Sticking to the chair [Westend61 via Getty Images]
Shaking your phone now has a purpose: Instagram’s new “rage shake” feature lets you shake to report a problem with the app. Arms will be toned.
Tech stocks continued to drop today, while “cyclical stocks” like Exxon and Chase gained. Cyclicals = shares of companies that are closely tied to the health of the economy.
Not an Onion headline... El Salvador said it plans to build a volcano-powered Bitcoin City featuring a central plaza that looks like a massive Bitcoin symbol. Construction is scheduled to start next year. This past September, the Central American nation became the first country to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender, alongside the US dollar. Last week, 40-year-old Salvadoran President Bukele said Bitcoin City would be built next to a volcano, which would power BTC mining, and wouldn’t have any taxes, except a sales tax. Bukele is known for his crypto bullishness and authoritarian tactics (and his backward baseball cap).
Bit volatile... El Salvador is one of Latin America's poorest countries, with 23% of its population below the poverty line. Its existing gov’t bonds (aka: debt) are already categorized as junk grade, and the Bitcoin-bonds plan is getting side-eye from financial experts. Meanwhile, El Salvador is spending hundreds of millions on its Bitcoin rollout, which Bukele believes will improve financial inclusion and attract spending from foreign crypto investors.
Larger scale = greater risk… By adopting BTC as legal tender, El Salvador is taking a wide-scale risk for 6.5M citizens. The IMF is worried that BTC's volatility — and history of rapid plunges — poses major threats to El Salvador's economy. In a September poll, 80% of Salvadorans said they lacked confidence in BTC, and protests have erupted over fears it could destabilize the economy further. Still, it could be a valuable experiment for other countries considering Bitcoin as a national currency. So far: only Panama.
Powell reloaded… Fed Chair Jerome Powell has been running America’s central bank since 2018. He helped the economy rebound from a pandemic plunge with heavy stimulus medicine. Think: pumping trillions into the money supply through $120B monthly bond purchases. Now stocks are near record highs, but inflation is soaring — and Powell may have to clean up the aftermath.
If it ain’t broke… don’t nix it. For Biden, the stakes of this nomination are high. US inflation hit a 31-year high last month. Half of voters blame Biden for surging prices of staples, from gas to bacon. Biden will rely on Powell for help keeping prices down: The Fed can raise interest rates to cool spending and keep prices in check. About that…
There’s a trade-off… between inflation and growth. Keeping inflation in check could mean limiting the cash that flows out of banks. It could mean higher interest rates on loans, from mortgages to credit cards — which could depress spending. The sweet spot: keeping inflation under control while maintaining economic growth. Fed officials don’t want to raise interest rates until at least July, after they’ve ended their bond-buying spree. But if prices keep soaring, they may have to move more quickly.
“Red Notice” was watched for nearly 150 million hours this week.
Netflix launched a site that reveals weekly stats on its top hits. Tune in to hear why other streamers aren’t doing the same.
Authors of this Snacks own: Bitcoin, and shares of GM, Netflix, and Amazon