☕️ Everyone's quitting

Why Coinbase is getting into NFTs...
October 13, 2021 View Online | Sign Up

Morning Brew

Fidelity Investments

Good morning. 90-year-old actor William Shatner is set to become the oldest person to travel to space when he blasts off in a Blue Origin rocket this morning. While we're on the subject, here's the oldest...

  • Mount Everest climber: Japanese mountaineer Yūichirō Miura summited the mountain at 80.
  • Olympian: Swedish shooter Oscar Swahn competed in the 1920 Summer Olympics at age 72...and he won a silver medal.
  • Living animal: Jonathan, a Seychelles giant tortoise living on the island of Saint Helena, was likely born in 1832, making him 189 years old.

Jamie Wilde, Max Knoblauch, Neal Freyman

MARKETS

Nasdaq

14,465.93

S&P

4,350.65

Dow

34,378.34

10-Year

1.575%

Bitcoin

$55,777.23

Oil

$80.62

*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 6:00pm ET. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Markets: It's been a slothlike start to the week for stocks, but the market could get a boost of energy today as Q3 earnings season begins with JPMorgan and Delta Air Lines. Oil is still chilling over $80 amid a global energy crunch.
  • Economy: In a new major report, the IMF slightly downgraded its projections for global economic growth this year, in part due to ongoing pandemic challenges in low-income countries and supply chain snags in wealthier ones.

CRYPTO

Coinbase Joins the NFT Party

A frame around the Coinbase logo

Francis Scialabba

Coinbase is launching a marketplace for NFTs—which, yes, we're still talking about.

On the marketplace, called Coinbase NFT, users will be able to buy, sell, and mint NFTs, or tokens that verify you're the owner of a digital asset. Coinbase also said it would include "social features" and pitched the platform as more user-friendly than the other guys.

The "other guys" include two rival cryptocurrency exchanges: Binance and FTX, which both recently launched their own NFT marketplaces. But they're all just guppies compared to OpenSea—which has a 97% stranglehold of the NFT market. In the past month alone, OpenSea facilitated nearly $2.8 billion in NFT transactions, per DappRadar.

What do companies see in NFTs?

NFTs have survived and even grown beyond their "fidget spinner" phase this spring, when the digital artist Beeple sold an NFT at Christie's for $69 million. Google searches flagged for months after, but interest has climbed back up since...perhaps best exemplified by an NFT of a rock selling for over half a mil at the end of August.

Plus, it's not just your old college roommate who believes NFTs have a bright future.

  • Visa planted its flag in the NFT world this summer by purchasing a CryptoPunk—a unique digital avatar—for $150,000 worth of ethereum.
  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg thinks NFTs could be a ubiquitous part of the metaverse he's intent on building.

Skeptics say the NFT space is plagued by scams and is essentially a hype bubble ready to burst.

Big picture: Coinbase's stock has fallen 27% since it went public in April, as competitors like Robinhood crowd into crypto trading and regulators bare their teeth. Coinbase NFT marks the company's second shot at finding a new revenue stream in about a month, after the SEC scrapped its last launch—a crypto lending product called Lend.

Looking ahead...anyone can join Coinbase's waitlist for its NFT marketplace, which the company plans to launch this year. *Adds Pudgy Penguin to Christmas list.*—JW

        

WORK

Americans Are Done With Their Crappy Jobs

Peggy from Mad Men quitting her job

Mad Men

4.3 million people quit their jobs in the US in August, the Labor Department said yesterday. That's an astronomical amount—the most on record—and represents nearly 3% of the workforce.

Where are workers quitting the most?

  • 892,000 workers left restaurants, bars, and hotels.
  • 721,000 left their retail gigs.
  • 706,000 ditched their jobs in professional business services and 534,000 in health care and social assistance.

What's going on? In an economy where jobs are plentiful and the people to fill them are scarce, workers are finding themselves with much more leverage. If their jobs are uber stressful, require long hours for low pay, and pose a greater risk of contracting Covid-19, there's little incentive to stick around. Just look at the number of people quitting the hospitality and retail industries.

Big picture: This is all a major headache for employers, who have to raise wages and dangle more benefits to find anyone to work for them. Businesses had 10.4 million job openings in the country in August, down from July's record of 11.1 million but still extremely elevated.—NF

        

HEALTH

Medical Leaders: Healthy Boomers Shouldn't Take Daily Aspirin

Well, they didn't put it exactly like that. But in a draft statement, the US Preventive Services Task Force, a leading group of medical experts, did say that people age 60 or over should stop taking a daily regimen of low-dose aspirin to prevent heart disease or stroke.

Because aspirin acts as a blood thinner to prevent blood clots, it also increases the risk of life-threatening bleeding. So the panel decided that the potential side effects for older folks taking aspirin daily as a preventative measure outweigh the benefits.

  • This announcement isn't exactly a surprise, and comes after a number of medical organizations, such as the American Heart Association, said older Americans without high risk of heart disease should forgo daily low-dose aspirin.

But, people 60 or older who are taking aspirin for a previous heart attack or stroke should continue to pop the pills, the task force said.

