Bank of England to announce possibility of a central bank digital currency

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 19th April 2021) London, Uk – –

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The Bank of England and the Treasury have announced they are setting up a taskforce to explore the possibility of a central bank digital currency.

The aim is to look at the risks and opportunities involved in creating a new kind of digital money.

Issued by the Bank for use by households and businesses, it would exist alongside cash and bank deposits, rather than replacing them.

No decision has been taken on whether to have such a currency in the UK.

However, the government and the Bank want to “engage widely with stakeholders” on the benefits and practicalities of doing so.

The taskforce will be jointly led by the Bank's deputy governor for financial stability, Sir Jon Cunliffe, and the Treasury's director general of financial services, Katharine Braddick.

The Bank has previously said it is interested in a central bank digital currency (CBDC) because “this is a period of significant change in money and payments”.

The use of cash in financial transactions has been steadily declining in recent years, while debit card payments have been on the rise. Use of credit cards and direct debits have also been increasing.

The Bank also sees having its own digital currency as a way of “avoiding the risks of new forms of private money creation”, including crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin.

“If a CBDC were to be introduced, it would be denominated in pounds sterling, just like banknotes, so £10 of CBDC would always be worth the same as a £10 note,” the Bank said.

“CBDC is sometimes thought of as equivalent to a digital banknote, although in some respects it may have as much in common with a bank deposit.

“Any CBDC would be introduced alongside – rather than replacing – cash and bank deposits.”

Most of the world's central banks are looking into the possibility of creating such a currency, but the only one already in existence is China's digital yuan, which is currently undergoing public testing.

Among the objectives of the UK taskforce is monitoring international developments, “to ensure the UK remains at the forefront of global innovation”.

The Bank also announced the creation of a CDBC engagement forum and a technology forum, as well as a CBDC unit within the Bank itself, overseen by Sir Jon.

No timetable was announced for the taskforce's operations.

A New Billionaire Every 17 Hours: The Most Notable Newcomers On Forbes’ Billionaires List

Source: Forbes

It’s been a year like no other, and we aren’t talking about the pandemic. There were rapid-fire public offerings, surging cryptocurrencies and skyrocketing stock prices. The number of billionaires on Forbes’ 35th annual list of the world’s wealthiest exploded to an unprecedented 2,755–660 more than a year ago. Of those, a record high 493 were new to the list–roughly one every 17 hours, including 210 from China and Hong Kong. Another 250 who’d fallen off in the past came roaring back. A staggering 86% are richer than a year ago.

Jeff Bezos is the world’s richest for the fourth year running, worth $177 billion, while Elon Musk rocketed into the number two spot with $151 billion, as Tesla and Amazon shares surged. Altogether these billionaires are worth $13.1 trillion, up from $8 trillion in 2020. The U.S. still has the most, with 724, followed by China (including Hong Kong and Macao) with 698. We used stock prices and exchange rates from March 5 to calculate net worths. See below for the full list of the world’s billionaires and our methodology.

Ocado partners with Oxbotica in a £10m deal to make autonomous grocery delivery vehicles

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Fri, 16th Apr 2021) London, Uk – –

Online grocer strikes commercial partnership with Oxford-based self-driving vehicles company

Ocado has invested £10m in a self-driving vehicles company to drive its ambition to make autonomous grocery deliveries and develop “kerb-to-kitchen robots” to drop off shopping in homes.

The online grocer, which has previously tested a prototype self-driving truck delivering food and snacks to customers in south-east London, has moved to strike a commercial partnership with Oxford-based Oxbotica, which developed the truck.

Ocado, which will take a seat on Oxbotica’s board, said the technology could be used for “last-mile deliveries and kerb-to-kitchen robots”. The trials in Greenwich, London, in 2017 used a small “CargoPod” that holds eight boxes and required customers to leave their houses to pick up their shopping.

Ocado said the driverless vehicles could also operate inside its fulfilment centre buildings and the yards around them.Advertisement

“We are excited about the opportunity to work with Oxbotica to develop a wide range of autonomous solutions,” said Alex Harvey, the chief of advanced technology at Ocado. “These solutions truly have the potential to transform both our and our partners’ customer fulfilment centres and service delivery operations while also giving all end customers the widest range of options and flexibility.”

