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How Big Tech Corporations are Profiting from the Covid-19 Pandemic

As a Global Recession looms over the Global Economy,  Tech Giants rake billions in Revenue during COVID-19 Pandemic.



As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic painfully kills innocent individuals globally, it seems to be taking powerful blows at the global economy, knocking down start-ups without the financial wherewithal to stand against its powerful blows.

As the human toll grows, the economic damage rises. Global Economic Prospects reports: “COVID-19 has triggered the deepest global recession in decades.” According to the baseline forecast, an estimate of future demand based historical demand global GDP is expected to see a 5.2% drop in 2020. 

However, governments of  different countries are taking steps to contain the human and economic impact of COVID-19. Côte d’Ivoire, for example, declared a state of emergency after its first confirmed case was recorded on March 12 2020. Schools, nightclubs, bars, and theatres were closed. 

As the containment measures were relaxed and normal economic activities continued, the regional central bank, BCEAO (Central Bank For West African States) and  West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), according to the IMF, began a collateral framework, to help refinance 1,700 private companies. Also banks and microfinance institution customers who had trouble servicing their debts as a result of the Pandemic were given a 3 months window without the need to service their debts and without incurring any penalties.

In Ghana, the MPC (Monetary Policy Committee) provided relief funds for small  depository institutions. 

 Nigeria’s  CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria), created a N50 billion ($139 million) targeted stimulus package to support households and MSMEs impacted by the heavy blows of the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

Despite these efforts, the Pandemic still plunges the global economy into a tragic recession. It becomes apparent that COVID-19 will leave lasting scars as human lives are lost, and as the globe plunges into an economic downturn. The cost of the Pandemic has been put at $2 trillion globally

As the Pandemic ripples through the USA with about 5.2 million confirmed cases (as at 12th August)  unemployment reaches an all time high. In the UK, the worst quarterly fall since Q3 of 1979, was recently recorded. 

In more vulnerable economies, the impact is bad and is bound to get worse. As Nigeria sluggishly recuperates from the 2014 oil price shock, another steep decline in oil prices undermines the little progress made in 6 years. The budget for the 2020 fiscal year was prepared with significant revenue projections of about 20%, but the realities of COVID-19 have called for a review of expected earnings. 

As the pandemic knocks out businesses and cripples industries, some businesses are, however, thriving.

Amazon, Facebook, Zoom, etc are all witnessing tremendous growth as a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic

One of these businesses is Amazon. It announced a profit of $5.2 billion for the 1st quarter. Ironically, the US  announced an economic growth collapse on that same day. Macy’s and Niemen Marcus, retailers like Amazon, have laid off workers in their thousands. 

Facebook saw a 10% increase in revenue, $18.3 billion in the second quarter.  Apple surpassed Wall Street expectations with a revenue of $59.7 billion. 

Popular video conferencing app; Zoom, recorded great revenue as the customer base grew by 354%. $328.2 million was recorded as the company’s revenue in Q1 of year 2020. 

Popular content streaming service also recorded some very interesting numbers. It added 15.77 million International subscribers massively surpassing the 7.2 million predicted by Wall Street. With over 182 million subscribers worldwide, the company saw a $5.77 quarterly revenue. 

Restriction to movement has been a major reason for the huge turn overs recorded by these businesses. Internet usage increased by 70%, while streaming went up by 12%. 

People look to the internet for entertainment, connection, income generation and the likes. 

WhatsApp has seen 40% increase in usage. As ability to socialize physically reduces, these platforms provide an opportunity for humans to keep in touch. 

As the Pandemic deals severely with economies, households and small businesses, tech giants profit off our desire to remain sane through the pandemic.

Are they all Winners? 

It is not all fireworks and celebrations for every tech company. While some have been raking in big bucks because people have been stuck in their houses, others  thrive on people actually leaving their houses, and quite a few companies are in this situation.

Uber: Uber Technologies Inc., popularly known as Uber, has not been recording impressive numbers, unlike its other tech counterparts. 

The ride-hailing app has seen a major decline in active customers. Uber now has an average of 55 million customers each month since the pandemic, a massive drop from 99 million last year. 

