January 21, 2018

Bitcoin ‘likely’ to collapse, but could last 100 yrs – Nobel laureate Robert Shiller

“It has no value at all unless there is some common consensus that it has value,” Shiller, who is also Yale professor, told CNBC. The 2013 Nobel laureate in economics says while “other things like gold would at least have some value if people didn’t see it as an investment,” he doesn’t know “what to make of bitcoin ultimately.”

READ MORE: Bitcoin crashed because professionals cashed out, making a buck from last-minute amateur investors

In December, bitcoin saw a dramatic surge in its price, hitting new record highs every day and ultimately reaching $20,000. However, a plunge followed, with bitcoin now trading at around $12,000. 

Nobel-winning economist Robert Shiller calls bitcoin ‘a fad’

“It reminds me of the Tulip mania in Holland in the 1640s, and so the question is did that collapse? We still pay for tulips even now and sometimes they get expensive,” Shiller went on, referring to an economic bubble in the Netherlands in 1637, when after prices frantically grew the market suddenly fell apart.

“[Bitcoin] might totally collapse and be forgotten and I think that’s a likely outcome but it could linger on for a good long time, it could be here in 100 years,” Shiller said.

The economist has previously spoken of bitcoin on numerous occasions, calling it a “fad” and saying the “story” behind bitcoin drives enthusiasm for it.  “A new form of money that… sounds extremely revolutionary and involves a very clever use of cryptography” has inspired interest among people.

Article source: https://www.rt.com/news/416507-robert-shiller-bitcoin-collapse/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Leakers will be fired, sued and possibly jailed, Snapchat warns staff via internal memo

Ironically, the memo cautioning employees on leaking was leaked to tech site Cheddar and sent one day before the Daily Beast published a story based on an analysis of five months of Snap’s confidential metrics data.

READ MORE: Snapchat blocks Al Jazeera in Saudi Arabia at government’s request

“We have a zero-tolerance policy for those who leak Snap Inc. confidential information,” the memo issued by chief lawyer and general counsel of Snap Inc. (Snapchat’s parent company) Michael O’Sullivan stated.

“This applies to outright leaks and any informal “off the record” conversations with reporters, as well as any confidential information you let slip to people who are not authorized to know that information.”

Staff are warned  that the only acceptable response to a reporter investigating a story is “no comment.”

The letter continues to outline the consequences for anyone caught breaching this regulation. “If you leak Snap Inc. information, you will lose your job and we will pursue any and all legal remedies against you.

And that’s just the start. You can face personal financial liability even if you yourself did not benefit from the leaked information.

The government, our investors, and other third parties can also seek their own remedies against you for what you disclosed. The government can even put you in jail.”

And just in case that wasn’t clear enough, O’Sullivan lays down the law once more in no uncertain terms; “To avoid any ambiguity: If you have Snap Inc. confidential information, do not share it outside of Snap, period.”

The stern missive also advised employees who let information accidentally slip immediately to inform their manager, and reminded staff of training materials in place to enhance knowledge of protocols in this area. RT has reached out to Snap for comment on the leaked memo.

The directive follows a series of leaks relating to the company including details of  new additions to the app. In December, the ‘Stories Everywhere’ feature, which lets users make and view Stories outside the app, was leaked to the press ahead of the official announcement.

The level of secrecy at the company also came under heightened spotlight recently when employees were famously banned from using the app at a company New Year’s Eve bash.

Snap continues to face huge struggles in terms of financial losses – accumulating a much greater loss than expected of $443 million in the third quarter of 2017.

Almost two dozen staff were laid off this week as it continues to struggle with slow user growth and a dwindling stock price. A redesign of the app is being implemented with a view to attracting a wider audience to the platform, however early reviews have slated the changes.

READ MORE: Snapchat slapped: $6bn wiped off value as shares collapse

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Article source: https://www.rt.com/news/416497-leakers-jail-snapchat-memo/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

US may overtake Russia & Saudi Arabia as world’s leading energy producer – IEA

“Relentless growth should see the US hit historic highs above 10 million barrels a day (in production), overtaking Saudi Arabia and rivaling Russia during the course of 2018 — provided OPEC and non-OPEC restraints remain in place,” the Paris-based organization said in the latest monthly report.

The news comes as oil futures have reached new peaks since the dramatic slump seen in December 2014. Earlier this week, Brent crude futures hit $70.37 per barrel with the oil benchmark at $68.49 on Friday morning.

