Bitcoin Bounces Back … Sort Of; Startup Kick Faces Scrutiny
The Water Coolest is a free daily business news and professional advice email newsletter created for weekday warriors that is delivered fresh daily at 6 AM EST. Signup here to receive The Water Coolest every weekday.
Looks like the late, great Thin Lizzy may be right: “The bulls are back in town.”
The big question is, why?
There are multiple theories about bitcoin’s price surge, but let’s start with the most logical. It was a giant April fools joke. No, really. There were articles, like this one, claiming that regulators held an emergency meeting over the weekend to approve a bitcoin ETF. This caused trading algorithms to start buying based on fake news.
Another theory was that Warren Buffet, who may be the only person on earth to despise cryptocurrency more than Jamie Dimon, is diversifying Berkshire Hathaway’s assets and he is considering taking an interest in digital tokens. Of course, that’s about as likely as Gary Cohn leading Wells Fargo.
But for real …
The real reason? A mystery order, to the tune of $100M, spread across three cryptocurrency exchanges: Coinbase, Kraken, and Bitstamp. This algorithmically-managed order, which amounted to 20k BTC, was spread out between the three exchanges.
This sudden surge in price and volume likely triggered autonomous trades (f*cking quants). But bitcoin wasn’t the only crypto that benefited. Ethereum, Ripple, and other altcoins also saw substantial price increases.
In the words of JFK: a rise in tide lifts all boats.
“IF YOUR ERECTION SHOULD LAST LONGER THAN FOUR HOURS …”
Good news, fellas. You don’t need a prescription … or two separate outdoor bathtubs inexplicably placed on a mountainside to combat ED.
Due in part to drugs like Viagra coming off patent and the clever use of “telemedicine,” startups like Hims and Kicks are making it easy for “guys being dudes” to get treated discretely for those “awkward conversation” ailments.
So what’s the issue?
Welp, unicorns like Hims are hawking drugs for off-label use, albeit with hilarious marketing (“Ending the bedroom fun a little too soon? Sertraline can help treat premature ejaculation so sex can last longer for both you and your partner.”). Sertraline, more commonly known as Zoloft is an antidepressant … which also happens to help one-pump-chumps up their game.
And Kick is marketing a blood pressure med, propranolol, to treat anxiety. The startup is targeting college students and other Nervous Nellies with the cure-all.
Here’s the thing: doctors can prescribe meds for off-label use at their discretion and in clinical trials, sertraline and propranolol have been proven to treat PE and anxiety, respectively. But is marketing the drugs for non-FDA approved uses kosher? The f*ck if we know.
What we do know
Hims, one of the biggest players in the space, raised $100M at a $1B valuation in January. Even more impressive? The company was just over a year old when it hit unicorn status.
Hims and its competitors including Kick and Roman face headwinds not unlike Uber and AirBnb which needed to effectively change consumers perception on their way to mainstream success.
IN OTHER NEWS
- Going going, back back, to Saudi Saudi. DJ D-Sol, better known as CEO of Goldman Sachs David Solomon is back in Saudi Arabia. Goldman Sachs’ return to the desert could mark the beginning of the end of American businesses hesitation to cut deals with The Kingdom following the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year. Joining Goldman are competitors JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley, both of which also boycotted the crown prince’s Davos in the Desert event in October. Something tells me that recent transactions by the Saudis, including a $70B deal last week, have something to do with the change of heart.
- Heir apparent. Before he hands over the reins to BlackRock, CEO Larry Fink has some tidying up to do. On Tuesday, Fink announced there’d be some pretty major changes to BlackRock’s leadership, including giving more authority to regional management and dropping new leaders into its alternative investment division. The goal? Further build client ties outside of the US, where the company is generating most of its revenue.
- Moving on. Politico is losing its founding editor-in-chief as it adapts to a new style of “real-time” political news. John Harris had been the editor-in-chief since the publication was founded in 2007, and will be joining the company’s board. Matthew Kaminski, current political editor, will replace Harris as editor-in-chief.
Ready to become the most well-informed bro in any room? You can subscribe here.