What to know about bitcoin’s disastrous weekend: Barron’s on MarketWatch

Just as Bitcoin goes mainstream, it dives. And that makes complete sense.

Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies jumped last week as crypto-exchange Coinbase became a publicly traded company.

Bitcoin rose roughly 6%, ethereum 17%, and Dogecoin surged 600%. Coinbase closed the week valued at almost $90 billion, making the nine-year-old company the most valuable exchange on the planet.

But after the party comes the hangover. Bitcoin is down almost $8,000 from its 52-week high of about $65,000, set the day Coinbase started trading. Bitcoin prices actually dipped below $52,000 on Saturday before settling in at recent levels of about $57,000.

Oh, we could point to a reason or two for the slide. Turkey announced a crypto ban on Friday, citing a lack of supervisory mechanisms. Dogecoin’s success—it’s up 32% over the past 24 hours—may be siphoning crypto investment dollars from the much larger Bitcoin and other cryptos. But really, it’s just Bitcoin being Bitcoin.

The crypto slide has also hit Coinbase Monday morning, with the stock down about 2% in premarket trading. Coinbase needs Bitcoin to be popular and grow as an asset class. But exchanges also need volatility to spur trading.

It remains to be seen how Coinbase’s profits will be affected as the Bitcoin roller-coaster ride continues.

Al Root

*** Barron’s is honoring women across the industry for their leadership, accomplishments, and contributions. The 2021 list includes Mary Meeker, Saira Malik, Aileen Lee, and more. New profiles will be published weekly—see the full list and read the newest profiles here.


Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Could Be Back by Friday

With an advisory panel set to meet on April 23 to decide the fate of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine in the U.S., the single-dose drug could be back in use as soon as the end of this week.

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  • “I would be very surprised…if we don’t have a resumption in some form by Friday,” the White House’s chief medical advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday.
  • That could come with some conditions, however. “I think it’ll likely say, ‘Okay, we’re going to use it, but be careful under these certain circumstances’,” Dr. Fauci told NBC’s Meet the Press.
  • Use of the J&J vaccine, which has so far accounted for less than 5% of all doses administered in the U.S., was paused on April 13 after six women who received the shot experienced severe blood clots. One of those women later died.

What’s Next: The J&J vaccine, which does not require ultracold storage like the Pfizer and Moderna formulas, is critical to vaccinating people in developing nations. Failing to do so could threaten long-term U.S. economic stability by putting the nation at risk for new variants that make their way back inside U.S. borders.

Janet H. Cho


U.S. and China Agree to Accelerate Climate Goals

In a joint statement issued over the weekend, China and the U.S. agreed to enhance efforts to reduce climate change in line with the 2016 Paris Agreement aimed at reducing global warming.

  • “The United States and China are committed to cooperating with each other and with other countries to tackle the climate crisis, which must be addressed with the seriousness and urgency that it demands,” the statement reads.
  • Specifically, China is aiming to beat its goal of reducing total carbon emissions by 2030 and reaching net-zero emissions by 2060. China and the U.S. also agreed to help developing countries lower emissions by providing them with financial support.
  • “This is the first time China has joined in saying it’s a crisis,” John Kerry, the United States’ special envoy on climate change, said after meeting with officials in Shanghai.
  • In its ongoing effort to become a cleaner energy company, British oil giant BP is investing $1.3 billion to build a network of pipes to capture natural gas produced as a byproduct of oil wells in Texas and New Mexico. It plans to stop burning gas there by 2025.

What’s Next: President Joe Biden will host a virtual climate summit with leaders from 40 countries to commemorate Earth Day on April 22 and 23. China’s leader Xi Jinping is expected to attend.

—Anita Hamilton


Big Investors Ask Banks to Get Serious on Climate Change

A group of 35 major global investors managing a total of $11 trillion in assets has asked banks to set “enhanced” pledges to make sure their lending practices are aligned with tougher emission targets, according to Reuters.

  • The signatories notably include Pimco, the world’s largest bond investor, and Legal & General, the U.K.’s biggest investment fund.
  • The group wants banks to set interim targets to get to net-zero emissions by midcentury or sooner.
  • Bankers’ pay should include an element indexed on attaining the targets, they say.
  • The investors also asks banks to set “explicit criteria” for pulling out of what they call “misaligned” activities—those running counter to the net zero ambition.

What’s Next: Even if some of the world’s largest banks have already committed to reach a zero-emission target by 2050, it will sound as a warning to most of the banking industry.

Pierre Briançon


Americans Want to Go on Vacation. The Travel Industry Is (Mostly) Ready.

After a year of staycations and deferred time off, many Americans are eager to finally take a real vacation this summer. The travel industry is more than happy to oblige, rolling out bigger jets, adding new flights, and even offering vaccinations at the airport.

  • American and Delta are both reassigning wide-body jets normally reserved for international flights to popular domestic routes like Chicago to Orlando. The idea is to “fill up the biggest boat you can find with very low cost seats and hope that the fares come in,” airline analyst Robert Mann told CNBC.
  • In an effort to reboot tourism to Alaska, the state is offering travelers vaccinations at the airport upon arrival starting June 1. The program, which uses Pfizer and Moderna doses, is paid for by federal stimulus dollars.
  • Credit card companies are bringing back eye-popping sign-up bonuses that can be converted into free hotel stays and flights. A new American Express card launched in March offers 125,000 in bonus points after spending $5,000.
  • The one hitch may be finding a rental car. A nationwide shortage exacerbated by last year’s pandemic vehicle selloffs along with a car manufacturing slowdown has sent prices skyrocketing and made it hard to book cars at the last minute in some places.

What’s Next: While vacationers dream of long days on the beach, some 3 million workers in the U.S. leisure and hospitality industry have yet to get their pre-pandemic jobs back, as employers look to cut labor costs to recoup losses from the worst of the pandemic.

Janet H. Cho


Twelve Big European Soccer Clubs Announce Plans for NFL-Style League

A dozen of Europe’s richest and most successful soccer clubs have announced their intention to form a closed Super League of professional teams, creating an uproar in the world of European sports.

  • The new league, financed by a $6 billion loan from JP Morgan, would include 15 founder member teams and five other teams selected from national championships that would compete weekly throughout the year.
  • It aims to replace the current Champions’ League, Europe’s most prestigious soccer tournament, which is currently open each year to the three or four top teams from each member of the Union of European Football Associations.
  • The UEFA, as well as most national championships, has threatened to ban the teams that would participate in the Super League, which include England’s top names such as Liverpool, Arsenal or Manchester City, as well as Spain’s Real Madrid or Italy’s Juventus, among others.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron as well as U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson joined the furor on Monday to say they would support efforts to prevent the creation of the Super League which Johnson said would “strike at the heart of the domestic game.”

What’s Next: No French or German clubs have joined the breakaway attempt, and the general outcry, coupled with governments’ hostility, could bring it to a quick end. But the rebels may have engaged in a power play to extract concessions on, among others, the sharing of revenue from the Champion’s League matches.

Pierre Briançon


MarketWatch Wants to Hear From You

Spring is here and homebuying season is in full swing. Is now a good time to buy (or sell), given how competitive the housing market is?

A MarketWatch correspondent will answer this question soon. In the meantime, send any questions you would like answered to thebarronsdaily@barrons.com.


—Newsletter edited by Anita Hamilton, Stacy Ozol, Matt Bemer, Ben Levisohn


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