would typically be a security under the jurisdiction of the SEC, and the trading activities of a fund, alleged here to be under the CFTC’s jurisdiction. The CFTC’s approach may infringe upon the SEC’s authority and undermine decades of robust investor protection laws by conflating a financial instrument with a financial activity, disrupting the foundations of securities markets. Owning shares is not the same thing as trading derivatives.”

SEC Obtains Final Judgment Against Ryan Felton, FLiK, and CoinSpark for Fraudulent ICOs
On March 28, 2024, the Securities and Exchange Commission obtained a final judgment against defendants Ryan Felton, FLiK, and CoinSpark, whom the SEC had previously charged for their involvement in two fraudulent initial coin offerings (ICOs)

SEC Charges Christopher E. Galvin with Cannabis-Related Fraud
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced that, on March 22, 2024, it charged Christopher E. Galvin with conducting an alleged offering fraud through a fund he claimed would make investments in companies related to the cannabis industry.

Stuart Bayes found guilty of insider dealing
Mr Stuart Bayes was today found guilty of 2 offences of insider dealing, following an 8-week trial at Southwark Crown Court in a prosecution brought by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Mr Bayes was employed as a site manager at UK plastic manufacturer, RPC Group Plc (RPC). Through his employment he obtained confidential information, known as ‘inside information’, that RPC were about to announce the acquisition of British Polythene Industries (BPI).

Appointment of the Director of the Financial Research Center
On April 1, 2024, the Financial Services Agency (FSA) appointed Dr. YANAGAWA Noriyuki, Professor of Graduate School of Economics, the University of Tokyo, as the Director of the Financial Research Center (FRC).

MAS Launches COSMIC Platform to Strengthen the Financial System’s Defence Against Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing
Monetary Authority of Singapore
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) today launched COSMIC [1] , the first centralised digital platform to facilitate sharing of customer information among financial institutions (FIs) to combat money laundering (ML), terrorism financing (TF) and proliferation financing (PF) [2] globally. The Financial Services and Markets (Amendment) Act 2023 and accompanying subsidiary legislation, which set out the legal basis and safeguards for such sharing, commenced on the same day.

Investing and Trading

Market strategist explains the 3 hallmarks of meme stocks
Keith Reid-Cleveland – Yahoo Finance
Meme stocks are making a resurgence as the broader stock market ends the first quarter on a strong note. Though the meme stock frenzy hasn’t quite reached the same intensity as it did in 2021, when GameStop (GME) and AMC (AMC) stocks catapulted to new heights, the meme phenomenon has continued in a concentrated handful of standouts.

The Mortgage Interest Deduction Has Got to Go; Let’s call it what it really is: a debt subsidy for the wealthy.
Brooke Sample – Bloomberg
The National Association of Realtors has agreed to pay about $418 million to settle litigation related to how real estate agents set commission rates, an arrangement that many experts said inflated housing prices and exacerbated the affordability crisis. With this settlement in hand, now is the perfect time to take on that other inflator of home prices: the mortgage interest deduction.

Chocolate prices to keep rising as West Africa’s cocoa crisis deepens; A worker transports a bag of sun-dried cocoa beans at a warehouse in Kwabeng, Ghana, February 28, 2024.

Maxwell Akalaare Adombila and Bavier – Reuters

Surveying the stripped landscape of her farm – dotted with pools of cyanide-tainted, tea coloured waste water left by illegal gold miners – is enough to make Janet Gyamfi break down. Only last year, the 27-hectare plot in western Ghana was covered with nearly 6,000 cocoa trees. Today, less than a dozen remain. “This farm was my only means of survival,” the 52-year-old divorcee told Reuters, tears streaming down her cheeks. “I planned to pass it on to my children.”

Why Cocoa Prices Spiked and What It Means for Chocolate Lovers
Ilena Peng – Bloomberg
A steady rise in the price of cocoa beans over two years skyrocketed in March, with futures contracts more than doubling in three months to reach a level twice as high as the previous record. It’s a progression that has its literal roots in small West African farms but also involves climate change and the intricacies of the futures market. The latest surge has been driven in part by the kind of financial turmoil that can happen when commodities rise so fast that they overwhelm strategies meant to protect against such volatility.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Can We Engineer Our Way Out of the Climate Crisis?
David Gelles – The New York Times
On a windswept Icelandic plateau, an international team of engineers and executives is powering up an innovative machine designed to alter the very composition of Earth’s atmosphere. If all goes as planned, the enormous vacuum will soon be sucking up vast quantities of air, stripping out carbon dioxide and then locking away those greenhouse gases deep underground in ancient stone – greenhouse gases that would otherwise continue heating up the globe.

AI revolution will be boon for natural gas, say fossil fuel bosses; Data centres’ need for reliable power supply set to soar
Myles McCormick and Jamie Smyth and Amanda Chu – Financial Times
A surge in demand for electricity to feed data centres and to power an artificial intelligence revolution will usher in a golden era for natural gas, producers say. AI’s soaring energy needs will rise well beyond what renewable energy and batteries can deliver, executives argue, making more planet-warming fossil fuel supplies crucial even as governments vow to slash their use.

