November 24th - This Week in Alternative Investments

(EOD 11/23)
$37,254 (+$1,288 since 11/16)
Rare Whiskey Apex 1000 Index
(Monthly - October)
1119.26 (-8.16 since Sept.)
Thomson-Reuters VC Index
(Daily - 11/22)
14,953.03 (+339.54 since 11/16)
Zillow Home Value Index
(Monthly - October)
$347,972 (-$1,111 since Sept.)


Bite sized market updates

Happy Thanksgiving! Here’s what happened last week in the world of alternative investing:

  • In a roller coaster week, OpenAI fired, then re-hired its CEO, Sam Altman

  • Binance CEO CZ Zhao stepped down and pleaded guilty to a money laundering charge while the exchange paid a record-$4.3 billion fine

  • A bottle of Macallan scotch whiskey sold for $2.7 million - a new all-time record

  • Existing-home sales dropped in October, but pending home sales rose slightly

Plus: Napoleon’s hat, Lewis Hamilton’s F1 car and Victor Wembanyama’s rookie jersey all smash pre-auction estimates.


Last Chance to Invest Before this Company Becomes a Household Name

What if you had the opportunity to invest in Ring and Nest before they launched?

Through retail distribution deals with Best Buy, Ring changed doorbells and Nest changed thermostats. Early investors in those companies earned massive returns, but the opportunity to invest was limited to a select, wealthy few.

Now, you have the option to invest in a company before its massive retail rollout.

RYSE is launching in 100+ Best Buy stores, and you're in luck—you can still invest at only $1.25/share before their name becomes known nationwide.

They have patented the only mass market shade automation device, and their exclusive deal with Best Buy is similar to what led Ring and Nest to their billion-dollar buyouts.

Smart Humans Podcast

Smart Humans explores the world of alternative investments. From Venture to Collectibles, Real Estate to Art and beyond - we discuss a new world of investment opportunities and the catalysts that impact their demand.

In this episode, Slava Rubin talks with Yieldstreet’s Milind Mehere about investing for yield and navigating a volatile market.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman was fired, and then re-hired five days later (Getty Images)

Market Updates

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman was fired, and then rehired five days later. After a conflict with some members of the board, he was shockingly fired from the leading AI company in the world, throwing the company and industry into disarray. The conflict was apparently based in part with the board’s differing viewpoint on how safely to grow the company and how far to stray from its non-profit roots. Other leading members of the company resigned and an overwhelming majority of its employees threatened to follow if the board didn’t reinstate him. However, Altman then agreed, along with co-founder Greg Brockman, to join Microsoft, who has already invested $13 billion into OpenAI. Finally, after changes to the board, both Altman and Brockman agreed to return to OpenAI, presumably in a stronger position than before. This entire drama underscores that even leading startups in cutting-edge areas carry with them outsized risks of all stripes and the future of AI safety will remain a hot-button topic as the industry grows.

Crypto exchange Binance was hit with a record $4.3 billion fine and its CEO CZ Zhao stepped down. The world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange agreed to the largest penalty in U.S. history while Zhao pleaded guilty to a money laundering violation. He stepped down from his post, will pay a $50 million fine and is barred from ever been involved again with Binance. He remains free on a $175 million bond until his sentencing next February where he is expected to face up to 18 months in prison. Despite this news, the price of Bitcoin was unaffected, though the price of Binance coin, the exchange’s native currency, fell 4% in the aftermath.

A new record for any bottle of wine or spirit sold at auction was set. A 60-year old Macallan scotch whiskey sold for over $2.7 million, almost twice as much as the pre-sale high estimate of $1.4 million. Originally bottled in 1986 after being aged since 1926, only 40 bottles of the Macallan 60 Year Old were ever produced, one of which had set the old record of $1.9 million in 2019. Additionally, this is one of just 12 with a label designed by Italian artist Valerio Adami, of which only 10 still exist, further increasing its value.

Total existing-home sales dropped 4.1% monthly and 14.6% year over year in October. The report from National Association of Realtors showed the lowest level of sales in 13 years, with decreases most pronounced in the Northeast and the South. The report did find that total inventory rose by 1.8% in October, which coupled with slightly lower mortgage rates could lead to a bump in sales this month. Indeed, a Redfin report showed that pending home sales (where a house is under contract) rose 1% in October, adjusted for season, though buyers backed out of deals at the highest rate on record.


Research and Insights from the Vincent team


  • One of Napoleon’s iconic hats sold for $2.1 million, over twice as much as pre-auction estimates - just in time for the new Ridley Scott-directed biopic.

  • The SEC charged crypto exchange Kraken with operating as an unregistered securities exchange and improperly mixing customer funds.

  • A bridge between the HTX crypto exchange and Ethereum was hacked and drained of $87 million of assets, capping a rough week for exchanges.

  • A F1 car raced by Lewis Hamilton in 2013 sold for $18.8 million, well above the $10-$15 million it was expected to sell for.

  • Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama’s jersey from his NBA debut sold for $762,000 compared to its pre-auction estimate of $80,000-$100,000, showing immediate dividends for the new Sotheby’s-NBA partnership.

  • Homebuilder sentiment fell to the lowest point in a year, dropping six points to 34 on a scale where anything below 50 is negative.

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