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First Move with Julia Chatterley
Aired 9-10a ET
Aired May 27, 2021 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR: Live from New York I'm Julia Chatterley, this is this First Move and here's your need to know. Lab leak, President Biden
demands a COVID origin investigation, Beijing's not happy.
Big oil, big toil, Exxon, Chevron and Shell told to do more to protect the planet. Wind beneath its wings, America's newest air line gets ready to
take off. And -
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHATTERLEY: Singapore made a literal (inaudible) dance of its vaccine drive but is it working. It's Thursday, let's make a move.
It worked for me definitely. A warm welcome to all of our First Movers around the globe, great to be with you for another busy show. Coming up the
Foreign Minister of Singapore on managing COVID and cancelling this summer's planned World Economic Forum meeting. And breezing (ph) by First
Move the CEO of new low cost digital savvy air line, Breeze Airways.
And we'll be discussing crypto currency strategy with the CEO of Microstrategy, Michael Saylor. Remember he was one of the first proponents
of Bitcoin on the balance sheet and also the architect of the recent Musk versus Bitcoin miners meeting. All that just ahead.
But first, U.S. stocks trying to move higher as the investors digest the latest U.S. economic data. This past week's U.S. jobless claims hitting a
fresh pandemic low (inaudible) as you can see just that 4,000 person level, it's still high but as I say a pandemic low.
Fed Chair - Fed Vice Chair meanwhile, Randal Quarles, the latest central bank member to suggest it might be time to discuss slowing or tapering, is
the word we use, it's (ph) called stimulus support. Discussing less support though isn't the same as doing it of course. And perhaps the feared tapered
tantrum has already happened when yields - bond yields took a big leg higher earlier this year. In other words less stimulus may be already
factored in at least as far as the bond markets are concerned.
But persistently higher prices isn't, China warning that industrial profits slowed in April due to the soaring commodity prices which Beijing
of course has vowed to tame. All this as the U.S. and China hold informal trade talks with prices as well as the pandemic in focus.
Let's get to the drivers, and an origin order, U.S. President Joe Biden has told intelligence agencies to ramp up efforts to determine where COVID came
from. He has given them 90 days to investigate. The fresh pressure comes after reports that Wuhan lab workers were taken ill as early as November
John Harwood joins us now. John, great to have you with us. Perhaps no surprise on this in light of the ongoing and brewing criticism of the
Health Organization's investigation that Chinese scientists helped to write of course. What do we make of this decision and the investigation to come?
JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well I think, Julia, this has been building over time. Remember from the outset of the COVID pandemic it
was clear that the Chinese were not providing transparency and visibility into what was going on. Remember they kept American scientists from the CDC
out of Wuhan as they were offered to come assist early in the pandemic.
But then we got caught up in the pandemic and President Trump, who was trying to make a trade deal praised Chinese handling of this. Then later
when it got worse he went after China. But more than anything else American politicians at the state and federal level were caught up in trying to deal
with the pandemic. Now that we're emerging from it, now that we've seen that international investigation that was plainly overly influenced by
China and China's obstruction of visibility; now the pressure is mounting for a more transparent look at this.
And so President Biden responded to that pressure yesterday by making public the disagreement within the intelligence community from a review
that had been underway since he became president and now he's trying to ramp up that review and day we want to get more information and see if we
can come to a firmer conclusion about what exactly happened.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. And there will be those that look at this and say it's just way too late. If the World Health Organization's investigation was too
late to establish facts about what happened, then this investigation is late but at least it's coming now.
Obviously Beijing's response is punchy. The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson saying this fully shows that the U.S. does not care about
facts and truth at all and is not interested in serious, scientific origin tracing, but wants to use the pandemic to engage in stigmatization and
political manipulation and shift blame.
Not auspicious timing, John, for when the beginning of trade talks take place. At least the beginnings of the two nations coming back together and
working out what to do about the existing challenges, of course, handed over from the Trump administration.
HARWOOD: It's not at all auspicious and it reflects the stakes for China. If it -- if it actually emerges that what happened here and there's a
significant belief among some who've looked at this closely that this is what happened, if it was incompetence and poor protocols at a Chinese lab
that was exploring the coronavirus that is a significant blow to the prestige of China given the immense worldwide consequences of this
And so they have a lot of interest in trying to obscure the origins of this. And it is going to be a challenge. They may have engaged in the
scientific equivalent of obstruction of justice by getting rid of the samples that would tell us more about this.
