How the Winklevoss Twins Found Vindication in a Bitcoin Fortune (NYT)
More than a few people in Silicon Valley and on Wall Street saw the towering twins as the naïve — if chiseled — faces of the latest tulip bulb mania. Many still do. But the soaring value of Bitcoin in recent months is giving the brothers a moment of vindication, and quite a bit more than that: Their Bitcoin stockpile was worth around $1.3 billion on Tuesday. “We’ve turned that laughter and ridicule into oxygen and wind at our back,” Tyler Winklevoss said.
Wall Street bond traders fear zero-bonus ‘doughnut’ (FT)
On Tuesday Jefferies Group gave the clearest sign yet that overall payouts will be poor, reporting a 37 per cent slide in net revenues from its bond trading unit to $95m. Net bond trading revenues for the full year at the firm, which has an unusual November year-end, came to $618m, falling from $640m last year. “There are a lot of people who are not going to be happy” with their bonuses, said Mike Karp, chief executive of Options Group, a recruiter. “But it’s only fair when businesses don’t perform, people don’t get paid.”
Inside Wall Street's Towers, Traders Grouse Over Trump Tax Plan (BBG)
One trader, sipping a Bloody Mary on a morning flight to somewhere more tropical, said he’s going to stop registering as a Republican. En route, he sent more than a dozen text messages ripping the tax bill. A pair of hedge fund managers said they’ll stop donating to Republicans they’ve long supported. One of them said he spent weeks berating a politician who’s taken his money, arguing the tax bill is too tilted toward corporations, rather than individuals who should get more relief.
Coinbase to investigate insider trading claims after launch of bitcoin cash support (CNBC)
Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is investigating a price increase in bitcoin offshoot bitcoin cash that happened hours before it said it would launch support for the new digital currency. The price of the digital coin was seen rising sharply before Coinbase announced its support for the buying and selling of bitcoin cash on its platform. It subsequently pulled the feature after prices were seen to fluctuate wildly compared to other exchanges, and said it would likely return on Wednesday. Coinbase said the bitcoin cash function was halted due to "significant volatility." SEE ALSO: Cryptocurrency Exchange Collapses, Files for Bankruptcy After Second Hack
Share buybacks don't undermine case for corporate tax cuts (The Hill)
Given it takes time for the lower corporate tax rate to attract new capital into the sector, in the short-run the supply of capital is inelastic. That is, it is unresponsive to a change in tax rates. Absent new capital, the primary gainers of rate cuts initially are existing domestic and foreign shareholders. If existing firms have excess capital in the short-term, distributing it to shareholders in some way makes sense. This money is unlikely to sit dormant afterwards. In all likelihood, that money will be deployed elsewhere to find new value.
A Dismal Outlook (Irrelevant Investor)
A 2% annualized return over twenty years would put pressure on investors regardless of the path it took to get there, but psychologically, the blue line might be the least desirable path. Imagine twenty years of slow and de minimis returns without much movement in either direction. Today it feels like investors have one foot out the door every time stocks come down a little as they attempt to front run the next big selloff. Another twenty years of this would be torture.
Twelve Days in Xinjiang: How China’s Surveillance State Overwhelms Daily Life (WSJ)
When fruit vendor Parhat Imin swiped his card at a telecommunications office this summer to pay an overdue phone bill, his photo popped up with an “X.” Since then, he says, every scan of his ID card sets off an alarm. He isn’t sure what it signifies, but figures he is on some kind of government watch list because he is a Uighur and has had intermittent run-ins with the police. He says he is reluctant to travel for fear of being detained. “They blacklisted me,” he says. “I can’t go anywhere.”
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson says he’s seriously thinking about running for US president in 2020 (AP)
Dwayne Johnson, the former Miami Hurricanes football player, turned pro wrestler, turned actor, has been telling multiple media outlets that he is seriously thinking about running for the US presidency.
Drive-thru funerals let you say goodbye in 3 minutes (Nikkei)
Japan's first funeral home equipped with a drive-thru incense offering option has opened in Ueada, Nagano Prefecture, allowing busy mourners to pay their respects to the dead in three minutes. Mourners in cars pull up next to the drive-thru window, use a tablet to register their names and addresses. They then hand over condolence money to a staff member and offer incense. The chief mourner and other funeral participants can confirm drive-thru mourners' visits on monitors inside the funeral home.