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Is Bitcoin the future of money? To me it's already the past

Is Bitcoin the future of money? To me it's already the past

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!

Read more...
Sept 22
Italy turns right: some thoughts

Italy turns right: some thoughts

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".

Very true.

"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.

Read more...
Sept 22
Is Buy Now Pay Later here to stay?

Is Buy Now Pay Later here to stay?

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!

Read more...
Sept 22
How Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard got out of a massive tax bill and still controls his company

How Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard got out of a massive tax bill and still controls his company

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.

Let's dig…

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.

Read more:

Bloomberg: Patagonia Billionaire Who Gave Up Company Skirts $700 Million Tax Hit

Forbes: Yvon Chouinard And The Patagonia Purpose Trust— What Is It And Will It Work?

CBS News: Patagonia founder gives away company to climate-change organization

Read more...
Sept 22
Sorry Kourtney Kardashian, fashion influencers & sustainability still don't mix

Sorry Kourtney Kardashian, fashion influencers & sustainability still don't mix

"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 :(

Read more...
Sept 22
Reselling & recommerce: a new business model for fast fashion?

Reselling & recommerce: a new business model for fast fashion?

The fashion industry is moving in the right direction with initiatives like PrettyLittleThing MarketPlace...

I talked about it before in will second-hand prevail over ultra-fast fashion?

Now the (fast) fashion industry seems to be moving in the right direction.

PrettyLittleThing.com recently launched "PLT MarketPlace", its owned resale platform.

eBay just announced a strategic partnership with Reskinned, a very interesting startup in the field of clothing repair and resale.

Swiss running brand On launches Onward, an online trade-in programme.

Other great initiatives, also by eBay, are the "Imperfects Hub", a platform to purchase new items with defects for less, and the "Brand Outlet", where you can find out-of-season clothing.

More and more brands are embracing the re-commerce concept, as opposed to general second-hand selling.

Many of them also use the same marketing jargon.
Reskinned and PrettyLittleThing.com invite you to join the "movement" and call their used items "preloved".

Whether it's just marketing or facts, I like this "movement".

Although, not everyone is on board. I'll explain in tomorrow's post!

Read more...
Sept 22
What do consumers think of Amazon Ads?

What do consumers think of Amazon Ads?

50% don't recall seeing an ad in the last 30 days, 55% buy from ads they've clicked on.

What do consumers think of Amazon Ads?

➡️ Only 16% of Amazon shoppers are wary of ads.

➡️ 50% don't recall seeing an ad in the last 30 days.

➡️ 55% buy from ads they've clicked on.

➡️ 70% are okay with Amazon targeting ads by keyword searches or browsing and purchasing history.

Amazon Ads are ultimately search ads. The oldest, yet most effective advertising format.

Ais also betting on search ads, Pinterest too.

I wonder why Meta hasn't done it yet.

Native ads done well are the future of the industry. Away from ad blockers and privacy concerns.

read more: https://lnkd.in/erRwqPCk

Read more...
Aug 22
Apple will show more ads on your iPhone and Mac. How surprising!

Apple will show more ads on your iPhone and Mac. How surprising!

What a news, isn’t it? App Tracking Transparency (#ATT) has always been a “privacy-washing” move...

What a news, isn’t it?


App Tracking Transparency (ATT) has always been a “privacy-washing” move, rather than a genuine attempt at improving user experience.

The idea is that ATT stops apps from tracking user’s activity across OTHER apps. Which means that they can still track you across apps by the same developer.

For example, Facebook won’t track you when you watch videos on the YouTube App, but it will when you browse Instagram. The same way, Apple does track you when you browse Apple apps, or simply when you use an iPhone outside of third-party apps.

This is an extremely important detail.

Why? 🤔 Because now that ATT caused billion-dollar losses to rivals like Meta and Snap Inc., Apple will double down on online #advertising. How surprising :)

How? 🤔 By adding new ad placements across its properties like the App Store, the Today Tab, Apple Maps, Apple Books, Podcast, AppleTV+, and more.

Currently only in the News & Stocks apps, as well as in the App Store, online ads generate $4bln in annual revenue. The company wants to increase that to the double digits.

CEO Tim Cook is on board, calling the opportunity “great” in his latest earnings call. To be honest, this is great also for online advertising professionals like myself.

But it sounds ironic to anybody else.

