10 things before the opening bell

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Welcome to 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

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1. The next phase of crypto growth: giving it away for free. Companies are starting to give select customers complimentary crypto as they experiment with digital-asset payment — and it's helping drive a new wave of adoption.

Take Burger King, for instance. The fast-food giant is partnering with Robinhood to dole out $2.6 million of crypto to loyalty club members. Burger King has a total of 20 bitcoin, 200 ether, and 2 million dogecoin available to distribute.

Similarly, Mark Cuban's Dallas Mavericks said they'll give $100 in bitcoin to people who download the trading app Voyager Digital. The crypto platform recently announced a five-year partnership with the NBA team, marking the industry's latest foray into sports.

Many cryptocurrencies — from established stalwarts like bitcoin to upstart altcoins like shiba inu coin — set new records last month. It's hard to blame companies for wanting to get in on that action.

2. US stocks lose their fizz, with investors on the sidelines counting down to the Fed decision. It's kickoff day for the Fed meeting that should fire the starting gun on its bond-buying taper.  Here are the latest moves on the market

3. Bank of America has a stock-market strategy built around the annual practice of tax-loss harvesting. The final months of the year usually see investors dump money-losing securities at a loss to offset potential capital-gains taxes. BofA lays out its approach to buying against these sales.

4. Earnings on deck: Pfizer, T-Mobile US, and Amgen, all reporting.

5. The crypto-hiring wave continues. Firms like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase have added 1,000 crypto jobs since 2018, and are offering huge salaries to bring on new talent. Some senior crypto roles have reportedly gotten as much as a 50% salary bump. 

6. The advisor of the SPAC taking Trump's media firm public is launching its own blank-check company. Investment bank EF Hutton is looking to raise $125 million via its SPAC, and has its eyes set on firms in the consumer and retail industries. Last month, it was listed as the only advisor to Digital World Acquisition.

7. Stocks are in "melt-up" mode and can still rise further, according to Leuthold Group's CIO. The surge has driven 24% year-to-date gains in the S&P 500, and Doug Ramsey doesn't see a top forming any time soon. He pointed to thousands of underlying stocks that are participating in the broader stock market rally.

8. The CEO of Barclays quit amid an investigation into his ties with Jeffrey Epstein. Jes Staley resigned after Barclays examined preliminary findings from the regulatory investigation. He still intends to contest the conclusions of the investigation.

9. Beware of "The Flippening," otherwise known as the point when ether overtakes bitcoin in market value. Some fear the shift could destabilize the entire crypto market. Insider spoke to 7 experts about the grand implications of the event.

10. All the criteria for a stock and crypto bubble have been met, at least according to one expert. Richard Bernstein breaks down his ominous conclusion. He also outlines how investors can protect against the carnage ahead.

Compiled by Phil Rosen. Feedback? Email prosen@insider.com or tweet @philrosenn.

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