The Bitcoin blockchain reached a huge milestone in the second week of May. Known as “The Halving”, the mining reward for Bitcoin dropped from 12.5 BTC to 6.25 BTC. It was the third such event in the cryptocurrency’s history. There are conflicting opinions as to whether this event will be beneficial to Bitocin in the short-term, or provide pressure. Some believe that unless the price of Bitcoin rises substantially, it will become more profitable for miners to switch to other cryptocurrencies. On the flipside, others believe this is only the beginning for the cryptocurrency.
Noted hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones noted that he has 1%-2% of his assets in Bitcoin, and believes that although it is still extremely speculative, it is something the mainstream public should start to consider as a viable investment:
“If you take cash, on the other hand, and you think about it from a purchasing power standpoint, if you own cash in the world today, you know your central bank has an avowed goal of depreciating its value 2% per year,” Jones said. “So you have, in essence, a wasting asset in your hands.”
Leading up to the event, the price of Bitcoin steadily rose, and at one point approached $10,000 before settling down around $9,000.
One of the casualties of the coronavirus, Airbnb, recently laid-off more than 1,900 employees, accounting for 25% of its workforce. This comes as the short-term retinal market has all but shrunk to nothing over the past few months. The company was previously valued at $31 billion when it raised funds in 2017, and its value has slowly declined over the past few years.
But this is not negative news to everyone. Many across Europe believe the decline of Airbnb and other short-term rental companies will be a push to return European cities to the residents that were pushed out due to increasing real estate prices.
Barcelona is one such city that welcomes the change:
“We hope to see a third or even a half of these licensed tourist apartments become normal apartments to rent over the next three years,” said Janet Sanz, Barcelona’s deputy mayor.
“What the owners of tourist apartments want now is stability, and they can get that from conventional lettings,” Sanz believes. “Of course they’ll make less than they would renting to tourists.”
Digital banking services are growing at a rapid pace, even for entrenched institutional banks. Citibank saw its digital banking services grow in demand over the beginning of 2020, and as a result, will expand its digital banking services to 37 countries. Things like remote work and social distancing are making digital banking more of a necessity:
“During these unusually challenging times – where clients are primarily working remotely and their ability to provide physical, signed documents is severely restricted, – the simplicity of Citi’s accelerated digital account-opening process is especially valuable,” said Naveed Sultan, global head of Citi’s Treasury and Trade Solutions (TSS), in a prepared statement.
Swiss bank UBS is looking to capitalize on this trend as it seeks to obtain a digital bank license in China. Doing so could help the bank obtain clients at a lower cost. It initially expects to target 200,000 wealthy clients over the first two years in China if it secures the necessary license.
Facebook has another piece of bad publicity on its hands. A class-action lawsuit was filed against the company, alleging that content moderators suffered severe PTSD, depression, and other psychological distress as a result of their roles with the company. The social media behemoth agreed to a settlement of $52 million to 11,250 of its moderators as a result of the case.
In their roles, moderators are forced to view and manage explicit content, which can include things like rape, murder, and suicide. Viewing such content regularly, it was argued, can easily lead to mental health issues:
“We are so pleased that Facebook worked with us to create an unprecedented program to help people performing work that was unimaginable even a few years ago,” said Steve Williams, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, in a statement. “The harm that can be suffered from this work is real and severe.”
Moderators will receive payments of $1,000 – $50,000 depending on their role with the company.