Shiba Inu gets in top 10 cryptocurrencies, surpasses dogecoin


Jason Ryan, Staff

Dogecoin struggles to keep pace with shiba inu's record-breaking surge even  as Elon Musk boosts his favorite cryptocurrency | Currency News | Financial  and Business News | Markets Insider

Market Insider

Digital cryptocurrency token Shiba Inu has jumped into the top 10 most valuable digital assets by market value, surpassing its inspiration, Dogecoin. 

The recent trading frenzy over a digital token called Shiba Inu — commonly promoted as a “meme” or joke coin in the crypto world — has jumped the canine-themed cryptocurrency into the top 10 most valuable digital assets by market value, hitting over $39 billion and surpassing its cousin and apparent inspiration, Dogecoin.

Since Wednesday, both Dogecoin and Shiba have frequently swapped places in the rankings, competing in what many would call a rivalry between the two. In fact, the Shiba Inu community actually refers to the crypto token as the “Dogecoin killer”.

As of Monday afternoon, Dogecoin, which was launched in 2013 as a joke, ranks No. 10 in cryptocurrencies with a market value of over $35 billion, according to CoinGecko.  Likewise, Shiba Inu, which launched in 2020 to poke fun at dogecoin, now ranks at No. 9 with a market value of over $39 billion. Shiba Inu hit an all-time high of $0.00008990 this past Monday.

Moreover, Shiba is up another 10 percent at midday this past Monday after its leap last week which had more than doubled in value. With this, most of that gain came in a flurry of trading last Wednesday, when it gained a whopping 66 percent. Besides, Shibu is in fact up about 900 percent in the past month.

Each Shiba coin costs just a tiny fraction of one cent; however, to put in simpler terms: if you were to have bought $1,000 worth of Shiba Inu in late September, your value of 20 million coins would now be worth around $9,000.

Both Shiba’s and Dogecoin’s growth can be largely credited to supporters hyping them up. It is the power of the people who are intensifying them that drives the performance of the coin a lot of the time, including celebrity supporters like billionaire Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla. Musk often tweets about different cryptocurrencies, and in doing so, has seemingly impacted their prices.

For example, a few times throughout 2021, Shiba has appeared to leap after Musk repeatedly posted images of his Shiba Inu puppy on Twitter; however, interestingly enough, on Oct. 24, Musk did clarify that he does not own any Shiba Inu tokens and that he only owns bitcoin, etherium and Dogecoin.

Overall, the current surge in Shiba Inu can be seen as very much community-driven, and it is clear to see any token or coin out there has the opportunity to run up like this if someone with a big microphone is amplifying it — case in point is Shiba Inu. Created in August 2020, it  has taken less than two years to become a contender for a top 10 cryptocurrency spot.    

U.S. set for highest Halloween spending in five years


Jason Ryan, Staff

  Header Image: USA Today

Despite ongoing pandemic concerns, U.S. consumer spending on Halloween is set to be higher than ever within the past five years. 

An estimated two thirds or 65 percent of Americans intend to celebrate Halloween or participate in Halloween activities this year, up from 58 percent in 2020 and more comparable with 68 percent in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic. This trend demonstrates that Halloween is back on the schedule this year and plenty of Americans want trick-or-treaters, decorations and new costumes. 

According to research from the National Retail Federation, U.S. consumer seasonal spending this year is forecasted to be $10.14 billion, up from $8.05 billion last year in 2020, $8.78 billion in 2019, $8.97 billion in 2018 and $9.09 billion in 2017. The top ways consumers are planning to celebrate the holiday include handing out candy (66 percent), decorating their home or yard (52 percent), dressing in costumes (46 percent), carving a pumpkin (44 percent) and hosting or attending a party (25 percent). 

The association’s annual survey was carried out on its behalf by Prosper Insights and Analytics and analyzed celebration plans. Its findings presented 93 percent of millennial parents would be seeking to go all out for the holiday, particularly after last year in which many celebrations were restricted amid the pandemic; however, caution has been urged by health authorities, with the U.S. having the highest death toll from the pandemic in the world, with over 750,000 lost to Covid-19 since the start of the crisis that began early last year.

