Spotlight: Elon bins Bitcoin, lights up lithium instead


Jack Derwin

July 22nd 2022 3 minute read

When Elon Musk announced Tesla was adding US$1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin to its books, it helped ignite a major crypto rally. Eighteen months later, the market looks very different. As the U.S. flirts with a recession and seriously delays hamper the automaker’s production line, Tesla is in need of cash. These are the five big stories from the week that was.

1. King cash

Elon Musk says Tesla has sold 75% of its Bitcoin reserves to offset the “money furnaces” his factories have become under lockdowns in China.

With the price of Bitcoin having fallen precipitously this year, Tesla likely lost hundreds of millions of dollars exiting its position.

Tesla profits fell over the last quarter but the automaker continues to beat expectations. Now Musk just needs “insane” lithium prices to behave.

Remarking that refining lithium was “a licence to print money”, names like Novonix, Lake Resources, Lionstown and Core Lithium soared.

2. Perfect score

Amazon helped take star ratings mainstream (numbers are easier for algorithms to rank than words) but it’s a double-edged sword.

Bezos’ company is trying to shut down 5-star review factories. Organised on Facebook, the groups charge vendors for positive feedback.

It’s now taking legal action against group admins, following the lead of Google, Tripadvisor and others, and is using AI to weight reviews.

3. Check out

Ecommerce is increasingly colonising social media platforms from TikTok to Instagram and now, YouTube.

This week Google announced it would integrate Shopify to allow video channels to sell products directly below their videos.

It’s become a land grab online. Instagram is now allowing users to shop and track orders within a company’s DMs. Slide on in.

4. Coming soon

After a bad year, Netflix investors have found a silver lining. The platform lost 970,000 subscribers this quarter, one million fewer than expected.

The ensuing relief rally sent the share price higher soaring, showing there’s more life in the old dog yet. It has learned a few tricks as well.

Its strategy going forward includes building franchises, introducing a cheaper ad-supported tier and forcing freeloading users to pay.

5. Australian stories

ANZ wants to buy Suncorp’s banking arm for $4.9 billion. If approved the controversial merger would boost its retail and regional footprint.

Zip has announced it will get out of Singapore and business lending as it tries to hit profitability sooner. Shares surged this week.

Finally, Australian airline Rex has signed a deal to turn its fleet of regional aircraft electric, hoping to slash its reliance on fossil fuels by 2026.


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