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Mark Cuban Says Crypto Is a Store of Value & Redditors Right to ‘Kick Wall St. Ass’

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Mark Cuban Says Crypto Is a Store of Value & Redditors Right to ‘Kick Wall St. Ass’ 101
Mark Cuban. Source: a video screenshot, Youtube, The Filmy

Shark Tank star and Dallas Mavericks supremo Mark Cuban appears to be growing increasingly bullish on all things crypto-related, claiming that “blockchain-driven assets have now legitimately become stores of value.”

Adding to the mainstream narrative that while crypto appears to be unfit as a means of exchange, it appears to have carved a niche for itself as an inflation-proof store of value, Cuban waxed lyrical about tokens in a recent blog post.

He opined that when it comes to cryptoassets, they are “all are stores of value.”

“It has long included cryptocurrencies (cryptoassets is what they should be called, they are rarely used as currency), like Bitcoin, Ethereum and so many others, along with the tokens being created to support DeFi and other value-creating derivatives of cryptoassets. They all are Stores of Value with market cap leader Bitcoin having a decade-plus long history of transactions and wealth generation,” Cuban said, adding that “there are a growing number of investors and traders who think that the digital goods and cryptoasset marketplaces are better than old school physical markets and the stock market and most of them are young.”

“They love the fact that NO ONE has power over them,” according to the billionaire.

These statements come at the time when Cuban stepping up his own crypto-related activities. Last week, he minted his first Ethereum-based non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the Rarible platform, and also spoke out about his “shitcoin” collection.

One of the tokens features a dancing Cuban, fully decked out in Mavericks merchandise, and has already attracted a bid of over USD 13,000 for eight editions.

And now, as the National Basketball Association (NBA) has entered the business of trading digital NBA collectibles on blockchain, the owner of a basketball club claims that a store of a value is “something that some number of people assign value to and are willing to pay for and then hold on to, hoping that circumstances increase the value of that item.”

However, another fellow billionaire, Mike Novogratz, might not agree with Cuban. According to Novogratz, very few cryptoassets will stand the test of time and become lasting stores of value outside of BTC.

‘They don’t care’

In either case, according to Cuban, conventional traders appear to be nonplussed by the remarkable rise of crypto.

He wrote,

“This generation doesn’t care what Old School Wall Street thinks or says about valuations. They don’t care about Price Earnings Ratios, or NPV of future cash flows, or what the analysts say [about] the earnings per share this quarter. [They] don’t care at all. They have learned from their experiences watching Wall Street go up and down and making people who aren’t them a ton of money; that it’s a game designed to reward the people with the most money.”

The conclusion that “all these narratives are just sales pitches designed to sell stocks” has driven younger investors to “want to change the game and kick [Wall St.’s] ass,” something that “they should and have every right to,” Cuban wrote.

He also poured scorn on those who would seek to ridicule the Reddit-based movement that has seen members of a number of subreddits initiate price drive campaigns that have sent Wall Street into meltdown.

Cuban opined that “there is zero difference between” investors “following advice from Reddit or someone on CNBC or Bloomberg.”

He added,

“They also know that the more they work together, the less power Wall Street has. They know that fat and happy Wall Street has become slow, stale and set in their ways, which makes [it] an easier target than anyone would expect.”

___
Learn more:
GameStop: How Redditors Played Funds For Billions (And What Might Come Next)
Non-Fungible 2021: Prepare Your NFTs For DeFi, Staking, and Sharing
Bridgewater’s Ray Dalio Sends Stronger Bitcoin Signal
Few Tokens Besides Bitcoin To Become SoV, Ethereum To Reshape Finance – Novogratz
Elon Musk Sees ‘Broad Acceptance’ For Bitcoin





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FreshKorn Cryptocurrency

Michael Burry, top investor from ‘The Big Short,’ is betting against Tesla

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Burry’s firm, Scion Asset Management, revealed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Monday that it held bearish put options on more than 800,000 Tesla (TSLA) shares, worth about $534 million, as of the end of the first quarter.

Put options give investors the right to sell a stock at a specified price and are a sign that an investor thinks the stock will go down.

No reason was given in the filing for why Burry thinks Tesla’s stock is due for a fall.

But shares of Tesla have taken a hit recently, plunging nearly 25% in the past month — in part because of concerns about CEO Elon Musk focusing more on bitcoin, dogecoin and other cryptocurrencies instead of the company’s core electric vehicle market.
Musk was also recently the guest host of “Saturday Night Live.” And in his spare time, he runs SpaceX as well. Needless to say, Musk is a bit stretched, which worries some investors.