Ocado said there were potentially huge savings to be made by introducing autonomous technology to its operation. The moving of orders within its fulfilment centres costs 1.5% of UK sales and the cost of “final-mile delivery” is about 10% of sales. Labour represents about half of these costs.

Owing to regulatory and complexity reasons, Ocado said the development of vehicles that operate in low-speed urban areas or in restricted-access areas, such as its fulfilment buildings and yards, “may become a reality sooner than fully autonomous deliveries to consumers’ homes”.

As part of the collaboration, Ocado said it would outfit some of its delivery vans and warehouse vehicles with data capture capabilities, such as video cameras and radar, to train and test Oxbotica’s technology.

Ocado, which employs almost 19,000 staff, said the vehicle autonomy programme would not change “current hiring or employment levels within logistics or operations groups”.

The grocer took part in a wider funding round by Oxbotica led by BP Ventures and including the Chinese tech firm Tencent.

“This is an excellent opportunity for Oxbotica and Ocado to strengthen our partnership, sharing our vision for the future of autonomy,” said Paul Newman, a co-founder of Oxbotica.

By Mark Sweney

Deliveroo’s orders double in first quarter after dismal IPO

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Thur, 15th April 2021) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) -Food delivery company Deliveroo said its orders more than doubled in the quarter to end-March in its first trading update since its highly-anticipated listing in London last month flopped.

Growth accelerated for the fourth consecutive quarter, the company said, with group orders up 114% year-on-year to 71 million and gross transaction value (GTV) up 130% year-on-year to 1.65 billion pounds ($2.27 billion).

Chief Executive Will Shu said demand was strong in both UK and Ireland and its international markets, driven by record new customer growth and sustained demand from existing customers.

“This is our fourth consecutive quarter of accelerating growth, but we are mindful of the uncertain impact of the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions,” he said on Thursday.

“So while we are confident that our value proposition will continue to attract consumers, restaurants, grocers and riders throughout 2021, we are taking a prudent approach to our full year guidance.”

The company said it was maintaining its guidance for full-year GTV growth of between 30% to 40% and gross profit margins of 7.5-8.0%.

Deliveroo said it was difficult to know how much of the growth was driven by the lack of opportunity to eat out in cafes and restaurants in COVID-19 lockdowns, adding that it expected the rate of growth to slow as restrictions eased.

Deliveroo’s float in London was heralded at the debut of the decade, but it soured when the stock fell 30% on the first day, wiping more than 2 billion pounds off the company’s initial 7.6 billion pound valuation.

Some of Britain’s biggest investment companies shunned the listing, citing concerns about gig-economy working conditions and the share structure.

The shares have continued to decline and closed at 268 pence on Wednesday, 31% below the 390 pence they were priced at in the float.

($1 = 0.7260 pounds)

Reporting by Paul Sandle

Coinbase makes a landmark market debut with $99.6bn valuation

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Thur, 15th April 2021) London, Uk – –

How The Right 5-10 Cryptocurrency Coins
Could Make You A Fortune
https://www.qlmbusinessnews.com/ohy1

The cryptocurrency exchange coinbase started trading on Wednesday at a valuation of nearly $100bn (£72bn), in a major boost to supporters of digital currencies such as bitcoin.

Coinbase shares opened at $381 (£276) on the Nasdaq, racing past the $250 reference price, and valuing the exchange at $99.6bn (£72bn).

The valuation means that Coinbase is worth more than traditional financial institutions such as HSBC, Barclays, and Standard Chartered.

It is the first time a major cryptocurrency business has been publicly listed, and is a landmark moment for a technology once considered trivial.

Coinbase earns money from transaction fees and has seen its profits soar as cryptocurrency trading has boomed since the start of the pandemic.Advertisement

Record levels of cash have poured in to digital currencies such as bitcoin and ethereum, plumping up Coinbase’s margins. Both have seen their prices climb meteorically in the past year, rising over 800% and 1,300% respectively.

Thanks to this, Coinbase booked an estimated $730m (£530m) to $800m (£580m) in net profits in the first three months of 2021, while it reported $1.8bn (£1.3bn) in revenue during the same period.

“The Coinbase IPO is potentially a watershed event for the crypto industry and will be something the Street will be laser focused on to gauge investor appetite,” said Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives in a note to investors.

The company is a “foundational piece of the crypto ecosystem,” he said.

Coinbase was founded in 2012 by Brian Armstrong, a software engineer at Airbnb, and Fred Ehrsam, a trader at Goldman Sachs.

