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Vested Shorts: New Alternative Assets on Vested, Bitcoin crosses $43,000, Google Gemini, Elon Musk and X.ai

by Parth Parikh
December 9, 2023
3 min read
Vested Shorts: New Alternative Assets on Vested, Bitcoin crosses $43,000, Google Gemini, Elon Musk and X.ai

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In today’s edition

  • Google’s Gemini: AI evolution
  • Elon Musk’s AI venture X.ai
  • Bitcoin’s recent surge
  • Sony’s digital ownership challenges

Market Snapshot

The S&P 500 Index rose to near 23-month highs, closing above 4,600 for the first time since January 2022, despite initial concerns from strong monthly jobs data suggesting continued high-interest rates. The Nonfarm Payrolls report indicated 199,000 new jobs and a drop in unemployment to 3.7%, surpassing expectations. This news initially caused a spike in Treasury yields and a brief dip in major indexes, but markets quickly recovered.

In a summary of the week’s market performance, the major U.S. stock benchmarks ended with modest gains. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) closed the week with a slight increase of 0.41%. Similarly, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) experienced a marginal rise of 0.36%. The Nasdaq Composite® (COMP) showed a slightly higher gain, ending the week up by 0.45%.

Market closing data for the week from December 4th to 8th, 2023

News Summaries

Google launched Gemini, its latest large language model (LLM), in three versions: Ultra, Pro, and Nano, targeting various application needs and device capabilities. Gemini Pro, suited for a range of tasks, will power Google’s Bard, while the mobile-friendly Nano version is integrated into the Google Pixel 8 Pro with features like AI-driven summarization and smart replies. Gemini Ultra, the most advanced version, is undergoing further safety tests before a wider release. This model demonstrated impressive multimodal capabilities, successfully interacting with images and objects, but its full release is delayed for select user feedback. Gemini’s notable achievement includes outperforming human experts in the MMLU test, indicating significant advancements in AI knowledge and reasoning. Google’s strategy reflects its commitment to staying competitive in the rapidly evolving AI landscape, marked by rivals like OpenAI and Microsoft continuously enhancing their models.

Elon Musk’s new AI company, X.ai, has reportedly raised $134.7 million, according to a recent SEC filing. Founded as a counter to OpenAI, which Musk co-founded and left in 2018, X.ai’s financial strategy includes offering 25% to current shareholders of X (formerly Twitter). Details of its funding have been scarce, with major investors like Sequoia Capital and a16z remaining silent on their involvement. The SEC filing hints at a possible full funding achievement, suggesting a binding agreement for the remaining amount needed. Musk’s venture into AI through X.ai is seen as a strategic move to potentially offset losses from his Twitter acquisition, considering the high computational demands and substantial investments required in the competitive AI industry.

Bitcoin’s value has soared to $43,000, its highest in 20 months, driven by two main factors. First, a “supply shock” is occurring, with about 70% of all Bitcoin remaining static for over a year and only 5% available for trading on exchanges, a five-year low. This limited supply, coupled with strong holding patterns among investors, sets the stage for sharp price increases. Secondly, there’s growing speculation about the potential approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF next month, leading investors to buy Bitcoin in anticipation. This situation mirrors the impact seen on gold prices following the launch of the first gold ETF in 2004, suggesting a similar bullish trajectory for Bitcoin driven by constrained supply and optimistic market expectations.

Sony has recently highlighted the fragile nature of digital content ownership with two incidents involving its PlayStation platform. Firstly, due to licensing issues, users will lose access to Discovery content they purchased, with shows disappearing from their libraries by the end of 2023. Secondly, an unexplained glitch led to users being unexpectedly banned from their PlayStation Network accounts, temporarily denying them access to their purchased digital games. While access was eventually restored, Sony has not provided an explanation or future safeguards. These events underscore the ephemerality of digital “ownership,” where content can be revoked or access lost due to corporate decisions or technical errors. This situation contrasts starkly with the permanence of physical media, prompting reconsideration among consumers about the reliability of digital purchases versus traditional physical copies.

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