Watching Blue Origin’s launch Captain James T. Kirk into space was quite a sight. As a fan of Star Trek (mainly the original and the Next Generation), I fell for Blue Origin’s public relations ploy. Launching people into space isn’t really for the technological breakthrough. We’ve been sending people into space for decades now. But now with all the advancements in technology we are able to send ordinary people into space – ordinary, meaning billionaires & celebrities. I do applaud the PR prowess of the Blue Origin team. My questions is, who is going to sign up Captain Jean Luc Picard for the next flight into space? Actor Patrick Stewart is a spry 81; a youth compared to the 90 year old Shatner (who looked great).

Also launching this week is America’s first bitcoin related ETF (exchange-traded fund). By Tuesday, ProShares will likely have launched its product trading under the ticker name BITO. I expect a few more to follow suit from ETF families like Invesco and VanEck.

Crypto has been a hot area recently, and I have to admit to feeling a little crypto FOMO (fear of missing out) sometimes myself. On the one hand, I am not a crypto fanboy because I just don’t understand it. On the other hand, I disagree with JP Morgan’s Jaime Dimon; I don’t think bitcoin is “worthless”. I think bitcoin is worth somewhere between “worthless” and a gazillion. Who knows? Personally, I like to know what I own. So, if you are considering this new bitcoin futures ETF, you should too. Much like many commodities-based ETFs, these new bitcoin ETFs aren’t allowed to hold any bitcoin; they will only be allowed to hold derivatives based on bitcoin called futures (similar to a call option). Futures-based ETFs come with their own issues, and investors might not get the returns they expected. Crude Oil futures ETFs are a prime example. And if you intend to hold bitcoin for “the long term” as so many will say, this is where the futures-based ETFs really start to show their weakness. The “roll costs” really start to eat away over long periods of time. (Link to my previous article discussing roll costs)

What hasn’t launched yet, but will soon, is going to be a massive PR assault from Facebook. Led by the venerable Nick Clegg (actually, Sir Nick Clegg, former deputy prime minister of the UK). Someone has to remind people of the good Facebook does around the world. Someone has to combat recent spat of negative press the company has gotten. I would hope Sir Nick will get clues from Blue Origin’s fantastic PR team. Facebook has escaped bad press before, but increased oversight or even regulation may be coming. Regulating social media seems like this is one issue politicians can agree on. Promoting less divisive content will come at the price of less “engagement” and slower growth, but I’m fine with that. Facebook is a large holding for Apriem, and I’m personally a shareholder, I’m all in favor of making the “town square” a lot less toxic.

/ben