Archive for Carla Mozee

Buy ‘Floki’: A cryptocurrency inspired by Elon Musk’s dog is making an ad push in London

Screenshot of an animated Shiba Inu dog
The Floki Inu cryptocurrency in animated form.
  • The Floki Inu coin, inspired by Elon Musk's dog, is being advertised in London in an "aggressive" marketing push, the FT reported.
  • The "FLOKI" campaign is in part aimed at legitimizing the coin and attracting "A-list influencers."
  • There's no indication the Tesla chief is involved in the Floki Inu project.

A cryptocurrency inspired by Elon Musk's dog is at the center of an advertising campaign throughout the UK transportation system, even as regulators take a critical stance on crypto ads, according to a Financial Times report.

"Missed Doge? Get Floki" is the tagline splashed on ads for the Floki Inu token placed at Underground stations, trains, and buses across London, with the campaign funded by a 4% marketing fee on buyers.

The head of marketing for the coin, which trades as "FLOKI," said the aim of the branding campaign is to "legitimize" the coin and instill confidence in prospective buyers.

"You get a lot of scam artists in this game," the group's head of marketing who identified himself by the alias Sabre told the FT in a report published Wednesday.

There is no indication Elon Musk is involved with the project, and he didn't respond to the FT's request for comment. Floki Inu didn't respond to the FT's request for comment about who is controlling the project. But it says it's the only crypto project officially partnered with the Million Gardens Movement, a group that works with a non-profit run by Kimbal Musk, Elon Musk's younger brother and a Tesla board member, to address food insecurity.

The token was launched on the ethereum blockchain and also runs on the Binance Smart Chain. On Wednesday, it was trading up nearly 1% at $0.00006076, according to CoinGecko.

The Floki Inu website said the coin represents a "movement" and will have three utility projects: an NFT gaming metaverse called Valhalla, an NFT and merchandise marketplace called FlokiPlaces, and a content/education platform known as Floki Inuversity.

It's also contracted to spend nearly $1.5 million in marketing for "very targeted and aggressive" campaigns for FLOKI to be listed on high-level exchanges and to "onboard A-list influencers," according to the website.

An ad campaign was set for Los Angeles, and there were plans to market the coin in China, Japan, and Russia, the FT said.

But the direct marketing of coins to the UK public could intensify the focus of regulators on crypto ads, the report added. The country's Financial Conduct Authority has "repeatedly warned about the risks of holding speculative tokens," said Charles Randell, the FCA's chair, in a speech last month.

Tokens aren't regulated by the FCA nor are they covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. "If you buy them, you should be prepared to lose all your money," he warned.

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Bitcoin buyers are flooding a German law enforcement website as authorities sell seized crypto at a discount

Euros wrapped in a gold bitcoin money clip
Seized bitcoin is up for sale in Germany.
  • An online auction of seized bitcoin that was initially priced at a discount spurred a frenzy in Germany, according to reports.
  • The minimum bid was set at 42,400 euros ($49,197), below bitcoin's recent price above $63,000.
  • Prosecutors in Germany are required to put seized items such as bitcoin up for auction.

German prosecutors reportedly held an auction to sell bitcoin seized by law enforcement, attracting people seeking to buy the cryptocurrency at a discount.

The minimum required bid was 42,400 euros ($49,197) in the auction that began Monday and was announced by the Justice Ministry of North Rhine-Westphalia, according to Bloomberg.

Bitcoin during Monday's session traded above $63,000, rising by nearly 5%. The first bidder in the German auction offered 56,060 euros ($65,010).

Tens of millions of euros worth of bitcoin went up for public sale on Monday after the crypto was seized in connection with crimes, including cybercrime taking place over encrypted Darknet, according to a translated report by Süddeutsche Zeitung, a daily newspaper published in Munich.

An announcement on Twitter of the auction sparked a frenzy as 4,000 new users signed up on the auction platform, Bloomberg reported. Proceeds will go to North Rhine-Westphalia's treasury, said the Süddeutsche Zeitung report.

