OnlyFans Torpedoed, Zuck In the Metaverse and Musk's AI is Horrifying
Welcome to "This Week In The Market" where I cover the biggest news of the week that affects your wallet, just in simpler terms. This week is a doozy, so let's jump in.
OnlyFans Is Apparently Now Just Feet Pics
The Headline: OnlyFans, the private company where people post nude photos and in turn make millions of dollars per month, announced yesterday that they are removing all pornographic materials from their site. This in partly in response to pressure from their payment processors ("banks") that do not feel comfortable accepting lewd nude money, and partly due to a BBC investigation that found unreported child pornography and explicit instructions not to shut down successful rule breakers on the platform. Yikes.
The BFD: OnlyFans is #1 in the power rankings of "private companies I wish I could invest in," at least until yesterday. Built on the same model as Patreon, the site provided those in the sex-work industry a safe space to post their content and get paid directly, with OF taking a slice. And it isn't just regular people on the platform; celebrities are getting theirs, too. Bella Thorne, in "research for a role" last year generated $1 million in 24 hours on the platform.
Rapper and Dr. Phil sensation Bhad Bhabie then shattered that record earlier this year, raking in $1 million in six hours. OnlyFans takes 20% of the revenue from each creator, resulting in essentially a $400,000 payday for the platform in 30 hours. Not bad. However, this is their entire business model. The removal of pornography from their website is like Disney removing Marvel from Disney+. Sure, you have some side content, but ain't nobody here for that. Say goodbye to the meteoric growth machine that is OnlyFans.
How Can This Make Me Rich?: If you are an accredited investor, or an employee of the platform, you can wave goodbye to that yacht on the Mediterranean; that's gone. OnlyFans is likely to plummet like MySpace after Tom defriended everyone. The bigger issue here is the wilting under the pressure applied to them by the banks. If payment processors can demand removal of content due to feeling uncomfortable, then we may be in for a world of censorship-hurt moving forward. This could potentially strengthen the case for DeFi-based platforms, upping the bull thesis around cryptocurrencies like Ethereum.
Weird Story of the Week
Elon Musk is the gift that keeps on giving. After declaring himself Twitter's king of Dogecoin, and naming his child what looks like Einstein on a bender draws on a chalkboard, he cropped up yesterday again at Tesla's "A.I Day." Thursday afternoon, Musk announced that his car company will develop a "humanoid robot" called....wait for it....Tesla Bot. It will use the same A.I and mesh network that Tesla's use in order to talk to each other on roads, but in a much more unsettling form factor. It measures about 5 foot-8 inches, 125 pounds and I can't wait to put in here its 40 yard dash time because you know you're not outrunning that thing unless you're Saquon Barkley.
"It's intended to be friendly" Musk remarked, apparently never having seen "I, Robot" or "Terminator." He also mentioned the actual use-case for these things, which is to eliminate "dangerous, repetitive, boring tasks...like going to the store." With a prototype not expected until next year, don't expect your new horrifying housekeeper just yet. Although this looks to be a new revenue driver for the company, Wall Street doesn't love the announcement, with shares mostly flat at time of writing.
Stock of the Week
I'm cheating a little bit here. We had two very, VERY weird stories to come out of this week, but Tesla slightly outweirded this one, so I had to put it down here.
It's Facebook! Despite batting back a "historic" FTC antitrust lawsuit in which the United States government claims that it's a monopoly (despite allowing all of their merger activity to go through), the company couldn't give one Zuck-Fuck about that. You know what they're focused on? Virtual meetings! That's right. They are taking on Zoom and Microsoft in the creepiest way possible.
Remember Mii's, from Nintendo? They were those little caricatures you could design digitally, and then as you walk past people with your Gameboy they would meet and high five and do dark things in the shadows? Imagine that, plus spreadsheets. That's what you're getting in Zuckerberg's new "Metaverse" program, where you can now host meetings in the "Horizon Workrooms." Despite sounding like what came out of Selina Meyer's Silicon Valley visit in "Veep," the technology is pretty promising.
Fully embracing the oddity of the forced remote-work culture the world has now been thrust into, owners of the Oculus Quest 2 headsets can now sit down at a virtual conference table, look at virtual versions of their coworkers and multitask by doing other things...virtually? Also, who the hell owns an Oculus Quest 2? So like 12 people get to experience this? Awesome. Anyway, the new system was unveiled in an interview on CBS with Gayle King, in which King seemed completely lost and unimpressed. The full video can be found above.
I beyond hate this. I hate everything I wrote today. What a strange week in the market we've had. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below! Don't forget to come back tomorrow for my dive into Palantir Technologies, the secretive government data company.