With more Americans celebrating Halloween this year, average spending is also up. For example, on average, consumers plan to spend $102.74 on costumes, candy, decorations and greeting cards – $10 more than what was planned last year. In addition, households with children are estimated to spend more than twice the amount than households without children ($149.69 compared with $73.57) this Halloween holiday. Likewise, the number of Americans planning to decorate for Halloween differentiates with last year’s spike in interest, with spending on decorations forecasted to climb to $3.17 billion, up from last year’s $2.59 billion. Total spending on costumes is the highest it has been since 2017 at $3.10 billion.

Of those planning to dress up for Halloween, nearly 69 percent of adults already know what their costume will be this year. More than 4.6 million adults plan to dress like a witch, more than 1.6 million as a vampire, more than 1.4 million as a ghost, more than 1.1 million as a cat and another 1.1 million as a pirate. Notably, more than 1.8 million children plan to dress as Spiderman, more than 1.6 million as their favorite princess, more than 1.2 million as Batman and more than 1.2 million will dress as one of their other favorite superheroes. All in all, it is very apparent that Halloween forecasts this year prove Americans want to spend way more on trick-or-treaters, decorations and new costumes.

Warren and Charlie meet in sunny California


Michael D’Angelo, Staff

Vintage Value Investing

Pictured above is Berkshire Hathaway’s chairman and CEO Warren Buffet and Executive Vice Chairman Charlie Munger. Both men practice a value investing strategy and have created impressive returns for their shareholders.

Over the weekend, Berkshire Hathaway held their annual shareholder meeting in Los Angeles, California. For the first time ever in the company’s long history, they held a shareholder meeting outside of Omaha, Nebraska. The meeting was headed by Berkshire’s executive staff, CEO and Chairman Warren Buffet and Executive Vice Chairman Charlie Munger. 

Both Buffett and Munger are hailed as some of the greatest investors of all time. They believe in a value investing strategy influenced by the principles of Benjamin Graham. Graham is most famous for developing the Margin of Safety principle and for writing the finance classic “The Intelligent Investor.” In addition, they are greatly influenced by the strategies of Phil Fisher, the author of “Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits” who famously believed the best time to sell a stock is never. Buffett and Munger emphasize a long-term investing strategy with an emphasis of finding “cheap” companies that appear to be trading below book value in the market. They own portions of great American corporations like Coca-Cola, Apple, Bank of America, Verizon and American Express.             

At the meeting, Buffett and Munger fielded and answered various questions. With their growing age, they confirmed their eventual successor: Greg Abel, a current Vice Chairman, will take over as CEO and direct operations. Buffet emphasized his belief around stock picking for the average investor. He stated, “I do not think the average person can pick stocks.” His suggestion, instead, was to diversify into American equities and purchase a fund which follows the performance of the S&P 500. Buffet has made this point plenty of times in the past. 

Both Buffett and Munger took jabs at the recent rise in SPACs and believe more people are turning to the market in a gambling-like sense. Buffet even went as far as calling SPACs an “exaggerated form of gambling.” A SPAC is a company that raises money through an initial public offering (IPO) with no commercial operations to acquire another existing company. They grew in popularity in 2020 as both a speculative investment and a way for companies to raise capital. 

To add to the sense of increased gambling in the markets, Buffett and Munger stated their opinions about online trading app Robinhood. They both said the app encourages gambling due to the easy access of speculative call and put options. Munger even called the app shameful. In the past, they criticized Robinhood’s selling of order flow data and commission free trades. An executive from Robinhood responded by saying “the people are tired of the Buffets and Mungers of the world acting like they are the only oracles of investing.” The most controversial statement of the weekend was when Munger took a strong jab at cryptocurrency. He went so far as to say Bitcoin’s success is disgusting and contrary to the interests of civilization. In the past he has called Bitcoin “worthless artificial gold.” 

The meeting concluded and many people took an opportunity to analyze both Buffet and Munger’s statements. Both men have led Berkshire for decades with expectational investment returns and their statements may prove important for investors looking for guidance. 

SPAC markets erase 2021 gains amid possible regulatory headwinds


Bill O’Brien, Editor

“There may be advantages to providing greater clarity on the scope of the safe harbor in the PSLRA (Private Securities Litigation Reform Act). Congress could not have predicted the wave of SPACs in which we find ourselves. It may be time to revisit these issues.” – Jon Coates, Acting Director, Division of Corporation Finance (SEC)


The SEC’s Acting Director of Corporation Finance, Jon Coates, has called on Congress to reign in SPACs and tighten regulatory disclosure requirements on the “blank check” companies.

