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A GOP lawmaker says he's sticking it to hedge funds with a new tax rule — he's not

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Kevin Brady (R-TX) holds a sample tax form as he unveils legislation to overhaul the tax code on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 2, 2017.   REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

  • Republican lawmaker Kevin Brady introduced an amendment that would alter a long-standing tax provision called carried interest — and could raise taxes on Wall Street managers that keep holdings for less than three years. 
  • Brady said the change would prevent hedge-fund managers from taking advantage of the tax benefit, but they aren't the Wall Streeters using it.
  • Currently, carried interest allows investment managers to have capital gains taxed at a lower rate than normal income tax if they hold the holding for at least one year. It's a big benefit for private-equity funds and other long-term investors.
  • Very few hedge funds actually take advantage of it because they trade in and out of investments much more frequently.
  • Other politicians have also confused the issue. Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin called to end carried interest in regards to hedge-fund managers.

 

An amendment to the Republican tax bill touted as a blow to hedge-fund managers isn't going to affect most of them. 

Earlier this week, Republican Representative Kevin Brady, chairman of the House tax-writing panel, offered to make changes to the rules on carried interest, a tax provision that largely benefits private-equity funds and other investors that hold their investments for more than one year. President Trump and his then-competitor Hillary Clinton both called to ending carried interest during their campaigns.

Brady's amendment raises the threshold on what can qualify as a long-term investment and be taxed at a lower rate. He wants investment managers to have to hold onto something for three years before the can get the benefit, up from one year now. The Ways and Means Commmittee, which he chairs, tacked on the amendment to the tax bill Monday.

In an interview with CNBC on Monday, Brady said increasing the holding limit "makes sure you don't have the giant hedge funds sort of spinning in and out of that...It puts [carried interest] back to its original intent, which is to reward over long term holdings, those who put skin in the game and work to make the skin in the game better."

But carried interest actually doesn't apply to most hedge funds. In a statement from the Ways and Means committee, which Brady chairs, a spokesperson said: "The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will encourage and reward long-term investment while also applying equally to all sources of growth capital – no matter if that investment is provided by hedge funds, private equity, venture capital, or otherwise."

Currently, hedge-fund, private-equity, real estate managers and other investors like venture capitalists qualify for the lower capital gains rate if they hold an investment for one year. Those capital gains are then taxed at a maximum 23.8%, compared to a top rate of 43.4%. This is a huge tax break for the Wall Streeters who qualify.

What the data says

Already, few hedge funds benefit from the current carried interest rules. The majority – 62% – hold their investments for less than one year, according to data from eVestment. And only a relatively small number of hedge funds would be caught up in Brady's amendment if passed. Only 15% report holdings for more than two years, according to eVestment.

Brady's rule also would not affect the vast majority of private equity managers. The average holding period for private equity funds this year is 5.3 years – more than two years above Brady's limit, Preqin data shows. Seventy-seven percent of private equity deals are held for more than three years, meanwhile, according to Preqin. 

Private equity holding periods

If anything, the current carried interest rules are most likely to help private equity funds – not hedge funds – since only 3% hold their positions for less than a year, according to Preqin.

"Three years is likely to be ineffective," said Steve Rosenthal, a senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.

As for venture capital, since 2000, 52% of venture-capital positions have been held for more than three years, according to data from PitchBook.

Talk about carried interest in regards to Wall Streeters is irrelevant given there's another provision in the proposed GOP tax bill, on pass-throughs, which could cut fund managers' taxes by huge amounts, according to Josh Bivens, research director at  the Economic Policy Institute. The proposed rule would allow businesses to cut their top tax rates from 39% to about 25% by reorganizing how they're structured, Bivens said.

To be sure, Brady isn't the only politician to confuse who is affected by carried interest. In a letter Wednesday to the Senate Committee on Finance, Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin wrote: "This change will not affect the majority of partnership investments, which are longer than three years."

But, she pointed to "wealthy and powerful hedge fund managers" in calling to end carried interest.

With assistance from Bob Bryan

SEE ALSO: BILL ACKMAN ON ADP: I lost the vote, but I also won

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NO2X: Next Week’s Hard Fork Has Been “Suspended” Due to a Lack of Consensus

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

b2xcancel

There will almost certainly be no Bitcoin hard fork next week: the main organizers behind the SegWit2x project have “suspended” their efforts.

In an email to the SegWit2x mailing list, one of the main organizers behind the project, BitGo CEO Mike Belshe, explained that the proposed hard fork has not been able to gain sufficient consensus to proceed:

“Although we strongly believe in the need for a larger blocksize, there is something we believe is even more important: keeping the community together. Unfortunately, it is clear that we have not built sufficient consensus for a clean blocksize upgrade at this time.”

The New York Agreement was originally forged between a group of Bitcoin companies in May of this year. An initiative by Digital Currency Group CEO Barry Silbert, the project — later dubbed “SegWit2x” — was to combine activation of the Segregated Witness soft fork with a hard fork to double Bitcoin’s block weight limit. With Segregated Witness activated on the Bitcoin network this past summer, arguably helped by the SegWit2x project, the hard fork was scheduled to take place next week.

However, the hard fork part of the New York Agreement was always controversial for a number of reasons. As a result, a growing number of signatories dropped out of the agreement over the past weeks and months, while developers, user communities, public polls, future markets and more all indicated limited support for the effort. And as the hard fork date drew closer, it become increasingly clear that SegWit2x would in fact spawn a new currency rather than constitute an upgrade of the Bitcoin protocol.

And this was never the plan, Belshe wrote:

“Continuing on the current path could divide the community and be a setback to Bitcoin’s growth. This was never the goal of Segwit2x.”

Belshe’s email was also signed on behalf of Xapo CEO Wences Casares, Bitmain CEO Jihan Wu, Bloq CEO Jeff Garzik, Blockchain CEO Peter Smith and ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees. In a separate blog post published just before Belshe’s email, BitPay CEO Stephen Pair also called for cancelation of the hard fork.

While the New York Agreement was signed by even more companies (and some individuals), and anyone can still deploy the hard fork, it is unlikely that anyone will proceed with the hard fork in any meaningful way.

Belshe does, however, note that a hard fork to increase Bitcoin’s block weight limit might be needed in the future, writing:

“As fees rise on the blockchain, we believe it will eventually become obvious that on-chain capacity increases are necessary. When that happens, we hope the community will come together and find a solution, possibly with a blocksize increase.”

The post NO2X: Next Week’s Hard Fork Has Been “Suspended” Due to a Lack of Consensus appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Bitcoin Price Flash Crashes as Market Wrestles With SegWit2x Cancellation

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

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The post Bitcoin Price Flash Crashes as Market Wrestles With SegWit2x Cancellation appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

Where to, Bitcoin? Price Sees $1,000 Spread As '2x' Averted

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Up, down and in between: bitcoin sought direction on Wednesday as traders looked to price in a shift in the protocol's outlook.

SNAP GETS SLAMMED: Here's what you need to know

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

elephant

Stocks ticked up on Wednesday, after edging lower the day before.

  • Dow: 23,563.36, +6.13, (+0.03%)
  • S&P 500: 2,594.38, +3.74, (+0.14%)
  • Nasdaq: 6,789.12, +21.34, (+0.32%)

1. Trump's DOJ reportedly demands Time Warner sell CNN or DirecTV — or the AT&T deal gets blockedThe US Department of Justice has informed AT&T that it must sell Turner Broadcasting, the group of channels that includes CNN, if it wants approval for its $84.5 billion acquisition of Time Warner, according to a New York Times report citing people briefed on the matter.

2. Time Warner tumbled after the reports. Shares were down by about 6.6% in the mid-afternoon. 

3. The Feds are investigating billionaire Carl Icahn's role advising the Trump administration. They are investigating his informal advisory role to the Trump administration in connection with his investment firm, Icahn Enterprises L.P., which has a significant stake in a fuel refiner that would benefit from regulatory changes that Icahn reportedly lobbied for.

4. A critical mistake cost traders betting against Snap huge profitsSnap may be the most shorted app-based company in the world, but traders betting on a decline in the stock took their foot off the gas at exactly the wrong time.

5. The Chinese giant behind WeChat, Tencent, is taking a 10% stake in Snap. The news comes as a vote of confidence in the company, which on Tuesday reported third-quarter earnings that failed to meet Wall Street's expectations and made the stock dive in after-hours trading.

6. Snap reversed some of its losses after the announcement crossed. Shares were down by about 14.88% in the afternoon.

7. Maine's governor is trying to block the state's Medicaid expansion the day after voters overwhelmingly supported itGov. Paul LePage said in a statement Wednesday that he would not allow implementation until the state legislature made certain changes to its budget.

ADDITIONALLY: 

Trump has delivered little on trade — and that's partially because of North Korea.

Trump says the postelection stock rally is "virtually unprecedented." Here's how it stacks up against those of other presidents.

REPORT: Around 25% of Americans would have higher taxes under the GOP tax plan in 10 years.

Zillow says America's red-hot housing market is a bit of a problem.

House Republicans suddenly have a massive problem with their tax bill.

SEE ALSO: Here's what happens with your stuff after you die

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NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: A market warning, the big bitcoin debate and a deep dive on tech heavyweights

'Dr. Doom' Roubini Joins Wall Street Chorus Calling Bitcoin a Bubble

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Economist Nouriel Roubini, who predicted the 2008 financial crisis, predicts that bitcoin "will find its end" when more countries crack down on it.

Trump has delivered little on trade — and that's partially because of North Korea

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Trump Xi

  • President Donald Trump made the debate over free trade one of the central topics of his campaign, focusing his ire on China, Mexico, and other trading partners.
  • But aside from leaving the TPP, he has delivered little on the trade front in the year since his election.
  • That's likely at least partially because the US needs the support of China and South Korea in the on-going North Korea crisis.

 

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Republican candidate Donald Trump tapped into anger over the loss of manufacturing and coal jobs. The culprit behind the misery of American workers, he said, was international trade.

He criticized China, Mexico, and Japan; once suggested putting a 45% tariff on Chinese imports; said he would declare China a currency manipulator on his first day in office; proposed taxing imports from Mexico; and argued in favor of ripping up trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Later when he stepped into office, he criticized Canada's trade practices and the US' trade agreement with South Korea, called KORUS, and called China the "grand champions" of currency manipulation.

However, Trump has delivered little on the trade front in the year since his election, aside from leaving the TPP.

"One year on from his election, Donald Trump is struggling to live up to the promises he made on the campaign trail to get tough with countries that run big bilateral trade surpluses with the US," Gareth Leather, senior Asia economist at Capital Economics, said in a note to clients.

It's likely that Trump backed down on trade at least partially because the US needs the support of China and South Korea in the on-going North Korea crisis. The president himself implied as much in an interview with The Economist published in May 2017 when speaking about why he had not yet labeled China a currency manipulator despite vowing to do so on his first day in office:

"Now, with that in mind, [Chinese president Xi Jinping is] representing China and he wants what’s best for China. But so far, you know, he’s been, he’s been very good. But, so they talk about why haven’t you called him a currency manipulator? Now think of this. I say, 'Jinping. Please help us, let’s make a deal. Help us with North Korea, and by the way we’re announcing tomorrow that you’re a currency manipulator, OK?' They never say that, you know the fake media, they never put them together, they always say, he didn’t call him a currency [manipulator], number one. Number two, they’re actually not a currency [manipulator]. You know, since I’ve been talking about currency manipulation with respect to them and other countries, they stopped."

Over the short term, it's unlikely that Trump will push either China or South Korea too hard on trade because of North Korea, Leather said. But it's possible that he could reignite his protectionist rhetoric in the future.

"The bigger risks lie in the medium term. Trump has shown himself to be both unpredictable and volatile," Leather said. "Sooner or later it is possible that he will become tired of the North Korea issue, especially once it becomes clear to him how little leverage he has. If this happens, trade tensions with China or South Korea could easily flare up."

"What's more, a trade war with Mexico could prove a useful distraction if problems start to mount at home," he continued. "There is also the possibility that with midterm elections approaching next year, and having previously promised to get tough with China, Trump will want something to show his supporters."

Fears of a possible NAFTA collapse have also started to simmer again after the US came out swinging in the fourth round of NAFTA re-negotiations in OctoberThe Trump administration presented a number of tough proposals, including the addition of a sunset clause, which would lead to NAFTA expiring every five years unless all three countries agree to extended it.

