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Josh Harris Steps Down From Apollo

Vegan milk is a billion dollar business on Wall Street today. Oatly, the oat milk maker, valued its IPO at $ 17 per share, the high end of its range, valued at around $ 10 billion. One reason it appeared to have avoided broader market declines was to attract investors who focused on so-called ESG principles.

It’s been a wild week even by Bitcoin standards. A particularly sharp drop in cryptocurrency yesterday appeared to sweep the entire market with it, and the frenzy resulted in failures on major exchanges like Binance and Coinbase. Then it came back in late trading (Elon Musk tweeted about it) and has held gains to this day. Still, Bitcoin is down about a third from its all-time high just over a week ago.

The episode shows the point made by skeptics that digital assets are too volatile to be taken seriously and by die-hard supporters who say the ups and downs come with the territory. DealBook spoke to Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, the CEO of Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, about what it all means.

In business today

Updated

May 19, 2021, 2:36 p.m. ET

“It’s been a busy day but it happens” CZ said. “I think it’s pretty typical.” It’s a widespread belief among the crypto crowd that big fixes are part of the journey to new heights. “If you look at 2017, where there was a bull market, there were at least two cases of 40 percent drawdowns,” he said. New investors who “may or may not be fully involved” but he thinks it is good for the markets to “shake off” the nervous guys.

The legislature is not so sure. Yesterday, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Sherrod Brown – a cryptoskeptic – wrote to incumbent currency auditor Michael Hsu worrying that crypto firms could be approved for national trust deeds. In particular, Brown mentioned that the permits fell under former acting controller Brian Brooks, who once worked for Coinbase and recently became CEO of Binance’s US division.

  • “Given the many uncertainties in the digital asset landscape identified by other regulators, the volatility of digital asset valuations, and the disproportionate impact that individuals can have on entire cryptocurrency markets, the OCC is unable to compare these companies to conventional banks to regulate, “wrote Brown.

All eyes are on the controls. One factor behind yesterday’s crash appeared to be a warning from China’s central bank reiterating the ban on financial institutions in the country trading cryptocurrencies. Much of the ups and downs in the crypto market can be traced back to issues of regulation, whether or not promoting mainstream adoption, when the launch of a bitcoin futures exchange in 2017 coincided with the last big spike in crypto prices.

  • Perhaps the next milestone is whether the SEC will approve proposals for a Bitcoin ETF, which it is expected to decide on by the end of the year. Cryptos Champion at the SEC, Commissioner Hester Peirce, responded to her colleagues’ concerns about Bitcoin last week, hoping that American investors will “finally” have access to crypto-based securities. So it’s clear where she stands.

– Joseph Blount, CEO of Colonial Pipeline, in his first public interview about paying a ransom to hackers after a cyber attack crippled their systems. Colonial paid $ 4.4 million worth of Bitcoin, but the decryption tool it received in return didn’t work immediately and the pipeline was closed for six days.

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