Fortune is all in on blockchain

July 29, 2021, 10:23 AM UTC

Good morning.

Is crypto going mainstream? When we asked Fortune 500 CEOs in May whether they planned to use cryptocurrency either as a form of payment or as an asset on their balance sheets, 93% said “no.”

But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot of eyeballing going on. After all, the cryptocurrency market has now reached a whopping $1.5 trillion, and its underlying technology carries the potential to disrupt many industries—starting with finance. As Robert Hackett details in a new story here, there’s a growing group of crypto-pioneers who believe the blockchain will enable “decentralized finance”—and they have committed more than $60 billion in digital coins to DeFi projects to prove their case. The big banks are watching closely.

Meanwhile, at Fortune, we’re all in. Four years ago, we published a cover story dubbed “Blockchain Mania!” At the time, the total value of all cryptocurrencies was estimated at a mere $135 billion. Today, it’s more than ten times that (and burning up the environment as a result—see story here). Hackett’s DeFi story is part of a special package of crypto coverage being released online this morning that includes Fortune’s newest ranking—the “NFTy 50”—highlighting the most influential people in the rapidly expanding business of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).  

One of the NFTy 50—a digital artist known as pplpleasr—designed the cover for the new issue of Fortune magazine. Beginning August 5, a limited series of NFTs based on that cover will be up for auction on peer-to-peer marketplace Open Sea. Check it out.

No-one knows exactly where this is going. But we are sure it’s not going away. So I’d suggest using our coverage as a chance to get up to speed. You can find it all here. More news below.

Alan Murray


Disclosure plans 1

The SEC is pushing forward with plans to force publicly-traded companies to release more information about their environmental impact. Chair Gary Gensler is frustrated by the lack of standardized and consistent data from corporate issuers. Gensler, making a comparison with the Olympics: "Fans can compare athletes across heats, countries, and generations. It’s not like some sprinters run a 100-meter dash and others run 90 meters. Investors today are asking for that ability also to compare companies with each other." Fortune

Disclosure plans 2

The U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority wants to boost board diversity by—here it comes again—forcing companies to make annual disclosures accompanied by standardized data. It's quite similar to the Nasdaq proposal, except without the threat of delisting. FCA market oversight chief Clare Cole: "Interest from investors is growing and companies are increasingly focusing on this topic due to ESG investing, as well as wider social and public policy concerns." Fortune

Office return

Google, like Apple, is pushing back its back-to-the-office date to October at the earliest, due to the spread of the coronavirus's Delta variant. However, Google's also taking a step that Apple is so far only considering: requiring employees to get vaccinated before they set foot in the office again—this part's a U.S.-only policy for now, but it will go global as vaccines go global. Fortune

Infrastructure plan

President Biden's big infrastructure plan is moving forward following a Senate vote last night. It was a rare bipartisan showing, with 67 to 32 voting to start formal Senate consideration. Fortune


Chinese crackdowns

A top Chinese regulator has moved to soothe investors about the country's crackdowns on listed companies. Fang Xinghai reportedly told global banking chiefs that the crackdowns are sector-specific (in areas such as online financial services) and China doesn't want to decouple from global markets. The meeting led to a bump in Chinese tech stocks. Wall Street Journal


Mark Zuckerberg says the "metaverse"—a science-fictionish vision of the future in which people use virtual reality, augmented reality and other means to disappear further into technology—is the "next generation of the Internet and next chapter for us as a company." Of note: Zuck's virtual-world-related prognostications tend not to come to fruition, so perhaps better to focus on more immediate issues like antitrust and hate speech. Fortune

Mask implications

The CDC's sudden U-turn on indoor masking has implications for businesses, but what those implications are depends on where the businesses are. As Fortune's Sy Mukherjee explains: "The trouble for businesses is that the CDC's recommendations don't have the full force of the law or an enforcement mechanism. It's still up to state and local governments to dictate what the exact legal requirements are for masking, and even then some locales may have law enforcement officials who don't plan on doling out repercussions for a failure to comply." Fortune

Wet bulbs

Which parts of the world are most likely to become unlivable due to heat and humidity, the combined measurement of which is known as "wet-bulb" temperature? According to this cheery Washington Post piece: "Scientists have found that Mexico and Central America, the Persian Gulf, India, Pakistan and Southeast Asia are all careening toward this threshold before the end of the century." WaPo

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.

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