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Bitcoin jumps after Musk says Tesla could use it again

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SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Bitcoin hit a two-week peak just shy of $40,000 on Monday, after another weekend reacting to tweets from Tesla boss Elon Musk, who fended off criticism over his market influence and said Tesla sold bitcoin but may resume transactions using it.

Bitcoin has gyrated to Musk’s views for months since Tesla announced a $1.5 billion bitcoin purchase in February and said it would take the cryptocurrency in payment. He later said the electric car maker would not accept bitcoin due to concerns over how mining the currency requires high energy use and contributes to climate change.

“When there’s confirmation of reasonable (~50%) clean energy usage by miners with positive future trend, Tesla will resume allowing Bitcoin transactions,” Musk said on Twitter on Sunday.

Bitcoin rallied more than 9% after that message, breaking above its 20-day moving average, and it climbed a tiny bit further in Asia to hit $39,838.92.

“The market had been going through another round of correction over the weekend … until Elon Musk’s tweet of accepting BTC again for Tesla purchases changed sentiment,” said Bobby Ong, co-founder of crypto analytics website CoinGecko.

He said the market was also supported by software company and major bitcoin-backer MicroStrategy raising half a billion dollars to buy bitcoin.

Bitcoin is up about 33% this year but has collapsed from a record peak above $60,000 amid a regulatory crackdown in China and Musk’s apparently wavering enthusiasm for it. Telsa stock is down about 30% since the company’s bitcoin purchase.

Musk’s tweet was made in response to an article based on remarks from Magda Wierzycka, head of cybersecurity firm Syngia, who in a radio interview last week accused him of “price manipulation” and selling a “big part” of his exposure.

“This is inaccurate,” Musk said. “Tesla only sold ~10% of holdings to confirm BTC could be liquidated easily without moving market.”

Musk had tweeted in May that Tesla “will not be selling any bitcoin” and “has not sold any bitcoin,” but investors are keenly awaiting Tesla’s next earnings update – due next month – for any disclosure of changes to its position.

Musk has taken issue with the vast computing power required to process bitcoin transactions and in early June posted messages appearing to lament a breakup with bitcoin.

Other cryptocurrencies were steady after weekend gains, with ether at $2,491 and one-time Musk darling dogecoin buying about 32 U.S. cents on crypto exchange Binance.

(Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

Image Credit: Reuters

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Source: https://datafloq.com/read/bitcoin-jumps-musk-says-tesla-could-use/15414

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Tether executives said to face criminal probe into bank fraud – Bloomberg News

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(Reuters) -The U.S. Department of Justice is probing whether executives behind the Tether digital token committed bank fraud during the nascent stages of its cryptocurrency business, Bloomberg News reported on Monday.

The probe is focusing on events from several years ago when Tether, a stablecoin launched in 2014, was in its early stages, the report said. (https://bloom.bg/3eWnraR)

The agency is examining whether Tether concealed from banks that transactions were linked to crypto, the report added, citing three people with direct knowledge of the matter.

“Tether routinely has open dialogue with law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Department of Justice,” the company said in response to the report.

“It is business as usual at Tether, and we remain focused on how to best serve the needs of our customers.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice declined to comment.

The stablecoin universe is so far dominated by two main tokens, Tether and USD Coin. Tether accounts for more than 60% of the total stablecoins issued, worth about $100 billion.

(Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru and Chris Prentice in Washington; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Shinjini Ganguli)

Image Credit: Reuters

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Source: https://datafloq.com/read/tether-executives-said-face-criminal-probe-bank-fraud-bloomberg-news/16633

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McDonald’s creates new unit to focus on global digital app

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By Hilary Russ

NEW YORK (Reuters) – McDonald’s Corp is bringing its digital, data analytics, marketing, restaurant development and operations segments into one unit as it focuses on driving growth through its global app and new MyMcDonald’s Rewards program, the company said on Monday.

The company rolled out https://www.reuters.com/business/retail-consumer/mcdonalds-launch-loyalty-program-across-us-july-2021-06-22 MyMcDonald’s Rewards on July 8 as fast-food chains have raced to launch loyalty programs to spur sales, reach younger consumers and give customers more ways to order.

To lead the new unit, McDonald’s promoted Manu Steijaert to a new global chief customer officer position, effective Aug. 1 and reporting to Chief Executive Officer Chris Kempczinski. Steijaert previously ran international operated markets including European countries, Russia and Australia.