“What we are trying to understand is the responsiveness of the US shale producers. And because of the dynamism of the industry, the innovation and the vast number of players in that space… to some extent, we are in unchartered waters,” said Neil Atkinson, head of the Oil Industry and Markets division at the IEA, as quoted by CNBC.

According to the analyst, the recent rally in oil prices would trigger a “wave of new production” from the US in the upcoming months. Atkinson added that OPEC and its allies would have to “accommodate” that and decide upon the organization’s response.

The production cuts, introduced by OPEC and 10 non-member oil producers, have reportedly become the major price driver. The agreement, sealed in January last year, is scheduled to last through 2018.

The recovery in oil prices has allowed producers of US shale oil, OPEC’s main rivals, to restart operations. US crude production stands at 9.9 million barrels a day, the country’s highest level in almost 50 years, according to the IEA.

The figure puts the US on the same rank as Saudi Arabia, currently the world’s second-largest producer after Russia.

“The stage was set for a strong expansion last year, when non-OPEC supply, led by the US, returned to growth of 0.7 million barrels a day and pushed up world production despite OPEC and non-OPEC cuts,” the agency said.

For more stories on economy finance visit RT’s business section

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/416496-us-top-oil-saudi-russia/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Bitcoin crashed because professionals cashed out, making a buck from last-minute amateur investors

‘Bitcoin will take the arrows, settlers will get the wealth’ – PwC exec

“Many people behind bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as a whole understand that the skyrocketing prices in the last few months are linked to a cash inflow from mass-market consumers. Even pensioners wanted to invest,” Georgy Verbitsky, managing director at eToro, Russia and the CIS, told RT.

Bitcoin hit $20,000 last month, breaking new records every day. But this week, a sell-off swept the cryptocurrency market, and bitcoin slid below $10,000 on Wednesday.

“Experienced investors knew that the bitcoin honeymoon couldn’t last forever. Those who catch the last train are usually punished by the market. Big-time miners and investors understood that they needed to diversify, that they had to get some fiat money. People who raised money on the ICOs had to pay wages to developers,” the analyst said.

Visa may be waging war against bitcoin by rejecting it as currency

Many analysts are linking this week’s bitcoin collapse to news from China and South Korea. Regulators in these Asian countries are said to be cracking down on cryptocurrencies. However, the fall actually happened because those who bought bitcoin for $17,000 to $20,000 were disappointed about a lack of further growth, and brought bearish sentiments to the market, according to the analyst.

“It was about pure greed. Of course, after they lost a third to a half of their investments, they pushed the ‘sell’ button. A consolidation around $12,000 and $14,000 can now be expected,” Verbitsky said, adding that prices may remain stagnant for at least six months.

The analyst proved his point by recalling the Chinese ban on ICOs in September. That was a bigger blow to bitcoin than this week’s news, but the market was bullish, and the hit went unnoticed. Now, bearish sentiments are prevailing, and every negative news results in a bitcoin slide.

For more stories on economy finance visit RT’s business section

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/416472-bitcoin-collapsed-because-professionals-cashed/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Ousted Uber co-founder ditches shares for $1.4bn bonanza

The former Uber CEO, who last year stepped down from his position due to mounting pressure from investors, has reportedly sold one third of his stock in a share deal involving Japanese telecommunications firm, Softbank Group.

According to CNBC, Kalanick stands to receive around $1.4 billion from the sale.

A consortium led by Softbank Group clinched a deal to buy Uber shares from company investors on Thursday. The majority of share sales are based on a $48 billion valuation of Uber.

Uber has confirmed $1.25bn in primary investment as part of the deal. A number of governance changes, including the expansion of its board of directors from 11 to 17, have come into immediate effect. Softbank will now have two seats on the Uber board.

“We’re proud to have Softbank, Dragoneer and the entire consortium in the Uber family,” an Uber spokesperson told RT.com. “This is a great outcome for our shareholders, employees and customers, strengthening Uber’s governance as we double down on our technology investments.”

READ MORE: Covert Uber ‘impersonation’ and ‘wiretapping’ claims revealed in court letter

The company has not commented on Kalanick’s reported pay-out. The deal also brings an end to a lawsuit brought by key investor Benchmark against Kalanick, over his control of the Uber board.