When the lockdown was at its worst, Uber had an 80% decline in business. 3,500 employees were laid off over a “Zoom Call” by  the company as a cutting-cost measure. Though the medium of delivering such a sensitive subject has been considered callous by some, it shows how badly the Pandemic hit the company.

In spite of the fact that the company’s ride hailing business has been slow with fewer people booking rides, the company’s food delivery service recorded a boom during the pandemic. As its core business dropped, Uber concentrated on its food delivery business to alleviate the core business beatdown.

Airbnb: The online marketplace for vacation homes, took some heavy blows from the pandemic. Apparently, the hit was so bad that it had to lay off employees. 

“We are collectively living through the most harrowing crisis of our lifetime, and as it began to unfold, global travel came to a standstill,” CEO Brian Chesky tells employees

Airbnb had to freeze hiring and cut executives’ salaries. The Wall Street journal reported that the company had already lost $322 million last year after ramping up spending due to 2018’s profit. 

Laid off workers received one year health care, 14 weeks of base pay, one additional week for every year they worked at Airbnb. 

Both sides to the COVID-19 Pandemic are just as brutal. Human losses are devastating, and economic losses are just as terrible. Though reports come in numbers and statistics, the pain, however, is inestimable. 


Bolu Abiodun is a recent graduate of Theatre and Media Arts, Federal University Oye-Ekiti. A journalist with over a year's experience on the job. A former editor at American Media company Project Forward, he is a skilled content creator, social media manager and digital marketer.

Crypto Assets

Crypto prices drop as global market fear increases



Top cryptocurrency prices have fallen amidst a drop in stocks and fears over China’s Evergrande debt crisis. In the last 24hour, Bitcoin dropped from $47,772 to $42,630 shedding about 8.58%. this is the lowest in price since another bull run began on Sept 5 after the April crash.

El- Salvador’s President, Nayib Bukele sees the fall as an opportunity to invest more. Recall that the country adopted Bitcoin as a legal tender on September 7. Despite the adoption, the price of Bitcoin has fallen by almost 14% since then.

Other coins have experienced dramatic crashes within the last 24hours. Solana, a coin that has experienced 355% growth within the last 3 months fell from $162 to $130 shedding about 11.39% within the last 24hours. Solana’s fall may be categorized by the 17-hour outage which the founder, Anatoly Yakovenko said was caused by bots “flooding the networks”

Ethereum fell by 9.37% while Dogecoin and Axie Infinity fell by 11.22% and 14.14% respectively within the last 24hrs hours. While crypto experiences dark Monday, El-Salvador keeps investing more money in Bitcoin.

A look at the global market

The global market is experiencing fear due to the Evergrande debt crisis. A report published by the University of Michigan shows that consumer’s sentiment is beginning to decline. This trend alone may impact the crypto market as well.

On the other hand, the global market downturn must have been spurred by the Evergrande debt crisis. The company grew to be one of China’s biggest companies by borrowing more than $300bn. Last year, Beijing made rules to control the debt owed by big real estate developers. This led Evergrande to offer its properties at major discounts to raise more money to keep the business afloat. Right now, the company is struggling to meet the interest on payment of debts.

Why would it matter if Evergrande fails?

The collapse of the multi-million dollars company would affect the global market; including the crypto market. Many people bought properties from Evergrande and they expect to make gains. If Evergrande falls, crypto investors will be forced to withdraw more money to keep their business running without the means to invest more. When one business fails, the other gets affected indirectly. This also applies to other firms that do businesses with Evergrande.

The potential impact on China’s financial system is another effect of Evergrande’s fall. In his statement to BBC, Mattie Berkink, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), said that “the financial fallout would be far-reaching. Evergrande reportedly owes money to around 171 domestic banks 121 other financial firms” if the company fails, other lenders or businesses may be forced to lend less. Thereby leading to a credit crunch- a situation where companies struggle to borrow money.


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Bitcoin in Africa

The rise of CBDC in African economies



Many nations have taken cues from the world of crypto and its resounding successes over the last decade. In order to avoid getting left behind, governments worldwide are increasingly turning their attention towards implementing some form of digital currency, a CBDC which in full is Central Bank Digital Currency. Although inspired by cryptocurrencies, CBDC’s are quite different from traditional crypto platforms. The main differences are that CBDC’s are unlikely to be decentralized, the supply of this currency regulated by the host’s country’s central bank as the CBDC is designed to operate as a sovereign legal tender, the digitized form of the host country’s fiat currency. Thus, a central bank may issue digitized tokens of its currency of which their value is pegged to the fiat currency of the nation in question, making CBDC’s stablecoins.