Prosecutors must hold an auction for cryptocurrency as they do for other big-ticket items law enforcement takes into its possession, such as luxury cars and helicopters. Authorities in Germany's largest state over the years have seized bitcoins worth tens of millions of euros.

Bitcoin's price last week reached an all-time high of $66,930.39, according to CoinMarketCap, a day after the first bitcoin-futures ETF launched.

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Carl Icahn sees a market ‘crisis’ brewing and notes bitcoin’s potential if inflation spirals

Carl Icahn is photographed speaking with CNBC
Billionaire investor Carl Icahn.
  • Excessive money printing by the Fed and high inflation will spell trouble in the long run, Carl Icahn told CNBC on Monday.
  • The billionaire investor made his comments as retail and wholesale prices sit at multiyear highs.
  • He said he doesn't invest in bitcoin but the crypto could be valuable if inflation runs "rampant."

Stocks over the long run are heading for a "crisis" eventually as an excess in money supply unleashed by the US government and the Federal Reserve add to inflationary pressures, billionaire investor Carl Icahn told CNBC on Monday.

"In the long run, we are certainly going to hit the wall," he said. "I really think there will be a crisis the way we are going, the way we're printing up money, the way we are going into inflation. If you look around you, you see inflation all around you, and I don't know how you deal with that in the long term."

The outbreak of COVID-19 in the US last year prompted two White House administrations and the country's central bank to pump trillions of dollars into the financial system. And lawmakers have passed at least $5 trillion in federal aid such as stimulus checks sent to Americans to help keep households afloat.

The boom in money supply has fed into a surge in inflation that has sent consumer and wholesale prices to multiyear highs. Supply-chain bottlenecks and labor shortages have also contributed to such pressures. The consumer price index in September climbed to 5.3% and wholesale inflation shot up to 8.6%.

Amid the high prices, Icahn acknowledged that bitcoin has potential. He told CNBC that he doesn't understand bitcoin nor does his company, Icahn Enterprises, invest in the world's most-traded cryptocurrency.

But he added it may hold value in the face of soaring inflation.

"If inflation gets rampant, I guess it does have value. But will inflation get rampant? Or will the government come in as they did in China and stop the thing?" he said.

Icahn added that there are "so many variables that it's a very difficult thing to invest in from my point of view."

Bitcoin prices have surged in recent days as the first-ever bitcoin-linked exchange-traded fund in the US is set to debut on Tuesday, with ETF provider ProShares behind the launch. The digital currency jumped above $61,000 during Monday's session.

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‘Nancy ETP’: WallStreetBets founder Jaime Rogozinski on the Pelosi stock controversy and his next project for retail investors

WallStreetBets founder Jaime Rogozinski
WallStreetBets founder Jaime Rogozinski.
  • WallStreetBets founder Jaime Rogozinski talks to Insider about his blockchain-based trading platform WSB DApp.
  • "This is very much a way for me to say crypto and Wall Street are definitely going to merge," says Rogozinski.
  • He suggested the platform create a "Nancy ETP" to capture the attention on stock trading by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband.

Jaime Rogozinski, the founder of WallStreetBets, believes there's potential for a new investment product tracking the stock bets made by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband, whose trading has sparked outrage and fascination in equal measures among amateur traders.

In an interview, he suggested a Pelosi-themed exchange-traded portfolio could emerge on the latest iteration of his campaign to empower retail investors - a platform called WallStreetBets DApp.

"I got this idea, somewhat of a joke, but I can't shake it so I'm probably going to start pushing for it, which is this 'Nancy ETP,'" Rogozinski told Insider.

But his vision for WallStreetBets DApp, a blockchain-based shop for stocks and other assets, extends far beyond one potentially trendy ETP.

A strategic partner in the project, Rogozinski wants ordinary investors to build their wealth with the same kind of community-powered energy that the WallStreetBets forum on Reddit used to upend the trading world this year.