The embattled ride-sharing firm has been in difficulty following a litany of sexual harassment allegations within the company, covert operations against rivals and its perceived failure to support a 2017 JFK Airport taxi strike.

In March 2017, Kalanick was also filmed in a heated discussion with an Uber driver. During the confrontation he suggested the driver would not go far in his career after complaining about the company’s performance.

“Some people don’t like to take responsibility,” Kalanick told Uber Black driver Fawzi Kamel.

“They blame everything in their life on someone else. Good luck to you, too. But I know you won’t go far.”

READ MORE: Uber CEO Travis Kalanick quits under pressure from investors

Kalanick stepped down as Uber chief executive last June.

“I love Uber more than anything in the world, and at this difficult moment in my personal life I have accepted the investors request to step aside so that Uber can go back to building rather than be distracted with another fight,” he said at the time.

The decision came after he had announced a leave of absence to grieve over the death of his mother.  

RT.com has contacted Softbank Group for comment on the share deal.

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Visa may be waging war against bitcoin by rejecting it as currency

“I don’t view it as payment system player,” CEO Alfred Kelly told CNBC.

“We at Visa won’t process transactions that are cryptocurrency-based. We will only process fiat currency-based transactions,” he added. Visa is the world’s largest credit card company.

Bitcoin tsunami will come from Japan – political economist to RT

Bitcoin was originally created as an alternative de-centralized currency. However, with its 2,000 percent growth last year, it has become a source for speculators to make a quick buck. As bitcoin turnover grows, it faces problems like high fees, astoundingly slow transactions and volatile prices.

“My take is that bitcoin is much more today a commodity that somebody could invest in; and honestly, somewhat of a speculative commodity,” said Kelly.

Earlier in January, Visa terminated cooperation with a debit card provider called WaveCrest, which issued cards associated with cryptocurrencies and facilitating ways to buy and sell them. Visa said the crypto-cards had been suspended for “continued non-compliance with our operating rules.”

Bitcoin’s price is like a roller-coaster. It started last year below $1,000. In December, it surged to $20,000. After this week’s sell-off, bitcoin lost more than a half of its value since the record peak. On Friday it is on the rise again, clawing back $2,000 after it crashed below $10,000 on Wednesday.

For more stories on economy finance visit RT’s business section

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/416395-visa-bitcoin-war-payment-system/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Bitcoin tsunami will come from Japan – political economist to RT

Bitcoin crashes below $10,000, losing over half its value since last month’s record

“China and South Korea are aware of this; they know that bitcoin is a financial asset bubble, a classic bubble which is peaking out,” Rasmus, who’s a professor of Political Economy at St. Mary’s College in California, told RT Channel.

He said most cryptocurrency action happens in Asia – particularly in Japan, as more than 40 percent of all the purchases come from the country. It is for this reason that the crash will come from somewhere in Asia within the next 12 – 18 months.

“China has always been opposed to bitcoin and Korea is now becoming increasingly concerned. Japan is going wild and I think the crash is going to come from Japan.”

According to the economist, the forces of supply and demand that have driven the asset price of bitcoin from $900 to almost $20,000 at the end of last year are now disappearing. “Those same forces that have caused speculative demand are now weakening and it looks very much like we are going to have a major correction with bitcoin and all the other altcoins as well.”

Bitcoin could still hit $100,000 this year – analyst

There is no taxation and regulation on cryptocurrencies, so speculators see an opportunity to pump and dump and make special profits, Doctor Rasmus explained. He said all those things came together to drive prices up but those forces are now going to shift.

The professor added that blockchain technology is significant, describing it as a real force in development which will expand and is going to reduce corporate costs.

Rasmus regards bitcoin as a speculative commodity, a play on top of blockchain technology.

“It’s not a currency; it’s a commodity like gold and gold futures. In my opinion, it will never become a true currency and if it threatens to become a currency you’re going to see the central banks issue their own digital currency as a way of driving down the price and taking the bubble out of commission,” he said.

For more stories on economy finance visit RT’s business section

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/416390-bitcoin-crash-coming-japan/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Party like it’s 2014: Russian oil drillers reap profits not seen since days of $100 crude

Stocks in Russian energy companies have started the year with impressive growth thanks to increased prices for crude futures as well as the ruble exchange rate, which inevitably determine the sector’s earnings. As Russian officials prepare for another OPEC meeting in Oman this weekend, industry experts polled by Bloomberg expect the good times for the nation’s oil producers to continue.

