November 14, 2022
Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Hello, and welcome to Protocol Policy! Today I’m thinking about how quickly things can become nasty in Washington, D.C. — and whether Sam Bankman-Fried’s dealings could accelerate that. Plus, the next Congress is coming into focus, Taiwan tensions are on everyone’s mind at the G20, and Elon Musk thinks he makes the right amount of money.
FTX’s sudden, stunning collapse amid allegations that former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried was secretly siphoning off customer money is dragging down the industry and creating louder calls for regulation of the crypto industry. Still, Democratic control of the Senate, and a likely Republican but closely divided House, means that the battles over what regulation will look like are likely going to get more heated than the industry expected just a week ago. It could also mean crypto’s time as a subject of “pre-partisan” curiosity could be drawing to a close.
There’s little that galvinizes Democratic lawmakers and their allies among consumer groups like a bankruptcy in which more than a billion dollars are missing.
Theoretically, that sort of agreement could signal agreement on a legislative approach to the industry’s obligations and the legal classification of various digital offerings.
All that adds up to a lot of incentive for Democratic lawmakers to try to punish the industry, to which crypto business will cry, “We didn’t mean that kind of regulation!”
That bickering may be the greatest risk for crypto.
Crypto might even enjoy some bickering, as Republicans push back on Democratic proposals that would put a lot of digital assets under SEC jurisdiction, require more capital reserves at exchanges, and push know-your-customer rules throughout the ecosystem. Long-term, though, the more partisan crypto becomes, the harder it’ll be to pass the very legislation much of the industry is hoping for.— Ben Brody (email | twitter)
Republicans are on track to take control of the House. Current forecasts suggest they could win 221 seats; they will need 218 to control the chamber.
President Biden and President Xi met in the lead-up to the G20 summit. The leaders are believed to have discussed Taiwan tensions, climate change, and semiconductor export controls.A group of parents urged congressional leaders to pass the Kids Online Safety Act and Children and Teens’ Online Privacy Protection Act. In the letter, 57 parents whose children have died blamed “Big Tech’s abject failure to regulate themselves and protect the young people using their products.”
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Google will pay more than $390 million to a coalition of 40 states over its collection of location data, according to an announcement from the Louisiana attorney general, who led the group.
Peter Thiel acolyte Blake Masters officially lost his bid to become a senator.
Elon Musk is defending his Tesla pay package in court. An investor alleges Tesla’s board failed to disclose important information about the pay package, which was agreed upon in 2018 and is estimated to have generated $52 billion in wealth for Musk.
Elizabeth Holmes’ attorneys argue she should receive 18 months of house arrest instead of decades in prison. In the memorandum for the court, the lawyers describe Holmes as “a mentor to young women and entrepreneurs” and “a boss who cared about the company’s employees.”
Today Protocol published “The Future of Mobility,” a special report examining how policy and climate experts can work together to get people moving. Among the highlights:
Jeff Bezos said he will give away the majority of his wealth in his lifetime. In an interview with CNN, Bezos and his partner, Lauren Sánchez, said they were going to give a significant portion of the money to fighting climate change.
Twitter faces a growing list of ad boycotters, and winning them back could prove difficult, according to The Wall Street Journal. Chipotle, General Mills, General Motors, Mondelez, and United Airlines have all paused ad spend on Twitter.
Eli Lilly also paused its Twitter ad campaigns after a spoof account likely wiped billions from its market capitalization. An account that was fake but verified, thanks to the paid Blue Check system, posing as the pharmaceutical giant said it would give away insulin for free.
10,000: That’s approximately how many employees Amazon intends to lay off, according to The New York Times. The layoffs will reportedly focus on three divisions: devices, retail, and human resources.
Twitter’s workforce has become a shell of its former self — in part because that’s how Elon Musk planned it, and in part because many employees found his management style too abrasive to endure. The latest affront? Taking away free lunch. Musk reportedly plans to make Tweeps pay for food at the company cafeteria. It isn’t the end of the world, but it certainly won’t ease employee tensions.
The speed of business has never been faster than it is today. For small business owners, time is at a premium as they are wearing multiple hats every day. Macroeconomic challenges like inflation and supply chain issues are making successful money and cash flow management even more challenging.
Thanks for reading — see you Wednesday!