The next round of NAFTA negotiations are slated for November 17-21 in Mexico City. 

SEE ALSO: BANK OF AMERICA: 2 charts show why ripping up NAFTA wouldn't solve Trump's big issues with the deal

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NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: A market warning, the big bitcoin debate and a deep dive on tech heavyweights

The Feds are investigating billionaire Carl Icahn's role advising the Trump administration

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

carl icahn

  • Federal investigators are probing Carl Icahn's advisory role to President Donald Trump's White House.
  • His investment firm, Icahn Enterprises L.P., revealed in a financial filing that the government had subpoenaed information relating to the firm and Icahn's activities relating to federal biofuel policy.
  • Icahn quit his role with the Trump in administration in August, right around the time The New Yorker published a story suggesting Icahn could be in legal jeopardy for using his role to influence regulations that would benefit his firm's investments. 

 

Back in August, Carl Icahn quit his role advising President Donald Trump's administration — right around the time The New Yorker reported he could be in legal jeopardy for his attempts to change biofuel policy that would benefit his investments. 

Now, the feds are investigating Icahn's informal advisory role to the Trump administration in connection with his investment firm, Icahn Enterprises L.P., which has a significant stake in a fuel refiner that would benefit from regulatory changes that Icahn reportedly lobbied for. 

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Icahn Enterprises announced the US Attorney's office for the Southern District of New York had issued a subpoena seeking information related to the firm and Icahn's activities while he was an advisor to Trump:

"The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York recently contacted Icahn Enterprises L.P. seeking production of information pertaining to our and Mr. Icahn’s activities relating to the Renewable Fuels Standard and Mr. Icahn’s role as an advisor to the President. We are cooperating with the request and are providing information in response to the subpoena. The U.S. Attorney’s office has not made any claims or allegations against us or Mr. Icahn. We maintain a strong compliance program and, while no assurances can be made, we do not believe this inquiry will have a material impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows."

How did Icahn wind up in the sights of federal investigators?

Here's a rundown of some key takeaways from Patrick Radden Keefe's August profile in The New Yorker that details Icahn's attempts to change the Renewable Fuels Standard:

  • Icahn has a 82% stake in CVR, a refiner.
  • Refiners have to blend ethanol into their products, or buy credits, called Renewable Identification Numbers (RIN), from refiners that do. The cost of these RINs has increased, costing CVR more and more money.
  • Icahn has lobbied vocally against the policy that forces refiners like CVR to buy RINs, arguing in favor of changing the "point of obligation," which would force other parties to buy them instead. In an oped in The Wall Street Journal, he likened RINs to the mortgage-backed securities that fueled the financial crisis.
  • In December, it was announced that Icahn would be a special adviser to Trump, then the president-elect, with a focus on regulation. "His help on the strangling regulations that our country is faced with will be invaluable," Trump said at the time. 
  • According to The New Yorker, Icahn told Bob Dinneen, the head of the Renewable Fuels Association, which had been supporting the existing RIN policy, in February that an executive order would change the rules. Dinneen told Keefe that while Icahn never said explicitly that he was talking on behalf of Trump, “Icahn had a title I couldn’t ignore.”
  • “Icahn was always talking about an ‘executive order’—that was his vernacular,” Dinneen told The New Yorker. According to Icahn's lawyer, Icahn only expressed “hope” that Trump would agree with his view on RINs.
  • Either way, Dinneen said he would propose to his board that the Renewable Fuels Association would end its opposition to the "point of obligation" change. When news leaked of the potential change in the association's stance, there was an outcry from the ethanol industry.
  • A spokeswoman for the White House later denied that there was any plan to shift the point of obligation.
  • Keefe reported that an official in the Trump administration told him that there was a draft executive order, but that it was "something Icahn sent to us." Icahn's lawyer denied that Icahn had prepared the executive order.
  • According to Richard Painter, a Bush administration ethics lawyer, Icahn walked "right into possible criminal charges,” because of "a federal statute that makes it illegal for executive-branch employees to work on any matter in which they may have a direct financial interest." As a reminder, Icahn had the title "special adviser to the president."
  • Icahn's lawyer told Keefe the relevant law does not apply to Icahn: “Unlike a government employee, Mr. Icahn has no official role or duties and he is not in a position to set policy.”

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'Is it a time-bomb?': Paul Singer's Elliott Management is sounding the alarm on the global economy

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

paul singer

  • Billionaire hedge-fund manager and GOP donor Paul Singer sent a letter to clients stressing the need for economic growth. He also laid out why the US needs tax reform.
  • Republican lawmakers are planning a vast overhaul of the US tax system.
  • Singer was among the leading Republican critics of Trump during his campaign, and a website funded by Singer was reportedly involved in funding opposition research from a firm that later went on to produce the notorious Trump-Russia dossier.

 

Elliott Management, the hedge fund led by billionaire conservative donor Paul Singer, laid out in a private letter to clients why the developed world needs more growth to maintain social stability.

"The developed world needs more growth and a healthier balance between asset prices and middle-class employment opportunities and prospects," Elliott said in a quarterly letter to clients, which was seen by Business Insider. 

The letter added:

"Only more development can generate a reasonable prospect of paying the ever-mounting bills, and lower the temperature of the growing societal edginess regarding economic security and “inequality.” Growth is essential to fostering the sense of community and buy-in that are needed for social stability, the acceptance of the notion of private property, and the marginalization of fringe political parties and leaders. The clock is ticking (or is it a time-bomb?)."

Elliott cited a number of statistics on the US economy, saying that only 41% of high school dropouts are currently working, and that 15% of men aged 25 to 54 are out of work, versus 5% between 1945 and 1968. 

"This has been an emergency for a long time, but it has not been addressed as such," the letter said. "Many policymakers appear to feel that printing more money and keeping interest rates low, plus extending and enhancing benefits of all kinds (health care, student loan forgiveness, etc.), is good enough."

The letter makes a case for US corporate tax reform, saying the "world is ever competitive" and "the historical assumption that customers will pay more for U.S. goods and services because they are 'better' is long gone."

"The case for domestic tax reform (really, tax cuts) is not quite as clear, but it is nonetheless powerful," the letter added.

"The tax cuts would be additionally helpful if they led to lower governmental spending, but good luck on that front," the letter added. "Our view, considering the entire landscape, is that individual tax cuts would be an important catalyst of faster economic growth, and would help restore the balance between capital and labor."

Republican lawmakers have released a tax plan that, if enacted, would be the country's most sweeping tax change since the 1980s. Democrats charge that the plan would largely benefit the wealthy.

Elliott cautioned against raising government deficits, meanwhile. Here's the excerpt:

"At present it appears that both political parties in the U.S. are (more or less) in favor of, or at least willing to accept, increased federal spending and higher deficits. ... It is likely, based on the current state of play, that the tax legislation that may emerge from the Congressional “meat grinder” will deepen the spending/revenues deficit even after taking into account the expected increase in growth (and hence increased tax revenues) that tax rate cuts may create. While there is no “right time” to change profligate government spending, it is also true that kicking the can down the road (with ultimately unsustainable deficits) is a path to ruin."

Singer was among the leading Republican critics of Trump during his campaign, though he later donated to the president's inaugural fund and has made multiple visits to the White House.

A conservative website funded by Singer was reportedly involved in funding opposition research from a firm that later went on to produce the notorious Trump-Russia dossier. And Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist and current Breitbart News executive chairman, says he is now on a mission to destroy Singer, who runs $34 billion fund Elliott Management, according to Axios

As of October 1, Elliott managed $34.1 billion, per the letter.

A spokesman for Elliott declined to comment.

SEE ALSO: BILL ACKMAN ON ADP: I lost the vote, but I also won

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Time Warner is falling on reports that selling CNN would be a prerequisite to its merger with AT&T (TWX, T)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

time warner stock market

Shares of Time Warner are falling after the US Department of Justice says selling CNN's parent unit would be a prerequisite to an approval of an AT&T acquisition, according to the Financial Times.

Time Warner is down 5.08% to $89.85 after the news, and AT&T is up 0.29% to $33.17.

AT&T has planned to acquire Time Warner for $85.4 billion pending regulatory approval. The deal is now stalled, and AT&T says it plans to fight the ruling in court, according to unnamed sources cited by the Financial Times.

The DOJ also said that selling DirecTV would also be a path to approving the deal, according to a report from the New York Times.

US President Donald Trump has publicly criticized the deal, which the two companies hoped to finalize by the end of the year.

Both shares previously fell on reports that the DOJ was considering blocking the deal, and fell again on Wednesday as a reason for the DOJ's block came to light.

AT&T is down 22.85% this year and Time Warner is down 7.3%.

Read more about the DOJ's demands here.

time warner cable stock price

SEE ALSO: AT&T and Time Warner are falling after news the DOJ is considering a lawsuit

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NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: A market warning, the big bitcoin debate and a deep dive on tech heavyweights

What you need to know on Wall Street today

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

CEO of Goldman Sachs Lloyd Blankfein in the Manhattan borough of New York September 29, 2014.    REUTERS/Carlo Allegri  Welcome to Finance Insider, Business Insider's summary of the top stories of the past 24 hours. Sign up here to get the best of Business Insider delivered direct to your inbox.

Goldman Sachs just announced a new class of 509 managing directors — the largest class in the firm's history.

In related news, the CFO of Goldman Sachs keeps talking about becoming the Google of Wall Street. The investment bank led a $10 million funding round for a startup that wants to help Wall Street clean its dataAnd Goldman is among the Wall Street banks that could take home a share of more than $1 billion in fees from a tech deal spree.

Bill Ackman's Pershing Square lost its bid Tuesday to appoint three nominees to the board of Automatic Data Processing, the human-resources company. But according to Ackman, he also won. You can read our interview with Ackman here

In trading news, IEX, America's newest stock exchange, is undercutting rivals Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange. A small band of trading specialists are taking calls about $50 million bitcoin deals. We just got a glimpse of how bitcoin futures will work. And there's a brand new way to bet on the market's hottest stocks.

In D.C news, House Republicans suddenly have a massive problem with their tax bill. Larry Summers slammed Steven Mnuchin over his claims the GOP tax plan would pay for itself. And President Trump is getting a historic chance to reshape the world's most powerful central bank, according to Business Insider's Pedro da Costa. 

In investing news, we talked to the chief investment strategist at $920 billion fund giant Invesco about where you should invest right now.

And in tech news, Snap flopped with disastrous Q3 earnings that sent shares diving. Here's what you need to know:

Join the conversation about this story »

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Goldman Sachs' new managing director list is out — and it's the largest class in the firm's history (GS)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Lloyd Blankfein

  • Goldman Sachs announced its largest-ever class of managing directors.
  • Of the 509 promoted to MD, 44% were millennials.
  • The firms announces MD promotions once every two years.
  • It's one of the most coveted positions on Wall Street, a step below partner at the premier investment bank.

 

Goldman Sachs just announced a new class of 509 managing directors — the largest class in the firm's history.

The position is one of the most coveted on Wall Street, one step below partner at the prestigious investment banking firm. The firm now has 2,148 MDs, or 7.1% of the company's workforce.

It's also one of the youngest classes the bank has promoted to MD, comprised 44% of millennials. That's up from 30% in 2015.

Other headline stats about the class:

  • 66% started their careers as analysts or associates at Goldman Sachs.
  • 24% of the class were women, down from 25% in 2015.
  • 130 were promoted in the securities division, up from 102 in 2015.
  • 101 were promoted in investment banking, up from 97 in 2015.
  • 52 were promoted in technology, up from 38 in 2015.
  • 8 were promoted in consumer and commerical banking — the division that houses the bank's online lending business Marcus — compared with zero in 2015.

Here's the full statement:

***

NEW YORK, November 8, 2017 -- The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE: GS) today announced that it has selected a new class of Managing Directors, effective from January 1, 2018, the start of the firm’s next fiscal year.

“Our new Managing Directors have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to our people, clients and culture during their tenures at the firm, and we wish them continued success as they take this important next step in their careers,” said Lloyd C. Blankfein, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs.