The pair set out to simplify the process of buying and selling bitcoin, at a time when the currency was largely used by hobbyists fascinated by its technology, and criminals attracted to its anonymity.

By Ed Clowes

Bitcoin frenzy as economic turmoil drives Turkey’s lira to decline

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Tue, 13th Apr, 2021) London, Uk – –

How The Right 5-10 Cryptocurrency Coins
Could Make You A Fortune
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Investors turn to cryptocurrency after Erdoğan’s sacking of central bank governor caused further fall in lira

The neighbourhood teahouse is a focus of daily life across Turkey, an Ottoman tradition that has endured through the centuries. At the Red Lightning teahouse in Çorum, the enterprising owners have one foot in the past and one in the future: it’s the first one in the country where customers can pay in bitcoin.

“Everyone we know in Çorum is starting to invest in cryptocurrency. We think that in five years or so regular currency will be in decline, it will be replaced by digital ones. So we wanted to be in a good position now,” said co-owners Hüseyin Nalcı, 38, and Kerem Kutay Yıldırım, 28.

“The older customers think it’s a bit absurd. They made fun of us. But now the dürüm [wrap] shop next door is asking us to teach them.”

The Turkish lira slumped dramatically last month after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s shock decision to fire the central bank governor, Naci Ağbal. The reserve is now on its fourth governor in less than two years, and the lira has lost half its value since a 2018 currency crisis.

Inflation reached a six-month high in March of 16.19%, well above a 5% target, and unemployment remains high, at 12.2%.

The latest economic turmoil has led to a surge in cryptocurrency trading in the country, with investors hoping to gain from bitcoin’s rally and shelter against inflation.

Data from the US researcher Chainalysis analysed by Reuters showed that trading volumes between the start of February and 24 March hit 218bn lira (£19bn) with a spike on the weekend Ağbal was sacked, up from just over 7bn lira in the same period a year earlier. Cryptocurrency worth 23bn lira was traded in the first few days after the shock announcement, the data showed, versus 1bn lira in the same timespan in 2020.

Turkish Google searches for cryptocurrency also hit a record high in the week before Ağbal was removed. The governor, who took over the post in November, was reportedly at loggerheads with Erdoğan’s over interest rate hikes: contrary to mainstream economic thinking, the president has repeatedly said that he believes high interest rates cause inflation.

Bitcoin’s climb to a new record of just under $62,000 (or more than £44,000) has seen interest in the digital currency soar worldwide: investors and companies have embraced the emerging asset despite warnings about its volatility.

“Turkish people like stable assets due to our history of high inflation,” Özgür Güneri, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange BtcTurk, told Reuters. “That is why generation after generation of Turks invested in gold, real estate and dollars.”

Turkish interest in cryptocurrencies has been growing steadily for several years, in large part because they are finite resources with a reputation for being immune to inflation.

So far, Ankara has not made any moves to regulate or tax the digital currency space, which adds to the appeal for Turkey’s youthful, tech-savvy population.

Erdoğan recently reiterated calls for Turks to invest gold and foreign currencies kept under the mattress in order to shore up domestic financial markets. The country’s recent economic troubles have had significant implications for his ruling Justice and Development party: its support has fallen away with the abrupt end of years of strong economic growth.

At Sirius Coin, a cryptocurrency cashpoint near the gold dealers of Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, Mehmet, 35, said business was booming. The shop’s owners are getting ready to launch their own trading exchange by the end of the year.

“Everyone wants to get rich quick. Turks are no exception to that,” he said.

By Bethan McKernan 

Apple to argue it faces competition in video game market in Epic Games antitrust allegations

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Thur, 8th April 2021) London, UK —

(Reuters) – Apple Inc said it plans to argue that it faces abundant competition in the market for video game transactions to defend itself against antitrust allegations by “Fortnite” maker Epic Games, the iPhone maker said on Thursday.

Epic sued Apple last year in federal court in California, alleging the 15% to 30% commissions that Apple charges for the use of its in-app payment systems and Apple’s longstanding practice of exercising control over which apps can be installed on its devices amount to anticompetitive behavior. The dispute arose after Epic tried to implement its own in-app payment system in the popular “Fortnite” game and Apple subsequently banned the game from its App Store.

The case is to be heard in May in Oakland, California, by U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who will have to rule on which notion of a “market” is the correct one for analyzing Apple’s moves for signs of anticompetitive conduct.

