February 22, 2023

Top stories today: 1) Supreme Court could change Section 230, 2) Twitter SCOTUS trial continues today, 3) Coinbase revenue -75%, 4) Xi plans April trip to Moscow, and 5) Trump likely to be indicted.

Hi, and welcome to today's Bay Area Times daily newsletter. Top stories today: 1) Supreme Court could change Section 230, 2) Twitter SCOTUS continues today, 3) Coinbase revenue -75%, 4) Xi plans April trip to Moscow, and 5) Trump likely to be indicted.

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. Supreme Court likely to side with Google, could still change Section 230

  • Most Justices were skeptical of the Plaintiffs. Even Justice Thomas, who is usually very reserved, said "If you call information and ask for al-Baghdadi’s number and they give it to you, I don’t see how that’s aiding and abetting," comparing the internet with a phone company. Chief Justice Roberts suggested that this is a matter for Congress should resolve, not the Supreme Court.

  • There could still be bad changes on Section 230. Google can win the case and nevertheless there still be bad changes in interpreting Section 230. For example, the Justices could mandate companies larger than X to have even bigger content moderation teams, adding to Big Tech's already decreasing margins. - WSJ, Eric Goldman

2. Today: Supreme Court hears arguments on Twitter, Inc. v. Taamneh (Section 230)

  • A similar case to Google's, we don't expect any big news.

  • Expect a ruling in June/July, for both cases. - SCOTUSblog

3. Coinbase revenue down 75% in Q4, remains deeply unprofitable

  • 2021 days are over. Coinbase managed to be profitable in 2021 by charging an average consumer transaction fee of 1.2% on all-time high volume. From 2021 to 2022, however, volume plummeted 69%, to $167B.

  • Things might get worse as margins compress. Market leader Binance charges 0.1% or less for transaction fees. Essentially, Coinbase is a kind of regulatory arbitrage, extracting high fees from Americans who cannot use cheaper services offshore. We expect Coinbase's fee structure to compress moving forward.

  • $5.9B yearly expenses, 4.5K employees in Dec. Coinbase spent around $1.3M in total operating expenses per employee. It cut 25% of its workforce in January, after 18% in June 2022, but we don't think that will be enough.

  • What saves the company is the $4.4B in cash. But that's down $7.1B from 2021, and could get to 0 in 2023.

4. As Putin and Biden speak, Xi plans an April/May visit to Moscow

  • Xi could bring peace or further war. Some sources say his goal is to push Putin to multiparty peace talks and assurances of no nuclear weapon use, while others are worried about China supplying weapons to Russia. The trip is not confirmed but is planned for April or early May. Top China diplomat Wang Yi went to Moscow on Tuesday. - WSJ

  • In related news:

    • Biden defended a strong NATO in Poland.

    • Putin pauses START nuclear-arms treaty between U.S. and Russia.

    • GPS-guided long-range bombs are being provided to Ukraine.

    • Russia fails intercontinental ballistic missile test.

5. Trump likely to be indicted in Georgia case

  • That's reading between the lines what the forewoman said. "It is not a short list. You’re not going to be shocked. It’s not rocket science. It is not going to be some giant plot twist. You probably have a fair idea of what may be in there. I’m trying very hard to say that delicately." said forewoman Emily Kohrs in an interview. - CNN, NYT

  • Hard case of when it's appropriate to indict a Presidential candidate. In the ideal world, if someone commits a crime, they should be indicted and tried. However, there's always the risk it becoming a pattern of administrations prosecuting their opponents, as is common in much of the world. Best to proceed with caution.

6. Twitter to open-source its algorithm next week

  • Twitter's algos are much worse than competitors', both for recommendations and for ads. It's unclear how open-sourcing them will help, other than expose potential biases in it. - Techcrunch

7. Vivek Ramaswamy joins GOP race: culture warrior

8. $24.5M salary for Citi CEO Jane Fraser; other big banks CEOs got even higher

9. Other headlines


  • AWS to start offering Hugging Face open-source AI products.

  • OpenAI quietly launching Foundry, platform for running models on dedicated capacity.

  • ChatGPT is listed as author in over 200 Amazon books.

  • Sam Altman's OpenResearch and UBI charities get a Techcrunch deep-dive.

  • Microsoft to test Bing Chat tones, now allows up to 6 consecutive chat turns.

  • Twitter will send notifications to users who get Community Notes.

  • Twitter lays off dozens of employees, 3rd time after Elon promised cuts were done.

  • Apple Watch could be banned from being imported after Biden's non-veto decision.

  • Meta Quest testing touch with just your hands, similar to Apple's supposed AR device.

  • Whatsapp could launch Newsletter tool.

  • FTC won't block Amazon's purchase of One Medical network.


  • TSMC's $40B Arizona factory might have been a bad business decision, still good for the U.S.

  • Walmart's comparable sales up 8%, less than inflation; lower guidance.

  • Walmart's ad revenue grow 30% to $2.7B in 2022.

  • McKinsey to fire 2K employees, 4% of staff.

  • Existing home sales fall for 12th straight month, to 4.0M, vs 4.02M expected.

  • Mormon Church fined $5M by SEC for using offshore companies to hide $32B.

  • Opinion: Buy American is more expensive and complicated than it seems.


  • Blur to airdrop $300M in tokens to active users, consolidating its lead over Opensea.

  • SBF lawyers move to squash Voyager subpoena.

  • Solana Spaces closing stores in NYC and Miami.

  • Avi Eisenberg's Mango Markets hack case gets a profile from the WSJ.

Washington and more

  • Biden announces border anti-immigration crackdown, would presume no asylum.

  • House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries criticizes McCarthy for giving 41K hours of Capitol footage to Tucker Carlson.

  • Opinion: Fox News will lose Dominion defamation case because of "actual malice."

  • DeSantis could reverse anti-business Disney punishment law.

  • Trump PAC spent $10M on Trump legal fees in 2021 and 2022.

  • Andrew Tate and brother will be detained for at least another 30 days.

  • Jen Psaki to anchor MSNBC show.

10. Interesting tweets, memes, and images

Of course Bernie is aboard this train:

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