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Tether executives said to face criminal probe into bank fraud - Bloomberg News
By Reuters Staff
July 26, 2021 (11:16 AM EDT)
July 26 (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Justice is probing whether executives behind the Tether digital token committed bank fraud during the nascent stages of its cryptocurrency business, Bloomberg News reported on Monday.
The probe is focusing on events from several years ago when Tether, a stablecoin launched in 2014, was in its early stages, the report said.
The agency is examining whether Tether concealed from banks that transactions were linked to crypto, the report added, citing three people with direct knowledge of the matter.
Tether and a spokesperson for the Department of Justice did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.
The stablecoin universe is so far dominated by two main tokens, Tether and USD Coin. Tether is already more than 60% of the total stablecoins currently issued, worth about $100 billion.
Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru and Chris Prentice in Washington; Editing by Shailesh Kuber
Elon Musk tweeted last week that Tesla will be opening up its charging network to all EVs, which is good because a recent survey revealed that 41% of consumers want their next car to be electric. A look at the tweet and the overall share of the North American EV charging market Tesla will have is below.
Players in the North American charging market:
China's Tencent ordered to end exclusive music contracts
JOE McDONALD, AP Business Writer
July 23, 2021 Updated: July 23, 2021 8:43 p.m.
BEIJING (AP) — Internet giant Tencent was ordered by regulators to end exclusive contracts with music copyright holders, adding to increased enforcement of anti-monopoly and other rules as Beijing tightens control over booming online industries.
Tencent controls more than 80% of “exclusive music library resources” following its 2016 acquisition of China Music Group, the State Administration for Market Regulation said Saturday. It said that gives Tencent the ability to get better terms than competitors receive or to limit the ability of rivals to enter the market.
Tencent Holdings Ltd., best known abroad for its WeChat messaging service, has a sprawling business empire that includes games, music and video. It is among the world’s 10 most valuable publicly traded companies, with a stock market value of $680 billion.
In order to “restore market competition,” Tencent must end exclusive music copyright contracts within 30 days, the market regulator said in a statement. The company is barred from requiring providers to give better terms than competitors receive.
Tencent promised on its social media account to “conscientiously abide by the decision.”
Regulators are stepping up enforcement of anti-monopoly, data security, financial and other rules against Tencent, e-commerce giant Alibaba Group and other companies that dominate entertainment, retail and other industries.
The enforcement has hurt the stock market value of some companies. Shares in ride-hailing service Didi Global Inc., which made its U.S. stock market debut last month, are down 21% after regulators announced a probe of its “network security” and ordered the company to overhaul handling of customer data.
Regulators have publicly warned major companies not to use their market dominance to keep out new competitors.
Tencent was blocked by regulators on July 10 from combining its game platforms Douyu and Huya on the grounds that might reduce competition.
On Wednesday, the Chinese internet regulator reprimanded Tencent, Alibaba, microblog platform Sina Weibo and e-commerce service Xiaohongshu for allowing sexually suggestive stickers or short videos of children to be distributed on their services.
(Note: Some daily figures are estimates based on incomplete cumulative data; Source: Our World in Data, World Health Organization, national sources, FT research. Data updated July 22 2021 8.19pm BST.)
Coffee futures scored their biggest 1-day gain in over 7 years
By Myra P. Saefong
Last Updated: July 22, 2021 at 2:21 p.m. ET
Coffee futures soared 10% on Thursday, with prices posting their largest single-session gain since early 2014 and their highest settlement in more than six years, as drought and frost threaten coffee crops in Brazil, the world’s largest coffee producer.
“Coffee is up this week due to unusually heavy frost in Brazil,” said Sal Gilbertie, president and chief investment officer at Teucrium Trading. “Vietnam and Brazil have been having problems here and there, which had coffee supplies running a touch tight going into this year’s Brazil frost season,” he told MarketWatch.
