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MasterCard Web3 Pioneer Leaves in Wake of Harassment, Salary Cuts, and Contractual Issues

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Art by Satvik Sethi // Source: Twitter @sxtvik

By Maria Irene

Satvik Sethi, former NFT product lead at MasterCard, has resigned from the company and taken to social media to publicly detail his experiences at the company. Sethi accuses MasterCard of harassment, emotional distress, and mismanagement, including a 40% cut in salary and 200% increase in workload when he moved from New York City to London. He also accuses the company of not paying his salary for months at a time, and of pressuring him into accepting a reduced severance package after his resignation.

Sethi also reflects on the challenges of being an immigrant, including having to rely on his employer for immigration status and being separated from friends and family. He shares that his mental health suffered as a result of these challenges and the working conditions at MasterCard.

Despite these setbacks, Sethi is moving forward with his social platform, joincircle, which has over 90,000 sign-ups and 35 partner communities, as well as his art, which he says he is passionate about and will be showcasing in various mediums and activations this year.
This story highlights the experiences of a former MasterCard employee and sheds light on the broader challenges of being an immigrant in the tech industry. It also touches on the growing importance of Web3 and the role NFTs are playing in shaping the future of the industry.

Lead Art by Satvik Sethi // Source: Twitter @sxtvik

India Maintains Restrictive Crypto Tax Policies in 2023 Budget

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India's Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Despite a growing global trend towards embracing blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, India has continued to resist this movement with its 2023 budget maintaining the high crypto tax regime that was implemented in 2022. Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the new budget, which included changes to income tax rate slabs but made no mention of cryptocurrencies, central bank digital currency (CBDC), or blockchain technology.

Currently, the country imposes a 30% tax on all crypto profits and a 1% tax deducted at source (TDS) on all crypto transactions. The new budget also adds stipulations that could result in fines or jail time for non-compliance with the TDS provision. The fine would be equal to the tax liability of the transaction while offenders also risk three to 84 months in jail for failure to comply.

Regulators introduced TDS on all crypto transactions to determine the number of Indian citizens using cryptocurrencies. The government will have its first opportunity to review this data when Indians file their income tax returns starting in May.

Former Finance Secretary of India, Subhash Chandra Garg, called for more clarity on crypto taxes but warned that “we might not see any new changes in the upcoming budget 2023.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party, which has taken a hardline approach to regulating cryptos, controls both houses of the legislative body and is expected to adopt the new provision into law, effective April 1.

Despite the hope for a reprieve from the high crypto tax regime, the Indian crypto community will have to wait at least one more year for any potential changes.

Powell’s Rate Hike, Lack of Concern About Financial Conditions Fuel Markets Rally: Alf

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Jerome Powell

Powell’s Rate Hike, Lack of Concern About Financial Conditions Fuel Markets Rally: Analysis by Alf and AFR

On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell raised interest rates by 0.25 BPS, a move that was widely expected in the market. However, Powell’s following remarks, which showed a lack of concern about the ease of financial conditions, have caused markets to rally hard. Alf, the founder and CEO of TheMacroCompass.com, a macroeconomic insights platform, analyzes Powell’s decision and the market’s reaction.

According to Alf, Powell’s lack of pushback against easier financial conditions has extended the window for the “misplaced soft landing” narrative, where growth and inflation are declining but not yet to alarming levels. Alf notes that the first innings of a recession often look like a soft landing and Powell’s lack of pushback is adding fuel to the fire.

In his analysis of Powell’s comments on inflation and the labor market, Alf concludes that despite the progress on inflation, Powell did not sound the all-clear signal yet, and the bar for a proper Fed pivot remains high. Powell stated that the Fed still believes more rate increases are necessary and that he will have to wait for either very hot or recessionary data to come in before halting the markets’ rally. Alf notes that markets do not believe Powell and that he will have to do more to gain their trust.

The Australian Financial Review (AFR) also analyzed Powell’s decision and the market’s reaction. AFR notes that Powell was expected to talk the market out of its bullishness and emphasize the difficulties of getting inflation down with a rising share market. However, Powell downshifted the Fed’s tightening cycle, which was manna from heaven for markets that have rallied this year on the idea that the Fed’s tightening cycle is almost over.

Powell was asked about the recent easing of financial conditions, caused by the rally in the stock market and the fall in bond yields, and failed to sound hawkish. Instead, he suggested that the overall financial conditions were more important than short-term trends, a statement that was perceived as confusing by some. As a result, the S&P 500 increased by 1.5% between 2.35 pm and 2.55 pm, and the market closed up 1% on the day.