Epic has framed its case around the idea that Apple’s iPhones, with an installed base of more than 1 billion users, represent their own distinct market for software developers. Epic has argued that Apple has monopoly power over that market because it decides how users can install software on the devices and says it abuses that power by forcing developers to deliver their software through the App Store, where developers are subject to fees on some transactions.

In a filing that Apple planned to make Thursday, the company rejected that notion and said the proper market to analyze the case is the video game transaction market, which includes platforms such as Nintendo Co Ltd and Microsoft Corp’s Xbox gaming consoles, which also limit the software that can run on their hardware and charge fees to developers.

Apple said it plans to argue that consumers have many choices on how to carry out video game transactions, including purchasing virtual tokens from game developers on other platforms such as Windows PCs and using the tokens on iPhones with no fees to the game developer.

Reporting by Stephen Nellis

Virgin Money’s digital banking service technical problems fixed

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Wed,7th April 2021) London, Uk – –

Angry customers have hit out at Virgin Money after the bank's digital services were hit by technical problems.

The bank, which includes the outgoing Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank brands, said that online and mobile banking had been affected.

Current account customers were unable to make transactions and access their accounts for much of Tuesday.

The bank has apologised, said the issue had been dealt with overnight and that services were now working normally.

Some customers said on social media that they could not make planned large transactions, with others expressing their frustration about the timing and a lack of information about the issue.

A spokeswoman for Virgin Money apologised for the disruption but said that all the problems had now been fixed.

Virgin Money has a branch network across the UK, and is rebranding all Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank branches under the Virgin Money banner.

Most banks suffer IT shutdowns, typically a handful each year, but have been told by regulators to ensure faults are rectified quickly and customers treated fairly.

LG to close down its loss-making smartphone business

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – -Mon, 5th April 2021) London, Uk – –

LG Electronics said on Monday it would close down its loss-making smartphone business.

In January, the South Korean electronics giant said it was looking at all options for the division after almost six years of losses totalling around $4.5bn (£3.3bn).

LG had made many innovations including ultra-wide angle cameras, rising to third largest smartphone maker in 2013.

But bosses said the mobile phone market had become “incredibly competitive”.

While Samsung and Apple are the two biggest players in the smartphone market, LG has suffered from its own hardware and software issues.

As LG struggled with losses it had held talks to sell part of the business but these fell through.

It still ranks as the third most popular brand in North America but has slipped in other markets. LG phones are still fairly common in its domestic South Korean market.

“LG's strategic decision to exit the incredibly competitive mobile phone sector will enable the company to focus resources in growth areas such as electric vehicle components, connected devices, smart homes, robotics and artificial intelligence,” it said in a statement.

Last year it shipped 28 million phones, which compares with 256 million for Samsung, according to research firm Counterpoint.

The smartphone business is the smallest of LG's five divisions, accounting for just 7.4% of revenue. Currently its global mobile phone market share is about 2%.https://emp.bbc.co.uk/emp/SMPj/2.40.2/iframe.htmlmedia captionWATCH: LG's display rolls up out of the way into the ceiling when not in use

It has been innovating its phones to compete with its bigger rivals, with last year's launch of the T-shaped Wing, a smartphone with a larger screen which swivels out to reveal a second, smaller one underneath.

Electric cars and TVs

LG still has a strong consumer electronics business, particularly with home appliances and televisions. LG is the world's second best-selling TV brand after Samsung.

In December it launched a joint venture with automotive supplier Magna International that will make key components for electric cars.

LG's phone inventory will continue to be available for sale, and it will still provide service support and software updates for existing customers. The divisions is expected to be wound down by the end of July.

“Moving forward, LG will continue to leverage its mobile expertise and develop mobility-related technologies such as 6G to help further strengthen competitiveness in other business areas,” a spokesman added.

Analysts said South Korean rival Samsung and Chinese companies such as Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi are likely to benefit the most from LG's exit.

Smartphone makers struggled during the pandemic with sales down about 10% in 2020 mainly due to lockdowns limiting store openings.

How Yeti Became A Billion Dollar Business

Cource: CNBC

Yeti makes a variety of products, but it’s best known for its line of coolers that run from $200 to $1,300.

Founded in 2006, the Austin, Texas company builds products that are part cult status symbol, part functional tool for those who appreciate the outdoors.

