Hyperinflation and Bitcoin wagers, AI replacing first jobs and more


United States inflation and how it might affect the price of Bitcoin (BTC) are two of the top concerns on investors’ minds around the world. To illustrate, one prominent crypto personality bet big bucks on the future of the U.S. economy: the former Coinbase executive recently paid out $1.5 million to settle a Twitter wager about possible hyperinflation in the American economy.

The U.S. may not be experiencing hyperinflation, but the possibility of prices going out of control seems to concern the Federal Reserve. The Fed raised interest rates by a quarter-point on May 3 — to the highest level in 16 years — pushing the target range for its benchmark from 5% to 5.25%.

As inflation pressures continue, Bitcoin is still seen as a safe haven for many, with crypto firms weighing on the digital currency to fight back inflation and turmoil in mainstream finance.

This week’s Crypto Biz explores the latest wild wager on Bitcoin prices, inflation fears and the jobs that artificial intelligence may soon replace.

Balaji pays out his crazy $1 million Bitcoin bet, 97% under price target

A closely watched wager between former Coinbase chief technology officer Balaji Srinivasan and pseudonymous Twitter user James Medlock has been closed, with Srinivasan paying $1.5 million to settle. The wager commenced on March 17 when Medlock offered to bet anyone $1 million that the United States would not experience hyperinflation. A few hours later, the former Coinbase executive accepted the bet, claiming that an impending crisis would lead to the deflation of the U.S. dollar and, thus, to a hyperinflation scenario, taking the BTC price to $1 million. As part of the deal, Srinivasan paid Medlock $500,000, donated $500,000 to Bitcoin core developers and gave an additional $500,000 to the nonprofit charity, Give Directly.

MicroStrategy’s Bitcoin conviction ‘strong’ as it posts Q1 profit

The Bitcoin investment strategy is as strong as ever at business intelligence platform MicroStrategy after the company posted its first quarterly profit since 2020. The firm returned to the green with a profit of $94 million, primarily attributed to a one-time income tax benefit of $453.2 million. The firm further reduced its leverage by repaying a $161 million Bitcoin-backed loan from the now-collapsed Silverage Bank. The quarterly results were also impacted by a revenue rise of 2.2% from last year to $121.9 million. MicroStrategy’s CEO Phong Lee said the firm would continue to execute its dual strategy of growing business intelligence software and acquiring Bitcoin. The firm believes its Bitcoin thesis is a “pretty good way to outperform the market.” 

Coinbase stock will be ‘weighed down’ until US rules are clear: Citi

Coinbase’s stock price will continue to be “weighed down” until regulators establish the legal “rules of the road” in the United States, Citi analysts say. The bank downgraded shares of the crypto exchange from “buy” to “neutral” and lowered its price target, citing “too many unknowns” as the company battles it out with regulators. However, bearish sentiment on Coinbase’s stock is not stopping investment firm ARK Invest from increasing its exposure to the crypto exchange. ARK purchased 168,869 Coinbase shares for its exchange-traded funds on May 1, worth nearly $8.5 million. In April, ARK bagged 304,300 shares worth $17.5 million. Previously, the firm bought 2.4 million shares in March for about $117 million.

Citi's analysis was published prior to Coinbase's Q1 earnings report released on May 4.

7,800 jobs at IBM could be replaced by AI within years, CEO suggests

IBM is expecting to put a “pause” on hiring for “back-office” roles that could be potentially automated by artificial intelligence instead. According to the company CEO, Arvind Krishna, back-office positions, such as those in human resources and accounting departments, will likely be the first to be automated by AI. Nearly 30% of these positions will “easily” be replaced by AI over five years, claimed Krishna in an interview. IBM employs 282,000 employees globally, according to LinkedIn data. Non-customer-facing staff sits at nearly 26,000. 

Before you go: The average person’s wealth will be ‘completely destroyed by inflation,' says Arthur Hayes

The majority of people will have their wealth progressively eaten away by the devaluation of money, according to Arthur Hayes, co-founder and former CEO of crypto derivatives exchange BitMEX. He believes the world’s largest economies will be forced to inflate away the sizeable public debt accumulated in the past years through money printing. With long-term inflation on the horizon, Hayes’s investment thesis focuses on preserving wealth through investing in digital assets. You can watch his exclusive interview with Cointelegraph on our YouTube channel.

Crypto Biz is your weekly pulse of the business behind blockchain and crypto, delivered directly to your inbox every Thursday.

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