And that will, in fact, flavor, color the trade talks that the administration is in the process of undertaking and the administration may
be reluctant to remove some of those tariffs even if they thing they're -- they have not been particularly beneficial in terms of altering the
relationship. It will be more difficult for them to remove them the longer China drags its feet and the longer they obstruct.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, can't separate any of these issues. John Harwood, that's politics. Thank you for that.
OK, Facebook responding to news that the investigation into the pandemic's origins. The firm will no longer remove posts on the site that claim COVID-
19 was manmade. Brian Stelter joins us live. Brian, great to have you with us. I mean this is extraordinary.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
CHATTERLEY: If I were talking about this yesterday I was a conspiracy theorist and now on Facebook I'm perfectly legit.
STELTER: That is the message from Facebook. And it shows how murky the world of misinformation and disinformation can be. Sometimes these
incredibly complex scientific issues cannot be summarized by a simple, single fact check.
And yet last year there were attempts to fact-check. There were attempts to debunk theories when this was really about a murky, unknown, unproven,
unclear area and unclear subject that Facebook and other platforms were trying to make clear.
Here's the statement from Facebook overnight that explains this change in policy. They say, in light of ongoing investigations into the origin of
COVID-19 and in consultation with public health experts we will no longer remove the claim that COVID is manmade from our apps. We are continuing to
work with health experts to keep pace with the evolving nature of the pandemic and regularly update out policies as new facts and trends emerge.
Look, I think Facebook and other platforms were coming at this with good intentions, trying to weed out actual disinformation. Trying to remove
actual conspiracy theories from their platforms, especially in those very scary days in the spring of 2020.
However, we can see in this situation, in this instance how difficult it can be to be arbiters of truth, especially when the truth really isn't
known and it's not actually fact checkable, Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, it's so tough isn't it? And you risk breaking trust with people who now look at this and say, hey, were silenced and we were
censored. And hey, we were right all the time. Or at least there wasn't such a black and white on this and there is a gray area. It is a huge
challenge and --
CHATTERLEY: -- I agree with you. This shows it. Although I have to say, the skeptics will look at this and say Facebook has dragged its feet in the
past and it was completely on the front foot in light of the news of this investigation because it means they have to do less work at least on this
STELTER: Right, that's -- right, because they won't be removing the content. Yes. But they also cite public health experts. They say they're
speaking with experts on this. But again, the experts aren't always right either.
You know, this is a situation, a pandemic that defies simple black and white rules and that makes it even more challenging for these big tech
platforms that increasingly are the arbiters of truth whether they want to be or not.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. Super, super tough. Pandora's box. Brian Stelter great to have your wisdom. Thank you.
At least two ExxonMobil directors have been ousted after a battle with an activist investor. The vote is being held as a landmark in the climate
change battle. And comes as a Dutch court orders Shell to cut carbon emissions more aggressively.
Matt Egan is here with more. I don't think we can understate how massive, massive what happened yesterday is, not just for ExxonMobil, but for the
entire sector. Start there Matt, because this is going to mean fundamental changes now I think that ExxonMobil has to take to do more to address its
efforts on investing in more renewable energies rather than fossil.
MATT EGAN, CNN BUSINESS JOURNALIST: Yes Julia, that's right. I mean this was a brutal day for big oil and a momentous one for the pro climate
campaign. I mean, let's think about what just happened with Exxon Mobile.
Engine No 1, a hedge fund that did not even exist a year ago just scored a major victory over America's largest and most powerful oil company. And we
know that some of these board fights are sometimes they're driven by demands for the company to return more money to shareholders or to, you
know, cut costs. This one really was largely about Exxon dragging its feet on the climate crisis.
And so, that's why this is a key milestone. It's the first proxy battle at a major U.S. company where the case for change was really all about this
shift away from fossil fuels. And, you know, it's not just about these board seats.
We know that Engine No 1 has won two. It's too close to call in the other two, so they could end up having won all four, we don't know yet. But we do
know that a majority of Exxon shareholders they backed a proposal calling for the company to be more transparent about how its lobbying activities
align with the Paris Climate Agreement, that's a big deal.
Now climate was clearly the elephant in the room at this virtual Exxon shareholder meeting. But let's not forget, I mean, Exxon has been
struggling financially. They were sort of vulnerable to a rebellion. I mean, this is a company that was the world's largest just as recently as
2013 by market value, but it's lost nearly $200 billion in market cap since then.
It was kicked out of the Dow last summer. It has rebounded this year, but clearly it has been struggling.
The other thing, Julia, is you know, we also saw significant news at the Chevron annual meeting. Shareholders they supported a proposal calling for
Chevron to cut carbon emissions, including at its products, at some of its products like gasoline. That is a very big deal as well.