In conclusion, Alf’s analysis and the AFR’s observation show the importance of staying vigilant and informed about macroeconomic trends and events. TheMacroCompass.com provides unique insights, interactive tools, and portfolio strategy to help individuals make informed investment decisions.

Ark Invest CEO Stays Confident in Bitcoin’s $500k Price Target by 2030 Despite Market Hurdles

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Representational Photo by Art Rachen on Unsplash

Despite the recent market challenges in the cryptocurrency space, Ark Invest CEO Cathie Wood remains steadfast in her prediction that Bitcoin will reach $500,000 by 2030. Speaking on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Wood confirmed that Ark Invest still stands by the bold thesis, and even added that their bearish case is slightly higher than $500,000.

The CEO’s confidence is a testament to the strength of transparency and decentralization in the cryptocurrency market, a key focus of the Ark Innovation ETF. This is a sharp contrast to the centralized, opaque companies that have failed during the recent crypto winter. The collapse of FTX and other companies has not affected the networks of Bitcoin and Ethereum, with all transactions and smart contracts proceeding without a hitch.

Wood’s comments echo those of Ark’s Research Director, Frank Downing, who previously stated that conviction in decentralized and transparent public blockchains is as strong as ever. Despite the 59% drop in the ARKK ETF’s market confidence in 2022, the ETF has undergone a remarkable 150% rally in 2020.

In November 2022, the flagship Ark Innovation ETF invested an additional $62.7 million into the cryptocurrency space, acquiring more shares in Coinbase, Silvergate, and the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust. This move was made despite the collapse of FTX, showing Wood’s unwavering commitment to her bullish outlook on the crypto space.

Lead Photo by Art Rachen on Unsplash

Surviving the Looming Die-Off: Expert Advice for Startups Facing the Impending Mass Extinction

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Representational Photo by Jason Goodman on Unsplash

By Maria Irene

According to Tom Loverro, a seasoned investor and entrepreneur, a mass extinction event is coming for early and mid-stage startups, which will make the 2008 financial crisis look quaint. In a tweet storm, Loverro explains why late 2023 and 2024 will be a difficult time for startups and offers detailed advice to founders on how to survive the impending die-off.

Loverro cites a survey by January Ventures, which found that 4 in 5 very early-stage companies have fewer than 12 months of runway. This, combined with the fact that many startups raised nearly 2 years of cash in 2021 and 2022, means that a flood of startups will come to market in late 2023 and 2024 to raise capital, but more will seek funding than will actually receive it.

According to Loverro, the situation will be worse than the 2008 financial crisis for venture-backed startups. He explains that while the GFC was centered on Wall Street, private startup valuations, round sizes, and burn didn’t go bananas in the years leading up to the crisis. However, in 2021, for startups, the situation was more toxic than the GFC, and the hangover will start later this year and will be more severe.

Loverro also addresses the myth that the large amount of dry powder will drive valuations back up. He argues that funds won’t deploy their capital in one year, and many funds have already been partially or mostly invested.

To survive, Loverro suggests that early-stage founders should take the following seven steps:

  • Raise money now or sooner than expected, before the Great Flood of 2023
  • Cut burn even more, focusing on core R&D
  • Focus on survival, not valuation
  • Bring on seasoned operators in C-level roles
  • Trade better unit economics for growth
  • Play your cards right, survive, and go on offense
  • Be decisive

In conclusion, Loverro’s tweet storm serves as a wake-up call for startups to be prepared for the impending mass extinction event. By following his advice, founders can increase their chances of survival and come out stronger on the other side.

#powell #startups #financialcrisis #avalanche #GFC #blockchain

Representational Photo by Jason Goodman on Unsplash

NFT Technologies Inc. Partners with The Sandbox, A Leading Decentralized Gaming Virtual World

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Photo by James Yarema on Unsplash

By ARC

Vancouver-based technology company, NFT Technologies Inc., has teamed up with web3 studio Run It Wild and The Sandbox, a subsidiary of Animoca Brands, to bring NFT Tech’s expertise and creativity to The Sandbox’s decentralized gaming virtual world. The Sandbox is a metaverse where virtual real estate and amusement park worlds come together and interact. NFT Tech will join a long list of 160 existing partnerships, which includes popular names like Atari, Care Bears, CryptoKitties, and Deadmau5.

“We see virtual worlds and environments as the next great place to reach new web3-native audiences and create deeper engagement for existing customers,” said NFT Tech CEO, Adam De Cata. The Sandbox uses the ERC-20 utility token, SAND, for transactions and interactions, and has a current market cap of over $2 billion.

