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Venezuela Nationalizes Petro, Will Introduce Crypto-Based Salary System for Workers

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

Venezuela Launches “Petros” Cryptocurrency Amid Growing Skepticism

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro recently revealed that the nation’s oil-backed cryptocurrency, the petro, will be used as a unit of account by the state oil company PDVSA. The government is also developing a new salary system that will allow employees to receive their wages in petro funds over fiat.

“As of next Monday, Venezuela will have a second accounting unit based on the price and value of the petro. It will be a second accounting unit of the republic and will begin operations as a mandatory accounting unit of our PDVSA oil industry,” Maduro announced.

The petro was introduced through a pre-sale back in February of 2018 as a means to attract foreign capital to boost the Venezuelan economy and circumvent both EU and U.S. sanctions. It was designed to shore up an economy in shambles, as the bolivar has been struck with rampant hyperinflation over the past year.

From the very beginning, the currency aroused controversy both in and out of Venezuela. Many in the National Assembly publicly claimed that the currency was potentially illegal and that its white paper lacked sufficient details or offered unscrupulous arguments for its creation. Concerns further arose in the U.S., which led to President Trump’s subsequent petro-trading ban in March of 2018.

Some arguments in favor of the cryptocurrency state that the petro makes paying taxes and settlements with state bodies less expensive and that the currency can be easily — and quickly — converted into USD.

Regardless, cryptocurrency is often viewed as an economically liberating tool in the everyday Venezuelan’s struggle to survive. Bitcoin Magazine recently chronicled the struggles of a Venezuelan resident under the alias Hector, who received a donation of roughly 0.5 nano. Though worth less than $2 in USD, the funds were the beginning of what would become a growing account for Hector, who later garnered approximately $950 worth of the cryptocurrency. He is now able to provide his family with food and other supplies once thought unobtainable on a regular basis.

“My dad gave me a huge hug because it was a relief for all of us,” he states. “We are five in our house; four of us are adults, and we work in different areas. Every month, when we get paid, our salaries weren’t enough to buy basic supplies or even food. We were almost running out of food some days ago. It was common for that to happen every six or seven days after getting paid.”

Venezuela’s national currency, the bolivar, ranks high on the “worthless” meter as of late. Maduro believes the new salary system will stabilize wages and offer consumers stronger buying power, which could bear positive repercussions on the country’s ailing economy.

“By 2020, the nation will be able to recover economic and social stability and prosperity,” he announces. “We are building a new revolutionary and humanist economic thought with a new strategic economy for a new economic model. On August 20, a new era will begin. In real time, Venezuelans will know the price of the sovereign bolivar and the petro, made public by the central bank. Also, detailed explanations of the salary system and the prices based on the petro will be forthcoming on August 20. Speculation has ended!” he stated in a speech announcing the cryptocurrency.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Bitcoin Investor Sues AT&T for $224 Million after Mobile-Linked Theft

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

A bitcoin investor has sued telecommunications giant AT&T for $224 million after losing millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency in a theft that he says is the cellular service provider’s fault. According to CNBC, California resident Michael Terpin has filed a 69-page complaint against AT&T in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, in which he

The post Bitcoin Investor Sues AT&T for $224 Million after Mobile-Linked Theft appeared first on CCN

AMA With Origin Team Reveals Plans for Decentralized Sharing Economy

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

sharing

Matt Liu, Josh Fraser and former PayPal head Yu Pan want to bring the blockchain to the sharing economy. The trio is devising a platform with an emphasis on inclusive, peer-to-peer service hubs designed to decentralize the same consumer cost-friendly business models that have made companies like Airbnb, Uber and Lyft so popular in recent years.

On August 9, 2018, the three hosted an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on Reddit to discuss the project known as Origin.

According to Fraser, Origin has sought to build something that would classify as a “community effort” from the very beginning. Inspired by systems like the Ethereum Project, Protocol Labs and Ox, executives aim to give individuals new ways of trading code, information and cryptocurrency.

What Does Origin Do?

Origin targets the global sharing economy by seeking to create decentralized, peer-to-peer marketplaces. Buyers and sellers can engage in transactions through a distributed open web using the Ethereum blockchain and the Interplanetary File System (IPFS). The platform is fully decentralized and claims to decrease censorship.

One of the initial questions was why Pan — who was previously involved in both Google and PayPal, some of the internet’s biggest companies — decided to work with Origin and enter the crypto field in the first place. Pan replied that it was at PayPal where he met both Fraser and Liu, who increased his interest in the ideals and strengths of digital currencies.

“It was just really exciting seeing what the field has become,” he explained. “Before this, I was working on VR, mobile streaming, kids’ activities, electronic lending and some robot stuff.”

Bigger, Better and Broader

The question served as a minor introduction. From there, the inquiries became more complicated and diverse, and centered on Origin’s later plans. One Reddit user asked about the company’s finances and potential insurance offerings. Insurance has become a top issue in the crypto space — particularly how exchanges and crypto-based ventures plan to insure and protect workers and clients alike.

According to Liu, new forms of decentralized insurance options are likely to emerge in the future, as there probably won’t be a parent company providing initial protection for such platforms. While nothing presently exists, he says that Origin is working on arbitration that utilizes crypto-economic incentives and on-demand insurance services.

One Thing Leads to Another

The discussion on insurance led to one regarding customer safety, as well as company compliance. With regulation still up in the air, many members of the public say they don’t trust cryptocurrency and call it “risky.”

One user stated that centralized platforms have “vetting systems or programs for new drivers or hosts to be initiated” and asked if these elements would still be present with a decentralized platform.”

Fraser responded that Origin will instill strong identity layers through what’s known as the ERC 725, an open identity standard built through the Ethereum network. “We’ve seen the dangers of companies having too much power from controlling user data,” he explains. “From a practical standpoint, a lot of the other features we’re wanting to build into our platform require a trustworthy identity system in place for them to work. We’re proud to be able to contribute on this important standard for the benefit of the whole community.

“Users on the Origin platform will be able to build their reputations across multiple marketplaces, and people will be able to decide for themselves who they want to trust and transact with. Trusted third parties will be able to verify parts of your identity, and then publish attestations on the blockchain on your behalf.”


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

BitAngels Founder Sues AT&T for $224 million Following Wallet Hacks

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

at&t

BitAngels founder Michael Terpin has filed a $224 million lawsuit against telecoms provider AT&T, alleging that its negligence led him to lose about $24 million worth of cryptocurrency to fraudsters, according to a CNBC report. In a 69-page deposition to the Los Angeles U.S. District Court on August 15, 2018, Terpin claims that AT&T “willingly” cooperated with hackers who co-opted his identity and thus gained access to his crypto wallets.

Crypto Wallet Hack

According to the filing, Terpin suffered two separate hacks within seven months of each other, with the second hack resulting in a loss of nearly $24 million in token funds.

He says that a fraudster successfully obtained his phone number by cooperating with an insider, escaping the otherwise mandatory identity check that would be required to get such information. After obtaining the phone number, according to the complaint, the fraudster was able to gain access to Terpin's crypto wallet and steal his funds.

An excerpt from Terpin's complaint reads as follows:

"What AT&T did was like a hotel giving a thief with a fake ID a room key and a key to the room safe to steal jewelry in the safe from the rightful owner."

In its emailed response to the media, AT&T maintained its innocence, stating that it disputes the allegations and looks forward to presenting its case in court. Terpin is seeking a payout of $200 million in punitive damages in addition to $24 million in compensatory damages.

The event once again brings into focus the lingering security issues within the crypto space, coming on the heels of news that John McAfee's “unhackable” BitFi wallet has allegedly been breached for the second time in as many weeks.

As one of the industry’s pain points, crypto fund security has long been identified as an existential threat to the entry of traditional financial institutions into the space. A number of solutions like Coinbase Custody and a proposed Goldman Sachs crypto custody solution have been mooted as potential solutions to the problem.

Alongside Roger Ver and Brock Pierce, Terpin currently runs BitAngels, an angel investment group specifically directed at bitcoin and cryptocurrency entrepreneurs, and the BitAngels/DApps Fund which focuses on digital currency.





This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Stocks get whacked after Tencent's rare profit decline raises growth concerns

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

FILE PHOTO: Tencent's booth is pictured at the Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) 2017 in Beijing, China April 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo

Stocks fell Wednesday after the Chinese technology giant Tencent reported a rare profit decline. Technology and energy companies took the biggest hits following the disappointing earnings report, which stoked fears of slowing growth. The dollar rose, and Treasury yields fell. 

Here's the scoreboard:

Dow Jones industrial average25,161.45 −138.47 (-0.55%)

S&P 500: 2,818.98 −20.98 (-0.74%)

Nasdaq Composite7,774.93 −95.96 1.22%)

  1. Amid escalating tensions between Washington and Ankara, Turkey hiked tariffs on American imports including vehicles, tobacco and alcohol. The Trump administration had last week announced it would double tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum. Following Turkey's announcement, the country secured a $15 billion investment from Qatar.
  2. Federal securities regulators sent subpoenas to Tesla after CEO Elon Musk tweeted about plans to take the company private last week. "Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured," Musk said in the tweet that is under scrutiny for possibly breaking federal securities law. Goldman Sachs is advising Musk on his privatization plans.
  3. US retail activity sped up more than expected last month. Retail sales jumped a seasonally adjusted 0.5% in July from a month before, the Commerce Department said, beating economist forecasts for a 0.1% rise. 
  4. Earnings season rolls on. Tencent reported its first profit decline in 13 years. Macy's disappointed with a decline in total sales. Uber, a private company, narrowed its losses from a year earlier but still saw slowing growth.

And a look at the upcoming economic calendar:

  • Building permit and housing start numbers are out in the US.
  • Walmart and Nvidia report earnings.