I think that these votes, you know, they do send a clear message. Shareholders are demanding that all companies, including U.S. fossil fuel
companies take the climate crisis seriously.
I think the big takeaway is, you know, get real or get out of the way.
CHATTERLEY: You know, I can only imagine the amount of money Exxon spent trying to fight that as well. We're talking millions of dollars I'm sure,
which is why this is all so pivotal.
But I agree with you, there is a brewing sense that shareholders, therefore the boards and the courts, of course, are now all coming together and
saying things have to change. And if financially that costs you, so be it, because the time is now and that's what happened for all Dutch Shell in a -
- in a Dutch court as well yesterday.
EGAN: Yes Julia, that's right. In the Netherlands a court has ordered Shell to move faster than it had planned to cut emissions. They're saying
that Shell must slash its CO2 emissions by 45 percent from -- by 2030, that's off of 2019 levels. This is a very big deal because it's the first
time that a court has ruled a company must comply with the Paris Climate Agreement.
They're also saying that these emissions must include Shell's products, which again, is a big deal. Those are known as scope 3 emissions. The court
said that Shell's emissions, you know, the pose a very serious threat to the citizens of the Netherlands and that the company has a responsibility
Now investors, Julia, you know they took this news in stride. I don't think we saw any dramatic moves in Shell's stock price. So it is possible that
this is very important from a legal standpoint, from a historical precedent standpoint. But it may not have a huge practical impact for Shell, at least
not right away, because the company, of course, is going to appeal.
But there's no doubt that this ruling is going to spark copycat efforts in courts around the world against fossil fuel companies and mining companies
for that matter. And all of this is coming after the influential International Energy Agency just last week they put out that (inaudible)
report calling for the world to stop drilling oil and gas. All of this is a very big deal Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, cut all fossil fuel investment. He was on our show talking about it and it struck a cord with me certainly. And yes, Matt,
while the appeal, build a plan in case you lose. Matt Egan, thank you so much for that.
OK, let me bring you up to speed now with some of the other stories making headlines around the world.
Nine people in California have died following another U.S. mass shooting.
Authorities say a rail yard employee opened fire on the facility before taking his own life on Wednesday. Investigators are still trying to
determine a possible motive.
The European Union has started discussing new economic sanctions against Belarus. It comes days after Belarusian officials forced a passenger plane
to land in Minsk and arrested a dissident onboard. E.U. Foreign Ministers say they want to target financial transactions and some of the county's
most lucrative sectors.
OK, still to come, here on First Move Singapore turns to pop to boost its vaccine drive. We speak to its foreign minister and easy breezy, a new low
cost air line bets it can navigate aviations COVID-19 headwinds. We speak to the CEO. That's all up next stay with us.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to First Move and to Singapore injecting a healthy dose of disco into its vaccination drive, 65 percent of the population has
yet to receive even one dose. And so the government is harnessing the persuasive power of pop to inspire them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Music video playing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHATTERLEY: Joining us now is Vivian Balakrishnan, he's Singapore's Foreign Minister. Minister, fantastic to have you on First Move. I bet that's the
most unique way you've ever been introduced to do an interview.
VIVIAN BALAKRISHNAN, SINGAPOREAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Yes indeed.
CHATTERLEY: I have to say -
BALAKRISHNAN: It's great to see you, Julia.
CHATTERLEY: I watched that and I absolutely loved it. What can I say. Talk to me about plans to get more people vaccinated using this and other
methods of course too.
BALAKRISHNAN: Well it's corny but it's effective.
CHATTERLEY: Loved it.
BALAKRISHNAN: It certainly - (inaudible) got the message out there and got their attention.
CHATTERLEY: Now I mentioned that around two-thirds of people have yet to receive a vaccine. And there has been at least some degree of speculation
that perhaps Singapore's looking to use the U.K. model, perhaps vaccinate people with one dose and have a bigger gap between the second dose. Is that
being considered just to get more people vaccinated quicker?
BALAKRISHNAN: Well actually we've already decided to do that. Our key focus now is to rollout -
BALAKRISHNAN: -- vaccination as quickly as possible. In fact we just aimed (ph) to double the pace of vaccination. Right now, as of today, about 38
percent of Singaporeans have received the first dose. In terms of receiving two doses it's about 29 percent, so about a third of our population which
is not bad. The main limiting factor really is the supplies.
In terms of our infrastructure to deliver and jabs (ph) into arms all that's all in place. I am also very glad to say that we don't have
significant vaccine hesitancy. And you just watched that rather corny video. It's a way of just getting people's attention, explaining it in a
humorous way and yet a very serious message that this is life saving and this is the way we need to get out of this box that COVID-19 has trapped us
in for the last one and a half years.
