It seems so stupid to me that the Bitcoin mining industry consumes more energy than entire countries.
Imagine being tasked to find a specific grain of sand from 10,000 square km of desert. Imagine how complex and resource-intensive this task can be. You would probably deploy high-tech heavy machinery to dig in the sand and scan every single grain. Imagine how much energy this process would require.
A stupid amount of it.
That's exactly what it takes to add a new transaction to the Bitcoin blockchain.
I will never get tired of writing about this. It seems so stupid to me that the Bitcoin mining industry consumes more energy than entire countries. What are the benefits?
This video from the Financial Times shows the total energy consumption for several countries, over the past 3 years. Look at what happens to China's after the ban on crypto mining in 2021!
Plus, much of the energy used for Bitcoin comes from fossil fuel, as it needs to be as cheap as possible to make the process profitable for miners. This makes Bitcoin tied to real economy cycles.
If price of electricity goes up, Bitcoin becomes more expensive to produce, less profitable and less attractive. Hence its price will go down.
Wasn't it supposed to be an edge against inflation? Of course not. In 2022, it's madness we're still wasting energy and time with this.
Is Bitcoin the future of money? To me it's already the past!
Hard right Giorgia Meloni wins Italian elections. Some thoughts I share with author Roberto Saviano.
Some of you may know that yesterday, Italy turned right.
My very favourite author, Roberto Saviano, writes for The Guardian.
Beautifully written article, simple yet effective analysis on what’s happening and what might come next.
"The danger arises for Europe because Italy has always been a laboratory".
"Italy had Mussolini before Hitler [...] Italy had Berlusconi before the US got Trump".
"after years of Berlusconi misrule, Italy produced the Five Star Movement, the first populist party led by a comedian, before the rest of Europe caught up".
The following lines are key to understanding what's happening: "Her speeches [Giorgia Meloni's] play on the need for identity, on the very human fear of being marginalised or going unrecognised"
Identity, marginalised and unrecognised are the most topical keywords of our time.
The west is running fast, technology radically changed the world in a span of a single generation. But it is also getting older, with fewer people effectively understating this technology. At the same time, the same technology that changed our lives for the better, is causing our youth to feel lost (the negative effects of social media on kids etc). More and more people are not catching up, they are being left behind and "marginalised".
I was reading another article by the Financial Times about Dublin's real estate post covid: "Graduates working for big tech companies can command starting salaries of €80,000 [...] But that is soon eaten up by rents for new waterfront apartments in Docklands, with two-beds costing €2,000-€10,000".
Certainly not the kind of graduate I was, and definitely not the kind of apartment I was renting when living in Dublin. It seems like it was just me though.
So, was I being marginalised? am I being left behind? I can't help but feeling this way.
Another keyword I find in the Saviano's article is ambiguity: "Meloni appears the most dangerous Italian political figure not because she explicitly evokes fascism [...], but because of her ambiguity."
Nowadays, few people take a clear side. It's all liquid, ideas change at the same pace of technology. This is obviously very dangerous.
Now it's on us to tell the good from the bad, the right from the wrong, and stick with it.
Not an easy task, for sure.
The model is spreading among the financially vulnerable, which in turn are the ones more likely to miss repayments.
A couple of months ago, I posted about the Buy Now Pay Later model, whether it was turning into a trap during these times of inflation and financial struggle.
Studies show that more and more people are using BNPL to purchase essential goods like food and toilet paper. This indicates how the model is spreading among the financially vulnerable, which in turn are the ones more likely to miss repayments.
Don't we forget that BuyNowPayLater is still not a regulated form of credit, unlike consumer loans or credit cards.
This brings risks:
❌ It might cause vulnerable people to get into financial trouble, very quickly.
❌ BNPL was meant for non-essential purchases, in a time of cheap cash and consumerism (and lockdowns). The tide is turning, and there's not much profit in financing who can not repay.
The news of Affirm and Klarna drastically dropping their valuations were among the hottest of the summer.
So, is Buy Now Pay Later here to stay?
Hard to tell. But this video from the Financial Times gives an excellent input: what if BNPL transitioned to B2B?
Surely, it would lose some of its glamour (maybe that was the whole point?), but probably it would be more profitable and resilient. And I would also add, more innovative. B2B supplychains are in extreme need for digital innovation.
Either way, it is definitely a space to watch closely!
My Linkedin feed is packed with celebratory posts, but few of those tell the full story. Let's dig!
My Linkedin feed is packed with celebratory posts about the move by Patagonia's founder to “give away” his company. But few of those posts tell the full story.
As any elderly entrepreneur, Yvon Chouinard was faced with a succession problem: how can I look after my company, my family, and other stakeholders once I will be too old to be operative, or worse, dead?
Some options considered were passing the company onto his children, selling it, or going public.
None of those appealed to him, so he went for an unusual solution (actually becoming more and more common among the wealthy): gifting the company to a non-profit organisation.
Yvon Chouinard transferred 98% of Patagonia shares to Holdfast Collective, a non-profit that will invest its roughly $100 million in annual profits “to fighting the environmental crisis and defending nature.”
The remaining 2%, which holds voting rights, is transferred to a family entity called Patagonia Purpose Trust.
The noble purpose of such a transaction is undeniable. Holdfast Collective will in fact help fight the environmental crisis. After all, Patagonia itself was a pioneer in sustainability and has always contributed to environmental causes, donating 1% of it profits every year.
However, there's more to it. Let's look at the other options:
Capital gain taxes don't apply to "give-aways". If Yvon Chouinard had normally sold the company for its market value ($3bln), the tax bill could have been over $700mln. A transfer to his children would have also resulted in a massive 40% gift tax levy. Going public? Yes, but he and his family would have lost control over the company.
As Bloomberg puts it, the bottom line is that Yvon Chouinard managed to avoid huge tax bills while also retaining control over the company, for him and his children.
I guess we're lucky that he also thought of the environment. And I want to believe this was the main driver behind this unusual transaction. Am I am naive? I hope not.
Of course, this doesn't apply to other billionaires. For instance, electronics manufacturing mogul Barre Seid engineered the same sort of transaction to avoid a $1.7bln tax bill and to fund a conservative activist who fought abortion rights.
The point here is that we're often blinded by the next shiny news on social media, that we rarely stop to think about what we're reading or, worse, sharing.
Avoiding this, has been my mission since I started posting regularly on Linkedin around a year ago. I hope my posts also helped other people see the other side of the coin in flashy news stories.
"Welcome to the fashion-influencer-to-landfill pipeline, where greenwashing abounds and nothing of meaning is said"
This article by The Guardian is just gold!
Yesterday, I talked about some great initiatives by fashion brands to tackle the infamous 3 Rs (re-selling, re-wearing and re-using).
Unfortunately, not everyone is on board and end up in cheesy greenwashing campaigns.
It is definitely the case of the combo Kourtney Kardashian + Boohoo.com.
"Welcome to the fashion-influencer-to-landfill pipeline, where greenwashing abounds and nothing of meaning is said."
The greatest subtitle ever, I love it haha
"Kardashian [...] has spent the last few years crafting a fashion-forward and health-obsessed personal brand. [...] Her content-meets-commerce lifestyle platform Poosh [...] offers all-natural hangover cures."
Uhmm... I guess she should start by giving up drinking, rather than giving "all-natural" cures to hangover, lol :)
And finally, the harsh bottom line:
“What’s challenging is figuring out how people can still live in this way where it’s simple, and easy, and fast, and fun, but it doesn’t have a negative impact on people and the planet. Spoiler alert for everyone: you can’t."
Just as simple as that :(