🌎 Percy's First Day on Mars! | Australia's News Blackout | The Texas Snow Surprise
February 19th, 2021
Happy Friday everyone. If you’re like us, the word “Gamestop” makes you want to frisbee your laptop out the window. We want to assure you that this newsletter contains nothing of the sort. Instead, we want to tickle your curiosity with something different.
Just like elusive hedge fund managers, wealthy Youtubers in Spain are making like the Monarchs and migrating. Wait… since when do Youtubers make money? C’mon gramps, get with the story. That awkward dude with a million views for posting “unboxing videos” probably earns 5 times your wage. For Youtubers looking to save on taxes, Andorra has become the latest haven.
Last month, YouTube gamer ElRubius told his 39 million followers that he was off to Andorra. Andorra is like the Silicon Valley of YouTubers, “everyone is here”. When taxes are 54% in Spain for those earning greater than 300,000 euros per year, can you really blame them?
Did You Know...
According to Forbes, 9-year-old Ryan Kaji is the highest-paid Youtuber. What are his annual earnings?
(a) $2 million
(c) $80 million
(d) $29.5 million
Percy's First Day on Mars
Perseverance “Percy” the space rover has spent the last seven months traversing solo across 295 million miles of space. Nervous for his first day on the job, Percy began his "seven minutes of terror" descent into Jezero Crater, Mars. Operating off 500,000 lines of code, Percy nailed the landing. Kudos to you, NASA, and a gold star for Percy.
Now cruising at a speed of 200m per day, the Mini-Cooper-sized Percy will explore what Mars has to offer. The rover will broadcast data back in high-definition 4K so we can sit back and watch in our lazy boy recliner chairs. Percy has been instructed to focus on rock samples, and rock samples alone. There will be no fooling around at the Mos Eisley Cantina. A sample-return mission will follow once its pockets are filled, where a smaller spaceship will fly back to Earth. And then just like Matt Damon, Percy will be left behind.
Landing on Mars was the first planetary challenge. Next, Percy will need to conquer the Jezero Crater. Known for its deep craters, rock fields, and sand dunes, Percy will be delighted with the wealth of objects to stick his probe in.
FX | Flying closely behind Percy was Bitcoin, which touched new heights above $53k this week. These gains brought Bitcoin year-to-date gains to more than 85% as the breakneck rally powers ahead. Just a fresh reminder, one year ago, bitcoin traded around $10k. This performance makes gold and internet stocks jealous.
Australia's News Blackout
Zuckerburg has officially pulled the cord. As of Wednesday, Australians lost the ability to peruse any form of news on Facebook, local or international. Facebook’s news blackout was a bold stand against the Australian government’s new system for negotiated payments for links to news articles.
The news blackout was met by the almighty wrath of the Australian public. Facebook’s over-liking Moms, the dad jokers, and your annoying nephew who keeps sending you 8-ball pool game requests have all expressed outrage toward the social media beast. “How dare they!”
Australian officials said the move came without prior warning. "Facebook's actions were unnecessary, they were heavy-handed, and they will damage its reputation here in Australia," said Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.
Yet another example of Facebook displaying the depth of its opaque and shady powers.
FX | The Aussie pair has managed to break trendline resistance at 1.27 level this week. The AUD’s move happened despite mixed Australian data, and on the back of the receding dollar’s demand. The monthly Australian employment report indicated that the country added 29.1K new jobs in January vs 50K expected, although the unemployment rate contracted from 6.6% to 6.4%. The near-term picture suggests additional AUD strength.
The Texas Snow Surprise
Winter Storm Uri scattered bitter cold, snow, and ice this week across Texas. What started as a day of fun, has now left millions of Texan residents shivering in the dark. The snowstorm was so big that all 254 of Texas’ counties were placed under a winter storm warning.
The snowstorm made an absolute mockery of the state’s electric grid. Due to the spike in energy demand, combined with the fact that heaters burn through far more energy than A/C, a wave of blackouts swept across Texas.
A weird phenomenon learned by Texans this week was that cold temperature freeze pipes. And when pipes freeze, they burst. This has lead to the widespread flooding of buildings across Texas, and experts fear the damage will be as bad as a hurricane.
North Texas recorded its coldest day in 72 years this week; the Dallas-Fort Worth area reached a low of -2 degrees Fahrenheit.
FX | The greenback had a choppy, but remarkable week. Although the week was shorter due to the public holiday on Monday, the DXY which tracks the USD against a basket of major currencies, traded between a wide range from 90.17 to 91.05. A substantial rise in U.S Treasury bonds supported the USD with the 10-year yield rising as much as 1.311%, touching the highest level since February 2020. You must be wondering, what happened here? This movement has been driven by increasing inflationary concerns amid a rise in energy prices along with the prospect of a massive U.S. fiscal stimulus.
What We’ve Been Reading
Uber Loses U.K. Ruling on Drivers in Blow to Gig Economy - Judges unanimously ruled that Uber drivers are “workers” entitled to rights like minimum wage.
‘Everyone’s Here’: Microstate Is Unlikely Hub for YouTube Stars - YouTubers are flocking to Andorra, a principality of 77,000 people that’s best known as a haven for wealthy bankers, sports stars and tax-free shopping. Their arrival is a boost for an economy threatened by a declining population and the impact of climate change on its skiing industry.
Cocaine 'worth £184m' found in banana boxes sent from Colombia - Cocaine weighing 2,300kg and with an estimated value of £184m has been found inside a consignment of bananas that arrived in the UK from Colombia. The haul represents one of the UK's biggest ever drugs seizures.
Goldman Says ESG Finance to Become ‘Core Part’ of Strategy -The New York-based lender plans to issue more environmental, social, and governance bonds on a regular basis as part of its plans to deploy $750 billion in sustainable financing, investing and advisory activity by 2030.
Quiz of the week
(d) According to Forbes, Ryan Kaji grossed $29.5 million from his Youtube channel, which is followed by over 40 million subscribers. Kaji's channel is composed of video reviews of the latest toys and gadgets for kids.