Afghans turn to crypto market for stability during Taliban takeover

CNBC.com’s Pippa Stevens brings you the day’s top business news headlines. On today’s show, CNBC.com’s MacKenzie Sigalos explains how some Afghan citizens are turning to crypto to protect their money amid the country’s political turmoil. Plus, Apple’s stock soars during Tim Cook’s decade as CEO.

Farhan Hotak isn’t your typical 22 year-old Afghan.

In the last week, he helped his family of ten flee the province of Zabul in southern Afghanistan and travel 97 miles to a city on the Pakistani border. But unlike others choosing to leave the country, once his relatives were in safe hands, Hotak then turned around and came back so that he could protect his family home – and vlog to his thousands of Instagram followers about the evolving situation on the ground in Afghanistan. 

He has also been keeping a very close eye on his crypto portfolio on Binance, as the local currency touches record lows and nationwide bank closures make it next to impossible to withdraw cash.

“In Afghanistan, we don’t have platforms like PayPal, Venmo, or Zelle, so I have to depend on other things,” said Hotak. 

Afghanistan still mostly operates as a cash economy, so money in Hotak’s crypto wallet won’t help him put dinner on his table tonight, but it does give him peace of mind that some of his wealth is safeguarded against economic

Ten years ago, Tim Cook was named CEO of Apple.

He had a tough task. His predecessor Steve Jobs founded the company, and returned from exile to bring Apple back from the brink of death and launch the products that defined Apple as a modern computing juggernaut: The iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad.

But Cook says that Jobs told him to be his own leader, and never to ask “what would Steve do?” He took that advice, building a rigorous operational juggernaut and turning Apple into the most valuable publicly traded company in the world.

Under Cook, Apple shored up the iPhone business and bolstered it with a constellation of new products that attract new customers and entrench current customers in Apple’s world. Since 2011, the company has released several new products, including the Apple Watch and AirPods.

Clip art of a rock just sold for 400 ether, or about $1.3 million, late Monday afternoon. The transaction marks the latest sale of EtherRock, a brand of crypto collectible that’s been around since 2017 – making it one of the oldest non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the block.

EtherRock is, as the name implies, a JPEG of a cartoon rock, built and sold on the ethereum blockchain. There are only 100 out there, and that scarcity is part of what’s driving up its value.

So, what are these rock pics good for? According to the EtherRock website, “These virtual rocks serve NO PURPOSE beyond being able to be brought and sold, and giving you a strong sense of pride in being an owner of 1 of the only 100 rocks in the game :)”

Following this latest sale, the new price floor for an EtherRock NFT has been raised to $1.02 million. Two days ago, the cheapest rock went for $305,294. Two weeks ago, it was $97,716.