CHATTERLEY: We certainly all feel it. And I refuse to call it corny, by the way, I loved that video.
BALAKRISHNAN: OK, great, I'll let them know.
CHATTERLEY: How - thank you. How quickly can you get those supplies? You mentioned that this is not a problem of vaccine hesitancy this is simply
having the supplies available. What can you tell us and to tell those Singaporeans watching how quickly they can hope to get either their first
dose or perhaps their second in the future?
BALAKRISHNAN: Well right now we've actually opened the vaccination program to all Singaporeans who are 40 and above. And our next step is that we're
going to offer vaccination to our schools students, the teenagers, following which it'll be open season for everyone in Singapore. So all this
is going to happen within the next two months or so.
So watch this space, you're going to see a great acceleration. But it's worth (ph) taking a step back and to ask why we're in such a hurry. First
point is that COVID-19 unfortunately is a permanent resident in humanity. It's endemic (ph), it's not going to go away ever.
Second point and this is one which we're getting through in fact in Singapore right now is that variants will continue to evolve and will
continue to challenge us. The only thing in the long term is to make sure that the population has immunity at sufficient levels. And there are only
two ways to achieve that. You either get infected, in which case there's a real risk of mortality as we've seen in other parts of the world or
So what we're trying to do right now is double down on vaccination, keep public education going, make sure facts and not misinformation are
available. And then to be able to get on in the next phase with living with this virus which is never going to go away completely. So that's the
strategy. The rest of it is execution. It's really about logistics, it's about planning, it's about communicating, it persuading, reassuring and so
on and so forth.
CHATTERLEY: And sometimes it's about tough decisions and you've done that in the last 24 hours.
CHATTERLEY: You have suspended the Singapore/Hong Kong travel bubble. You've also in recent days made the decision to cancel the World Economic
Forum that was being held in August in Singapore. Is this all out of an abundance of caution?
BALAKRISHNAN: It is an abundance of caution. But I think it's better to lean on that side and to maintain credibility, to maintain the reputation
of our reliability and trust. You know, I mean I can't overstate the case for maintaining trust because again if you project say six months from now,
in six months time the United States would have had the majority of their population vaccinated. It will join countries like Israel and rest of it
Singapore we will certainly be in that league as well. The question then as you open up the global economy is how will travel arrangements resume? Now
the first point I would make with respect here is that we're not going to go back to pre 2020 in the next year or even two, it's going to take time.
Second point is that as countries reach the safer shores (ph) post vaccination I think you'll see some stratification in terms of the travel
arrangements that will be possible between countries or areas which are relatively safer. And we want to make sure we're in that group.
The third point is to understand that this virus is a smart sneaky virus and the situation can very - can fluctuate very, very rapidly. I don't
particularly like bubbles because if you think about it by definition, bubbles are fragile, bubbles can expand and collapse very, very quickly. So
we need to be ready to accept that these will be the arrangements going forward in the next one or two years. Things will be volatile and
arrangements will always be subject to change.
CHATTERLEY: Minister, in light of everything that you just said, do you still feel confident sending your athletes to the Tokyo Olympics? Clearly,
Japan is wrestling with what to do with the Olympics. They're still going ahead at this stage. Do you think a decision needs to be made about perhaps
postponing a game? Perhaps cancelling it? Particularly given --
BALAKRISHNAN: Well --
CHATTERLEY: -- everything you just said and the decisions you're making for your nation and your people?
BALAKRISHNAN: Well clearly we'll have to see what the situation is like closer to the date. But let me say this, I do have confidence in the
Japanese administration. They know what they're doing and I'm sure they will do their best to make sure that they proceed that our all athletes
will be safe. So as of now we're prepared and we'll take all the necessary precautions.
And obviously in the case of the Singapore delegation, I mean, you know that will be vaccinated as well.
BALAKRISHNAN: And in addition to that we will take all the other necessary precautions. I mean the mask wearing, the social distancing, all the
measures that you have to take to make sure you're not in high-risk environments. So precautions can be taken.
The point I'm trying to make is that you've got to accept that this will be a world where you need to be flexible. You will have to take a risk-based
approach. It can be a binary yes, no. It's simple, but it's -- that's not the way the world is going to be.
CHATTERLEY: This is our life now and we have to accept it and we have to deal with it and get on with our --
CHATTERLEY: -- lives too. Foreign Minister, I agree.
CHATTERLEY: Quick question, because in the last 24 hours the U.S. administration is launching an investigation into the origins of COVID. Do
you support that investigation?
