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Bitcoin’s bad day didn’t shake the true crypto believers

Bitcoin’s bad day didn’t shake the true crypto believers

Good morning! This Thursday, the crypto swings are coming faster and harder, Apple thinks the Mac has a malware problem, Amazon and Tile are taking on AirTags, Google Reader is almost kind of coming back and Internet Explorer is going away for real.

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The Big Story

The kinda-sorta crypto crash

There have been a lot of crazy days in the crypto market over the last decade. Yesterday was one of the craziest.

  • Bitcoin at one point dropped more than 20%, Ether more than 25% and pretty much every cryptocurrency on the planet — save for a couple of USD-pegged stablecoins — was deep in the red. Even Dogecoin was dropping. Dogecoin!
  • Things got so hectic that Coinbase was down for some users for over an hour, and Binance briefly stopped allowing users to sell Ether.
  • And then, even more suddenly than they fell, things rebounded. Bitcoin's price right now is about $40,000 — roughly even with 24 hours ago, though still down about $5,000 since Tuesday morning.
  • And when you zoom out a bit, the losses look even less problematic. Many prices are the lowest they've been since ... a few months ago. Long-term investments in cryptocurrencies continue to look spectacular, just substantially less so.

The big question: Have we passed the peak? The top of a market is always only obvious in retrospect, and a lot of people across the crypto industry are now looking back and seeing exactly where it may have been.

  • The blockbuster Coinbase IPO, in which the company nearly instantly became an $85 billion tech giant, is one obvious point. The wild explosion in NFT prices was another. Or maybe it was Elon Musk hosting "Saturday Night Live."

The first real sign of the crash could have been Musk's quick turn against Bitcoin, for environmental reasons. When he seemed to imply that Tesla might be selling all its bitcoin, that was another. The Chinese government's continuing crackdown on crypto was yet another, and seemed to be the most immediate cause of this week's selloff.

  • Musk flexed his Twitter power again yesterday, tweeting, "Tesla has 💎 🙌" near the bottom of the dip and seemingly propelling Bitcoin up about $3,000 all by himself. Correlation is not causation, as ever, but … Musk absolutely has that much power.

Unsurprisingly, the HODLers were out in force. "The Bitcoin market has its way of separating true believers from tourists," Hiro CEO Muneeb Ali tweeted. Almost as soon as the prices started dropping, #buythedip started trending on Twitter. "Entities I control have now acquired 111,000 #BTC and have not sold a single satoshi," MicroStrategy's Michael Saylor tweeted, " #Bitcoin Forever." ARK's Cathie Wood said Bitcoin is "on sale" and will ultimately be worth $500,000. Because this is crypto, and anyone can say anything they want!

But nobody really knows what's going to happen here. As Protocol's Tomio Geron reports, Washington is still struggling to regulate crypto. With no underlying asset or particular restriction to keep it moored, cryptocurrency trading is a pure momentum game: Prices going up leads to excitement leads to prices going up, and prices going down leads to panic leads to prices going down. For YOLO traders hanging out on r/WallStreetBets and Robinhood, yesterday might have felt like the cryptopocalypse. To Bitcoin lifers, it's just another bump in the road. And we won't know who was right for a long, long time.

— David Pierce (email | twitter)

A MESSAGE FROM AMAZON

It's not just Amazon employees who experience the benefit of increasing their starting wage to at least $15 an hour — a recent study from the University of California-Berkeley and Brandeis University found that when Amazon raised wages, the average hourly wage in the surrounding area rose by 4.7%.

Learn more

People Are Talking

On Protocol: Craig Federighi said the Mac has a malware problem:

  • "Today, we have a level of malware on the Mac that we don't find acceptable … The Mac is a car. You can take it off road if you want, and you can drive wherever you want. There's a certain level of responsibility."

The Freenode open-source project was sold to Andrew Lee, the crown prince of Korea, and the entire staff subsequently quit:

  • "This situation is intolerable, and I suspect it is only going to get a lot worse in the immediate future. The freenode user base should consider very strongly that a hostile entity is now in operational control over the network, and is in possession of your data."

NFTs are basically … nothing, cryptographer Ron Rivest said:

  • "It's a bit like homeopathic medicine. You dilute it, you dilute it, you dilute it, and you say, 'What's left?'"

Google's approach to misinformation starts with transparency, search head Prabhakar Raghavan said:

  • "If you are looking for what might be misinformation, I think it's our role to be as clear to the user as possible about what it is they're looking at. And then trust you to figure it out."

Making Moves

ByteDance has a new CEO. Zhang Yiming, the current CEO and co-founder, announced that he's stepping down. He'll be replaced by Liang Rubo, another ByteDance co-founder.

Peter Thiel and JD Vance both invested in Rumble, the YouTube competitor loved by some conservatives. This is Thiel's first social-media investment since Facebook, The Wall Street Journal said.

Ro acquired Modern Fertility, paying $225 million to add more women's health products to its platform.

Salesforce is going top secret. It's hiring someone to manage "the future of the insider threat management program," and the job requires a top-secret clearance.

Amazon and Tile are working on an AirTags-style tracking network for Amazon's Sidewalk project, which could help the network be much more self-sufficient.

Stewart Butterfield and Jen Rubio had a baby. Congrats, you two!

In Other News

  • The latest from Epic v. Apple: Apple's Michael Schmid said that Apple has made $100 million in commissions from Fortnite, but independent estimates say the number's actually much higher. Even Phil Schiller doesn't know exactly how much Apple makes from the App Store, but he does think it's profitable.
  • Microsoft is finally (FINALLY!) killing Internet Explorer, announcing plans to retire the browser for real in June 2022. RIP, you terrible piece of junk.
  • Ford pickups have gone electric. The company launched the F-150 Lightning, which starts around $40,000, can power your home during a blackout, and has a thing called a Mega Power Frunk.
  • IFA Berlin is canceled. Its sponsors had said just a few weeks ago that the conference would go on in person and as planned, but reversed course as "global health metrics" didn't work in its favor. Bizarrely enough, MWC is still happening next month.
  • AT&T owes D.C. $1.5 million for overcharging the local government for cell phone and internet services for more than five years. And the FTC and six states are suing Frontier for charging customers for faster speeds than it actually delivered. No wonder everybody loves their ISPs, right?
  • Don't call it a comeback: Google is testing a new "Follow" feature for Chrome that uses RSS and is almost like Google Reader, so presumably it'll get very popular and then Google will kill it with no warning whatsoever.
  • Apple announced lots of new accessibility features. It's working on eye-tracking support, a way to interact with the Apple Watch without touching it and better support for bi-directional hearing aids.

One More Thing

Tech's wage gap isn't going anywhere

Every year, Hired's annual study finds that there's a big wage gap in tech. A lot changed in the last year, but not that: Hired found that men are offered higher salaries than women for the same job title 59% of the time, and women make about 95 cents for every dollar men are paid. When people complained about such a disparity, more employees were promised a raise that never occurred than actually received one.

A lot of these numbers are improving, but slowly. Too slowly. And you know what happens when they don't get better? People quit. And when nearly everyone is predicting that a mass of people are about to switch jobs after the pandemic ends, companies should be using every retention tool they have.

A MESSAGE FROM AMAZON

Kimberly thinks Amazon is "setting a good example for not only Florida, but every other state where the minimum wage is below $15/hr." That's because she has seen the difference $15/hr has made for her, her family, and her community.

Learn more

Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to sourcecode@protocol.com, or our tips line, tips@protocol.com. Enjoy your day; see you tomorrow.

Correction: An earlier version of this story missppelled Prabhakar Raghavan's name. This story was updated on May 20, 2021.
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