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Hannah Elliott

4 months ago

Pebble Beach Auto Auctions Set $469M Record

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Marcus Lu

Marcus Lu

23 days ago

The Brand Structure of U.S. Electric Vehicle Production

Will Tesla be able to maintain its lead in the EV market for very long?

This is one of the most pressing issues in the American auto sector today. One positive aspect of Tesla is the company's devoted customer base and recognizable name recognition (similar to Apple). It also invests more in research and development per vehicle than its rivals and has a head start in EV production.

Conversely, established automakers like Volkswagen are actively plotting their strategy to surpass Tesla. As the current market leaders, they have decades of experience in the auto industry and are spending billions to catch up.

We've visualized data from the EPA's 2022 Automotive Trends Report to bring you up to speed on this developing story.

Info for the Model Year of 2021

The full production data used in this infographic is for the 2021 model year, but it comes from a report for 2022.

Combined EV and PHEV output is shown in the table below (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle).

It is important to note that Toyota and Stellantis, the two largest legacy automakers in this dataset, only produced PHEVs. Toyota's first electric vehicle, the bZ4X, won't hit the market until 2023.

Stellantis seems to be falling even further behind, despite having enormous unrealized potential in its Jeep and Ram brands. Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said in a recent interview that the firm has budgeted $36 billion for electrification and software.

Legacy Brands with the Most Momentum

In the race to develop electric vehicles, some long-standing manufacturers have gotten the jump on their rivals.

Volkswagen, one of these storied manufacturers, has made a significant investment in electric vehicles (EVs) in the wake of the Dieselgate scandal. The company plans to roll out multiple EV models, including the ID.3 hatchback, ID.4 SUV, and ID. Buzz, with the goal of producing 22 million EVs by 2028. (an electric revival of the classic Microbus).

Even Ford is keeping up, having just announced an EV investment of $22 billion between 2021 and 2025. In November of 2022, the company manufactured their 150,000th Mustang Mach-E, and by the end of 2023, they hoped to have 270,000 of them in circulation.

Additionally, over 200,000 F-150 Lightnings have been reserved since Ford announced the truck. The Lightning is scheduled to have a production run of 15,000 in 2022, 55,000 in 2023, and 80,000 in 2024. Ford's main competitor in the electric pickup truck segment, Rivian, is on track to sell 25,000 vehicles by 2022.

Josh Chesler

8 months ago

10 Sneaker Terms Every Beginner Should Know

So you want to get into sneakers? Buying a few sneakers and figuring it out seems simple. Then you miss out on the weekend's instant-sellout releases, so you head to eBay, Twitter, or your local  sneaker group to see what's available, since you're probably not ready to pay Flight Club prices just yet.

That's when you're bombarded with new nicknames, abbreviations, and general sneaker slang. It would take months to explain every word and sneaker, so here's a starter kit of ten simple terms to get you started. (Yeah, mostly Jordan. Does anyone really start with Kith or Nike SB?)

10. Colorways

Colorways are a common term in fashion, design, and other visual fields. It's just the product's color scheme. In the case of sneakers, the colorway is often as important as the actual model. Are this year's "Chicago" Air Jordan 1s more durable than last year's "Black/Gum" colorway? Because of their colorway and rarity, the Chicagos are worth roughly three pairs of the Black/Gum kicks.

Pro Tip: A colorway with a well-known nickname is almost always worth more than one without, and the same goes for collaborations.

9. Beaters

A “beater” is a well-worn, likely older model of shoe that has significant wear and tear on it. Rarely sold with the original box or extra laces, beaters rarely sell for much. Unlike most “worn” sneakers, beaters are used for rainy days and the gym. It's exactly what it sounds like, a box full of beaters, and they're a good place to start if you're looking for some cheap old kicks.

Pro Tip: Know which shoes clean up nicely. The shape of lower top sneakers with wider profiles, like SB Dunk Lows and Air Jordan 3s, tends to hold better over time than their higher and narrower cousins.

8. Retro

In the world of Jordan Brand, a “Retro” release is simply a release (or re-release) of a colorway after the shoe model's initial release. For example, the original Air Jordan 7 was released in 1992, but the Bordeaux colorway was re-released in 2011 and recently (2015). An Air Jordan model is released every year, and while half of them are unpopular and unlikely to be Retroed soon, any of them could be re-released whenever Nike and Jordan felt like it.

