Michael J. Casey is the chairman of CoinDesk’s advisory board and a senior advisor for blockchain research at MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative.
The following article originally appeared in CoinDesk Weekly, a custom-curated newsletter delivered every Sunday exclusively to our subscribers.
Cash appears to be disappearing from China’s teeming cities.
Foreign tourists talk of struggling to buy things because they don’t have Alipay or WeChat Pay installed on their smartphones and because merchants no longer bother to accept the banknotes they get from ATMs.
These stories elicit fascination among Americans, but not much more. Here in the U.S., many can’t grasp what the big deal is about digital payments. After all, pulling a credit card from your wallet isn’t much more inconvenient than pulling a smartphone out of your pocket and it costs you – if not the merchant – no more than if you used cash. To the average American, China’s system seems no different from Venmo or Paypal, just more pervasive.
But as Andreessen Horowitz partner Connie Chan told me during a fireside chat at the HYTSA conference at Stanford a week ago, the real benefits of China’s cashless revolution lie in how this new, software-based system of value exchange has become a platform on which new business models can be built.
Digitizing payments in this way, at very low cost, enables micropayments and seamless integration across different service providers, which in turn means merchants can provide a variety of new services to customers over an app. This helps to enhance the user’ experience, boost loyalty and engagement, and build network value.
Consider how Kuguo, the most popular of a number of Chinese music apps, provides “song coins” to fans, based on their level of engagement, which they can exchange into renminbi, the local currency.
Essentially, by removing intermediation costs from the payments system, Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat Pay – which together now boast a billion users, according to Aite Group – have created a seamless foundation for a whole new digital economy. Chan says this is where U.S. app developers are being left behind, because their products can’t integrate with this new model.
The relevance in this for CoinDesk readers, with their interest in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, starts with the fact that this dream of a seamless, micropayments-enabled system of hitherto impossible new services is one that’s often cited by crypto enthusiasts.
So, does China prove that you don’t need a blockchain to build a new Internet of Value, powered by device-to-device exchanges in an Internet of Things economy?
Well, yes, and, no.
Crypto dream, Chinese characteristics
There is a very real and illuminating limit to China’s system: It can’t easily go outside its borders.
Although some U.S.-based providers are now creating services for Chinese tourists so they can buy things in America with their WeChat Pay or Alipay accounts, most of the activity on these networks happens in China. Most importantly, while Alipay and WeChat Pay are trying to crack other markets, there is no cross-currency facility. For all intents and purposes, this “cashless revolution” is happening within the boundaries of a renminbi universe.
The reason for that is that unlike cryptocurrency systems, the Chinese digital payments system is entirely built on the rails of the Chinese banking system, which deals almost exclusively in the Chinese currency. In that sense, it does share a foundation more like Venmo’s and Paypal’s, whose accounts also settle back into the banking system, than that of bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
The big difference is that for a host of reasons, the banks don’t charge the same kind of exorbitant interchange fees to Chinese merchants that U.S. banks do to U.S. businesses, allowing the digital payments providers to build a much more fluid micropayments model on top.
But here’s the thing: the Chinese banking system is essentially an instrument of Chinese policymaking. The four biggest banks make up the bulk of the financial system and are all majority government-owned. Their capacity to make profits, essentially on the spread they charge for loans over what they pay for deposits, is enabled by a carefully managed monetary policy. The People’s Bank of China sets a ceiling for deposit rates – often below inflation – and can get away with that because it imposes capital controls on savers to prevent them fleeing low rates for higher-earning currencies.
To be sure, Ant Financial and Tencent both have a variety of financial and banking licenses of their own. But their own financial profits are very much enabled by the same interest rate policy framework that a wider state-run Chinese banking system is compelled to accept.
For now, that policy framework has sustained a quid pro quo arrangement with Chinese savers, who more or less support a banking system that otherwise eats into their savings because the benefits are manifest in continued economic growth and in services like those of Tencent and Alibaba.
But for some time, there has been an expectation that China, in its desire to “internationalize” the renminbi, will relax both its interest rate and capital controls, which could seriously undermine banks’ profit margins. If China were also to allow more private and foreign investment into the banks, would those institutions continue to subsidize the digital payments economy? Maybe, maybe not.
Since we can’t be like China, maybe embrace crypto?
The bigger point is that China’s circumstances are unique. There aren’t many governments, if any, that could get away with this kind of control over the banking system. Others have tried – such as Venezuela and Argentina – and have destroyed confidence in their currencies in the process.