The following individuals have been promoted to Managing Director:


Gregg Abramson
Sanjay Acharya
Khalid Albdah
Amal Alibair
Karthikeyan Anbalagan
Rolf Andersson
Volker Anger
Jonathan Armstrong
Ken Ashley
Lavanya Ashok
Sebastian Ayton
Jonathan Babkow
Julio Badi
Amitayush Bahri
Soren Balzer
Robert Barlick Jr.
Philip Barreca
Santiago Bau
David Bauer
Oksana Beard
Lee Becker
Virender Bedi
Stuart Beer
Christian Beerli
Amanda Beisel
Yumiko Bekku
David Bell
Pierre Benichou
Andrew Benito
Marco Bensi
Laura Benson
Stephen Bergin
Daniel Berglund
Greg Berry
Shital Bhatt
Dipanjan Bhattacharjee
Anu Bhavnani
Carissa Biggie
Vineet Birman
Daniel Bitel
Anne Black
Richard Blore
Emmanuel Bodenstein
Timothy Braude
Sean Brenan
Hugh Briscoe
Nathaniel Bristol
Leo Brito
Troy Broderick
Levee Brooks
Eric Brothers
Robert Bruns III
Anthony Bunnell
Meg Burke
Susan Burt
Sean Butkus
Russell Byrne
Edward Byun
Adam Cahill
Alessandro Calace
Cristiano Camargo
Ken Cawley
Swapan Chaddha
Patrick Chamberlain
Richard Chambers
Daphne Chan
Lily Chan
Ben Chance
Ginger Chang
Vikram Chavali
Alex Cheek
Jae Joon Choi
Ken Choi
Paul Choi
David Clark
Denis Cleary
Daniel Cleland-James
Ayanna Clunis
Pamela Codo-Lotti
Jesse Cohen
Paul Coles
Simon Coombes
Jenny Cosco
Philip Coureau
Nathan Cowen
Matthew Cox (Securities)
Shaun Cullinan
Christine D'Agostino
Emile Daher
Hiren Dasani
Russell Day
Pierre De Belen
Merche del Valle
Caitlin DeSantis
Jack Devaney
Thomas Devos
Mats Dewitte
Hristo Dimitrov
Tim Dinsdale
Isabella Disler
Christian Ditullio
Terence Doherty
Yakut Donat
Nicola Dondi
Brian Dong
Jason D'Silva
Stefan Duffner
Jane Dunlevie
Marie Duval
Julien Dyon
Rohini Eapen
Zach Eckler
Sayaka Eda
Jason Eisenstadt
Chris Emmerson
Tiffany Eng
Chendan Esvaran
Erkko Etula
Liz Ewing
Michael Fargher
Matteo Farina
Leigh Farris
Sarah Faulkner
Tom Favia
Brett Feldman
Jennifer Feng
Jon Ferguson
Alex Field
Herbert Filho
Alex Finston
Dean Flanagan
Greg Flynn
Trip Foley
Andrew Ho Kwon Fong
Moran Forman
Michael Fox
Caroline Fraser
Daniel Freckleton
Tim Freeman
Reto Frei
Giles French
Kirsten Frivold
Michael Fu
Rob Fuentes
Kenji Fujimoto
Carrie Gannon
Chantal Garcia
Akhil Garg
Alex Garner
Nick Gelber
Andrew Gent
Gizelle George-Joseph
Andrea Gift
Sean Gilbride
Andreas Glaser
Yong Suan Goh
Sona Gohel
Amir Gold
Jeremy Goldstein
Steven Gonzalez
Jeff Gowen
Adam Greene
Tom Groothaert
Hannes Gsell
Ashwin Gupta
Ali Haji
Ayaz Haji
Robert Hamilton Kelly
Victoria Hampson
Raja Harb
Andy Harding
Ryan Harster
Selma Hassan
Stephen Hawinkels
Jacqueline Haynes
Jason He*
Craig Hempstead
David Herrmann
David Hickey
Thomas Hilger
Mitch Hochberg
Jodi Hochberger
Jane Hodges
Peter Hodgkinson
Dylan Hogarty
Tim Holliday
Naftali Holtz
Amy Hong
Jason Hudes
Earl Hunt
Joseph Hwang
Yoshinori Ide
Kazuya Iketani
Daniel Jackson
Ankit Jain (Risk)
Gaurav Jaitly
Jan Janssen
David Jeria
Alnawaz Jiwa
Kim Johns
Scott Johnson
Elis Jones
Neil Jones
Robert Jones
Philip Joseph
Anand Joshi
Shawn Joshi
Ritu Kalra
Michael Kaprelian
Nadeem Kayani
Alicia Keenan
Neil Kelleher
Tom Kennedy
Aqil Khan
Sarah Kiernan
Daniel Kim
Eugene Kim (IMD)
Jason Kim (GIR)
Sora Kim
Kristy Kinahan
Eugene King
Laura Kirk
Kunal Kishore
Elliot Klapper
Jayee Koffey
Jason Koon
Jennifer Kopylov
Daniel Korich
Ichiro Kosuge
Vladimir Kotlyar
Samuel Krasnik
Katherine Krause
David Kraut
Sergey Kraytman
Nitin Kulkarni
Ram Kulkarni
Dileep Kumar (Securities)
Santosh Kunnakkat
Wendy Kwong
JP Lall
Bill Lambert
David Landman
Yi Larson
Niccolo Laudiero
Nick Laux
David Lee
Phillip Lee
Samuel Lee
Shawn Lee
Michael Leister
David Lerner
Naomi Leslie
Matt Levine
Na Li
Haining Liang
Nancy Licul
Monica Lim
Michelle Ling
Srujan Linga
Philip Linton
Alan Liu
Daniel Liu
Eric Liu
Heiman Lo
Juan Lorenzo
Tian Lu
Wayne Lu
James Lucas
Dennis Luebcke
Martin Luehrmann
John Lynch
Gina Lytle
Leo Ma*
Caesar Maasry
Geoff MacDonald
Robert Magnuson
Toshiyuki Makabe
Mariano Mallol
Geydar Mamedov
Kara Mangone
Donna Mansfield
Ajit Marathe
Gilberto Marcheggiano
James Marchese
Michael Marcus
Joshua Matheus
Ann Mathews
Chris Mathie
Brian McCallion
Graham McClelland
Anne McCosker
Michael Meehan (Compliance)
Taylor Mefford
Neil Mehta
Adam Meister
David Mericle
Vitali Meschoulam
Eric Meyers
Alex Mignotte
Andras Mikite
Christopher Milligan
Rahul Mistry
Mike Mitchell
Neil Moge
Waleed Mohsin
Babak Molavi
Joel Monson
Guy Morgan
James Morris
Antoine Munfa
Aimee Mungovan
Yuji Murata
Dan Murphy
Josh Murray
Brian Musto
Shehzad Nabi
Devarajan Nambakam
Ramanathan Narayanan
Ganapathy Natarajan
Danielle Natoli
Murad Nayal
Karim Nensi
Scott Neu
Dennis Ng
Ken Ng
Benjamin Ngan
Joy Nguyen
Salman Niaz
Anders Nielsen (IMD)
Howard Nifoussi
Jun Niki
Leah Nivison
Laura Noble
James Nolan
Lauren Oakes
Lynn Oberschmidt
Allison O'Connor
John O'Connor
Shunil Ohrie
Damian Ordish
Leke Osinubi
David Ossack
Sathiya Padmanaban
Danielle Pallin
Salvador Pareja
Dalmir Pasini
Clorinda Pasqua
Chris Pawson
Paris Pender
Patrick Perkins
Philippe Perzi
Wendy Peters
Andy Phillips
Flavio Picciotto
Michael Pieck
Sam Pirog
Thomas Plank
Joseph Plotkin
Wade Podlich
Ashish Pokharna
Caitlin Pollak
Charles Pollock
Joe Porter
Travis Potter
Rohit Prabhu
Richard Privorotsky
Andrew Pucher
Jay Rabinowitz
Ankit Raj
Harsha Rajamani
Dmitry Rakhlin
Yasser Rathore
Edoardo Rava
Elizabeth Reed
Alexandre Reinert
Stephen Reinhard
Irfan Rendeci
Christian Resch
Andrew Rhee
Riccardo Riboldi
James Rinsler
Caroline Riskey
Helen Robinson
Mark Rosen
Amit Roy
Joe Ryan
Bernhard Rzymelka
Takehiro Sakuramoto
John Sales
Rob Sarazen
Vineeta Saxena
Dominik Schaefer
Andrea Scott
Majid Sebti
Bipin Sehgal
Arseni Seregin
Irma Sgarz
Paulomi Shah
Shreyas Shah
Sunny Shah
Faisal Shamsee
Daniel Shapiro
Mahesh Sharma
Shripal Sharma
Mai Shin
Romy Shioda
Toshimichi Shirai
Mark Short
Pankauz Shrestha
David Shrimpton
Obaid Siddiqui
Mike Sidorov
Scott Silverglate
Stefani Silverstein
Amy Silverzweig
Jasdeep Singh
Gabriella Skirnick
Michael Sklow
Maxine Sleeper
Michael Slomienski
Michael Sloyer
Nicholas Smith (IBD)
Ruth Smithson
Christine Smyth
Ben Snider
Stacy Sonnenberg
Cleaver Sower
Ro Spaziani
Brian Steele
Johannes Steffens
Duncan Stewart
Stephen Stites
Laurent Storoni
Caroline Styant
Joel Sulkes
Mancy Sun
Winnie Tam
Nachiket Tamhane
Ken Tang
MK Tang
Amish Tanna
Melissa Teng
Ross Tennenbaum
Greg Thompson
Fiona Thomson
Justin Tobe
Jason Tofsky
Brad Tuthill
Masahiro Uchiyama
Nehal Udeshi
Saad Usmani
Meg Vaden
Pramod Vaidyanathan
Adam Van de Berghe
Fred van der Wyck
Suzanne van Staveren
Andrew Vass
Mahesh Vellanki
Kadambari Verma
Christopher Vilburn
Iva Vukina
Heng Vuong
Ketan Vyas
Joe Wall
Jeffrey Wang
Jiantao Wang
Joshua Wang
Lily Wang (Technology)
Sherry Wang
Victoria Ward (Compliance)
Jeff Warren
Noriko Watanabe
Ramey Watkins
Sam Watkins
Heiko Weber
Niki Webster
Scott Weinstein
Ryan Westmacott
James Westwood
Keith Wetzel
Mark Wetzel
James Whittingham
Sabine Wick
Robert Wieser
Devin Wilde
David Wilkins
John Wilkinson
Andrew Williams
Ed Wong (IBD Technology)
Eric Wong (Internal Audit)
Kate Wood
Amanda Wu
Douglas Wu
Joanne Xu
Liang Xu**
Rupam Yadav
Kazushi Yamaguchi
Hubert Yang
Lisa Yang
Basak Yavuz
Zeynep Yenel
David Yu
Brian Zakrocki
Thomas Zeppetella
Yi Zhang*
Adib Zouein
Patrik Zumstein
Piotr Zurawski
Jonathan Zwart

*Employee of Goldman Sachs Gao Hua Securities Company Limited
**Employee of Beijing Gao Hua Securities Company Limited

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NOW WATCH: I spent a day trying to pay for things with bitcoin and a bar of gold

SegWit2x backers cancel plans for bitcoin hard fork

TechCrunch, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

 Advocates for a bitcoin hard fork have now decided to cancel plans for the so-called SegWit2x fork. The bitcoin blockchain was supposed to split into two blockchains in roughly 8 days. But it looks like SegWit2x backers couldn’t convince enough people in the bitcoin community to make the SegWit2x blockchain the new mainstream bitcoin blockchain. The SegWit2x fork should have increased… Read More

Bitcoin Price Achieves New All-Time High at $7,800, as SegWit2x is Canceled

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

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Bitcoin soars to nearly $7,900 after plans for fork are called off

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Capture.PNG

  • The price of bitcoin, the red-hot digital cryptocurrency, popped Wednesday afternoon to an all-time high of $7,882, according to data from Bloomberg.
  • It gave up some gains and then traded up 8.75% at $7,695 as of 12:53 PM EST.
  • Mike Belshe, CEO of BitGo, a backer of the plan to increase the size of the blocks underpinning bitcoin's blockchain network, said backers were calling the plan off, according to cryptocurrency watcher CoinDesk.
  • The suspension could prevent a split of bitcoin, which was anticipated to happen this month.