The partnership aligns with The Sandbox’s expansion plans, which include onboarding new partners and launching content series to attract more brands and intellectual property to the virtual world. Additionally, The Sandbox plans to introduce flagship neighborhoods that celebrate cultural and geographical diversity in the metaverse.

NFT Technologies Inc. specializes in building products that accelerate web3 adoption by bringing utility to digital assets

The Sandbox, with over 40 million mobile installs globally, offers players and creators a platform to create 3D worlds and game experiences, as well as safely store, trade, and monetize their creations. As a subsidiary of Animoca Brands, a leader in digital entertainment and blockchain, The Sandbox is contributing to the growth of virtual real estate demand.

NFT Technologies Inc. specializes in building products that accelerate web3 adoption by bringing utility to digital assets. With a focus on increasing consumer engagement, enabling digital asset ownership, and discovering new business models, NFT Tech is a trusted partner to global brands across industries like sports, entertainment, and art. The company is publicly listed on the NEO and OCTQB exchanges.

In conclusion, the partnership between NFT Technologies Inc. and The Sandbox will bring a new level of creativity and innovation to the decentralized gaming virtual world, further driving growth in the metaverse.

Lead Photo by James Yarema on Unsplash

Fantasy Soccer Game Sorare Partners with Premier League for NFT Player Cards

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By ARC

Paris-based startup Sorare has signed a multi-year deal with the Premier League to license official player cards as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for its popular fantasy soccer game. The deal is set to bring the Premier League’s top talent to Sorare’s 3 million global users, allowing them to compete in five-a-side games based on real-time player performance.

As part of the agreement, Sorare will also launch two new features in the game. Players will be able to compete with league-specific player cards, and a “financial fair play” feature will prevent users from selecting all-star teams. The financial terms and length of the deal were not disclosed.

Despite a downturn in NFT trading, Sorare has experienced growth, with transactions more than doubling from $270 million in 2021 to $500 million last year. The company’s CEO, Nicolas Julia, attributed this growth to a shift in player behavior, with more users opting for the free-to-play mode, rather than purchasing paid-for cards. Although 87% of Sorare players don’t spend money on the platform, Julia stated that the platform’s income is anchored by the spending power of its big-spending users. Sorare takes a cut from all transactions via its platform.

Sorare website: https://sorare.com/

Sorare is the third-biggest NFT collection in the world, processing roughly $1 million of transactions per day. The Premier League’s partnership with Sorare adds to a growing trend of sports leagues partnering with crypto platforms, including Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association.

The Premier League’s entry into the NFT space is a significant development, providing fans with a new way to engage with their favorite teams and players. Sorare’s partnership with the Premier League is another step forward in the growing NFT market and a testament to the company’s success in building a sustainable and profitable business model in the world of fantasy sports.

Adani Stocks in Death Spiral, Influencer Warns of Dangers of Investing in High-Debt Firms

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Irene Maria

Adani Group stocks are in a downward spiral, warns finance influencer Akshat Shrivastava, publisher of Wisdom Hatch. Despite trading at high valuations, long-term buyers are not confident in the value of the purchase due to the company’s heavy infrastructure nature and inability to achieve 10X growth without significant acquisitions, which require funding.

“The situation at Adani Group highlights the dangers of investing in high-debt firms,” says Shrivastava. “The ripple effect of debt can have serious implications for retail investors, who should be cautious about their investments.”

The Adani Group has been facing controversy in recent weeks following a report by Hindenburg Research, which accused the Indian energy-to-infrastructure conglomerate of “pulling the largest con in corporate history” and engaging in “brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud.” The report alleged that the activities helped push up the share prices of seven Adani Group companies and boosted founder and chair Gautam Adani’s net worth by over $100 billion in just three years.

The Adani Group has pushed back against the allegations, calling Hindenburg’s report “maliciously mischievous” and “unresearched.” It has also released two reports of its own, refuting the claims and alleging that Hindenburg’s actions were driven by a desire to book financial gain.

However, the controversy surrounding Adani stocks has led to a death spiral, according to Shrivastava. Despite being battered, Adani stocks are still trading at high valuations, but long-term buyers are not confident in their value. The business model of the Adani Group, which is heavily reliant on infrastructure, requires massive acquisitions in order to grow, but the group is struggling to refinance its debt. The declining value of its collateral, which includes Adani Green stocks that have fallen by 45% in just three days, is causing lenders to worry about the real worth of what they hold.

The group is struggling to refinance its debt, as banks that gave loans are now worried about the pledged stocks they own. Adani does not have the cash flows to repay the debt and rumors of liquidation could cause shockwaves. The recent poor retail participation in the recent follow-on public offering (FPO) is due to the stock’s price crash and difficulty for firms to justify the investment.

