There are so many more things to say about Facebook’s announcement of Libra, its planned cryptocurrency, yesterday. The company is clearly playing a multidimensional chess game, with business, political and public relations implications in mind.
• Facebook, in need of friends, appears to be trying to bring everyone under its new tent. Corporate members of the “Libra Foundation” contribute $10 million to participate, and 27 have already signed up—a who’s who of finance. David Marcus, the former PayPal executive who is leading the effort, says he hopes to have 100 partners by the time it launches.
• Libra marks an important step for Facebook into the e-commerce space. But it is touting Libra primarily as a move to serve the 1.7 billion people in the world who currently lack financial services—hardly the most profitable market. That didn’t stop Rep. Maxine Waters from calling for a “moratorium” on the project so regulators could study it.
• Will the Winkelvii get Zucked again? Libra could be seen as competition for Gemini, the cryptocurrency firm started by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who claimed Zuckerberg stole the idea for Facebook from them in college. On TV Sunday, Cameron W. said: “There’s so much pie to grow, I mean, at this point, we need to be frenemies.”
For the five things you need to know about this landmark Facebook venture, click here. Other news below.
Trump vs. Powell
President Trump asked White House lawyers to see whether he could sack Fed Chair Jerome Powell. The lawyers reportedly told him it would be highly questionable to get rid of Powell without cause, but maybe he could be replaced with a sitting Fed governor. Trump has long been frustrated with the Fed’s interest rate hikes. Bloomberg
CBS and Viacom
CBS may try to buy sister company Viacom—from which it split some 13 years ago—according to the Wall Street Journal. The report suggests there is as yet no agreement on the price, nor the potential leadership team. This is the companies’ third stab at merger talks in the last few years. WSJ
The U.S. and China will be holding more trade talks ahead of a G20 Summit meeting next week between Presidents Trump and Xi. That’s according to Trump, who tweeted that he’d had a “very good telephone conversation” with his counterpart. Talks had broken down last month—and if things don’t get sorted out now, a full-blown trade war is possible. Reuters
Renault and Nissan
The alliance between Renault and Nissan is falling apart, according to the Financial Times, which reports that several joint business functions are idling or being shuttered. Now that lynchpin Carlos Ghosn is gone, “the ‘CEO office,’ which oversaw the day-to-day running of the alliance functions and had several senior executives, is being disbanded, while other areas such as light commercial vehicles, sales and marketing, and communications are dwindling and dismissing staff, according to several people.” FT
Around the Water Cooler
Former commerce secretary Penny Pritzker writes for Fortune that commingling the issues of trade and migration alone risks forgetting one of the main causes of migration: climate change. She writes: “Virtually every CEO and business leader I speak with is either working on solutions or willing to do more. Now, our political leaders in both parties must do the same.” Fortune
New York’s New Deal
New York’s own Green New Deal has been passed by the state’s senate, introducing the U.S.’s most aggressive clean-energy targets. Expect vast expansions of solar and wind power capacity, and likely incentives to move buildings’ heating systems away from oil and natural gas. Bloomberg
Europe’s richest person has joined Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates in the tiny club of people with a fortune of over $100 billion. Bernard Arnault is chairman of luxury-brand owner LVMH, the company behind the likes of Louis Vuitton, Dom Perignon and Tag Heuer. His fortune equates to more than 3% of the French economy. Fortune
Adidas has almost certainly lost its European trademark for its three-stripe logo. The EU’s General Court said this morning that the logo simply wasn’t seen as distinct enough in most EU countries. “The mark is not a pattern mark composed of a series of regularly repetitive elements, but an ordinary figurative mark,” the court ruled. Adidas can still appeal to the EU’s highest court, the European Court of Justice. Deutsche Welle