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ResearchThree Things (1/10)

Three Things (1/10)

Jan 10, 2024

“Chop your own wood and it will warm you twice." — Henry Ford

Jumping the gun

As investors await news from the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding the approval of a Bitcoin ETF, hackers posted from @SECGov’s X account announcing that the ETF had been granted the green light. Gary Gensler, Chairman of the SEC, quickly came out and said that the regulator’s account had been “compromised,” an unauthorized statement was posted and that the agency hadn’t taken action. 

The price of Bitcoin saw a rapid increase before investors learned about the hack and sold the news. It’s been interesting to follow the approval process as financial giants compete for the best product, price, and service. Invesco and Bitwise have already decreased their fees while VanEck will donate 5% of the profits from its fund to Bitcoin developers. Passive investing has always been a bit of a commodity in our eyes, so it’s not surprising that a race to the bottom is already on.

More antitrust

The European Commission said on Tuesday that it’s examining whether Microsoft’s involvement with OpenAI should be vetted under the bloc’s merger rules. Microsoft released a statement annotating that its partnership with OpenAI had fostered more AI innovation and competition, while preserving independence for both companies. The only thing that has changed since 2019 when the partnership began, they note, is that the company “will now have a non-voting observer on OpenAI’s board”.

The increased scrutiny on M&A across the pond is certainly an eye-opening trend over the last 12-18 months. Adobe was unable to proceed with its purchase of Figma and it appears Microsoft is now in the line of fire. We wonder what the downstream effects could be – if strategic purchases (liquidity events) are off the table for scaled startups, it could have a long-tail impact on investor appetite for venture capital. 

A new creator economy

X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, announced a slate of new video shows, including a partnership with former CNN anchor Don Lemon. Jim Rome, the sports-radio commentator and Tulsi Gabbard, a former US representative, will also launch new shows on the platform. The move represents a dramatic departure away from 280 characters and towards the realm of YouTube content.

High-quality, long-form video content could offer X more lucrative advertising opportunities as the platform attempts to earn back the trust of brands who have recently moved off the platform. The announcement reminds us of the days when Spotify was signing creators and artists for exclusive podcasting rights. Time will tell whether this follows in Spotify’s mediocre footsteps or ushers in a new platform for creators to leverage.

As of writing, X Holdings is 1.14% holding in the ARK Venture Fund. ADBE, MSFT and GOOGL are holdings in Titan's Flagship Strategy. BTC is a holding in Titan Crypto.

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