This is from a couple of days ago, but still really interesting:
The FT reported on Wednesday that Kenya has just completed its first ever bond issue… via mobile phones.
It sold out two days ahead of schedule.
The M-Akiba project (Akiba is Swahili for “savings”) aimed to 1) increase public participation in government financing, 2) stimulate the savings rate and 3) raise funds for infrastructure investment.
It was open to all Kenyans with an M-Pesa mobile money account (approximately 25 million).
Another twist? It was only advertised on social media.
Considering how opaque and inaccessible most government bond issuances are, could this be the beginning of a new trend in public financing?
If so, it’s fitting that it would originate in Kenya, which is the world leader in mobile payments. It’s also a country that is investing a lot to upgrade its infrastructure.
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This is mind-blowingly weird and utterly enchanting: flexible silicone vases that wobble like jellyfish when in water. Why you would want them to do that is totally beside the point. (Via Dezeen.)
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CoinDesk reported that 10 Chinese insurance firms have completed a blockchain trial. A big step forward for the application of the technology to the insurance sector, but (as is often the case with news from China) slim on the details. Worth watching, though – the Chinese insurance market is huuuuuge.