SEE ALSO: IT'S OFFICIAL: Goldman Sachs is advising Elon Musk on his plans to take Tesla private (TSLA)

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: An early bitcoin investor explains what most people get wrong about the cryptocurrency

Uber could rake in more than $10 billion in revenue this year, but its growth is starting to slow down

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

Dara Khosrowshahi

  • Uber gave CNBC its second-quarter fianancials.
  •  Uber's Q2 net revenue was $2.7 billion, up 51% from the same quarter last year, and gross bookings were $12 billion, up 41% year-over-year.
  • That represents a slight slowdown in growth from Q1.

 

Uber is cruising toward $10 billion in revenue this year, despite a recent slump in growth, according to the company.

On Wednesday, Uber provided its second quarter financials to CNBC, reporting that the company generated $2.7 billion in net revenue, up 51% from the same quarter last year. Gross bookings were $12 billion, an increase of 41% year-over-year.

Uber's revenue and bookings growth dropped off slightly since Q1.

Here's what Uber told CNBC:

  • Net revenue for Q2: Uber reported $2.7 billion, up 51% from the same quarter last year. At that rate, Uber is on track for $10 billion in revenue this year.
  • Gross bookings for Q2: Uber reported $12 billion, up 41% year-over-year.
  • Adjusted net loss for Q2: Uber reported $659 million, up from $577 million in Q1. There's no standard definition for how a company comes up with this "adjusted" figure.
  • Gross cash on hand for Q2: Uber self-reported $7.3 billion at the end of the June quarter. That's an increase of $1 billion from the quarter before.

Uber is a private company, which means the company volunteers these financials to its own investors on a regular basis, but it does not publicly report them in a government filing every quarter. However, in the past, it has shared these figures with the media. 

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has said that he sees the startup on track for a 2019 IPO. It was last valued at $69 billion by private-market investors, though SoftBank recently purchased shares in the company at a $48 billion valuation. 

Read the full CNBC article here>>

SEE ALSO: https://www.businessinsider.com/uber-lyft-win-endorsement-in-santa-monica-california-over-bird-2018-8

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NOW WATCH: An early investor in Uber, Airbnb, and bitcoin explains why it's actually a good sign that no one is spending their crypto

'We'll have a cordless world': Verizon's latest 5G announcement seems to be a missile aimed directly at the cable-TV business

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

Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg speaks during a press conference on the first day of the Mobile World Congress 2015 at the Fira Gran Via complex on March 2, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain. The annual Mobile World Congress hosts some of the wold's largest communication companies, with many unveiling their latest phones and wearables gadgets.

  • Verizon will bundle YouTube TV along with 5G in its four initial 5G cities.
  • YouTube TV typically runs at $40 a month and offers more than 60 channels, including networks like CBS, Fox, and ESPN.
  • The move seems aimed to disrupt the cable industry.

Verizon wants to help give you a great line up of TV channels — without any need for a cord.

The wireless giant will include YouTube TV service and Apple TV 4K along with 5G service to customers in each of its four initial markets — Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento — when the service hits these cities later in 2018.  

The announcement seems an indication that Verizon believes it can compete with rivals in the telecom and pay-TV industries without acquiring content (unlike AT&T, which just closed a massive deal to acquire Time Warner). 

Indeed, amid a buying frenzy for media content that has grasped the broader industry, Verizon has retained its focus on technology and network improvements.

That move isn't just about better cell phone service — Verizon is aiming much higher. It seems to view 5G as a cable-TV alternative.

5G may help accelerate cord cutting

Specifically, the decision to offer bundling of residential broadband service and live TV implies that customers would be able to cut linear-TV subscriptions to get similar programming for free.

"We think our technology and our network is out asset," Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg said on CNBC Wednesday. "And whatever partners we can get them and we announced yesterday, partnering with Apple, YouTube — I think we have another way to deal with our assets. Our distribution is fantastic."

YouTube TV typically runs at $40 a month and offers live TV distributed OTT, or "over the top," without a cable subscription. It includes more than 60 channels, including networks like CBS, Fox, and ESPN. Apple TV 4K is a product that allows viewers access to streaming services, like Netflix, HBO, and Hulu, and retails for around $179.

Verizon sees its 5G technology as a way to offer more choices within their home, whether that be how they access the internet or the kinds of content they can stream, a spokesman for Verizon told Business Insider.

Verizon doesn't seem likely to follow AT&T's playbook

"They recognize the value of content but don't feel that they need to control it or own it," said Mary Ann Halford, a former Fox International executive vice president who is now a senior adviser at the strategy consulting firm OC&C Strategy Consultants. "They believe there are plenty of players that are open to licensing or packaging their content with 5G."

Verizon also seems to have disruption of the industry in mind. 5G will give you "totally new innovation, how you can disrupt industries, change the way you're thinking about technologies," Vestberg said Wednesday.

It's unclear financially what the announcement means for consumers. Verizon has yet to announce how much 5G broadband service will cost, and it hasn't confirmed how long it will offer the YouTube TV bundle to customers. 

But what's clear is that Verizon doesn't think it needs to pursue deals to compete with AT&T in the market. It's committed to its focus on 5G and what that means for technology improvements for customers.

"We we started to design the 5G, we decided we'll have a cordless world," Vestberg said. "You're going to get the connectivity that is 100% all of the time. And the speed that you have never seen before wireless."

SEE ALSO: A decision to allow the AT&T-Time Warner merger to go ahead (again) could depend on a random draw — and AT&T may have shot itself in the foot

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: An early bitcoin investor explains what most people get wrong about the cryptocurrency

Vietnamese Government Bans Mining Hardware Imports

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

Vietnam

Following a high-level proposal in July to ban the importation of all cryptocurrency mining equipment into Vietnam, the Vietnamese Customs Department has announced a total ban on all mining rig imports, according to a local news outlet.

The ban comes at a time when the country is dealing with the fallout of July's Sky Mining scandal, which saw the CEO of a crypto mining firm abscond with more than $35 million in company and investor funds.

Zero Tolerance Stance

According to data from the Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department, crypto mining equipment imports were shuttered by officials in July 2018. Before the restriction, private individuals and firms in the country brought in more than 3,664 mining rigs between January and June. These imports mostly consisted of Bitmain's Antminer ASIC rigs.

Last year, more than 7,000 mining rigs were imported into the country despite the government's noted anti-crypto stance. Following the Sky Mining scandal last month, however, local Vietnamese news outlets report that the Vietnamese Customs Department almost instantly imposed total import restrictions on miners, indicating that the government's negative stance on crypto has morphed into open restriction.

Government Regulation

Prior to the policy change, Vietnam's government had a reputation for being unwilling to regulate the cryptocurrency industry, bluntly declaring last year that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are not “lawful means of payment.” It also explicitly stated that issuing or using crypto as a means of payment within Vietnam is forbidden, indicating that it had no intention of officially engaging with crypto finance, whether the government has the resources to suppress it or not.

Despite the rhetoric, crypto mining persisted as a big business in Vietnam, with port authorities in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City issuing clearance for thousands of mining rigs intended to mine bitcoin and litecoin in 2017.

Officially, dealing with cryptocurrency trading has carried with it the risk of criminal prosecution and a fine of up to $9,000, but, until recently, the government generally seemed to turn a blind eye to crypto mining.

In May, the government decided to fine bitcoin.vn, a popular Vietnamese crypto exchange. The following month, Sky Mining investors who were already spooked by regulatory aggression toward crypto businesses noticed people claiming to be “maintenance personnel” clearing out the company's mining facility. The personnel transported the mining rigs to an unknown destination while investors were left with no information other than a Facebook post by CEO Le Minh Tam, where he apologized and promised to declare bankruptcy.





This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Vietnamese Government Bans Mining Hardware Imports

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

Vietnam

Following a high-level proposal in July to ban the importation of all cryptocurrency mining equipment into Vietnam, the Vietnamese Customs Department has announced a total ban on all mining rig imports, according to a local news outlet.

The ban comes at a time when the country is dealing with the fallout of July's Sky Mining scandal, which saw the CEO of a crypto mining firm abscond with more than $35 million in company and investor funds.

Zero Tolerance Stance

According to data from the Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department, crypto mining equipment imports were shuttered by officials in July 2018. Before the restriction, private individuals and firms in the country brought in more than 3,664 mining rigs between January and June. These imports mostly consisted of Bitmain's Antminer ASIC rigs.

Last year, more than 7,000 mining rigs were imported into the country despite the government's noted anti-crypto stance. Following the Sky Mining scandal last month, however, local Vietnamese news outlets report that the Vietnamese Customs Department almost instantly imposed total import restrictions on miners, indicating that the government's negative stance on crypto has morphed into open restriction.

Government Regulation

Prior to the policy change, Vietnam's government had a reputation for being unwilling to regulate the cryptocurrency industry, bluntly declaring last year that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are not “lawful means of payment.” It also explicitly stated that issuing or using crypto as a means of payment within Vietnam is forbidden, indicating that it had no intention of officially engaging with crypto finance, whether the government has the resources to suppress it or not.

Despite the rhetoric, crypto mining persisted as a big business in Vietnam, with port authorities in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City issuing clearance for thousands of mining rigs intended to mine bitcoin and litecoin in 2017.

Officially, dealing with cryptocurrency trading has carried with it the risk of criminal prosecution and a fine of up to $9,000, but, until recently, the government generally seemed to turn a blind eye to crypto mining.

In May, the government decided to fine bitcoin.vn, a popular Vietnamese crypto exchange. The following month, Sky Mining investors who were already spooked by regulatory aggression toward crypto businesses noticed people claiming to be “maintenance personnel” clearing out the company's mining facility. The personnel transported the mining rigs to an unknown destination while investors were left with no information other than a Facebook post by CEO Le Minh Tam, where he apologized and promised to declare bankruptcy.





