This week, Business Twitter has swapped GameStop stonk memes for hot takes on Bitcoin and Clubhouse.
It seems everyone who hasn’t hopped on the crypto bandwagon did it this week, including Tesla. The automaker announced it had bought $1.5 billion in Bitcoin, and would allow customers to pay for cars with the cryptocurrency. The price of Bitcoin shot up to record highs following the Monday morning announcement, setting the tone for Business Twitter for the week.
Here’s everything else you may have missed from the week, including Miami Mayor Francis Suarez’s Bitcoin initiative, and Elon Musk’s upcoming Clubhouse chat with Kanye West.
1. Chamath praises corporate taxation and loses big on Bitcoin
Modest proposal: a progressive taxation model on companies where the more they make, the more they pay.— Chamath Palihapitiya (@chamath) February 12, 2021
It’s amazing that people believe taxing individuals is the only way to even the starting line.
Progressive corporate taxation would have a much more enduring effect.
Investor Chamath Palihapitiya proposed a progressive taxation model for companies, tweeting that the tax would have a more “enduring effect” than a progressive tax on individuals.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has indicated her support for a progressive model in her confirmation hearing last month. “I certainly believe in a fair and progressive tax code where wealthy individuals and corporations pay their fair share,” she said.
According to President Biden’s tax plan, corporate taxes would increase from 21% to 28%. For companies who don’t pay any taxes (we’re looking at you, Amazon, Chevron, and Starbucks), a 15% minimum tax would be introduced for any business making $100 million or more in profit.
On a lighter note, Palihapitiya also tweeted a cautionary tale about his Bitcoin spending.
Loss porn: In 2014 I bought an empty lot in Lake Tahoe for $1.6M....in Bitcoin.— Chamath Palihapitiya (@chamath) February 9, 2021
Price adjusted for today, I paid $27.5M for it. 😢😂😂😂https://t.co/bjHX7aVdrH
In 2014, Palihapitiya purchased a plot of land near Lake Tahoe for $1.6 million with 2,739 Bitcoin. Unfortunately, Bitcoin’s value has gone up around 75-fold in the last seven years, meaning that if Palihapitiya had held on to his share, he’d have $128 million in crypto.
Palihapitiya called the tweet “loss porn” and added a final note to the thread: “#FML.”
2. Jack Dorsey and Jay-Z buy Bitcoin
JAY-Z/@S_C_ and I are giving 500 BTC to a new endowment named ₿trust to fund #Bitcoin development, initially focused on teams in Africa & India. It‘ll be set up as a blind irrevocable trust, taking zero direction from us. We need 3 board members to start: https://t.co/L4mRBryMJe— jack (@jack) February 12, 2021
On Friday, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey announced that he would team up with Jay-Z to fund Bitcoin development in Africa and India. Their 500 BTC ($23.6 million) endowment, called ₿trust, will be set up as a “blind irrevocable trust, taking zero direction from us,” Dorsey tweeted.
Dorsey also announced that ₿trust is hiring for three board members to “make Bitcoin the internet’s currency,” according to the job application Dorsey posted.
It’s not the first time Dorsey and Jay-Z have been in the news together — Dorsey has reportedly been in talks with the rapper to acquire streaming service Tidal, which Jay-Z bought in 2015. The two were spotted together in the Hamptons in August, and again in Hawaii in December.
3. Mayor Francis Suarez brings Bitcoin to Miami
Exploring:— Mayor Francis Suarez (@FrancisSuarez) February 12, 2021
• State legislative priority
• Paying employees in Bitcoin
• Investing City treasury in Bitcoin
We got it done ✅ pic.twitter.com/88laGvVbEG
The Silicon Valley exodus has given attention to other cities looking to take San Francisco’s tech hub crown. One of those contenders is Miami, which has already won the support of investor Keith Rabois, among others. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is, naturally, one of the city’s most outspoken supporters.
Part of Suarez’s initiative to make Miami the next Silicon Valley — in addition to a $100 million venture fund from Softbank — involves Bitcoin. Mayor Suarez proposed a plan to pay municipal workers and collect taxes in Bitcoin, as well as letting people pay property taxes or city fees in crypto.
The city’s governing commission, however, seemed less excited than Suarez. The commission agreed to look into options for Bitcoin, but hasn’t agreed to any policy changes just yet.
4. Balaji on Clubhouse and Substack
With Elon, Kanye, and Zuck on Clubhouse, and Greenwald, Yglesias, and even Krugman now on Substack, legacy outlets are losing the last thing they had: distribution.— balajis.com (@balajis) February 11, 2021
To be clear, the content went south long ago. But now they're bleeding elites as readers, writers, *and* subjects.
Investor and former Coinbase CTO Balaji S. Srinivasan weighed in on the rise of platforms like Substack and Clubhouse, which allow individual creators to get content out to a wide audience without the trappings of a major site or company.
Srinivasan name-checked Mark Zuckerberg, who recently appeared on audio-based social app Clubhouse, on “The Good Time Show,” hosted by Facebook employee Aarthi Ramamurthy and her husband, Sriram Krishnan. Meanwhile, Facebook is reportedly building a Clubhouse competitor.
As for Substack, Srinivasan pointed out that established media outlets could be losing readers to the newsletter platform. Although it was founded in 2017, Substack gained traction last year as big name writers found success on the site. Srinivasan’s past tweets on Substack are generally positive. He even wrote a blog post (not on Substack) on how to set up your very own paid newsletter, using your own domain.
“Why not Substack?” Srinivasan wrote in the post. “It's wonderful, but as a centralized service it doesn't offer the same degree of customizability and flexibility.”
5. Elon and Kanye on Clubhouse
It’s not just Zuck on Clubhouse. In one of Elon Musk’s more surprising Twitter moments (and that’s saying something), he announced that he would be appearing on the app with none other than Kanye West, on “The Good Time Show.”
It’s unclear when the meeting is taking place, but it’s not Musk’s first time on the app. He already appeared on “The Good Time Show” once, not long before Zuckerberg followed suit.
“The most entertaining outcome is the most likely,” Musk concluded.