Pro Tip: Now that the Air Jordan line has been around for so long, the model that tends to be heavily retroed in a year is whichever shoe came out 23 (Michael Jordan’s number during the prime of his career) years ago. The Air Jordan 6 (1991) got new colorways last year, the Air Jordan 7 this year, and more Air Jordan 8s will be released later this year and early next year (1993).

7. PP/Inv

In spite of the fact that eBay takes roughly 10% of the final price, many sneaker buyers and sellers prefer to work directly with PayPal. Selling sneakers for $100 via PayPal invoice or $100 via PayPal friends/family is common on social media. Because no one wants their eBay account suspended for promoting PayPal deals, many eBay sellers will simply state “Message me for a better price.”

Pro Tip: PayPal invoices protect buyers well, but gifting or using Google Wallet does not. Unless you're certain the seller is legitimate, only use invoiced goods/services payments.

6. Yeezy

Kanye West and his sneakers are known as Yeezys. The rapper's first two Yeezys were made by Nike before switching to Adidas. Everything Yeezy-related will be significantly more expensive (and therefore have significantly more fakes made). Not only is the Nike Air Yeezy 2 “Red October” one of the most sought-after sneakers, but the Yeezy influence can be seen everywhere.

Pro Tip: If you're going to buy Yeezys, make sure you buy them from a reputable retailer or reseller. With so many fakes out there, it's not worth spending a grand on something you're not 100% sure is real.

5. GR/Limited

Regardless of how visually repulsive, uncomfortable, and/or impractical a sneaker is, if it’s rare enough, people will still want it. GR stands for General Release, which means they're usually available at retail. Reselling a “Limited Edition” release is costly. Supply and demand, but in this case, the limited supply drives up demand. If you want to get some of the colorways made for rappers, NBA players (Player Exclusive or PE models), and other celebrities, be prepared to pay a premium.

Pro Tip: Limited edition sneakers, like the annual Doernbecher Freestyle sneakers Nike creates with kids from Portland's Doernbecher Children's Hospital, will always be more expensive and limited. Or, you can use automated sneaker-buying software.

4. Grails

A “grail” is a pair of sneakers that someone desires above all others. To obtain their personal grails, people are willing to pay significantly more than the retail price. There doesn't have to be any rhyme or reason why someone chose a specific pair as their grails.

Pro Tip: For those who don't have them, the OG "Bred" or "Royal" Air Jordan 1s, the "Concord" Air Jordan 11s, etc., are all grails.

3. Bred

Anything released in “Bred” (black and red) will sell out quickly. Most resale Air Jordans (and other sneakers) come in the Bred colorway, which is a fan favorite. Bred is a good choice for a first colorway, especially on a solid sneaker silhouette.

Pro Tip: Apart from satisfying the world's hypebeasts, Bred sneakers will probably match a lot of your closet.

2. DS

DS = Deadstock = New. That's it. If something has been worn or tried on, it is no longer DS. Very Near Deadstock (VNDS) Pass As Deadstock It's a cute way of saying your sneakers have been worn but are still in good shape. In the sneaker world, “worn” means they are no longer new, but not too old or beat up.

Pro Tip: Ask for photos of any marks or defects to see what you’re getting before you buy used shoes, also find out if they come with the original box and extra laces, because that can be a sign that they’re in better shape.

1. Fake/Unauthorized

The words “Unauthorized,” “Replica,” “B-grades,” and “Super Perfect” all mean the shoes are fake. It means they aren't made by the actual company, no matter how close or how good the quality. If that's what you want, go ahead and get them. Do not wear them if you do not want the rest of the sneaker world to mock them.

Pro Tip: If you’re not sure if shoes are real or not, do a “Legit Check” on Twitter or Facebook. You'll get dozens of responses in no time.

Sam Hickmann

Sam Hickmann

9 months ago

The Jordan 6 Rings Reintroduce Classic Bulls

The Jordan 6 Rings return in Bulls colors, a deviation from previous releases. The signature red color is used on the midsole and heel, as well as the chenille patch and pull tab. The rest of the latter fixture is black, matching the outsole and adjacent Jumpman logos. Finally, white completes the look, from the leather mudguard to the lace unit. Here's a closer look at the Jordan 6 Rings. Sizes should be available soon on Nike.com and select retailers. Also, official photos of the Air Jordan 1 Denim have surfaced.

Jordan 6 Rings
Release Date: 2022
Color: N/A
Mens: $130
Style Code: 322992-126





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Ryan Weeks

Ryan Weeks

7 months ago

Terra fiasco raises TRON's stablecoin backstop

After Terra's algorithmic stablecoin collapsed in May, TRON announced a plan to increase the capital backing its own stablecoin.