SEE ALSO: We just got a glimpse of how bitcoin futures will work

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NOW WATCH: A $6 trillion investment chief reveals the one area of the stock market to avoid

ZILLOW: America's red-hot housing market is a bit of a problem (ZG, Z)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

house home renovation flipping gutting

  • The rise in US house prices since the recession has created a market favorable for sellers.
  • Although the recovery has also been good to buyers, they're faced with fewer non-luxury choices in major cities.  
  • Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff said Tuesday that this difference is "a bit of a headwind" for the company's business. Some of its buyer agents are spending several months and writing dozens of offers before being accepted, he said. 
  • More Americans think it's a better time to sell a house than to buy, according to Fannie Mae. That wasn't the case for much of the past seven years. 

 

The recovery in US house prices since the recession has created a so-called seller's market. 

In this part of the cycle, housing inventory is tight, especially in big cities where there's plenty of demand. But buyers in these markets are getting stretched as prices climb above their prerecession highs and choices remain limited.  

Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff captured this split well during the company's earnings call with analysts on Tuesday. Real estate agents and the Zillow products they use for buyer clients are feeling the pinch of tighter housing inventory. But it's not quite the same for sellers:

Rascoff said (emphasis ours):

"Housing overall is very strong, which is to say it's a seller's market, home values are appreciating more than 5% year-over-year. We are — the market is inventory constrained in most major cities. That puts pressure on buyer agents on lead conversion, meaning that a buyer lead is a less valuable if a buyer's agent has to work with that buyer for two, three, six, 10 months and write 10 or 20 offers before their offers are being accepted because inventory is so tight.

So in some ways the hot housing market is a bit of a headwind on our business, because it takes longer to convert a buyer lead. And that having been said our listing lead generation business Seller Boost and Premier Agent Direct benefits from the tight listing environment. And our new construction business benefits materially from the inventory constraints because homebuilders are anxious to market re-listings on our platforms to sell those new homes."

Home prices continue to rise nationwide at about a 6% annual rate, and Case-Shiller's National Home-Price Index reached a new all-time high for a ninth straight month in August. Prices are rising because of low interest rates, a healthy labor market, and available financing, all of which are creating demand. At the same time, supply is tight in major cities. 

All this weighing on buyers and their agents.

In April, Fannie Mae's monthly survey of the market showed that for the first time on record, the share of people who thought it was a good time to sell a house was more than the buy indicator.

Screen Shot 2017 11 08 at 11.55.38 AM

SEE ALSO: Lennar's $9.3 billion merger with a rival perfectly captures 2 of the biggest problems with housing in America

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RBC: There's 3 things Snap can do to turn itself around (SNAP)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

SNAP IPO 15


 

While Snap's earnings miss disappointed Wall Street, RBC Capital still sees the social media company as "a very interesting asset with great product innovation."

RBC Analyst Mark Mahaney highlights three issues that he wants the company to address in order to fall back in investors' graces:

  1. Visibility: RBC would like to see more visibility and a stronger strategy from management.
  2. Daily average user growth: The company has made innovative strides in its products with the incorporation of Maps and Search, but it is not getting enough users to come on board. "Advertisers go where the eyes are and we need to see further user growth."
  3. Engagement: The company will need to show detailed and specific metrics on how engagement is improving.

RBC isn't entirely bullish on Snap's future. The bank lowered its price target by 12 cents to $15. Mahaney said that improving its advertising penetration, traction with older and international demographics and new product innovation can be an additional catalyst to Snap shares.

The company missed estimates for both sales and daily average users on Tuesday. Snap reported revenue of $207.9 million, missing the Wall Street consensus of $235.5 million. Its daily average users grew by 4.5 million quarter over quarter to 178 million users, well shy of the 7 to 8 million users that analysts were expecting the company to gain. 

Much of this miss stemmed from weak user growth and Snap's programmatic ad buyers not translating into much ad revenue growth. Automatic ad placements in its videos are priced at a much lower rate than traditional, deliberate ad placements. This resulted in a year over year loss of 60% in ad impressions.

Snap stock is trading down 15.89% at $12.72 a share on Wednesday. It's down 25.18% from its initial public offering price of $17 in March.

To read more about what big foreign investor is betting on Snap, click here.

Snap stock price

SEE ALSO: Snap trims earnings losses after Tencent announces a 10% stake

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BitTorrent inventor announces eco-friendly Bitcoin competitor Chia

TechCrunch, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

 A Bitcoin transaction wastes as much electricity as it takes to power an American home for a week, and legendary coder Bram Cohen wants to fix that. And considering he invented the ubiquitous peer-to-peer file transfer protocol BitTorrent, you should take him seriously. Cohen has just started a new company called Chia Network that will launch a cryptocurrency based on proofs of time and… Read More

Factors Behind Bitcoin’s Unprecedented Rally

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

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2x Called Off: Bitcoin Hard Fork Suspended for Lack of Consensus

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

The organizers of a controversial bitcoin software update are suspending an attempt to increase the block size by way of a hard fork. Known for its strong early support from bitcoin startups and mining pools, the plan, called Segwit2x, or simply 2x, was to trigger a block size increase at block 494,784, expected to occur […]

Bitcoin Price Rally Raises Crypto Market Cap to $205 Billion

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

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RBC: Qualcomm could get to record highs with or without the Broadcom deal (QCOM, AVGO)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Qualcomm


 

Qualcomm was surprised last week when Broadcom made an unsolicited bid for the company. Investors sent the stock higher on the news, and Amit Daryanani, an analyst at RBC, says there is even more room for the company to grow.

"We are upgrading Qualcomm to outperform from sector perform as we think the stock is fairly attractive at ~$64 given two likely paths from here," Daryanani said. He said the two fairly obvious paths forward would be either the Broadcom bid going through, or Qualcomm staying independent.

Broadcom submitted a bid of $70 per share for Qualcomm, in the form of $60 in cash and $10 of Broadcom stock. Daryanani said that if Qualcomm is to accept a bid from Broadcom, it would likely be higher than that initial offer of $70 a share. He thinks there is room for the Broadcom bid to increase to the high-$70 to low-$80 per share range.

The road higher is a bit rockier without a Broadcom deal, but is still possible, according to Daryanani. The company would have to close its acquisition of NXP Semiconductors, which it is currently wrapping up for $47 billion.

Qualcomm would also have to successfully navigate its legal fight with Apple, Daryanani said. The iPhone maker has accused Qualcomm of abusing its monopolistic position in certain phone components and the two companies have been trading legal blows all year.

Daryanani also said that Qualcomm could see a bump in its earnings, and therefore stock price, if it is able to improve its margins. By acquiring NXP, Qualcomm has a chance to increase its margins by leveraging synergies between the two companies. By getting operating margins to the mid 30% range, Daryanani said Qualcomm could add $1.00 per share to its yearly earnings.

The changes Daryanani suggests could give Qualcomm a bump even if the Broadcom takeover doesn't happen. Daryanani increased his price target for Qualcomm from $55 to $70, and sees Qualcomm going to $90 a share if it is successful on all fronts. $90 would be a record-high for the company.

Qualcomm is up just 0.12% for the year, including the post-takeover offer bump, and was trading around $65.42 Wednesday morning. 

Read more about the takeover offer here.

qualomm stock price

SEE ALSO: Broadcom offers to buy Qualcomm in what would be the largest tech deal ever

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MORGAN STANLEY: Here's how CVS can fend off Amazon (CVS, AMZN)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

FILE PHOTO:    The CVS logo is seen at one of their stores in Manhattan, New York, U.S., August 1, 2016.  REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo


 

Don't go head-to-head with Amazon.

That's the message Morgan Stanley analyst Ricky Goldwasser has for CVS, which is reportedly in talks to buy Aetna in a deal that could help protect its business from the entry of the tech giant in to the healthcare space

Goldwasser said that CVS' strength is its vertical integration. CVS has made a number of acquisitions over the past decade, such as Caremark RX, a pharmacy benefits manager, Omnicare, a leading pharmacy services provider and Target's pharmacy and retail clinic businesses. That push puts the company on a better footing to engage consumers, improve access to care, and deliver cost savings, he said.

Goldwasser said however that any plans to go head-to-head with Amazon in next-day or same-day delivery service of prescriptions may impact the company's front-store sales. CVS already offers this service and plans to expand it to all of its locations in 2018. It is also considering a mail-order partnership.

CVS has dismissed investors' concerns about the impact of store traffic in the 16% of stores that offer a delivery service. The company assured investors in its third-quarter earnings call that Amazon would need a unique offering of prescription delivery services in order to seriously compete in the space, Goldwasser said.

The next catalyst for upside earnings growth could be an announcement on the rumored Aetna deal, which could then be integrated into its existing services, Goldwasser notes.

“Longer term we think vertical integration with a health plan will develop into a new delivery of care model that drives traffic and improve stickiness’ against an Amazon offering,” Goldwasser wrote in a note. 

CVS stock is trading flat at $68.89. It is down 14.23% for the year. 

To read more about what Amazon's entry into the prescription drugs business means for CVS and Walgreens, click here.

 CVS stock price

 

SEE ALSO: CVS and Walgreens drop on rumors of Amazon's entry into the prescription drugs business

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Silk Road investigator gets more jail time for second Bitcoin theft

Engadget, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

A Secret Service agent already convicted to 71 months in prison for swiping Silk Road Bitcoins will get another two years for a separate Bitcoin theft, Reuters reports. Shaun Bridges pleaded guilty to stealing 1,606 Bitcoins -- worth around $360,000...

Bitcoin Futures Mirrors Tulip Bubble Crash: UBS Analyst

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

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Larry Summers slams Steven Mnuchin over his claims the GOP tax plan would pay for itself

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

larry summers

  • Larry Summers slammed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin over his claims that the GOP tax plan will lead to huge growth.
  • Summers was the Treasury secretary during the Clinton administration. He has come out swinging against Mnuchin on multiple occassions.

 

Larry Summers slammed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin over his claims that the GOP tax plan will lead to so much growth that it won't cost anything and will help pay down the federal debt.

"There is a range of estimates that a reasonable and thoughtful person could have and then there are estimates that, if you have them, you can really only have them if you were ignorant of the subject or if you were being motivated by politics," Summers said in an interview with Politico's Ben White

"And I'm afraid the claims of Secretary Mnuchin that this would generate so much economic growth that it would pay for itself falls into that category," he continued. "I'm not aware of so irresponsible an estimate coming from a Treasury secretary in the last 50 years."

House GOP leaders took a step forward in an attempt to overhaul the US tax code by releasing the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" last week. The bill includes a broad set of proposed changes to the corporate and individual tax system, building off a nine-page framework that the White House and congressional Republican leaders released in September.

Ahead of the release of the bill, Mnuchin said at a conference in Washington, "Not only will this tax plan pay for itself, but it will pay down debt." He argued the proposal would fuel stronger growth, causing tax payments to rise and offsetting the revenue lost from lower rates, according to the WSJ. He added lower rates would discourage corporate tax avoidance.

Summers was the Treasury secretary during the Clinton administration and the director of the National Economic Council during the Obama administration. He has come out swinging against Mnuchin on multiple occassions.

Back in September, he criticized Mnuchin for his comments about President Donald Trump's attacks on NFL player protests. 

And in May, he wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post criticizing Mnuchin's speech to bankers at Michael Milken's annual conference for investment professionals in which he said "you should all thank me for your bank stocks doing better."

Summers wrote:

"I cannot conceive of any of the 11 other secretaries I have known making such a statement. Leave aside the question of whether whatever credit is to be claimed should be claimed on behalf of the president. Since when is the stock price of banks the objective or the standard of success for economic policy? And when, as will inevitably occur, bank stock prices decline, will the secretary accept the blame?"

Check out the full story from Politico here.

SEE ALSO: Trump says the post-election stock rally is 'virtually unprecedented' — here's how it stacks up against other presidents

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NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: A market warning, the big bitcoin debate and a deep dive on tech heavyweights

There's a brand new way to bet on the market's hottest stocks

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

bonfire celebrate

  • Intercontinental Exchange just launched NYSE FANG+ Index futures, which track 10 of the world's hottest mega-cap tech companies.
  • It's never been easier for investors to bet on what's been the best performing part of the market in 2017.

 

If you've been waiting for a super-easy way to trade the market's hottest stocks, you're in luck.

On Wednesday, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) launched futures tracking the so-called FANG group, which consists of Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google. The FANG stocks have surged 44% in 2017, almost triple the S&P 500, and investors have been clamoring to get a piece of the mega-cap tech stock action.

But ICE's new offering — official name NYSE FANG+ Index futures — goes further than just those four companies. It includes 10 stocks, also including Apple, Alibaba, Baidu, Nvidia, Tesla and Twitter. They're welcome additions to the red-hot group, with every company but Twitter skyrocketing more than 43% this year.

