Twitter shares soar after company announces plan to double revenue by end of 2023

Jack Dorsey, chief executive officer of Twitter Inc. and Square Inc., speaks during an Empowering Entrepreneurs events at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Tuesday, April 2, 2019.
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Twitter said on Thursday it aims to have 315 million monetizable daily active users (mDAUs) by the end of 2023 and to at least double its annual revenue in that year. The announcement was made in an SEC filing.
Twitter’s stock was up as much as 10% during premarket trading following the news.

This is the first time Twitter has set long-term goals for revenue and daily users and it comes ahead of the company’s analyst day on Thursday afternoon.
Doubling its annual revenue would mean going from $3.7 billion in 2020 to at least $7.5 billion in 2023, Twitter said. The company also set a goal of doubling its development velocity by the end of that same year, which would require it to double the number of features each employee ships that directly drives mDAUs or revenue.
Twitter reiterated that it aims for a long-term target of mid-teens GAAP operating margin or 40% to 45% adjusted EBITDA margin.
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Sweden will soon be home to a major steel factory powered by the 'world's largest green hydrogen plant'

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A Swedish firm backed by investors including Spotify founder Daniel Ek plans to build a steel production facility in the north of the country that will be powered by what it describes as “the world’s largest green hydrogen plant.”
H2 Green Steel, which was established in 2020, will focus on steel made using a “fossil-free manufacturing process” and look to supply European manufacturers with its end product.

In an announcement earlier this week the company — which will be headed up by Henrik Henriksson, the current CEO of Scania — said steel production would start in 2024 and be based in Sweden’s Norrbotten region. By 2030, the aim is for the business to have the capacity to produce 5 million tons of steel per year.
“The climate crisis is the biggest challenge of our time,” Henriksson said in a statement issued Tuesday.
“And given … steel’s impact on other industries’ sustainable development, a rapid change of the steel industry is extremely important,” he added.
According to the International Energy Agency, the iron and steel sector is responsible for 2.6 gigatonnes of direct carbon dioxide emissions each year, a figure that, in 2019, was greater than direct emissions from sectors such as cement and chemicals.  
It adds that the steel sector is “the largest industrial consumer of coal, which provides around 75% of its energy demand.”

The size of H2 Green Steel’s hydrogen plant will be around 800 megawatts, with its end product replacing coal and coke in the steel manufacturing process. 
Hydrogen can be produced in a number of ways. One includes using electrolysis, with an electric current splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen. If the electricity used in the process comes from a renewable source such as wind or solar then it’s termed “green” or “renewable” hydrogen.
The company’s biggest shareholder is investment firm Vargas, a co-founder of battery maker Northvolt. H2 Green Steel is currently wrapping up series A equity financing of 50 million euros (around $61.1 million). Investors include Scania, EIT InnoEnergy, and Spotify founder Daniel Ek.
For the initial phase of the project, total financing will come to roughly 2.5 billion euros. The firm’s financial advisors are Societe Generale, KfW IPEX-Bank and Morgan Stanley.
Steel production is one of many industrial processes ripe for improvement when it comes to emissions and other metrics related to sustainability.
Aluminum manufacturing is another. German automaker BMW recently said it had started to source and use aluminum that has been produced using solar energy, for example.

Coinbase files for direct listing after revenue more than doubles in 2020

Coinbase co-founder and CEO Brian Armstrong speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2018.
Steve Jennings | Getty Images for TechCrunch

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase on Thursday filed to become a public company and revealed that its revenue more than doubled last year.
According to the filing, Coinbase had net revenue of $1.14 billion in 2020, up from $483 million the previous year. The company also reported net income of $322 million for the year after posting a loss in 2019.

Additionally, Coinbase reported about $136 million in other revenue, which includes direct sales of crypto assets and interest income, pushing its total revenue for the year above $1.2 billion.
The company said it has 43 million verified users as of the end of 2020, with 2.8 million making monthly transactions. Trading in bitcoin and ethereum made up 56% of users’ trading volume, Coinbase said.
The company will use a direct listing to offer its shares instead of a traditional initial public offering.
A direct listing is an alternative to an IPO, and it involves investors and employees converting their ownership stakes into stock that’s listed on an exchange.
Founders have become increasingly disenchanted with the IPO process in recent years, leading to a boom in direct listings and special purpose acquisition vehicles. Streaming music giant Spotify also went public through a direct listing.

The move comes amid a boom in cryptocurrencies broadly, with bitcoin in particular gaining more acceptance among mainstream companies and investors. Large companies including Square and Tesla have been buying bitcoin in recent months.
Bitcoin was trading at just under $52,000 per coin on Thursday, according to coin metrics. The crypto asset had never traded above $20,000 prior to December.
Coinbase listed potential price declines in bitcoin as one of its risk factors.
“Our net revenue is substantially dependent on the prices of crypto assets and volume of transactions conducted on our platform. If such price or volume declines, our business, operating results, and financial condition would be adversely affected,” the filing said.
Coinbase’s stock would trade on the Nasdaq.