Yeti enthusiasts include celebrities like Reese Witherspoon, Sandra Bullock, Matt Damon, Jimmy Kimmel, and hunting enthusiast Joe Rogan, who praised the coolers on his podcast in April 2018.

WHY I LEFT MY $200,000+ JOB AS A LAWYER and learned to CODE instead

Source: Career Game Changer

Dels the lawyer and entrepreneur who loves travel, self-improvement and everything to do with success. Worked with several of the biggest banks, law firms and management consultancy companies in the world and is passionate about helping other high achievers to land their dream jobs in those companies or even to start their own business

Working from home boost productivity, up from 28% say CIPD

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Thur, 1st April 2021) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – More employers in Britain say working from home is increasing the productivity of their staff, according to a survey published on Thursday.

A third of employers think the shift to home-working has boosted productivity, up from 28% last June, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development said.

Those who said working from home had decreased productivity fell to 23% from 28%.

“The pandemic has shown that ways of working that previously seemed impossible are actually possible,” Claire McCartney, CIPD senior policy adviser for resourcing and inclusion, said.

It remains to be seen how permanent the shift to working from home proves to be.

A survey published last week by accountants KPMG showed most major global companies no longer planned to reduce their use of office space after the pandemic, though few expect business to return to normal this year.

The CIPD said in a report more progress can be made to offer flexible hours: part-time work is used by 19% of staff but favoured by 28%, and 3% of employees work full-time hours over fewer days while 19% would use the arrangement if available.

The CIPD survey was based on responses from 2,000 employers.

Writing by William Schomberg

Deliveroo shares slumped on much-anticipated London stock market debut

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Wed, 31st March 2021) London, Uk – –

Rishi Sunak recently hailed the company as a “British tech success” but more than £2bn was wiped off its value as trading began

Deliveroo shares have slumped as much as 30% as the takeaway delivery company made its highly-anticipated stock market debut.

The flop wiped more than £2bn off the company's initial £7.6bn valuation – just over a week after it was estimated at up to £8.8bn.

Some of the City's biggest institutional investors had shunned the initial public offering (IPO) over concerns about its working practices and the dual-class share structure which gives founder Will Shu greater control.

The loss-making company said this week that it had received “significant demand” from investors across the globe – more than enough to cover the offer of shares worth £1.5bn several times over.

However, its price range last week of £3.90 to £4.60p per share – which would have valued it as highly as £8.8bn – has narrowed over recent days, with the business citing “volatile global market conditions”.

Wednesday's float priced Deliveroo at £3.90, the bottom end of that range, and equivalent to £7.6bn.

But that was not enough to prevent a flop when trading began, with shares going as low as £2.73, although they later climbed back to around the £3 mark.

Deliveroo's float is London's biggest IPO since commodity giant Glencore went public in 2011 – and the biggest-ever tech float in the city.

Its dismal reception could be seen as blow to Chancellor Rishi Sunak's ambition to attract more technology companies to list in the UK.

Mr Sunak had hailed the company as a “true British tech success story” when it confirmed earlier this month that it would float in London.

Deliveroo, which has around 45,000 restaurants on its platform in the UK and more than 100,000 worldwide, has benefited over the past year from an increased appetite for takeaways with dining out banned or restricted.

Orders over January and February were 121% higher than the same period a year ago, while for 2020 the total of £4.1bn was 64% higher than a year earlier.

However, it still made an underlying loss for the year of £223.7m.

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said “Deliveroo has gone from hero to zero as the much-hyped stock market debut falls flat on its face.

“It had better get used to the nickname ‘Flopperoo'.

“The narrative took a turn for the worst when multiple fund managers came out and said they wouldn't back the business due to concerns about working practices.

“This is likely to have spooked a lot of people who applied for shares in the IPO offer, meaning they are racing to dump them.”

By John-Paul Ford Rojas

Royal Mail to pay one-off dividend to shareholders due online shopping boom

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Tue, 30th March 2021) London, Uk – –

Company expects profit of £700m for year to end of March, more than double last year

Royal Mail is to make a one-off dividend payment to shareholders after the online shopping boom during the Covid-19 pandemic boosted its parcel delivery business, in a dramatic turnaround of the company’s fortunes.