July is when coffee trees are flowering and “vulnerable” in Brazil,” he said. July is always a risky month for frost in that country, but “the market’s worst fears have been realized this year.”
Brazil needed a good crop to “buffer somewhat low coffee supplies, and this frost event has eliminated the possibility of rebuilding coffee supplies for another year,” said Gilbertie. “The economy is waking up from COVID and needs more coffee, but the weather is definitely not cooperating in Brazil.”
The most-active September coffee futures contract KCU21, +0.70% KC00, +0.70% rose 17.7 cents, or 10%, to settle at nearly $1.94 a pound on the ICE Futures U.S. exchange. It trades around 20% higher for the week, feeding a month-to-date climb of 21%, according to Dow Jones Market Data. Prices settled at their highest since November 2014.
“Frost and potential for future La Niña weather events poses a risk in Brazil’s key coffee growing regions in what’s expected to be an ‘on year’ for production,” said John Caruso, senior asset manager at RJO Futures, explaining that on years versus off years are “in accordance with expected production levels based on the trees’ growing cycles.”
The moves for coffee “started with the shipping container shortage back at the beginning of the year,” Caruso told MarketWatch. The shortage, blamed at least in part to changes in the market from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, led to higher costs to transport many commodities.
“The negative supply side fundamentals have snowballed from there,” said Caruso. “Next year is supposed be considered an ‘on year’ for production” — and the market has already been dealing with very dry conditions, which “leaves the margin for error in future weather events at basically zero,” he said.
There’s speculation of a high probability of having the lowest production levels during an “on year” in the last 6 years, said Caruso. Coffee prices have climbed to their highest levels since 2014 and that year, prices climbed to a high around $2.25 a pound.
Caruso expects coffee prices to “test these levels, if not take them out.”
James Roemer, Weather Wealth newsletter author at commodity-trading adviser Bestweatherinc.com, said prices could even climb by another $1 a pound or more later this year, under certain conditions.
Brazil saw frost early this week and there’s more forecast in the weather outlook, possibly late next week, which could lift prices to $2.30, he said. Given the tight supplies and frost — and if the drought continues to late this year, possibly jeopardizing Brazil’s 2022 crop, Roemer believes coffee prices have the potential to rise to $3.
Either way, consumers are on track to pay higher retail prices for coffee.
“Throughout the COVID-era, prices have certainly been on the rise,” said Isaac Olvera, lead economist and agricultural economist at ArrowStream, a supply-chain technology firm for the food services industry.
The retail price of coffee in June 2021 was up 8.4% from February 2020, but up a more modest 1.9% from the June prior, he said, while consumer prices index for coffee in June was up 2% from last February and 1.1% from last June.
“Brazil’s already small coffee crop is likely to get smaller, and already rising coffee prices are likely to continue to head higher,” said Olvera. “It looks like the price impacts are likely to extend into 2022.”
INTERNET DOWN - LIVE UPDATES: MAJOR OUTAGE HITS AMAZON, UPS, PLAYSTATION AND DOZENS MORE
Much of the internet has stopped working amid a widespread outage across different apps and websites.
Airlines including Delta, online stores such as Amazon, games including Call of Duty, streaming services such as HBO Max and a range of banks were unavailable, according to tracking website Down Detector.
Akamai’s DNS service reports issues
Akamai, which provides domain name system services, says that it is experiencing problems. There’s no guarantee this is the whole of the cause of the problem, but it does appear to be part of it, not least because many of the affected websites are featured on its customers page.
(Domain name system, or DNS, is something like the phone book or map of the internet – it matches up your computer with the websites it is looking for.)
“We are aware of an emerging issue with the Edge DNS service,” a message on its status page reads. “We are actively investigating the issue.”
Down Detector turns very red in the US
Here is the US version of Down Detector, showing all of the sites that people are reporting problems with:
... and Down Detector in the UK turns red too
Here’s the UK version. Also very red – though obviously with some different websites and apps.
(View more via the link above.)
What do you think of this chart? Yea or Nay?