Sometimes a story is just so out there that you have to cover it, and today that story is about Uber. Last year a self-driving taxi fleet sounded progressive, but Uber announced this week that it is planning to launch a flying taxi service by 2023. The company is planning to work with NASA on an urban air traffic control system and it debuted a vision of greatly scaling up aircraft manufacturing. Uber believes airplanes could be built with such scale that the cost of a commute in a flying tax would be the same cost as their ground transportation today.
FINSUM: This is quite an ambitious vision! We suspect it will take at least a decade longer to achieve this plan, but it would certainly be revolutionary.
One of the elements that has been weighing on technology companies this spring has been the threat of regulations. To judge that risk, Barron’s interviewed a number of Wall Street Analysts to get their views. Overall, the consensus was that future regulatory risk for fangs was muted. One managing director for Canacord Genuity commented that, “Facebook management addressed important data and privacy issues head-on, outlining new disclosure standards for political ads and hiring aggressively against privacy initiatives.…For the time being, the worst is very likely behind Facebook stock.”
FINSUM: We tend to agree here. We do not see the government taking major action, and the worst seems to be behind tech companies, for now.
Despite a very poor three months, there have been increasing amounts of articles arguing that Bitcoin may be a tipping point where it moves higher. However, Bloomberg has published a piece saying it is at a so-called death cross. The cryptocurrency’s 50-day moving average has dropped to its nearest point to its 200-day moving average in nine months, a move which spells doom for technical analysts. If it crosses below the 200-day threshold, it would signal the “death cross”.
FINSUM: While this does seem significant, we would argue that technical analysis is not as relevant in Bitcoin. The reason why being that the fundamentals of the market (e.g. a sound regulatory environment) are unstable, and there is little trading history from which to weigh technical indicators.
Allianz, the global financial firm, says that Bitcoin is worthless and that the bubble is about to burst. While the firm may be better known in its native Europe, Allianz is a major player speaking out against the cryptocurrency. “In our view, its intrinsic value must be zero … A bitcoin is a claim on nobody – in contrast to, for instance, sovereign bonds, equities or paper money – and it does not generate any income stream”, says Allianz, Europe’s largest insurer.
FINSUM: We thought the bitcoin bubble had already burst! Allianz really seems to think it will go to zero. We do not, as we believe it will slowly develop into a digital value store as the regulatory regime surrounding it gets harmonized.
So everyone knows that Bitcoin suffered a huge plunge earlier this year. The fall amounted to around 60% at its peak before stabilizing recently. However, what many are not aware of is how much total trading volume fell during the volatility. While stock market losses are often associated with increasing trading, that did not happen with bitcoin. Volume is stuck at about half its peak from December, and touched its lowest level in two years in February. This has many wondering if the currency is waning in popularity.
FINSUM: This piece was interesting to us because it contrasts with what you hear about the explosion in popularity of cryptos.
Bank of America just put out a weird warning that caught our eye. The bank—the largest retail bank in the US—said that it may face “substantial costs” as it deals with cryptocurrencies. In its SEC filing, the bank warned that cryptos were one of its risk factors for investors. The bank elaborated, saying “The widespread adoption of new technologies, including internet services, cryptocurrencies and payment systems, could require substantial expenditures to modify or adapt our existing products and services”.
FINSUM: Was this reference to some future risk of business disruption, or does BofA have some exposure to cryptos that is not well understood? Certainly something to pay attention to.