Elon Musk says Tesla will ‘most likely’ accept Bitcoin again when it becomes more eco-friendly

Tesla will ‘most likely’ resume accepting bitcoin as a form of payment once the mining rate for the cryptocurrency reaches 50% renewables, CEO Elon Musk said Wednesday at a virtual panel discussion hosted by the Crypto Council for Innovation, remarks that are in line with statements he made last month on Twitter.

Tesla started accepting bitcoin as a form of payment in February, the same time that the company purchased a historic $1.5 billion in bitcoin – before reneging on its decision just three months later, citing environmental concerns.

Cryptocurrencies get a bad rap for energy usage because they do indeed use up an awful lot of energy, at least many of them do. Bitcoin and Ethereum, the space’s two biggest currencies, use a mechanism called proof-of-work to power their networks and mint new blocks of each currency. The “work” is solving complex cryptographic problems and miners do so by stringing together high-end graphics cards to tackle these problems. Major mining centers have thousands of GPUs running around the clock.

While Ethereum has already committed to transitioning away from proof-of-work to something called proof-of-stake, which vastly reduces energy usage, Bitcoin seems less likely to make this transition. So, becoming “eco-friendly” likely doesn’t mean making any major underlying changes to Bitcoin, but rather shifting what energy sources are powering those mining centers.

While Bitcoin’s global mining network does clearly lean on renewables, it’s pretty difficult to get exact insights on what the spread of renewables usage is given how, ahem, decentralized the grid is. What is clear is that it’s going to take some unprecedented transparency from the global network to even give Musk a starting point here to judge bitcoin’s current or future “eco-friendliness,” and in all likelihood Musk will have a lot of wiggle room to make this decision based on anecdotal data whenever he wants.

Today’s comments come as no surprise: he tweeted in June, “When there’s confirmation of reasonable (~50%) clean energy usage by miners with positive future trend, Tesla will resume allowing Bitcoin transactions.”

His comments do give him plenty of wiggle room, however. “As long as there is a conscious effort to move bitcoin miners toward renewables then Tesla can support that,” he added later in the talk. A large portion of bitcoin mining was done in China, where cheap coal and hydropower made it slightly more economical; but Musk noted that some of these coal plants have been shut down (and a large portion of miners in China have started to migrate abroad, in response to mining crackdowns by the Chinese party).

It should also be noted that his concerns over bitcoin’s environmental impact have caused controversy in the bitcoin community, with some arguing that bitcoin receives an oversized amount of scrutiny relative to its actual energy consumption. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who also participated in the virtual panel, has actually argued that bitcoin can incentivize the transition to renewable energy. A white paper published by the Bitcoin Clean Energy Initiative, a program created by Square, argues that bitcoin mining could make renewables even cheaper and more economically feasible than they are today.

Musk’s comments, as ambiguous as they were, shows he still exerts considerable power over cryptocurrency markets. Bitcoin price fell below $30,000 on Monday, after hitting an all-time high of over $63,000 in April. But after the billionaire founder revealed more details about his and his companies’ holdings at the virtual panel, the price rebounded.

In addition to personal bitcoin holdings and Tesla’s bitcoin holdings, his aerospace company SpaceX also owns bitcoin. Musk added that he also personally owns ether and (of course) dogecoin. The price for all three cryptocurrencies rose after his comments.

#automotive, #bitcoin, #cryptocurrencies, #dogecoin, #elon-musk, #ethereum, #jack-dorsey, #spacex, #tc

How Robinhood’s explosive growth rate came to be

This afternoon Robinhood filed to go public. TechCrunch’s first look at its results can be found here. Now that we’ve done a first dig, we can take the time to dive into the company’s filing more deeply.

Robinhood’s IPO has long been anticipated not only because there are billions of dollars in capital riding on its impending liquidity, but also because the company became something of a poster child for the savings and investing boom that 2020 saw and the COVID-19 pandemic helped engender.

The consumer trading service’s products became so popular and enmeshed in popular culture thanks to both the “stonks” movement and the larger GameStop brouhaha, that the company’s public offering carries much more weight than that of a more regular venture-backed entity. Robinhood has fans, haters, and many an observer in Congress.

