Crypto Biz: Gucci ‘apes’ into crypto
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What comes to mind when you think of Gucci? Designer handbags, fashion jewelry, elegant Swiss watches? What about payment integration with an ERC-20 governance and utility token that wants to power Web3? Rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? The iconic Italian fashion brand announced this week it would expand its payment options to include the Bored Ape Yacht Club-affiliated ApeCoin (APE) — but only through BitPay. In other words, Gucci will let you liquidate your APE for United States dollars and spend the proceeds at its stores.
If you’re surprised by the news, you should read on to learn more about Gucci’s broadening crypto ambitions. While you’re at it, stick around for this week’s Crypto Biz, where we dissect the latest news surrounding Michael Saylor and Robinhood. We leave you with a sobering analysis of the Terra-induced crypto market collapse from a top Kraken executive.
Gucci becomes first major brand to accept ApeCoin payments
If you missed it, Gucci officially became the first major brand to accept APE payments via Bitpay. The move came months after Gucci announced that it would accept 12 crypto assets as payment across more than 100 North American stores. Holders of Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Dogecoin (DOGE) and other crypto are now able to convert their digital assets into a $5,000 GUCCI tote bag. Beyond crypto payments, Gucci launched a pair of nonfungible token (NFT) collections this year, including the SUPERGUCCI NFT lineup in February.
Michael Saylor will step down as MicroStrategy CEO but remain as executive chair
Bitcoin’s chief evangelist Michael Saylor is clearing his calendar to focus almost entirely on promoting the digital asset. This week, Saylor announced he was stepping down as CEO of MicroStrategy in favor of a new executive chair position. Effective Aug. 8, Saylor’s new role will focus on MicroStrategy’s “Bitcoin acquisition strategy and related Bitcoin advocacy initiatives.” A day after the announcement, MicroStrategy’s stock price surged to three-month highs. It looks like investors are pleased with Saylor’s position. We’ll see how they feel if crypto winter lasts another year.
In my next job, I intend to focus more on #Bitcoin.
— Michael Saylor⚡️ (@saylor) August 3, 2022
‘This is on me’ — Robinhood CEO to lay off 23% of staff after Q2 loss
Robinhood’s foray into crypto looked great over a year ago when we were riding the bull market. Now, with crypto, stocks and the economy in the dumps, the discount brokerage has been forced to lay off nearly a quarter of its staff. Vlad Tenev, Robinhood’s CEO, delivered the bad news shortly after the company reported dismal second-quarter earnings results, which included a 44% decline in year-over-year net revenues. Crypto-focused companies have seen sweeping layoffs this year as asset prices plunged and trade volumes dried up.
“Departing Robinhoodies will be offered the opportunity to remain employed with Robinhood through October 1, 2022 and receive their regular pay and benefits. They will also be offered job search assistance (including an opt in Robinhood Alumni Talent Directory).”
— zerohedge (@zerohedge) August 2, 2022
Contagion only hit firms with ‘poor balance sheet management’ — Kraken Aus boss
The epic collapse of Terra (Luna) — now renamed Terra Classic (LUNC) — sparked industry-wide contagion in crypto, eventually leading to several bankruptcies and trillions of dollars in lost market cap. But, the only companies and protocols that went under were those with “poor balance sheet management” and a complete lack of understanding of how blockchain works. That sober analysis was provided by Kraken Australia managing director Jonathon Miller. He also explained why Ethereum proved resilient in the face of chaos and why his parent company, Kraken, is poised to continue growing.
Don’t miss it! What’s next for Bitcoin and Ether?
Bitcoin’s performance over the past week has taken both the bulls and the bears by surprise. Meanwhile, Ether has bounced strongly off its lows as the hype surrounding its upcoming Merge intensifies. But, the outlook on both assets is as clear as mud. In this week’s Market Report, I sat down with fellow analysts Marcel Pechman and Benton Yaun to debate an important topic: Have BTC and ETH bottomed yet? You can catch a full replay of the show below.