Wall Street’s Titans Meet Fintech’s Purple-Haired Innovators—Data Sheet
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Timing is everything in life, and I’m pleased as punch that Fortune is convening its first-ever Brainstorm Finance conference Wednesday in Montauk, N.Y., at the eastern tip of Long Island. When we dreamed up a conference that would bring together the titans of Wall Street with the purple-haired entrepreneurs of fintech, we couldn’t possibly have known Facebook would choose the day before to reveal its long-awaited cryptocurrency project.
Jonathan has curated everything you need to know about that momentous occurrence below. Facebook and its payments partners are certain to be the talk of the Hamptons well after Thursday afternoon, when our event wraps. I can’t yet comment for certain on the color of anyone’s hair. But I do know the CEOs of Bank of America, Schwab, Citi, and Edward Jones will join reps from the likes of Ripple, Coinbase, Chime and other wannabe tech and finance titans.
If you’ve waved off the hullabaloo over fintech and blockchain and cryptocurrencies, now is the time to pay attention. Expect Michal Corbat, CEO of Citi, for example, to make the case for why a big bank can be both prudent and aggressive. Harit Talwar, the head of Goldman Sachs’s consumer bank, Marcus, has an interesting yarn to tell about branchless banking and partnering with Apple. Kathryn Haun, an investor with Andreessen Horowitz, will address her journey from prosecutor of financial baddies to backer of financial mavericks.
Disruptive times also lend themselves to creative commentary. If you’re remotely interested, for example, in the suit by the Securities and Exchange Commission against messaging company Kik, read this smart and funny annotation of the case by lawyer Katherin Wu.
More soon from the beach.
Lucha Libra. Fortune's Jeff John Roberts examines Facebook's newly announced cryptocurrency plans and the creation of "Project Libra," which Roberts explains is "a new type of digital money designed for the billions of people using its apps and social network." The social networking giant is banking that its Libra digital currency will catch on with Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp users when it debuts in mid-2020.
Trust us this time. Facebook's big cryptocurrency push comes amid a series of high-profile data privacy blunders. Fortune's Robert Hackett looks at the privacy implications of Facebook's new Libra cryptocurrency and its Calibra digital wallet that will let users hold, send, and receive virtual coins.
Putting it all together. Now that Facebook finally detailed its cryptocurrency project, you might be wondering how people will be able to use the new Libra digital money, how much will the currency be worth, and its relationship to Bitcoin. Don't worry, Fortune's Jeff John Roberts has assembled a handy guide that explains everything you need to know about Facebook's latest bet.
I love L.A. The Los Angeles Times explores how tech titans like Google, Amazon, and Netflix are reshaping the Los Angeles commercial real estate market. "Those companies are gobbling up vast chunks of Los Angeles-area office space in a race to set up shop for fast-growing entertainment divisions," writes Roger Vincent of the Times.
Remember Bebo? Social networking service Bebo has been acquired by Amazon's video game-streaming unit Twitch for $25 million, reports TechCrunch. The report notes that AOL bought Bebo for a whopping $850 million in 2008, and then sold the service less than two years later to Criterion Capital for $25 million.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
YouTube Kids needs more children: YouTube has been under fire for letting controversial videos spread on its platform, exposing children to sometimes disturbing content. As a potential remedy, the Google-owned video service created YouTube Kids, which "filters videos from the main site specifically for children under thirteen," according to a report by Bloomberg News. But, as the report notes, "not many kids use YouTube Kids, and those who do don’t stick around."
Children who do watch YouTube Kids tend to shift over to YouTube’s main site before they hit thirteen, according to multiple people at YouTube familiar with the internal data. One person who works on the app said the departures typically happen around age seven. In India, YouTube’s biggest market by volume, usage of the Kids app is negligible, according to this employee.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
BEFORE YOU GO
All work and no play. The massive $138 billion video game industry keeps getting bigger, but the grueling hours game developers spend making blockbuster hits is taking its toll. Time Magazine senior economics correspondent Alana Semuels spoke to The Takeway of WNYC Studios about the unionization efforts of some video game industry developers who deal with brutal working schedules. During "crunch" time, for instance, developers can often find themselves working several 90-to-100 hour weeks without overtime pay to meet deadlines.