Royal Mail expects to make an adjusted operating profit of £700m for the year to the end of March, more than double last year’s £325m. This has given it the confidence to pay a final dividend of 10p a share on 6 September, the first payout to shareholders since January 2020. It will set out a new dividend policy when it publishes its full-year results on 20 May, the company said.

Since floating on the stock exchange in October 2013, Royal Mail had been struggling with its traditional letters business, which is in decline. Attempts to restructure the company led to prolonged battles with unions. However, it has focused on expanding its parcel delivery business, as online shopping soared during the Covid-19 crisis, when many shops have been forced to shut during lockdowns.

Richard Hunter, the head of markets at the trading platform Interactive Investor, said: “The astonishing reversal of fortunes at Royal Mail continues as the momentum of bumper Christmas trading has spilled over into the new year.

“Challenges remain, however, and the group will need to be alert. Competition is particularly fierce in the parcels business and it is not yet clear whether the current volumes are at a temporary peak as customers have been driven to online shopping from their homes during the pandemic.”

The share price of the FTSE 250 listed firm has more than quadrupled in the past year, to 520p, up 2% on Tuesday. Hunter said Royal Mail would be a strong contender to regain its FTSE 100 status at the next reshuffle of the index.

As well as investing in its UK Parcelforce division, Royal Mail sees growth opportunities abroad. Its GLS international parcels arm is expected to make an operating profit of €390m (£350m) for the past year; it is forecast to rise to €500m by 2025.

Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Nicholas Hyett described GLS as “the jewel in Royal Mail’s crown”. He said: “If the UK business could emulate its international cousin the group would be home and dry. Instead the UK is suffering after a period of chronic underinvestment, and the capital expenditure needed to make up the shortfall looks set to eat into shareholder returns for years to come.”

The company recently started trialling a Sunday parcel delivery service for several big UK retailers. Rivals DPD and Hermes already make Sunday deliveries for retailers such as Amazon.

By Julia Kollewe

PayPal launches crypto checkout service for U.S. consumers

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Tue, 30th March 2021) London, UK —

How The Right 5-10 Cryptocurrency Coins
Could Make You A Fortune
https://www.qlmbusinessnews.com/ohy1

LONDON (Reuters) – PayPal Holdings Inc will announce later on Tuesday that it has started allowing U.S. consumers to use their cryptocurrency holdings to pay at millions of its online merchants globally, a move that could significantly boost use of digital assets in everyday commerce.

Customers who hold bitcoin, ether, bitcoin cash and litecoin in PayPal digital wallets will now be able to convert their holdings into fiat currencies at checkouts to make purchases, the company said.

The service, which PayPal revealed it was working on late last year, will be available at all of its 29 million merchants in the coming months, the company said.

“This is the first time you can seamlessly use cryptocurrencies in the same way as a credit card or a debit card inside your PayPal wallet,” President and CEO Dan Schulman told Reuters ahead of a formal announcement.

Checkout with Crypto builds on the ability for PayPal users to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrencies, which the San Jose, California-based payments company launched in October.

The offering made PayPal one of the largest mainstream financial companies to open its network to cryptocurrencies and helped fuel a rally in virtual coin prices.

Bitcoin has nearly doubled in value since the start of this year, boosted by increased interest from larger financial firms that are betting on greater adoption and see it as a hedge against inflation.

PayPal’s launch comes less than a week after Tesla Inc said it would start accepting bitcoin payments for its cars. Unlike PayPal transactions where merchants will be receiving fiat currency, Tesla said it will hold the bitcoin used as payment.

Still, while the nascent asset is gaining traction among mainstream investors, it has yet to become a widespread form of payment, due in part to its continued volatility.

PayPal hopes its service can change that, as by settling the transaction in fiat currency, merchants will not take on the volatility risk.

“We think it is a transitional point where cryptocurrencies move from being predominantly an asset class that you buy, hold and or sell to now becoming a legitimate funding source to make transactions in the real world at millions of merchants,” Schulman said.

The company will charge no transaction fee to checkout with crypto and only one type of coin can be used for each purchase, it said.

Reporting by Anna Irrera

US warns it could put tariffs up to 25% on UK exports in ‘tech tax’ row

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 29thMarch 2021) London, Uk – –

The US has warned it could put tariffs of up to 25% on a host of UK exports in retaliation for a UK tax on tech firms.

Ceramics, make-up, overcoats, games consoles and furniture could all be hit, according to a list published by the Biden administration.

