Fortune’s successful first foray into the NFT market, selling digital variations on our recent “Crypto vs. Wall Street” magazine cover, is enabling us to provide some needed support to journalists around the world. We and the digital artist pplpleasr are donating part of our new cryptocurrency stash—209 ether, to be exact—to four worthy organizations that support a free press and public service journalism: Reporters Without Borders, The GroundTruth Project, The Institute for Nonprofit News and The Committee to Protect Journalists. At current ether prices, the donations will amount to about $165,000 per organization.
All of this has been a hands-on education in cryptocurrency and decentralized finance for us at Fortune. We partnered with pplpleasr to create and sell the NFTs last month, accepting only ether as payment. Together, we also created the FORTUNE Journalism Pleasr Fund, run entirely on the Ethereum blockchain, through Endaoment, which is the first 501(c)3 nonprofit that is fully “on chain.”
It’s no secret that the economic support system for great journalism has been challenged over the last two decades, and that journalists around the world are increasingly under attack from oppressive and authoritarian regimes. Fortune and pplpleasr are happy to do our part to help. We invite others who wish to support good journalism in the public interest to make their own donations, in cryptocurrency or via PayPal, on the donation page here.
More news below.
Correction, Sept. 20, 2021: A previous version of this newsletter misstated the amount of our cryptocurrency donation.
The Hang Seng was down 3.3% today, largely due to a massive sell-off in the Hong Kong real-estate sector that followed Beijing's threat to crack down on "monopoly behavior". The already-battered and heavily-indebted Evergrande fell 10%, and property developer SINIC lost 87% of its value today. The contagion seems to be spreading to other markets, too, with London's FTSE dropping 1.7% and U.S. futures signaling something similar there. Fortune
Big Tech has been on a record-breaking buying spree this year, spending at least $264 billion on buying potential rivals that are worth less than $1 billion. That's more than double the dotcom-era previous record, and it comes as U.S. regulators are already considering a crackdown on the sector's anticompetitive practices. Financial Times
The CEO of the U.S. fertilizer giant CF Industries has flown to the U.K. for crisis talks with the government there. That's because CF Industries makes 60% of the U.K.'s food-grade CO2 supply, and soaring wholesale gas prices have led it to pause production at two of its plants. The problem is causing stock shortages in a British food sector that's already suffering from massive supply-chain issues, thanks to the pandemic and Brexit. BBC
New data from the U.K. suggests nearly a quarter of employers are planning above-inflation pay rises, and 44% are preparing to raise salaries in line with inflation. There haven't been so many pay rises in the works since the global financial crisis. Reuters
AROUND THE WATER COOLER
The new head of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is not keen on Tesla's new "Full Self-Driving Capability" upgrade, which the company says customers will be able to request soon. Jennifer Homendy says the name is "misleading and irresponsible" as it does not in fact provide full vehicular autonomy, and she warns that "basic safety issues have to be addressed" before Tesla rolls out the city-driving tool. Wall Street Journal
Elon Musk appeared to mock President Joe Biden on Twitter yesterday, after someone asked him why he thought Biden hadn't acknowledged SpaceX's historic private spaceflight (on which no passengers were proper astronauts). "He's still sleeping," the SpaceX and Tesla boss replied, echoing a right-wing taunt against the President. CNBC
A panel of independent FDA advisors decided not to recommend full approval of third/booster doses of Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for people aged 16 and over. As Fortune's Sy Mukherjee writes: "That certainly doesn't put the kibosh on widespread COVID boosters indefinitely. The question has never been if boosters should win a regulatory blessing, but rather when, for whom, and with what level of urgency." Fortune
South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges have until Friday to get properly licensed. As of today, 28 of the 63 exchanges have received the necessary certification—so expect dozens of shutdowns shortly. Fortune
This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.
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