BALAKRISHNAN: Well, let me take a stop back. The origin of COVID-19 is of major significance, both scientific and public health. Second point, was we
do need all the facts. And on this score transparency, a radical transparency if need be would be very helpful.
The third point is that we should try to avoid politicizing this question. So much of the tragedies and unnecessary suffering of the last one and half
years frankly has been because the responses have been politicized.
So I hope, you know, and speaking as a doctor myself, I hope that these very important scientific and public health questions can be dealt with
transparently, openly, fairly and in a spirit which adds to human knowledge and makes our world safer rather than gets caught in political blaming.
But let's wait and see. I mean, clearly we have not previewed (ph) all the facts yet and we will have to see where the facts lead us to in due time.
CHATTERLEY: Minister, if we take the politics out of it, and very quickly, is --
CHATTERLEY: -- China capable of, I'll quote you, radical transparency?
BALAKRISHNAN: I hope so. I -- look the Chinese administration is a smart administration. And both for their own public health, domestically, as well
as their reputation internationally, I'm sure they are fully committed to making sure that both they and the rest of the world get to the bottom of
So I would cut them some slack and let's judge on the basis of facts and let's try to be as impartial, in fact, as scientific as possible. And so
that's what I hope, but only time will tell.
CHATTERLEY: Facts first and the science always.
CHATTERLEY: Sir, it's always a pleasure to have you on. And please don't forget to thank however produced the video. We loved it.
BALAKRISHNAN: I will. I'll --
CHATTERLEY: The Foreign Minister of Singapore --
BALAKRISHNAN: -- certainly convey that. Take care Julia. Stay safe.
CHATTERLEY: Thank you. You too. We'll speak soon. Thank you.
OK, we're going to take a break. Up next, protecting the climate in a climate of crypto craze. We meet the CEO tackling the issue of energy use
when it comes to mining digital currencies. Stay with us.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to First Move. U.S. stocks are up and running. This Thursday tech is pretty flat, but the rest of the market trying to
build on Wednesday's gains as fresh corporate news backs up the strong growth scenario.
Take a look at what we're seeing for Airbus, currently up more than 8 percent European trading. The jet makers upping production as demand
improves. Airbus saying the aviation recovery has begun. Boeing also gaining.
Airbus' arch rival has agreed to pay $17 million in U.S. civil penalties to settle 737 jet liners safety issues. Boeing also agreeing to take fresh,
corrective actions to beef up aircraft safety. Clearly they were expecting something slightly larger there.
OK, now to the world cryptocurrencies. We talk about this a lot. Here's just a quick look at the price of Bitcoin over the past 12 months. As you
well know, and we've discussed at endless lengths the last few weeks, in particular have been volatile to say the least. And they took a little bit
of a hit late Wednesday after Iran announced a temporary ban on mining because of the strain it puts on the electricity grid.
Now our next guest has just hosted a meeting between Elon Musk and the top Bitcoin miners in North America, have now agreed to form a council to put
sustainability first. Michael Saylor the CEO of MicroStrategy joins us now.
Michael, it's always fantastic to have you on the show. We can talk about that. Just put it into perspective. What do we need to understand about
some of the choppiness that we've seen in the last three weeks or so?
MICHAEL SAYLOR, CEO MICROSTRATEGY: You know, Bitcoin is maturing as an asset class. So if you look at it over the past 15 months, the liquidity in
Bitcoin is up by a factor of seven, 700 percent. The price is up by 700 percent. On May 18, $13.5 billion in the spot market traded on the Binance
exchange and the price closed 7X more than it was on Black Thursday, which was the biggest trading day of 2020.
So Bitcoin, the question's always been, will institutions embrace it. They have embraced it and although you can write a negative headline, if you
just focus upon the price movement between Saturday of week and Tuesday of the next week, if you actually look out over a 12-month time period the
story is 700 percent increase in liquidity and 700 percent increase in price.
CHATTERLEY: You're saying volatility is the price you pay for investing in nascent technology?
SAYLOR: Yes, we either can have stable stagnation or we can have vitality, a company with volatility. And so, yes, there's some volatility but the
assets performed 10X better than equity for a decade, and 100X better than gold for a decade. And so I'd much rather have the volatility and the
vitality that comes with it.
Better than equity for a decade and 100X better than gold for a decade. And so I'd much rather have the volatility and
CHATTERLEY: It's a longer term investment. Because I guess for most people they can't take that level of volatility their fund performance can't take
that level of volatility. But if you look at it over a longer term horizon the return relative to other assets be it bonds or equities is better.
