2022 has been a year of multiple crises, new challenges and drastic changes in many areas. It didn’t all go well: Elon Musk has been and is being clowned around, Sam Bankman-Fried is in jail, and no one wants to go into the Metaverse – either willingly or unwillingly. We show which failures are still remembered.
Elon Musk and the takeover of Twitter
Finally, the community should pull the trigger: Elon Musk finally bought Twitter in 2022 after a long legal dispute – only to realize that he was not well received everywhere. Musk hired staff, people who disagreed and commented on the madness in real time on Twitter. The final vote took place there in December: Should Elon Musk remain CEO of Twitter? Clear answer: no. It can go so fast: from the supposed savior of free speech to the increasingly crazed leading man in one of the greatest antics of all time. It remains to be seen how Twitter will continue in 2023.
Elon Musk himself voted for the job of CEO of Twitter – and it’s not looking good
Terra/LUNA: The Crypto Industry’s Lehman Brother Moment
It was the crypto industry’s ‘Lehman Brother’ moment: the Terra USD (UST) stablecoin and related LUNA token crashed in days – and left a roughly $60 billion hole in May in the world of crypto. Then the avalanche started rolling and also hit crypto fund Three Arrows Capital (3AC), Voyager Digital, BlockFi, Celsius Network or Nuri. The collapse was triggered by questionable sales of UST tokens – and US authorities are investigating whether FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried himself could be behind it.
Terra Collapse: This is how the attack on LUNA and UST unfolded
FTX: From crypto billionaire to tax cheat
Sam Bankman-Fried will also have a rather ugly Christmas vacation: from crypto billionaire to port brother – someone has to copy him first. As a reminder, funds from the crypto exchange FTX were paid into a hedge fund owned by Bankman-Fried. The fund’s capital, in turn, was mostly held in FTT, a cryptocurrency that FTX issued for next to nothing. Means: The founder transferred customers’ money into his own pocket. It didn’t last long: when customers wanted to withdraw the money they had invested, the stock market imploded and had to file for bankruptcy. Sam Bankman-Fried, meanwhile, was charged with fraud after being arrested in the Bahamas on December 12.
FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried Accused of Conspiring to Multibillion-Dollar Fraud
The metaverse remains empty
Imagine it’s Metaverse – and no one goes there. In allusion to a well-known song title, the sad existence of Decentraland and Co must not go unnoticed here. It all started so well: Mark Zuckerberg and Co want to see us meeting friends on the internet in the future, just like in the movie with virtual avatars and virtual reality. Meta gained strong support and gave concerts in their own Horizon World. It’s just stupid: it wasn’t really well received, a complete (virtual) house looks different. The EU, on the other hand, thought there had to be a better way – it certainly could, but not if the goal is to get young people interested in the EU. Too little partying, too much politics. A total of six (!) users did not want to miss the 380,000 euro party.
Decentraland: a gaping void in the blockchain metaverse
Start-up policy: Austria with potential for improvement
The “State of European Tech Report 2022” by the Scandinavian VC Atomico and its partners has established itself in recent years as a testimony for Europe in terms of startups and tech investments. It also includes an overview of the status quo of startup policies in European countries. Austria fares poorly: the word “Austria” appears 4 times in the 115 pages of the report and three mentions refer to three charts. These aim to show what reforms countries have put in place to promote the start-up and tech sectors. There are only two ticks for Austria: the Alpine republic receives a tick for state start-up funding (e.g. equity, grants, loans), a second tick in the Reform of the Immigration/Visa. Otherwise, Austria is conspicuous by its absence. national labor law, employee participation (“stock options”), measures for more diversity, administrative simplifications for start-ups, public procurement, public funds of funds, pension fund reforms, tax incentives for investments, IPOs and capital market? nothing.
Poor testimony of Austrian start-up policy in the “State of European Tech Report”
NFT: in the downward spiral
2022 has not been a year for the crypto market (see also FTX and Terra sections). As a result, it wasn’t a year for digital art either: after NFTs had been on everyone’s lips in the previous months, there were hardly any chants at the end of this year. . The bored yacht club monkey has disappeared from the media public, but the number of critics is growing rapidly. According to the analysis platform “Dune”, trading volumes on NFT platforms exceeded one billion US dollars per day at the beginning of the year. In the middle of the year, the volume was around 20-30 million US dollars. The main reason for this: the fall in the price of Ethereum, which saw a price loss of more than 70% over the year.
Big losses: the NFT market is down
COP 27: This is not how we save the climate
Reactions after the end of the climate summit oscillated between honest disappointment, bewilderment and anger. For two weeks, politicians negotiated the future of the planet – and ultimately had to come up with many compromises. Yes, there is now (or soon) a compensation fund for the poorest countries and yes, stricter procedures have been decided in some sub-points. However, the great sword of Damocles “fossil fuels” remains: The release of these same energies has clearly failed, too many states held back. What remains is a climate summit largely sponsored by Coca-Cola, a much-cited missed opportunity and assurances that things will be better in the coming year. We are currently heading towards at least 2.5 degrees Celsius of global warming.
COP27 climate conference: The great concern around the 1.5 degree target
Large-scale job cuts: thousands of employees have been laid off
Bitpanda had to lay off around 30% of its workforce in 2022, and many other crypto exchanges even more. GoStudent has also been affected recently: the tutoring unicorn expelled around 200 people. “To inform almost half of the workforce a few days before Christmas that the change of year will bring unemployment is a fatal procedure. If management has gone too far in its expansion efforts, then cutting jobs cannot be the first alternative,” said Barbara Teiber, president of the GPA union. The announcement came as no surprise, however: Internationally, many scale-ups have cut jobs, from Klarna to Tesla to Stripe.
GPA union: GoStudent lays off more than 200 employees
Too little funding for female startups
90% of all start-up funding in Austria goes to men or all-male founding teams. All in all, the money is not diminishing: in the first half of 2022, more capital than ever before flowed into Austrian start-ups. The only thing is that the cast still doesn’t match. “More than nine euros out of ten invested” would go to the male founding teams, explains Florian Haas of EY. The proportion of female founders is around one-fifth, and even lower in the investor sector.
‘Extraordinarily awful’: Women’s teams only get 1% of startup investments
Decline in European investments
In the first half of 2022, investment in technology companies in Europe exceeded the value of the previous year by 4%. But it didn’t stop there: in the second half of the year, however, investments fell significantly and stabilized at US$85 billion. They are therefore well below the record of the previous year (more than 100 billion US dollars). The value of listed and private European tech companies has fallen by more than $400 billion since the start of the year, bringing the total value of the ecosystem to $2.7 trillion from its peak (3.1 trillion dollars) at the end of 2021. The US dollar has fallen. In 2022, “only” 31 new unicorns were created, compared to 105 in 2021. Not a classic failure, but a noticeable drop nonetheless.
Investment in European tech companies plummeted, two-thirds fewer new unicorns