LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 30: Amazon Web Services (AWS) CEO Adam Selipsky delivers a keynote address during AWS re:Invent 2021, a conference hosted by Amazon Web Services, at The Venetian Las Vegas on November 30, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Noah Berger/Getty Images for Amazon Web Services)
Photo: Noah Berger/Getty Images for Amazon Web Services

Adam Selipsky’s plans for AWS

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Good morning! Adam Selipsky’s goal as CEO of AWS is to help customers use the cloud to operate more efficiently amid a challenging economic environment. And that will be one of the main focuses of this year’s re:Invent. Let’s dig in!

What's next for Adam Selipsky’s AWS

AWS re:Invent starts two weeks from now, an end-of-year showcase typically reserved for the dominant cloud provider’s biggest service announcements, technology sessions, and customer success stories.

This year’s re:Invent comes amid global economic pain, months of tech layoffs, and a general belt-tightening that includes many companies curtailing their cloud spending.

  • But CEO Adam Selipsky suggested that the worst of times often are the best time when it comes to enterprises investing in new services or modernizing their IT approach.
  • When a challenge or crisis hits, companies who are prepared and able to move fast will gain advantage, he told Protocol’s Donna Goodison. “So we see a lot of customers actually leaning into their cloud journeys during these uncertain economic times,” he said.

Cost-efficiency is front and center now for some AWS customers, thanks to the state of the economy.

  • Customers are looking to save money versus their committed spend, and AWS is proactively working to help them cost-optimize, “just as we've done throughout AWS’ history, especially in periods of economic uncertainty,” he said.
  • AWS continues to see a strong customer appetite for signing longer-term commitments, according to Selipsky, which was part of a big push under the last several years of Jassy’s tenure as CEO.
  • “But every customer is welcome to purely 'pay by the drink' and to use our services completely on demand,” Selipsky told Donna.

AWS is experimenting with some new approaches to billing, Protocol has learned that , charging its customers by tying its fees to whether they realize predetermined results from the cloud. That will be particularly helpful for enterprises that, amid the uncertainty, are taking a closer look at their ROI on cloud spending

  • And as AWS looks to further help enterprises operate more efficiently and solve their business problems, data will be a big focus at this year's conference.

“Succeeding with data in today's world really requires taking the end-to-end view of your data and not looking at point solutions along the journey,” Selipsky said. “A lot of people are drowning in their data and don't know how to use it to make decisions.”

Read more:AWS is "not done building" as cloud computing matures

Can crypto prove its liquidity?

A lot happened with FTX this weekend: The company filed for bankruptcy on Friday; reports of missing customer funds surfaced on Saturday; and authorities in the Bahamas have started a criminal probe of the company.

A common theme in the liquidity crunches that have struck crypto firm after crypto firm this year are allegations — often later substantiated — that they mishandled customer funds. And a lack of transparency has only fueled the bank-run-like behavior of crypto customers, writes Protocol’s Tomio Geron.

  • With Celsius and Voyager Digital’s bankruptcies fresh in their minds, FTX customers piled on the withdrawal orders before it, too, filed for Chapter 11.
  • In the case of FTX, their suspicions were well-founded: Despite CEO Sam Bankman-Fried’s claims otherwise, his firm lent out more than half of customer assets — up to $10 billion — to Alameda Research, the investment firm he also controlled, according to The Wall Street Journal.

To save crypto, the industry’s turning to ... the blockchain. A number of crypto exchanges are pledging to publish “proof of reserves,” blockchain-based evidence that they actually hold the assets they claim.

  • Why doesn’t this already exist? That’s a fair question, and the lack of answers shows the opaque business practices that have sprung up around crypto.
  • “We need consumers to have more trust in crypto in order to drive more mainstream adoption,” said Jason Baptiste, CEO and co-founder of crypto app YDY. “Proof of reserves does this.”

This type of transparency is a good step by the industry to demonstrate security and solvency, said Michael Fasanello, crypto compliance officer at Anchain.AI, but ultimately regulation is necessary to ensure safety and security of assets, he added.

  • Congress is considering bills to regulate crypto, but none are close to passage. The EU’s MICA rules are expected to roll out in 2024.
  • Until those arrive, the industry will have to come up with its own measures, including proof of reserves or a self-regulatory organization like FINRA, to provide peace of mind to consumers and investors, Fasanello said.

DeFi advocates have long criticized centralized crypto and the way its exchanges lack transparency: DeFi applications, they point out, automatically provide transparency on the blockchain; the problem with centralized crypto is that it doesn't fully embrace the blockchain, to their thinking.

  • “The whole damn point of crypto is so that you don’t have to say, ‘I wonder what that company is actually doing with my money,’” Robert Leshner, founder of DeFi firm Compound Labs, wrote on Twitter. The real wonder is that we’ve had to wonder at all.

A version of this story will appear in today’s Fintech newsletter. Sign up here to get it in your inbox every weekday.

Two-wheelers to the rescue

Road transport is responsible for 12% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Decarbonizing how we get around and doing so as efficiently as possible — given the tight supply of critical minerals needed for batteries — is vital to stave off the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. And electric two-wheelers might the answer, writes Protocol’s Brian Kahn.