By picking those 10 stocks, the index seeks to "represent the top innovators across today's tech and internet/media companies," according to a release from ICE. And unlike major indexes and the exchange-traded funds that track them, the FANG+ gauge is equal-weighted, which means that its largest components won't be able to wield outsized influence.

The launch comes at a good time for investors as this select group of 10 stocks continues to grow their earnings at a rapid pace. In addition, because these companies do so much business overseas, they're among those best positioned to benefit from the repatriation tax holiday proposed by President Donald Trump and the GOP.

Further, FANG+ futures mark a major improvement over another investment vehicle investors have been using to wager on tech stocks: the First Trump Dow Jones Internet Index Fund (ticker: FDN), which gets roughly one-third of its weighting from the original four FANG stocks.

It's also important to note that FANG+ futures don't just serve as vessels for bullish bets on tech. If shorted or sold, they can also be used to hedge against losses in those 10 elite companies, or for outright bearish positioning on the group.

In fact, FANG+ futures could even be used as a hedge against declines in the broader stock market. It's a strategy already being used on a single-stock basis, financial analytics firm S3 Partners told Business Insider in July. Going off the idea that as mega-cap tech goes, so does the market, FANG+ could serve as a useful market proxy.

These multiple uses should only expand the appeal of these FANG+ futures and help them grow into a formidable market force of their own. After all, no matter what your view on the market is, being able to trade such a refined group of influential stocks is a win for traders everywhere.

Screen Shot 2017 11 08 at 10.17.06 AM

SEE ALSO: Traders are making big bets on the largest takeover attempt in tech history

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America's newest stock exchange is undercutting rivals Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Brad Katsuyama, chief executive of IEX Group

  • Startup exchange IEX is looking to lure companies to list on its exchange, and is proposing a new flat fee structure for opening and closing auctions that undercuts its rivals Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange.
  • The exchange, which was made famous in Michael Lewis' "Flash Boys," recently got the regulatory green light to start listing companies on its venue.

 

IEX, the upstart exchange, made famous in Michael Lewis' "Flash Boys," got the green light in October to go after the listings businesses of rivals the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq.

And on Wednesday, it announced a flat fee structure for trades executed on its exchange during the market open and close, the time of day when much of US stock trading is done. It will charge $0.0003 per share for every share traded during its IEX auction at the market open and close.

The company said it came up with the structure after making calls to "tons of brokers," the folks who buy and sell stocks for clients, to ask them about their thoughts on the closing auction.

"The closing print is the most important, [brokers] have to be involved, but there is massive frustration with the established exchanges with how much they are charging and the way they charge," Ronan Ryan, cofounder and president of IEX, told Business Insider.

During the market close stocks are largely traded on the exchanges on which they are listed. And according to Bats, the stock exchange acquired this year by Chicago Board Options Exchange, closing auction fees have increased by 16% to 60% at the NYSE and Nasdaq. NYSE and Nasdaq fees during this trading window vary depending on a number of factors and are higher than $0.0003 per share.

In addition to the flat fee structure, IEX has promised to cover the listings cost of companies which announce their intent to switch over to its exchange within 120 days of the first IEX listing, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company said it is set to list its first company in early 2018.

There's a lot riding on IEX getting companies to list on its exchange. A boost in the number of firms listed on IEX will likely translate into a boost in the amount of trading that takes place on the exchange, as stocks are more likely to trade on the exchange they are listed on. This could help boost IEX's 2% market share. In addition, having a well-known company switch would represent an endorsement of IEX's market model, and help further boost its visibility.

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Trump says the post-election stock rally is 'virtually unprecedented' — here's how it stacks up against other presidents

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

donald trump

  • The post-Trump rally over the last year is the fifth best since 1950, according to LPL Financial.
  • The best returns were seen after the start of President Bill Clinton's second term and the worst came after the first year of President George H. W. Bush.

 

President Donald Trump has long touted the stock market rally that has taken hold since he took office. The S&P 500 has closed at a record high in 60 of 251 sessions, or about 24% of the time. 

"Stock market hit yet another all-time record high yesterday," Trump tweeted on November 7. "There is great confidence in the moves that my Administration...."

Since Wednesday is the one year anniversary of his election, we decided to look at how the rally over the last 12 months stacks up against those seen after other presidential elections.

The team at LPL Financial put together a list looking at S&P 500 returns for the year following every US election since 1950, and found that the post-Trump rally of 21.1% comes in fifth out of 17.

"Although no one at the time would have believed it, the 12 months since Election Day have been among the least volatile ever for equity markets; not to mention the solid 21% gain the S&P 500 Index racked up along the way that has the bulls smiling," Ryan Detrick, Senior Market Strategist at LPL Financial, said.

Although Trump has recently touted the postelection stock rally as "virtually unprecedented," the data from LPL Financial suggests otherwise. While the last year's rally is among the highest on the list, there were both similar and greater rallies.

The best returns were seen after the start of President Bill Clinton's second term, and the worst came after the first year of President George H. W. Bush's tenure.

And, for what it's worth, similar gains were seen in the year after President Barack Obama was re-elected for his second term.

where does the trump rally rank

As for which stocks contributed the most to the S&P 500's rally in the last year, that would be: Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Alphabet, and Amazon, according to data cited by CNBC's Shannan Siemens and Carl Quintanilla.

In any case, ultimately, the president alone does not dictate what happens with the market. Yes, investor sentiment in the aftermath of an election can have an impact. And, yes, presidential policies affect the economy and investor sentiment, which then in turn can drive markets.

But there are a bunch of other factors not wholly connected to presidential policies — such as oil-price shocks, productivity shocks, the strength of the US dollar, corporate earnings, and international policy initiatives such as China's devaluation of its currency — that all influence what happens with the stock market. Plus, we must reiterate that the US stock market is not the US economy.

Even LPL Financial noted that the best gains came under Clinton "during the 1990s bull market" and the worst came under the Bush "amid the tech bubble," implying that there is more to the market than just who's sitting in the White House.

SEE ALSO: All the countries Trump will visit in Asia — and what he'll encounter when he gets there

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Litecoin Price Looks Northwards Amid Korean Volume Spike

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Having spent a better part of the last month defending the key trend line support, litecoin clocked a three-week high of $63.71 yesterday.

US Secret Service Agent Get 2 Extra Years for Silk Road Bitcoin Theft

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

[…]

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Lending Club crashes 22% after cutting guidance (LC)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Capture.PNG

  • Lending Club, the San Francisco-based peer-to-peer online lender, crashed more than 20% in pre-market trading Wednesday to $4.27 a share.
  • The company posted earnings of $0.03 per share as revenue surged 34% year-over-year to $154 million. 
  • The company expects a net loss in the range of $3 to $7 million for Q4 and revenue of between $158 million and $163 million.
  • Tech lending companies like LendingClub have struggled to churn a profit despite gaining market share from traditional lenders in some areas.
  • According to TransUnion, fintechs make up 32% of all personal loans in the US, up from 1% in 2010.

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Lending Club crashes 22% after cutting guidance (LC)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Capture.PNG

  • Lending Club, the San Francisco-based peer-to-peer online lender, crashed more than 20% in pre-market trading Wednesday to $4.27 a share.
  • The company posted earnings of $0.03 per share as revenue surged 34% year-over-year to $154 million. 
  • The company expects a net loss in the range of $3 to $7 million for Q4 and revenue of between $158 million and $163 million.
  • Tech lending companies like LendingClub have struggled to churn a profit despite gaining market share from traditional lenders in some areas.
  • According to TransUnion, fintechs make up 32% of all personal loans in the US, up from 1% in 2010.

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Snap trims earnings losses after Tencent announces a 10% stake (SNAP)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

SNAP IPO 24

  • Snap reported disastrous earnings that sent the company down 20% on Tuesday.
  • The company gained back some of those losses after announcing that Tencent had acquired a 10% stake in the company.
  • Watch Snap's stock price move in real time here.

 

On Tuesday, Snap reported revenue and user growth that was much lower than Wall Street expected and the stock cratered shortly after. Shares rebounded when traders realized that Snap had announced that Tencent, the Chinese company behind WeChat, had acquired a 10% stake in the company.

The stake counted as a vote of confidence for Snap and helped it claw back some of its post-earnings losses. Shares were down as much as 20% after the disastrous earnings report but settled higher at about 10.25% lower than Tuesday's closing price.

Tencent acquired 145.8 million shares of non-voting stock on the open market in the third quarter, according to Snap's quarterly report. Tencent had previously invested in Snap, and recently picked up a 5% passive stake in Tesla worth about $1.78 billion.

Snap is down after reporting revenue and user numbers far under expectations. The company posted an adjusted loss of $0.14 per share, vs. Wall Street's expectations of a $0.15 per share loss on revenue of $207.9 million vs. estimates of $235.5 million. Snap only added 4.5 million new users in the quarter, up 3% from the previous period to 178 million daily active users.

Snap also took a $40 million write-down on its first hardware product, Spectacles. Half of Spectacles users weren't using the glasses one month after purchase, according to the company.

Snap is trading at $13.55 Wednesday morning, about 21.17% lower than its IPO price of $17.

Read more about the company's disappointing earnings result here.

snap stock price

SEE ALSO: Snap flops with disastrous Q3 earnings that send shares diving

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Here's a super-quick guide to what traders are talking about right now

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Traders at the New York Stock Exchange

Dave Lutz, head of ETFs at JonesTrading, has an overview of today's markets.

Here's Lutz:

Morning!  Some weakness in US equities, with the Spoos marked off 10bp as Flows head towards Sovs.   Pretty much all red across continental Europe – The DAX is down 15bp as Airlines weaker on Lufthansa and Air France.  Heavy profit-taking on Wizz Air #s the chatter, while Banks are weaker on Credit Ag and ABN numbers.  In London, only Staples and Materials are in the green and Eyes are on a sharp lower reversal in MKS, but FTSE is up small.  Volumes are good, with the DAX trading 30% above Trend.  A breather in Asia after yesterday’s rip higher - Nikkei off small as Banks get slugged but Tech rallies - Hang Seng down 30bp despite China Literature leaping 86% - Shanghai up small - KOSPI up 30bp as KOSDAQ jumps 1.3% - Aussie up small - India off 50bp, bringing week losses to 1.5%

A sharp bid in German Sovs has Bunds hitting YTD highs, dragging down US Yields, with the 10YY trying to hold 2.3% in the overnight.   Angst over US Tax Reform has the DXY off since mid-day yesterday, but Euros are failing to hold upside $1.16, while the $/Y had a sharp reversal from 114 overnight.   Ore off small after jumping almost 7% last 2 days, holding Copper and Nickel in the red, while Gold is seeing some life thanks to the falling greenback.   Brent coming off 2Y highs as API reports a smaller draw than expected and China’s  imports dropped – Natty gas reversing some of yesterday’s gains, dropping 1% early.  

Read about the 10 things you need to know today...

SEE ALSO: 10 things you need to know before the opening bell

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A critical mistake cost traders betting against Snap huge profits (SNAP)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Evan Spiegel

  • Snap turned in a disastrous third-quarter earnings report that saw its stock plummet as much as 22% in post-market trading.
  • Short sellers pared positions in the weeks leading up to earnings, costing themselves potentially huge profits that would've resulted from the stock drop.
  • Even Tencent's acquisition of a 10% stake in Snap couldn't rescue the company's shares, which are still trading down about 15% in early trading on Wednesday.

 

Snap may be the most shorted app-based company in the world, but traders betting on a decline in the stock just took their foot off the gas at exactly the wrong time.

They covered $115 million of their positions in the week leading up to Snap's disastrous earnings report, and trimmed $278 million from a year-to-date high reached in mid-October, according to data compiled by financial analytics firm S3 Partners.

As Snap's stock plummeted as much as 22% in post-market trading after reporting smaller-than-expected user growth and a huge drop in advertising rates, those short sellers who exited their positions missed out on a potentially huge windfall.

While Snap bears certainly reaped at least some healthy profits from the decline — after all, S3 Partners says that $1.7 billion of the company's shares are still held short — there's no denying that many will be lamenting the missed opportunity.

Their short covering was nearly rewarded in early-morning trading as Chinese investment holding company Tencent made a 10% investment in Snap, according to a CNBC report. The news temporarily erased most of the loss almost immediately, before more sellers stepped in and pushed shares back down. Snap was trading down about 15% in pre-market trading as of 8:06 a.m. ET.