Covid vaccine passports are being considered. And health experts and rights groups are deeply concerned

A passenger using a face mask shows her passport and boarding pass to an employee in a security checkpoint at El Dorado International Airport in Bogota on September 1, 2020.
DANIEL MUNOZ | AFP | Getty Images

LONDON — Public health officials and civil liberty organizations are urging policymakers to resist calls for coronavirus vaccine passports, at a time when many countries are in the process of reviewing whether to introduce digital passes.
The U.S., U.K. and European Union are among those considering whether to introduce a digital passport that will allow citizens to show they have been vaccinated against Covid-19.

The certificate system could be used for traveling abroad, as well as to grant access to venues such as restaurants and bars.
It is thought a digital passport could help stimulate an economic recovery as countries prepare to relax public health measures over the coming weeks. The ailing airline industry, hit particularly hard by the spread of the virus last year, is among those calling for governments to usher in legislation that supports Covid vaccine passports.
Physicians and rights groups, however, are deeply concerned.
Dr. Deepti Gurdasani, clinical epidemiologist at Queen Mary University of London, told CNBC via telephone that vaccine passports could inadvertently be used to provide “false assurances” to holidaymakers.
“I can see that they might be useful in the longer term, but I have several concerns about them being considered at this point in time when I think the scientific evidence doesn’t support them. And there are lots of ethical concerns about them that I think are legitimate,” Gurdasani said on Thursday.

Among those scientific concerns, Gurdasani said it is clear the protection coronavirus vaccines offer is “very far” from complete and “we know very little about the effectiveness of vaccines in preventing infection or even asymptomatic disease against several variants circulating in different countries.”
In addition, most countries do not have sufficient access to vaccines in order to immunize their populations, and Gurdasani warned a certificate system akin to vaccine passports would discriminate against those populations “even further.”

Vacation plans

President Joe Biden, on his first full day in office last month, outlined a 200-page national coronavirus pandemic strategy. The plan included a directive for multiple government agencies to “assess the feasibility” of linking Covid shots to international vaccination certificates and producing digital versions of them.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also ordered a review of vaccine passports, while the European Council is due to meet on Thursday to discuss the next steps of the EU’s vaccine rollout and movement across the 27-nation bloc.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Year 11 students during a visit to the Accrington Academy on February 25, 2021 in Lancaster, England. (Photo by Anthony Devlin – WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Anthony Devlin | WPA Pool | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The International Air Travel Association, which represents some 290 airlines from around the world, has seen an increasing number of airlines sign up for its so-called IATA Travel Pass. The initiative is designed to help passengers manage their travel plans and provide airlines and governments with proof that they have been vaccinated or tested for Covid-19.
In a letter seen by EURACTIV, the IATA reportedly called on EU leaders meeting on Thursday to approve vaccine passports and come to an agreement “on the crucial role of secure digital solutions, such as the IATA Travel Pass.” IATA was not immediately available to comment when contacted by CNBC on Thursday.
The World Health Organization is not currently keen on vaccine passports. In a statement published on Jan. 28, WHO officials said governments should “not introduce requirements of proof of vaccination or immunity for international travel as a condition of entry” at present.
The United Nations health agency added: “There are still critical unknowns regarding the efficacy of vaccination in reducing transmission and limited availability of vaccines.”

‘What happens to everyone else?’

A report published by the Economist Intelligence Unit last month projected that the bulk of the adult population of advanced economies would be vaccinated by the middle of next year. In contrast, this timeline extends to early 2023 for many middle-income countries and even as far out as 2024 for some low-income countries.
It underscores the stark divide between high-income and low-income countries when it comes to vaccine access.
“These so-called passports claim they would ensure those who can prove they have coronavirus immunity can start to return to normal life. Which raises the question — what happens to everyone else?” Liberty, the U.K.’s largest civil liberties organization, said in a press release earlier this month.

Airport workers unload a shipment of Covid-19 vaccines from the Covax global Covid-19 vaccination programme, at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, on February 24, 2021.
NIPAH DENNIS | AFP | Getty Images

“Countless suggestions for immunity passports have circulated. Some suggest their use would be limited to international travel — others are less specific. Meanwhile a variety of technologies have been floated, from QR codes to apps or even physical cards,” the statement continued.
“One thing every suggestion has missed is that it’s impossible to have immunity passports which do not result in human rights abuses.”
Big Brother Watch, a U.K.-based rights and democracy group, has also warned against the use of vaccine passports, citing implications on privacy and free movement, among other issues.

What happens next?

In a report published on Feb. 14 by the Science in Emergencies Tasking: Covid-19 (SET-C) group at the Royal Society, the U.K.’s national academy of sciences, university professors outlined 12 issues that would need to be satisfied in order to deliver a vaccine passport.
These included: accommodating for the differences between vaccines in their effectiveness and changes in efficacy against emerging Covid variants, be internationally standardized, be secure for personal data, meet legal standards and meet ethical standards.
“Understanding what a vaccine passport could be used for is a fundamental question — is it literally a passport to allow international travel or could it be used domestically to allow holders greater freedoms?” Professor Melinda Mills, director of the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science at the University of Oxford, said in the report.
“We need a broader discussion about multiple aspects of a vaccine passport, from the science of immunity through to data privacy, technical challenges and the ethics and legality of how it might be used,” Mills said.