Weekly: SVB, Contagion & Preserving Ethiopian Culture with NFTs
Weekly #44 | Has the US dodged a bullet or kicked a can?
☕️ Reading time: 4 mins.
Happy Monday fellow wayfinder!
Last week, we dove into Digital Wayfinders, ChatGPT's A.I. Arms Race & Nouka Puriël. This week, we look at the failure of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), lessons from history, and preserving Ethiopian culture with NFTs.
Let’s dive in…
If you tuned into Twitter this weekend, you might’ve heard the news about SVB being one of the largest bank failures in US history. Before the crash, it managed $212B. The news caused shockwaves across the US, especially for founders and businesses who had their funds tied up with SVB.
But if you really want to see what this means, study echoes from the past:
Learn from the past, always.
— George Siosi Samuels 🐺 (@GeorgeSiosi)
Mar 13, 2023
As investor Ray Dalio has mentioned before, these events are quite predictable if you look at the macro cycles that plague civilizations time and time again. In the early 1400s, Banco Medici (of the infamous Italian Medici family) collapsed after 100 years. Why? Because of poor management, fraud, excessive lending, insufficient reserves and capital (what most of today’s banks continue to do), and lack of corporate governance. The same signs are present in 2023.
So although there was panic about what would happen today (Monday) when markets opened, the US dodged a bullet by having the government step in. Ironically, many of the entrepreneurs and VCs crying for this bailout were criticized for touting “libertarian” notions of the need to have no government and providing no bail-outs in the past.
The “contagion” has been contained for now, but fears over the weekend did rear its ugly head in UK and Chinese markets (HSBC quietly purchased SVB’s UK arm for £1), interestingly enough.
What do you think this will mean elsewhere though? Increased inflation.
And although things seem ‘fine,’ it’s just kicking the can down the road a bit further. In other words, SVB should’ve been allowed to fail (if we’re looking longer term). This was essentially a bailout for the venture capital community and their portfolio companies. It happened in 2008, albeit with a different group, yet the US seems to be repeating the same mistakes of the past.
What would the ancestors (i.e. Founding Fathers) of the “great United States” think about all this?
Read on for other news and our Digital Wayfinder story for the week.
📰 FEATURED NEWS
Emerging tech (AI/blockchain/web3)
🪶 DIGITAL WAYFINDER STORY
STRONG HAIR : ጠንካራ ፀጉር by Yatreda
Kiya Tadele is the leader of a family of Ethiopian artists called Yetreda. She made a name for herself by launching unique, video-based NFTs dedicated to ancient Ethiopian culture and dance. Most of her and Yetreda’s videos are black and white, but evoke deep and entranced emotions. She’s built a thriving business using emerging technologies, all the while preserving her culture. A true digital wayfinder!
“Our ancestors techniques can be advanced with creativity that can express something totally new.”
“Culture doesn’t mean being stuck in the past.”
“My goal is not only to preserve what remains, it’s to help bring these styles back. Not just for Ethiopia, not just for Africa, but for the whole world.”
“With NFTs, it looks like we’re using something new to preserve something old, but what we are actually doing with crypto is finding our original selves again. We are rediscovering our identity.”
For those interested, I’ll be hosting a live workshop tomorrow for one of my clients (the Bitcoin Association) around ChatGPT, LLMs and blockchain. Would love to see you there!
Until next week, remember: through patience & persistence, it will come.
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