The fact that short sellers pared their positions heading into earnings is fairly surprising, considering the 18% implied share move being signaled by the options market the day before, according to Bloomberg data.

While it's possible that traders figured Snap's already-damaged stock couldn't possibly fall much further, or perhaps they were just outwardly bullish on the company's earnings prospects, it's still surprising that they went so far to dent the profits that would result from a huge share drop.

Snap's stock is now down 20% since its initial public offering at $17 in March, and with the way things are going, short sellers might think twice before throwing in the towel on positions in the future.

Screen Shot 2017 11 08 at 8.12.57 AM

SEE ALSO: Oprah Winfrey has now raked in $300 million from her Weight Watchers investment

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A startup that wants to help Wall Street clean its data just landed $10 million in funding

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Lulea data center 5 - Facebook data center

  • Data solutions provider Crux raised $10 million in a funding round led by Goldman Sachs.
  • The New York-based firm wants to "make data delightful" by taking the grunt work out for Wall Street.

Crux, a data solutions provider, announced it raised $10 million in a Series A fundraising round led by Goldman Sachs.

The company, which was founded by Phillip Brittan, a three-time entrepreneur and former chief technology officer of financial juggernaut Thomson Reuters, is looking to address the pain points many Wall Street firms face when they're trying to make use of data.

"We want to make data delightful," Brittan told Business Insider.

Crux announced the funding round backed by Goldman and a "small handful" of other strategic investors. The company declined to comment on its valuation.

Data has become increasingly important to Wall Street. As noted by a recent report from Boston-based money manager State Street, data has become a vital way for firms to differentiate themselves and better serve clients.

“Using big data and digital technologies,we are able to price portfolios up to 30 minutes faster — which has had a transformative impact for our clients.” Liz Roaldsen, head of digital transformation at State Street, said.

However, acquiring data, storing it, and then making sense of it, is a timely process for many firms and often draws resources away from actually figuring out ways to execute strategies based off the data you have. Crux wants to take that non-differentiated grunt work off the hands of Wall Street's hedge funds, banks, and private equity firms. 

"Just like how a logistics firm helps manufacturing company orchestrate supply chains, we are orchestrating the supply chain of data," Brittan said.

As such, Crux doesn't just connect its customers with data from providers. Instead, it helps guide its clients through the entire data supply chain, from acquiring data from providers to cleaning and preparing the data to then packaging it to clients in a way that's relevant for them.

"If you're a hedge fund, for instance, you're going to spend most of your time cleaning data, storing it, and putting IT resources behind protecting it," Brittan said. "That takes weeks of toil and shifts focus away from actually creating alpha-driving solutions with that data that can differentiate the firm from the competition."

The deployment of new technologies such as data, according to Broadridge, a financial consultancy and tech provider, will take place through a mixture of in-house development and third party partnerships.

"Given the imperative to cut costs and the opportunities offered by new technologies, many institutions are now actively seeking to embrace partners," the report titled "Pathways to Profit" said. "They are leveraging partnerships to add innovation in areas where they lack expertise or scale, or to enable them to focus the expertise they do have on their most differentiating areas."

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NOW WATCH: Gary Shilling calls bitcoin a black box and says he doesn't invest in things he doesn't understand

$7,500 and Rising: Bitcoin Price Looks Ready to Challenge Records

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Having refused to succumb to bearish technical pressures yesterday, the world's largest cryptocurrency moved back above $7,500 this morning.

Bitcoin is climbing

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

  • Bitcoin up 4.5% on Wednesday morning.
  • Around $150 off all-time highs.


LONDON — Digital currency bitcoin is rising on Wednesday, climbing close to record levels.

Bitcoin is up 4.5% to $7.465.39 at 11.50 a.m. GMT (7.50 a.m. ET):bitcoin

The rally puts bitcoin around $150 away from its all-time high of $7.609.29, a record set on Sunday.

Bitcoin has been on a tear in recent weeks, with the price rallying ahead of a planned "fork" in the underlying code of the cryptocurrency next week. The SegWit2x fork, which you can find out more about here, could split the currency in two.

The recent run has also been helped by news that CME Group, the world's largest exchange operator, plans to introduce bitcoin future contracts in response to client demand. This is seen as a stamp of legitimacy from the world of traditional finance for bitcoin.

Bitcoin has had a great 2017, rising by over 600% against the dollar this year. The price rise has been driven by increasing mainstream adoption and awareness of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies more generally. At least 55 cryptocurrency hedge funds have sprung up this year, most focusing on bitcoin.

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Middle East investment is pouring into London's skyline despite Brexit headwinds

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

View over Thames river, with the Shard in the foreground

  • London remains the top city destination for Middle Eastern property investment, says CBRE.
  • Oil-rich sovereign wealth funds remain the main source of capital for investments from the Middle East, representing $5.4 billion of outbound investment from the region.
  • International investors purchasing commercial property in London appear to have been largely undeterred by the Brexit vote.

LONDON — London remains the top city destination for Middle Eastern property investment despite Brexit-related uncertainty, according to a report.

Middle Eastern investors spent £1.28 billion ($1.68 billion) on commercial London property between Q2 2016 and Q2 2017, according to CBRE's Middle East "In and Out 2017" report.

New York ranked second at £625 million ($820 million), while Washington D.C. ranked third with £357 million ($469 million) of investment.

As with previous years, oil-rich sovereign wealth funds remain the main source of capital for investments from the Middle East, representing $5.4 billion of outbound investment from the region from a total of $10.1 billion, although they decreased 17% year-on-year.

International investors purchasing commercial property in London have been largely undeterred by the Brexit vote, and remain attracted by the high demand, long leases, and strong yields in the capital.

Chris Brett, CBRE UK's head of international capital markets, said London's position as a "gateway city" and a cheap pound continue to drive investment.

"London and the UK remain a pre-eminent market for global capital despite ongoing political uncertainties," Brett said.

"In the past year we have seen Middle East investors securing opportunistic acquisitions in the capital, most notably family wealth from ultra high-net worth individuals and sovereign wealth funds."

"Whilst this has partly been driven by a correction in yield levels and a favourable currency effect due to the depreciation of sterling, it reaffirms London’s status as a global gateway market," he said.

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Secret Service Agent Gets Extra Jail Time Over Theft of Silk Road Bitcoin

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

A former U.S. Secret Service agent has been given an additional prison term for laundering funds seized from the now-defunct dark market Silk Road.

The CFO of Goldman Sachs keeps talking about becoming the Google of Wall Street (GS)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Marty Chavez

  • Goldman Sachs is on a mission to become the Google of Wall Street.
  • A case study on Goldman Sachs' digital strategy was presented as part of an executive MBA class at Harvard Business School last week.
  • The study details the tension that this strategy has caused, and the payoffs. 

 

Goldman Sachs' effort to become the Google of Wall Street is now being taught in MBA classrooms. 

A Harvard Business School case study on the bank's digital strategy was presented as part of the executive MBA program last week. (It's worth noting here that Marty Chavez, Goldman Sachs' CFO, is a Harvard alumnus, and spoke to Harvard Institute for Applied Computational Science earlier in the year.)

The case study runs through some of the history of Goldman Sachs' efforts to switch to thinking like a tech company, some of the tension it has caused, and the payoffs.

The goal

In a talk at the Harvard Institute for Applied Computational Science earlier in the year, Chavez referenced his relationship with Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google's parent company, Alphabet. In that talk, Chavez said, "Goldman is for risk what Google is for search." And the Harvard case study references similar sentiments from Chavez:

"Imagine if Google were closed and proprietary. You would call your Google sales representative to do a search, they would come back with results, and then you would call them back to refine or redo the search. This is how our business was done—we would go back and forth with our clients on the phone until they were satisfied with the product we developed for them. Why not give them direct access to our platform and our tools?"

This model is based on taking in data, pushing it through analytics engines, then making it available to internal and external clients through Marquee, the Goldman Sachs digital platform that Chavez has championed.

The challenge

Goldman Sachs' has faced skepticism as it has opened up its data to clients. And moving to a strategy where the firm thinks in terms of applications, rather than specific financial products with individual P&Ls, has caused some tension. The HBS case study cites Adam Korn, a senior trading executive:

"Our shift from financial products to applications is organizationally complex to manage. What business are the people building these applications aligned with? It’s easy for product-specific applications, but if I am building analytics for the entire firm, where do I sit in the organization? How do I get paid? How do I know what value is being generated? These are very complicated issues."

The payoff

The HBS case study cites SIMON, Goldman Sachs' structured notes platform. In 2016, the firm shifted to a multi-seller approach, opening SIMON up so users were able to buy structured notes from rival banks as well as Goldman Sachs. Paul Russo, global co-chief operating officer of the equities franchise, said:

“We realized that growth of the single dealer model had reached capacity. To continue to grow we need to add more issuers. Clients also like competition. Having multiple issuers allows clients to mix and match credit risk against payoffs effectively.” 

According to the case study, the number of SIMON users had jumped to 15,000 by the end of 2016, up from 2,400. Goldman Sachs' structured note sales increased 4x from 2013 to 2016, the study said. 

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A small band of trading specialists are taking calls about $50 million bitcoin deals

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

oil trader

  • The explosion and maturation of the cryptocurrency market institutions pouring money into the space.
  • Firms such as DRW, a Chicago-based trader, and B2C2, a UK-based over-the-counter broker, are now regularly executing multi-million dollar trades.

 

"We got a call for a $50 million trade last week."

Kevin Beardsley isn't talking about an equities deal, or a bond trade, or a currency bet. Beardsley is the managing director at B2C2, a cryptocurrency brokerage, and he's talking about bitcoin. 

Bitcoin has risen 600% since the beginning of the year, and now big firms are jumping on the cryptocurrency bandwagon. That's having an effect on the size of trades executed by bitcoin trading desks around the world, and driving up the demand for over-the-counter (OTC) brokers, who specialize in larger trades.

Such trades are commonplace in big, actively traded markets, like for shares of companies — where they're called block trades — or bonds. And by those standards the bitcoin trading is still mostly relatively small — around $1 million or less — compared with hundreds of millions worth like you might see with a stock trade.

According to Maxime Boonen, a former interest rate swaps trader at Goldman Sachs who founded B2C2 in 2015, OTC bitcoin trade sizes have increased this year as interest in cryptocurrencies from institutional clients, such as asset managers, has buoyed. As such, larger million-dollar trades are more common at B2C2 than they were when the company was founded, according to Boonen. 

It's a similar story at Cumberland Mining, the bitcoin trading arm of DRW, a Chicago-based market maker that ordinarily trades in the world's biggest markets. DRW regularly facilitates bitcoin trades in the $1 to $5 million range with trades in the $20 to $50 range being viewed as the "gold standard" ceiling. 

"We are long bitcoin with our average transaction well north of $100,000," Bobby Cho, the head of OTC trading at Cumberland, said. 

The main driver for this newfound interest, according to Boonen, is straightforward.

"It's a feel good story," he said. "Bitcoin is always going up and institutions are being asked by their clients to get in."

Such newcomers see the explosive growth of the cryptocurrency market, which has grown from $17 billion at the beginning of the year to $200 billion, as an attractive alternative to the low-yield environment on Wall Street.

According to Lex Sokolin, a partner at Autonomous NEXT, a fintech analytics provider, companies looking to liquidate the millions of dollars raised from initial coin offerings, a red-hot cryptocurrency based fundraising method, are also bringing big trades to OTC desks. 

ICOs allow companies to raise ethereum, another cryptocurrency, by issuing their own cryptocurrency to participants or investors. In some cases, companies have raised hundreds of millions of dollars. 

"If they are looking to liquidate some of that ethereum into cash to run their business, then they're going to go to an OTC," Sokolin.

Trevor Koverko, the CEO of Polymath, a cryptocurrency company, for instance, told Business Insider his company liquidated some of the ethereum it raised from its ICO into cash via an OTC.

Boonen said the firm has ICO-funded companies coming to them "all the time." But they are very conservative about the ICO-funded companies for which they provide services. 

This is just the first wave

The market, according to Boonen, is currently witnessing the first wave of institutions entering the fray. 

"This year we've seen more nimble asset managers and brokers who deal with retail come to us," he said. "That's where it starts."

The next wave will come as the infrastructure around bitcoin continues to develop with new products such as futures, which two exchange groups have said they were preparing to launch this year, and an exchange-traded fund. An ETF would allow retail investors to more easily invest in crypto. 

