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Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Fortress of Solitude

This morning, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong announced his firm will lay off roughly 18% of staff in a less-than ceremonious manner – via automatic removal of access to the office email server. That bombshell comes just four months after a planned initiative to further hike what was then-mushrooming headcount (see yesterday’s ADG for the details).  Jettisoned staffers will receive 3.5 months of severance pay, plus two additional weeks for each year of employment. 
 
On the bright side, the founder will be able to mull those fast-changing circumstances in style. From the Jan. 3 edition of The Wall Street Journal:
 
Coinbase Chief Executive Officer Brian Armstrong is the buyer of a $133 million Los Angeles estate, according to people familiar with the deal. The transaction, which closed in December, is one of the priciest single-family home sales ever completed in the L.A. area.
 
The seller was a limited liability company tied to Japanese entrepreneur Hideki Tomita, which bought the property for $85 million in 2018, records show.
 
Underpinning that king-sized purchase: Ample liquidity. As the Journal noted May 27, Armstrong and his living trust generated $292 million in proceeds from open market Coinbase stock sales over the 10 months through February. 

Cornered Case

Onward, upward and then what? As the Federal Reserve gets set to unleash its latest rate hike tomorrow, a telegraphed tightening from the European Central Bank last week (its first such move since 2011) and conclusion to its comprehensive asset purchase regime ripples across the Old Continent.   
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Recap June 14

Another day, another painful session for Uncle Sam’s creditors, as Treasury yields ripped higher once more to leave the 10-year note at 3.49%, its highest since spring 2011, while the two- and 30-year yields converged at 3.45% ahead of tomorrow’s FOMC rate decision.  Stocks consolidated yesterday’s beating with the S&P 500 settling slightly lower and Nasdaq 100 making a now-rare appearance in the green, with WTI crude edging lower at $118.50 per barrel and gold continuing lower to $1,810 an ounce. 
 
- Philip Grant