This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

A former Tesla engineer says the company silenced her entire team after they brought up safety and quality issues (TSLA)

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

Cristina Balan

  • Martin Tripp, the former Tesla employee being sued by the company, has filed counterclaims including allegations Tesla tried to intimidate him after he spoke out about waste, quality and safety issues.
  • Another former Tesla employee, Cristina Balan, told Business Insider the company silenced her and seven other employees on her team who voiced concern over waste and quality internally.
  • Tesla ignored repeated requests for comment on this story.
  • At a 2014 meeting, she and Tesla's interior design team voiced concerns about the quality and safety of some of Tesla's parts. She claims these concerns were ignored by Tesla, and that she was then pushed out of the company.
  • After being fired she then initiated an arbitration with Tesla claiming whistleblower status and alleging discrimination and retaliation.

In early August, a former Tesla process technician, Martin Tripp, counter-sued the company. 

Tripp claims Tesla, which filed a lawsuit against him in June, falsely accused him of hacking into the company's operating system. He also alleges Tesla waged a smear campaign against him in order to silence his claims of poor part quality and waste at the company.

For another former Tesla employee, Cristina Balan, Tripp's story feels familiar. 

Balan began working for Tesla as an engineer in 2010. In a series of interviews with Business Insider, Balan said she was pushed out of Tesla four years later.

Balan says this happened shortly after she and her seven-member interiors team shared concerns about poor part quality and waste they observed on the job with their superiors. Balan sued Tesla alleging discrimination, retaliation, and other issues. A multi-year arbitration ensued.

Business Insider reviewed emails, testimonies, text messages and other information from Balan's tangle with Tesla.

Here's how a once-celebrated Tesla engineer — who used to work on top secret projects for Tesla's top brass and whose initials were actually carved onto the battery of the Model S — says she wound up on the wrong side of the company.

It could be a cautionary tale for what Martin Tripp is about to face.

A Saturday venting session spirals: 'I feel like a sheep in a slaughterhouse'

In March 2014, Balan and her interiors team had brewing concerns about Tesla.

They worried about design flaws in the cars and felt their concerns were being overlooked or mishandled by managers.

According to internal emails and testimony from the arbitration, Balan's team had every intention of taking their issues straight to Tesla's CEO, Elon Musk. 

Musk had, after all, told employees that Tesla was not a hierarchical company. They should feel free to approach him whenever they deemed it necessary.

Before she scheduled a meeting with Musk, though, Balan reached out to one of the heads of her department, Chris Porritt, who was Tesla's VP of Vehicle Engineering. Porritt asked to meet with Balan and the team about their concerns.

Porritt wants to meet Tesla

They met with him on a Saturday for a meeting that lasted around 2 hours.

There, they described an aggressive, high-pressure atmosphere. They also described a version of business-as-usual at Tesla that was full of part defects, opaque relationships with suppliers and waste. 

The engineers said they felt frustrated because they believed their immediate bosses may have been shielding them from contacting suppliers. This made it difficult for the interiors team to finish projects thoroughly and correct design flaws.

Balan said she suspected this bottleneck was really just a way for her bosses to hide mistakes. For instance, her concern about the so-called "rat hole" — a gap she had found in the design of the Model S's roof headliner that separated the roof from the rest of the car — had been met with what Balan saw as clear resistance from her managers.

Tesla, she claimed, ultimately stuffed a piece of styrofoam in the gap of the $100,000 car to fix it. And while the DIY-sounding solution didn't present a safety issue, Balan said it did create a rattling noise in some of the vehicles, which customers later complained about. 

rat hole teslaAt the Saturday meeting, members of the group shared instances when they felt their attempts to fix faulty Tesla car parts were thwarted by management. 

One engineer said he had wanted to fix a problem with the Model S's driver's seat floor mat since 2012. As designed, the floor mat could potentially interfere with the brake, the engineer claimed.

But when he tried to investigate the issue with the supplier, his managers stopped him and either demanded to take over or asked him to focus on something else, he said.

The engineer told the group that the still-unfixed floor mats were a safety issue, even as Tesla had tens of thousands of cars on the road. Porritt agreed. Porritt also lamented that the company would potentially have to scrap $90,000 worth of defective parts. 

Tesla ignored repeated requests for comment on this exchange.

Porritt agreed with just about everything the team said during that long Saturday meeting. He listened when the employees complained about being allegedly bullied by managers. He thanked them for meeting and said that what was happening on their team was certainly not "the Tesla way."  He also said the team could trust him and he promised to help find a solution.

Instead, in the following days, the team members were pulled into meetings with their bosses and pressured to recant their statements, according to text messages, emails, and arbitration documents seen by Business Insider. 

"I feel like a sheep in a slaughterhouse," one engineer wrote in a text to teammates.

Another engineer who attended the meeting later testified that he felt pressured to deny his attendance at the meeting with Porritt and any complaints about the team's superiors. He said he felt that if he didn't, he might lose his job and claimed the rest of the team felt the same way.

Balan's Final Days

Tesla handled Cristina Balan differently from her colleagues.

In emails dated April 2nd, 2014, her managers and a member of Tesla's HR team discussed how to deal with her going forward and, according to emails viewed by Business Insider, they did not see much of a future for her at Tesla.

Balan understood she had become an increasing headache to her immediate superiors with whom she constantly clashed, so superiors and HR discussed a plan to either coach her or determine other paths for her, according to an email.

They decided to check in with Balan about her health rather than any work performance issues. She had expressed concern about it to a superior months before, and had health issues during her first stint at Tesla. Then they would decide the best way forward, according to their correspondence.

"If for any reason we are unable to substantiate the health issue, we will need to then set a different plan of action," Tesla's HR wrote in the email to Balan's managers and Porritt. 

Tesla ignored repeated requests for comment on this email exchange.

Balan ultimately left Tesla on April 16th, 2014, less than a week after Tesla's counsel told her via email that she was the only person on her team who "accused" her managers "of wasteful spending and the covering up that wasteful spending."

"You were the only one who made the accusation to Chris," Tesla's counsel said in an email. "You were the only one who made such an accusation to HR. Thus there is no reason for me to speak to the others who complained to Chris..."

Balan said it felt as if Tesla wanted to go on as if the Saturday meeting with Porritt never happened, and none of her colleagues had ever spoken up at the company. 

Electric culture shock

In the arbitration that followed her departure, Tesla claimed that Balan resigned in 2014 because she didn't get along with her bosses and couldn't get work done.

Tesla's lawyers argued that she complained often and was only concerned with her own designs.

A former colleague familiar with the situation who felt Balan was a "creative," capable engineer, also said she was overly excitable and too intense.

But Balan maintains a belief that her resignation was prompted by a campaign to "push her out of Tesla" after she and her team complained about quality issues with cars.

Balan said she believes that even in the subsequent arbitration, Tesla found ways to continue to discredit and silence her.

Balan recorded conversations with her colleagues while at Tesla, but the former San Francisco Superior Court judge who presided over the arbitration would not allow any of them to be used in the case.

The arbitrator found that Tesla underpaid Balan by misclassifying her as an employee below her talent level. But he did not find that there had been any gender discrimination or that Balan was a whistleblower.

The defects she was concerned about, like the "rat hole," were simply not a safety risk to the arbitrator, and Tesla's witnesses also denied that the defects were severe.

Balan said she was offered to settle with Tesla "seven or eight times" and the money she was offered would have allowed her to stop working for at least a decade. But Tesla wanted Balan to sign away her right to speak about her experience, which she found troubling, so she never agreed.

"We are living in an era of autonomous driving and artificial intelligence," Balan told Business Insider. "We cannot afford to have engineers on that level being afraid to speak up [when they see mistakes]. We cannot afford this."

Two Teslas. Same Tripp.

To Balan, her story is a tale of two Teslas. 

During her first stint at the company, Balan worked in the battery department. There, she said everything was about pushing creativity and innovation, and saving every penny the fledgling company could find.

But her experience on the interiors team felt different.

"As soon as the Model S came out the door and Elon realized how cool he’d become, everything went down the drain," she said. 

She said she feels Tesla went from a scrappy startup with high integrity to one engulfed by Silicon Valley hype.

When a company becomes the hot company to work for and rich with funding, the type of people who flock to work can change. Priorities sometimes change. And culture can change too.  

"The reason Tesla is what it is is because it transformed from a company of innovation to a company of sales," Balan said. "The only thing they care about is how many cars they come up with per week. It doesn’t matter what the quality is."

This opinion is perhaps why Balan saw so much of her story in Martin Tripp, the former technician who is now counter-suing Tesla.

Like Balan, Tripp is trying to claim whistleblower status after he pointed out perceived issues with Tesla's production process to Business Insider.

He claims in his filing that the quality of Tesla's battery manufacturing is low — to the point of dangerous — and that he fears batteries could overheat and go into thermal runaway. He also claims that Tesla's production process is so wasteful that it's not living up to its environmental mission.

Also like Balan, he claims that now the company is trying to intimidate him into silence. 

"I think they are just too full of themselves," Balan said of Tripp's situation. "They think Tesla can get away with everything. And it worked — up until now."

SEE ALSO: Internal documents reveal Tesla is blowing through an insane amount of raw material and cash to make Model 3s, and production is still a nightmare

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IT'S OFFICIAL: Goldman Sachs is advising Elon Musk on his plans to take Tesla private (TSLA)

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

elon musk

  • Goldman Sachs is working with Tesla on its bid to go private, the bank confirmed Wednesday.
  • It's still unclear whether there was a formal agreement when Elon Musk tweeted about working with the Wall Street firm.
  • Follow Tesla's stock price in real-time here.

Two days after Elon Musk said he was "excited to work with Silver Lake and Goldman Sachs" as financial advisers in his bid to take Tesla private, at least half of the tweet has been confirmed.