So, if the rest of the world can’t use compliant banks to subsidize a fluid, digital payments system, what instead will it use as the platform?
The answer may well lie in cryptocurrency and blockchain-based protocols. And as the race to build a stablecoin proceeds, a foundation for something that could viably compete with China’s model may emerge. It might even go one step better, as it would allow for cross-border payments.
As U.S. government officials look nervously across the Pacific at China’s growing economic clout, rather than launching destructive trade wars that do nothing but prop up outdated, 20th-century industries, they should instead be figuring out how to emulate and compete with China’s new Internet of Value model for business development and innovation.
It’s in that context that they should be looking at cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology less as a threat and more as an opportunity.
Cashless payments in China image via Shutterstock
Rejuvenate CBD Gummies: Unlocking Natural Healing for Optimal Wellness
In a society where stress, pain, and a variety of health conditions are common, the search for a remedy that is both natural and effective becomes of the utmost importance. The Rejuvenate CBD Gummies have established themselves as a game-changing product by providing a novel strategy for maximizing one’s state of wellness. In this piece, we will go deeper into the extraordinary benefits and possibilities of Rejuvenate CBD Gummies, putting light on how they can alter your health and well-being. Rejuvenate CBD Gummies are a delicious way to get your daily dose of cannabidiol (CBD). Get ready to discover the hidden potential of natural remedies!
The Science Behind Rejuvenate CBD Gummies
Cannabidiol (CBD), a naturally occurring chemical that is present in the hemp plant, was used in the formulation of Rejuvenate CBD Gummies. CBD has been shown to have an effect on the endocannabinoid system, also known as the ECS. The ECS is a complex network of receptors that regulates a variety of human functions, including sleep, mood, the perception of pain, and immunological response. CBD has been shown to interact with the ECS. Rejuvenate CBD Gummies work to restore balance and harmony throughout the body by focusing on the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
A Holistic Approach to Wellness
In contrast to conventional pharmaceuticals, which frequently focus on treating a single problem at a time, the comprehensive approach to wellbeing offered by Rejuvenate CBD Gummies. These gummies address numerous facets of health at the same time, so improving total health rather than merely relieving specific symptoms. These gummies act in concert to bring relief from a wide range of symptoms, from bodily aches and pains to mental strain and anxiety.
Natural Ingredients, Powerful Results
The natural components used in the production of Rejuvenate CBD Gummies are chosen with great care to ensure the product’s high level of purity and efficacy. The following are some of the major components:
- Full-Spectrum Hemp Extract: This extract comes from hemp that was cultivated organically and is abundant in CBD as well as other cannabinoids that are good to the body. It is associated with a wide variety of health advantages, such as the alleviation of pain, the decrease of stress, and the promotion of general wellness.
- Terpenes and Flavonoids: These naturally occurring chemicals are important contributors to the entourage effect, which boosts the efficacy of CBD. They complement one another to increase the therapeutic capacity of the Rejuvenate CBD Gummies, which in turn results in a greater number of benefits.
- Natural Fruit Extracts: Natural fruit extracts are used in the production of Rejuvenate CBD Gummies, which allows for an explosion of scrumptious flavor. This assures that every bite will be a lovely and pleasurable experience for the consumer.
The Benefits of Rejuvenate CBD Gummies
- Pain Relief and Inflammation Reduction: CBD has been shown to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, making Rejuvenate CBD Gummies an excellent choice for managing chronic pain, arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions.
- Stress and Anxiety Management: By interacting with receptors in the brain linked to mood regulation, CBD helps alleviate stress and anxiety. Rejuvenate CBD Gummies can promote a sense of calmness and relaxation, supporting mental well-being.
- Improved Sleep Quality: Many individuals struggle with sleep issues, whether it’s difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night. Rejuvenate CBD Gummies can help regulate sleep patterns, promoting restful and rejuvenating sleep.
- Enhanced Focus and Clarity: CBD’s ability to interact with neurotransmitters can improve cognitive function, focus, and mental clarity. Rejuvenate CBD Gummies can support optimal brain performance, aiding in concentration and productivity.
- Immune System Support: CBD has demonstrated promise as an immune system booster, one that can assist the body in protecting itself against infectious agents and in preserving overall health. You may find that including Rejuvenate CBD Gummies into your existing wellness routine is beneficial.