USDD, a near-carbon copy of Terra's UST, arrived on the TRON blockchain on May 5. TRON founder Justin Sun says USDD will be overcollateralized after initially being pegged algorithmically to the US dollar.

A reserve of cryptocurrencies and stablecoins will be kept at 130 percent of total USDD issuance, he said. TRON described the collateral ratio as "guaranteed" and said it would begin publishing real-time updates on June 5.

Currently, the reserve contains 14,040 bitcoin (around $418 million), 140 million USDT, 1.9 billion TRX, and 8.29 billion TRX in a burning contract.

Sun: "We want to hybridize USDD." We have an algorithmic stablecoin and TRON DAO Reserve.

algorithmic failure

USDD was designed to incentivize arbitrageurs to keep its price pegged to the US dollar by trading TRX, TRON's token, and USDD. Like Terra, TRON signaled its intent to establish a bitcoin and cryptocurrency reserve to support USDD in extreme market conditions.

Still, Terra's UST failed despite these safeguards. The stablecoin veered sharply away from its dollar peg in mid-May, bringing down Terra's LUNA and wiping out $40 billion in value in days. In a frantic attempt to restore the peg, billions of dollars in bitcoin were sold and unprecedented volumes of LUNA were issued.

Sun believes USDD, which has a total circulating supply of $667 million, can be backed up.

"Our reserve backing is diversified." Bitcoin and stablecoins are included. USDC will be a small part of Circle's reserve, he said.

TRON's news release lists the reserve's assets as bitcoin, TRX, USDC, USDT, TUSD, and USDJ.

All Bitcoin addresses will be signed so everyone knows they belong to us, Sun said.

Not giving in

Sun told that the crypto industry needs "decentralized" stablecoins that regulators can't touch.

Sun said the Luna Foundation Guard, a Singapore-based non-profit that raised billions in cryptocurrency to buttress UST, mismanaged the situation by trying to sell to panicked investors.

He said, "We must be ahead of the market." We want to stabilize the market and reduce volatility.

Currently, TRON finances most of its reserve directly, but Sun says the company hopes to add external capital soon.

Before its demise, UST holders could park the stablecoin in Terra's lending platform Anchor Protocol to earn 20% interest, which many deemed unsustainable. TRON's JustLend is similar. Sun hopes to raise annual interest rates from 17.67% to "around 30%."


This post is a summary. Read full article here

Luke Plunkett

Luke Plunkett

9 months ago

Gran Turismo 7 Update Eases Up On The Grind After Fan Outrage

Polyphony Digital has changed the game after apologizing in March.

To make amends for some disastrous downtime, Gran Turismo 7 director Kazunori Yamauchi announced a credits handout and promised to “dramatically change GT7's car economy to help make amends” last month. The first of these has arrived.

The game's 1.11 update includes the following concessions to players frustrated by the economy and its subsequent grind:

  • The last half of the World Circuits events have increased in-game credit rewards.

  • Modified Arcade and Custom Race rewards

  • Clearing all circuit layouts with Gold or Bronze now rewards In-game Credits. Exiting the Sector selection screen with the Exit button will award Credits if an event has already been cleared.

  • Increased Credits Rewards in Lobby and Daily Races

  • Increased the free in-game Credits cap from 20,000,000 to 100,000,000.

Additionally, “The Human Comedy” missions are one-hour endurance races that award “up to 1,200,000” credits per event.

This isn't everything Yamauchi promised last month; he said it would take several patches and updates to fully implement the changes. Here's a list of everything he said would happen, some of which have already happened (like the World Cup rewards and credit cap):

  • Increase rewards in the latter half of the World Circuits by roughly 100%.
  • Added high rewards for all Gold/Bronze results clearing the Circuit Experience.
  • Online Races rewards increase.
  • Add 8 new 1-hour Endurance Race events to Missions. So expect higher rewards.
  • Increase the non-paid credit limit in player wallets from 20M to 100M.
  • Expand the number of Used and Legend cars available at any time.
  • With time, we will increase the payout value of limited time rewards.
  • New World Circuit events.
  • Missions now include 24-hour endurance races.
  • Online Time Trials added, with rewards based on the player's time difference from the leader.
  • Make cars sellable.

The full list of updates and changes can be found here.

Read the original post.

Nabil Alouani

Nabil Alouani

1 month ago

Why Cryptocurrency Is Not Dead Despite the FTX Scam

A fraud, free-market, antifragility tale

Crypto's only rival is public opinion.