In a note to clients Wednesday, Goldman Sachs said it was suspending research coverage of Tesla because it was "acting as a financial advisor in connection with a matter that is fundamental to the reasonable analysis of the rating and price target for the stock."

"Earnings estimates during this period will be made without regard to the proposed matter," Goldman said, adding that the "not rated" status "will continue until such time as sufficient information is available, and/or contingencies appear resolved, to allow such analysis."

It is typical for a bank to suspend coverage when its investment-banking unit does business with a company under the bank's sell-side department's research coverage. The two departments of any given bank are legally required to maintain independence through what is known as a Chinese wall.

It's unclear whether the arrangement was finalized at the time of Musk's tweet. On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that the Goldman Sachs Tesla analyst David Tamberrino had not yet received a mandate to suspend coverage at the time of the tweet.

Curiously enough, Goldman Sachs is one of the most bearish on Wall Street when it comes to Tesla. It's surprising that Musk, who has often publicly bemoaned his skeptics and short sellers, would choose such a pessimistic firm. A University of Michigan professor told Business Insider last week that companies were much more likely to choose a firm with a more favorable outlook on the stock.

The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Silver Lake, the other half of Musk's tweet, had been assisting in an unpaid role with the transaction but had not yet been formally tapped as an adviser.

Musk's cryptic tweets have wreaked havoc on Tesla's stock price since his first announcement last Tuesday. After surging to an all-time high of $389 shortly after Musk suggested there was "funding secured" to take Tesla private, shares have since given up all their gains.

Shares sank another 4% on Wednesday, as low as $333, after a Fox Business report said the Securities and Exchange Commission had formally subpoenaed Tesla over Musk's tweets. That report follows stories from The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg saying the top stock regulator was investigating Musk's tweets.

Goldman's confirmation has brought Tesla up from its session lows, and the stock is now trading down about 4%, at $336.

Tesla shares are up about 5% this year.

More about Tesla's bid to go private:

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SEE ALSO: The SEC reportedly sent subpoenas to Tesla concerning Elon Musk's tweets about taking Tesla private (TSLA)

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Netflix sinks to its lowest level in more than 3 months (NFLX)

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

netflix

  • Netflix plunged as much as 4.89% Wednesday, hitting its lowest level in more than 3 months.
  • Shares have been under pressure since the streaming giant reported disappointing second-quarter results.
  • Netflix "is in a vicious spiral to the bottom in content spend," long-standing Netflix bear Michael Pachter recently told Business Insider.
  • Watch Netflix trade in real time here.

Netflix plunged as much as 4.89% Wednesday, hitting a low of $321, a level not seen in more than three months. Shares are trading in a bear market — down more than 23% from their June highs.

Wednesday's selling comes as tech stocks have come under pressure in the wake of Chinese tech giant Tecent reporting its first profit drop in almost 13 years. The disappointing results have reignited fears the tech giants responsible for the market's gains this year are becoming vulnerable.

Netflix shares have been under pressure ever since the streaming giant reported underwhelming second-quarter results on July 16. The company posted $3.91 billion of sales and added 5.1 million subscribers, missing the $3.94 billion and 6.3 million that Wall Street analysts were expecting. Netflix also warned of subscribers would fall short of estimates in the third quarter.

All these underperformance are warning signals in the eyes of Michael Pachter of WedBush, a long-standing Netflix bear. "They're in a vicious spiral to the bottom in content spend," Pachter, who has a $125 price target, recently told Business Insider

He says Netflix needs to raise its prices to around $20 a month, nearly double its current fee of $10.99 a month.

Netflix shares are up 70% this year. 

Netflix

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Paragon Partners With Civic Technologies to Deliver Transparency, Digital IDs to Cannabis Industry

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

pot

Paragon, a blockchain company that develops seed-to-sale tracking solutions for the marijuana industry, is joining hands with Civic Technologies Inc., a digital identity firm, to bring secure and trusted identity services to Paragon’s digital community. Customers can now provide their state-issued IDs or driver’s licenses to verify their identities on Paragon, making it even more accountable to government regulations and bolstering compliance with the platform's age regulations.

“By using ID verification, we’re holding users accountable, which brings an added level of transparency and trust to the industry. The ability to easily identify yourself through Civic provides easy access to our users in situations such as age verification at a dispensary,” Jessica VerSteeg, Paragon’s CEO, told Bitcoin Magazine.

In our interview, she continued to explain what inspired her to build the company in the first place.

“When I was running Au Box, a monthly subscription service that provides members with a curated box of cannabis products, I came across a huge issue,” she explains. “A parent called me asking about the lab results for one of the products in the box because they wanted to give it to their child with epilepsy. I ended up calling the lab and noticed the results didn’t match what the supplier was claiming, which made me realize how many companies could be providing false lab results — offering flower that tested positive for mold and being sold as ‘god weed,’ or flower that had been sprayed with pesticides and is being sold as ‘organic.’”

She continued to say, “I did not feel right supplying clients with any products that weren’t clean and top quality, so I started tracking everything on the blockchain for Au Box, and later I realized I was creating something that the entire industry could benefit from, so I built Paragon.”

One of the biggest issues the cannabis industry is facing is that current seed-to-sale tracking softwares can be compromised. VerSteeg says this problem affects the entire supply chain, and consumers can be given inaccurate product information and, at worst, the wrong consumables entirely.

She says that, by implementing a blockchain solution and utilizing smart contracts, there’s now an immutable ledger and a full library of records verifying every move the industry makes. Not only will this make the industry's supply chain more reliable; it will also make it easier to be more compliant with federal and state regulation.

“With recreational and medicinal cannabis legalization becoming more widespread, it’s now more important than ever that those in the industry are licensed and compliant,” she asserts. “What we’re doing is providing a safe and reliable platform to ensure that every user in the supply chain, from the cultivators, to the labs, to the manufacturers, etc. are being honest about their products and services, thereby bringing ease to consumers, doctors and the government.

In addition, Paragon is also preparing to launch the first phase of its new mobile application. Users will soon be able to access a Paragon (PRG) wallet in the app, where they can send and request payments from both businesses and individuals within the cannabis space.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

'Getting the dollar wrong is deadly': A rapid rise in the dollar could cause a domino effect across emerging markets

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

dominoes falling

  • The US dollar has already been rallying this year, which puts emerging markets with dollar-denominated debt in a hard position.
  • A currency crisis in Turkey could lead to a "rapid appreciation," analysts warn.
  • Follow the dollar in real time here.

A rallying US dollar has been clobbering emerging market currencies this year, and analysts warn it could soon appreciate further and faster.

"The dollar right now is a flat-track bully, really," Deutsche Bank macro strategist Alan Ruskin said Wednesday on CNBC. "It's just knocking over every weak currency it can find."

The greenback is up more than 5.5% this year on the Dollar Index, which measures the currency against a basket of peers. And an unwinding currency crisis in Turkey, which has trimmed more than a fifth of the lira's value in the past week, could accelerate its climb.

If Turkey were to introduce capital controls and repudiate some of its foreign debt, Macquarie strategists Viktor Shvets and Perry Yeung said the dollar could see a rapid appreciation.

"We are concerned that declining liquidity, attempts to raise rates & China’s hesitancy is a recipe for stronger US$," they wrote in a note. "Turkey might tip it over."

Any sharp rise in the dollar's value could raise risks for emerging markets even further as it puts those with large amounts of dollar-denominated debt, including Turkey, in difficult positions. Some currencies that have already been affected by contagion fears include the South African rand and the Indian rupee, which hit an all-time low Tuesday. 

"Currencies are far too complex to forecast," they wrote. "But getting the dollar wrong is deadly."

Issuing a reserve currency comes with downsides. According to the Triffin dilemma, a theory named after a Belgian economist, a country has to run increasing deficits or find other ways to achieve sufficient liquidity. That can create a balancing act between short-term domestic objectives and a global agenda.

"It is not only a problem for issuing country but it is also a major headache for the rest of the world," Shvets and Yeung said.

But William Jackson, chief emerging markets economist at Capital Economics, doesn't think "significant" capital controls are likely to happen in Turkey.

"The economy is heavily dependent on foreign funding and the imposition of some controls might raise fears about the next steps, leading to a slowdown in foreign inflows," Jackson said. 

SEE ALSO: The lira surged 7% after Turkey hit back at US 'attacks' by slapping American cars, alcohol, and tobacco with huge tariffs

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Bitcoin Price Intraday Analysis: BTCUSD Recovers on Weak Upside Promise

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

The Bitcoin market on Wednesday attempted a decent bullish recovery, extending the recent marginal gains to an impressive 10% upside from the previous lows. The Asian trading session witnessed an influx of buying orders in an attempt to pierce through $6,500-resistance. As we hiccuped through the European course, the bullish sentiment weakened and pulled the

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Tesla sinks after report the SEC has issued subpoenas about Elon Musk’s 'funding secured' tweet (TSLA)

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

elon musk


Shares of Tesla sank as much as 4% in trading Wednesday as the flurry of news surrounding Elon Musk’s plan to take his electric car maker private continued.

Fox Business reported Wednesday that the US' top equities regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission, had issues subpoenas to Tesla regarding its privatization plans and Musk's "funding secured" tweet. Reporter Charles Gasparino said the investigation — which was first reported on by the Wall Street Journal last week and confirmed by Bloomberg — had reached "formal" stages.

Gasparino tweet

Business Insider has not been able to confirm the Fox Business report. Both Tesla and the SEC declined to comment on the report. 

Further complicating Tesla’s situation were subsequent tweets from Musk, saying he was excited to work with Goldman Sachs and the private equity firm Silver Lake on the transaction. However, Bloomberg reported that no formal agreement had been signed between the firms as of Tuesday. Goldman Sachs declined to comment when asked by Business Insider if it had been hired by Musk or Tesla. 