US Home Insurance Premiums May Hit a Record This Year, Report Warns; The average premium for US homeowners insurance is expected to hit $2,522 this year, up 6% from the end of 2023. Premiums in Florida will approach $12,000.
Coco Liu – Bloomberg
US home insurance rates are expected to reach a record high this year, with the biggest increases occurring in states prone to severe weather events, according to a new analysis. The average premium for homeowners insurance in the US is expected to hit $2,522 by the end of the year, driven largely by intensifying natural disasters, rising reinsurance costs and higher fees for home repair, according to Insurify, a Massachusetts-based insurance-comparison platform. That figure would represent a 6% increase over the average US premium at the end of 2023, and follows a roughly 20% increase over the past two years.

Britain’s quiet green business success story; UK climate tech has boomed despite Rishi Sunak’s decision to weaken net zero policies
Pilita Clark – Financial Times
Anyone in marketing who looked at how countries handled the launch of renewable energy would be appalled. First, companies turned up at countryside beauty spots to build wind farms. Then, people were told a charge would be added to their energy bills to help cover the cost of the farms, which had to be built because of a distant climate problem that some did not believe was real.

ESG Funds Under Attack: Why Republicans Are Targeting Socially Responsible Investing
Andrew Behar – Democracy Now
Republicans are on a “crusade” against responsible investing, says Andrew Behar, CEO of the nonprofit group As You Sow that promotes corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy. His group was subpoenaed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee this week as Republicans probe whether investments that take into account environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns violate antitrust laws. Republicans have introduced bills in dozens of states across the U.S. to limit state bodies from working with banks and other financial firms that take things like climate change into consideration in their investments. ESG is “a framework for assessing risk,” Behar says. “Basic good business says you want to assess and address risk, and that’s what they’re trying to suppress.”

Kraft Heinz Faces Shareholder Vote On Its ‘Deceptive’ Recycling Labels; Chemical engineer Jan Dell sees her shareholder proposal as a way to fight greenwashing by the U.S.-based multinational food manufacturer.
James Bruggers – Inside Climate News

Canada’s mild winter disrupts key ice road to remote Arctic diamond mines
Divya Rajagopal – Reuters

India hydropower output records steepest fall in nearly four decades
Sudarshan Varadhan and Cassandra Yap – Reuters

A Historic British Chapel Is Powering Easter Service With Solar Energy; The dramatic 438-solar-panel display on a chapel in Cambridge is just one way the Church of England is showing it practices what it preaches on climate change.
Olivia Rudgard – Bloomberg

Exclusive: China power firm GCL revives LNG ambition after solar spin-off
Chen Aizhu – Reuters

Nippon Steel emphasises its ‘deep roots’ in the US as it pursues U.S. Steel deal
Yuka Obayashi and Ritsuko Shimizu – Reuters


Wealth Management Is a Risky Gold Rush for Banks; Catering to the rich offers high returns and room for growth, but it is not for every big lender
Jon Sindreu – The Wall Street Journal
Today’s markets love nothing more than a growth narrative and, with wealth management, banks finally have one. The risk is that they all crowd in at the same time. Among banks valued above $100 billion, Morgan Stanley and UBS have been the top stock-market performers of the past half-decade. Both companies bet on wealth management and private banking. Morgan Stanley, now the highest-valued big bank in the world, acquired asset manager Eaton Vance and online broker E*Trade with a goal of managing $10 trillion in client assets. UBS incorporated Credit Suisse, creating a wealth-focused behemoth under the “Swiss banking” brand.

Banks face $2tn of maturing US property debt over next 3 years; Brokerage that handled sale of Signature Bank loans estimates $670bn of debt is ‘potentially troubled’
Joshua Oliver – Financial Times
Banks will have to cut their exposure to commercial real estate because of a $2tn “wall” of property debt coming due in the next three years, according to a leading US brokerage. “Banks will be under pressure,” said Barry Gosin, chief executive of Newmark, which handled $50bn of loan sales for failed Signature Bank. Post-financial crisis regulation meant some lenders would need “to liquidate their loans or find other ways to reduce their weight in real estate”, he added, whether by syndicating the debt, doing risk transfer deals – where other investors agree to take on the risk of losses – or ceasing new lending to the sector.

Commodity traders are more cash-rich than ever – but where does that leave banks?
John Basquill – Global Trade Review
After a stellar performance over the last two years, commodity traders have accumulated cash reserves of as much as US$120bn, research suggests – yet their banking partners do not seem to be reaping the rewards of this spectacular market growth. A report published last week by management consultancy Oliver Wyman finds that while 2023 did not match the record heights of the previous year, it still proved the second-most profitable year on record for commodity traders. Despite a return to normality after the price volatility and supply chain disruption that characterised 2022 – a situation that proved highly lucrative for larger, more sophisticated traders – the gross margin generated from commodity trading worldwide still totalled a sizeable US$100bn last year.