Cumberland's Cho sees an ETF on the horizon over the next 12-months.

"What can happen of the back of [bitcoin futures] is an ETF," he said. "There's tons of capital sitting on the sidelines for an ETF."

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The Duke of Westminster, Britain's youngest billionaire, named in Paradise Papers

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

hugh grosvenor1

  • Hugh Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster named in latest Paradise Papers leak.
  • Grosvenor, 26, is Britain's youngest billionaire, having inherited the vast Grosvenor estate after his father's death in 2016.
  • The Grosvenor Group set up two offshore trusts — Vesta Limited, based in Bermuda, and Nakar Holding SA, based in Panama.

 

LONDON — Hugh Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster, is the latest major figure in Britain's ruling class to be named in the so-called Paradise Papers — a major leak revealing how the world's rich and famous hide their money in offshore tax havens.

The Duke, who inherited the vast fortune of his family after the death of his father last year, and subsequently became Britain's youngest billionaire at the age of just 26, is named by The Guardian newspaper on Wednesday.

Grosvenor reportedly managed, thanks to careful planning from his family's estate, to avoid paying 40% "death duties" usually levied when assets pass from one generation to another.

The latest story produced from a leak of 13.4 million files from two offshore service providers and 19 tax havens' company registries shows that several decades ago the Grosvenor estate set up two offshore trusts — Vesta Limited, based in Bermuda, and Nakar Holding SA, based in Panama. Both of these firms had shares in Grosvenor International Holdings Ltd, the international branch of the family's business.

"In March 2007, Grosvenor announced it was buying out Vesta and Nakar for £40 million. The reason given was to "better align the shareholders’ interests with the group’s activities." The companies were dissolved later that year," the Guardian reports.

A spokesperson for the Grosvenor Estate said:

"Two small overseas trusts were established over 50 years ago, when it was accepted common practice to facilitate the acquisitions of some non-UK assets. No family member has received any benefit derived from these but, as UK residents, if they ever did then they would be fully liable to tax in this country.

"Our policy is to uphold the highest standards of business practice. We are careful to ensure that our ownership of overseas property is through vehicles incorporated in the same country as the asset. Where the group occasionally has entities in offshore locations, it is typically as a result of the requirements of joint-venture partners."

The Grosvenor estate is one of London's largest landowners, with around 300 acres of West London property in its portfolio, including in wealthy, well-heeled areas like Belgravia and Mayfair.

The Grosvenor Group's portfolio also includes the Liverpool One shopping district in Liverpool, as well as shopping centres in China, and apartment buildings in Canada and Japan.

No wrongdoing is being alleged by the ICIJ or the Guardian: "There are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts. We do not intend to suggest or imply that any people, companies or other entities included in the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly."

You can read the Guardian's full report on the Grosvenor estate here.

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NOW WATCH: Gary Shilling calls bitcoin a black box and says he doesn't invest in things he doesn't understand

Britain's 'Big Six' energy firms are about to become the 'Big Five'

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Labourers work on an electricity pylon in Huangni village of Chuzhou, Anhui province March 17, 2014. Electricity consumption should rise between 6.5 percent and 7 percent this year, State Grid said on its website in January, down from last year's 7.5 percent increase. REUTERS/China Daily

  • Two of the energy sector's so-called "Big Six" suppliers in the UK have announced plans to leave the household sector and merge under a new company.
  • The plans would reduce the number of main suppliers in the UK to only five.
  • The news comes in the wake of the government's attempt to crack down on energy prices, despite warnings from the sector it could hurt profits.


LONDON — Two of the so-called "Big Six" energy providers in the UK announced plans on Wednesday to merge their UK household energy supply businesses into a new company.

SSE and npower said they have reached an agreement to combine their consumer businesses, reducing the "Big Six" household energy suppliers to only five. In September, SSE and npower served an estimated 11.5 million British customers between them.

Alistair Philips-Davies, CEO of SSE, said in a statement: "The scale of change in the energy market means we believe a separation of our household energy and services business and the proposed merger with npower will enable both entities to focus more acutely on pursuing their own dedicated strategies, and will ultimately better serve customers, employees and other stakeholders."

The government has been attempting to clamp down on "rip off energy prices" and promote competition in the sector. Prime Minister Theresa May promised in October to cap energy prices until at least 2020 in a bid to improve efficiency, competition, and value in the energy market. The promise came despite warnings the cap could curtail growth.

George Salmon, an equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said in an email: "Politicians from both sides have moved to come down on the big energy suppliers, with standard variable tariffs a high-profile target for change.

"Of the major players, SSE has the highest percentage of customers on these tariffs, so it’s perhaps no surprise to see it taking action."

SSE said the creation of a new standalone retail business would allow it to focus "entirely on strategic and operational developments in the GB [British] retail sector, including the competitive and regulatory environment." 

 

SSE also published its half-year results on Wednesday, which showed profit down 8% and earnings per share down 8.8%. SSE and npower's proposed plan is expected to be completed by the end of 2018 or early 2019.

"We're proud of our track record in customer service and have plenty to build on, but there is a huge amount of competition and we need to do more than ever to compete by providing value for money and excellent experiences for customers," said Tony Keeling, CEO of SSE Retail.

On Tuesday, Scottish Power CEO Keith Anderson urged the government to either fully regulate the energy market or to back free market competition. Anderson said: "We need clarity one way or the other," according to Energy Voice.

He said a price cap would "not help to engage those customers who could still find a better deal. It will be bad for customers, energy companies big and small, as well as investor confidence."

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JD Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin attacks Brexit 'misinformation' from business leaders and the media

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Tim Martin Wetherspoons

  • Tim Martin campaigned vocally for Brexit before the referendum.
  • Wetherspoons founder said business directors are making "factually incorrect and highly misleading" statements about leaving the European Union.
  • The pub group said its fiscal year had a positive start but warned costs were "significantly higher than last year."


LONDON — Tim Martin, chairman of pub chain JD Wetherspoon, criticised media outlets and business groups on Wednesday for spreading "misinformation" about Brexit.

Martin, who campaigned vocally for Brexit before the referendum, said in a quarterly Wetherspoons trading update that business leaders are making "factually incorrect and highly misleading" statements about leaving the European Union. He also criticised the media for repeating these statements.

"A key issue for investors and the public is the impact of Brexit on the economy," he said.

"Statements have been made by some senior PLC directors and trade organisations which are factually incorrect and highly misleading. Unsurprisingly, the misinformation has been adopted by many among the media, investors and the public, as if it were true."

He cited the example of Sainsbury's chairman David Tyler saying that a deal with the EU was necessary to avoid higher prices after Brexit.

Martin said this was "untrue," and said that leaving the bloc without a transitional deal in March 2019 would, in fact, allow the UK to lower food prices.

"Wetherspoon calculates that this approach would reduce the average cost of a meal by about 3.5 pence and the cost of a drink by 0.5 pence," Martin said.

READ MORE: Tesco CEO: Ex-Sainsbury boss is wrong on Brexit — but 'no deal' could push up food prices

The group said its fiscal year had a "positive start" but warned costs were "significantly higher than last year."

It said sales were up 6.1% in the three months to October 29, beating analyst FactSet's 4.7% expectations. Shares climbed 0.72% by 8:51 a.m. GMT (3.52 a.m. ET).

In September last year, Martin suggested the UK doesn't need to sign a trade deal with the European Union because his pubs don't sign deals with suppliers.

"Wetherspoon's experience indicates that reaching formal trade deals with reluctant counterparties is impossible – and it is unwise to try," he said.

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Deutsche Bank CEO Cryan hints technology could destroy thousands of jobs at the bank

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

John Cryan

  • Deutsche Bank CEO John Cryan hints that the bank could cut thousands more jobs.
  • He said in an interview that the bank's headcount is significantly larger than most competitors.
  • The bank is set to use technology to cut costs and battle shrinking revenues.

 

Deutsche Bank CEO John Cryan has hinted that the lender could cut thousands more jobs as it continues to adjust to expectations of substantially lower future revenues.

"We employ 97,000 people," Cryan said in an interview with the Financial Times. "Most big peers have more like half that number."

The bank is already in the process of cutting around 9,000 jobs globally, with 4,000 gone so far. The cuts are part of a plan announced by Cryan in late 2015, soon after he became CEO, and most of those job losses are the result of efficiencies created by using technology.

"We’re too manual, which can make you error-prone and it makes you inefficient. There’s a lot of machine learning and mechanisation that we can do," Cryan said in the FT interview.

Job cuts could extend to Deutsche Bank's branch network as well, he said, noting that customers are increasingly shifting to using online banking functions, rather than going into branches.

"The truth is if I went to a load of branches, I’d wait quite a lot of the day before I encountered [any] customers. They just don’t come in as often as they used to," he said.

Cryan's comments echo similar remarks he made in September this year when he argued that a "big number" of staff at the company will ultimately be replaced by robots and other forms of technology as the firm embraces a "revolutionary spirit" going forwards.

"In our banks, we have people behaving like robots doing mechanical things. Tomorrow we’re going to have robots behaving like people," he told a conference in Frankfurt.

Many people believe that a large number of more straightforward jobs, such as data entry, will soon be replaced by automation as a result of technological advances in banking and the wider world.

A 2016 report from the World Economic Forum argued that automation will lead to a net loss of over 5 million jobs in 15 major developed and emerging economies by 2020.

Certain banking roles are already being impacted by the rise of so-called "robo-advisors" which are able to give financial advice to customers without relying on an actual person.

HSBC is one major bank to roll out robo-advice, launching a service in June that "will use data and algorithms to deliver tailored advice and will make personal recommendations based on an individual’s unique circumstances."

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Marks & Spencer CEO warns there are 'still many structural issues' as turnaround plan accelerates

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Steve Rowe, CEO of Marks and Spencer, poses for a photograph at the company head office in London, Britain, November 30, 2016.

  • M&S "accelerating our plans to build a business with sustainable, profitable growth, making M&S special again."
  • Half-year results show revenue up 2.3% but profits slipping 5%.
  • CFO Helen Weir leaving.


LONDON — Marks & Spencer CEO Steve Rowe said on Wednesday that he is accelerating the pace of his turnaround plan as figures show steady revenue but slipping profits.

However, shares opened higher on Wednesday morning as the City was expecting a worse profit performance. Neil Wilson, a senior market analyst at ETX Capital, called Marks & Spencer's half-year numbers "pretty solid results with revenues in the half year up and profits not sliding by as much as expected."

Rowe said in a statement on Wednesday: "The business still has many structural issues to tackle as we embark on the next five years of our transformation, in the context of a very challenging retail and consumer environment. Today we are accelerating our plans to build a business with sustainable, profitable growth, making M&S special again."

M&S said on Wednesday it will "accelerate our UK Clothing & Home space rationalisation plan" and told investors to expect floor space in this area to shrink by 1.5% next year, suggesting more M&S stores could close.

Marks & Spencer has been underperforming the market and rivals for at least a decade and Rowe, an M&S veteran, was appointed CEO in April 2016 with the brief of turning around the business. He has been reducing discounting, closing underperforming stores, and rolling out more food stores, one of the better performing areas of M&S.

Rowe said M&S has made "good progress in remedying the immediate and burning issues." Half-year results, published on Wednesday, show:

  • Revenue up 2.6% to £5.1 billion
  • Profit before adjusted items down 5.3% to £219.1 million
  • Profit after tax and adjusted items up 432% to £84.6 million.

The City had been expecting profit before adjustments to fall by 10% and M&S shares opened 2% higher. However, gains were quickly eroded and, at 8.15 a.m. GMT (4.15 a.m. ET), shares are up 0.9%:marks

The swift reversal appears to be driven by investors noticing M&S' more cautious tone when it comes to food retailing. The department store said it is slowing the rollout of more standalone food stores as "headwinds... have intensified as competitors have encroached on some of our space with the rapid growth of convenience."

Independent retail analyst Nick Bubb said in his Wednesday morning email: "Just as the struggling Clothing and Home business of Marks & Spencer appears to have turned a corner, a new problem has emerged."

Helen Weir Marks & SpencerM&S said it will "reposition our food offer for future growth." The business has recently moved into the online grocery market.

ETX Capital's Wilson said: "The real test is Christmas and the weak figures for October from the industry (Next, John Lewis), suggests things could be rough.

"From the statement, it is unclear what exactly management thinks regards Christmas and this could be a sign of nervousness about the slacker consumer market."