Securities lawyers have told Business Insider that Musk’s tweet, followed up with an explanation that funding was not actually secured at the time of the announcement, could leave Tesla and Musk liable to lawsuits from the SEC and shareholders.

Tesla initially skyrocketed to a new record high of $389.57 shortly after the announcement last week, but has since given up all of its gains and is now trading around $333 — 26% below the $420 price laid out by Musk.

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SEE ALSO: Elon Musk may only face a minor fee if the SEC investigates his tweet storm about taking Tesla private — here's why

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What you need to know on Wall Street today

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

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.

These are the countries most at risk if Turkey's lira crash spirals into a debt crisis

The collapse of the Turkish lira against the dollar is the focus of global markets but emerging market currencies are getting hammered across the board and there are concerns that the issue could spiral from a currency crisis into a debt crisis.

The Indian rupee hit an all-time low against the dollar overnight, the South African rand has been diving, Argentina's central bank hiked rates by 5% on Monday to arrest the peso's decline, and Indonesia's government is meeting to discuss emergency measures to defend the sinking rupiah.

"EM [emerging market] currencies (judged by the Bloomberg EM currency basket) are now at their lowest nominal value in the past three years - below the level reached in early 2016 at the time of the commodity price fall and period of US$ strength," analysts Stuart Culverhouse and Hasnain Malik from emerging market specialist bank Exotix said in a note on Tuesday.

The SEC reportedly sent subpoenas to Tesla concerning Elon Musk's tweets about taking Tesla private

The Securities and Exchange Commission has sent subpoenas to Tesla concerning the company's plans to explore going private and CEO Elon Musk's statements about the process, Fox Business reports.

Fox Business reporter Charles Gasparino said on Twitter that sources suggested the agency was moving into a formal investigation of Tesla.

The Wall Street Journal reported last Wednesday that the SEC had made an inquiry into Tesla about whether one of Musk's tweets regarding the possibility of taking the company private was truthful. And on Thursday, Bloomberg reported that the agency was "intensifying" its inquiry.

Apple could launch glasses in 2020, Apple Car in 2023, predicts analyst with strong track record

Apple could release augmented reality glasses by 2020, and a car three to five years after that, highly-respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted in a TF Securities research note distributed on Tuesday.

Kuo's research has a strong track record of accurately describing Apple products often months before they officially launch.

In the speculative note, seen by Business Insider, Kuo discusses how Apple could reach a $2 trillion market cap after it reached the $1 trillion mark earlier this month.

"Services, AR, and Apple Car will create Apple's next trillion-dollar market cap," he wrote in the research note.

 

In markets news

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The SEC reportedly sent subpoenas to Tesla concerning Elon Musk's tweets about taking Tesla private (TSLA)

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

elon musk

  • The Securities and Exchange Commission has sent subpoenas to Tesla concerning the company's plans to explore going private and CEO Elon Musk's statements about the process, Fox Business reports.
  • Fox Business reporter Charles Gasparino said on Twitter that sources suggested the agency was moving into a formal investigation of Tesla.
  • Tesla and the SEC declined Business Insider's requests for comment.


The Securities and Exchange Commission has sent subpoenas to Tesla concerning the company's plans to explore going private and CEO Elon Musk's statements about the process, Fox Business reports.

Fox Business reporter Charles Gasparino said on Twitter that sources suggested the agency was moving into a formal investigation of Tesla.

The Wall Street Journal reported last Wednesday that the SEC had made an inquiry into Tesla about whether one of Musk's tweets regarding the possibility of taking the company private was truthful. And on Thursday, Bloomberg reported that the agency was "intensifying" its inquiry.

Tesla and the SEC declined Business Insider's requests for comment. 

Last week, Musk expressed his desire to take Tesla private in a now-controversial tweet.

"Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured," Musk said via Twitter.

Some were confused in the hours and days following the tweet, since Musk did not initially disclose who might provide the funding he mentioned.

The Wall Street Journal reported on August 8 that the SEC had made an inquiry into Tesla about whether one of Musk's tweets regarding the possibility of taking the company private was truthful. On August 9, Bloomberg reported that the agency was "intensifying" its inquiry.

Three lawsuits have been filed against Tesla and Musk alleging securities fraud.

Musk said in a statement on Monday that he used the phrase "funding secured" because he believed there was "no question" Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund would provide funding for a deal to convert Tesla into a private company after a July 31 meeting with the fund's managing director. He made the announcement via Twitter, he said, because he wanted all Tesla investors to know about the possibility of Tesla going private at the same time.

But Musk didn't mention any legally-binding agreements that were in place at the time he sent the "funding secured" tweet ("He has expressed support for proceeding subject to financial and other due diligence and their internal review process for obtaining approvals," Musk said of the Saudi sovereign wealth fund's managing director) and said he was in discussions with the Saudi fund and other investors, which suggested some sources of funding may not have been settled before the tweet was sent.

Musk said all relevant parties would be able to review a proposal before a decision was made about going private. He said a proposal would not be presented, however, until discussions with potential investors were finished.

The Saudi sovereign wealth fund first met with Musk early last year about taking Tesla private, Musk said, adding that they'd met multiple times. After the fund purchased about 5% of Tesla's shares, it requested another meeting with Musk, which Musk said took place July 31. Musk said that during this meeting the fund's managing director "strongly expressed his support" to contribute funding to take Tesla private.

Musk notified Tesla's board of directors of his desire to take Tesla private on August 2, he said. But The New York Times reported on Monday that Musk’s “funding secured” tweet surprised the board, which reportedly had not approved the tweet. According to the Times, Musk told an informal advisor he sent the tweet because he had difficulty keeping information to himself and was frustrated with the company’s critics.

The Times later reported that some board members had hired lawyers to protect themselves from the potential legal fallout of Musk’s statements and urged Musk to stop using Twitter.

On Tuesday, Tesla said its board of directors had formed a special committee to consider any forthcoming go-private proposals.

Tesla has been public since 2010, but Musk has previously said he would like to take Tesla private.

"I wish we could be private with Tesla," Musk said in an interview with Rolling Stone published in November. "It actually makes us less efficient to be a public company."

Last week, Musk said taking the company private was "the best path forward." He said the pressures of being a public company created distractions and promoted short-term thinking that may not produce the best decisions in the long term.

Musk has also said on multiple occasions that Tesla would become profitable by the end of this year and would not need to raise additional funds, despite its increased cash-burn rate in recent quarters.

At the end of June, Tesla said it achieved its goal of making 5,000 Model 3s in one week. Musk previously said that the company would hit that number by the end of 2017 and that sustaining such a production rate was critical for Tesla to become profitable.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

SEE ALSO: Elon Musk may only face a minor fee if the SEC investigates his tweet storm about taking Tesla private — here's why

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Chinese internet stocks are getting slammed after Tencent's profit drops for the first time in almost 13 years

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

China stock investors

  • Tencent reported its first profit decline in nearly 13 years Wednesday.
  • Shares are trading down almost 7% on Wednesday.
  • The results are weighing on Chinese tech stocks traded in the US. 
  • Watch Tencent trade in real time here

Chinese tech stocks slid Wednesday in US trade after Tencent reported a surprise 2% drop in second-quarter net profit, the first decline for the Chinese tech giant in nearly 13 years. Tencent shares are down 6.67% following the results.

The results were dragged down by slowing growth in mobile gaming and a decline in PC gaming. Mobile gaming revenue jumped 19% year-over-year, making for a sequential decline of 19%. Meanwhile, PC gaming revenue fell 5% versus a year ago.

Those results are causing a sharp reaction in Chinese internet stocks across the board. Here's the scoreboard:

 

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The crisis in Turkey is being caused by the US Fed, and we are only at the beginning

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

fed assets since 2008

  • The US Fed is unwinding its balance sheet, driving up the price of the dollar.
  • This is the underlying cause of the Turkish lira crisis.
  • Lots of countries, like Turkey, have external debt denominated in US dollars.
  • The higher the dollar goes, the more expensive this debt becomes, and the closer we get to "contagion" in the shakier emerging markets.
  • The Fed has only just begun.

The chart above shows the value of everything on the US Federal Reserve's balance sheet since the 2008 crisis. This, basically, is how the Fed rescued the global economy: It bought $4.8 trillion in bonds and other assets. Those purchases showered the planet with $4.8 trillion in cash. Some of it probably went into your paycheck.

It was rescue money, basically.

That little dip in the line this year, right near the end? That's the Fed beginning its long reversal. The global economy is now growing nicely. It does not need to be rescued. So it is starting to sell those assets, taking all that cash back.

America is not alone. The European Central Bank is tapering off the increases in its balance sheet, too. After September, there will be no more new rescue euros. In Britain, the Bank of England has started increasing its interest rate — another way of gathering in cash. The rescue sterling are going back into the vault, too.

The rescue money is saying bye-bye

That little dip doesn't look like much. But it represents a coming reduction of $600 billion annually, according to Russ Mould, AJ Bell's Investment Director.

Here is a closeup of the Fed's balance sheet from 2015 through to today:

fed assets closeup 2

Ah. That looks a lot more dramatic, doesn't it?

Now you can see why it is causing so much trouble in the global currency markets.

The narrative around Turkey and the crash of the lira is that this is a dispute between US President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, over steel and aluminum sanctions, and whether the Turks should give up an America preacher they are holding under house arrest.

But neither of those issues is big enough to wipe 40% off the value of the lira.

The backdrop — the real driver — is the Fed's balance sheet.

As the Fed takes in dollars, it reduces the supply of those dollars globally. The value of each dollar goes up as the supply declines. A relative appreciation in dollars is the same as a relative depreciation for everyone else. That is what you see on this chart from Finviz, below. In dollar terms, most other currencies are taking a big hit:

YTD USD vs other currencies

Turkey has suffered more than everyone else — a 40% collapse in the lira — because its economy was built on high levels of deficit spending and "external" debt. That works when times are good. If your own currency is gaining in value, then it becomes easier over time to pay off debts in foreign currencies. And it tempts you to take on more of this ever-cheaper debt. You can keep an economy roaring along with that stuff.