WallStreetBets was thrust into the spotlight in January after retail investors active on the site banded together to drive a massive upsurge in video-game retailer GameStop's stock price, squeezing hedge funds shorting the so-called meme stock. The WSB DApp is an expression of what Rogozinski sees as the next big thing in the financial world.

"This is very much a way for me to say crypto and Wall Street are definitely going to merge and they're starting to spill into each other already," he told Insider during a video interview from Mexico City, where he lives with his family.

"For far too long, I made the mistake of assuming blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies were one in the same thing - and they're not," Rogozinski said. "This whole DeFi (decentralized finance) infrastructure that's able to create a parallel ecosystem in finances is astoundingly powerful, more than I could have imagined."

'Nancy ETP'

Rogozinski's idea for an automated "Nancy ETP" would highlight a key feature on WSB DApp. The platform allows community members to propose the creation and makeup of ETPs, which can hold a mix of assets such as domestic and international equities, cryptocurrencies, and metals.

The WSB DApp platform has a native token, the $WSB governance token, that people can buy and then use to vote on the type of assets and weightings that should go into an ETP. In an example given in May, token holders who think Tesla should make up 90% of a particular ETP instead of 10% can vote on it by signing a transaction using their $WSB tokens during voting cycles.

At the same time, a Pelosi-centered ETP would apply the "if you can't beat them, join them" notion to investing while also drawing attention to outrage and debate over stock trading by members of Congress and their families, Rogozinski said.

In the case of Paul Pelosi, one trade in particular stood out. It involved shares of Google parent Alphabet that made $5.3 million for him prior to a House Judiciary Committee vote on tech antitrust regulation. Spokespeople for Speaker Pelosi told media outlets she owns no stock herself and had no knowledge of her husband's equity purchases.

Meanwhile, as the uproar continues, "people are able to make money," with a product like the "Nancy ETP", said Rogozinski. "Nothing's sure but past performance is definitely impressive," he said broadly of Paul Pelosi's stock picks.

The strong performance of his stock picks over the last two years has prompted many retail investors to mirror Paul Pelosi's investments. Meanwhile, memes about Nancy Pelosi have popped up, suggesting she's a skilled investor that can make money off of insider information.

Life after moderating WallStreetBets

The Pelosi controversy has the right mix of ingredients to thrive in discussions on the WallStreetBets forum, which Rogozinski created in 2012 in a quest to find a place for ideas about aggressive, money-making trades. But in April of 2020, he was removed as a moderator on WallStreetBets after being accused by other moderators of trying to profit from the subreddit.

He sold the rights to his life story to RatPac Entertainment in exchange for a payment in the low six figures, according to a Wall Street Journal report in May.

More about the dispute will be revealed through projects the entertainment company plans to produce, which could include movies, podcasts, TV shows, and other vehicles, he said. "The documentary is well underway and will be out next year," Rogozinski said.

And while he's no longer a WallStreetBets moderator, his WSB DApp platform looks to continue its mission of democratizing markets. Using the $WSB token, retail investors will rebalance ETPs, not by "opaque and politically connected" banks and hedge funds, WallStreetBets said in May.

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The most-traded NFT collection in Q3 was Pokemon-inspired Axie Infinity as crypto gaming expands

Axie Infinity
Axie Infinity.
  • Axie Infinity, a crypto game that lets players earn money, became the top-traded NFT collection, according to the BGA Blockchain Game Report.
  • The game, which centers on NFT creatures called Axies, has generated $2.5 billion in trading volume.
  • Axie Infinity toppled CryptoPunks and NBA Top Shot to take the title of most-traded NFT collection.

Axie Infinity, an ethereum-based game where players can earn money by battling colorful creatures, became the top-traded NFT collection during the third quarter, data show.

Developed by Vietnamese startup Sky Mavis, Axie Infinity drew in $2.08 billion in trading volume from July through September, representing 19% of trading volume in that space, according to the BGA Blockchain Game Report from Dappradar. And as of the report's publication on October 14, it was more than $2.5 billion.