Separately on Wednesday, M&S announced that CFO Helen Weir is leaving to "pursue a plural career." Weir has been at M&S since 2015 and will remain in the role until a replacement can be found.

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Bitcoin Price Rebounds to $7,400 as SegWit2x Support Declines

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

[…]

The post Bitcoin Price Rebounds to $7,400 as SegWit2x Support Declines appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

European Central Bank Member: We Aren't Ignoring Cryptocurrency

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

European Central Bank board member Benoît Cœuré says that the group is following bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but do not consider them threats.

UBS: 'Inflation is not dead, just sleeping'

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

sleeping floor

  • Swiss bank UBS used its latest Global Economic Outlook to discuss the prospects for global inflation going forward.
  • "Inflation is not dead, just sleeping," the bank said, arguing that underlying inflation around the world is set to return.
  • "20% of the countries we cover have already closed their output gaps and we see the first stirrings of wage and price pressures," the bank said.

LONDON — The days of high global inflation aren't completely over, they're just taking a bit of a breather. 

That's the opinion of a team of economists from Swiss bank UBS in its latest Global Economic Outlook note, released this week.

In the years since the financial crisis, inflation worldwide — particularly in developed countries — has been stuck, struggling to get off the ground. Price growth in the USA and eurozone has even dropped into negative territory at times.

This sclerotic inflationary climate seen across the globe in recent years has led some commentators to argue that we will never truly return to the environment that previously predominated. Lots of things have been blamed — big tech firms like Amazon and Spotify, and changes in global demographics to name just two.

But UBS's team doesn't buy it. In their words inflation "is not dead, just sleeping." 

"20% of the countries we cover have already closed their output gaps and we see the first stirrings of wage and price pressures," the team, which includes Arend Kapteyn, Reinhard Cluse, and Pierre Lafourcade, writes.

"The transitory weakness in core inflation in the US is an outlier: the number of countries with increasing core inflation is at its highest since 2011." 

It will be a long, slow road to inflation's return — in the form of consumer price growth and wage inflation — but the process has already begun, UBS says.

"The process is still slow for most, but there are notable exceptions: wage growth in Central Europe has doubled over the last few quarters, and we view Japan as being on the cusp of a substantial pick-up in inflation.

UBS's economists have fundamental concerns with the prevailing narrative about inflation in the markets — namely that the way inflation works has changed forever — saying that the previously mentioned "transitory" weakness in US core inflation has disproportionately influenced that narrative.

Here is UBS's argument:

"We postulate that it has been disproportionately influenced by the fall in core inflation in the US this year, which is precisely the wrong lens through which to view inflation developments in other countries. The US has one of the lowest Phillips curve slopes internationally, and generally displays very little co-movement with core inflation in other countries (see also the section on factor models later in this overview).

"While it is generally true that there is still quite a bit of slack across countries, it is no longer universally so. We estimate that output gaps have already closed in eight countries in our sample (see Figure 24 below), a few of which (Japan, Hungary, Czech Republic) show unmistakable signs of price pressures."

And here is figure 24, as mentioned above:

Screen Shot 2017 11 07 at 12.07.23

Returning to Japan, UBS believes that the world's third largest economy — which has been held up in recent years as a model of low growth and low inflation — will provide a perfect analogue for inflation around the world going forward. According to UBS, it will be much, much healthier for the economy than some analysts expect.

Here's the bank one final time:

"Barring a strong appreciation of the Yen or commodity price shocks that spill over into core inflation, current labour market conditions suggest that with unemployment headed toward 2.5% by the end of next year, core inflation should be well on its way to 1.5% by year-end.

"That, to us, will be one of the biggest stories of 2018: the country that no one believes can reflate will actually be among the first to do so and force a re-assessment of how dormant inflation truly is elsewhere once slack is eliminated. Our view is that this rethink would be healthy, but it is not necessarily urgent."

And here's the corresponding chart:

Screen Shot 2017 11 07 at 12.20.48

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New York Preschool Accepts Bitcoin, Shuns Credit Cards

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

[…]

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Scaling Bitcoin 2017: Science Is Central in Stanford (and the Politics Ignored)

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Scaling Bitcoin Stanford team

Stanford University hosted the fourth edition of the Scaling Bitcoin conference over the weekend of November 4–5: “Scaling Bitcoin 2017: Scaling the Edge.”

The annual conference, sometimes referred to as a “workshop,” has in its short history grown into somewhat of an institute within the Bitcoin space. It aims to be the main stage for Bitcoin’s technical and academic communities, with little room for commercial interests — and perhaps even less for the “scaling drama” that has grown to be the norm online.

“This is the place where we want to focus on engineering, not politics,” said Anton Yemelyanov, this year’s planning committee chair, as he introduced the event on Saturday morning. “We want everyone to have objective discussions from an engineering standpoint.”

Scaling Bitcoin Within the Scaling Debate

Scaling Bitcoin has a short but potent history.

The first two conferences were hastily organized one after the other in the second half of 2015, both in direct response to the new-at-the-time block size limit dispute and a looming hard fork through Bitcoin XT. The Montreal edition, the first of the two conferences, was instrumental in bringing together Bitcoin’s technical community, which had up until that point mostly communicated through chat channels and mailing lists. And the second edition in Hong Kong introduced Bitcoin’s mostly Chinese mining community onto the stage for the first time, quite literally. Faced with a contentious hard fork, the events were instrumental in building community among developers and across continents.

And the conferences proved pivotal in averting the crisis — at least temporarily. Hong Kong saw the introduction of Segregated Witness, presented by Blockstream engineer and major Bitcoin Core contributor Dr. Pieter Wuille. This innovation was included as a centerpiece in Bitcoin’s scaling roadmap, proposed by Blockstream CTO and Bitcoin Core maintainer Gregory Maxwell right after the conference, and was endorsed by large parts of the Bitcoin ecosystem. It finally activated on the Bitcoin network this summer.

Now, two years and three Scaling Bitcoin conferences after the Montreal edition, another controversial hard fork looms. BTC1 — maintained by former Bitcoin Core contributor and Bloq CEO Jeff Garzik — is scheduled to hard fork next week as per the New York Agreement in order to double Bitcoin’s block weight limit — an effort dubbed “SegWit2x.”

Yet, this upcoming hard fork did not demand much attention in Stanford. Apart from subtle remarks buried throughout some of the talks, the topic of SegWit2x was almost completely absent from the Scaling Bitcoin program. Illustratively, Bobby Lee, CEO of BTCC and one of the few outspoken SegWit2x proponents on stage, even refused to take any questions on the hard fork after his invited talk — instead focusing on Bitcoin’s meteoric price rise over the past years.

The Talks and the Science

Scaling Bitcoin instead continued on the path set out last year at the third event, hosted in Milan. With a broader scope than scaling alone, privacy and fungibility were prominent topics, while smart contracts, fees, mining and more were part of the program as well.

Perhaps the biggest innovations presented throughout the weekend, at least within the realm of features that could feasibly be implemented on Bitcoin without rigorous protocol changes, were presented by some of the veterans (by now) in the space.

Tadge Dryja, co-author of the lightning network white paper and currently employed by the MIT Digital Currency Initiative, presented “Discreet Log Contracts.” If the math checks out like he thinks it does, these could effectively realize trustless oracle systems, arguably offering a superior (being simpler) alternative to the bulk of advanced smart contracts. Put bluntly, some think these kinds of solutions could make resource-intensive systems like Ethereum obsolete.

Along similar conceptual lines, Blockstream mathematician Andrew Poelstra presented “scriptless scripts.” Utilizing clever cryptography — specifically, signature aggregation — smart contracts could be anchored into a basic blockchain without needing to embed the entire smart contract code itself. Originally designed for the Mimblewimble protocol, the concept could be leveraged by Bitcoin, too.

And speaking of veterans in the space, Nick Szabo — partnered with (among others) Bloomberg contributor Elaine Ou — presented his proposal to broadcast Bitcoin transactions over radio waves. Not so subtly referencing China’s recent crackdown on Bitcoin, the two detailed how Bitcoin could travel around the globe (and over the great firewall of China) without so much as needing an internet connection.

When the topic of Bitcoin’s block size limit — the “original” scaling issue that spawned the conferences — came up at all, it was mostly in the context of propagation speed. Perhaps no coincidence, the two most relevant presentations on this topic were based on work by some of the people involved with previous hard fork attempts. The Bitcoin Unlimited team presented their test results on the “Gigablock” network, which they believe safely supports blocks that exceed current limits by several orders of magnitude. And UMass Amherst professor Brian Levine presented the “Graphene” block propagation protocol, co-designed by Bitcoin’s former lead developer Gavin Andresen.

To the extent that next week’s hard fork was discussed, Anthony Towns’s presentation probably came closest. Towns detailed how support for future protocol changes could be cleverly determined through market dynamics. Though, while interesting, this type of solution will not be ready in time for the SegWit2x hard fork.

The Hard Forks and the Politics

Indeed, in contrast to some of the previous events, a sense of urgency was mostly absent in Stanford.

This could be in part because most of Bitcoin’s technical community has by now roughly settled on a path forward — and SegWit2x is no part of it. Similarly, the question is not so much whether Bitcoin will scale predominantly through second layers; for them, at least, it will. Rather, topics of research now focus on how these second-layer technologies can be optimized for performance, privacy and more.

Additionally, as a somewhat loosely organized volunteer effort, the team overseeing the conferences consists of slightly varying people from one event to the next. And resulting from a difference in vision for the 2017 edition, some of the earlier organizers as well as a segment of Bitcoin’s technical community were absent for this round.

Perhaps as a result, the sense of community building typical for some of the previous events was not as prominent in Stanford. And the question of how to deal with a looming contentious hard fork was a more central topic at the similar but more informal Breaking Bitcoin conference in Paris several weeks ago. In little over two years, Scaling Bitcoin instead transformed from what is best described as an emergency summit to something perhaps more akin to a regular academic conference — even though an emergency summit would not have seemed entirely inappropriate at this point in time.

For a complete overview and videos of all presentations, visit scalingbitcoin.com. (Or follow this link for transcripts.)

The post Scaling Bitcoin 2017: Science Is Central in Stanford (and the Politics Ignored) appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

CBOE President: Bitcoin ETFs Will Follow Futures Products

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Derivatives provider CBOE is stepping up its praise for bitcoin ahead of an expected trading product launch.

Bitcoin's Bogeyman Cometh: Why Segwit2x Is a 51% Attack

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Bitcoin startups must have the tech's best interests in mind? Entrepreneur Edan Yago argues that in the case of Segwit2x, this has proven untrue.

Someone deleted some code in a popular cryptocurrency wallet — and as much as $280 million in ethereum is locked up

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Trader head in hands

  • An estimated $280 million worth of the cryptocurrency ethereum is now locked up after a user accidentally deleted the code necessary to access the digital wallets hosted by the company Parity Technologies.
  • The vulnerability impacted most of the "multi-sig" digital wallets launched through Parity since July 20.
  • Multi-sig wallets usually contain large sums of money since they are primarily used by startups or large groups looking to prevent any one member of the group from running off with the money. 

 

An estimated $280 million worth of the cryptocurrency ethereum is currently locked up thanks to one person's mistake.

An unidentified user accidentally locked up all of the recently-created digital wallets within Parity — a popular digital wallet provider — by deleting the code library required to use those wallets, according to a critical security alert posted to Parity Technology's blog on Tuesday. 

The freeze impacts all "multi-sig" wallets created on Parity after July 20.

Multi-sig wallets — short for multiple signature — are especially popular with cryptocurrency startups and other collective groups because they require more than one person to agree before any currency gets moved around. It's a safeguard against rogue employees who might run off with the cryptocurrencies for their own gain.

For this reason, it's also a popular way of storing cryptocurrency raised in initial coin offerings, or ICOs — a new fundraising technique used by some companies in the blockchain space, in which investors trade cryptocurrencies like ether and bitcoin for new currencies created by the company. 

Exactly how much cryptocurrency has disappeared due to the bug is unclear, but some cryptocurrency blogs have reported that Parity wallets make up 20% of the entire ethereum network. 

Researchers familiar with the space have estimated around $280 million worth of ether is now inaccessible, including $90 million of which was raised by Parity's founder Gavin Woods.

Parity has not shared any official totals.  

SEE ALSO: These 5 companies are betting on Ethereum to completely reinvent the back end of the internet

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