Africa has seen a rise in the use of cryptocurrencies and it’s still pushing frontiers in this sector. Although the use of crypto in many African nations is becoming more and more pervasive by the day, the tone of governments in many of these countries toward the sector is cautious at best and threatening at worst. However, a few nations have voiced interests in creating digitized versions of their legal tender to function as a CBDC. Amongst these are Ghana, Nigeria, Morocco, Kenya and Tunisia.

Many of these projects are still in the research phase or developmental phase however. A good example is Ghana’s proposed CBDC, the E-cedi being developed in partnership with German company, Giesecke + Devrient. Nigeria’s CBDC project, the eNaira has been announced and according to Nigeria’s central bank, this CBDC will be launched sometime in 2021. To that end, the CBN has partnered with fintech company, Bitt Inc. to serve as the technical partner in the eNaira’s development. Reportedly, the CBN had made the decision to digitize the Nigerian Naira in 2017.

While the pursuance of digital currencies in African nations is a welcome development, implementation of these schemes isn’t without challenges. Chief among the issues countries in Africa face would be the already existing financial service inequality and poor penetration of internet access in the continent. These challenges must be tackled in order to allow for mainstream adoption of CBDCs and the subsequent provision of financial inclusion. The benefits largely depend on the peculiarities of the nation deploying them. For instance, a digital currency is thought to help Nigeria increase foreign remittances, it’s second largest source of forex after oil. Whatever the outcome of these projects, it is becoming apparent that CBDC’s have come to stay.

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Decentralize Brief

Bitcoin trades above $51k ahead of El Salvador’s adoption



Bitcoin growth

Bitcoin price has rallied above $51,000 ahead of El Salvador’s adoption. The immediate surge in price may be due to the social media campaign that everyone should buy sats of Bitcoin to support El Salvador’s plan to make the coin a legal tender or it may be due to the news of El Salvador’s adoption of the coin as a legal tender on September 7. Users of social media platforms like Twitter and Reddit are discussing how they will buy Bitcoin of $30 each to mark the new El Salvador Bitcoin law.

The surge in Bitcoin’s price began in the last 24hrs with the price rallying around $51,955 with a 3.37% increase. This is an all-time high after the April crash that brought the price of Bitcoin from $64k down to $28k. The move by El Salvador to be the first country that accepts Bitcoin as a legal tender and the social media campaign that leads to a surge in price ahead September 7 are a repetition of events that occurred late last year and early this year with regards to institutional investors and how the price of Bitcoin skyrocketed.

El Salvador, a country in Central America, has been preparing heavily to adopt Bitcoin by installing ATMs to allow citizens to convert the token into US dollars. Last week, the country’s Legislative Assembly passed a law to allow for the creation of a $150m Trust to support the conversion of Bitcoins to US dollars.

To promote the use of Bitcoin, the government states that it will give the adult population of El Salvador $30 in Bitcoin once they download “Chivo” the wallet issued by the government. This was confirmed by the Finance Minister, Alejandro Zelaya.

What this means for Bitcoin investors

Apart from the adoption by Salvadorians, on-chain analytics show that Bitcoin is in high demand. The fourth halving that occurred will make Bitcoin become a scarce token in the nearest future. Thereby increasing the price sporadically.

With El Salvador’s interest in Bitcoin, other countries are likely to follow suit- Panama is considering following El Salvador’s lead. History will repeat itself as this development will serve as another crypto rout that occurred early this year when Tesla and MicroStrategy announced their support for Bitcoin.

El Salvador’s new law allows the use of Bitcoin as a legal tender it can be used to buy goods, pay for taxes and bank loans. This means more demand for Bitcoin, with the fourth halving that occurred, it means less supply. A common rule of economics for demand and supply will apply. Prices are projected to keep rising. At the time of writing this report, Bitcoin is trading at $51,839 with a projection of $52k before the end of today and higher tomorrow when Salvadorians begin to use the token.

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