The Big Problem for Marijuana Companies? What To Do With All That Cash; Few banks will work with cannabis upstarts-but some lawmakers hope to change that this year
Alexander Saeedy – The Wall Street Journal
Clayton Taylor recently received an urgent call: A marijuana distributor needed him to pick up $400,000 and move it across California. Taylor isn’t a drug mule-he runs a company that provides security services to legal cannabis companies. A client’s bank account had been frozen, and the next day was payday. Could Taylor transport cash the company had stowed away so it could pay its roughly 100 staffers?

Work & Management

The Top Colleges for High-Paying Careers in Finance, Tech and Consulting; The list includes some familiar names-and quite a few surprises among both private and public universities
Alyssa Lukpat – The Wall Street Journal
The colleges putting graduates onto the most lucrative pathways in finance, tech and management consulting include many schools you’d expect-Ivy League schools, for instance, and top public universities. But the list also includes some surprises. Graduates with some of the highest salaries in these fields attended schools like Baruch College, San Jose State University and the U.S. Naval Academy, according to data from the Philadelphia think tank Burning Glass Institute. Their success shows that proximity to industry hubs and rigorous curricula are just as important as strong alumni networks and prestigious degrees, says Matt Sigelman, president of Burning Glass.

Opinion: Here’s why Americans under 40 are so disillusioned with capitalism
Heather Long – The Washington Post
I was at an event recently where several top business executives were perplexed about why Americans under 40 are so disillusioned with capitalism. What could they do to restore trust in our economic system? My suggestion was simple: Treat workers better. This wasn’t the answer they wanted. Many rushed to tell me how generous their pay raises have been, how easy it is to go from an entry-level job to management at their company, and how they have diversified their workforce. These are all welcome efforts, but they miss the bigger picture. Young people in America have come of age during the Great Recession, the sluggish recovery that followed and then the coronavirus pandemic. Unemployment has been 10 percent or higher twice in the past 15 years. Young workers have seen how expendable they are to companies and how quickly financial security can evaporate.

Where have all the virtuous role models gone? Having admirable characters to emulate is central to our moral development
Jemima Kelly – Financial Times
I recently spent a day at the “World Happiness Summit” in London. As you might expect from “the happiness event of the year”, much of the content was rather uplifting and enjoyable. And, as you might also expect, there was something a bit cringeworthy about some of the proceedings (one consultancy boasted about guiding its clients through their “purpose journeys”), as well as a smattering of the downright preposterous (“please turn to the person next to you and ask one another: are you constipated?”).

Wellness Exchange

Vaccine investment is a no-brainer – so why aren’t we doing it? Not only is the cost-benefit ratio unbeatable, but not to undertake this spending is to court disaster
Adam Tooze – Financial Times
In a world of polycrisis, in which intersecting problems compound each other and there are few easy wins, it is all the more important to recognise those policy choices that are truly obvious. Vaccines are one such investment. Since the 1960s, global vaccination campaigns have eradicated smallpox, suppressed polio and contained measles. Modest expenditures on public health have saved tens of millions of lives, reduced morbidity and allowed children around the world to develop into adults capable of living healthy and productive lives.

This vaccine may help protect against dementia – and it’s already available
Brett Arends – MarketWatch
Wendy Williams has it. Bruce Willis has it. Tony Bennett had it. So did Gene Wilder. Dementia is currently killing around seven million Americans, in one of the cruelest ways imaginable, and a staggering 55 million around the world. And still nobody knows what causes it. But scientists at drugs giant GSK think they may have a drug that helps protect against it-and it’s already on the market. Company chief commercial officer Luke Miels says GSK internal data is showing “a correlation” between those who had taken the company’s shingles vaccine, Shingrix, and a lower risk of getting dementia.


Exchange-Traded FX Derivatives May Be Hit by New RBI Regulation
Subhadip Sircar, Saikat Das, and Ashutosh Joshi – Bloomberg
India’s central bank is said to have confirmed that exchange-traded currency derivative contracts linked to the rupee can only be offered for hedging purposes after confusion that unhedged trades were allowed for positions below $100 million. The regulator clarified to the Commodity Participants Association of India in a March 28 email that anyone undertaking such contracts involving the rupee without an underlying exposure would be in violation of foreign exchange rules, according to people familiar with the matter. They asked not to be identified as the email isn’t public.


Northrop Grumman wins DARPA contract for a railway on the Moon
David Szondy –
In preparation for a permanent human colony on the Moon, DARPA has awarded a contract to Northrop Grumman to develop a lunar railway concept, as part of the 10-year Lunar Architecture (LunA-10) Capability Study. Running a train on the Moon may seem profoundly silly, but there is some very firm logic behind it. Even as the first astronauts were landing on the Sea of Tranquility in 1969, it was realized that a permanent human presence on Mars would require an infrastructure to maintain it. That includes mines for water ice, nuclear power plants, factories, and railways. Though many people think the Moon is small, it is, in fact, a very large place with a surface area equivalent to that of Africa. Over such an expanse, even a limited presence would require some sort of a transport system to link various outposts and activities.

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