This Week in Alternative Investments - July 28th, 2023

A ring owned by the late Tupac Shakur sold for over $1 million (Sotheby’s)


Bite sized market updates

A ring owned by the late Tupac Shakur sold for over $1 million. The crown-shaped gold, diamond and ruby ring set a record for hip-hop memorabilia.

Alternative asset manager Blackstone reached $1 trillion in AUM. The firm beat its own projections by three years.

OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman launched a cryptocurrency, Worldcoin. The controversial project requires customers to have an in-person iris scan.

An art auction in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho grossed over $21 million. The results included two paintings that topped $2 million each.


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Market Updates

Tupac Shakur’s ring became the most valuable piece of hip-hop memorabilia ever sold at auction. The ring sold at Sotheby’s for $1.016 million, more than tripling the pre-auction estimate of $200,000-$300,000, showing how unique items can spark bidding wars. The crown-shaped gold, ruby and diamond ring was worn by Tupac at the 1996 MTV VMAs, his last public appearance before his untimely death.

Blackstone became the first alternative asset manager to reach $1 trillion in assets under management. That number represents a 6% increase year-over-year, and they reached the milestone three years before their internal goal of 2026. However, their distributable earnings fell by 39% and net inflows fell by 77% year-over-year.

Worldcoin, a controversial cryptocurrency, launched this week. Founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, the coin is a core aspect of the project’s “World ID”, a digital passport meant to prove the holder is human and not AI. In order to obtain a “World ID”, however, a person needs to have the iris of their eye scanned, leading to all sorts of privacy and security concerns.

The Coeur d’Alene Art Auction saw over $21 million in sales. Led by Howard Terpning’s “Paper That Talks Two Ways – The Treaty Signing” ($2.3 million) and Maynard Dixon’s “The Pony Boy” ($2.1 million), the results show that it’s not only the major auction houses that can produce major sales. In total, 37 different lots exceeded a $100,000 sale price.