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JPMorgan Chase is in the midst of a corporate drama

Hello readers. On account of the festive season, today’s is a short edition. We have curated weekend reads and will return to publishing an original story on November 5. The daily edition will resume on October 31 (Monday).


Crash course: The line “if you read one thing today, make it this” is thrown around like confetti, but we can’t stress how deserving this 40,000-word primer on crypto is of a recommendation. If that sounds overwhelming, it’s not. Bloomberg’s Matt Levine explains the byzantine concepts of cryptography, mining, staking, stablecoins, NFTs, and a whole lot more with the simplicity of an educator teaching kindergarten kids their ABCs. Read, stay informed, and share with your parents and grandparents. It’s that indispensable.

Poaching: How far can office politics go? In the case of JPMorgan Chase, far enough to poach a co-worker’s client assets worth nearly $1.4 billion. Gwen Campbell, who joined the financial advisory division of JPMorgan Advisors in 2020, is grappling with colleagues in the private banking arm luring her clients away, which include baseball great (and Jennifer Lopez’s ex-fiancé) Alex Rodriguez and writer-journalist-podcaster Malcolm Gladwell. The dispute is now a litigation: Campbell won’t go without a fight.

Songs within the song: Bob Dylan is the quintessential American icon. Like Andy Warhol. Or Jack Kerouac. Dylan’s life is the distilled essence of its culture with the attendant derangement, frenzy, and prerogatives of success. The New Yorker editor David Remnick meanders through the Nobel Laureate’s life and work, and finds that his poetry is the living synthesis of the continent's culture. Dylan’s inexhaustible source is the so-called American songbook itself, sung by those who came before him and around him. From a kid banging piano keys, he grew to be a young apprentice soaking up folk music before becoming the brightest star on the American musical firmament. Eking out new poetry out of songs sung long before by meditating on them, Dylan speaks to and continues to “expand what Leonard Cohen called the ‘Tower of Song’”. 

Brazilian face-off: Last weekend belonged to Chinese leader Xi Jinping and newly-minted British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. The spotlight this Sunday is on Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, who is facing off with Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the comeback man who was freshly freed of corruption charges during his time in the top office. Financial Times reports that even though he is trailing, Bolsonaro is not going down easily as earlier thought. The wily politician has concocted a potent campaign combining religion, welfare, security, and business friendliness. Even if he loses, he would have stirred up enough emotions to make leftist Lula’s administrative life difficult. 

Nailed: AlphaBay was the “biggest cryptocurrency black market” on the dark web since 2014. A hotbed for illicit trade, it was allegedly run by a 26-year-old Canadian named Alexandre Cazes aka Alpha02. On offer: contraband such as ecstasy, meth, cocaine, and heroin, all shipped via mail.  It took six countries to track him down. This six-part story in Wired tracks down the rise and fall of the drug bust. 

No dice: What's common among Harvard, Yale, and Princeton universities? The lottery was used to partially fund them. It was also used to finance public enterprises and churches, proved to be a get-out-of-jail immunity card, and was a unifying subject of hate among Protestant groups. The lottery served to be a popular solution during the 1960s, as the local US government looked to relieve people from rising taxes. Soon, a gambling company called Scientific Games entered the market and started lobbying governments. Today, it is a $91 billion dollar business. Check out this story in The New Yorker on the history of the lottery.

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