Choosing Rejuvenate CBD Gummies for Your Wellness Journey
It is absolutely necessary to place a high level of importance on quality and openness while selecting Rejuvenate CBD Gummies. Look for goods that come from trustworthy producers, have been tested in an independent lab to ensure their potency and purity, and include information that is understandable regarding the amount of CBD they contain. In addition, take into consideration your unique requirements and discuss the matter with a qualified medical practitioner in order to establish the proper dosage and use.
Cozy and Chic: Stylish Faux Fur Options for Your Winter Wardrobe and Home Decor
Faux fur is not just limited to clothing, it can also be incorporated into home decor and accessories. Faux fur accents like hats, pillows, throws, and scarves are perfect for adding a touch of glamour and sophistication to any outfit or home. This article explores the variety of faux fur options available for home and accessory decor, including faux fur hats, pillows, throws, scarves, and shawls.
Faux Fur Hats
Faux fur hats are a stylish and cozy accessory that provides warmth and glamour to any winter outfit. These hats come in a range of styles and colors, including pom-pom beanies, trapper hats, and berets. The options available are perfect for adding a touch of luxury to your winter wardrobe. Faux fur hats are also a great alternative to real fur, making them a popular and ethical choice for fashion lovers.
For a casual and chic look, pairing a faux fur hat with a sweater and jeans creates a relaxed yet stylish outfit. A classic pom-pom beanie in a neutral color pairs well with a chunky knit sweater and high-waisted jeans. For a more formal and elegant look, pairing a faux fur hat with a wool coat and boots creates a winter wonderland look. A trapper hat with a faux fur lining adds an element of luxury to a wool coat and tall boots, making it perfect for a formal event or a night out. Faux fur hats are a must-have for any winter wardrobe, providing warmth and style to any outfit.
Faux Fur Pillows
Faux fur pillows are a stylish and cozy addition to any home decor. These pillows come in various sizes and colors, ranging from classic neutral tones to bold and bright hues. Faux fur pillows are perfect for adding texture and warmth to your living room or bedroom. They provide an element of luxury to any space and make a great alternative to real fur pillows.
Adding faux fur pillows to your couch is an easy way to create a stylish and cozy atmosphere. Neutral tones like beige or white create a relaxed and calming vibe, while bold colors like pink or blue add a pop of color and excitement to the room. Mixing and matching different colors and sizes of faux fur pillows can also add a playful and eclectic touch to your decor. Adding faux fur pillows to your bedding creates a cozy and stylish look that is perfect for the winter months. A few faux fur pillows in a complementary color to your bedding can add an element of luxury and glamour to your bedroom. Faux fur pillows provide endless possibilities to create a stylish and cozy home, making it a must-have for any home decor enthusiast.
Faux Fur Throws
Faux fur throws are a great way to add some luxury and warmth to any room in your home. They come in various sizes and colors, ranging from classic neutral tones to bold and bright hues. Faux fur throws are perfect for adding an element of glamour to your living room or bedroom. They provide an easy way to add texture and warmth to your decor without overwhelming the space.
Adding a faux fur throw to your couch creates a cozy and stylish look that is perfect for the winter months. Drape a neutral-toned faux fur throw over your couch to add an element of luxury to your living room. Or, add a bold and bright-colored faux fur throw to make a statement and add some excitement to the space. Faux fur throws are also a great addition to your bedding. Add a faux fur throw in a complementary color to your bedding to create a cozy and stylish look. The soft and warm texture of the faux fur adds an element of comfort and luxury to your bed. Faux fur throws are a must-have for any home decor enthusiast looking to add a touch of glamour and warmth to their space.
Faux Fur Scarves
Faux fur scarves are a stylish and practical accessory that is perfect for adding some glamour and warmth to any winter outfit. These scarves come in a range of styles and colors, including infinity, snood, and wrap-around scarves. The options available are perfect for adding a touch of luxury to your winter wardrobe while keeping you warm and comfortable. Faux fur scarves are also a great alternative to real fur, making them a popular and ethical choice for fashion lovers.
For a casual and trendy look, pairing a faux fur scarf with a denim jacket and leggings creates a stylish and effortless outfit. A classic snood scarf in a neutral color pairs well with a denim jacket and black leggings for a casual and chic look. For a more formal and elegant look, pairing a faux fur scarf with a little black dress and heels creates a sophisticated and timeless look. A wrap-around scarf with a faux fur lining adds an element of luxury to a little black dress and high heels, making it perfect for a formal event or a night out. Faux fur scarves are a must-have for any winter wardrobe, providing warmth and style to any outfit.
