February 13, 2023

Top stories today: 1) three UFOs are shot down, TikTok ban is threatened, 2) Twitter's revenue is down, 3) Tuesday CPI report, 4) Chiefs win $600M Superbowl, and 5) BUSD to stop being issued.

Hi, and welcome to today's Bay Area Times daily newsletter. Top stories today: 1) three UFOs are shot down, TikTok ban is threatened, 2) Twitter's revenue is down, 3) Tuesday CPI report, 4) Chiefs win $600M Superbowl, and 5) BUSD to stop being issued.

0. Data and calendar

All values as of 3 AM PT / 6 AM ET, other than S&P500 close (1 PM PT / 4 PM ET).

All times are ET.

1. Three UFOs shot down in three days

  • Friday: Beaufort Sea, Deadhorse, Alaska; size of a small car, flying at 40K feet

  • Saturday: Yukon, Canada; cylindrical

  • Sunday: Lake Huron, U.S.-Canada border; octagonal, flying at 20K feet - Wikipedia, NYT

  • Likely China or another superpower: One theory is that China or Russia is using these devices to test the West's tracking capabilities. Another is that their technology is not as advanced as the West's, which has generally been the case.

  • Still being investigated, alien origin not ruled out: "I haven’t ruled out anything at this point," said Glen D. VanHerck, the commander of the Air Force’s Northern Command.

China says U.S. balloons trespassed over 10 times since 2022

  • U.S. should "reflect on itself", "change its practice", said Foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin. - Bloomberg

  • Taiwan also accused China, saying that Chinese balloons fly "very frequently" in its territory, which of course China considers theirs. - FT

  • Again, the media will blow this out of proportion. It is expected that superpowers spy on each other, and it shouldn't lead to unnecessary provocations or threats of war.

Schumer threatens TikTok ban

  • Anti-competitive and anti-1A:

    • Policy-wise, the move would violate free market principles of open competition.

    • Tech-wise, though, it shouldn't be a big problem for Americans, as YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels could fill in its spot.

    • 1st Amendment-wise, even assuming TikTok has a Chinese bias, the 1st Amendment protects people from reading pro-China news, just as it protects websites like RT.com.

  • In related news, the TikTok internal security team accused of spying had many employee complaints. - Semafor

2. Twitter's top-1000 ad revenue falls 62%: report

  • Overall revenue should not be as bad. We don't expect total revenue to be down this much. As previously reported, Twitter's Q4 revenue was down 35% year-over-year to $1.025B, and January shouldn't be much different. Monthly, that's around $341, meaning - CNN, The Information

3. Tuesday: CPI expected to fall from 6.5% to 6.2%

  • Broad CPI: expected 0.4% MoM and 6.2% YoY, from -0.1% and 6.5%, respectively.

  • Core CPI: expected 0.3% MoM and 5.4% YoY, from 0.3% and 5.7%.

  • Watch out for strong jobs report: after the surprising 517K jobs report in January, markets are closely watching for signs of it leading to higher inflation, likely manifested in core CPI.

4. Chiefs win $600M Superbowl

  • Kansas City Chiefs 38 - 35 Philadelphia Eagles.

  • $600M in ad revenue, Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch said in the previous earnings call. - CNBC

  • $7M per 30-second slot, the record high. As per the graph below, the average ad price grows almost every year, starting at a meager $42.5K in the Super Bowl debut in 1967.

  • No crypto ads this year. Last year, Coinbase, FTX, Crypto.com, and eToro had slots. - WSJ, Cointelegraph

5. Paxos told by NY regulators to stop issuing more BUSD

  • Only withdrawals are now permitted.

  • Are USDC and USDT next? It's not clear precisely what BUSD did wrong. Allegedly, all their money is in cash equivalents, just like Circle's USDC, but unlike Tether's USDT. If just issuing stablecoins is now going to be prohibited by NY and potentially the U.S., USDC and USDT are certainly threatened, as they depend on the NY banking system to exist.

  • SEC also seeks to sue Paxos. The SEC apparently has already notified Paxos through a Wells notice, which alleges that Binance USD (BUSD) is an unregistered security. This is a new step for the SEC: the first time a stablecoin is being called a security. - WSJ

  • But why are stablecoin securities? They are designed to be stable, 1:1 versus the dollar in this case, with no interest payments. So there's no expectation of profit, one of the requirements of a security according to the Howey test.

  • In related news, the UAE is planning to issue its own CBDC. - Coindesk

SEC Chair warns of more crypto lawsuits

6. Other headlines

  • Apple's savings account and Pay Later hit delays.

  • EU gives approval nod to JV between DT, Orange, Telefonica, and Vodafone.

  • Meta job cuts could have a fresh round.

  • Opera browser adds ChatGPT to its sidebar, focusing on summaries.

  • Google employees criticize company's AI product in internal messages.

  • Amazon's Zappos lays off 300 employees, 20% of staff.

  • $200M AI fund is being explored by Ashton Kutcher's Sound Ventures.

  • Genesis unveils proposed sale plan with DCG, bankruptcy creditors.

  • Liquid neural nets might bring more speed and adaptability to AI.

  • Russia claims 2km advance in 4 days.

  • Europe down $800B on energy crisis.

  • Trump campaign paid researchers $600K to prove 2020 fraud but kept findings secret.

  • Xi invites Iranian President to make a state visit this week.

  • Israel's PM vows to combat terrorism more aggressively.

  • Israel's President warns of "emergency", "constitutional and social collapse."

  • Caloric restriction can slow down human aging by 25%, study suggests.

  • Mass suicide proposed by anti-humanist professor in Japan as solution to demographic shift.

7. Interesting tweets, memes, and images

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