Read more...
Aug 22
The streaming war doesn't seem to cool off

The streaming war doesn't seem to cool off

While Netflix is to add an ad-supported subscription tier soon, YouTube will re-focus on its paid subscription.

The #streaming war doesn't seem to cool off.

While Netflix is to add an ad-supported subscription tier soon, YouTube will re-focus on its paid subscription.

The Google-owned platform has a massive 2bn-user audience that is struggling to monetise. It makes less than $4 per user vs almost $8 of Meta.

This comes almost entirely from #advertising sales. But ad spend is slowing and it's hard to tell when it'll get back on track. Also, the task of moderating user-generated content is proving to be more and more complex.

So, considering that YouTube is becoming increasingly popular on smart TVs, the move towards streaming looks like a no-brainer.

Will we ever see a clear winner? Who will it be?

Read more...
Aug 22
Is Bitcoin the future of money we want?

Is Bitcoin the future of money we want?

Bitcoin requires more than twice the energy usage per year of Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Amazon combined.

"#Bitcoin requires vast amounts of #electricity to facilitate its transactions around the globe. More than twice the energy usage per year of Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Amazon combined. This demand has led cryptocurrency #mining companies to seek out the cheapest electricity possible, and it doesn't get much cheaper than #coal."

By design, Bitcoin mining requires more energy the more miners join the network, as every transaction needs to go through every "block" in the chain.

Since the war in Ukraine, the renewable energy research has been undermined by the short term needs of cheaper energy.

Bitcoin is definitely not helping.

Are we sure this is the “future of money” we want?

Read more here.

Read more...
Aug 22
Ever wondered why we call modern tech products "platforms"?

Ever wondered why we call modern tech products "platforms"?

Tech giants like to use this term for their products, as it “projects an aura of openness and neutrality.”

Ever wondered why we call modern tech products #platforms?
Airbnb is a “platform” where… Uber is a “platform” for…

When #tech giants like Google and Meta rose to fame in the '00, they were seen as the good guys.

They were supposedly brining people together and opening new opportunities for everybody.
 But the reality is that they were going to be large "for-profit" operations like anybody else before them.

Scholar Tarleton Gillespie argued that they used the term “platform” strategically.

The term originally had a specific technical meaning. A platform, or a base, for developers to build other applications on top of.

Tech giants liked to use this term for their products, as it “projects an aura of openness and neutrality.”

“They can present themselves as playing a supporting role, merely facilitating the interactions of others. But their control over the spaces of our digital life, and their active role in ordering such spaces, is obscured.”

“Platform isn’t just imprecise. It’s designed to #mystify rather than #clarify.”

It is a very interesting point of view.
Any thoughts? :)

Comment & share on Linkedin

Read more...
Aug 22
We frequently forget the crucial role eBay had in the creation of the Internet

We frequently forget the crucial role eBay had in the creation of the Internet

The #history of the #internet is often told through the extraordinary stories of Google, Facebook, Amazon etc. But...

In September 1995, Pierre Omidyar created a website called AuctionWeb. A couple of years later, he would rename it eBay.

The #history of the #internet is often told through the extraordinary stories of Google, Facebook, Amazon etc. But we frequently forget the crucial role eBay had in the creation of the modern World Wide Web.

Before eBay, the internet was a one-way street. A bunch of web companies created the information and made it flow one-way to end users. Pierre Omidyar challenged this vision and wanted the internet to be more like a square than a road. It wanted it as a place where people could feel a sense of belonging.

eBay's users were the consumers, but also the producers.The term “prosumer” would have gained popularity not long after. By listing their items, leaving reviews and participating in the forum, users were effectively building eBay.

Pets.com, one of the internet stars at that time, didn't allow this, being a one-way pet supplies ecommerce. Same goes for Amazon, which launched in the same years.

Ebay was effectively one of history's first online #platforms. The first place where the internet looked like it does today. Not only that.eBay was also one of the first internet companies that figured how to make a #profit online.

Instead of charging users for the bare “access” to information, like the other websites did, eBay monetised users' activity, discovering the value of “user data”. The more people used the site and interacted with each other buying and selling, the more eBay was making money via a cut of transactions. Every new transaction had a very low marginal cost. Unlike many others' in the industry, its model was profitable from day one. Plus, the more users browsed the site, and the more data was stored and used to improve the site itself, as well as sold to advertisers.

We wouldn't be too wrong if we said that eBay invented the internet as we know it.

