Things we are reading today - August 8 & 9th, 2023

Russia attacked Ukraine’s main inland port across the Danube River from Romania on Wednesday, sending global food prices higher as it ramped up its use of force to prevent Ukraine from exporting grain. The drone attacks destroyed buildings in the port of Izmail and halted ships as they prepared to arrive there to load Ukrainian grain in defiance of a de-facto blockade Russia reimposed in mid-July. The port, across the river from NATO-member Romania, is the main alternative route out of Ukraine for grain exports since Russia’s blockade halted traffic at Ukraine’s Black Sea ports in mid-July. Russia has attacked its agricultural and port infrastructure for more than two weeks after refusing to extend the Black Sea agreement, which lifted its war-time blockade of Ukrainian ports last year. Ukraine’s Danube River ports, such as Izmail, accounted for around a quarter of grain exports before Russia pulled out of the Black Sea deal, and have since become the main route out, with grain sent on barges to Romania’s Black Sea port of Constanta for shipment onwards.

Google’s AI-powered Search Generative Experience is getting a big new feature: images and video. If you’ve enabled the AI-based SGE feature in Search Labs, you’ll now start to see more multimedia in the colorful summary box at the top of your search results. SGE may still be in the “Experiment” phase, but it’s very clearly the future of Google Search. Google is no longer simply trying to find good links for you every time you search - it’s trying to synthesize and generate relevant, true, and helpful information. Video, in particular, could go a long way here: Google has integrated YouTube more and more into search results over the years, linking to a specific chapter or moment inside a video that might help you with that “Why is my dryer making that noise” query. 9to5Google also noticed Google experimenting with adding in-line links to the AI summary, though so far, that appears to have just been a test. Finding the right balance between giving you the information you were looking for and helping you find it yourself - and all the implications of both those outcomes - is forever one of the hardest problems within Google Search.

Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, was supposed to leave China behind when the country made cryptocurrency trading illegal in 2021. Binance’s China footprint, previously undisclosed, offers a glimpse of how the crypto giant has managed to quietly operate on the fringes in places where it is, officially at least, unwelcome. Binance has helped China users circumvent restrictions by directing them to visit different websites with Chinese domain names before rerouting them to the global exchange, according to an internal document laying out the procedure and viewed by the Journal. Holding on to its footprint in China will be crucial for Binance as it navigates a regulatory crackdown that executives internally worry threatens its future. Binance has had a complicated relationship with China. Binance’s China business dropped after the ban to 17% of its overall trading volume at the end of 2021 from 24% in the middle of the year, according to a former employee who viewed the data. China-based customers traded over $90 billion in cryptocurrencies in May 2023, according to an internal platform at Binance named “Mission Control.” Most of the trading was in futures contracts tied to cryptocurrencies.

Binance and its founder, Changpeng Zhao, are already facing charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission, in addition to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The SEC’s complaint accuses Zhao and his firm of operating an unregistered exchange in the U.S. and knowingly allowing its citizens to participate in Binance’s offshore exchange. The SEC also alleged Binance misled customers and investors by using a secret market-making firm called Sigma Chain to manipulate trades on Binance’s U.S. platform. The question is whether those factors should play a role when it comes to a crypto exchange that operates in a legal gray area. A failure to indict Binance, assuming there is enough evidence to warrant charges, may only be delaying the inevitable collapse of the exchange. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren has also called for an additional criminal investigation into Binance for allegedly lying to Congress. The SEC, with another lawsuit against crypto exchange Coinbase, seems bent on trying to further push digital assets out of the U.S.
Lawmakers, on the other hand, could protect consumers by creating new rules governing the industry, making the U.S. a more inviting place, and giving consumers safer alternatives to exchanges like Binance and FTX, which went offshore.

Many people believe that the markets fluctuate between fear and greed, but this is untrue. Why do individuals desire to be traders? because winning money is sweeter than earning money. The only scenario in which trading for a living makes sense is when you have a starting capital of $10–$20 million, your expenses are low, and even a 10%–15% profit is significant. 90% of people’s time is spent waiting, 9% is spent actually trading, and the remaining 1% is spent researching. Many people read newsletters looking for ideas, but only 10% of trading is actually about ideas; the other 90% is about execution and risk management. In the end, emotional health comes first; happy, confident people make good traders.

1 Like