Miami, looking to be next crypto hotspot, hosts bitcoin event

Miami, looking to be next crypto hotspot, hosts bitcoin event
A art piece titled BTC Bank Note by artist Gus GG hangs at the Bitcoin 2021 Convention in Wynwood. (AFP)
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Updated 05 June 2021

Miami, looking to be next crypto hotspot, hosts bitcoin event

Miami, looking to be next crypto hotspot, hosts bitcoin event
  • The city has a lot of political support, says Gemini’s David Abner

MIAMI: Thousands of people have descended on Miami for a massive two-day bitcoin conference that opened Friday — a sign that the US city, in the midst of a tech boom, is hoping to become the next cryptocurrency hub.

“I don’t think there’s anything more important in my lifetime to work on” than bitcoin, given the flexibility it offers, billionaire entrepreneur Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter and payments firm Square, told a crowded auditorium.

“We don’t need the financial institutions that we have today. We have one that is thriving, that is sound, that is owned by the community, that is driven by the community,” said Dorsey, one of the keynote speakers at Bitcoin 2021.

Dorsey tweeted Friday that Square was considering making a hardware wallet for safely storing bitcoin.

With 12,000 participants and all speaker sessions sold out, the Bitcoin 2021 trade show features exhibits from crypto mining companies, crypto traders and bitcoin exchange networks.

The conference was originally scheduled to take place in Los Angeles, but was moved due to tougher coronavirus restrictions in California.

The line to get into the Mana Convention Center in Miami’s trendy Wynwood neighborhood wrapped around the building. Everyone was in high spirits and there were no face masks to be seen.

Beyond Dorsey, two of the other speakers were Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, twin Harvard classmates of Mark Zuckerberg who sued him over claims he stole the idea for Facebook from them, and now run cryptocurrency exchange Gemini.

“We think bitcoin is gold 2.0,” Tyler said at a panel discussion. “When we get to Mars, what is the currency going to be in Mars? Dollars? No. Bitcoin.”

So where does Miami fit into the picture?

For David Abner, Gemini’s global head of business development, Miami is “centrally located, especially in the Americas, and there’s a lot of political support here.”

“I think they’ve spent time to understand it and think about the ramifications of bitcoin. And so they’re very supportive of the economy,” Abner said, adding that cryptocurrency could revolutionize remittances sent back to Latin America.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who opened Bitcoin 2021, has become a bit of a celebrity in tech circles, for his intense efforts to turn the Magic City into a beachfront Silicon Valley.

In February, the Republican mayor announced that the city would explore ways to do some of its financial transactions using cryptocurrency, including paying salaries to employees.

Earlier this week, venture capital firm Borderless Capital announced it was moving its headquarters from Atlanta to Miami and launching a new $25 million fund for local startups using blockchain technology.

And the mayor announced the launch of MiamiCoin, a Miami-specific cryptocurrency that will allow investors to boost the city’s coffers while making money themselves.

“This is not a moment. This is a movement,” Suarez said Friday.

Since late last year, Miami has been attracting techies away from Silicon Valley and New York for a variety of reasons — thanks to Florida’s lack of state taxes and relatively lax coronavirus precautions, along with the city’s multicultural work force and proximity to Latin America.

It’s not exactly clear how many have moved, but there are signs of growth — home prices are soaring, up nearly 35 percent in just a year, according to the Miami Association of Realtors.

But not everyone is happy. The Miami Herald warned in an editorial of the possible pitfalls of the city’s embrace of all things crypto.

“Don’t get us wrong. We hope cryptocurrency — and the flashing neon welcome mat we’ve set out for the tech industry — elevate this city to new prosperity,” the paper said.


Kuwait estimates 74.2% decrease in deficit according to a budget draft report

Kuwait estimates 74.2% decrease in deficit according to a budget draft report
Updated 10 sec ago

Kuwait estimates 74.2% decrease in deficit according to a budget draft report

Kuwait estimates 74.2% decrease in deficit according to a budget draft report
  • The Kuwaiti Ministry of Finance expects a budget deficit decrease by 74.2 percent from previous year

Riyadh: The Kuwaiti Ministry of Finance submitted on Monday a budget draft report for 2022-2023 fiscal year, with an expected deficit of $10.26 billion decreasing 74.2 percent from previous year, according to a Reuters report citing a ministry statement. 

The report also stated that the OPEC member country expects oil income of $5 billion during the fiscal year ending in March 2023, representing an increase of 83.4 percent from 2021-2022.