Regardless of all that, today we are digging into the company’s business and financial results. So, if you want to better understand how Robinhood makes money, and how profitable or not it really is, this is for you.

We will start with a more in-depth look at growth and profitability, pivot to learning about the company’s revenue makeup, discuss a risk factor or two, and close on its decision to offer some of its own shares to its users. Let’s go!

Inside Robinhood’s growth engine

Before we get into the how of Robinhood’s growth, let’s discuss how big the company has become.

The fintech unicorn’s revenue grew from $277.5 million in 2019 to $958.8 million in 2020, which works out to growth of around 245%. Robinhood expanded even more quickly in the first quarter of 2021, scaling from year-ago revenue of $127.6 million to $522.2 million, a gain of around 309%.

Those are numbers that we frankly do not see often amongst companies going public; 300% growth is a pre-Series A metric, usually.

#dogecoin, #ec-fintech, #finance, #fundings-exits, #gamestop, #revenue, #robinhood, #short-selling, #startups, #tc

Robinhood is going public and we’re very excited

It’s a sweltering day here in New York City, and that means Wall Street is on fire, and so is Robinhood, apparently. The popular stock trading app officially filed its Form S-1 with the SEC a few hours ago to go public, where it will trade under the ticker “HOOD.”

The Equity crew has been yammering about Robinhood for years now, and we have been chomping on the bit to see those S-1 results for what feels like ages. Well, we finally got the numbers, we chomped that bit (or at least Alex and Danny did, since Natasha went on vacation about 15 minutes before the IPO hit the wires), and so here’s a special Equity Shot to talk about all the highlights.

We talked about so much in an itsy-bitsy 15-minute episode: crazy revenue growth, crazy revenue concentration from two major sources, regulatory hurdles that the company has been clearing up, better financials with a bit of nuance on the company’s Q1 finances, and the company’s special plan for its IPO.

Wowza.

Here’s what we got up to:

  • Historical growth and profitability.
  • Revenue mix and revenue concentration, along with constituent concerns.
  • The importance of options-related incomes for the company.
  • Dogecoin.
  • Why the company’s adjusted income may help it assuage investors who have their eyes pop out of their skulls when they see its GAAP Q1 2021 results.

And a lot more. Of course, if you hate Robinhood, we will be back with our normally-scheduled Friday episode of Equity tomorrow.

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PST, Wednesday, and Friday morning at 7:00 a.m. PST, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.

#crypto, #dogecoin, #equity-podcast, #exit, #finance, #fundings-exits, #ipo, #podcasts, #robinhood, #s-1, #sec, #startups

Bitcoin crashes as investors fear crypto bull market could be nearing its end

Bitcoin, Ethereum and a host of Altcoins suffered massive drops Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, erasing months of gains and hundreds of billions in market cap. The overall crypto market shrunk more than 20% over the past 24 hours according to crypto tracker CoinMarketCap.

What’s behind the drop? Well, some may say the market was flying too close to the sun as investors piled into speculative and technically unremarkable projects like Dogecoin. Others may pin the blame on Elon Musk, who announced that Tesla would no longer be accepting bitcoin for Tesla purchases, which investors feared could trigger a broader backlash among corporate adopters who they hoped would be encouraged to put bitcoin on their balance sheets.

Not all cryptocurrencies are seeing the same fortune, while Bitcoin dropped to nearly $31k, more than half its all-time-high, Ethereum fell to prices it first reached last month. Some of the steepest losses were seen by Dfinity’s Internet Computer token which has shed nearly 60% of its value in the past week. Meanwhile, multi-chain development platform Polygon has surged throughout the broader crash, up 88% this week.

Public market investors got a taste for the crypto market’s volatility as Coinbase stock fell 5% Wednesday morning, down more than 47% from its briefly achieved all-time-high and 10% lower than its direct listing target price.