Stat to go: Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US, responsible for about a quarter of all deaths.—NF

        

TOGETHER WITH FIDELITY INVESTMENTS

Love, SPACtually

Fidelity Investments

If you've been reading this newsletter in the past year or two, you've definitely heard about a SPAC or two...after all, there were over 300 in Q1 alone. 

So where'd all that momentum come from, especially for a method of going public that's been around for years? And why did that momentum slow to a crawl in Q2? 

That's what we explored in Episode 5 of Season 2 of Fresh Invest, our investing-focused podcast powered by Fidelity. If you want to figure out what's SPACtually going on with this new type of IPO, you should definitely listen in. 

Morning Brew Executive Chairman Alex Lieberman sat down with John Gagliardi of Fidelity Investments to work through those questions. 

You'll find out what SPAC stands for, why they're appealing for both sponsors and targets, and why they've been attracting criticism in recent months. This is a good one—listen right here.

GRAB BAG

Key Performance Indicators

Stat: If you're wondering why the line for Cava is getting so long, an average of 36% of the US workforce was back in the office last week in 10 major cities monitored by Kastle Systems. It's the largest share of workers going into the office since the pandemic began.

Quote: "Kyrie has made a personal choice and we respect his individual right to choose. Currently, the choice restricts his ability to be a full-time member of the team…"

The Kyrie Irving saga ramped up yesterday, when the Brooklyn Nets released a statement saying the star basketball player couldn't play or practice with the team until he abides by NYC's Covid-19 guidelines. Irving is not vaccinated.

Read: The fascinating business behind 15-minute or less grocery delivery. (Turner's Blog)

        

TRANSPORTATION

The Future of Biking Might Not Be Tandem

A depiction of the VanMoof V e-bike

VanMoof

VanMoof, the Dutch e-bike manufacturer, will begin selling a high-speed bike called the VanMoof V in late 2022, the company announced Tuesday. Maxing out at 37 mph, the V is gonna be huge for those of us with dreams of one day cheating to win the Tour de France.

One potential hiccup: The V's 37-mph speed is significantly faster than the legal limit for e-bikes in any US state with a law currently on the books (some states have no limit at all). In a press release, the company said it "intends to work with city governments to explore solutions from geofencing to revised speed regulations." Basically a "do first, ask forgiveness after they've seen us do a wheelie on this hog" kind of thing.

Zoom out: The e-bike market is expected to reach $48 billion globally by 2028. E-bike sales in the US  increased 145% between 2019 and 2020, and grew 240% in the 12 months leading up to July 2021. For context, that's 16x faster growth than general cycling.

The VanMoof V will retail for approximately $3,600, and deliveries are expected to start in late 2022.—MK

        

WHAT ELSE IS BREWING

  • American and Southwest Airlines, two Texas-based companies, said they'll comply with President Biden's requirement that employees get vaccinated, despite the state's new order that bans vaccine mandates.
  • Hasbro chairman and CEO Brian Goldner died at 58, shortly after he took a leave of absence for cancer treatment.
  • Apple sent out invites for an October 18 event, where it's expected to release new MacBooks and potentially the next-gen version of AirPods.
  • LG Electronics will reimburse GM up to $1.9 billion for the recent Chevy Bolt problems. GM recently recalled every Bolt made over fire risks caused by LG's batteries.

BREW'S BETS

Tackling expense managementAHH!! Yep, it can be spookier than ghosts and ghouls. But no need for screams. Divvy can end your expense reporting nightmares by providing simple, automated, and free software made to manage business spending. Demo Divvy today.*

Work, play, stay: The Venetian Resort is ready to welcome you back for business meetings and gondola rides alike. Conduct events of all sizes, entertain clients, dine, and play all under one (huge) roof. Learn more here.*

Useful websites: Scroll through this long thread of useful websites people should know more about.

Like stats? Check out this month's Harper's Index for knowledge bombs to throw around your next dinner party.

Work horror stories: Have a nightmarish client? Did a hot Zoom mic catch you dissing your boss? If you have a ghastly work horror story this spooky szn, we want to hear it. Share your story here.

*This is sponsored advertising content

FROM THE CREW

Elon or Kanye?

Kanye West and Elon Musk

Do you think you can tell the difference between a Kanye West tweet and an Elon Musk tweet? It's harder than it sounds. That's why we hit the streets of NYC to see how many people could. See how many you can guess—watch now.

GAMES

The Puzzle Section

Word Search: See if you can identify the artist from their most famous painting. Play it here.

William Shatner Trivia

Professional actor and amateur astronaut William Shatner is best known for his role in Star Trek, but do you remember the other movies he's appeared in? We'll give you the character he played and the year the film was released; you guess the movie.

  1. The Dodgeball Chancellor (2004)
  2. Veteran MC Stan Fields (2000)
  3. Ozzie, a Virginia opossum (2006)
  4. Attorney Denny Crane (1997) → this is a TV show, btw
  5. Mayor Phlegmming, the leader of the "City of Frank" (2001)

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ANSWER

1) Dodgeball 2) Miss Congeniality 3) Over the Hedge 4) The Practice 5) Osmosis Jones

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GREAT GOOD BAD

✢ A Note From Fidelity Investments

Investing involves risk, including risk of loss.

Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC, 900 Salem Street, Smithfield, RI 02917

       

Written by Neal Freyman

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