Total revenues are estimated at $5.7 billion and expenditures at $6.6 billion in the 2022-2023 fiscal year.


Tesla countersues JPMorgan over contract affected by Musk tweet

Tesla countersues JPMorgan over contract affected by Musk tweet
Updated 26 min 48 sec ago

Tesla countersues JPMorgan over contract affected by Musk tweet

Tesla countersues JPMorgan over contract affected by Musk tweet
  • Tesla Inc. fought back on Monday against JPMorgan Chase & Co over a disputed bond contract

NEW YORK: Tesla Inc. fought back on Monday against JPMorgan Chase & Co over a disputed bond contract, countersuing the bank for seeking a “windfall” following Chief Executive Elon Musk’s notorious 2018 tweet that he might take his electric car company private.

In a court filing, Tesla accused JPMorgan of “bad faith and avarice” for claiming it was owed $162.2 million after unilaterally changing the terms of warrants it received when Tesla sold convertible bonds in 2014.

By changing the terms, “JPMorgan dealt itself a pure windfall,” Tesla said in its countersuit filed in Manhattan federal court.

“JPMorgan pressed its exorbitant demand as an act of retaliation against Tesla both for it having passed over JPMorgan in major business deals and out of senior JPMorgan executives' animus toward Mr. Musk,” it added.

A bank spokesman, Brian Marchiony, said in an email: “There is no merit to their claim. This comes down to fulfilling contractual obligations.”

The countersuit escalates the battle between the largest U.S. bank and world’s most valuable car company, which have done little business with each other since the disputed contract.

Warrants give holders the right to buy company stock at a set “strike” price and date.

In its Nov. 15 lawsuit JPMorgan said Musk’s Aug. 7, 2018 tweet that he might take Tesla private and had “funding secured,” and his abandoning that plan 17 days later, created share price volatility to justify lowering the strike price on its warrants.

JPMorgan accused Tesla of defaulting because it failed to hand over shares or cash when the warrants expired in June and July 2021, by which time Tesla’s share price had risen about 10-fold.

In its countersuit, Tesla accused JPMorgan of having “put its thumb on the scale” to demand even more money, after already receiving a “multibillion-dollar payout” because of the soaring stock price.

Musk’s tweets resulted in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission civil lawsuit that ended in $20 million fines against both him and Tesla and forced him to give up Tesla's chairmanship.

Tesla’s lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.


IKTVA contributed $100bn to Saudi Arabia economy: Aramco Chairman

IKTVA contributed $100bn to Saudi Arabia economy: Aramco Chairman
Updated 36 min 58 sec ago

IKTVA contributed $100bn to Saudi Arabia economy: Aramco Chairman

IKTVA contributed $100bn to Saudi Arabia economy: Aramco Chairman

RIYADH: IKTVA has contributed around SR375 billion ($100 billion) into Saudi Arabia’s economy since its inception in 2015, Chairman of Aramco, Yasir Al-Rumayyan spoke at IKTVA 2022 Forum and Exhibition on Monday.

Capital expenditure attracted by the program’s investments were estimated at $7 billion which created a competitive industrial base enabling the Kingdom to export to more than 40 countries, according to his statement.

Larger volumes and more varied products labeled ‘Made in Saudi Arabia’ are being created now in the Kingdom, as the localization of goods by IKTVA is creating a supportive ecosystem to the Kingdom’s industrialization efforts, he added.

One of the program’s achievements is establishing a hub to pioneer new technologies and services in the non-metallic industry, which is expected to contribute $10 billion to the Kingdom’s GDP by 2030, Al-Rumayyan said. Whereas Aramco suppliers have quadrupled their R&D spend in the Kingdom, from $21 million to $91 million, providing a catalyst for innovation within the Kingdom.

Fifty percent more Saudis were employed by IKTVA, making one out of every four people working in Aramco’s supply chain a Saudi. The number of female employees working in the supply chain more than doubled, he added.

The program aims at reaching Vision 2030 goals of economic diversification and industrialization by focusing on both conventional sectors including energy, chemicals and mining, as well as emerging business sectors including Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies, logistics and services. 


Dubai stocks sees biggest fall in over a month after Houthi attack intercepted

Dubai stocks sees biggest fall in over a month after Houthi attack intercepted
Updated 41 min 17 sec ago

Dubai stocks sees biggest fall in over a month after Houthi attack intercepted

Dubai stocks sees biggest fall in over a month after Houthi attack intercepted
  • Most stock markets in the Gulf ended lower on Monday

Dubai: Most stock markets in the Gulf ended lower on Monday, in line with global shares, while the Dubai index saw its biggest fall in over a month as the United Arab Emirates intercepted another attack by the Houthis.

