Top international headlines: Crypto currencies remain unpredictable

Elon Musk sends Bitcoin into a downward slide, Dogecoin value has increased, and more.

Digital currencies see wide swings in fortunes, vaccine production provides a phenomenal boost to revenue and mining companies will need to invest trillions to reduce carbon footprint. Meanwhile a ransomware attack wreaks havoc on a US fuel pipeline.

Digital currencies and fossil fuels
A recent Twitter post by Tesla’s Elon Musk expressed concerns about the “rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions”, following the electric vehicle and clean energy company’s announcement that it was suspending purchases with the digital currency. This sent Bitcoin into a downward slide.

The largest cryptocurrency dropped as much as 15 percent in Asian trading, with reports of outages at digital-token exchanges as people rushed to sell, reports Bloomberg.

Covid-19 profit
BioNTech shares jumped more than three percent on trading following the release of its fourth-quarter results, which reported revenue of €354.4 million (R6 billion), reflecting a 1.134 percent year-over-year increase.

BioNTech's fourth quarter was all about Covid-19 vaccine BNT162b2. The company shared net profits equally with Pfizer for sales of the vaccine in everywhere except China, where BioNTech has a collaboration deal in place with Fosun Pharma, according to The Motley Fool.

The company expects to generate revenue of around €9.8 billion (R167.669 billion) from the current supply deals for BNT162b2, which total roughly 1.4 billion doses.

Trillions needed from mining
Nearly $1.7 trillion (R23.97 trillion) needs to be invested by mining companies in the next 15 years to help supply enough copper, cobalt, nickel and other metals needed for the shift to a low carbon world, according to consultancy Wood Mackenzie.

The US, Britain, Japan, Canada and others raised their targets on cutting carbon emissions to halt global warming at a recent event hosted by US President Joe Biden.

Meeting those targets will need large-scale deployment of electric vehicles, storage for power generated from renewables and electricity transmission, all of which require industrial materials, such as lightweight aluminium and metals used in batteries such as cobalt and lithium, reports Reuters.

However, environment, social and governance (ESG) issues are an increasing concern for investors.

Ransomware attack affects fuel supply
Fuel shortages have worsened in the southeastern United States, due to a shutdown of the largest US fuel pipeline network.

A ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline last week halted 2.5 million barrels per day of fuel shipments in the most disruptive cyberattack on US energy infrastructure, reports Reuters.

The ransomware attack has been attributed to DarkSide, which is believed to be in Russia or Eastern Europe.

A dog’s life
Investment in Dogecoin, a joke crypto asset which has risen by more than 1,000 percent in value this year, has resulted in a senior manager from Goldman Sachs making millions and quitting the investment bank.

City sources said Aziz McMahon, a managing director and head of emerging market sales, had resigned from the bank after making money from investing in the digital currency, reports The Guardian.

Dogecoin is based on an internet meme – a humorous online phrase or photo, on this occasion a dog called Doge.