The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission should be “looking to people” like Tesla CEO Elon Musk for market manipulation following the electric car maker’s recent decision to put bitcoin on its balance sheet, according to economist and prominent bitcoin critic Nouriel Roubini.
Musk has been tweeting about bitcoin and dogecoin in recent weeks, at one point updating the bio of his popular Twitter profile to “#bitcoin.” Tesla filed its annual 10-K report with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Monday, saying it purchased about $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin (BTC, -5.76%) in January.
The New York University economics professor similarly criticized MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor’s “irresponsible behavior” for converting a significant portion of the business intelligence firm’s cash reserves to bitcoin considering the cryptocurrency’s volatility. MicroStrategy currently holds 71,079 BTC, according to an SEC filing last week.
In an interview on CoinDesk TV‘s First Mover, Roubini warned bitcoin could “collapse” if Tether, the issuer of the tether (USDT) stablecoin, and crypto exchange Bitfinex are indicted this year. Tether (USDT, -0.06%) has an eye-popping $31 billion market capitalization, and is subject to multiple ongoing investigations, including from the U.S. Department of Justice and the New York Attorney General’s office. At the center of the DOJ’s criminal investigation into Tether as an organization is whether or not USDT is used to inflate the cryptocurrency markets.
Bitfinex claimed last Friday it repaid the remaining balance of a $550 million loan to its sister firm, Tether. In 2018, the exchange borrowed over $600 million from Tether, with which it shares executives and ownership. The transaction was made public in April 2019 after the New York Attorney General’s Office alleged Bitfinex lost $850 million in customer and corporate funds to payment processor Crypto Capital Corp., and used funds from Tether’s reserve to secretly cover the shortfall.
Roubini predicts the world will eventually “phase out cash” and the U.S. will create an “e-dollar.” Central bank digital currencies will allow central bankers to swiftly maneuver monetary policy, he said, and normalize negative rates in times of economic crisis.
Watch the full interview with Dr. Roubini above.
The debasing of global currencies is why companies like Tesla and MicroStrategy are investing in bitcoin and that should be troubling for the rest of the world, former acting U.S. Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks said Monday on CoinDesk TV.
Memes and internet mobs are paralyzing Wall Street and traditional financial markets.
Social unrest and geopolitical tensions are rising.
Changes in global leadership and a foggy outlook for tech and business regulations are causing uncertainty.
World economies are still locking down as a devastating global pandemic rages on.
Meanwhile, the prices of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are skyrocketing.
With this backdrop, I can’t think of a better time and purpose to launch CoinDesk TV.
When I joined CoinDesk in late 2019 with the mission of creating video programming comparable to TV news that would provide smart and insightful coverage of the cryptocurrency space and the digital revolution happening in global finance, the world was a very different place.
Our plan was to produce compelling live news programming and build a new studio to coincide with our flagship event, Consensus, which was scheduled for May 2020. Then, as COVID-19 shut down in-person events everywhere, everything changed.
Every team at CoinDesk helped turn Consensus into the best virtual event possible. We incorporated TV-inspired programming, with 24 straight hours of livestreamed shows with guests and hosts in locales ranging from New York to South Korea to the U.K. and Spain. Consensus: Distributed attracted about 23,000 registrants across five days, triple the number who had attended our annual event in Manhattan. Pivoting from daily live programming to a virtual event was not the beginning we anticipated for CoinDesk TV, but it proved to be an early test of our mettle and indicative of the long-term potential for our digital video products.
The successful launch last year of the CoinDesk Podcast Network – which now has seven shows and is ranked among the top 10 of all time on Apple Podcasts’ U.S. Business News list – exemplifies our vision to reach audiences across multiple platforms. Expanding to the visual medium is the next logical step. We’re excited to bring news and analysis about global cryptocurrency markets and blockchain technology, as well as many other adjacent stories, to life in a new way.
Despite the challenges of today’s environment, we’ve been building a reimagined CoinDesk TV that is bold and ambitious. Initially, we’ll have six shows. On Feb. 8, CoinDesk TV will begin rolling out three daily and three weekly shows with a lean team of 11, focused on delivering high-quality production and booking top-notch guests. Plus, we’ll be showcasing the deep bench of incredible talent in CoinDesk’s global team of reporters, editors, analysts and researchers.
True to CoinDesk’s reputation as the most trusted and influential media voice in this space, our goal is to make crypto and blockchain more understandable, informative and fun to everyone – from our loyal crypto stakeholders to individuals and financial professionals who are new to this space.
The restrictions of the pandemic increase the challenges. With guests and hosts scattered remotely, a COVID-era TV setup is much different from studio-based programs where people come in for face-to-face interviews that usually generate the most news and information. Meanwhile, we’ve had several stops and starts in studio construction with material and building delays for various reasons, including staffing and supply chain hurdles.