Dubai’s main share index declined 2 percent, dragged down by a 3.5 percent drop in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties and a 1.9 percent fall in top lender Emirates NBD.

The United Arab Emirates on Monday said it had foiled another Houthi missile attack following last week’s deadly assault on the Gulf state as the Iran-aligned group takes aim at the safe haven status of the region’s tourism and commercial hub.

The Abu Dhabi index eased 0.1 percent, with conglomerate International Holding losing 0.6 percent.

 “Global markets are set to remain sensitive to fresh policy clues out of the Federal Reserve this week. Since the start of the new year, risk assets have been realigning with the more aggressive Fed rate hikes expected for 2022,” said Han Tan, chief market analyst at Exinity Group.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index fell 0.6 percent, hit by a 1.3 percent fall in Al Rajhi Bank and a 2.5 percent decline in Saudi National Bank.

The Saudi market continued its correction, after hitting its highest in over 15 years earlier this month, as investors try to secure their gains, said Wael Makarem, senior market strategist at Exness.

Crude prices, a key catalyst for the Gulf’s financial markets, rose on elevated geopolitical risks in Europe and Middle East.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index decreased 0.3 percent, with Commercial International Bank losing 0.4 percent.

SAUDI ARABIA     down 0.6% to 12,068
ABU DHABI                down 0.1% to 8,701
DUBAI                  down 2% to 3,147
QATAR                up 0.3% to 12,523
EGYPT                  down 0.3% to 11,616
BAHRAIN              down 0.3%  to 1,810
OMAN                   down 0.5% to 4,202
KUWAIT               down 0.2% to 8,000

 

 

 


Value stocks are hot again amid growing instability in the equity market, says leading banker  

Value stocks are hot again amid growing instability in the equity market, says leading banker  
Updated 24 January 2022

Value stocks are hot again amid growing instability in the equity market, says leading banker  

Value stocks are hot again amid growing instability in the equity market, says leading banker  

Investors are turning once again to value stocks, as they move away from racier growth options after the equity market corrected last week, according to a leading Middle Eastern banker.

The trend comes on the heels of central banks’ plans to tighten their monetary policies by hiking interest rates and slowing down COVID-19 stimulus programs.

According to a recent Financial Times article, MSCI’s index of value stocks in Europe rose almost 5 per cent in the first three weeks of 2022 on a total return basis. 

The MSCI broad equity index represents large and mid-cap equity performance. 

“Whenever there is stock market volatility, people will seek stability. Value stocks provide that element compared to growth stocks,” said Aziz Nader, vice president of capital markets at FFA Private Bank, in an interview with Arab News.

Expectations of interest hikes for the coming year and inflation are affecting stock market stability and more specifically growth stocks, he added.

Higher interest rates are viewed as negatively impacting growth companies because they erode the current value of their projected future earnings, in opposition to value stocks, explains Nader.

Investors are now banking on undervalued and more stable stocks. Business publication Fortune, underlines that value stocks’ price/earnings ratios, the standard affordability measure, tend to be low, which makes them relatively cheap.

“A good place to look at now for investment in value stocks is Europe,” says Nader.

European companies such as energy leaders BP and Royal Dutch Shell, and financial groups HSBC and Allianz, are among the big value stocks to have posted significant gains in 2022, the Financial Times report highlights. 

Additionally, funds holding European financial stocks have attracted $1.4 billion in new client money so far this year, according to the report, quoting Bank of America. 

Value stocks were also the most popular investing theme for this year among 106 institutional investors informally surveyed by Bloomberg News in the first half of December. Value stocks are considered as companies that are priced inexpensively compared to their profits or book value

Until now, value stocks lingered behind growth stocks such as technology.  

Growth stocks around the world have shown 22 percent annual returns including dividends over the past five years, versus 9.8 percent for value, indexes compiled by MSCI Inc. show, according to a Bloomberg report.

However, concerns over central banks ending support measures to world economies during the pandemic and expectations of rising interest rates to stem inflation are reversing the trend. 

Fast-growing but more speculative US tech shares have witnessed heavy selling this year, according to the Financial Times.

This has created instability in the markets. According to Market Watch, the Nasdaq Composite entered correction last Wednesday, ringing up a fall of at least 10 percent from its recent November 19 peak. On Friday, the Nasdaq Composite stood over 14 percent below its November high, while the S&P 500 was down 8.31 percent from its Jan. 3 record.