Flash Briefing: First-ever bitcoin ETF trades on NYSE; Elon Musk ‘world’s richest’ once again; FlySafair wants longer weekends

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  • In a watershed moment for crypto, the first-ever bitcoin-linked ETF will start trading on the New York Stock Exchange today. The exchange-traded fund – launched by ProShares – will trade under the ticker symbol ‘BITO’ and will invest primarily in bitcoin futures contracts – agreements to buy or sell the asset later for an agreed-upon price – rather than bitcoin itself. ProShares CEO Michael Sapir said investors have been eagerly awaiting the launch of a bitcoin-linked ETF after years of efforts to launch one. The bitcoin-futures ETF will be bought and sold like a stock and will not require investors to hold an account at a cryptocurrency exchange or to have a crypto wallet. However, despite strong demand for the new asset, financial advisors urge investors to practise caution before adding bitcoin futures ETFs to their portfolios.
  • According to the Bloomberg Billionaires IndexTesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk regained the title of the world’s richest person on Friday thanks to Tesla’s soaring stock. Tesla’s shares were up 3% on Friday, boosting Musk’s net worth to $236bn and surpassing Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ fortune of $196bn. Musk’s net worth rose by $60bn in 2021 alone, with aerospace manufacturer SpaceX being named the second-most valuable private company in the world. Musk says he hopes his fortune will be “enough to extend life to Mars”.
  • South Africa’s tourism sector, which has taken a severe beating during the Covid-19 pandemic, could get a boost from extended weekends. Low-cost airline FlySafair wants the Public Holidays Act to change by moving midweek public holidays to Monday or Friday. According to the domestic airline, long weekends promote travel and this tweak could help the tourism sector’s recovery. FlySafair reported that its passenger volumes increase by more than 20% over long weekends and while SA’s removal from the UK’s red list could mean an influx of foreign tourists over the summer holidays, FlySafair says more can be done to promote domestic travel. “Our intention is in no way to diminish the importance of these historical days,” says FlySafair CEO Elmar Conradie. “Our aim would be to look at how the time off from work can be better used to benefit the tourism industry and encourage South Africans to travel again.” The proposal has been tabled with the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) and once it has been reviewed and approved, the airline hopes to lobby the department of tourism to bring the motion before parliament.
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