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Reddit user says post on $800M Tesla bitcoin buy was a hoax

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Reddit user says post on $800M Tesla bitcoin buy was a hoax

A German prankster claims that he was behind a mysterious Reddit post last month that appeared to anticipate Tesla’s blockbuster bitcoin buy this week — and that he was on LSD when he did it, The Post has learned.

Tesla stunned Wall Street on Monday when it revealed it had acquired $1.5 billion in bitcoin to “further diversify and maximize returns” for the cash on its balance sheet. Tesla said it also plans to start accepting the cryptocurrency as a payment option for its electric cars.

Not long after the surprise announcement, attention turned to a Jan. 2 post from a Reddit user named “TSLAinsider” who had claimed to have a hot tip about Tesla’s move into the cryptocurrency market.

“You heard it here first – our Company just bought 800 Million worth of Bitcoin,” the five-week-old post read. The user, claiming he was “a software dev working at R&D at Tesla in California,” reportedly added that the Elon Musk-led company had bought 24,701 bitcoin at an average price of $33,142 “over the past 72 hours.”

The post looked like such a prescient prediction of Tesla’s bitcoin investment that financial news outlets including Reuters and Bloomberg picked it up this week.

But in an interview with The Post, Hendrik, the 24-year-old political science student behind the TSLAinsider account, said he made the post while he was high on LSD over the holiday season.

“If you want to know the truth: I am a young German guy and I was on Acid while I did this post in the last month,” the user told The Post in an email on Tuesday. “I had this afflatus that Elon is going to buy Bitcoin, so I created this trollpost. And now all the newspapers around the globe are writing about it, its kinda funny and scary to be honest.”

Hendrik, who asked to be identified only by his first name, said he got an intuition that Tesla would invest in Bitcoin after seeing a December Twitter exchange between Musk and MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor, whose business-intelligence firm bought more than $1 billion worth of the digital currency last year.

“Me and my girlfriend, we took acid, and I saw the conversation between Michael Saylor and Elon Musk on Twitter, and I was like, yeah, why shouldn’t he buy into bitcoin?” Hendrik told The Post in a Tuesday Zoom interview from Germany. “He’s crazy and he has a lot of money, so why not?”

Hendrik provided The Post with a screenshot showing himself logged into the TSLAinsider Reddit account, which triumphantly posted “I TOLD YOU SO” after Tesla’s market-moving Monday announcement.

His initial post — which initially got no comments from other users — was dubious enough that moderators of the Reddit forum dedicated to Tesla stock removed it, according to Hendrik.

It also didn’t quite line up with Tesla’s Monday regulatory filing, which said the company bought Bitcoin after changing its investment policy in January. The purchases spanning 72 hours would have had to start during the final days of December if TSLAinsider’s timeline were accurate.

Hendrik said he’s not otherwise active on Reddit but he decided to pull a prank on the site because “everyone goes to Reddit to troll people.” He is, however, an active Bitcoin investor and has been since he was a teenager, he says.

“I think it’s part of the technology of the future,” Hendrik said, praising Musk for getting Tesla into the Bitcoin game.

“He opened the door for other companies to do the same since they all want to be like Elon,” he added.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

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AT&T execs roll their eyes as Elliott Management takes victory lap on $43B merger

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AT&T execs roll their eyes as Elliott Management takes victory lap on $43B merger

Some higher ups at AT&T aren’t too happy about billionaire Paul Singer’s hedge fund’s response to their $43 billion media merger on Monday.

“Elliott Management is taking a victory lap even though they had nothing to do with getting this deal done” one AT&T insider griped to The Post about AT&T’s plans to combine its WarnerMedia entertainment unit with media giant Discovery.

Elliott took a $3.2 billion stake in AT&T in September 2019, calling in a letter for “improved strategic focus” and “enhanced leadership.” But the hedge fund’s execs weren’t in the room when negotiations to were taking place, according to sources close to the situation.

That didn’t stop Elliott executive Jesse Cohn from tweeting about the deal on Monday in a way that rubbed some insiders the wrong way.

“@ATT has now executed on its promise to streamline operations and re-focus on its core businesses,” Cohn said in a tweet about what he called AT&T’s “transformational year.”

A source close to Elliott Management fired back by doubling down on the notion that the deal was the result of the hedge fund’s activism. “AT&T wouldn’t have completed the deal if we hadn’t put out that letter,” this person said. “There’s not even a debate that Elliott provided cover for John (Stankey) to make the necessary changes.”

Stankey took the reins from Randall Stephenson in April 2020 in what presumably was a step towards “enhanced leadership.”

Another Elliott insider, however, emphasized the now-collegial relationship between the hedge fund and AT&T. “Stankey saw things the way we did,” this person said. “This is a feel-good story.”

“It’s puzzling a statement in which Jesse (Cohn) gives credit to John (Stankey) is being considered a victory lap.”

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Goldman taps former Uber executive to lead its consumer bank

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Goldman taps former Uber executive to lead its consumer bank

Goldman Sachs has tapped a former Uber executive to lead its fledgling consumer banking division, whose retail lending arm Marcus has seen heavy turnover since its launch.

Peeyush Nahar, who at Uber had overseen teams that developed software for payments, insurance and other fintech, has joined the Wall Street giant as a partner and global head of its consumer business. He will report to Stephanie Cohen, Goldman’s global co-head of consumer and wealth management.

Earlier this year, Goldman’s former head of consumer banking Omer Ismail and one of his top deputies, David Stark, left to run a new fintech startup at Walmart. On Friday, Goldman announced it was losing another member of Marcus — chief financial officer Sherry Ann Mohan, who is leaving for JPMorgan.

Amid the flight of financiers, Goldman is trying to shore up the consumer division that launched in 2016. Over the past few months it has brought on three new executives. Brian King, a former Goldman executive who left for a brief stint at Wells Fargo, is now chief risk officer. Swati Bhatia joined from payment technology company Stripe as head of proprietary business. Robert Cochran has joined as digital product lead at the division.

Before the pandemic, Goldman set a goal of lending $20 billion and maintaining $125 billion in deposits by 2024. As of March, Marcus has $8 billion in loans and $100 billion in deposits.

Before his stint at Uber, Nahar spent 14 years at Amazon where he focused on lending and machine learning.

“Peeyush will lead the business in its next phase of growth, helping drive forward our commitment to our customers and make us the place they go to manage their finances,” Goldman said in a statement.

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World Economic Forum cancels 2021 Singapore event amid pandemic

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World Economic Forum cancels 2021 Singapore event amid pandemic

World Economic Forum organizers say they have decided to cancel their annual gathering — usually held in Davos, Switzerland each year — this year amid concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After multiple attempts to find a proper date and venue, most recently settling on hopes to hold it in Singapore in August, the forum’s organizers said in a statement Monday that it won’t go ahead with the meeting, largely citing the impact of the coronavirus.

“Regretfully, the tragic circumstances unfolding across geographies, an uncertain travel outlook, differing speeds of vaccination rollout and the uncertainty around new variants combine to make it impossible to realize a global meeting with business, government and civil society leaders from all over the world at the scale which was planned,” the forum said.

Forum founder Klaus Schwab called it a “difficult decision” … “but ultimately the health and safety of everyone concerned is our highest priority.”

The forum’s next annual gathering will be in the first half of next year, with the final date and location to be determined, organizers said.

The elite gathering typically draws hundreds of well-known government leaders, business executives, civil society advocates and artists, actors and musicians.

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