With challenge, however, comes opportunity, and the global experiences of 2020 spurred our creativity. The downtime between bottlenecks allowed us to think about designing our control room with remote capabilities to produce shows using cloud-based technology. And for breaking news stories, we will be better prepared to provide coverage from anywhere in the world.
The COVID-19 environment has also created opportunities to connect with speakers far beyond New York City, and inspired us to think big about the audiences we aim to reach. Our diverse lineup caters to global investors, crypto enthusiasts and newcomers, and covers what investors need to know and what’s piquing the interest of the mainstream.
We view CoinDesk TV as an opportunity to bring to life the people and personalities who are disrupting digital finance and revolutionizing the way we use technology and the future of money. We invite you to join us as we tell this story.
How to watch CoinDesk TV
CoinDesk TV launches Feb. 8, 2021. Watch on CoinDesk.com, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.
First Mover | Every weekday at 9 a.m. ET
“First Mover,” CoinDesk TV’s flagship show, gives investors the top global market, business and regulatory news stories impacting digital assets. Hosted by CoinDesk’s Christine Lee, Lawrence Lewitinn and Emily Parker, First Mover features daily dispatches from CoinDesk reporters and partners around the world and high-profile guests including top newsmakers, influencers, analysts, traders and trend watchers at crypto exchanges.
The Hash | Every weekday at 12 p.m. ET
On “The Hash,” a daily panel show, journalists and contributors including CoinDesk’s Zack Seward, Benjamin Powers and Will Foxley alongside industry heavyweights Naomi Brockwell and Jennifer Sanasie choose five of the day’s big stories to hash out and analyze. With a personality-driven, fast-paced, entertaining format, it presents themes ranging from serious to fun.
All About Bitcoin | Every weekday at 3 p.m. ET
“All About Bitcoin,” a new weekly show hosted by CoinDesk anchor Christine Lee, is dedicated to all things, questions and markets related to bitcoin (the asset), Bitcoin (the technology and network) and the collective discovery in understanding, applying and using this innovation. All bitcoin, all the time.
Coin Toss | Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. ET
“Coin Toss,” hosted by CoinDesk’s Adam B. Levine, sets the stage for a debate between guests with opposing views on policy and regulation, technology, privacy and data integrity, fraud and crime and more.
Community Crypto | Thursdays at 5 p.m. ET
“Bitcoin and Black America” author Isaiah Jackson explores how crypto is creating and impacting communities. Jackson will organize virtual meetups in the U.S. and around the world, then dive deeper into key themes, issues or questions that arise.
Money Reimagined | Saturdays at 12 p.m. ET
CoinDesk’s “Money Reimagined,” a newsletter and podcast series, expands into television with the same critical look at the issues and people that are shaping the future of money and economics. The TV series will build on the success of the weekly podcast hosted by CoinDesk Chief Content Officer Michael Casey and the World Economic Forum’s Sheila Warren.
The CEO of cryptocurrency lender Celsius believes CEL won’t meet XRP’s fate.
In a Dec. 31 interview, Alex Mashinsky attributed a recent spike in CEL’s price to the token being registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Mashinsky said this would protect CEL – the native token of the Celsius lending platform – from being embroiled in an SEC lawsuit, like the one the securities regulator has filed against Ripple and its XRP token.
“We did not determine that CEL token is a security,” Mashinsky said in an interview with CoinDesk TV last Friday. “What we said is that because we’re not sure what it is, and it’s not clear because the regulations are not clear, that we’re going to file it as if it were a security.”
“Mass adoption from over 300,000 users worldwide is the driver,” Mashinsky said of CEL’s price action. “Half of our community … wants to be paid interest in CEL token.”
If users choose to get rewards in CEL, they can get better interest rates on earning and borrowing in the app.
In May 2018, Celsius raised what was then $50 million worth of crypto in CEL’s initial coin offering (ICO). (Financial statements filed with the U.K. registrar Companies House in May 2020 show proceeds of only $25 million from the sale; Celsius told CoinDesk it had not converted the crypto to fiat in the same month that it was raised.)
“On the institutional side we have 350 customers,” Mashinsky said. “Based on credit ratings, we will require some of them to give us 200% collateral. … There are one or two institutions which have multibillion-dollar balance sheets that we require less than 100%, so they may give us 75%. If you take our book of $6 billion in assets, less than 1% of those are uncollateralized loans.”
Mashinsky also revealed that Celsius is considering participating in crypto lender Cred’s bankruptcy auction, but said that Celsius has not yet made a decision about the company.
“Just like Mt. Gox, every event like this is a trust withdrawal from the crypto community,” Mashinsky said.