This article was originally published on Oilprice.com

While, for global energy markets, Brent sweet crude futures are still $50 below the high of 2014, for Russia’s producers the price of the benchmark crude in rubles is approaching a record. The federal financial regulator is expected to limit the upward potential for the national currency this year and even evoke its temporary weakness, according to analysts at UBS Group AG, as quoted by the agency.

Russia’s oil and gas indices may grow by up to 30 percent in 2018 with investors yet to price in Brent at $70 per barrel, according to Sberbank CIB.

“The ‘sell’ side is assuming an average oil price of $55 per barrel for 2018. Should the oil price stay at the current level, we will see a wave of earnings upgrades,” the bank’s analysts said.

Since the beginning of the year the appeal of Russian oil and gas shares has been actively outstripping their European rivals in terms of dividend yields. According to Citigroup, 2018 will become the second “year of the dividend” for Russian stocks due to improved earnings outlooks.

At the same time, the Russian energy sector may face some risks as US Treasury Department is set publish another report on potential new penalties against Moscow at the end of January. However, analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch don’t expect a tougher stance on the Russian economy and corporate sector. The high volatility of oil and the ruble, along with introducing higher taxes on the producers, are seen as another risk for the Russian energy sector, Citigroup said.

Brent was trading at $68.69 per barrel on Friday, pulling back by 0.87 percent. The American crude benchmark WTI is down close to 1 percent to $63.37.

For more stories on economy finance visit RT’s business section

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/416387-oil-price-ruble-russia-drillers/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Putin calls for development of digital economy within Eurasian Economic Union

Russia suggests creating single virtual currency for BRICS and EEU

“We assume it is necessary to accelerate implementation of the whole ‘digital agenda’ of the union, and to coordinate efforts on development of the ‘internet economy,’ creation of general digital trade rules, equal standards of exchange, and protection of information,” he said in the statement.

Putin called for the enactment of high technologies in public administration, industry, customs regulation systems and other areas, as well as “launching joint competitive, innovative and knowledge-intensive industries.”

According to the Russian president, it is important to “continue working jointly with our integration partners to remove the remaining barriers, limitations and restrictions in the way of building a common economic space. Our task is to intensify efforts towards creating single markets for goods and services, and providing conditions for free capital and workforce flow.”

Putin added that it is necessary to involve the business sector in integration initiatives, including both big, small and mid-sized enterprises.

The Russian President said that such areas as nuclear energy, renewable energy sources, ecology, medicine, space, tourism and sports provide great opportunities for boosting ties between EEU member states.

The EEU is a trade bloc established in 2015 on the basis of the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus. Armenia and Kyrgyzstan joined later. More than 40 countries and international organizations including China, Indonesia and Iran have expressed interest in a free-trade deal with the EEU.

For more stories on economy finance visit RT’s business section

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/416293-putin-digital-economy-eeu/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

‘Bitcoin will take the arrows, settlers will get the wealth’ – PwC exec

“The first players in anything are usually highly speculative. But the trend itself is here to stay. There is a phrase that the people who do the expeditions get the arrows, and the settlers get the wealth. So, if bitcoin is doing the expeditions, there are people behind it,” Sheppard told RT exclusively on the sidelines of the Gaidar Economic Forum.

If you like casinos, you’ll love bitcoin – economics professor

He added that blockchain, the technology behind bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, has a very bright future.

“Bitcoin represents a private currency in some sense and it is also an exchange captured in a way that can’t be cheated. The really cool thing about blockchain is that it is really hard to break,” the PwC executive said, adding that counterfeiting is close to being eliminated from blockchain.

Sheppard, however, agreed with Sberbank CEO Herman Gref that bitcoin trading resembles a casino at the moment. “But if you are going to be in venture capital, you’ve got to realize that a large percentage of things you bet on fail,” he added.

Blockchain technology was initially treated with skepticism by banks; because of its novelty it was even mistakenly put on par with bitcoin, a speculative asset.

Things have since changed dramatically in the perception of blockchain, as the scope of its use goes far beyond cryptocurrencies. The technology can improve the efficiency of clearing and settlement, make cross-border payments faster and cheaper, significantly cut red tape and modernize customer identification systems.

Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, launched a blockchain lab last week, joining other leading global banks already developing projects using this technology.

For more stories on economy finance visit RT’s business section

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/416287-pwc-bitcoin-blockchain-cryptocurrency/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS