Welcome to another edition of Business Twitter, where we collect the best tweets to come out of Silicon Valley so you don’t have to. This article is part of a newsletter — if you want a weekly Business Twitter roundup sent to your inbox every Friday, subscribe here.
This week: Uber and Just Eat Takeaway CEOs spar, Brian Armstrong becomes a DJ, and Jack Dorsey makes a case for Bitcoin and renewable energy.
Here’s everything you may have missed from this week.
1. Uber vs. Just Eat Takeaway
Thank you for the advice, and then if I may .. Start paying taxes, minimum wage and social security premiums before giving a founder advice on how he should run his business.— Jitse Groen (@jitsegroen) April 21, 2021
Just Eat Takeaway and Uber no longer appear to be on friendly terms. A recent tweet from Jitse Groen, CEO of Dutch food delivery startup Just Eat Takeaway, went after Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi for expanding Uber’s food delivery service into Germany, becoming Just Eat’s direct competitor in the process.
The brief but heated exchange began when Groen called out Khosrowshahi, who replied with a dig on Just Eat’s tech and ops capabilities. Groen was quick to fire back, writing: “Start paying taxes, minimum wage and social security premiums before giving a founder advice on how he should run his business.” Khosrowshahi did not reply.
This isn’t the first time Uber has been trying to get in on Just Eat’s market share. The two companies have a history of racing to expand globally, buying out competitors in the process. They even bid over the acquisition of competitor GrubHub, but Uber lost out to Just Eat. However, if Uber’s rising share price (versus Just Eat’s falling price) is anything to go by, it may have won this battle.
2. Bitcoin and renewable energy?
Twitter and Square founder Jack Dorsey is a known crypto enthusiast, but his latest tweet about Bitcoin left critics less than enthusiastic. Dorsey tweeted a thread made by Square’s crypto division, which outlines a case for Bitcoin being good for renewable energy. If that strikes you as odd, you’ve probably read about cryptocurrency’s massive carbon footprint.
Square crypto makes the case that Bitcoin mining can run hand-in-hand with renewable energy on a “green grid.” The company then linked to a white paper it made in collaboration with investment firm ARK Invest that outlines a scenario with Bitcoin miners buying up unused renewable energy during times of surplus.
Even Elon Musk agreed with the concept, replying to the tweet with “True.”
Let's not sugar coat this. Two tech CEOs are trying to deny basic thermodynamics because it's inconvenient for their investments.— Stephen Diehl (@smdiehl) April 22, 2021
If you can spin the fundamental laws of physics, what else is open for debate?https://t.co/eHsPOpTykr
Not everyone agreed with Dorsey’s take. Programmer Stephen Diehl called out Dorsey and Musk specifically, saying that the founders were ignoring basic science due to their crypto investments.
Bitcoin mining incentivizes renewable energy in the same way that tornados incentivize hiding in concrete basements. pic.twitter.com/ChVRUrsICh— Ken Tremendous (@KenTremendous) April 22, 2021
The co-creator of “Parks and Recreation,” Michael Schur, AKA Ken Tremendous, used Dorsey’s claim as an opportunity for satire, writing “Bitcoin mining incentivizes renewable energy in the same way that tornados incentivize hiding in concrete basements.”
3. DJ Brian Armstrong’s NFT
The first NFT song was a success! https://t.co/D6hhAEy7x7— Brian Armstrong (@brian_armstrong) April 21, 2021
For the last two songs, @davi_us and I are going to try @niftygateway just to understand the difference.
Those two songs will drop tomorrow. (Thursday the 22nd) https://t.co/BbIoxrAlh4 pic.twitter.com/t7R7BlQYxT
It’s been a good month to be a part of Coinbase. The crypto company went public last week, opening at a staggering price of $381 per share. Though that first bullish surge has worn off, the company is still being watched closely as the model for what many perceive to be the future of digital finance. As if all that success wasn’t enough, CEO Brian Armstrong has spent the month releasing NFTs of songs produced alongside a DJ known as Daví.
The first one, titled Never Give Up, appears to have sold for $420.69 (nice), but Armstrong says he’s just getting started. Two more titled Horizons and Celestial Space have been released since then, with top bids of $2,100 and $1,655 respectively at the time of writing. Armstrong tweeted that the project was a crossover of two of his passions — crypto and electronic music — but it also comes at a time when the one-time fervor around NFTs is beginning to cool down and make way for skeptics.
4. VCs hate the capital gains tax
43.4% capital gains tax might kill the golden goose that is America/Silicon Valley. People need an incentive to build long term #startups of value. In California, that would be a 56.4% tax burden. >50% Spells death to job creation.— Tim Draper (@TimDraper) April 22, 2021
Joe Biden recently proposed a dramatic increase on the capital gains tax for the extremely wealthy. And just like you might expect for an industry that aligns itself with progressive social causes but thrives under conservative fiscal policy, Silicon Valley is split on it. Tim Draper, a billionaire investor who has a track record which spans both the old guard of tech (Hotmail, Skype) and the new (Tesla, Twitch) had a particularly volatile take on the tax which drew ridicule from outside the tech world and got the Valley talking.
In his tweet, Draper describes Silicon Valley as America's "golden goose" and says that the capital gains tax would kill the way companies are currently funded. Of course, Draper has significant bias and skin in the game as an investor who has made literal billions off his varied investments. And the companies he's invested in have created value — specifically shareholder value with small scale workers getting left behind. It didn't take long before the tweet drew ridicule from both in and outside the industry, with writers like Matthew Yglesias pointing out that these "restrictive" taxes are similar to those that were in place when Apple and Microsoft were founded.