The game's creatures, called Axies, are NFTs that can be sold or purchased. NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are digital representations of artworks and collectibles that exist on a blockchain ledger, similar to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

During the third quarter, the game overtook CryptoPunks and NBA Top Shot - among the most famous NFTs - to claim the title of the most-traded NFT collection ever. CryptoPunks have become hot items for millionaires to buy, and payments heavyweight Visa in August ventured into the digital-collectibles market by purchasing the CryptoPunk 7610 pixelated avatar for around $150,000.

"The case can be made for Axie Infinity as the true catalyzer of the play-to-earn revolution," said BGA, adding that the game pulled in $800 million in revenue in the third quarter.

Players can earn two types of tokens, Smooth Love Potions and Axie Infinity Shards, through breeding, raising and battling Axies. The SLP and AXS tokens can be used in the game or can be sold on a crypto exchange. The AXS price earlier this month hit an all-time high of $155.88, according to CoinGecko. The SLP token's price reached an all-time high above $0.399 in July but has since pulled back.

The broader blockchain industry posted a quarterly increase of 25% in unique active wallets, to 1.54 million. BGA said UAWs are somewhat analogous to daily active users, although individuals can hold multiple wallet addresses.

A big driver in that increase came from blockchain-based games with players seeking to earn money. UAWs connected to blockchain games hit 754,000 in the third quarter, or 49% of the whole industry's usage, the report said.

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Most American investors now expect the stock market to crash as COVID and inflation worries end a summer of optimism, says Allianz survey

investing app
  • 54% of American investors see the stock market heading for a crash, according to a survey by Allianz Life released Monday.
  • The Q3 survey found respondents worried that Delta infections would pull the US back into recession.
  • Survey respondents also expected multiyear high inflation to eat into their purchasing power.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Most US investors now foresee stocks heading toward a crash, as they fear resurgent COVID cases will throw the economy back into recession while inflation remains elevated, according to a survey released Monday by insurer Allianz.

A 54% majority of American investors say they are worried that a big market crash is on the horizon, said Allianz Life Insurance Co. of North America in its third-quarter Market Perceptions survey. That rate is the highest of 2021, surpassing the 45% of respondents in the second quarter and 52% in the first quarter.

"People were feeling better about market risks to their retirement this summer when we saw that brief return to normalcy before getting a Delta-driven reality check," said Kelly LaVigne, vice president of consumer insights at Allianz Life, in a statement with the survey.

But now more than two-thirds said they are protecting their money from losses by keeping some of it out of the market. In particular, worries about the coronavirus and inflation gripped most investors.

LaVigne said that 69% are worried a rise in COVID-19 infections will cause another recession. Cases spiked during the summer as the highly transmissible Delta variant spread but has started to slow. Still, the US on Friday surpassed 700,000 deaths related to the disease. And an estimated 70 million eligible Americans remain unvaccinated, according to an Associated Press report.

Meanwhile, 78% of respondents expect prices to move higher over the next 12 months, and 69% believe inflation will hurt their purchasing power in the next six months.

Recent data have stoke inflation worries. Last week, The core personal consumption expenditures index, a key inflation measure watched by the Federal Reserve, rose to 3.6% in August, the highest rate since May 1991. And Fed Chairman Jerome Powell recently said inflationary pressures from supply-chain disruptions and labor shortages may persist longer than anticipated.

The quarterly online survey from Allianz Life was conducted in September with a sample of 1,005 respondents who are at least 18 years old. A 53% majority of investors responding to the inquiry said they had investable assets of more than $200,000.

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The SEC has charged a Florida man and his friend in illegal meme-stock trading scheme

SEC
  • The SEC said Monday it has charged two people for engaging in a fraudulent scheme centered on put options of certain meme stocks.
  • The regulator said the men illicitly collected liquidity rebates from exchanges by using a form of market manipulation called "wash trading."
  • One of the men charged continued the scheme after certain broker-dealers closed his accounts, the SEC said.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said Monday it has charged two individuals for fraudulently collecting liquidity rebates from exchanges in a trading scheme centered on so-called meme stocks.

