Korean Cryptocurrency Exchanges’ Commission Sales Spike 85x in 2017
- According to data released on Sunday by a politician from South Korea’s ruling Democratic Party, the accumulated sales from commissions among 30 cryptocurrency exchange operators is said to have reached 700 billion won ($648 million) in 2017, Yonhap reports.
- The government reportedly aided in compiling the data which was based on the sales of commissions and bitcoin trading prices released by various exchange operators.
- The report also reveals Upbit as country’s leading cryptocurrency exchange operator occupying over half of South Korea’s cryptocurrency trading market at 52.9%.
- While Upbit is said to have amassed 194.3 billion won ($182 million) in commission sales, the estimated sales by Bithumb, in particular, is believed to have reached 317.7 billion won ($297 million).
- Rumors of following China’s lead in shuttering cryptocurrency exchanges after the turn of the year were put to bed after the South Korean government – after a significant public backlash – confirmed there was no intention to issue a sweeping ban on cryptocurrency trading.
Why Facebook’s earliest efforts to kill off Snapchat completely backfired
- Snapchat is one of Facebook's greatest threats, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg may be partly to blame.
- That's one interesting theory presented in a new book about Snapchat — "How to Turn Down a Billion Dollars: The Snapchat Story" — that came out this week from former TechCrunch writer Billy Gallagher.
- Snapchat, which was little more than a year old, was struggling to shake a reputation that it was only popular for sending inappropriate photos.
- Gallagher thinks Facebook's failure not only helped Snap's ability to recruit and improved the company's reputation with the media, it also revealed that Facebook was out of touch about why Snapchat was so popular to begin with.
- Snap is now worth almost $25 billion, and it's certainly possible Snapchat and Spiegel would have ended up in the same place whether Zuckerberg tried to kill it or not.
South Korea aims for startup gold
- To provide a broader picture of how South Korea stacks up in terms of attracting startup investment and building scalable companies, Crunchbase News put together a data dive looking at funding totals, significant investments, exits and active investors.
- Venture funding for South Korean startups started to take off in 2014, per Crunchbase data.
- While totals are down some over the past few quarters, South Korean startups have continued to attract attention and big checks from both domestic and overseas investors.
- Korea’s startup scene is attracting a large and diverse collection of investors, including Korea-based funds, corporate VCs, Silicon Valley venture firms and others.
- Crunchbase data shows that more than 150 angel, seed, incubator and VC and corporate venture investors have participated in funding rounds for Korea-based companies over the past five years.
Ajit Pai’s Ties to Sinclair Broadcasting Under Investigation At FCC
- As reported by the New York Times, the investigation is focused on Pai’s decision to relax rules limiting the ownership of television stations by a single company.
- Pallone told the Times that “for months I have been trying to get to the bottom of the allegations about Chairman Pai’s relationship with Sinclair Broadcasting.” Some of those allegations were unearthed in a Times investigation last August, which found that Pai had communicated closely with Sinclair executives as he rolled back rules, and that his decisions often aligned closely with Sinclair priorities.
- But last year’s Times report concluded that the alignment was based at least in part on shared ideology, with Pai reportedly believing that local television broadcasters, without the ability to consolidate, are at a competitive disadvantage to far-reaching cable networks and streaming services.
Evan Spiegel sold $50 million in Snap stock — his first sale since the IPO
- The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which you can read here.
- It's Spiegel's first official public stock sale since Snap's IPO last March.
- He previously promised not to sell any of his stock during 2017.
- The sale was conducted according to a pre-arranged sales plan, and was only 1% of his holdings.
- He still retains control of the company and its primary product, Snapchat, as does his co-founder Bobby Murphy.
- Spiegel's fortune is worth roughly $4.5 billion.
- Earlier this week, he defended Snapchat's recent controversial redesign at a conference in San Francisco.
