☕️ The private art market is valued at more than USD2 trillion

Finally a profitable tech company IPO: Coinbase. Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine large-scale effectiveness brings the world one step closer to recovery. 1.35% of the world's population holds cryptocurrencies.

Know more, learn more. Be smarter in 3 minutes.

The underlined words are links! Click on them to the news article.



USD11 billion — annual revenue of consulting giant McKinsey & Company, which will see a new leader as the 650 senior partners voted the firm’s current global managing partner Kevin Sneader out of his role.

1 million new users of Square, Inc. bought Bitcoin for the first time through its Cash App. bringing the total to 4 million users that are buying Bitcoin on the app.

106 million people are now using cryptocurrencies around the world according to Crypto.com



  1. The Federal Court's nine-judge panel unanimously declares Selangor Shariah law criminalising “unnatural sex” as unconstitutional as it is a matter which the Selangor state legislature has no power to make laws.

  2. Which states are the most affordable to live in in Malaysia? The first place might surprise you but the ranking takes into consideration the difference between how much you could earn there and how much homes cost there.

  3. Genting Bhd returned to profitability in Q4 of RM24.98 million from a net loss of RM130.75 million in Q3. Revenue fell 7.6% to RM3.05 billion from RM3.3 billion. For the full year ended Dec 31 2020, the group posted a net loss of RM1.02 billion from a net profit of RM2 billion in FY2019, whilst revenue fell 47% to RM11.56 billion from RM21.62 billion. The anticipated opening of its SkyWorlds theme park might put it on a sustained path to recovery, assuming no more MCOs.

  4. Unisem (M) Bhd FY20 with net profit of RM142.79 million compared with a net loss of RM9.54 million. Increase in sales volume backed by better margins helped Unisem’s turnaround in FY20. The company expects this year’s financial outlook to improve with healthy balance sheet and expansion of facilities in Ipoh, Perak and Chengdu, China. Unisem (M) Bhd closed higher yesterday at RM8.97 (up 4.3%) with market capitalisation of RM7.2 billion.

  5. Malaysia’s largest Bank by market capitalisation, Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) reported 37% lower 4Q profit to RM1.54 billion due to impairment losses. Shareholders can still rejoice as the Board proposes 38.5 sen dividend per share. Together with interim dividend of 13.5 sen per share previously, the full-year dividend amounts to 52 sen per share, and translates into a full-year dividend payout ratio of 91.2%.

  6. Public Bank Bhd posted lower net profit of RM4.87 billion for financial year ended 2020 due to one-off Day one net modification loss, negative effect of the reduction in the Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) and higher loan impairment allowance. The board declared dividend of 13 sen per share totalling RM2.52 billion which meant the dividend payout ratio is 51.8%.


  1. Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is proving to be effective - the largest study so far in Israel, involving more than 1 million people published by New England Journal of Medicine performed just as well in the real world (94% effectiveness) as it did in clinical trials (95% effectiveness). The study also shows that the vaccine worked effectively against the highly contagious UK B.1.1.7 variant. 80% of Israelis were infected with this UK variant. Hopeful sign for the world.

  2. Financialisation’ is coming to the art market. Art collectors are taking advantage of the low interest rate environment to unlock value from their illiquid art collection by borrowing against it and pledging their collection as collateral. The Fine Art Group, an art advisory and finance firm shared that loan request surged by 30% in 2020 compared to 2019. Mostly dominated by the banks, art finance firms and auction houses are increasingly increasing their loan business.

    The value of privately held art is estimated to be more than USD2 trillion and art lending business is valued at only USD20 billion, with a potential market size of USD400 billion estimated. 

    The financialisation isn’t stopping there. Once originating a loan, the art loan is then pooled together with other art loans backed by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and other top artists, and then sold off to investors. A USD40 mil of such loans were sold with a targeted net returns of 9.5%. 

    Fun Fact: Sotheby’s lent Jho Low USD100 million, but thankfully was repaid thanks to a strong market for the art works it held as collateral. 

  3. Moderna (market cap: USD57 billion) forecasts sales of USD18.4 billion in Covid-19 vaccine sales in 2021, having brought in just USD199.9 million in this vaccine sales in the 4th quarter. The company also announced that it will produce up to 700 million doses in 2021 and 1.4 billion Covid-19 doses in 2022. Simply taking its projected 2021 Covid-19 sales and dividing it by its production forecast of 700 million doses, this works out to USD26.30 per dose. 

  4. Another Instagram in the making? Seems like photo-sharing apps are still a sexy area for investment. Dispo, a photo-sharing app that acts as a virtual disposable camera, requires users to wait until 9am the next day for their photos to ‘develop’, then only they can post it (not too sure what is the value proposition here…). 

    Dispo raised USD20 million at a USD200 million valuation in its Series A round just 5 months after raising USD4 million in October. The app achieved 3 million downloads in its first week according to its CEO Daniel Liss. Check out the app here

  5. Coinbase, one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges, filed its S1-filing ahead of its direct listing on NASDAQ. 

    Some numbers from the filing, which actually look pretty good compared to the various tech companies that listed in the previous few months:

    1/ USD1.28 billion revenue in 2020 vs USD533.7mil in 2019 - +139.8%

    2/ Hei, Coinbase is profitable! USD322.3mil in 2020 net income vs loss of USD30.4mil in 2019

    3/ 43 million retail users (32 million in 2019, up 34.4%). 7,000 institutions and 115,000 ecosystem partners in over 100 countries

    4/ 2.8 million transacting customers as at end of 2020 vs 1 million at end of 2019 - +180%

    5/ Staggering USD90 billion assets on its platform at end of 2020 vs USD16.97 billion a year earlier - +432.2%

    6/ Trading volume of USD193.1 billion at end of 2020 vs USD79.9 billion a year earlier - +141.7%

Hope you enjoy reading our newsletter! Share this newsletter to your friends if it made you smarter today!