Daily Bits May 2nd, 2017

My article on CoinDesk this week on a surge in central bank interest in the blockchain (the second and third paragraphs are not mine, and I don’t like them much, but, whatever…)

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It’s been a good week for humanitarian applications of blockchain technology. CoinDesk reported last week on a pilot developed by the World Food Programme to distribute aid to refugees in Jordan using ethereum and biometric identification. Yesterday CoinDesk informed us that the launch was successful.

Whether the pilot ends up scaling or not, it’s a big step forward.

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A few weeks ago, I wrote about a bond issuance in Kenya… via mobile phones. The World Bank has taken an interest, and wants to provide follow-up research.

The idea, I imagine, is to investigate how this can be replicated in other regions. Not only would it broaden the base for public financing, it also could increase the range of investment opportunities for a growing middle class (those not normally privy to bond issuances), and even for those who aren’t included in the traditional financial system (such as, those without a bank account).

The ramifications for the nature of public financing, and for retail investors, could be profound.

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This article by Annie Lowrey of The Atlantic on “Late Capitalism” is excellent:

““Late capitalism,” in its current usage, is a catchall phrase for the indignities and absurdities of our contemporary economy, with its yawning inequality and super-powered corporations and shrinking middle class.”

Reading this is enough to fill you with despair over the hedonism…

“Over time, the semantics of the phrase shifted a bit. “Late capitalism” became a catchall for incidents that capture the tragicomic inanity and inequity of contemporary capitalism. Nordstrom selling jeans with fake mud on them for $425. Prisoners’ phone calls costing $14 a minute. Starbucks forcing baristas to write “Come Together” on cups due to the fiscal-cliff showdown.”

… and hope for the philosophical progression…

“Finally, “late capitalism” gestures to the potential for revolution, whether because the robots end up taking all the jobs or because the proletariat finally rejects all this nonsense. A “late” period always comes at the end of something, after all.”

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This video left me awe-struck at the beauty of our planet, the immensity of the galaxy and the majesty of air travel…

Shot by pilot and photographer Sales Wick as he flew from Zurich to Sao Paulo, it shows his love for what he does. And it (almost) makes me want to get on a plane, right now…

Via Colossal.

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