Art of business 🤡
COVID still here, Mega crypto raise, and oldies want the Metaverse.
Market summary: 📊
Alright, we’re back to adding to major indices in India, especially as oil prices begin to crawl back a bit. US had another strong session, with growth tech names bouncing strongly!
S&P 500 - up 2.24%
Nasdaq - up 3.70%
Nifty 50 - up 1.87%
Sensex - up 1.86%
What’s brewing hot? ☕
🤳 Mint it on the gram — Zuck’s obsession with the Metaverse will now see Instagram integrating NFTs on the platform soon. Talking to the audience at SXSW, Mr. Metaverse announced that not only will users be able to mint NFTs, but also trade them among each other. FWIW, Twitter and YouTube have already integrated NFT technology in limited capacity. Mass adoption is a stone’s throw away!
⚽ Tech meets football — tech platforms are increasingly embracing “culture and sports” to appeal to a wider user-base. Spotify signed a 4-year deal worth well over $300 million with Spanish football club FC Barcelona, to become its main shirt sponsor starting from the next season. The deal also gives $SPOT naming rights to Barcelona’s iconic stadium. While Barca is looking at the money as a way to bring down its $1.57 billion debt mountain, Spotify is perhaps looking at what it can do in sports commentary and even associated podcasts.
Mota bhai gave Amazon a business lesson 🤡
What’s poppin’ — the prolonged Future Retail and Reliance saga has reached an interesting turn, where the cash-strapped Future is now accusing its savior Reliance of forcibly taking control of thousands of its stores, vowing to take them back.
Some context: Future Retail, crushed under its debt load during COVID, had sold itself for $3.4 billion to Reliance Retail in 2020. But Amazon alleged that the sale violated an old old arrangement it had with Future, which gave them the first right to buy the company, if a sale were to ever happen. The trio have since battled it out in almost every court there is this side of the Indus.
Meanwhile, Future’s coffers are drying up fast, and the business started missing its lease payments to landlords among a million other obligations. Scared landlords reached out to Ambani to save them from going down.
Reliance acted, and slyly started seizing control of some of Future’s 1,700 retail stores. Reliance went over and onboard, even offering employment to store employees without any problems — all while the case was still in dispute.
Now Amazon stands double crossed, and Future Retail is a retail empire with no retail locations to hang its clothes on! Show me a better modern day heist!
What now — RIL, legally has full control of the stores, unless Amazon or Future proves bad behavior in court. Future, minus stores, capital, or a godfather, cannot afford to drag out a legal battle. Meanwhile out of court settlement talks have stalled. Bezos is busy baking cookies, while new guy Andy Jassy is proving a rookie for Mota bhai’s tactics.
Big picture — Reliance has somehow made certain that there won’t be any winners from this other than themselves. Stock was up 1.5% yesterday.
Crypto continues to surprise the Venture markets 💰
ConsenSys, a famous developer of Ethereum apps including the wallet MetaMask, closed a huge $450 million Series D round from ParaFi Capital, Microsoft and others — doubling valuation to $7 billion.
ConsenSys is basically a development lab that builds apps that eventually run on public blockchain infra and make the company money through commissions. Their most popular product, MetaMask, has over 30 million monthly active users now — up more than 50% over the past 6 months.
Meanwhile another one of their developer products which makes Ethereum APIs, called Infura, boasts 430K users.
Anyway, ConsenSys plans on using the funds to launch a few more products supporting the boom in NFTs, and grow existing products.
Meanwhile back in India, 👇
BLR-based LILA Games, a developer of free to play mobile shooter games, raised $10 million in a Series A round from Rainfall Ventures, and again Krafton.
The newly formed venture is working on a unique shooter game codenamed BLACK, which is still under production. But the team comes with dense experience of previously building games played by over 40 million+ users, which is driving all the hype here.
Oldies can’t wait to get a piece of the Metaverse 🥽
What’s poppin’ — global card giant American Express is the latest to secure its base in the virtual world — by filing trademarks to sell financial services in the Metaverse
Per filings, Amex wants to provide its real-world services such as an ATMs, banking, and fraud detection tools to customers in the virtual land. Amex is also trademarking a bunch of logos to kick off an NFT marketplace, and crypto trading services.
And then we have HSBC make a move too,
HSBC will become the first global bank to enter The Sandbox metaverse — after buying a piece of land in the universe, which the company will build upon to sponsor sports and gaming experiences.
Other brands to have set up camp inside Sandbox include the likes of Gucci, Warner Music Group, The Walking Dead, and even Adidas.
Big picture — honestly, sounds gross and a bit weird to see the oldies go a whole lot of “me too” at this point, but it does help drive more hype, press, and institutional involvement in the space, which is a net positive.
Closing out — Rate hikes are finally here 🙃
What happened — US federal reserve, finally ready to sap the market of all the extra juice, announced a 0.25% hike to its base interest rates — pulling the trigger on a much anticipated move.
In layman’s words, these are basically the interest rates at which big banks borrow money from the central bank, and then eventually pass on to citizens and businesses. When rates are low, it becomes easier for people and business to borrow $$ from banks. As rates go up, money becomes harder to come by, thereby cutting the economy of extra juice.
Anyway, so governments around the world had lowered rates to dead bottom to keep the economy buzzing during COVID. Now that things have gotten out of control and inflation is peaking, they’re pulling back the rope.
How does it affect me: drying up consumer spending could see downstream effects on exports, trading, and other businesses serving western demand. Moreover, RBI may schedule its own rate increases sometime in the near future as well — making all loans from housing to cars to personal loans a bit expensive.
What else are we Snackin’ 🍿
😷 More 2020 vibes - South Korea reported over 400K new COVID cases yesterday, its highest daily figure freaking ever, due to Omicron.
💰 Big bet - Intel will spend an eye-popping $36 billion to build two new chip factories in Germany, to help Europe become self-reliant amidst the ongoing chip shortage.
😌 Thank god - After touching a 14-year high of $140 per barrel, Crude Oil Prices have now cooled off to below $100 per barrel, in a major relief for global economy.
Hit that 💚 if you liked today’s issue.
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