Faux Fur Shawls
Faux fur shawls are a perfect way to add some warmth and style to your winter outfit. These shawls come in various sizes and colors, ranging from classic neutral tones to bold and bright hues. Faux fur shawls are perfect for adding an element of glamour to your winter wardrobe. They provide an easy way to add texture and warmth to your outfit without overwhelming the space.
Layering a faux fur shawl over your winter coat is a great way to add some extra warmth and style to your winter outfit. Drape a neutral-toned faux fur shawl over your coat to add an element of luxury to your winter outerwear. Or, add a bold and bright-colored faux fur shawl to make a statement and add some excitement to your outfit. Faux fur shawls are also a great accessory for a night out. Wear your faux fur shawl over your shoulders as a stylish accessory that adds an element of sophistication to your outfit. A wrap-around shawl with a faux fur lining is a great way to add an extra layer of warmth and glamour to your night out look. Faux fur shawls are a must-have for any fashion lover looking to add some glamour and warmth to their winter wardrobe.
Faux fur accents like hats, pillows, throws, scarves, and shawls are a great way to add some glamour and sophistication to your home and accessory decor. Whether you are dressing up or dressing down, there’s a faux fur option for every occasion. So, add some faux fur flair to your winter wardrobe and home decor for a cozy and stylish look.
How to Choose the Right Hurricane Lawyer for Your Case
A hurricane can cause a lot of damage. If you are affected by a hurricane, you may need to hire a hurricane lawyer. Not all lawyers are created equal, so it is important to choose the right one for your case. In this blog post, we will discuss how to choose the right hurricane lawyer for your needs.
What to look for when choosing a hurricane lawyer?
Choosing the right hurricane lawyer is no easy task, but it is important to make sure you have one that knows the ins and outs of Hurricane incidents in order to get the best outcome. Make sure they have experience with similar cases and that they are familiar with the laws surrounding your particular situation. It’s also wise to do some background digging on any potential lawyers, checking into reviews and the reputation of their firm if possible. Lastly, pick a lawyer who you feel comfortable with – someone whose approach jives with yours and who comes off as motivated and enthusiastic about taking on your case. Remember, there’s no guarantee of success, but you want to increase your chances by making sure your hurricane lawyer has all bases covered!
How to know if you need a hurricane lawyer?
If you live in a hurricane-prone area and have been affected by a storm, you may need the help of a hurricane lawyer. The most obvious indicator is if your home (or any other property) was severely damaged during the storm, as these situations can become complex very quickly. Other indicators include whether you’re having trouble accessing insurance benefits or feeling overwhelmed by paperwork.
In any of those cases, it might be wise to consult a hurricane lawyer who has experience navigating these types of issues. You won’t know for sure until you talk to one – so why not get ahead of the game?
What to expect when working with a hurricane lawyer?
Working with a hurricane lawyer may feel intimidating, but the reality is that many of them are passionate professionals who are determined to help people navigate the legal challenges that can arise from natural disasters.
They can provide you with an honest assessment of your situation, and can advise on what steps should be taken to secure any compensation or damages owed to you as quickly as possible.
Having a knowledgeable lawyer by your side will ensure that all legal documents involved in the hurricane claim process are filled out correctly and efficiently. Plus, they’ll do all the legwork for you so that you can simply focus on recovering and getting your life back in order!
Questions to ask your hurricane lawyer
As hurricane season comes up and the weather starts getting wild, it’s important to know your rights in these uncertain times. That’s why enlisting the help of a professional hurricane lawyer is essential.
When looking for one, some questions worth asking are:
- Do you have experience in this area?
- What advice would you give following a major storm?
- What processes do you use to ensure accuracy and justice?
How much does a hurricane lawyer cost?
For many people, the thought of needing a hurricane lawyer may bring to mind some unseemly Hollywood depictions of a stuffy and overpriced attorney, but you should know that it doesn’t have to be that way.
The truth is, the cost for legal help with hurricane claims depends on a variety of factors like the complexity of your case and the experience and reputability of your lawyer.
Many legal professionals charge reasonable fees—it might even seem like they took one look at the weather forecast and adjusted their costs accordingly!
Finding experienced help if you’re facing damage or claims resulting from a major storm isn’t difficult (or outrageously pricey), so don’t be afraid to seek out professional guidance when it comes to this kind of situation.
Picking the right hurricane lawyer is hard – but luckily, we’re here to help. With our experienced and dedicated team, we’ll make sure you get the best possible outcome for your case.
Still need help finding best hurricane lawyers? Check out this helpful article: Best Hurricane Lawyers in Florida
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