Just how big is the electric two-wheeler market? Last year, nearly 17 million passenger EVs were in operation globally. Meanwhile, a BloombergNEF analysis found that 275 million electric motorcycles, tuk-tuks, mopeds, and scooters were in operation globally at the same moment. And 42% of all two- and three-wheelers sold last year were of the electric variety.

  • Together, those electric two- and three-wheelers are displacing the use of more than 1 million barrels of oil a day, more than all electric passenger vehicles, vans, trucks, and buses combined.
  • The vast majority of those vehicles are being sold in Asia, with China taking up the lion’s share of the market. In 2021 alone, the country saw roughly 9.5 million new two-wheel EVs registered. Other countries, though, are also seeing two- and three-wheel EVs make in-roads.

What’s driven the rise of electric two-wheelers is a suite of policies and tech innovations that has made them accessible — and appealing — to the masses.

  • In China, for instance, a number of major cities banned the sale of new motorcycles due to air-quality concerns in the 2000s. Those policies accidentally created a market for two-wheel e-mobility whole cloth.
  • Technological innovation has also spurred two-wheel EV adoption, with the likes of Taiwan's Gogoro growing a huge network of users thanks partly to its convenient battery-swapping technology.

The inherent efficiency and affordability of small, two-wheeled EVs mean they could play a vital role in speeding up the electrification of transportation. The incentives and innovations currently being developed in emerging economies could be used to reshape transit in developed nations — and reduce carbon emissions more effectively than fleets of Teslas ever could.

Read more:The EV revolution is here, and it’s happening on two wheels.Also check out the rest of Protocol’s Special Report on the future of mobility.


Don’t miss out! Register today to hear some of the biggest players in fintech discuss the industry’s most pressing issues at the Financial Technology Association’s inaugural Fintech Summit: Shaping the Future of Finance. Produced in partnership with Protocol, all sessions of the event will be live-streamed on November 16th.

Learn more and reserve your spot here.

People are talking

Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire said FTX’s collapse is “very comparable” to the fall of luna and UST:

  • “This is the reason why policymakers in the United States should be focused on putting a clear regulatory framework in place that builds safe markets in the United States and doesn't have people moving into opaque jurisdictions.”

Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski worries that FTX's failure could bring about tighter regulation across all of fintech:

  • “I’m a little bit concerned that these debacles that we’ve seen will again inhibit that and continuously prolong the overly large profitability that we’ve seen in the banking industry.”
But Binance's Changpeng "CZ" Zhao is all for some rules:
  • "We do need some regulations, we do need to do this properly, we do need to do this in a stable way."

Elon Musk admitted that he is overloaded right now:

  • "I have too much work on my plate that is for sure."

Coming this week

Elon Musk is back in court to defend is compensation package at Tesla.

Financial services tech convention CrossTech Worldstarts tomorrow and runs until Thursday in Miami.

Nodes 2022, a free online graph tech conference for developers and data scientists, runs Wednesday and Thursday.

Software delivery conference Unscriptedwill take place on Wednesday in San Francisco.

Cisco and Nvidia report earnings on Wednesday.

Tech leadership conference CIO & CISO Perspectiveswill take place in Chicago on Thursday and New York on Friday.

In other news

Binance paused accepting deposits of FTX's FTT token on its platform. CEO Changpeng Zhao warned other platforms to do the same.

The latest development in Twitter verification? "Rolling out soon, Twitter will enable organizations to identify which other Twitter accounts are actually associated with them," Elon Musk tweeted.

Twitter cut 80% of its contractors, according to Platformer, or about 4,400 of 5,500 such workers. Full-time employees who worked with them reportedly weren't given any notice.

SpaceX bought a huge Twitter ad campaign, according to CNBC, which could have cost $250,000 or more. Sources told CNBC that it's the first time SpaceX has done this.

Big Tech's share prices rebounded some last week. But some investors think that's temporary.

Salesforce recently updated its internal policies to make it easier for managers to terminate employees for performance issues without HR involvement.

The CFPB said fraud and scam reports are among the top complaints it receives regarding crypto. Customers are finding little help from companies when it happens.

Apple is enlisting developers to help build a 3D mixed-reality world for its upcoming headset, Bloomberg reports.

Neither (light) rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night

Amazon’s delivery drones are getting just a little bit tougher. The company unveiled drones that can fly through light rain and make less noise. Though they’re quick — the company promises delivery times of 30 minutes — the compact drones can only carry loads of up to 5 pounds, so don’t count out delivery trucks just yet. The company has also unveiled a new robotic arm, called Sparrow, that can pick a wide variety of individual items using suction cups.


Don’t miss out! Register today to hear some of the biggest players in fintech discuss the industry’s most pressing issues at the Financial Technology Association’s inaugural Fintech Summit: Shaping the Future of Finance. Produced in partnership with Protocol, all sessions of the event will be live-streamed on November 16th.

Learn more and reserve your spot here.

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