The regulator said Florida resident Suyun Gu and his friend and business associate, Yong Lee, used a type of market manipulation called "wash trading" to take advantage of a "maker-taker" program under which an exchange reimburses liquidity providers for their market participation.

The SEC said in a maker-taker program, a trade order sent to an exchange and executed against a subsequently received order makes liquidity and generates a rebate from the exchange.

Gu became aware of the jump in volume and volatility driven by meme stocks and then devised a scheme to illegally profit off rebates by trading options of those stocks with himself using various broker-dealer accounts, the agency said. It said Gu used broker-dealer accounts that passed rebates back to their customers to place initial orders on one side of the market, then used broker-dealer accounts that didn't charge fees for taking liquidity for his subsequent orders on the other side of the market.

The SEC alleges Gu executed about 11,400 trades with himself, netting at least $668,671 in liquidity rebates, and that Lee executed about 2,300 trades with himself, netting $51,334 in rebates.

"In addition to collecting these ill-gotten rebates, the wash trading scheme allegedly impacted the market as it skewed the volume in certain option contracts and induced other traders to place trades in otherwise illiquid option contracts," the SEC said.

The SEC said in choosing products to trade, Gu and Lee selected far out-of-the-money put options on some meme stocks. A put option is a contract that allows the owner the right to sell an asset at a predetermined, or strike, price. Out of the money is when the current price of a stock is below the strike price. Gu and Lee thought such products "would be easier to trade against themselves because interest in buying the 'meme stocks' and related price increases would make put options on those stocks less attractive," it said.

Gu continued the scheme through mid-April after certain broker-dealers closed Gu's and Lee's accounts in early March. Gu was able to continue by lying to broker-dealers about his trading strategy, using accounts in the names of other people, and accessing the accounts through virtual private networks to hide his activity, the SEC said.

Lee, without admitting or denying the SEC's allegations, agreed to pay $51,334 in profit he made, plus $515 in prejudgement interest and a civil penalty of $25,000. Litigation against Gu is still pending.

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Marathon Digital and other crypto-linked stocks drop after China declares cryptocurrency transactions illegal

Bitcoin
Bitcoin
  • Bitcoin miners Marathon Digital and Riot Blockchain fell Friday after China declared crypto-related transactions illegal.
  • China said virtual currencies don't have the same legal standing as fiat currency.
  • Bit Digital and Coinbase were other crypto-linked stocks that lost ground.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Shares of bitcoin miners and other stocks tied to the cryptocurrency space slid Friday after China said all crypto-related transactions are illegal, with the country's continued crackdown on digital assets also driving down bitcoin's price.

Bitcoin and ether "are not legal and should not and cannot be used as currency in the market," the People's Bank of China said, according to a translated version of its statement. The central bank said virtual currencies don't have the same legal standing as fiat currency because they're issued by non-monetary authorities and use encryption technology, it said.

Buying and selling virtual currencies as a central counterparty and providing pricing services are among the activities the PBOC said are against the law. It also said overseas, online virtual currency exchanges providing services to Chinese residents are conducting business illegally.

In US trade, shares of Marathon Digital, a bitcoin miner valued at around $3.6 billion, fell 7% premarket and lost as much as 8.4% when they hit $34.53. Bitcoin miners Riot Blockchain and Bit Digital slumped 7% and 7.9%, respectively.

Meanwhile, shares of Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the US, declined by 3.7%, and crypto seller Robinhood shed 2.7%. MicroStrategy, the business enterprise software maker which makes large purchases of bitcoin, lost 5.6%.

Beijing has been steadily tightening the screws on cryptocurrency operators, weighing on prices for digital coins. China previously ordered bitcoin miners operating in the country to shut down, citing environmental concerns. It has also raised concerns about digital assets being used in financial crimes.

Bitcoin, the world's most traded cryptocurrency, gave up 7.9% Friday to trade at $41,353, and ether, the token of the ethereum blockchain, sank 10% to $2,823.

