This Week in Alternative Investments - June 23rd, 2023

Existing-home sales in May stayed flat and are down more than 20% since last year


Bite sized market updates

Existing-home sales in May stayed flat and are down more than 20% since last year. High mortgage rates, low inventory and high prices are to blame.

A new crypto exchange backed by Fidelity and Schwab opened. EDX is differentiating itself from existing exchanges by not taking custody of customer assets.

Dropbox announced a $50 million AI venture fund. Dropbox Ventures launched in conjunction with a slew of new AI features for Dropbox’s core product.

A previously lost Rubens painting will be auctioned in July. The Flemish artist’s “Saint Sebastian Tended By Two Angels” carries a high estimate of $7.7 million.


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Market Updates

Existing-home sales dropped 20.4% year-over-year in May. This according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), which did report a 0.2% gain between April and May. There was a 6.1% year-over-year decline in housing supply, and that in combination with high mortgage rates and high prices has led to a standstill in the market. While new-home sales have returned to pre-pandemic levels, existing-home sales are poised to stay sluggish in the near-term.

EDX, a new crypto exchange, launched in the U.S. Backed by financial heavyweights Fidelity, Charles Schwab, and Citadel, the new exchange is trying to steer clear of regulators by operating differently from its competitors. It will not custody digital assets for customers, who will have to go through intermediaries to buy and sell crypto. It also offers just four tokens (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash) to start, until more regulatory clarity exists.

Dropbox’s first venture fund will focus on AI. The cloud storage giant is just the latest Silicon Valley company to invest into AI, and their $50 million fund will be aimed at early-stage startups. The announcement came as Dropbox unveiled several new AI features to their flagship product.

Peter Paul Rubens’ “Saint Sebastian Tended By Two Angels” will be auctioned in July. The 17th century work was previously thought to be a copy, and was only identified as the original work in 2021. The “lost” masterpiece will be sold in July at Sotheby’s and has an estimated value in excess of $7 million - having last sold for just $40,000 in 2008 when it was believed to be a copy.

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