Nearly half of all restaurant customers use at least one loyalty program, particularly when ordering fast-food, according to a consumer survey from loyalty program provider Paytronix Systems Inc and PYMNTS.com.

The programs rake in valuable data about customers’ food orders and habits, which restaurants use to push specialized deals in the hope of getting people to eat there more often and spend more money on extra items.

McDonald’s has more than 40 million active app users in its biggest six markets and now offers delivery in more than 30,000 restaurants, Kempczinski said in an internal message seen by Reuters. The company created the team “to remove some internal barriers and silos that ultimately lead to a fragmented customer experience,” Kempczinski said in the memo.

The company reports second-quarter earnings results on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Hilary Russ; Editing by Will Dunham)

Image Credit: Reuters

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Source: https://datafloq.com/read/mcdonalds-creates-new-unit-focus-global-digital-app/16632

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EV maker Lucid rises in Nasdaq debut after merger with Klein-backed SPAC

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By Chavi Mehta and Niket Nishant

(Reuters) -Shares of Lucid Group Inc rose as much as 19% in their Nasdaq debut on Monday after the electric vehicle maker completed its merger with a blank-check company backed by Wall Street dealmaker Michael Klein.

Lucid, which is run by an ex-Tesla Inc engineer, had agreed to go public in February through a merger with Churchill Capital Corp IV. The deal gave the combined company a pro-forma equity value of $24 billion.

Lucid’s listing is a huge dividend for Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which had invested more than $1 billion in the company in 2018 for a substantial stake.

PIF, BlackRock and others in February invested another $2.5 billion in Lucid as part of the merger. Sovereign wealth fund PIF, the engine of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s economic transformation plans for Saudi Arabia, manages a portfolio worth $400 billion.

Lucid shares were last up about 9% on Monday, having opened at $25.24.

Despite the strong investor interest, some analysts raised questions about the steep valuation fetched by a company that virtually had no revenue.

“Buyers expect they (Lucid) will fully ramp up over the next few years. But that represents a major execution risk,” said Matthew Kennedy, senior strategist at Renaissance Capital, a provider of institutional research and IPO ETFs.

Lucid brings a lot in terms of performance, but investors should “realize it is risky to buy a company with no revenue and such a large market capitalization,” he added.

Newark, California-based Lucid is the latest beneficiary of increasing demand for electric vehicles, fueled by tougher emission regulations globally, the Biden administration’s green wave push and the rise of Tesla.

Several other prominent players in the sector have also merged with special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) to go public. While firms such as Fisker have recorded a rise in their shares, others including Nikola have declined.

(Reporting by Chavi Mehta and Sohini Podder in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru and Saeed Azhar in Dubai; Editing by Aditya Soni)

Image Credit: Reuters

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Source: https://datafloq.com/read/ev-maker-lucid-rises-nasdaq-debut-merger-klein-backed-spac/16631

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EU gives Google 2 months to improve hotel, flight search results

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By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Alphabet unit Google has two months to improve the way it presents internet search results for flights and hotels and explain how it ranks these or face possible sanctions, the European Commission and EU consumer authorities said on Monday.

The world’s most popular internet search engine has long faced scrutiny from antitrust enforcers and consumer groups around the world over its business practices, which in some cases have landed it with hefty fines.

The latest grievance centres on the prices on its services Google Flights and Google Hotels.

The final prices for these should include fees or taxes that can be calculated in advance, while reference prices used to calculate promoted discounts should be clearly identifiable, the EU executive and national consumer watchdogs, led by the Dutch agency and the Belgian Directorate General for Economic Inspection, said in a joint statement.

“EU consumers cannot be misled when using search engines to plan their holidays. We need to empower consumers to make their choices based on transparent and unbiased information,” EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said.

The agencies also told Google to revise the standard terms of its Google Store because some cases showed that traders have more rights than consumers.

If Google’s proposals are not sufficient, the agencies will discuss the issue further with the company and may impose sanctions.

Google said in a statement: “We welcome this dialogue and are working closely with consumer protection agencies and the European Commission to see how we can make improvements that will be good for our users and provide even more transparency.”

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Barbara Lewis)

Image Credit: Reuters

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Source: https://datafloq.com/read/eu-gives-google-2-months-improve-hotel-flight-search-results/16630

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