The duties are designed to raise $325m, the amount the US believes the UK tax will raise from US tech companies.

A UK government spokesperson said it wanted to “make sure tech firms pay their fair share of tax”.

They added: “Should the US proceed to implement these measures, we would consider all options to defend UK interests and industry.”

Washington is pressing ahead with the action, initiated under President Trump, and has scheduled hearings on the list.

It argues the recently introduced digital services tax – which taxes tech firms on their revenues – has “unreasonable, discriminatory, and burdensome attributes”.

Similar actions have proceeded against similar taxes in India, Austria and Spain, but action against the European Union as a whole was dropped.

The US Section 301 action is designed to apply domestic political pressure within the UK and other countries over the imposition of such taxes.

The UK and US held talks about the digital services tax on 4 December, and UK government sources stressed that the tariff list was being seen as procedural rather than an escalation.

The tariffs are now subject to a consultation in the US over the next few weeks.

At the Budget, the Office for Budget Responsibility calculated the digital services tax would raise £300m in the current financial year, and as much as £700m in future years.

‘Public frustration'

Brought in last April it taxes at 2% the revenues – not profits – of search engines, social media services and online marketplaces which derive value from UK users.

It followed years of claims in Europe and elsewhere that big tech firms do not pay enough tax in the countries where they operate.

Last August, Facebook agreed to pay the French government €106m (£95.7m) in back taxes to settle a dispute over revenues earned in the country.

Earlier that year, Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg said he recognised the public's frustration over the amount of tax paid by tech giants.

‘Temporary'

A UK government spokesperson said: “Like many countries around the world, we want to make sure tech firms pay their fair share of tax. Our digital services tax (DST) is reasonable, proportionate and non-discriminatory.

“It's also temporary. We're working positively with the US and other international partners to find a global solution to this problem and will remove the DST when that is in place.”

There are signs the Biden administration wants a more conciliatory relationship on trade with the UK than Donald Trump did.

Last month, Washington agreed to suspend tariffs on UK goods, including single malt whiskies, that were imposed in retaliation over subsidies to aircraft maker Airbus. However, the UK is still lobbying the US to drop duties on British steel brought in in 2018.

By Faisal Islam
Economics editor

The Entrepreneur Who Raised $3.8 Million For AI Vending Machine PopCom

Source: Forbes

Everyone has seen those oversize vending machines that sell headphones and phone chargers. Dawn Dickson-Akpoghene, 42, makes those–but fancier. Her “high IQ” kiosks use AI, biometrics and computer vision to enable retailers to retain customers through data stored on the blockchain. With $3.8 million in funding, Popcom's $20,000 unit is in Polaris Fashion Place in Columbus' soon to come additional shopping malls and beyond. “We are in a new world of retail,” she says. Small businesses account for 99.9% of all U.S. businesses and some two-thirds of net new American jobs.

The vast majority of these enterprises are bootstrapped via savings and credit cards. While venture-backed startups generally skew white, male and coastal, these Main Street enterprises actually look like—and drive—America. To shine a light on this new class of entrepreneurial hero, Forbes has created the Next 1000.

This year-round initiative showcases the ambitious sole proprietors, self-funded shops and pre-revenue startups in every region of the country—all with under $10 million in revenue or funding but infinite drive and hustle.

Fueled by your nominations and screened by top business minds and entrepreneurial superstars, at the year’s end, we’ll culminate with 1,000 new faces. Let’s get started with the first installment of 250 standouts who embody the best of the American dream right now.

IMF Silently Creates New Money Layer, Why You Need to Leave the Banks: Willem Middelkoop

Source: Stansberry Research

How The Right 5-10 Cryptocurrency Coins
Could Make You A Fortune
https://www.qlmbusinessnews.com/ohy1

The International Monetary Fund’s special drawing right (SDR) – the international reserve asset created in 1969 to prepare for a new dollar crisis – is undergoing a renaissance with important worldwide repercussions says Willem Middelkoop, author of the Big Reset. “The announcement of the largest-ever increase in SDR allocations, which will greatly improve the liquidity of many developing nations, signals alignment between the US and China in a key area of global monetary power,” he tells our Daniela Cambone.

Mastercard battles return of $19 billion UK class action

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Thur, 25th March 2021) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – A specialist London court will this week re-consider allowing an historic 14 billion pound ($19 billion) class action against Mastercard to proceed, which could entitle adults in Britain to about 300 pounds each if successful.