In less than a week, mainstream media, bloggers, and TikTokers turned on FTX's founder.

While some were surprised, almost everyone with a keyboard and a Twitter account predicted the FTX collapse. These financial oracles should have warned the 1.2 million people Sam Bankman-Fried duped.

After happening, unexpected events seem obvious to our brains. It's a bug and a feature because it helps us cope with disasters and makes our reasoning suck.

Nobody predicted the FTX debacle. Bloomberg? Politicians. Non-famous. No cryptologists. Who?

When FTX imploded, taking billions of dollars with it, an outrage bomb went off, and the resulting shockwave threatens the crypto market's existence.

As someone who lost more than $78,000 in a crypto scam in 2020, I can only understand people’s reactions.  When the dust settles and rationality returns, we'll realize this is a natural occurrence in every free market.

What specifically occurred with FTX? (Skip if you are aware.)

FTX is a cryptocurrency exchange where customers can trade with cash. It reached #3 in less than two years as the fastest-growing platform of its kind.

FTX's performance helped make SBF the crypto poster boy. Other reasons include his altruistic public image, his support for the Democrats, and his company Alameda Research.

Alameda Research made a fortune arbitraging Bitcoin.

Arbitrage trading uses small price differences between two markets to make money. Bitcoin costs $20k in Japan and $21k in the US. Alameda Research did that for months, making $1 million per day.

Later, as its capital grew, Alameda expanded its trading activities and began investing in other companies.

Let's now discuss FTX.

SBF's diabolic master plan began when he used FTX-created FTT coins to inflate his trading company's balance sheets. He used inflated Alameda numbers to secure bank loans.

SBF used money he printed himself as collateral to borrow billions for capital. Coindesk exposed him in a report.

One of FTX's early investors tweeted that he planned to sell his FTT coins over the next few months. This would be a minor event if the investor wasn't Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ).

The crypto space saw a red WARNING sign when CZ cut ties with FTX. Everyone with an FTX account and a brain withdrew money. Two events followed. FTT fell from $20 to $4 in less than 72 hours, and FTX couldn't meet withdrawal requests, spreading panic.

SBF reassured FTX users on Twitter. Good assets.

He lied.

SBF falsely claimed FTX had a liquidity crunch. At the time of his initial claims, FTX owed about $8 billion to its customers. Liquidity shortages are usually minor. To get cash, sell assets. In the case of FTX, the main asset was printed FTT coins.

Sam wouldn't get out of trouble even if he slashed the discount (from $20 to $4) and sold every FTT. He'd flood the crypto market with his homemade coins, causing the price to crash.

SBF was trapped. He approached Binance about a buyout, which seemed good until Binance looked at FTX's books.

The original tweet has been removed.

Binance's tweet ended SBF, and he had to apologize, resign as CEO, and file for bankruptcy.

Bloomberg estimated Sam's net worth to be zero by the end of that week. 0!

But that's not all. Twitter investigations exposed fraud at FTX and Alameda Research. SBF used customer funds to trade and invest in other companies.

Thanks to the Twitter indie reporters who made the mainstream press look amateurish. Some Twitter detectives didn't sleep for 30 hours to find answers. Others added to existing threads. Memes were hilarious.

One question kept repeating in my bald head as I watched the Blue Bird. Sam, WTF?

Then I understood.

SBF wanted that FTX becomes a bank.

Think about this. FTX seems healthy a few weeks ago. You buy 2 bitcoins using FTX. You'd expect the platform to take your dollars and debit your wallet, right?

No. They give I-Owe-Yous.

FTX records owing you 2 bitcoins in its internal ledger but doesn't credit your account. Given SBF's tricks, I'd bet on nothing.

What happens if they don't credit my account with 2 bitcoins? Your money goes into FTX's capital, where SBF and his friends invest in marketing, political endorsements, and buying other companies.

Over its two-year existence, FTX invested in 130 companies. Once they make a profit on their purchases, they'll pay you and keep the rest.

One detail makes their strategy dumb. If all FTX customers withdraw at once, everything collapses.

Financially savvy people think FTX's collapse resembles a bank run, and they're right. SBF designed FTX to operate like a bank.

You expect your bank to open a drawer with your name and put $1,000 in it when you deposit $1,000. They deposit $100 in your drawer and create an I-Owe-You for $900. What happens to $900?

Let's sum it up: It's boring and headache-inducing.

