Hello from the Bahamas! Welcome back to Distributed Ledger, our weekly crypto newsletter that reaches your inbox every Thursday. I’m Frances Yue, crypto reporter at MarketWatch, in Nassau this week for the Crypto Bahamas conference, held by crypto exchange FTX and alterative asset manager SkyBridge. I’ll walk you through what I am seeing and hearing here.
Find me on Twitter at @FrancesYue_ to send feedback or tell us what you think we should cover.
% 7-day return
Source: CoinGecko as of April 28
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Musk’s Twitter takeover?
Elon Musk on Monday reached a definitive agreement to acquire Twitter
for $54.20 per share in a transaction valued at about $44 billion. Though the deal is yet to be closed, Musk made upholding “free speech” central to his takeover, and tweeted about several plans for the social media giant, from making the platform’s DMs end-to-end encrypted, to eliminating bots. “Let’s make Twitter maximum fun!” Musk tweeted Wednesday.
At Crypto Bahamas, a three-day conference that kicked off Wednesday, investment managers Cathie Wood and Anthony Scaramucci, and executives at crypto companies such as Michael Novogratz and Sam Bankman-Fried talked about their thoughts on the deal.
Cathie Wood: Wood, chief executive at Ark Invest and a long-time backer for Musk’s Tesla
said that she is excited about what Musk would do. Taking Twitter private “is the right thing to do”, as “there will have to be a change in the economic power” to solve Twitter’s existing problems, Wood said at a panel Wednesday.
Wood also believes that Musk would “somehow evolve” Twitter into a more decentralized version. “I think we’re going to see a lot more crypto permeating Twitter,” Wood said. “We know that Twitter is a verification platform and Elon wants to make it more democratic than it is right now. Think about verifying digital assets. That’s a perfect place to make that happen,” Wood said.
Michael Novogratz: Novogratz, chief executive at crypto investment firm Galaxy Digital, said that “we want the decentralized versions of Twitter and Facebook in the long run.”
“So people say, we don’t like the board of Twitter deciding who gets to the platform and who doesn’t,” Novogratz said in the same panel with Wood. “And now we’ve got Elon who gets to decide who gets to the platform and who doesn’t.”
Anthony Scaramucci: Scaramucci, founder and managing partner of SkyBridge Capital, said he “likes the move” of Musk.
“I think three or four years from now you’re going to see an improved platform if he gets it,” Scaramucci told reporters in a meeting on Wednesday. But “remember, he’s got to go through a regulatory process. He has to close the deal. He’s got to tighten up his financing.” Scaramucci said.
Meanwhile, Scaramucci said he doesn’t think Trump would be reinstated on Twitter, “which is why he spoke up immediately and said, oh, I’m never going back on Twitter.”
“It’s like the prom date. You are gonna ask a girl for the prom. You know she’s gonna say no, so you say I was never gonna ask that girl for the prom,” Scaramucci said.
Sam Bankman-Fried: Bankman-Fried, chief executive at crypto exchange FTX, underscored the important role of Twitter, saying that the platform is “one of the most important things in the world.” “When you think about, what impacts policy, what impacts markets, what impacts media, what impacts culture, Twitter is right up there,” Bankman-Fried said.
Bankman-Fried said the ideal version of Twitter in his view is when every tweet is stored in a blockchain. “That’s where they live rather than sort of guarded by Twitter,” Bankman-Fried said in a panel on Wednesday.
In that scenario, “three entrepreneurs in India could go create their own social media network around music or around cricket or around food or anything that withdraws old existing messages on it. The right to see blockchain will be interoperable with all these other platforms. You don’t have this giant network barrier,” Bankman-Fried said.
When asked if he thinks Musk would be interested in the idea, Bankman-Fried said he doesn’t know.
Kathryn Haun: Haun, founder of crypto venture capital firm Haun Ventures and a former federal prosecutor, said that while some people talked about how Twitter violated user’s freedom of speech citing the First Amendment, it’s worth noting that the amendment only applies to the government, with limited exceptions.
“It used to be the government that owns the town squares, so [because of the amendment], the government can’t restrict free speech there, but today, the town square is digital and private companies now own the digital space and the equivalent of a digital town square,” Haun said.
Bitcoin in your 401(k)?
Fidelity announced Tuesday that it plans to enable individuals to have a portion of their retirement savings allocated to bitcoin through the 401(k) plan, making the company the first retirement-plan provider to do so. Employers will get the final say on whether or not they roll that feature out to their plan participants, the company said in a statement. The product will be available to employers by mid-year, according to the company.
Crypto companies, funds
Shares of Coinbase Global Inc.
traded up 1.6% at $124.51 on Thursday. It has fallen 9.4% over the past five trading sessions. Michael Saylor’s MicroStrategy Inc.
gained 4.3% Thursday to $402.24, while it was down 6.2% over the past five days.
Mining company Riot Blockchain Inc.
shares gained 1.2% to $11.12, and it was down 13.3% over the past five days. Shares of Marathon Digital Holdings Inc.
were up 1.6% to $16.98, with a 12% loss over the past five days. Another miner, Ebang International Holdings Inc.
gained 7.5% to $0.95, with a 0.7% gain over the past five days.
shares were up 3% to $32.33. The shares have declined 9.7% over the five-session period.
Shares of Block Inc.
formally known as Square, rose 5.2% to $105.10, with a 2.5% loss for the week. Tesla Inc.
shares gained 0.4% to $884.8 while its shares lost 12.3% for the past five sessions.
PayPal Holdings Inc.
rallied 11.3% to $91.99, while it was up 2.9% over the five-session stretch. Nvidia Corp.
gained 7.4% to $198.78, while was looking at a 8.15% gain over the past five trading days.
Advanced Micro Devices Inc.
rose 5.8% to $89.72 on Thursday, while it lost 0.1% from five trading days ago.
Among crypto funds, ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF
went up 3.2% to $25 Thursday, while Valkyrie Bitcoin Strategy ETF
was up 3.5% to $15.56. VanEck Bitcoin Strategy ETF
gained 2.7% to $39.32.
Grayscale Bitcoin Trust
traded up 4.3% to $27.99.