And Turkey was roaring — 7% GDP growth (compared to 2 or 3% in the US and UK). But while the Turks were enjoying their economic miracle, their gross external debt reached $466 billion, about 60% of GDP, according to Bank of America Merril Lynch analyst Ferhan Salman. 

The global tide of cash is receding

With the global tide of cash receding, and the scarcer dollar going up, it is now much more difficult for Turkey to obtain the money it needs to pay its debts and finance its government spending. The cost of Turkey's dollar-denominated debt is going through the roof as the lira plunges:

TRY USD

This is the tipping point

This is why you're hearing a lot of about "contagion" in emerging markets (small foreign countries, basically) and currency crises. This is why the Australian dollar is taking so many hits: The country does a lot of trade with China, Asia, and all those other Pacific nations. The Australian economy is a train. There has not been a recession Down Under in twenty-six years. But it's using the wrong dollar, so its currency now looks like this:

AUD v USD

This is how recessions start

Economies that are doing just fine suddenly discover that their currency is no longer valuable enough to pay their bills. Recessions start like this. If one country can't pay its debts, people start pulling out of other countries like them. 

This chart from Deutsche Bank shows you the global effect of that "little dip" we talked about earlier:

bonds

You'll notice that Turkey is actually the second country to be derailed by the strong dollar. Argentina has been grappling with a currency crisis all year.

Who's next?

Russia and Brazil are on the weak end of that chart, and they are major economies. The last time something like this happened was the Russian financial crisis of 1998, in which the entire country defaulted on its debt. Adding those two to the "crisis" list would be serious.

It is not yet clear that we're going to see a repeat of the emerging markets crises of the late 1990s. These things are not guaranteed. Perhaps, this time, it will be different.

But look again at that first chart of the Fed's balance sheet. The reason this is a truly scary moment in economics is that we've already got Argentina and Turkey scrambling, and the Fed has only just begun. There is a long, long way to go.

More on the Turkish lira crisis:

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The 'unraveling' pound is on its worst run since the financial crisis — and it's only going to go downhill

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

union jack england

  • If the pound ends Wednesday lower, it will have seen its longest losing streak since the financial crisis.
  • It will have dropped for 11 consecutive days against the dollar.
  • Factors hitting sterling include the rising risk of a no deal Brexit and the currency crisis in Turkey.
  • The bad news for investors and Brits going on holiday is that things don't look likely to get better any time soon.
  • You can track the pound on Markets Insider.


LONDON — The pound is headed for its longest losing streak against the dollar since the depths of the financial crisis as a perfect storm "unravels" the UK's currency.

After a strong start to 2018, the pound has slumped in recent months and is trading below $1.27 for the first time in 14 months on Wednesday. Sterling hit a low of $1.2669 during mid-morning trade.

If the pound remains at this level, it will mark 11 consecutive days of losses against the dollar. That would be a run not seen since 2008 during the depths of the global financial crisis.

"The pound seems to be unraveling against the US dollar due to a confluence of factors," ING currency strategist Viraj Patel told Business Insider on Wednesday.

Screen Shot 2018 08 15 at 15.26.17

Patel identified three separate drivers of recent weakness: first, the continued uncertainty around whether or not Britain will secure a Brexit deal; second, the fact that August is generally a weak month for the pound; and third, geopolitical concerns, particularly around trade wars and the growing crisis in Turkey.

On the first point, a 'no deal' Brexit is seen almost universally as a substantial negative for the UK economy and, by extension, the pound. If Britain can't secure an agreement with the EU on post-Brexit trading arrangements by next March, the UK will crash out of the EU and trade between the two could slow or stop.

The likelihood of a no deal Brexit appears to be rising, with UK Trade Secretary Liam Fox recently saying there is a 60% chance of it happening.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said this morning there would be a sharp fall in the pound in the case of a no deal outcome. In late July, Thu Lan Nguyen, a currency strategist at Germany's Commerzbank warned that the pound would likely suffer losses similar to the night Britain voted to leave the European Union.

"I would anticipate at least a reaction to the extent we saw after the referendum," she said.

Until there is at least a little clarity on a post-Brexit trade deal, the pound is unlikely to rally much.

But that story is not particularly new and Patel believes global uncertainty has played as much — if not more — of a role in the renewed slump of the pound over the last few days.

"While there's the obvious Brexit story, the recent move lower has been a global move," he told Business Insider, adding: "Broad emerging market turmoil is spilling over into a strong US dollar — especially against European currencies."

Emerging market currencies have seen a big downward spike in recent days, spurred by the crisis in Turkey where the lira lost 25% of its value in just a week.

The lira's initial slide came amid rising tensions between the US and Erdogan over trade. US President Donald Trump authorized increased tariffs against Turkey on Friday in response to Turkey's unwillingness to release an American evangelical pastor, Andrew Brunson.

"The pound, therefore, has two sources of risk premia," Patel added. "Domestic Brexit and global political uncertainty. Both are at the highest they've been for a while now — making the pound particularly vulnerable.

"We don't see either fading anytime soon," Patel said. "The momentum in pound weakness is too hard to fight."

SEE ALSO: Here's what a no deal Brexit would mean for the British economy

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GE is trading at its lowest level since the financial crisis (GE)

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

General Electric Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt (C), Senior Vice President for Corporate Business Development John Flannery and Clara Gaymard (L), the head of GE France, leave after a meeting with French President to discuss the future of French engineering group Alstom at the Elysee Palace in Paris, May 28, 2014.   REUTERS/Christian Hartmann (FRANCE  - Tags: BUSINESS ENERGY POLITICS) - RTR3R5X5


Shares of General Electric sank 2.7% Wednesday, to hit $12.01, the stock’s lowest level since the financial crisis in 2009.

GE’s gross profit has fallen significantly from $59.19 billion in 2010 to just $11.49 billion in 2017. The stock has fallen in step.

CEO John Flannery, who took over last year from Jeff Immelt, has promised to "maintain a disciplined financial policy” that so far has involved slashing the company’s once-dependable dividend yield and selling or spinning off underperforming units like healthcare and oil and gas.

Flannery has trimmed the once-sprawling conglomerate down to three main industries: aviation, which produces jet engines; power, which supplies power plant turbines; and renewable energy, which makes wind turbines. Together, these three units generate about $71 billion in annual revenue, the Boston Globe reported.

"We are aggressively driving forward as an aviation, power and renewable energy company—three highly complementary businesses poised for future growth," Flannery said in a June press release.  "We will continue to improve our operations and balance sheet as we make GE simpler and stronger."

Wall Street appears to be slightly convinced of Flannery’s turnaround efforts, giving the stock an average price target of $15.75, 30% above where the stock was trading Wednesday.

Now read:

General Electric stock price GE

SEE ALSO: The world's biggest marijuana stock is surging after a $4 billion investment from the maker of Corona (CGC)

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Tyler Winklevoss: ‘It Will Take Time’ for Wall Street to Make Crypto Jump

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

Crypto exchange Gemini CEO Tyler believes “it will take time” for the majority of Wall Street to enter the cryptocurrency sector. The Winklevoss brothers also said they won’t be slowing down anytime soon after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rejected their proposal for a Bitcoin ETF recently, speaking in a Bloomberg interview. It’s been

The post Tyler Winklevoss: ‘It Will Take Time’ for Wall Street to Make Crypto Jump appeared first on CCN

The world's biggest marijuana stock is surging after a $4 billion investment from the maker of Corona (CGC)

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

A man smokes weed


Canopy Growth, the largest publicly traded marijuana company, fell short of Wall Street’s earnings expectations on Tuesday, but news of a new investment overshadowed the larger-than-expected loss. 

Shares of the Canadian company surged more than 50% in early trading Wednesday after Canopy announced Constellation Brands — the $42 billion company behind Corona — had upped its investment in the marijuana grower by $4 billion and now owns a 38% stake.

Canopy Growth said in a press release that the proceeds will allow it to "strategically build and/or acquire key assets needed to establish global scale in the nearly 30 countries pursuing a federally permissible medical cannabis program, while also rapidly laying the global foundation needed for new recreational cannabis markets."

In an interview with Business Insider in July, Canopy Growth's CEO, Bruce Linton, explained he wouldn't have chosen just any alcohol brand to work with, but that Constellation's entrepreneurial spirit made it stand out despite its $42 billion market cap.

"Part of the reason we like them isn't just because they're a diversified beverage maker — meaning they do beer, wine, and spirits — but because they're actually entrepreneurial," he said. 

"Why are you having a beverage on a Friday night? It's about a social lubricant. I think they didn't view themselves as a beverage company so much as an entity that provides those occasions with some kind of lift if you will — and that's an easy way to look at cannabis, not as a threat, but as an alternative or additional."

Constellation shares rose about 3.7% in early trading following the announcement. 

For the first quarter of 2019 (ended June 30,2018), Canopy posted a loss of $0.40 a share, far outpacing the $0.11 loss that was expected. Revenue also fell short of the expected $26.33 million, at $25.9 million.

"With our unparalleled success in Canada and Europe, Spectrum Cannabis’ expanding global operational footprint now covering 11 countries, our active regulatory and global market development efforts, as well as approvals to proceed with the first of many planned clinical trials of cannabis-based medical therapies for both humans and animals, our leadership position in international medical cannabis markets continues to strengthen,” Bruce Linton, Canopy’s chief executive, said in a press release.