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Crypto is not a viable long-term form of private money and stablecoins are equivalent to poker chips at the casino, SEC chief says

gary gensler sec chair
  • Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler likened stable coins to "poker chips."
  • Gensler returned to his previous analogy referring to the $2 trillion cryptocurrency market as the "Wild West."
  • The SEC is working on a report about stablecoins under the guidance of Treasury Secretary Yellen.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler likened stable coins to "poker chips," in an interview with the Washington Post, returning to his previous analogy referring to the $2 trillion cryptocurrency market as the "Wild West."

He also said private forms of money have turned out to be unsustainable, suggesting thousands of such projects won't last.

Stablecoins "are acting almost like poker chips at the casino right now," Gensler said in an interview with Washington Post columnist David Ignatius. "We've got a lot of casinos here in the Wild West and the poker chip is these stablecoins … at the casino gaming tables."

Gensler in a speech in early August said the market for digital assets was like the "Wild West," in lacking a robust amount of protection for investors. He has called on lawmakers to give the SEC more authority to regulate the industry.

A stablecoin is a cryptocurrency pegged to fiat currencies such as the US dollar and backed by traditional assets such as short-dated government bonds. Among the biggest stable coins, tether was valued at around $68 billion and USD Coin had a market capitalization of almost $30 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.com. Gensler did not name any stable coin in the interview.

The SEC is putting together a report about stable coins under the guidance of Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Gensler said, adding that working with Congress "would help" in the regulation of stable coins.

The interview was published after Gensler last week told the Senate banking committee that cryptocurrency exchanges need to register with the agency because some of their tokens or products may be securities.

"Those platforms should come in, they should figure out how to register, be an investment--investor protection remit," Gensler told the Washington Post.

The regulator said there are examples of experimentation with private forms of money in the US, notably the Wildcat banking era between the 1830s to the 1860s, when banks issued their own notes and competed with each other.

"Private monies usually don't last that long. So, I don't think there's a long-term viability for 5,000 or 6,000 private forms of money. History tells us otherwise," he said. "So, in the meantime, I think it's worthwhile to have an investor protection regime placed around this."

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Evergrande’s debt crisis is ‘manageable’ and not a Lehman-level event, hedge-fund billionaire Ray Dalio says

ray dalio
  • The $305 billion debt crisis facing Evergrande is a "manageable" situation, Ray Dalio said.
  • In Tuesday's interview, he said its crisis wasn't the same as the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers.
  • The Chinese property developer is likely to miss an interest payment on its debt this week.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The $300 billion of debt that's pushing the Chinese property developer Evergrande toward a collapse is not equivalent to the 2008 breakdown of the US investment bank Lehman Brothers, and the situation is "manageable," the hedge-fund heavyweight Ray Dalio said Tuesday on CNBC.

The "Lehman moment produced pervasive structural damage through the system that wasn't rectified until the Treasury came across in terms of its borrowing and then the Fed came across with quantitative easing, but this is not that kind of a shake-up type of thing," Dalio said in an interview during his attendance as a speaker at the Greenwich Economic Forum in Connecticut.

Evergrande, China's second-largest real-estate developer, with $305 billion in liabilities is the most indebted company in the world. The company has indicated that it's unlikely to meet an interest payment due Thursday and that it could default on its debts. Global stock markets sold off Monday on fears that Evergrande's predicament would hurt China's economic growth and ripple through or travel beyond its financial system.

There's been talk in the markets recalling the demise of Lehman Brothers that prompted the 2008 global financial crisis.

"Three hundred billion dollars is what they owe and this is all manageable," Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater Associates, said about Evergrande.

It's unclear how the Chinese government will respond to the Evergrande crisis, but some analysts have said they expect Beijing to enact partial restructuring of Evergrande to stabilize markets and limit a wider effect.

The "basic economics" for all countries, Dalio said, is that if a troubled debt situation is in its respective currency, deals can be worked out to resolve problems.

"We've seen it happen over and over again, and it's a good thing that lenders get stung or that the borrowers get stung. That's how the system works," he said.

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