“With limited avenues to raise new money and high interest rates in the economy, the Adani Group is struggling to repay its debt,” says Shrivastava. “The group recently attempted to raise funds through a follow-on public offering (FPO), but poor retail participation and skepticism from institutional investors have made it difficult to justify this move.”

In conclusion, Akshat Shrivastava warns retail investors to be cautious of investing in high debt firms. “Debt creates a ripple effect and can have serious implications for investors,” he says. “Retail investors should carefully consider the risks before investing in any high-debt firm.”

Twitter Ventures into Payment Space as Musk Drives for New Revenue Streams

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By Arc

Twitter is venturing into the payment space as CEO Elon Musk seeks new ways to increase revenue for the social media giant. The company has reportedly begun the process of obtaining regulatory licenses and is led by Director of Product Management, Esther Crawford, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Twitter’s move into the payment space comes as the company faces a decline in advertising revenue, making it necessary to find alternative sources of income. The new payment feature is expected to help the platform create new streams of revenue and expand its offerings to users.

Musk, who took over Twitter in October with a $44 billion acquisition, has long been a proponent of adding payment functionality to the platform. He has previously stated that the acquisition was part of a larger plan to create “the everything app,” a service that would offer social networking, peer-to-peer payments, and e-commerce shopping.

The payment feature is expected to leverage Twitter’s extensive user base and extensive reach, making it a formidable player in the online payment space. With over 330 million monthly active users, the platform has the potential to rival other payment systems like Alipay and PayPal.

It is still unclear what form the payment feature will take, but it is expected to include the option for users to send and receive payments within the Twitter platform. The company could also potentially integrate with existing payment systems, such as the Lightning Network, to offer a seamless payment experience for users.

Twitter has a long history of exploring payment options, with the company considering the addition of a tipping feature in early 2021. This latest move into the payment space demonstrates the company’s commitment to finding new ways to generate revenue and enhance the user experience.

In conclusion, Twitter’s move into the payment space is a significant development in the online payment industry. With Elon Musk at the helm and a dedicated team working on the project, the company is poised to make a significant impact in the payment space. Only time will tell what the future holds for Twitter’s payment feature, but for now, the company’s users can look forward to a more convenient and streamlined payment experience.

Adani Group to Undergo Corporate Governance Audit by Top Accounting Firm

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Pic supplied//
By ARC
India’s Adani Group is set to hire one of the “big six” accounting firms to conduct a comprehensive audit of its corporate governance and audit practices. The move comes following allegations of fraud by short-seller Hindenburg, which raised concerns about the conglomerate’s use of offshore tax havens and high debt levels. The allegations led to a drop in Adani’s market value by $65 billion.

The audit will cover eight of the group’s listed firms and will evaluate related party transactions, accounting practices, and compliance with corporate governance standards. The findings will be presented to the board of Adani Enterprises and, if deemed necessary, legal action may be taken based on the results. The audit will take place after the completion of Adani Enterprises’ follow-on public offering.

Adani has issued a 413-page response to Hindenburg’s allegations, asserting full compliance with local laws and proper regulatory disclosures. Despite this, the National Stock Exchange of India has reduced the circuit limits on three of Adani’s companies, including Adani Transmission Ltd, Adani Total Gas Ltd, and Adani Green Energy Ltd, to 10% from 20%.

Adani’s recent $2.5 billion secondary share sale faced weak investor sentiment, closing 7% below the lower end of the offer price band. The results of the independent audit are expected to provide clarity and restore investor confidence in the company. The audit will also aim to determine the accuracy of Hindenburg’s claims, which have caused significant damage to Adani’s reputation.

The Adani Group is a conglomerate of several companies with interests in ports, agribusiness, energy, real estate, financial services, and defense. The group is one of India’s largest companies and has faced criticism in the past for its environmental practices and business dealings. An independent audit of its corporate governance and audit practices will help to restore the company’s image and promote transparency.

Adani has been expanding rapidly in recent years and has invested heavily in renewable energy. The company’s goal is to become a major player in the global energy market and to contribute to India’s ambitious target of becoming a carbon-neutral country by 2050. The results of the independent audit will provide important insights into the company’s operations and help to ensure that its growth is sustainable and in line with good corporate governance practices.

In conclusion, the decision by the Adani Group to undergo a corporate governance audit by a top accounting firm is a positive step towards restoring investor confidence and promoting transparency. The results of the audit will provide important information about the company’s operations and will help to ensure that it continues to grow in a sustainable and responsible manner.