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The Daily Ten – Elon Musk surpasses Jeff Bezos to become richest man on planet, Bitcoin breaks $40,000, Next round of PPP loans…

January 8, 2021by Steve NsonNews

The Daily Ten – Elon Musk surpasses Jeff Bezos to become richest man on planet, Bitcoin breaks $40,000, Next round of PPP loans…

January 8, 2021 by Steve Nson
Friday, January 8th, 2021

The Daily Ten

1. Tesla’s Elon Musk Overtakes Amazon’s Jeff Bezos as World’s Wealthiest Person | WSJ

Mr. Musk has benefited from electric-car maker’s soaring share price

Elon Musk has overtaken AmazonAMZN 0.76% com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos as the world’s richest person, driven by a meteoric rise in the value of Tesla Inc., TSLA 7.94% the electric-car maker he runs.

The bragging rights around personal wealth pit two of the tech industry’s biggest rivals in a competition that spans from the roads to outer space. Messrs. Musk and Bezos, both founders of rocket companies, have clashed over issues such as Amazon’s power over book publishing and Mr. Musk’s interest in colonizing the planet Mars. Amazon last year bought a self-driving-car startup that would compete with Tesla.

Mr. Musk’s net worth totaled around $195 billion Thursday, up from roughly $30 billion a year ago and topping Mr. Bezos’s wealth by about $10 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The value of Tesla’s shares rose almost 8% Thursday, enough for Mr. Musk to overtake Mr. Bezos in the wealth ranking. Amazon’s stock was up less than 1%. Mr. Bezos held the top spot for more than three years.

“How strange,” Mr. Musk tweeted Thursday about the milestone. “Well, back to work…”

Establishing the net worth of the world’s wealthiest can be tricky, in part because many of their holdings are private. Forbes, which also tracks the assets of billionaires, ranked Mr. Musk several billion dollars behind Mr. Bezos Thursday.

Both chief executives have been huge winners during the pandemic as the shares in their companies rose sharply even as the global economy was hit by the Covid-19 disease. Amazon’s stock is up more than 60% over the past year, as people flocked to online shopping and business embraced the kind of cloud-computing services it offers.

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2. Bitcoin Breaks Records, and the Exchanges Where It’s Traded | Bloomberg

Cryptocurrency platforms have experienced disruptions coinciding with rapid price increases throughout the past year.

Bitcoin’s historic rally is causing growing pains for the platforms where it’s traded, leaving investors unable to buy or sell the digital currency for hours at a time.

As Bitcoin surpassed $40,000 for the first time on Thursday, the most widely used cryptocurrency platform was buckling under pressure. Coinbase said it’s investigating connectivity issues on both its web and mobile apps.

Exchanges have had problems coinciding with rapid price increases throughout the past year: On June 1, Coinbase experienced a fivefold increase in traffic over four minutes when Bitcoin reached the $10,000 milestone. About three months later, when the currency broke the $12,000 barrier, trading was temporarily halted.

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3. Congress approves $25 billion in rental assistance. Here’s how to apply | CNBC

In the stimulus package signed into law last month, the national ban on evictions was extended through January and a $25 billion pot of money was established for renters struggling amid the health and economic crisis.

That money will help to keep many of the 14 million Americans who are behind on their rent in their homes during the coldest months of the year and while a pandemic rages. Still, housing advocates say more money is needed. By one estimate, after 10 months of record job losses and business shutdowns, rental arrears in the U.S. may be closer to $70 billion.

“While this is a critical start, these provisions will not end the eviction crisis and will not help all renters who desperately need rental assistance to protect their families from harm,” said Emily Benfer, a visiting law professor at Wake Forest University.

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4. Real estate boom: Hot spots thrive under new billionaire social calendar | New York Post

Billionaires were slaves to a strict jetsetter calendar — at least before COVID-19 ruffled their cravats.

In early December, that meant off to Miami for Art Basel — aka “the running of the billionaires” — then to St. Barts for a New Year’s Eve glass of bubbly aboard Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich’s $500 million megayacht.

Next they stopped in Palm Beach, Fla., to say hello to Stephen Schwarzman, Leonard Lauder or Robert Kraft (if they dare!), then a ski jaunt in the Alps in the spring. In May, it was on to the South of France to hit the Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Grand Prix.

