How this car company might become Tesla’s biggest competitor

About Fatu
By Fatu Ogwuche

Top of Mind. Happy Sunday and a big welcome to all the new subscribers this week. It’s an honour to have you join us. Welcome to the party 🙂

This week’s top stories signal a major evolution in the world – Tesla might have a significant competitor. Some internet friends nearly bought the US constitution, and a Nigerian startup is doing what needs to be done.

Let’s get into it:

3 big things:

  • Rivian is the world’s 3rd most valuable automaker
  • The DAO that nearly bought the US constitution
  • Nestcoin wants you to understand crypto

How this car company might become Tesla’s biggest competitor

The short: Rivian, the electric truck maker backed by Jeff Bezos and Ford, has become the third most valuable carmaker in the world after its recent IPO. 

What it means: Just a week after going public, the electric carmaker’s share price more than doubled – it debuted at $78 and sold for $159 a share on Tuesday.

Rivian is now valued at $140 billion, ahead of Volkswagen ($139 billion) and trailing only Toyota ($306 billion) and Tesla ($1 trillion). 

Big picture: How is a car company with no current revenue worth $140billion? You can look at Rivian’s superpower in three ways – government tax incentives and subsidies to support the manufacture of green vehicles, a wide-open market for SUV electric vehicles and Amazon’s 20% stake in the company.

It’s not all rosy as Rivian could lose $1.3billion this year as it begins delivering trucks, but it already has 155,400 pre-orders from Amazon and retail investors. They will be alright.

Betting big on Rivian: Rivian’s appeal is its focus on utility over luxury. It manufactures SUVs and pick-up trucks specifically – centring the company as a pioneer of SUVs in the EV market.

Plus, Rivian’s greatest success or failure will be its ability to generate demand in a saturated Tesla & Ford F-150 world, and if they succeed in generating demand – meeting that demand and delivering vehicles. Let’s check-in again in 2025 to see how Rivian is doing.

Tesla vs Rivian: A rivalry between Tesla and Rivian would most likely be proxy wars between Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. Bezos is Rivian’s number 1 fan – he chose Rivian trucks to drive him and his astronauts to the West Texas launch site as he headed to Space, and we know how Elon feels about Bezos. 

Final thoughts: I like Rivian’s CEO, RJ Scaringe. His singular focus on building Rivian for the last 12 years is why it’s successful. The R1T would end up being my first EV purchase. I love Tesla’s, but I love pick-up trucks better. So I’m rooting for Rivian, and I hope they become a formidable competitor in the EV market.

ConstitutionDAO nearly bought the US constitution

US Constitution | Credit: Oswego

The short: ConstitutionDAO, a group of 17,000 crypto investors and internet friends, raised $46 million worth of ether in a week to bid for a rare, 1787 first-edition copy of the U.S Constitution during a Sotheby’s auction. They lost.

What are DAOs: DAOs are Decentralised Autonomous Organisations or, as Cooper Turley puts it – “a DAO is an internet community with a shared bank account.” It has no conventional management structure. It’s built on blockchain technology, and smart contracts and votes are used to make decisions. 

Why it matters: The auctioned constitution was one of the surviving copies and the first time in 33 years that any of these copies would be put up for auction.

If ConstitutionDAO were successful in bidding for the constitution, the investors would get a governance token according to their crypto contributions – which empowers them with voting rights to decide the future of the historical document and where it’s displayed.

The issues: ConstitutionDAO’s strength was its weakness. It encountered complications due to its decentralised organisational structure, which makes doing business – as an eligible bidder – complicated with Sotheby’s. In addition, it couldn’t guarantee a KYC for a spread of investors across the internet.

In light of the lost bid – eventually won by hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin, investors were provided with a refund option, exclusive of transaction fees.

Big Picture: DAOs are making acquisition plays for real-world assets. A copy of Wu-Tang’s Clan album was purchased by PleasrDAO for $4million worth of cryptocurrency last month. There are big possibilities for a lot more acquisitions by DAOs in the future, which would potentially disrupt traditional structures as we know them.

Final thoughts: Probably not a good idea to let other bidders know your maximum bidding price. It was easy for Ken Griffin to outbid ConstitutionDAO with this knowledge. But, the beautiful thing about this feat is a group of anonymous people on the internet pooled $46million in a few days for a cause – this is the story.

So many possibilities in this space. It’s an exciting time.

Nestcoin wants to help you understand crypto

Nestcoin image | Credit: Nestcoin

The short: An exciting new company Nestcoin, plans to drive cryptocurrency adoption in Africa, starting from Nigeria.

Why it matters: 55% of Nigerians do not use cryptocurrency because of all the jargon. The knowledge gap makes it hard to scale or entice new adopters of Web3 technology.

Nestcoin would expand the knowledge of cryptocurrency and other Web3 concepts to enable more participation across the continent – through products spanning DeFi, media, digital art and gaming. 

By the numbers: According to Chainalysis, African countries experienced a 1200% growth, with an influx of $105.6 billion worth of cryptocurrency transactions between July 2020 and June 2021.

While the region is considered one of the fastest adopters of crypto, this number pales compared to other regions as it makes up only 3% of the total value of crypto in the world. Yikes.Final thoughts: I signed up to Nestcoin’s Breach Club, which offers explainers on navigating all things crypto. If you’ve ever wondered about what Web3 all means, sign up. It’s a great start.

New feature spotlight!

Spotify lyrics | Credit: Engadget

New Feature Alert: Spotify has announced a new Lyrics feature available for its users globally. This feature is available to use for Free and Premium users.

How this works: Using this feature depends on how you access Spotify:

  • For mobile users, swipe up from the “Now Playing” screen, which shows the track’s lyrics in real-time.
  • While on a desktop app, click on the microphone icon.
  • The lyrics button to toggle is at the top-right corner of the “Now Playing” screen on the TV app. 

Verdict: This feature has been a long time coming—no more trips to Google searching for song lyrics. Shout out to Spotify for this!


That’s it for the week. See you next Sunday!

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