Burry bet against the housing bubble in the mid-2000s and profited from the eventual demise of the subprime lending market and many big financial firms in 2008. His prescient forecasts were detailed in the Michael Lewis book and subsequent movie, in which Burry was played by Oscar winner Christian Bale.

But Burry is not just looking to profit from stocks that he thinks are ripe for a fall. According to the SEC filing, Scion also holds call options, which give an investor the right to buy a stock at a certain price, on Google owner Alphabet (GOOGL), CVS (CVS) and Facebook (FB).



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The bizarre story of the inventor of ransomware

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The disc was one of 20,000 sent in the mail to attendees of the World Health Organization’s AIDS conference in Stockholm, and Willems’ boss had asked him to check what was on it.

Willems was expecting to see medical research when the disc’s contents loaded. Instead he became a victim of the first act of ransomware — more than 30 years before the ransomware attack on the US Colonial Pipeline ignited a gas shortage in parts of the US last week.

A few days after inserting the disc, Willems’ computer locked and a message appeared demanding that he send $189 in an envelope to a PO Box in Panama. “I didn’t pay the ransom or lose any data because I figured out how to reverse the situation,” he told CNN Business.

He was one of the lucky ones: Some people lost their life’s work.

“I started to get calls from medical institutions and organizations asking how I got around it,” said Willems, who is now a cybersecurity expert at G Data, which developed the world’s first commercial antivirus solution in 1987. “The incident created a lot of damage back in those days. People lost a lot of work. It was not a marginal thing — it was a big thing, even then.”

This disc was one of 20,000 sent in the mail to attendees of the World Health Organization's AIDS conference in Stockholm
The scheme made headlines and appeared in Virus Bulletin, a security magazine for professionals, a month later: “While the conception is ingenious and extremely devious, the actual programming is quite untidy,” the analysis said. Although it was a pretty basic malware, it was the first time many people had ever heard of the concept — or of digital extortion. It’s unclear if any people or organizations paid the ransom.

The floppy discs were sent to addresses all over the world obtained from a mailing list. Law enforcement traced the effort to a PO box owned by a Harvard-taught evolutionary biologist named Joseph Popp, who was conducting AIDS research at the time.

He was arrested and charged with multiple counts of blackmail, and is widely credited with being the inventor of ransomware, according to security news website CSOnline.com.

“Even to this day, no one really knows why he did this,” said Willems, noting how costly and time intensive it would have been to mail that number of floppy discs to so many people. “He was very influenced by something. Perhaps someone else was involved — as a biologist, how did he have money to pay for all of those discs? Was he angry about the research? Nobody knows.”

Some reports indicate Popp had been rejected by WHO for a job opportunity.
Eddy Willems with his original floppy disc with ransomware from 1989
After his arrest at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, Popp was sent back to the United States and imprisoned. He allegedly told authorities he had planned to donate the ransom money to AIDS research. His attorneys also argued he was not fit to stand trial; he reportedly wore condoms on his nose and curlers in his beard to prove he was unwell, according to journalist Alina Simone. (A judge ruled in his favor.) Popp died in 2007.
The case became a big discussion point, and the legacy of his crime persists to this day. The US Justice Department recently said 2020 was “the worst year to date for ransomware attacks.” Security experts believe ransomware attacks against both corporations and individuals will continue to grow because they’re easy to execute, hard to trace and victims can be exploited out of a lot of money.
Ransomware typically wreaks havoc on computer systems either after someone clicks on a malicious link and unknowingly installs software or from a vulnerability on an outdated server.
Ransomware took down the Colonial Pipeline. You could be at risk too
One of the biggest problems about ransomware nowadays is that ransoms are often paid with cryptocurrency, such as bitcoin, which is exchanged anonymously and not traceable. While most large-scale ransomware activity stems from organized crime groups — as is the case with the US pipeline — Popp seemed to have acted alone.

“More than an actual criminal mastermind, he was what you would classify as a ‘lone actor’ as opposed to an organized crime syndicate or state sponsored actor,” said Michela Menting, a research director at market research firm ABI Research. “His motivations appeared to be quite personal. … He obviously had strong feelings about AIDS and AIDS research.”