Former financial ombudsman Walter Merricks, who alleges that Mastercard overcharged more than 46 million people in Britain over nearly 16 years, hopes the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) will certify the case after the UK Supreme Court overruled objections to it proceeding in December.

A two-day court hearing will kick off on Thursday and will determine the fate of Britain’s first mass consumer claim — and clarify the rules for a string of other competition class actions that have stalled in its wake.

Merricks, who is being advised by U.S.-headquartered law firm Quinn Emanuel, alleges Mastercard charged excessive “interchange” fees – the fees retailers pay credit card companies when consumers use a card to shop – between May 1992 and June 2008 and that those fees were passed on to consumers as retailers raised prices.

Mastercard says the claim should not be brought, that people received valuable benefits from its payments technology and that the lawsuit is driven by U.S. lawyers and backed by organisations focused on making money for themselves.

“We fundamentally disagree with this claim…,” it said.

THE DECEASED, COMPOUND INTEREST IN FOCUS

Legal arguments this week are expected to revolve in part around whether estates of the deceased should have a claim and whether compound interest should accrue, which are “significant” for the ultimate size of the claim, Mastercard says.

The case was filed in 2016, one year after the CAT was nominated to oversee Britain’s U.S.-style “opt-out” class action regime for breaches of UK or EU competition law — and 12 years after the European Commission ruled that Mastercard had charged unlawful cross-border interchange fees over the period.

In such cases, UK-based members of a defined group are automatically bound into legal action unless they opt out.

But the CAT blocked the lawsuit in 2017 because it thought it unsuitable for collective proceedings, triggering drawn-out appeals and causing a bottleneck for other class actions.

If the case proceeds, Merricks is expected to need to prove that Mastercard’s domestic fees were illegal — and to quantify the costs passed on to consumers.

Litigation funder Innsworth Capital has stumped up 60.1 million pounds to cover the legal costs of the case, including 15 million pounds for Mastercard’s legal costs if the claim fails. It will be paid from any unclaimed damages awarded, after agreement from the CAT.

Typically, take-up by claimants is low in such claims. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission found in 2019 that only about 9% made a claim after successful consumer class actions.

($1 = 0.7189 pounds)

Reporting by Kirstin Ridley

Elon Musk: Tesla will accept Bitcoin from consumers wishing to purchase cars

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Wed, 24th March 2021) London, Uk – –

Tesla's chief executive Elon Musk has said that the company will now be directly accepting Bitcoin from consumers wishing to purchase cars.

The pay by Bitcoin system is currently only available in the US, but the billionaire has said the feature will be expanded to other countries later this year.

It follows the car company last month announcing that it had invested $1.5bn (£1.09bn) in the notoriously volatile cryptocurrency, sending it to a record high.

A single Bitcoin is currently trading at just over £41,000 – up from the £5,600 it was worth on this date last year.

Bitcoin paid to Tesla will be retained as the cryptocurrency, Musk said, not converted to cash.

It is the latest vote of confidence in the cryptocurrency to come from the billionaire since he gave its price a boost by adding a “#bitcoin” tag to his Twitter profile page.

He removed the tag a few days later but has continued talking up Bitcoin, saying it was “on the verge” of being more widely accepted by investors.

Announcing the investment, Tesla said in its regulatory filing that its decision was part of a broad investment policy aimed at diversifying and maximising its returns on cash.

It said it had invested a total $1.5bn in the cryptocurrency and could “acquire and hold digital assets from time to time or long-term”.

The disclosure comes after Tesla recently reported that it had made an annual profit for the first time after years of losses.

At the time analysts said the move by the car company – which last year overtook bigger-selling conventional rivals to become the largest by value as its share price surged – could prove a gamechanger for Bitcoin.

Eric Turner, vice president of market intelligence at cryptocurrency research firm Messari, said: “I think we will see an acceleration of companies looking to allocate to Bitcoin now that Tesla has made the first move.

“One of the largest companies in the world now owns Bitcoin and by extension, every investor that owns Tesla (or even just at S&P 500 fund) has exposure to it as well.”

Bitcoin has set new record highs at the start of this year after a bumpy ride for investors over the past decade, with major financial institutions starting to offer support.

Central banks such as the Bank of England have remained sceptical but some suggest that as it becomes more accepted it could become more attractive as a store of value.