#bitcoin, #blockchain, #coinbase, #cryptocurrencies, #cryptocurrency, #cryptography, #dogecoin, #elon-musk, #ethereum, #money, #tesla

Bitcoin bubble bursts overnight, dragging down stocks

Cryptocurrency bubble is bursting, wiping out $600 billion

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

Overnight, a broad selloff of prominent cryptocurrencies has vaporized billions of dollars in value. Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency affected, is off more than 18 percent in the last 24 hours. Currently, it’s worth just over half what it was in mid-April. Over the past week, more than $600 billion has been wiped out of a wide range of more than 7,000 cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, ether, and meme coins like Dogecoin, according to CoinGecko. 

The causes for the selloff are myriad. The first shot across the bow came last week when Tesla CEO Elon Musk declared that his company would no longer be accepting bitcoin for car purchases. The change happened less than two months after he introduced that Tesla would accept bitcoin, and the about-face came as Musk declared his concerns over the environmental damages being wrought by the energy-intensive cryptocurrency. (His thinking on the matter may have been influenced by an Ars article about a private equity firm that revived a zombie power plant just to mine bitcoin.)

The next jolt to crypto-markets came this past Sunday when Musk suggested that Tesla either had or would be selling its bitcoin holdings, which amounted to $1.5 billion when they were disclosed back in early February. Musk’s market-moving tweet was a cryptic “Indeed” posted in reply to @CryptoWhale, who had said, “Bitcoiners are going to slap themselves next quarter when they find out Tesla dumped the rest of their #Bitcoin holdings.” That single word sent bitcoin tumbling. On Monday, Musk clarified that “Tesla has not sold any Bitcoin.” After that, the cryptocurrency regained some of its value.

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#bubble, #cryptocurrencies, #dogecoin, #ethereum, #policy, #speculative-bubbles

Vitalik Buterin donates $1 billion worth of ‘meme coins’ to India Covid Relief Fund

Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum, on Wednesday donated Ethereum and “meme coins” worth $1.5 billion in one of the largest-ever individual philanthropy efforts.

Buterin transferred 500 ETH and over 50 trillion SHIB (Shiba Inu), a meme coin, worth around $1.14 billion at the time of transaction, to the India COVID-Crypto Relief Fund. The transaction sparked panic among some investors, with SHIB’s price dropping by over 35% in the past 24 hours.

The meme coin which courted retail investors in China and elsewhere following recent surges in the Dogecoin cryptocurrency, managed to garner billions (USD) worth of investment in recent days before today’s crash. Buterin’s donation of SHIB — which was sent to him without his consent in the first place — comes at a time when India is grappling with a surge in the coronavirus infections in the country.

Sandeep Nailwal, who put together the Indian relief fund and co-founded crypto organization Polygon, said in a tweet that he won’t do anything that hurts “any community specially the retail community involved with SHIB.”

Buterin, who became the youngest crypto billionaire at the age of 27 earlier this month, also transferred Ethereum and Dogelon Mars (ELON) — another meme coin — worth $336 million to Methuselah Foundation, a non-profit that supports efforts in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine therapies; and over 13,000 ETH to Givewell, a non-profit organization that works to curate the best charities around the world. Buterin also donated to Gitcoin Community, MIRI, and Charter Cities Institute.

 

India has been reporting over 350,000 daily infections and over 3,500 fatalities for the last two weeks. The second wave of the coronavirus has overwhelmed the South Asian nation’s healthcare system, leaving countless of people to scramble for hospital beds, medical oxygen and other supplies.

#asia, #blockchains, #china, #cryptocurrencies, #cryptocurrency, #cryptography, #distributed-computing, #dogecoin, #ethereum, #india, #joseph-lubin, #retail-investors, #tc, #vitalik-buterin

Equity Monday: Dogecoin is passé, but student notes are big business

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

This is Equity Monday, our weekly kickoff that tracks the latest private market news, talks about the coming week, digs into some recent funding rounds and mulls over a larger theme or narrative from the private markets. You can follow the show on Twitter here and myself here.