Read more...
Aug 22
Have a look at this real-life blockchain project!

Have a look at this real-life blockchain project!

While all the hype about "making money with Bitcoin" comes and goes like a tidal wave, Presearch is...

"Bitcoin is the greatest distraction from the greatest disruption that is happening in financial services today." Cit. Jenny Johnson, Franklin Templeton CEO, talking to Bloomberg News.

I couldn't agree more.While all the hype about "making money with Bitcoin" comes and goes like a tidal wave, real-life blockchain projects are being developed. One that caught my attention is Presearch.

Presearch is a decentralized search engine running on the Ethereum blockchain that allows its users to earn rewards for every search they perform.

Place a query on Presearch, like you would do on Google, and earn up to 3 $PRE per day. Advertisers, in turn, can stake their $PRE to bid on keywords and show ads in the search results page.

Although the project is still in its infancy, the idea behind it could disrupt one of the most profitable business models in history, Search Advertising.

Will it ever happen?

Read more...
Aug 22
Once again, healthcare is the new gold rush for tech companies

Once again, healthcare is the new gold rush for tech companies

ByteDance joins fellow tech giants that are exploring ways to digitize the traditional health care industry.

Speaking of which… I talked about big tech and healthcare before.

"ByteDance joins fellow tech giants from Apple to Amazon that are exploring ways to digitize and disrupt the traditional health care industry."

Once again, healthcare is the new gold rush for tech companies.

Read more...
Aug 22
Healthcare is the next gold rush for tech companies

Healthcare is the next gold rush for tech companies

The entrance of #tech giants in this multi-billion market should benefit patients, but...

#Healthcare is the next gold rush for tech companies.

It's not the first time Amazon makes an acquisition in the health space. It acquired PillPack in 2018 and used it to launch its own online pharmacy, on top of developing Amazon Care, a telemedicine service.

The entrance of #tech giants in this multi-billion market should benefit patients, by digitising and simplifying the way they access health services.

This is not without risks. Just to mention a couple:

🚫 Healthcare should care about patients first rather than stock growth.

🚫 On top of knowing everything about our online behaviour, tech companies will now know about our health condition.

What other risks or opportunities can you think of?

Read more...
Aug 22
Will second-hand prevail over ultra-fast fashion?

Will second-hand prevail over ultra-fast fashion?

On the one hand, ultra-fast fashion is booming, with brands like SHEIN and ASOS.com. But on the other hand...

The fashion industry is at a crossroads.

On the one hand, ultra-fast fashion is booming, with brands like SHEIN and ASOS.com. But on the other hand, responsible buying is also getting momentum.

The global secondhand clothing market is expected to grow 130% by 2026, 3x faster than the global apparel market overall.

While for the past 10 years second-hand was dominated by general marketplaces, now brands and retailers are driving the next wave of growth.

In Europe, Zalando launched Zircle, an app for reselling clothes. Vinted is also among the market leaders.

We're seeing a shift from e-commerce to re-commerce. The same retailers who sold you a new apparel item via their ecommerce website, will now "re-commerce" the same item via the same website or a dedicated app.

Do you think second-hand will prevail over ultra-fast fashion?

And what about “traditional” fast-fashion like Zara and H&M?

Read more here.

Read more...
Aug 22
The online advertising industry is under pressure, for the first time in 12 years

The online advertising industry is under pressure, for the first time in 12 years

The latest earnings report from tech giants like Alphabet Inc. and Meta show slower-than-ever growth.

The latest earnings report from tech giants like Alphabet Inc. and Meta show slower-than-ever growth. Meta even decreased revenue YoY for the first time ever.

The online advertising industry is under pressure, for the first time in 12 years.

Why?

🚫 Brands are reducing marketing spend in line with a slower market.

🚫 The privacy crackdown is damaging online ads' efficiency.

Is this a threat to digital marketers like me?

I would argue it's not: while the main players seem to be struggling, new ones are joining in.

✅ Amazon Ads is gaining momentum.

✅ Apple is heavily pushing its Search Ads product.

✅ TikTok is taking users away from Instagram and ad revenue with them.

✅ Netflix will soon sell ads via Microsoft, unlocking its immense inventory.

✅ Spotify is also growing, showing the power of audio ads.

Not to mention the metaverse and the opportunities it will bring.

Online advertising will just evolve, not stop.

Read more...
Aug 22