🚀 Virgin’s “mothership” deal

Friday, July 8, 2022 by Robinhood Snacks |
Extra space seats (Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

Extra space seats (Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

Extra space seats (Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

Extra space seats (Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

Yesterday’s Market Moves
Dow Jones
31,385 (+1.12%)
S&P 500
3,903 (+1.50%)
Nasdaq
11,621 (+2.28%)
Bitcoin
$21,642 (+5.36%)

Hey Snackers,

This is not escargot and it has got to go: giant African snails are wreaking havoc in Florida, destroying plants and carrying diseases. Pest control isn’t playing around: “We will eradicate these snails.”

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq surged yesterday, giving the benchmark indexes their longest win streak since March. Investors digested news that jobless claims hit a six-month high last week, which signaled a labor slowdown — not great for the economy, but good for taming ’flation.

Ship

$450K to take off… even space-flation is getting high (a ticket to the edge of space cost “only” $250K last year). Virgin Galactic shares jumped 12% after it announced it’s teaming up with Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences to build two space-tourism carrier planes (dubbed: “motherships”). Virgin's mothership flies the spacecraft to its launch point, where the engine separates and launches passengers into space.

  • Frequent flier: Virgin's "Delta class" ships will take off weekly once they start flying customers (ETA: 2026), so it’ll need more than the one mothership it has now.
  • Double dip: Boeing already has a deal with rival SpaceX to build space capsules, but an alliance with Virgin could generate billions of additional revenue.

Dinner rez on the ISS… Last year was huge for space tourism, as billionaires like Bezos strapped up in spacesuits (and cowboy hats) to fly VIPs. Last month, Amazon’s Blue Origin launched its fifth space-tourism flight. Meanwhile, SpaceX has launched four crewed flights since last year — but Virgin has just one.

  • Long layover: Econ struggles are starting to curb some enthusiasm. In May, Virgin pushed its first commercial space flight to early 2023 — its second delay.
THE TAKEAWAY

Taking off is easier in twos… Virgin’s deal with Boeing could help it save money on pricey motherships while scaling its biz faster. Getting ahead is key, since the space-tourism market is expected to nearly triple to $3B by 2028. But $$ may still be up and far away for companies like Virgin. The stock’s down 90% from records, and it's TBD when, or if, it’ll become profitable.

Webthieve

Sorry and you’re welcome... Hackers stole $9M from DeFi protocol Crema Finance over the weekend. But in a world full of crypto heists, the real surprise is what came next: they returned all but $1.7M of it. It wasn’t sheer generosity: in return for most of the stolen funds, Crema called the $1.7M a "white-hat bounty” (aka: a non-criminal reward for finding a security flaw). A trend is emerging where hackers steal crypto only to return a large portion. We’re calling it “hack to return.”

All carrot, no stick... Crypto exchanges, platforms, and protocols that find themselves on the receiving end of hacks are trying a new approach to getting their money back: asking nicely. It sounds odd, but hackers are increasingly on board — that’s because making a deal often means being let off as a flaw-finder instead of hunted as a criminal:

  • Optimist: Hackers stole $16M worth of tokens from an ethereum layer 2 called Optimism in June, but later returned $14M worth, keeping the rest as a bounty.
  • Altruist? A hacker stole $600M from the Poly Network in August, but gave it back in return for a promised $500K bounty (the nickname: "Mr. White Hat").
THE TAKEAWAY

It's getting harder to clean dirty crypto... Blockchain analytics companies like Chainalysis are getting better at tracking stolen funds, making it difficult for hackers to launder and anonymously cash out. (Just ask "financial rapper” Razzlekhan, arrested in connection with a $4.5B crypto heist in February.) The hack-to-return trend is an outcome of a $945B industry that's seemingly easy to rob, but whose unofficial cops never lose sight of the getaway car. Sometimes it's easier for hackers to toss most of the cash out the window, and keep what they can move with.

What else we’re Snackin’

  • Pound: After a series of scandals, Boris Johnson will resign as UK prime minister at a time when the world's fifth-biggest economy is struggling (think: slowest growth and highest inflation in the G7).
  • Vito: Oil giants Shell and Equinor invested $3B in “Vito,” an offshore oil project southeast of New Orleans. Vito should start pumping next month — but environmental concerns could pump the brakes.
  • Fear: Samsung posted “better than feared” earnings, spurring a rally in Asian chip-makers. But shares of the South Korean techie are still down 25% this year as chip shortages persist.
  • Crisis: Russia’s war on Ukraine has driven a 25% increase in acute hunger, UN officials said. 345M people worldwide are on the brink of starvation because of sky-high food, fuel, and fertilizer prices.
  • Med: Pharma giant Merck is in talks to buy cancer biotech biz Seagen for $40B. It could complement Merck’s top-selling product, cancer-fighting Keytruda, but could face antitrust scrutiny.

Snack Fact of the Day

Investment in US startups is down 23% over the past three months — the biggest drop since 2019

Friday

  • Monthly employment data

Authors of this Snacks own: ethereum and shares of Amazon and Shell

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