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Sunday, 30 January 2022

Warren Buffett is having a better start to 2022 than other b’naires + Meta’s crypto plans aren’t faring very well + Joe Rogan creates another headache for Spotify

It’s already been a rough start to 2022 for the world’s wealthiest — except the Oracle of Omaha: The sell-off in tech stocks this month is biting into the net worths of the world’s richest people, with Tesla’s Elon Musk shedding USD 54 bn so far and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos’ net worth tumbling USD 27.8 bn, CNBC reports. Google’s founders and Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg lost a combined total of more than USD 39.2 bn. Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett, however, bucked the trend, seeing his net worth grow some USD 2.4 bn to reach USD 111 bn, surpassing Zuckerberg and reclaiming the sixth spot in the global wealth rankings, according to the Bloomberg B’naires Index. The reason? His firm belief in value investing, according to experts, which entails picking undervalued stocks that appear to be trading for less than they should be. Buffett’s widely diversified portfolio has also helped him weather the tech-storm.

Meta might not get its cryptocurrency after all: Meta / Facebook is seeing its dreams of launching a stablecoin crumble after regulatory pressure is pushing the company to sell its assets, Bloomberg reports, citing sources it says have knowledge of the matter. The Diem Association (formerly known as Libra) is considering the sale in an attempt to return capital to its investors and is currently in discussions about how to best sell the IP while retaining its engineers’ jobs. It is still unclear how a potential buyer would value Diem, the sources said. The project was expected to take off when Diem struck a partnership with Silvergate Capital to issue the Diem USD stablecoin, but the initiative has faced significant pushback, including from the US Federal Reserve.

Meanwhile, Elon Musk wants to pay for his Happy Meal with Dogecoin: The Tesla CEO egged on McDonalds on Twitter saying he would eat a Happy Meal on TV if the fast food chain started accepting meme-based cryptocurrency Dogecoin, to which McDonald’s replied, “Only if Tesla accepts grimacecoin,” in reference to the purple character that is friends with McDonald’s mascot Ronald McDonald. Musk has been increasingly touting Dogecoin, earlier this month saying that Tesla would accept the crypto as payment for some merchandise.

We can’t help but wonder whether Joe Rogan was worth the USD 100 mn and the headache for Spotify: A handful of artists are pulling their music from streaming platform Spotify to take a stand against podcast host Joe Rogan spreading what they say is covid misinformation. Last week, multi-Grammy award-winning singer Neil Young, who has 6 mn monthly listeners on Spotify, was the first artist to remove his music from the platform, protesting Rogan’s misinformation and reportedly losing 60% of his streaming income worldwide as a result. Singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell joined Young yesterday, reports the Financial Times, but Spotify appears to be steadfast in its decision to keep Rogan’s content on its platform. In 2020, Spotify paid Joe Rogan USD 100 mn to host his podcast exclusively on the platform — a move that has brought the platform under heat for its association with the commentator. Its choice to side with the popular podcaster rather than with its artists has left some columnists speculating that Spotify has become a tech company looking to beef up its bottomline by growing its podcasting portfolio. Last year, Spotify reportedly overtook Apple podcasts in the US.

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