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Friday's Fast Five: Week of 10.20

The Tax-Free Way to Rent Out Your Home (The Wall Street Journal): One of the best freebies in the tax code has gotten better—for people who don’t abuse it. The shift springs from a recent Tax Court decision. The freebie is tax code section 280A(g), often called the Masters’ exemption, which is worth reviewing on its own. It’s a longstanding provision allowing people to rent out their homes for two weeks or less and pocket the rental income free of federal taxes.

The secret life of Jimmy Zhong, who stole – and lost – more than $3 billion (CNBC): In 2012, someone stole 50,000 bitcoin from the Silk Road, an illegal dark web marketplace. Over time, the value of the stolen bitcoin skyrocketed to more than $3 billion dollars and for years it remained one of the biggest mysteries in the world of cryptocurrency. Almost a decade after the 2012 hack, the thief made a critical mistake that allowed the IRS-CI to crack the case.

Disney reveals size of ESPN's biz for the first time (Axios): ESPN drives more annual profit for Disney than the entirety of Disney's entertainment business, according to a new regulatory filing. Disney is looking for a strategic partner to help ESPN manage its transition into the streaming era. The network's high profit margins may help explain why Disney isn't looking to sell the asset completely.

Home Insurance Is So High in This Florida Town, Residents Are Leaving (The Wall Street Journal): Home-insurance costs are rising everywhere, but they are rising especially fast in Florida where premiums have tripled in the past five years. Some premiums have increased by about nine times what they were last year, according to Oscar Seikaly, chief executive of NSI Insurance Group.

Mapped: The Largest Stock Exchanges in the World (Visual Capitalist): Today, there are roughly 80 major stock exchanges worth a combined $110.2 trillion in value. The world’s top two exchanges, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the Nasdaq, command 42.4% of global market capitalization. Despite the rapid growth of emerging economies, the U.S. continues to lead capital markets by a wide margin—even as countries such as India see considerable growth, surpassing the UK in 2023.