This Is Warren Buffett's Top Equity Holding, Surpassing Wells Fargo
- Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has taken a real shine to Apple Inc. Berkshire boosted its holding of the iPhone maker to $28 billion at year-end, surpassing its stake in Wells Fargo & Co., which was worth $27.8 billion on Dec. 31.
- That makes Apple its largest equity holding by market value, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
- Apple has continued to rally this year, increasing the value of Berkshire’s stake to $28.6 billion based on Thursday’s closing price.
- Meanwhile, its Wells Fargo holding has slumped to $27.5 billion.
- Buffett’s company also has been cutting its stake in the San Francisco-based lender to get below a regulatory threshold.
Trump's defense budget is a wishlist for a massive military buildup — these are the planes, ships, and missiles he wants
- President Donald Trump's fiscal budget request for 2019 includes $686 billion for defense spending.
- The Reapers can fly longer, faster, and carry everything from Hellfire missiles to Joint Direct Attack Munitions.
- Additional new avionics and technology allow the gunship to fly faster, operate easier, and even control UAVs. The AH-64Es are part of a $4.9 billion request from the Army for its aircraft.
- Virginia-class submarines are replacing older Los Angeles-class submarines, and are expected to be in service up to 2070.
- The war against ISIS has caused a bomb shortage, so it should come as no surprise that the military is ordering so many new ones.
- They are anti-tank missiles that can be loaded on helicopter gunships like the AH-64 Apache, or drones like the MQ-9 Reaper.
- In fact, Marines in Syria recently set a new record for artillery barrages that have been intact since the Vietnam War.
Russian investment fund chief calls on US to keep 'business separate from politics' following hacking accusation
- Economic diplomacy should be embraced regardless of political problems, the head of Russia's investment fund told CNBC on Saturday, discussing the current economic sanctions on the country by the U.S. and European Union.
- The comments come amid the highest tensions the two countries have seen since the Cold War. On Thursday, the White House directly blamed Russia's military for the July 2017 cyber attack known as NotPetya, which hit more than 64 countries and cost companies billions of dollars.
- RDIF is the $10 billion sovereign wealth fund created by Russia's government to co-invest in the Russian economy alongside other countries.
- Dmitriev was made chief of the fund in 2011 to improve foreign investment flows and investor confidence in the country, particularly among Westerners.
- The U.S. currently imposes economic sanctions on Russia for its 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula as well as the allegations of election meddling and alleged human rights abuses.
Enbridge warns its oil pipelines will be full for next three years — even the new one awaiting U.S. approval
- Enbridge president and CEO Al Monaco said during an earnings call Friday that the company’s mainline system delivered a record-setting amount of crude from Alberta to refineries in the U.S. Midwest in December and the system would be full for at least the next three years.
- Monaco’s statement that his company’s pipelines would remain full until 2020 were aimed at long-term concerns for Enbridge’s mainline, and whether utilization would slip if competing pipeline projects are built.
- He said that even if competing pipelines are built, Canadian heavy oil producers generally receive $5 more per barrel of oil at the refineries connected to Enbridge’s mainline than elsewhere.
- While the company’s mainline is expected to remain full over the coming years, the company earned less money from its liquids pipeline business than RBC Dominion Securities analyst Robert Kwan expected in the quarter.
Justice anti-trust chief tells reporters he didn't talk AT&T-Time Warner with Trump
- The Justice Department's anti-trust chief denies he discussed the proposed $85 billion merger of AT&T and Time Warner with President Donald Trump, Bloomberg News reported Friday.
- Bloomberg says he denied further comment citing the Justice Department's lawsuit to block the deal.
- AT&T is seeking information about whether Trump has had any influence in the case, Bloomberg reported earlier in the week.
- The telecommunications giant is trying to obtain communications between the White House and the Justice Department, which sued to block the deal in November shortly after Delrahim joined the anti-trust division.
- AT&T wants Delrahim to testify at the trial next month, Bloomberg reported.
- The deal would unite a powerhouse communications network with cable television and movie production assets such as Warner Brothers and CNN, the cable news channel often the target of Trump's barbs against the media.