That's your message?
SAYLOR: You know, Jeff Bezos had conviction in Amazon and Amazon had massive volatility over the 20 years and yet he never waivered in his
belief. And I think that Bitcoin is the same thing. It's a belief in a digital monetary network that's going to empower billions of people with
economic freedom around the world. And if we pay the price of some volatility on that journey, it's a small price to pay.
CHATTERLEY: You know there will those that look at this and say but give me - give me the investment case relative to other next generation crypto
currencies in that regard. What's superior about Bitcoin protocol relative to others?
SAYLOR: Bitcoin is the dominant crypto asset network and if you want a long duration asset that's going to last for 100 years you need to completely
decentralize it and make it permissionless and you need to also thermodynamically embed it in the firmament of the world. And so the
architecture of Bitcoin ensures that it will be embedded in the reality of the laws of physics because it uses energy.
And it also ensures that it will be politically supported because there are actually facilities and political jurisdictions that are supported by those
governments. And in the absence of the Bitcoin mining operations which provide security to this asset, we wouldn't have the political support nor
would we have the link to physical realty and thermodynamic soundness necessary for us to make long terms bets over the course of years and
CHATTERLEY: It's a long time since I studied thermodynamics. I was just trying to process what that means in terms of - in terms of Bitcoin. But
you used the word dominant here. Do you mean just in terms of size and scale? Because to go back to your point about dot.com stocks, I mean
everyone thought Yahoo! was going to be the winner and actually in the end it was - it was Google and Amazon. So how do you know you're betting on the
right horse at this moment?
SAYLOR: Well Amazon is the fastest network to grow to $1 trillion in market value in the history of the world (inaudible).
CHATTERLEY: Yes, but back then we thought Yahoo! was going to be the winner, that's my point. We didn't know back then necessarily that Amazon
was going to be the winner. I just - I don't understand today why we can be so sure that Bitcoin's the winner. I'm just asking that question.
SAYLOR: There's not really -
CHATTERLEY: Help me understand.
SAYLOR: There's no historic precedent for a network that got to hundreds of billions of dollars that was 50 times bigger than its next best competitor
ever failing. I mean you could have predicted Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple as being successful by 2010 because they had already dominated their
markets but they had a decade of growth ahead of them. Bitcoin is more dominant today than any of those companies were when they started their
CHATTERLEY: Are you saying the technology's superior too?
SAYLOR: It is. The architecture is superior, if what you want to do is save money and give it to your children and your grandchildren then you need
something that's sound. And sound starts with thermodynamically sound. So the proof of work architecture is by far the best architecture to design
something that will be decentralized and secure and maintain its integrity over long periods of time.
We can make something more energy efficient but the price we pay is we give up the political support of the jurisdictions that run the mining and we
give us the thermodynamic soundness and we make it a permissioned network where someone and somebody can decide who gets to participate. Bitcoin is
open sound money for the entire world. Everybody gets to participate. It's rules but there's no rulers and that makes a big difference.
CHATTERLEY: So that's interesting. So that leads me to the conversation that you had with Elon Musk and some of the biggest Bitcoin miners. Because
there were a lot of people after that that say hey, we weren't party to the conversation. You're a huge player because you have so much Bitcoin on your
balance sheet and are open about it. Elon Musk can move prices. Obviously the miners are a vital part of this as well.
Michael, what does that represent? What does that call represent and how is that going to change the industry and would you do things differently if
SAYLOR: Elon believes in the power of sound money and he believes in the power of a crypto asset network and he believes in Bitcoin. He also is
enthusiastic about making the world green and promoting sustainable energy. The Bitcoin Miners believe the same thing. I believe the same thing. We
want to be the good guys here. So we met with Elon in order to understand how we could do that together better.
And we wanted to communicate what's really going on in the Bitcoin mining world. And I think the most important thing to know about Bitcoin mining
is, it's the most valuable use of sustainable energy in the world right now. There is no better application or more valuable application for
sustainable energy than Bitcoin. It's also the largest energy recycler on earth today and people don't know that.
I mean the third thing they don't know is the most energy efficient major industry in the world today. Nobody knows that and we need to communicate
that. And finally, it's a very sophisticated industry, but it's getting 10 times more energy efficient in the coming few years.
And so those four stories, they're not there in the -- in the mainstream media. We wanted to talk with Elon about how to -- how to communicate our
message and then also talk about how we could become more transparent in the energy usage and the efficiency of the Bitcoin mining network. Because
it's a -- it's a great thing that's going on. We want to share it with the world.
