Mark Cuban Thinks A Bitcoin Bubble Is Coming, Plus Amazon Tries To Hit Walmart Where It Hurts

by 6 months ago

morning brew

Here’s your hand-crafted Brew for June 7th.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“Uncomfortable seats, people talking and texting, sticky floors, and a screen that keeps getting smaller” –– Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s Chief Content Officer, on the future (or lack thereof) of $1 billion box office hits.

 

Market Snapshot

The Cuban Bitcoin Crisis

Bitcoin stole headlines again yesterday, as the digital currency’s 200% rally this year brought it to the brim of $3,000. And it might have made it, if it wasn’t for a string of @mcuban tweets suggesting a Bitcoin bubble.

With all the Bitcoin hubbub recently, we decided to hunker down and finally ask the question that’s been on everyone’s mind…

What in the hell is Bitcoin?

Don’t sweat it, we’ll walk you through it nice and slow.

When you hand your friend a dollar, it’s a mano-a-mano transaction. No third party needed (i.e. banks or credit card companies). A Bitcoin transaction works the same way, except that dollar you handed over is electronic.

Let’s take it a step further.

That e-dollar you sent to your friend is time stamped in an online ledger. And when your friend sends that same e-dollar to his friend, the ledger grows right along with it.

But who’s monitoring these transactions? And how authentic are they?

Good questions. Enter Bitcoin “miners“.

Think of a miner as the accountant that checks the ledger. After poring through a portion of transactions (in the biz we call this a block), the miner will validate that block of exchanges with a digital signature.

In return, (just like any accountant) the miner gets paid. Except, while paper money is printed, it’s important to realize the miner’s payment is in newly-issued bitcoin.

And the more Bitcoin that gets mined, the more that gets released into circulation…

So is more Bitcoin in circulation driving this insane growth?

It’s hard to say.

Surging demand for the crypto-currency from institutional investors to governments to hackers (you remember WannaCry, don’t you) might explain it.

But as our pal Cuban so eloquently points out, a lot of it may just be the hype.

EuroRail Needs An Upgrade

And don’t worry, the Hyperloop One’s got a solution for you. Yesterday, the 700 mph transportation startup laid the groundwork for nine European tracks, in hopes of one day “networking the entire continent”.

Bold move, but we love it. The track looks to connect 75 million people, in 44 cities, across 3,100 miles. A perfect complement to the 11 U.S. lines proposed back in April.

But, before it can land that much needed stamp of approval, Elon Musk’s vision for futuristic transportation still needs to pass one test…like, an actual test.

All eyes on Nevada this summer…

Supermodel Meets Supermarket

“Excuse me, can you help me find the canned goods?”

“Of course, they’re in aisle five, right next to the rompers.”

German grocery chain Lidl is pairing up with celebrity fashionista Heidi Klum to introduce a new clothing line to the 100 U.S. stores it’s set to open, beginning June 15th.

The “high-end, yet affordable fashion” will be targeted at stealing business from low-cost department stores that offer a similar array of goods like…well…Target (-1.89%).

Let’s hope for Lidl that a little bit of Heidi can go a long way.

It’s Prime’s Time, Baby

Time to hit Walmart where it hurts—low-income shoppers.

Amazon will be lowering its membership fee for darling Prime to $5.99 per month (from $10.99) for nearly 20% of the U.S. population.

Low-income shoppers, who present an EBT card (think debit card for food stamps), will qualify for the discounted membership, while retaining all of its juicy perks.

One thing is crystal clear––between launching Amazon Cash, yesterday’s membership special, and soon accepting grocery payment via food stamps, Team Bezos is determined to teach stubborn uncle Wally that junior’s all grown up.

What Else is Happening…

  • GM (-0.09%) shareholders reject David Einhorn’s bid to split company shares into two classes.
  • Snap (+0.74%) acquires location-based analytics startup, Placed.
  • Anthem (+0.51%) is saying “cya later” to the Ohio Obamacare insurance market by 2018.
  • Ride-sharing’s coming to the Big Apple via Curb and you guessed it…Via.

Economic Calendar


Water Cooler

Gimme 5…Apple Products

Welcome back to Gimme 5.

If you missed it last week, our new section is about diving into the history of a person, product, or company.

So if you’re still nursing that Apple hangover from yesterday, here’s a little Cupertino cure-all comin’ your way.

  1. With the look and feel of something only Saved by the Bell’s Zach Morris would use, the first iPhone design can actually be traced back to 1983. And you gotta check it out.
  2. The Apple-1 first sold for $666.66 because Steve Wozniak had a strange affinity for repeating digits. The most expensive Apple-1 ever sold was in 2014 for $905,000.
  3. Apple spent over four years and about $50 million developing LISA, the first commercial computer with a graphical user interface and mouse. The retail price went for $9,995. It’s a shame it was discontinued in just two years to make room for the Macintosh.
  4. Our beloved iPhone was almost not named “iPhone”. In fact, Apple was playing around with names like Mobi, Telepod, and Tripod. One of them was even the iPad.
  5. Believe it or not, Apple made a game console called the Pippin. It launched in 1995 and sold for $600 (Spoiler: it was a big flop).

The Breakroom

Food for Thought

Have you ever thought about the meaning of those 16-digits on your shiny credit card? Nope, not a random number generator, folks.

In fact, the first two digits of your card identify the type of industry that issued it. For example, a 1 or 2 means you snagged some plastic from your favorite airliner, while lucky number 4 or 5 indicates a banking institution.

Interview Question of the Day

When was the most recent year that was the same upside down?

(Answer)

Who Am I?

  1. I attended Harvard… at 16.
  2. I’m an absolute master on the blackjack tables.
  3. I took on Wall Street as the successor to Henry Paulson.
  4. I started from a small home in the Bronx and now I’m worth about $1.1 billion.

(Can you guess who I am?)


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