What used to be a niche investment vehicle that served as an alternative for privately-held companies to enter public markets is now regarded as a market craze, a change that has taken place amid the historic, pandemic-induced 2020 market crash. Companies looking to go public partnered with SPACs to take advantage of markets flush with capital but volatile amid the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately though, SPAC moguls, like Bill Ackman, who the Collegian covered in its Feb 10 issue, are learning that, like all good things, the SPAC craze must too come to an end. 

SPAC markets have taken a sharp downturn in recent months, and even more trouble is on the horizon due, in large part, to heightened regulatory scrutiny for the investment vehicle. John Coates, the SEC’s Acting Director, Division of Corporation Finance, released a statement on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) website sounding alarms on the SPAC surge. The SEC’s statement, SPACs, IPOs and Liability Risk under the Securities Laws, contained verbiage that has likely contributed to the recent downturn in SPAC markets. The SEC is now eyeing SPACs for the potential they have to mislead investors as they have significantly less disclosure requirements than a traditional IPO would have.

  In the statement, Coates discusses how 25 years ago, the path to public markets for a company was fairly simple and one-tracked and, with the innovations markets have today, there should be regulation to follow along with it. “With all these changes, the appeal of understanding and developing law around economic substance over form may be greater than ever.” Coates talks about how initial public offerings are a “distinct and challenging moment for disclosure” for companies undergoing them for good reason. “An IPO is where the protections of the federal security laws are typically most needed to overcome the information asymmetries between a new investment opportunity and investors in the newly public company,” says Coates.

Coates ends the statement by calling for legislative bodies to consider imposing tighter requirements that would target the second phase of a SPAC transaction, otherwise known as the “de-SPAC,” where a target company is acquired and original investors in the SPAC typically unload their shares into the secondary market. Coates calls on authorities to treat the de-SPAC transaction as the “real IPO.” “It is the de-SPAC as much as any other element of the process on which we should focus the full panoply of federal securities law protections — including those that apply to traditional IPOs.” Heightened regulatory pressures have further depressed SPAC markets that have already been reeling in recent months. The proposed regulation could increase disclosure costs for the blank-check companies which already face tough competition from private equity firms when hunting for target companies.

A SPAC index across 210 different companies, made up of 60 percent public companies derived from SPACs and 40 percent pre-IPO SPACs, “Indxx SPAC & NextGen IPO Index,” has fallen 24.87 percent since the SPAC market’s February highs. New accounting guidelines issued by Jon Coates and Acting Chief Accountant of the SEC, Paul Munter, have helped to grind SPAC markets to a halt as well. The statement, which read, “OCA (Office of the Chief Accountant) staff concluded that – the tender offer provision would require the warrants to be classified as a liability measured at fair value, with changes in fair value reported each period in earnings,” has the potential to impact newly issued SPACs and companies that have already gone public through a SPAC transaction. Proponents of the investment vehicle are eyeing financial regulators to see what moves they will make to tighten regulations around the investment vehicle. Eyes will surely be on the SEC in the coming months to see how they choose to advance their agenda as laid out by John Coates.

How the “Technoking of Tesla” is embracing meme culture


Elizabeth McLaughlin, Staff

Getty Images

Tesla officially changed Elon Musk’s title of CEO to “Technoking of Tesla” in an 8-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Tesla’s CFO, Zach Kirkhorn, is now effectively “Master of Coin” according to the filing as well.

It’s 2050. An elementary school teacher is asking their students what they want to be when they grow up. Some kids want to be rockstars, others are medical school bound and one child replies, “I want to be Technoking.” Thanks to Elon Musk, that kid’s dreams just might come true some day.

On Monday, Mar. 15, the Tesla Inc. co-founder and CEO took on a new title: “Technoking of Tesla.” In a report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Musk provided little explanation of the name switch; he also formally changed the title of Tesla’s chief financial officer, Zack Kirkhorn, to “Master of Coin.” Kirkhorn’s new title is a reference to a Game of Thrones character.

