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Wall Street Crime and Punishment: Martin Shkreli, the Self-Destructive Pharma Bro



Does crime pay?

Wall Street Crime and Punishment is a weekly series by Benzinga’s Phil Hall chronicling the bankers, brokers and financial ne’er-do-wells whose ambition and greed take them in the wrong direction.

His former girlfriend acknowledged that he is “good at getting under people’s skin.” The judge who denied his most recent probation request accused him of displaying “delusional self-aggrandizing behavior.” His cellmates at the prison where he is currently incarcerated reportedly nicknamed him “a**h***.”

Tabloid journalists routinely labeled him “the most hated man in America” for his decision to jack up the price of a prescription drug used in treating a rare disease. He has also been derisively dubbed “Pharma Bro” by the same tabloid bunch for his cavalier behavior in defending his actions.

All of this seems to give Martin Shkreli more cred than he deserves. In reality, he was an incompetent businessman who stupidly put himself into a media spotlight that magnified his vices. In his mind, he was giving the public the ultimate example of What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get, but that proved to be his undoing because too many people didn’t like what they saw.

A Sketchy Background: Martin Shkreli was born March 17, 1983, at Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn, New York. His parents were Albanian immigrants who worked as janitors — and they kept those jobs even after their son had the financial means to support them.

The earliest controversy surrounding Shkreli dates back to his high school years. He attended Hunter College High School in Manhattan but it is unclear whether he graduated on schedule, graduated two years ahead of schedule, dropped out, or was kicked out. Nonetheless, he had some fondness for his alma mater and in March 2015, he donated $1 million, the largest endowment in the school’s history.

Shkreli graduated from Manhattan’s Baruch College in 2005 with a business degree. He wasn’t a sterling student, but that’s not where his focus was aimed. Instead, he gained a college internship at Cramer Berkowitz, the hedge fund run by Jim Cramer.

Shkreli told a Vanity Fair interviewer that he “weaseled” his way into the firm and began in the mailroom before working his way up to an associate’s role. As with his high school experience, stories vary on how he fit into Cramer Berkowitz, with some people claiming he reported to Cramer while the CNBC pundit later insisting he didn’t remember Shkreli and that he “he was no protégé.”

Shkreli also had his first run-in with regulators during his Cramer Berkowitz tenure when he advocated short-selling Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: REGN). After the stock’s price dropped, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission conducted a probe of Shkreli but was unable to find any evidence of chicanery in his short-selling recommendation.

Related Link: The complete Wall Street Crime and Punishment series

Hits And Misses: Shkreli left Cramer Berkowitz after graduating from college and briefly worked at Intrepid Capital Management and UBS Wealth Management before starting his own hedge fund, Elea Capital Management, in 2006. That venture went awry when Lehman Brothers sued Shkreli and his hedge fund for failing to pay for a put option. Lehman Brothers won a $2.3 million default judgment against Shkreli and his fund, but the company collapsed in October 2008 before any restitution was made.

Undeterred, Shkreli teamed with childhood friend Marek Biestek to form MSMB Capital Management. The duo specialized in shorting biotech companies and trash-talking these firms in online chat rooms focused on stock trading.

But more bad luck seemed to plague Shkreli’s entrepreneurial pursuits: he made a disastrous short position in 2011 on the obesity drug company Orexigen Therapeutics (NASDAQ: OREX) through an account he held with Merrill Lynch, which cost the company $7 million that he was unable to repay. His handling of the debacle was even …

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It’s Official! Online Retail Giant Newegg Confirms That It Will Accept Shiba Inu



Major tech retailer Newegg Commerce Inc. (NASDAQ: NEGG) has officially confirmed that it will accept Shiba Inu (CRYPTO: SHIB). 

In a recent tweet, Newegg said, “Coming soon to Newegg…$SHIB”. 

Coming soon to Newegg…$SHIB @ShytoshiKusama #ShibArmy #Shib #friendshib #newegg #blackfriday #cybermonday

— Newegg (@Newegg) November 26, 2021


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After Raising $5.3 Million, Astra Guild Ventures (AGV) Gears for Series B & Public Token Sale




Astra Guild Ventures (AGV) has successfully raised $3 million for its Series A funding round led by some notable venture capitalists such as CSP DAO Inc, Halvings Capital Ltd, Oracles Investment Group, GDA Capital and Deltahub Capital.

The raised funds will be used for marketing AGV’s public token sale, covering operational and management expenses, and for the acquisition of new nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and equities on companies that develop play-to-earn (P2E) games.

At the time of writing, AGV has raised a total of $5.3 million after its Seed and Series A funding rounds. They have a total of 2,036 Axie Infinity scholars, 50,000+ Discord community members and 75,000+ Facebook followers. Recently, AGV has invested $800K in BMG, a Florida-based gaming studio behind the play-to-earn NFT games Kart Racing League and Realms of Ethernity (ROE).

AGV Series B and public sale

AGV is set to launch its Series B, or private token sale, on its website on November 17, 2021 at 2 pm UTC, and its public token sale on December 17, 2021. AGV has been audited by Certik.

What is Astra Guild Ventures (AGV)

Astra Guild Ventures (AGV) is a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) that invests in NFTs, P2E games and other blockchain projects. The DAO aims to build a global community of investors, tech leaders, NFT and blockchain enthusiasts and P2E players.

AGV boasts itself as the first DAO and NFT gaming guild that completely discloses its real-time earnings through its earnings dashboard and has a completely verifiable and publicly available list of assets.

AGV will also be launching its DAO Governance Board where AGV holders are able to propose and vote changes on the DAO’s rules and decisions. This makes AGV one of the first NFT gaming guilds to fully launch a decentralized platform.

Transparency and growth: Driving reasons for investments in AGV

With a lot of projects launching in the blockchain and crypto space, finding the right project to invest in is difficult — this is exactly what the AGV investors realized and what made them trust AGV. The transparency features that AGV meticulously integrated into its operations as a DAO was one main turning point.

Astra Guild has its own earnings and governance dashboard integrated together to provide a one-stop platform to AGV holders where they participate and decide for the DAO and view their investment status. The rapid growth of the Astra Guild community has also been a factor, in just three months Astra Guild’s membership blew up to 51,000+ members, hailing it as one of the fastest-growing NFT gaming guilds in the world — clear evidence that the NFT and blockchain market is on the rise.

List of investors

Encrypted Investments Limited, Vespertine Capital, Three M Capital, GDA Capital, Kangaroo Capital, DEC.Ventures, CSP DAO, Connectico Capital, Halvings Capital, DeltaHub Capital, NFT Technologies, Oracles Investment Group, Mars Dao, Point3 Ventures, International Blockchain Consulting Group, Follow[the]Seed, Interstellar Ventures, CrowdCreate, Ruby Capital Singapore, Dot Finance LTD, NFT Stars Limited, GAINS Associates, Seedthrift Ventures, Almora Capital, BIP32 Ventures and Wolf of Markets. Some notable Angel Investors include Alexander Kondrashov, Moon Carl and Ronny Roehrig.

Anyone interested in joining Astra Guild Ventures’ Series B, may register here to receive instructions and announcements straight to their inbox.

AGV will be distributing 37,500,000 AGV with 10% to be released on Token Generation Event and the remaining 90% is subject to 12 months vesting.



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Big Data Analytics in Retail Is Projected to Reach US$2.6 Billion by 2028



Big Data Analytics in Retail is Projected to Reach US$2.6 Billion by 2028 Analytics Insight

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