When you deposit money in a bank, they can keep 10% and lend the rest. Fractional Reserve Banking is a popular method. Fractional reserves operate within and across banks.

Image by Lukertina Sihombing from Research Gate.

Fractional reserve banking generates $10,000 for every $1,000 deposited. People will pay off their debt plus interest.

As long as banks work together and the economy grows, their model works well.

SBF tried to replicate the system but forgot two details. First, traditional banks need verifiable collateral like real estate, jewelry, art, stocks, and bonds, not digital coupons. Traditional banks developed a liquidity buffer. The Federal Reserve (or Central Bank) injects massive cash into troubled banks.

Massive cash injections come from taxpayers. You and I pay for bankers' mistakes and annual bonuses. Yes, you may think banking is rigged. It's rigged, but it's the best financial game in 150 years. We accept its flaws, including bailouts for too-big-to-fail companies.

Anyway.

SBF wanted Binance's bailout. Binance said no, which was good for the crypto market.

Free markets are resilient.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb coined the term antifragility.

“Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile. Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.”

The easiest way to understand how antifragile systems behave is to compare them with other types of systems.

  • Glass is like a fragile system. It snaps when shocked.

  • Similar to rubber, a resilient system. After a stressful episode, it bounces back.

  • A system that is antifragile is similar to a muscle. As it is torn in the gym, it gets stronger.

Stress response of fragile, resilient, and antifragile systems.

Time-changed things are antifragile. Culture, tech innovation, restaurants, revolutions, book sales, cuisine, economic success, and even muscle shape. These systems benefit from shocks and randomness in different ways, but they all pay a price for antifragility.

Same goes for the free market and financial institutions. Taleb's book uses restaurants as an example and ends with a reference to the 2008 crash.

“Restaurants are fragile. They compete with each other. But the collective of local restaurants is antifragile for that very reason. Had restaurants been individually robust, hence immortal, the overall business would be either stagnant or weak and would deliver nothing better than cafeteria food — and I mean Soviet-style cafeteria food. Further, it [the overall business] would be marred with systemic shortages, with once in a while a complete crisis and government bailout.”

Imagine the same thing with banks.

Independent banks would compete to offer the best services. If one of these banks fails, it will disappear. Customers and investors will suffer, but the market will recover from the dead banks' mistakes.

This idea underpins a free market. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies say this when criticizing traditional banking.

The traditional banking system's components never die. When a bank fails, the Federal Reserve steps in with a big taxpayer-funded check. This hinders bank evolution. If you don't let banking cells die and be replaced, your financial system won't be antifragile.

The interdependence of banks (centralization) means that one bank's mistake can sink the entire fleet, which brings us to SBF's ultimate travesty with FTX.

FTX has left the cryptocurrency gene pool.

FTX should be decentralized and independent. The super-star scammer invested in more than 130 crypto companies and linked them, creating a fragile banking-like structure. FTX seemed to say, "We exist because centralized banks are bad." But we'll be good, unlike the centralized banking system.

FTX saved several companies, including BlockFi and Voyager Digital.

FTX wanted to be a crypto bank conglomerate and Federal Reserve. SBF wanted to monopolize crypto markets. FTX wanted to be in bed with as many powerful people as possible, so SBF seduced politicians and celebrities.

Worst? People who saw SBF's plan flaws praised him. Experts, newspapers, and crypto fans praised FTX. When billions pour in, it's hard to realize FTX was acting against its nature.

Then, they act shocked when they realize FTX's fall triggered a domino effect. Some say the damage could wipe out the crypto market, but that's wrong.

Cell death is different from body death.

FTX is out of the game despite its size. Unfit, it fell victim to market natural selection.

Next?

The challengers keep coming. The crypto economy will improve with each failure.

Free markets are antifragile because their fragile parts compete, fostering evolution. With constructive feedback, evolution benefits customers and investors.

FTX shows that customers don't like being scammed, so the crypto market's health depends on them. Charlatans and con artists are eliminated quickly or slowly.

Crypto isn't immune to collapse. Cryptocurrencies can go extinct like biological species. Antifragility isn't immortality. A few more decades of evolution may be enough for humans to figure out how to best handle money, whether it's bitcoin, traditional banking, gold, or something else.

Keep your BS detector on. Start by being skeptical of this article's finance-related claims. Even if you think you understand finance, join the conversation.

We build a better future through dialogue. So listen, ask, and share. When you think you can't find common ground with the opposing view, remember:

Sam Bankman-Fried lied.