This apparently inconsequential change to Tesla Inc. has already prompted others to reevaluate their C-suite names. Siqi Chen declared himself the technoking of Runway Financial Inc., a financial startup that provides support and advice to struggling businesses. Runway Financial’s website is ripe with emojis, denoting a marked shift from the traditional stuffy environment of, for example, Charles Schwab. Runway Financial promises to deliver “something that fundamentally rethinks the role of financial data;” their CEO’s — or, rather, technoking’s — decision to change C-suite titles indicates that they are, on some level, fundamentally rethinking the traditional structure and formality of business hierarchy. Mr. Chen told The Wall Street Journal that “all titles are jokes, and it’s tribute to our Technoking Musk for making this clear to the SEC.”

There is no question that Musk is a trendsetter. But his decision to change the traditional C-suite titles to names that embrace meme culture could be reactionary to the rise in importance of retail investors as of late. Recall what happened with GME in late January 2021: Redditors drove the stock price up, causing Wall Street investors to hemorrhage money and re-evaluate their positions. It is clear that retail investors possess the power to influence markets in unprecedented ways. Given the fact that they are making their trades online, largely based on the advice of fellow netizens, perhaps Musk is simply catering to their culture.

Moreover, Tesla purchased $1.5 billion in Bitcoin this year. They are not only embracing the convergence of Internet and finance through trivial name changes, they are also literally investing in this new future of finance. It is clear that Musk is paying attention to the emerging influence of Internet culture on finance; perhaps Tesla will implement some more radical changes than technoking in the near future.

Making Sense of Bitcoin: a Beacon or a Bubble for Investors?


Michael D’Angelo, Staff


Bitcoin’s meteoric rise coupled with uncertainty around where its value derives from as an asset has some analysts referring to it as a “faith-based” asset.

Bitcoin has maintained a strong presence in recent financial headlines. Some popular headlines mention an individual who lost his password to access millions of dollars’ worth of the cryptocurrency, bitcoin surging to an all-time high past $35,000 or financial pundits declaring bitcoin as the “next gold.” Certainly, if you are a retail or an institutional investor, the asset’s massive gains have certainly caught your attention.  

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency which currently has the highest market value of any alternative coins. Bitcoin has an increasingly volatile trading history since its original inception and Bitcoin was created in 2008 by a mysterious figure known as Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin operates as a cryptocurrency and the original goal was for individuals to make online purchases without a paper trail, much like if one uses physical cash in the real world to purchase something. Nakamoto designed the idea of bitcoin as a decentralized digital currency that anyone in the world can store on their computer with a public ledger of transactions. 

In the beginning, bitcoin was utilized for people to make illegal transactions online via the dark web. As the price gradually increased and then declined over the years, many speculators have jumped on the coin. Many bitcoin bulls view the coin as an alternative to gold and the coin serves as a hedge against inflation. 

The first Bitcoin transaction occurred in 2009 and Bitcoin was used shortly in 2010 for a real-world transaction when an individual utilized 10,000 Bitcoins to buy two pizzas in the state of Florida. Bitcoin’s price has fluctuated widely and since its inception the coin has grown over 8,500 percent. Bitcoin experienced a major bubble burst in 2017. Many professionals attribute this burst to an insurgence of billions of alternate coins flooding the cryptocurrency market. These new coins, known as the Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), shaked the market. As of recent, many institutional investors entered the market. Square and MicroStrategy purchased Bitcoin while Fidelity and PayPal allowed the consumer to buy cryptocurrency on their websites. 

In addition to Bitcoin’s appeal to various investors, American financial regulators have taken an interest in the coin. Joe Biden’s Treasury nominee, Janet Yellen, stated on Tuesday that cryptocurrency transactions were used mainly for illicit financing. She is highly concerned with the relationship of Bitcoin and terrorism financing. 

As more and more people jump into Bitcoin and institutional investors dive in as well, they are only fueling a potential bubble just waiting to burst. Bitcoin is a classic example of the greater fool theory at play. The greater fool theory states that it is possible to make money by purchasing an asset then selling at a later date to another individual known as a “greater fool.” Retail investors are just diving into bitcoin to not miss the price increase. As the price grows, many do not want to be left out from the gains achieved in the past.