This weekend was all about memecoins. And I am sorry about that. But Equity doesn’t run the world, sadly, it merely notes what is going on:

  • Dogecoin dropped during Elon Musk’s SNL appearance. Which was somewhat ironic. Also there’s another memecoin that is skyrocketing.
  • Palantir, DoorDash, Airbnb, Alibaba will report earnings this week, amongst others.
  • Clubhouse is finally coming to Android. In the United States. By invite. So, if that’s you, congrats, welcome to the app.
  • A major cyberattack and ransom situation in the United States is a data point, yet again, that we’re woefully unprepared for cyber risk.
  • StuDocu raised $50 million which was cool, while Gojek raised another $300 million, which was the very opposite of surprising.
  • This week’s Extra Crunch Live is going to be really good. I will see you there!

It is going to be a busy week! Already since we recorded this show there’s more drama from Box, and more. Strap in!

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PST, Wednesday, and Friday at 6:00 AM PST, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts!

#airbnb, #alibaba, #android, #clubhouse, #crypto, #cryptocurrency, #cyberattack, #dogecoin, #doordash, #elon-musk, #equity, #equity-monday, #equity-podcast, #gojek, #india, #palantir, #pipeline, #snl, #startups, #studocu, #tc

Crypto market takes a dive with Bitcoin leading the way

Cryptocurrency prices continued to tumble Friday with Bitcoin leading the charge, with prices for the internet currency dipping below $50,000 for the first time since early March.

Bitcoin is down roughly 20% week-over-week, around 30% from its all-time-high of nearly $65,000 early last week. The market cap of the coin has dipped below $1 trillion. The tumble has been less severe for Ethereum which hit an all-time-high just yesterday but has since dropped 13% as the broader market has crawled back.

Plenty of altcoins have also taken a beating. Dogecoin erased the breakneck gains of the week and then some, nearly halving its price after a meteoric climb last weekend. XRP is down 35% week-over-week, Stellar is down 30% and Polkadot is down 25% since last week.

Overall, Coinmarketcap estimates the global crypto market has shrunk around 10% in the past 24 hours.

Crypto prices have been on a tear for the past several months, but the past week has been the clearest sign of a correction to climbing prices, though many see news of President Biden’s adjustment to the hikes on the capital gains tax as the most apparent reason for the market’s slide as investors cash out hoping their gains won’t be reached by a retroactive application of the rules.

Coinbase, which went public last week via direct listing, shaved about 10% off its share price this week, but was largely unaffected Friday in intraday trading.

Bitcoin prices (7 days). Chart via CoinMarketCap

#biden, #bitcoin, #coinbase, #cryptocurrencies, #cryptocurrency, #cryptography, #currency, #dogecoin, #ethereum, #president

The rise of the next Coinbase, thanks to Coinbase

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

For this week’s deep dive Natasha and Alex and Danny wanted to chat crypto. No, not cryptography, but cryptocurrency. The topic has been hot in recent months thanks to Coinbase, recent weeks thanks to the rapid price appreciation in the value of many coins, and in recent days because dogecoin went crazy.

Vote for Equity to win a Webby so that our parents are proud!

So with our minds tuned to the future of money, and commerce, and content, here’s the show’s rundown:

  • Recent crypto news has been more than busy, with Venmo adding crypto support, Brian Brooks joining Binance, and the Coinbase direct listing.
  • But that’s not all, there have been a host of NFT marketplaces that have raised millions in the past week. We talk about Rarible, SuperRare, OpenSea, and Dapper Labs. We talk about differentiation, UX, and if more than one marketplace can win.
  • Dogecoin’s to the moon moment had reached a new price high and come down some before our show recorded, but the cryptocurrency’s joke apparently is still funny after all these years. Here’s a tweet and an article about it.
  • And the idea that Coinbase’s successful direct listing will matter for investors betting on crypto-focused startups is true, at least according to investors. More on that here, and hit us up if you want a sweet discount code to get past that paywall.

Equity is back on Friday with our weekly news roundup. It’s going to be a treat. Chat soon!

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PST, Wednesday, and Friday morning at 7:00 a.m. PST, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.

#bitcoin, #coinbase, #cryptocurrency, #dogecoin, #equity, #equity-podcast, #fundings-exits, #startups

Dogecoin has risen 400 percent in the last week because why not

Dogecoin has risen 400 percent in the last week because why not

Enlarge (credit: peng song / Getty)

Dogecoin, a blockchain-based digital currency named for a meme about an excitable canine, has seen its price rise by a factor of five over the last week. The price spike has made it one of the world’s 10 most valuable cryptocurrencies, with a market capitalization of $45 billion.