CHATTERLEY: There will be proponents of other crypto assets that will be screaming as they watch this interview if I don't push back on some of
those statistics but -- or facts. But what I wanted to talk to you about is what we're seeing in China and actually just the news from Iran as well
with the challenges they're having with the electricity grid.
How quickly do you think perhaps mining, which tends to be and we believe is far dirtier that goes on in China and places like Iran, how quickly do
you think that shifts out of those nations an comes to places where it is far more easy, perhaps, to use more renewable sources of energy to power
SAYLOR: You know, I think the industry is maturing. There is clean, renewable energy in China through their hydroelectric dams and it's a great
success story. We're using energy coming off of dams that otherwise would have been wasted and lost forever to the world. There is dirty coal in
China. The Chinese have their own environmental goals and they're working to clean up all of their emissions. And so, it's not surprising to me that
they're driving for clean energy.
In Iran the story is they're shutting down illegal Bitcoin miners and they're supporting legal Bitcoin miners. It's just a regularization or a
normalization of the industry. And I think that there's a dynamic where a lot of hash power will come to the U.S. and will come to other parts of the
The network is fault tolerant, and so it's going to adjust. And clearly as expensive, dirty energy comes offline more and more the hash power switches
to clean, sustainable energy and that's a great thing.
And any jurisdiction that doesn't support mining will drive the hash power to the jurisdictions that do support mining. Bitcoin is a solution to
anybody that has cheap, renewable energy but doesn't have a customer for it. And Bitcoin is the greatest customer for renewable energy in the world.
In the history of the world.
CHATTERLEY: Wow. That's definitely a lot of custom. I agree with you on that point, Michael. Very quickly, throughout this period of volatility did
any shareholder, did any board member turn around to you and go, Michael, what have you done to us?
SAYLOR: Our shareholders are delighted. Our stock was trading at $120 a share before we announced our Bitcoin strategy.
CHATTERLEY: That's a good point. You're right.
SAYLOR: On a bad day it's up 4X over where it was before we went down this path.
SAYLOR: Bitcoin is hope for 8 billion people and it's hope for every company on earth. It's a good thing. It's recycling stranded energy. It's
revitalizing companies and it's revitalizing investment portfolios. There's some volatility that comes with it. But again, volatility gives us
vitality. It's a great technology in order to convert energy into prosperity.
CHATTERLEY: Vitality and a bit of stress and accelerated heartbeats as well at times. Michael, great to have you with us. Michael Saylor, the CEO of
MicroStrategy. Always great to talk to you. Thank you.
All right after the break, setting up a new airline. Well, it's a breeze. Or is it? We're live in Florida ahead of this new carrier's first
commercial flight. Stay with us.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to First Move. A new airline takes to the skies today in the United States. Breeze Airways sprang to life mid-pandemic in
hopes to carving niche into the domestic leisure market just as demand rebounds. Breeze will be flying out of smaller eastern cities instead of
major hubs. There will be 16 non-stop routes and the promise of low fares and friendly service.
David Neeleman is CEO and Founder of Breeze Airways. He also founded JetBlue and WestJet among others. And he's at Tampa Airport in Florida
where the first Breeze flight will take off in the next hour.
David great to have you with us. Congratulations. As I mentioned there, you have a lot of experience doing this. How is like and what's it like to
build this kind of business in a pandemic?
DAVID NEELEMAN, CEO & FOUNDER OF BREEZE AIRWAYS: You know, it's -- you know and obviously none of us are happy about the pandemic, but coming out
of the pandemic and in the United States we have a good vaccine program, people have been vaccinated, travel is really on the rebound.
You know, Tampa Airport where I am today, says that they'll be back to normal by August pre-pandemic levels. So I think our timings just perfect.
And, you know, so we're launching cities, not 16 routes, 16 cities, 39 different routes over the course of the summer. So, for fares as low as
$39. So we're really excited about it. We think it's going to -- it's going to do great.
And, you know, even with all the circumstances our timing couldn't be better.
CHATTERLEY: And you've tried to identify and have it seems a gap in the market. I read that 95 percent of the routes that you're going to take
currently have no airlines servicing them non-stop.
NEELEMAN: That's correct.
NEELEMAN: You know, we're telling people we'll get you there at least twice as fast for about half the price. And so we've got fares starting at
$39 and, you know, the flight could, you know, may be an hour and 15 minute flight instead of connecting through a hub that could take you up to three
So, it's a -- you know, in this model we hoped, and Ryanair has done this in Europe and we're very familiar with what they've done and other
carriers, where you can stimulate traffic. And some of these markets we expect we'll stimulate traffic 10 to 20 times over the current levels.