Linton also said 36% of Canopy’s total supply was now committed to its home country of Canada. When Canada's government voted to legalize marijuana throughout the country earlier this year, Canopy’s stock surged. But in as nascent an industry as cannabis, shares took a 5% hit on Tuesday when the province of Ontario, home of Canada's largest city, said it would delay the roll out of private retail stores.

Wednesday’s gains, if materialized when markets open, could easily take Canopy’s stock price past Wall Street’s $30 target, as high as $37.

Canopy is up 29% this year.

*An earlier version of this article misstated the size of Constellation's $4 billion investment. 

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CANOPY GROWTH STOCK

SEE ALSO: Millennials are snapping up the world’s largest publicly traded marijuana company ahead of its earnings report

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Macy's beats and raises its guidance, but shares are down more than 5% (M)

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

macy's store


Macy's reported second-quarter results that topped Wall Street estimates and raised its outlook for earnings and sales for the full year. However shares are down more than 5% ahead of the opening bell as the better than expected results came as sales slumped.  

The retailer earned an adjusted $0.70 a share, beating the $0.50 that Wall Street analysts surveyed by Bloomberg were anticipating. Net sales in the second quarter dropped 1.1% to $5.57 billion, from $5.64 billion, but beat the $5.55 billion that was expected.

The company also reported comparable sales on an owned basis that were flat in the second quarter versus a year ago.

"Our strategic initiatives are gaining traction," Macy's Chairman and CEO Jeff Gennette said in the earnings release.

"They contributed to our first half results and will continue to have a positive impact on our performance in the back half of the year. This, combined with continued strong execution and a healthy consumer spending environment, gives us confidence to raise sales and earnings guidance for fiscal 2018,” said Gennette.

Macy's now expects to earn an adjusted $3.95 to $4.15 a share in fiscal 2018, up from its previous estimate of $3.75 to $3.95. Wall Street was hoping for full-year earnings of $3.85. 

As for full-year sales, the retailer sees them flat to up 0.7% versus a year ago. It previously forecast a drop of 1% to an uptick of 0.5%.

Macy's shares were up 66% this year through Tuesday. 

Macy's

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Commodities are getting slammed as Turkey's economic crisis causes chaos in markets

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

copper furnace smelt

  • Commodity prices across the board sell off on emerging market crisis contagion fears and a stronger dollar.
  • Industrial metals in particular are suffering, with copper falling to its lowest level in more than a year.
  • Oil is also falling, pushed lower by a combination of contagion and rising inventories.
  • You can track the latest movements at Markets Insider.


Commodities across the board are selling off on Wednesday as the emerging market currency crisis continues to wreak havoc in global markets.

Metals in particular are suffering as a higher dollar caused by the EM currency sell-off pushes commodity prices sharply lower.

Copper is being hit, dropping to a low not seen in over a year. The industrial metal, used in electronics and wiring, is down by close to 4% at 11.50 a.m. BST (6.50 a.m. ET), trading at just $5,884 per metric tonne, according to Markets Insider data. It has not been below $6,000 since summer 2017.

Other metals are also feeling the pain, with aluminium down 3%, lead losing 2.9%, and platinum falling 3.3% on the day.

Here's the scoreboard for industrial metals:

Screen Shot 2018 08 15 at 12.01.38

Oil is also having a bad day, dropping thanks to a combination of emerging market woes, and news out of Saudi Arabia that it is considering ending recent increases in production.

Prices per barrel for West Texas Intermediate oil are down 0.86% to $66.06.

"There are signs that the dominant OPEC member sees risks of a return to oversupply," Ken Odeluga, market analyst at City Index said in an email.

"With global cyclical indicators beginning to warn in chorus that growth outside of the United States will become more uneven and slower on approach to 2019, oil demand is expected to moderate, at least."

Odeluga pointed in particular to the recent data on increasing oil stocks in the USA. On Monday, for instance, data from market research firm Genscape showed inventories at the Cushing delivery hub for WTI rose by 1.7 million barrels in the week ending August 10.

Commodity prices dislike a strong dollar, and thanks to the growing crisis in Turkey, which risks contagion in other emerging markets, the greenback has rallied sharply in recent days. The Dollar Index, which tracks the dollar against a basket of currencies, has risen close to 2% in the last week, and is trading at its highest level since last June.

SEE ALSO: The lira surged 7% after Turkey hit back at US 'attacks' by slapping American cars, alcohol, and tobacco with huge tariffs

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Bitcoin and Ethereum Rise 6% as Market Rebounds During Dark Skies

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

Over the past 12 hours, Bitcoin and Ethereum have risen by more than 6 percent in value, but some analysts are still not convinced about the short-term trend of the crypto market. Generally Positive Sentiment The quick recovery of Bitcoin and Ether, the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network, has led the general sentiment of

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Breakdown Over? Bitcoin Indicators Suggest Price Outlook Is Improving

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

Bitcoin looks to have fought off recent bear attacks that saw prices landing just above the yearly low of $5,755.

Regular workers now have to work for 167 years to make as much as CEOs do in one — and the problem is getting worse

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

yacht jet ski monaco

  • Chief Executive pay at Britain's largest companies grew six times faster than the wider workforce from 2016 to 2017, a review by The High Pay Centre has found.
  • Median pay of bosses rose 11% to £3.9 million while the salaries of employees struggled to keep up with inflation, the study found.
  • It revealed that an employee on a median salary of £23,474 would have to work 167 years to make the same amount that a FTSE 100 boss on median pay makes in a year


Chief executive pay at Britain's largest listed companies grew six times faster than the salaries of the wider workforce, as pay for an average FTSE 100 CEO rose to £3.9 million ($5 million per year).

CEO median pay rose 11% among FTSE 100 bosses in 2017 as remuneration for the rest of the workforce went up by just 1.7%, an annual review by The High Pay Centre has found.

The report revealed that an employee on a median salary of £23,474 would have to work 167 years to make the same amount that a FTSE 100 boss on median pay makes in a year, up from 153 years in 2016.

The CEO’s with the largest pay were Simon Peckham, the boss of corporate turnaround firm Melrose at £42.8 million per year, and Jeff Fairburn of housing and construction firm Persimmon at £47.1 million, more than 20 times his pay in 2016.

The review's median figures give an accurate representation of pay for the middle-of-the road worker and CEO without the risk of being skewed by large and small anomalies at either end of the scale as averages can be.

When calculated by averages the figures are higher still, showing a 23% increase in CEO pay from 2016 to 2017. 

"Investors have repeatedly highlighted their concerns with excessive CEO pay, so it is frustrating that the message does not appear to be getting through to some FTSE 100 boardrooms," Andrew Ninian, director of stewardship and corporate governance at the Investment Association told The Guardian.

This year we have seen more FTSE 100 companies get significant votes against their remuneration reports than in previous years," he added.

The report which was put together by Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development comes after statistics released on Tuesday showed that wage growth in Britain slowed to its weakest rate in 43 years.

Chair of UK Parliament’s House of Commons business committee, Rachel Reeves, said that "Excessive executive pay undermines public trust in business. When CEOs are happily banking ever-larger bonuses while average worker pay is squeezed, then something is going very wrong."

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UK inflation just reversed its downward trend for 2018 — and it's thanks to the cost of video games

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

Gamers

  • UK rate of consumer price inflation rises to 2.5% in July, up from 2.4% in the previous month, according to the Office for National Statistics.
  • The rise in inflation was down in part to the increased cost of video games in the UK, as well as higher transport fares.
  • CPIH, the ONS' preferred method of measuring inflation was at 2.3% in July, unchanged from the previous month.


LONDON — Inflation in the UK climbed in the month of the July, as had been expected, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics released on Wednesday.

The ONS reported that the rate of consumer price inflation, the most watched measure, increased from 2.4% in June, to 2.5% in July, reversing a trend of gradually declining inflation over the course of 2018.

CPIH, the ONS' preferred method of measuring inflation was at 2.3% in July, unchanged from the previous month.

"Transport tickets and fuel, along with often erratic computer game prices, drove up costs for consumers," the ONS' head of inflation, Mike Hardie, said in a statement alongside the data release.

"On the other hand, there was a drop in prices for women’s clothing and footwear, and some financial services," he added.

Screen Shot 2018 08 15 at 09.44.44

Inflation in the UK had been subdued for several years prior to the vote to leave the EU in June 2016. But the vote caused a fall in the value of the pound which pushed up inflation. As the pound has recovered, inflation once again started to fall, dropping from 3% at the end of 2017, to 2.4% last month.

It has now risen again, although the ONS suggested this is likely a blip, noting that computer game prices — which helped drive inflation higher — are "highly variable from month to month."

The latest inflation figures come just 24 hours after the ONS showed that unemployment in the UK has fallen to just 4%, a low not witnessed since the early 1970s. 

Tuesday's data also showed that real wages in the UK continue to grow, although not by much, something that will be made worse by Wednesday's higher inflation reading.

"These figures show that the cost of living squeeze is not yet a thing of the past," Tej Parikh, a senior economist at business lobbyist the Institute of Directors said in an email.

"For households this isn’t good news, as the already weak growth in their pay packets is being further eroded by high prices. This is likely to weigh down consumer spending, posing fresh problems for embattled high street businesses," he added.

SEE ALSO: Britain's unemployment rate has plunged to 4% — a level not seen in more than 40 years

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The lira surged 7% after Turkey hit back at US 'attacks' by slapping American cars, alcohol, and tobacco with huge tariffs

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

trump Erdogan

  • Turkey's currency, the lira, bounced back sharply on Wednesday morning, falling back below six per dollar.
  • It appears that the move was triggered by the introduction of new rules by the BDDK — Turkey's banking watchdog — designed to stop investors betting against domestic assets.
  • The lira remains more than 14% from this time last week.
  • Also on Wednesday, the Turkish government doubled tariffs on a number of US imports, including cars and alcohol.