Understanding the value of cryptocurrencies is never easy, and it’s especially hard for Dogecoin, which was created as a joke. Dogecoin isn’t known for any particular technology innovations and doesn’t seem to have many practical applications.

What Dogecoin does have going for it, however, is memorable branding and an enthusiastic community of fans. And in 2021, that counts for a lot. In recent months, we’ve seen shares of GameStop soar to levels that are hard to justify based on the performance of GameStop’s actual business. People bought GameStop because it was fun and they thought the price might go up. So too for Dogecoin.

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#dogecoin, #elon-musk, #lol, #policy

Crypto trading on Robinhood spiked to 9.5M customers in first quarter

It’s been a big year for crypto, and Robinhood shared some stats today providing more evidence that the crypto boom is more than just hype — at least for now.

In a blog, Christine Brown, Robinhood’s head of crypto operations, revealed that in the first quarter of 2021, 9.5 million of its customers traded crypto via the company’s platform. That’s up big time from the 1.7 million customers who traded crypto in the 2020 fourth quarter.

Brown says the company’s intent behind launching Robinhood Crypto in the first place was to give its customers the opportunity to buy and sell cryptocurrency in addition to the range of assets offered through its brokerage, Robinhood Financial.

Robinhood Crypto currently offers seven tradeable coins: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin SV, Dogecoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and Litecoin. 

Brown also noted that Robinhood’s crypto team has already more than tripled since the beginning of the year, although it’s not entirely clear how many staffers it currently has on that team. There are a number of crypto-related openings on its careers site, including an open “Crypto CFO” role.

The company is making clear that crypto is an important part of its overall business and part of its mission to democratize access to the masses.

“All it takes to spend, trade, and store cryptocurrency, theoretically, is an internet connection — you don’t need access to a big line of credit, or startup capital,” Brown wrote. “You don’t even have to be awake at a certain time of day to trade. The crypto market doesn’t close. Crypto was born out of a mission to take power away from institutions and return it to the people.”

Last August, Robinhood raised $200 million more at a new, higher $11.2 billion valuation in its third raise of the year before filing to go public in March. The company has had a tumultuous past year or so that was filled with time in front of Congress, bad PR from a user’s suicide, and settlements with the SEC.

Meanwhile, TechCrunch also reported earlier this week that in the first quarter of 2021, American consumer cryptocurrency trading giant Coinbase grew sharply, generating strong profits at the same time. Specifically, the company notched revenue of $1.8 billion in Q1 2021, up from $585.1 million in Q4 2020. Net income totaled “approximately $730 million to $800 million,” up from $178.8 million in Q4 2020.

#bitcoin, #cfo, #coinbase, #cryptocurrencies, #cryptocurrency, #cryptography, #digital-currencies, #dogecoin, #finance, #robinhood, #tc

WallStreetsBets craze pushes dogecoin up 5x in 24 hours

Close-Up Of Brown Shiba Inu

Enlarge (credit: Onay Jakobov / EyeEm / Getty)

Dogecoin—the cryptocurrency based on a meme about an over-enthusiastic Shiba Inu dog—reached an all-time record price of 4 cents on Thursday evening. That represents an incredible fivefold increase over the preceding 24 hours. The cryptocurrency was trading for less than a penny on Wednesday evening.

Dogecoin’s rally appears to be connected to the WallStreetBets phenomenon. The subreddit WallStreetBets has been the nerve center of an online movement to pump up the value of GameStop and a handful of other stocks in an effort to bankrupt hedge funds that had taken big short positions in the stocks. GameStop’s value has risen nearly fivefold since the start of the week—and more than sixtyfold since last summer.

On Saturday morning, a Twitter account called WSB Chairman (which isn’t officially associated with the WallStreetBets subreddit) tweeted “has Doge ever been to a dollar?” The answer to that question is “no,” but some members of the WSB community apparently decided to try to change that.

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#cryptocurrency, #dogecoin, #insanity, #policy, #wallstreetbets