CHATTERLEY: How are you going to do it though at half the price?
NEELEMAN: Well, because we're just more efficient. You know, if you can go non-stop between two destinations, you know, aircraft prices have come down
after the pandemic, so we've got a great deal on airplanes. We also don't have to go up to a hub and have all the costs of doing that. We just go
non-stop, so we eliminate a lot of the costs. And then we're a new airline.
So, we started with a clean, white piece of paper. I say we're a technology company that just happens to fly airplanes. So, really great app. We don't
need big call centers and all that stuff. So, we've been able to kind of do this from the ground up with a really low cost operation, but really high
quality that our customers are going to love.
CHATTERLEY: What about flexibility as well, David? I was looking at the app. What happens if you need to cancel your flight? If you want to change
it? How easy have you made that as a seriously nice, quote, airline?
NEELEMAN: Yes so, you know, unlike the other ULCCs we're not changing any change fees, so you can just -- if you want to -- if you buy a $39 ticket
and you want to cancel that, you'll have that full $39 credit to use anytime you want.
If you want to move it to a $59 fare, just give us the difference in fare. So we don't have any change fees. We do charge for bags, $20, like
everybody else does. Actually less than everybody else does.
But, you know, we want to make it seamless and simple and we don't want to irritate our customer, we want them to come back and fly us again and tell
all their friends.
CHATTERLEY: If I have to find some criticism of -- that's been made of you already it's what you're paying pilots. Are you being opportunistic at a
time when a lot of pilots have lost their jobs to actually pay them less?
NEELEMAN: Absolutely not. I don't know where you got that from. But we're paying more than the regional airlines pay and that's why we have an
abundance of pilots wanting to fly with us. We aren't hiring any pilots from any airline that's been furloughed because we, you know, expect
they'll go back there and so we're not hiring from them.
We're hiring from the - we've got a great cawdrey of pilots from the regional fleet and we're paying more than that so they're more than willing
to come and work at Breeze and they're happy to be here.
CHATTERLEY: OK, that's good to hear. And what about protecting customers? What about protecting your staff just in the interim as we transition out?
Any rules over mask wearing, of testing?
NEELEMAN: Well obviously in the U.S. you've got to wear masks on airplanes and airports. Hopefully that - that - that change come out quickly for
vaccinated people. Now in the U.S. you don't have to wear masks in any other place but public transportation or on an airplane if you've been
vaccinated. So I'm - they're looking to changing that and hopefully that will change soon because there's no reason why vaccinated people should
have to wear masks just because some people don't want to get vaccinated.
We want to live our lives and if we've gone to the effort, like I have, to be vaccinated and we're safe then we should not have to deal with masks on
airplanes or anywhere else.
CHATTERLEY: Does that apply to employees as well? Do new employees have to be vaccinated, David?
NEELEMAN: Well, yes, I mean I think, you know, it's a personal choice. People, you know, at some point in time personal responsibility takes over
and you know, if I'm - if I am concerned about getting the COVID virus then I'll go get a vaccine. And, you know, I think that's the way we got to - we
got to treat people. With (ph) mandates don't work but those that are concerned I think it's a much better policy and most people are being
vaccinated so I expect that the, you know, in places - other places, you know, the disease will wean once you get a level of vaccines compared (ph)
to the United States.
CHATTERLEY: David, very quickly, how exciting is today?
NEELEMAN: It's real exciting. It's my fifth airline. You know, I started, like you said, WestJet and I had an airline in the western part of the
United States and JetBlue and Azul in Brazil. So it's an exciting time for everyone here at the company.
CHATTERLEY: It never gets old. David, great to have you with us. Congratulations and good luck.
NEELEMAN: Thank you very much.
CHATTERLEY: David Neeleman, CEO and Founder of Breeze Airways, there. OK, now to some breaking news.
Australian Airlines has cancelled a flight from Vienna to Moscow after Russia failed to approve a route change that would allow it to by-pass
Belarusian air space. On Wednesday Air France cancelled a flight to and from Moscow citing similar reasons. You're watching First Move, there's
more to come.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to the show and finally the epic T.V. comedy "Friends" came off the air 17 years ago. Well you may have heard they're
getting back together. They may be older, they're certainly a lot richer and this two hour reunion show is a love letter to the fans. The big
"Friends" reunion show is on HBO Max which is part of the CNN family and yes, I demand to know Jennifer Aniston's skincare routine and her
hairdresser of course, too.
That's it for this show. If you've missed any of our interviews today they will be on my Twitter and Instagram pages. Search for @Jchatterleycnn. Stay
safe, we'll see you tomorrow.