The current value of Bitcoin has no intrinsic value. Bitcoin is backed by nothing. In comparison to the American dollar, the dollar is backed by the full faith and credit of the American government. Bitcoin can also be debated on the grounds of inflation. Many will argue that the American dollar is becoming weaker and the Fed has allowed “too much money-printing.” This argument has been around for close to three decades and is not based in any factual evidence. Inflation is not a true primary concern amongst economists. For example, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is an average of a basket of prices for consumer goods and services, has not exceeded more than 5.6 percent since 2000 for all items. Since 2010, the CPI has not exceeded 4 percent for all items

As the price of Bitcoin will only increase, investors with all types of financial assets need to take a back seat and question the future of cryptocurrency and the potential of a bubble just waiting to burst. After all, they do say history repeats itself.

Ant Group’s world record-setting IPO in Shanghai and Hong Kong put on halt by Chinese regulators


Bill O’Brien, Editor

“There’s a saying in China: ‘The tallest nail gets hammered down,'” said Duncan Clark, author of “Alibaba: The House that Jack Ma Built” and founder of investment advisory firm BDA China.

India Today

Jack Ma, pictured above, is not formally associated with the fintech company, Ant Group, but is the company’s controlling shareholder. Analysts are putting blame on the ecommerce mogul for recent statements criticizing Chinese regulators.

As U.S. markets whipsawed for the last 24 hours amid Election Day chaos, a leading fintech company in China experienced a ‘day of reckoning’ of sorts. The unicorn fintech company, Ant Group, was on track to set a record in raising capital from public markets with a $34.5 billion dollar IPO. Ant Group offers numerous services to its consumers, which include mobile payments services, wealth management, a third-party credit rating system and a mutual aid platform which “provides a basic health plan to protect participants against 100 kinds of critical illnesses.”

The company has made strides outside of the country into Europe as well. Ant Group’s mobile payment platform, Alipay, has existing relationships with numerous European digital wallets apps in Finland, Norway, Spain, Portugal and Austria. The fintech company has made headway in Britain as well, acquiring international money transfer services provider, WorldFirst, for $700 million in 2019 and reaching an agreement with Barlcaycard that enabled British retailers to accept Alipay in their stores.

The fintech company has been making incredible progress, which is why it is unsurprising that Chinese regulators yanking their IPO sent Alibaba, one-third shareholder of Ant Group, reeling. Alibaba, trading off a high of $310.73 early Monday evening (4:00P EST), fell 7.8 percent to $286.31 amid the news before rebounding to around $298.40 this Wednesday afternoon.

Analysts are pointing fingers at the controlling shareholder of the company and founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma, who recently gave a speech criticizing Chinese regulators for their risk aversion. “What we need is to build a healthy financial system, not systematic financial risks,” the Ant Group co-founder said at a conference in Shanghai. “To innovate without risks is to kill innovation. There’s no innovation without risks in the world.” He also highlighted the need for systemic reform in China’s financial sector, describing it as “a legacy of the Industrial Age.” Ma continued, saying, “we must set up a new one for the next generation and young people. We must reform the current system.”

Chinese regulators responded shortly after as if Ma had spit in their face, bringing Ant Group executives and Ma in for “regulatory interviews” which resulted in regulators deciding to suspend the fintech company’s initial public offerings in Shanghai and Hong Kong and prompting Ant Group to release the following statement to investors:

“Ant Group Co., Ltd. (the “Company”) announces that it was notified by the relevant regulators in the PRC today that its proposed A Share listing on the STAR Market is suspended as the Company may not meet listing qualifications or disclosure requirements due to material matters relating to the regulatory interview of our ultimate controller, our executive chairman and our chief executive officer by the relevant regulators and the recent changes in the Fintech regulatory environment. Consequently, the concurrent proposed H Share listing on the Main Board of The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited shall also be suspended. Further details relating to the suspension of the H Share listing and the refund of the application monies will be made as soon as possible.” (ANT GROUP CO., LTD.)

Ant Group has made it clear it still intends to launch an IPO, preferably before the Chinese New Year, but analysts suspect they may need to do so under stricter capital requirements that will be set by the Chinese regulatory authorities or that it may need to sell its microlending business to do so.