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El Salvador’s bitcoin “volcano bond” gets approved as the country doubles down on crypto

Posted by Goyo Large on Friday, December 15, 2023 Under: #WATCHLiST

El Salvador lavas crypto (Alex Peña/Getty Images)

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A Doritos hangover isn’t just when your orange-coated fingers fill you with regret. Pepsi teamed up with a distiller to create a Nacho Cheese Dorito-flavored alcoholic drink. Early reports said the clear liquor smells and tastes like a Dorito.

The Dow set a fresh record high yesterday after the Fed held interest rates steady for the third time in a row, and signaled good chances for rate cuts next year. 

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El Salvador’s bitcoin “volcano bond” gets approved as the country doubles down on crypto

For the crater good… El Salvador’s proposed volcano bonds erupted back into public consciousness this week after the country’s crypto regulator said they could be issued within months. First proposed in 2021, the bonds sought to raise $1B to purchase bitcoin and build Bitcoin City — a tax-free zone in the Central American country that would host crypto miners powering their rigs with renewable geothermal energy from a volcano.

  • Coin of the realm: Also in ’21, El Salvador became the first country to make bitcoin legal tender (alongside the US dollar), but to mixed results. It’s since spent $100M+ on BTC.

  • Freedom isn’t free: Last week the country announced its Freedom Visa program. People can give the government $1M worth of bitcoin or tether in exchange for a long-term residency permit and a path to citizenship.

Power-hungry computers… Crypto mining is highly energy-intensive. Enter El Salvador, a top geothermal-energy producer, which said it used volcano-generated power to mine bitcoin two years ago. Mining companies have long sought alt power sources to lower operation costs: in 2018, miners flocked to Iceland partly because of its cheap geothermal power. Bit Digital said this summer that it planned to expand its presence there. In the US, Marathon Digital said it’d use methane off-gassing from a Utah landfill to power its rigs.


Leaning in can be risky… Demand for cheaper crypto-mining infrastructure is there, but it’s TBD whether El Salvador’s big bet will pay off for the debt-laden country. The more it invests in crypto with projects like Bitcoin City, the more it’s subject to price swings. The IMF is worried that crypto volatility poses risks to El Salvador’s economy, which is already one of Central America’s poorest. Just two years ago, 65% of Salvadorans didn’t want the gov’t spending money on BTC, with 80% saying they lacked confidence in the coin.


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Netflix shares full viewership data for the first time, after unions demand transparency

Welcome to the Upside Data… Netflix opened the Mothergate to its streaming data this week, sharing the # of hours viewed for 18K — or 99% — of its shows and movies in the first half of this year. Previously Netflix shared only a top-10 list of its most-watched titles. Now viewers know that, from January through June, “The Night Agent” (season one) was the No. 1 show (812M hours viewed), while “Ginny & Georgia” was No. 1 when including all seasons. More than half of all streaming time was for Netflix Originals, and non-English content had a moment.

  • Timing: Netflix’s data dump follows the resolution of months-long strikes by Hollywood writers and actors. One key point of contention: transparency around viewership data to help decide how much talent should be paid.

Opening the books… Netflix said it didn’t share its data early on because it didn’t want competitors to use it as a cheatsheet (think: creating copycats of top-performing shows). Back then, co-CEO Ted Sarandos said creatives liked the break from cable networks’ harsh data spotlight exposing which shows flopped or flew. But as Netflix’s audience got bigger, so did creatives’ mistrust over whether they were getting their fair share of the $$ pot.

  • Season finale: As part of the recent agreements between unions and studios, streamers agreed to pay out residuals for content watched by over 20% of US users within 90 days of its release, which… unions need data to determine.


Transparency builds trust… but too much can give rivals an edge. Sarandos said Netflix wouldn’t break out shows’ performance by region because that would be oversharing competitive intelligence. By choosing to release its #s publicly versus only with unions, Netflix could be trying to set the streaming-industry standard for how data should be shared.

What else we're Snackin'
  • ParkTesla is recalling nearly all 2M of its cars on US roads for a software update to address safety concerns with its Autopilot. Safety regulators have led a two-year probe examining 1K+ crashes involving the feature.

  • Extra: OpenAI will pay media titan Axel Springer (Business Insider, Politico) to use its news content in ChatGPT answers and training. Such licensing deals could help AI companies reduce copyright-infringement lawsuits.

  • Aye: The FDA warned that all eye drops labeled “homeopathic” should be pulled off the market. Reports of bacterial infections causing blindness and death have led 25+ brands to recall their eye drops this year.

  • JabPfizer stock fell to its lowest level in a decade yesterday after the pandemic power player gave a disappointing financial outlook for next year. Demand for its Covid vax and Paxlovid treatment has plunged.

  • BigStay: Citi will offer early bonuses to some staffers to encourage voluntary exits. Companies are struggling with high headcounts as US quit #s drop and cautious workers hunker down to save $$.

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Snack Fact Of the Day

The world record for the # of people skiing in jeans — 3,114 — was set last week in Wyoming

  • Earnings expected from Costco and Lennar

Authors of this Snacks own bitcoin and shares of: Tesla

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Tags: el salvador  bitcoin  volcano bond  gets approved  as  the  country  doubles down  on  crypto  eth  doge  avax  xlm  btc  etc 

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