While the reasons for his act are unknown, Popp made a big effort to clear his name and moved on to other pursuits, Menting said. He self-published a self-help book called “Popular Evolution,” for instance, in which he advocated that the marriage age be lowered and young women focus their lives on birthing children.
Before his death, Popp created The Joseph L. Popp, Jr. Butterfly Conservatory in upstate New York. The conservatory did not respond to a request for comment.

The floppy disc, now a piece of security history and likely one of the few left in the world, hangs on Willems’ living room wall.

“A museum offered me $1,000 for it, but I’ve decided to keep it,” he said.



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FreshKorn Cryptocurrency

Tesla and Musk tank bitcoin but there are still many crypto fans out there

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The price of bitcoin, dogecoin and other top cryptos ethereum, binance and litecoin, have been in freefall for the past week or so. Musk first tanked the market when he went on “Saturday Night Live” on May 8 and joked about cryptos, even calling dogecoin a “hustle.”

But Musk’s recent declaration that Tesla would no longer accept bitcoin as payment for its cars due to the crypto’s massive carbon footprint, as well as a series of confusing and somewhat contradictory tweets about the company’s bitcoin holdings, has the investment world up in arms.

Bitcoin still has many fans

The comments come just as several prominent companies have started to embrace bitcoin. Square (SQ) and Venmo owner PayPal (PYPL) are working to streamline bitcoin payments on their networks. Big Data firm Palantir, Visa (V) and Starbucks (SBUX) are among the more well-known firms that have touted bitcoin lately as well.

Palantir chief financial officer David Glazer said on an earnings call earlier this month that the company has discussed the possibility of adding bitcoin to its balance sheet and was “open for business'” with regards to accepting the crypto as payment from customers.

“We still see other companies coming in and investing in bitcoin because they view it as a store of value, a digital gold,” said Stephen Kelso, head of markets at ITI Capital, in an interview with CNN Business.

Kelso said bitcoin is still viewed by investors and corporations as a way to hedge against inflation.

Along those lines, software firm MicroStrategy (MSTR), which like Tesla holds bitcoin on its balance sheet, has bought even more of the cryptocurrency in recent days. But MicroStrategy’s stock fell 7% on Monday and has plunged nearly 20% in the past week as bitcoin prices have tumbled.

Still too volatile for many in Corporate America?

Bitcoin’s breakneck volatility continues to be a major concern. It may be one thing for a company to keep a small amount of crypto on its balance sheet as a sexier alternative to cash and Treasury bonds in hopes of better returns.

But can mainstream firms — particularly those with big consumer businesses — really risk allowing customers to buy and sell goods with a currency that is so volatile? Probably not.

“For cryptocurrencies to become widespread and embedded, some stability is necessary,” said Danyaal Rashid, thematic analyst at GlobalData, in a report Monday.

“This is certainly the case if people expect to make payments with crypto. If we anticipate week-on-week price swings of up to 20%, payments become infeasible,” Rashid added.

How two brothers went from nearly jobless to multi-millionaires with a bizarre crypto bet
So it’s no wonder that Colgate-Palmoliv (CL)CEO Noel Wallace simply said, “No, we don’t,” when asked at the recent annual shareholder meeting if the company has a plan for using bitcoin for any business transactions.
And Tesla rival Volkswagen (VLKAF)isn’t bullish on bitcoin either. VW chief financial officer Arno Antlitz said on the automaker’s latest earnings call that “we have currently no plans to use cryptocurrencies or invest in cryptocurrencies.”

Even so, there is legitimate interest in cryptos on the part of investors. And a lot of that — for better or for worse — may be due to Musk.

“It’s a strange phenomenon when your risk committee has to seriously discuss SNL. But I think it helps bring more investors into the fray,” said Michael Kamerman, CEO of Skilling, a retail brokerage firm that focuses on cryptocurrencies.

Kamerman said he thinks that there will be an eventual shakeout in the cryptocurrency market. There are simply too many of them right now.

Just as Amazon (AMZN) shares plunged when the dot.com bubble burst more than twenty years ago before eventually rebounding, the same may happen with bitcoin and other leading cryptos.

“The dust has to settle, but we’re on to something with cryptos that is similar to the late 1990s and e-commerce,” Kamerman said.

Other experts say that investors have to get used to the volatility. The crypto world moves a lot more quickly than stocks, bonds and traditional currencies.

But this too shall pass as the industry starts to mature.

“A lot of bitcoin investors still take their cues from Musk. It will be awhile before we’re completely insulated from that,” said Ben Weiss, CEO of CoinFlip, a crypto ATM company. “But bitcoin is stronger than one company and one person.”



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