Pictured: Magdalena Kala drawing an equivalence to 1930s war-era fundraising and the modern token economy.
Modern War Bonds = Crypto Token Drop. Ukraine’s verified Twitter account announced the release of a token on Wednesday morning, with applicable BTC, ETH, and USDT addresses. A snapshot will be taken on March 3rd, and any donations made to those addresses before the snapshot will receive a token. This token may provide a modern equivalence of liquidity for a country arming itself against hostile invaders, harkening back to the war bonds efforts of Allied nations in the 1930s and 1940s.
Tech and Media Sanctions on Russia. Apple has halted sales of its products in Russia, and shut down its cloud services, leaving metro travelers unable to use Apple Pay. Reddit has added “r/Russia” to its list of quarantined subreddits. Instagram has made encrypted DMs available in both Ukraine and Russia. Youtube has blocked channels controlled by the Russian state from European users. Following new government sanctions, Visa and Mastercard have both blocked Russian financial institutes from their networks. Bitcoin is up. Oil is up. Stocks are dipping. And the Munich Philharmonic has fired its chief conductor, due to his support of Putin.
Stocks Reversal? Don’t call the bottom yet, but Farfetch may be the early predictor of a tech and retail brand stock rally? (FTCH lost 66% in public markets in the past 6 months along with other “pandemic” stocks). Now it’s up 40% on a big earnings beat. Other stock beats include Nordstrom, up 28% on its own earnings beat, and Macy’s up double digits on its 12% eCom growth in Q4.
More Sights & Sounds. Chevron applies the wisdom of Marie Kondo. Jeep announces its first electric SUV, coming next year. Home Depot goes reality TV with early rising shoppers. Bombas explores a public offering. Ipsy’s parent company raises $96 million in funding. DTC company, Aurate moves back into the physical store space, after the pandemic caused shut downs. ADA lawsuit filings in the U.S. have increased 320% over the course of eight years. Target plans to invest $5 billion into same-day in-store sales fulfillment. Bandcamp is joining the Epic Games family. MSCHF sets up a contest to help young students who take the SAT to win money, rather than (college) debt. Maybe some lucky winner will get both. And Amazon is closing all 68 of its physical bookstores, both in the U.S. and the U.K.
“Skinification of Haircare.” The Ordinary has launched haircare products that specifically care for skin on the scalp as the starting point for healthy hair.
Walmart - The New DTC Accelerator. Walmart is launching a beauty brand accelerator called “Walmart Start” for five up-and-coming brands. Applications close March 7th, and beauty brands are expected to launch in stores after December of this year.
From Rats to Riches. Amazon has opened the first pilot Whole Foods Market store using its Just Walk Out technology, complete with palm scans, cameras galore, and sensors to record and track shopping habits. Neighborhood conversations around the newly reopened store seem split between its “dystopian feeling” and its “impressive technology.” The pilot store opened in a previous Whole Foods location that was shut down 4 years ago because of landlord disputes and a rat infestation.
Teach Them Early? Don’t tell Michelle Obama, but It’s cookie season, and it seems like the general public is increasingly hostile to Girl Scouts as grumpy everyday citizens are lecturing them on healthy eating habits, the price increases of the cookies, and conspiracy theories. And it’s taking its toll. The scouts tout themselves as readying girls for entrepreneurship (their motto is “Today’s Girls, Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs”), but this is a step too far.
Rebuilding the world. The U.S. Commerce Department is partnering with the State Department to lead the Build Back Better World initiative in partnership with other G7 countries. China has shown interest in coordinating with this effort.
Cheapskatism is Highly Correlated. When liquidity and capital flows freely like the salmon of Capistrano, service worker gratuity rises. Nexstar analyzed restaurant data from Square, and the results indicate that tips are getting stingier after peaking during the early pandemic.