In summer, some chartered yachts along the Amalfi Coast, while others opted for the French Riviera — bobbing in and out of the Hamptons via private jet from Memorial to Labor Day. They spent millions upon millions on princely compounds all the while.

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5. The Pandemic Helped Reverse Italy’s Brain Drain. But Can It Last? | The New York Times

Many young Italians who left for opportunities abroad are now working remotely from Italy. The government has welcomed them, but experts say the economic benefits will be fleeting.

When Elena Parisi, an engineer, left Italy at age 22 to pursue a career in London five years ago, she joined the vast ranks of talented Italians escaping a sluggish job market and lack of opportunities at home to find work abroad.

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6. Rich New Yorkers’ second homes targeted in proposed ‘oligarch’ tax | Fox Business Network

Proposal comes as the state deals with a massive coronavirus-related budget deficit

New York State lawmakers are weighing whether to tack on a property tax to the bills of local part-time homeowners.

The measure under consideration by the New York State Legislature would impose a pied-a-terre, or “oligarch,” tax, primarily targeting part-time residents who aren’t subject to state income taxes.

Proposed rates would range from 10% to 13.5%, to be levied on condos and co-ops with assessed values exceeding $300,000 – or a market value of about $5 million.

Homes worth between $5 million and $6 million would be taxed at a yearly rate of 0.5%, while those valued between $6 million and $10 million would be taxed at a rate of 1% plus a fee of $5,000. The rate would gradually increase to 4% plus a $370,000 fee, for those homes valued at more than $25 million.

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7. Chinese bargain hunters pile into stocks blacklisted by Trump | Reuters

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – As U.S. investors dump shares in Chinese companies blacklisted by outgoing President Donald Trump, bargain hunters in China are taking the opposite side of that trade, wagering that a Joe Biden presidency will reverse the investment ban.

Trump signed an executive order on Nov. 12 that bars U.S. securities investment in Chinese companies allegedly owned or controlled by the Chinese military.

The outgoing U.S. president is considering expanding that blacklist of 35 firms to include Alibaba and Tencent.

As U.S. investors rush to sell shares in the sanctioned companies and their subsidiaries before the executive order takes effect on Jan. 11, Chinese investors are swooping in.

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8. The next round of PPP loans will soon be available. Here’s what you need to know to apply | CNBC

Small businesses hit by the pandemic recently got some good news – the $900 billion relief act signed into law by President Donald Trump granted additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, a forgivable loan program established by the CARES Act.

The $284 billion allocated gives those that weren’t approved for the first iteration another chance to apply and allows businesses that have exhausted previous PPP money and have been significantly impacted by the pandemic to apply for a second draw.

It also makes forgiveness easier for businesses that use the majority of the money for payroll and makes the loans tax-free.

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9. Scramble to become Amazon of home sales is back on for Zillow, Redfin, other ‘iBuyers’ | The Seattle Times

When Opendoor, Zillow Offers and other “iBuyers” popped up around the country a few years ago, they hoped to upend the traditional homebuying process by doing for real estate what Amazon did for online shopping by using technology to eliminate all the hassles and uncertainties of buying and selling a house. That included offering sellers “instant” online offers on properties the companies would later resell.

But last spring, with the pandemic bearing down on the economy and the future of the real estate market uncertain, those iBuyers stopped buying, interrupting efforts to disrupt an industry that has long relied on face-to-face interactions. But now they are back at a time when there’s a shortage of house listings and properties are selling in record time, prompting some analysts to say the promise of an instant offer isn’t enough.

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10. Hopin buys livestreaming startup StreamYard for $250M as it looks to expand its product lineup | TechCrunch

This morning Hopin, a quickly growing startup that sells a technology platform for hosting digital events, announced that it has acquired StreamYard. The acquired company, which bootstrapped itself to material revenue scale, will retain its brand and in-market product.

The deal is worth $250 million, paid in a mix of cash and stock. Hopin raised a $40 million Series A in late June of 2020, and a $125 million Series B last November at a valuation of $2.125 billion.1

At the time of its most recent round, Hopin told TechCrunch that it had grown its annual recurring revenue (ARR) from zero to $20 million in around nine months.

In an email Hopin told TechCrunch that StreamYard had itself scaled to $30 million ARR without external capital. And during a conversation regarding the StreamYard deal, Hopin CEO Johnny Boufarhat said that the combined entity would sport around $65 million in ARR.

You can infer from the numbers that Hopin has continued to grow rapidly since its Series B.

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