Today, we’ve got stories on how much the ultra-rich pay people to manage their money, why bankruptcies being on the rise isn’t bad news for everyone, and the death of the password.
But first, war is hell.
1. Going to the mattresses.
It was a hit so good Michael Corleone would have been impressed.
In less than 24 hours, the SEC filed lawsuits against some of the biggest players in crypto. First came Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, and its outspoken CEO and founder Changpeng Zhao. Then came Coinbase, the largest US cryptocurrency exchange.
Both suits accuse the exchanges of violating securities laws, but there are plenty of differences between them. For example, there is a particularly juicy quote in the Binance suit that the finance folks are lapping up.
But beyond the legal intricacies lies a bigger point. The SEC drew a line in the sand for the entire crypto ecosystem: It’s our way or the highway.
Such a momentous move by the regulator has been building for a while. Ever since bitcoin broke onto the scene, the government has offered piecemeal guidance from a variety of agencies. The spike in bitcoin’s price in 2017 led to additional attention from the general public, and a desire to create futures contracts tied to the asset class, which meant the regulators wanted to take a closer look.
Some say the government’s interest was about protecting everyday investors from a community with a somewhat shady past and ensuring clean and tidy markets remained in place. Others painted it as an effort to collect more taxes and gain control over a market that could threaten to upend the entire financial system.
Whatever side you fall on, it’s been a constant battle between the two sides ever since. Even those in the crypto community who are supportive of government oversight, understanding that it’s important to get Wall Street more involved, have voiced frustration over the lack of clear guidance.
Adding fuel to the fire was the arrival of Gary Gensler at the SEC in 2021. The former Goldman Sachs partner made a name for himself in the public sector by overhauling the swaps market in the wake of the financial crisis. (For better or for worse, depending on who you ask.)
As SEC Chair, Gensler was quick to dub crypto the “Wild West” and called on Congress to give him more power to regulate the market.
Progress seemed to be made, at least to some, when FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried met with Gensler in 2021. Of course, we all know how that turned out.
So where do we go from here?
I’ve long said that I don’t believe crypto in its traditional form can ever exist within the confines of the US financial system. Too many things that make crypto special — anonymity, decentralization — are exactly the type of things financial regulators hate.
That’s not a criticism of crypto. It’s just a realization that the two sides will never figure it out. Like that one couple who are always fighting but refuse to break up.
The issue of course, is what’s at stake. Instead of a mediocre West Elm couch and the rights to the Netflix password, there are hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of jobs on the line.
Let’s hope, for everyone’s sake, they figure it out.
In other news:
2. PE by Kim K. Kim Kardashian is set to speak at private equity’s blowout conference, SuperReturn, in her role as cofounder of the PE firm SKKY Partners. More on how the megastar could be the lifeline the industry needs.
3. Turkey’s new central bank chief could be…a First Republic former co-CEO. It’s not as bad as it sounds. Hafize Gaye Erkan, who was a longtime Goldman banker, left the now-bankrupt First Republic in January 2022, well ahead of the crisis. Now she’s reportedly the top pick to run Turkey’s central bank.
4. Managing really rich people’s money pays well. Roughly 40% of chief investment officers at US family offices are paid at least seven figures. More on what the ultra-rich are willing to pay.
5. What’s holding back the corporate-bond market? A new AI-powered tool for bond trading marks another step towards electronification of the market. But it’s still light years behind how stocks are traded. So what’s holding it back?
6. Going out of business is coming into style. Corporate bankruptcies hit their highest levels since 2010, with companies like Party City and Serta Simmons falling on hard times. But, depending on what you do, that could mean business is booming for you. Here’s how.
7. The AI honeymoon for the stock market might be ending. Some industry analysts are warning that the AI-driven rally we’ve seen in tech stocks might be tapering out. And what comes next could be ugly. Don’t believe me? Here are two experts both issuing warnings about the stock market.
8. If you want to be a startup founder, better start applying to colleges in California. Six universities in the state made the list of the top US colleges whose grads recently got private funding. Check them out here.
9. You might not have to keep worrying about all those passwords. Did it start with a capital letter? Did it have an exclamation point at the end? Asking yourself these questions while trying to figure out your password could be a thing of the past. Here’s why.
10. So about that whole PGA-LIV thing. If you’re wondering what the golfer in your life won’t stop talking about, we’ve got you covered. Here’s the rundown on the PGA Tour’s merger with LIV Golf. And here’s a breakdown of the winners and losers from the deal. Speaking of deals, a familiar face was involved in this one: Wall Street vet Michael Klein.
Curated by Dan DeFrancesco in New York. Feedback or tips? Email [email protected], tweet @dandefrancesco, or connect on LinkedIn. Edited by Jeffrey Cane (tweet @jeffrey_cane) in New York and Nathan Rennolds (tweet @ncrennolds) in London.