LONDON — Turkey's downtrodden currency, the lira, surged on Wednesday morning hours after the country's government hit back at what it believes are "deliberate attacks" against its economy by the US, by levying significant tariffs against American goods.

Around 8.00 a.m. BST (3.00 a.m. ET), the lira made a rapid and large upwards movement against the dollar, briefly moving back below six to the dollar, and reversing some of the big downwards moves seen over the last week.

By 8.30 a.m. BST (3.30 a.m. ET) the lira was trading at roughly 6.08 to the dollar. The lira, however, remains more than 14% lower than at this time last week.

It appears that the move was triggered by the introduction of new rules by the BDDK — Turkey's banking watchdog — which, according to a Reuters report, has cut "the limit for Turkish banks’ forex swap, spot and forward transactions with foreign banks to 25 percent of a bank’s equity." This move is designed to make it more difficult for Turkish institutions to buy and sell derivatives in foreign markets, and to prevent investors betting against Turkish assets.

The appreciation of the lira also comes just hours after the Turkish government hit numerous American goods being imported to the country with punitive tariffs.

Tariffs have been doubled on goods including cars, tobacco, and alcohol, while coal, rice, and cosmetic products have also been hit by increases.

American automobiles will now be subject to a tariff of 120%, while alcohol will have a 140% tariff rate. The levy on leaf tobacco is at 60%.

"The import duties were increased on some products, under the principle of reciprocity, in response to the U.S.administration’s deliberate attacks on our economy," Fuat Oktay, Turkey's vice president said, according to numerous translations of a tweet he sent in Turkish.

Earlier in the week, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked Turkish citizens to boycott the use of American technology like iPhones, in response to US tariffs levied late last week.

The lira's initial slide came amid rising tensions between the US and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over trade. US President Donald Trump authorized increased tariffs against Turkey on Friday, in response to Turkey's unwillingness to release an American evangelical pastor, Andrew Brunson, who has been 

Erdogan exacerbated problems with the currency on Friday when he urged citizens to sell dollars and gold in exchange for lira. He doubled down over the weekend, saying there was a "currency plot" against Turkey and arguing that the fall in the lira was not connected to economic fundamentals.

SEE ALSO: Turkey is blaming social media and 'fabricated news' for the collapse of its currency

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Prime Trust Enters Crypto Custody Race, Will Hold 'Any' Ethereum Token

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

Prime Trust, a Nevada trust company, says it can handle custody for bitcoin, ether and any token issued on ethereum under the ERC-20 standard.

Bitcoin's Taproot Privacy Tech Is Ready – But One Thing's Standing In The Way

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

Bitcoin could get better privacy with Taproot, but there's one big obstacle - it can't be deployed until another technology goes through.

Members of Tesla's board of directors are lawyering up as crisis around Elon Musk deepens (TSLA)

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

Elon Musk

  • Some members of Tesla's board of directors are hiring lawyers to protect themselves in the ongoing fallout from CEO Elon Musk's public declarations about taking the company private.
  • Fellow board members are also urging Musk to cool it with the public statements about a go-private deal, according to a New York Times story published Tuesday night.
  • By all appearances, Musk has ignored that advice.
  • In the days since he tweeted that a privatization deal was "funding secured," the chief executive has only waded further into murky legal territory, seemingly hashing out the plan in real time, on Tesla's blog and on social media.
  • Tesla is now facing multiple lawsuits over this.

Some Tesla board members are getting nervous while Elon Musk publicly ruminates about taking his electric-car company private — so much that some have hired attorneys to protect themselves from legal exposure, The New York Times reported Tuesday night.

Fellow board members are also urging Musk to cool it with the social media posts about a go-private deal. But by all appearances, Musk has ignored that advice. The chief executive has talked out the plan on Tesla's blog and on Twitter, even as the Securities and Exchange Commission said it was monitoring the situation.

It is unusual for the CEO of a publicly traded company to approach financial strategy the way Musk has in the past week. The company is now facing multiple lawsuits over this.

Musk's online musings have rattled shareholders, and, according to the Times, that anxiety is most tangible among some on the board. Independent members have hired Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to address the emerging SEC inquiry. A source familiar with the matter cited by the newspaper said the board believes the SEC matter could become a "full-blown investigation."

Three directors have retained the law firm, Latham & Watkins, to assist them with an official proposal from Musk to take Tesla private.

Musk's first tweet about going private reportedly caught the board off guard, The New York Times reported on Monday.

Citing two people familiar with the internal response to Musk's August 7 posting, The Times said the tweet was sent "with little forethought," and that "some members of the board had been totally blindsided" by Musk’s move to announce the plan on Twitter.

Read more about Tesla possibly going private:

SEE ALSO: Pressure mounts on Tesla as it gets hit with a third securities fraud lawsuit in wake of Elon Musk's 'funding secured' tweet

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Goldman Sachs, Wall Street Banks Sink $32 Million into Enterprise Blockchain Startup

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

We may, as Lightning Labs CEO Elizabeth Stark said earlier this year, be entering a “bitcoin not blockchain” world, but the global banking cabal isn’t ready to capitulate on its support for enterprise blockchain products just yet. Indeed, Axoni, an enterprise blockchain startup founded in 2013, has just concluded a $32 million Series B funding

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CBOE President Cautiously Hopeful on Bitcoin ETF Prospects Despite SEC Action

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

CBOE Global Markets Inc. could well become the first company to win approval for a bitcoin ETF, but whether that coveted accomplishment materializes remains to be seen. For his part, Chris Concannon, CBOE’s president and CEO, said that he is optimistic that the Securities and Exchange Commission will grant his wish, but he recognizes that … Continued

The post CBOE President Cautiously Hopeful on Bitcoin ETF Prospects Despite SEC Action appeared first on CCN

Ether Price Analysis: Historic Support Breaks, Leads to Signs of Capitulation

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

BTC ETH Price Analysis

In two short weeks, ETHUSD has devalued by 50% of its market value. With little to no relief for the underwater bulls, ether seems to be accelerating downward as buyer confidence is lacking and showing signs of capitulation. The entire crypto market, as a whole, is showing signs of capitulation as many alts have seen similar devaluations in shorter periods of time than ETHUSD. Similar to many other coins, ether is penetrating long-held support with very little ease:

ethfig

Figure 1: ETH-USD, 1-Day Candles, Macro Trend

As a general idea of just how extended the market is, take a look at the 50 EMA (the blue curve) in the image above. The 50 EMA acts as a fast-acting equilibrium curve that shows the price relative to its price history. Currently, the market is highly separated from its equilibrium. Often, when this happens, the market goes through a capitulation phase that has a very strong reaction causing both short profit taking and bottom-callers to shove the price strongly back in the direction it came from.

The 127% Fib extension of the most recent bullish rally on ETHUSD reveals a likely target for this capitulation. Historically, this price level (the $230 area) has also served as a key area for buyer interest to step in:

ethfig2Figure 2: ETH-USD, Daily Candles, 127% Fib Extension

Our current trend is showing an expansion of volume and price spread — very similar to the two v-bottom reversals shown above. Right now, it’s nearly impossible to tell where the true bottom will be, but I would find it highly unlikely to not see a snapback from this strong round of selling across the crypto market.

Something else that’s noteworthy about this move is the recent bear flag ether broke out of:
ethfig3Figure 3: ETH-USD, Daily Candles, Bear Flag Target

Currently, we are sitting at the very price target of the bear flag shown above. While that is not entirely a bullish signal, it doesn’t give a bit of hope toward the argument of a potential V-bottom reversal. If we continue to drop without any relief for the bulls, it is only a matter of time before the market overextends and rebounds from the so-called “weak hands” capitulating.

Summary:

  1. ETHUSD devalued by 50% in two weeks.
  2. It is currently seeing expanding volume and expanding price spread as it continues to accelerate its descent.
  3. The price target of the bear flag it broke south of has already been realized and there was little demand stepping in as it cruised straight through historically strong support.
  4. A likely bottom, should the market continue to capitulate, lies on the 127% fib extension — the $230 area.

Trading and investing in digital assets like bitcoin and ether is highly speculative and comes with many risks. This analysis is for informational purposes and should not be considered investment advice. Statements and financial information on Bitcoin Magazine and BTC Media related sites do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BTC Media and should not be construed as an endorsement or recommendation to buy, sell or hold. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Billionaire investor George Soros made a big bet on music streaming services, and it looks like it's paying off (SPOT, P)

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

george soros

  • Billionaire George Soros' firm made big bets on the music-streaming industry in the second quarter, according to regulatory filings.
  • Soros Investment Management took stakes now worth $178.7 in newly-public Spotify and Pandora, the documents showed.

Billionaire investor George Soros bet big on music-streaming platforms in the second quarter.

His fund, Soros Fund Management, bought 728,700 shares of Spotify currently valued at $122.6 million in the second quarter, according to documents filed Tuesday. It also loaded up on 7.12 million shares of Pandora stock currently valued at $56.1 million, the filing showed. That's a total of $178.7 million invested across the two services.

Although it's not known when exactly Soros took these positions, Spotify spiked 27% in the period from its initial public offering at $132 per share through the end of June. It's since risen another 15%. Meanwhile, Pandora soared 57% in the second quarter, ending the period at $7.88.

Spotify was Soros' fourth-biggest position at the end of the second quarter, trailing Liberty Broadband ($556.1 million), VICI Properties ($443.7 million), and NXP Semiconductors ($209.9 million).

It's possible Soros exited its position at some point during the first half of the third quarter.

According to the 13F, Soros also made the following decisions in the second quarter:

  • Bought 500,000 shares of Coupa Software, valued at $31.1 million
  • Bought 159,200 shares of Facebook, valued at $30.9 million
  • Sold 5.91 million shares of Kennedy-Wilson, valued at $102.9 million
  • Sold 283,230 shares of Lam Research, valued at $57.5 million

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