Biden husltin’ crypto 💪
Political fights, Krafton’s bet on India, and Inflation killing us all.
Market summary: 📊
India continues to add to lost ground despite the ongoing global geopolitical check mate. US lost some on Thursday, with tech stocks giving away the previous days gains.
S&P 500 - down 0.43%
Nasdaq - down 1.10%
Nifty 50 - up 1.53%
Sensex - up 1.50%
What’s brewing hot? ☕
🍗 I need my KFC — WSJ says thousands of Russians have begun to leave the country, after western sanctions and Putin’s crackdown on dissent makes local life a bit troublesome. Easy access to rest of the Europe means a ton of folks are expected to move west. Meanwhile, Russian forces have now begun targeting civilian establishments to turn on the pressure on Ukrainians a couple notches higher. And in other news, Putin now warns the world of a food crisis incoming as Russia runs out of fertilizers. What a clusterfu**!
🎶 Musical chairs over — this ain’t a political newsletter, we’re aware, but we’d address major elections for those not religiously plugged into the news. BJP snatched another absolute victory in India’s most populous state of UP. Same with Manipur and Uttarakhand. Punjab stuck with the AAP. Goa was a close call — but the incumbent BJP government seems to be on solid ground. If at all that’s any proxy for nationwide winds, despite the economic carnage from COVID, rising fuel prices, inflation, people continue to show belief in the current regime and its policies. Markets will note that.
“What can we do here folks?”— asks Biden 🤔
Uncle Joey signed off on a highly anticipated executive order earlier this week, that will set the groundwork for US’ adoption of crypto technology. Surprisingly, the order was a whole lot more welcoming and forward looking than everyone expected!
In a mouthful of Washington-legalese, Biden implored his individual government agencies to spend more time and money, talking to experts, and design solutions to understand deeply the possibility of how the US can lead on the crypto front, globally.
Among notable surprises, the government asked its departments to look into the creation of a digital, programmable dollar as well.
Other notable things: ☝️
Climate filter: Biden wants to put an emphasis on understanding how climate friendly is Bitcoin, and other crypto technology really
Keep users safe: lack of explicit laws all this while created a perfect breeding ground for every possible scam out there. Biden wants to understand how consumers can be protected.
Big picture — the Americans are no pioneers of fintech by ANY measure. But these moves, and the policies they drive in the future, will force global governments to act and put together their own individual approaches to the tech. This is good news.
Krafton brings fireworks to India’s venture party 💥
Krafton, the Korean gaming-company that made PUBG, who is also quite vocally bullish on the Indian gaming scene, joined hands with a few other investors to invest $42 million in the Series A of game streaming platform Loco — valuing the startup at $200 million!
We’ve written about this before, Loco is basically building a Twitch for India — providing local game streamers a home-grown platform to live stream games and esports tournaments. Loco has top partnerships with publishers like Activision and Krafton itself, and caters to 5.3 million users monthly, who spend an average of 27 minutes daily on the platform. Beat that!
Fresh funds will go to set up a partnership with the NBA, Red Bull to host sponsored eSports tournaments on the platform.
Worth mentioning — India has 400 million+ gamers as internet penetration deepens across the country. No global gaming giant can afford to ignore the base.
Then, venturing into audio-content for a bit 👇
Krafton again came back to write another $19.5 million check for the Series B of regional audio content platform, Kuku FM, alongside 3one4 Capital and others.
Kuku FM, like a host of other players in the space, mainly caters to users across Tier II and III cities for creating audio content like podcasts, audiobooks, courses and stories — in regional languages. ~30K creators make content on the platform.
Bumble questions its Russian past 🐝
Folks are vaccinated and in-person dating is back in full swing. After record growth coming out of Match Group’s business (the company that owns Tinder), last night Bumble reported an excellent quarter too — reading a bright future for the dating business.
Quick look at some key stats: ☝️
Bumble’s quarterly revenue of $208 million, up 25.7% YoY
Losses narrowed, down over 80% YoY, to $14.7 million in the quarter
Bumble now has 3 million paying users
Here’s the earnings release if you’re interested in nerding out.
Russia exit: Bumble owns Badoo and a few other apps, which are some of top dating apps in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. Also, Bumble was also originally heavily funded with Russian money, fyi. Going ahead, the company says it will exit from Russia and Belarus, taking a $2 million revenue hit, choosing to instead nurture its western roots.
Bottomline — stock jumped almost 45% after the results were announced, signalling market approval!
Closing out — Inflation wishes you a happy weekend 📈
US monthly inflation data came out last night, and its as bad as they’d expected. For the month of Feb, retail inflation jumped up to 7.9% — thanks to rising energy prices.
If you’re clueless, that’s basically how much more all products cost on average compared to same time last year, to the average consumer.
That’s the highest inflation the Americans have tasted since 1982, and a half a percent expansion since Jan of this year. What’s worse, economists and analysts are warning a jump up to 10% by mid-March, April, following the Ukraine crisis.
How we look: India reported CPI inflation at 6.01% for Jan 2022 — a straight increase for 5 months. With fuel prices up here too, we’re lined up for similarly worse numbers, regardless of the fiscally responsible job GOI has done in managing COVID’s damage. Data will be out in a few weeks.
What else are we Snackin’ 🍿
❌ Another day, another exit - Amazon exits Russia and Belarus. Jassy won’t ship any products nor provide access to Prime Video to the Russian folk. Huh.
👨 New Man - an ex-HUL executive, Prabha Narasimhan, will take over as the new CEO and MD of Colgate India.
🤝 Partnerships brewing - Tata is joining hands with Enviro, a facility manager in Gurgaon, to install EV charging stations. More auto giants are expected to work tightly with real estate players to enable the EV-fication of India.
Hit that 💚 if you liked today’s issue.
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