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Should Cryptocurrencies Be Regulated?

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Editor’s Remarks:
The world’s criminal underclass prefers to deal in cold, hard cash. Anything else can be traced too easily, and even hardened crooks want to sleep easy at night. Cryptocurrencies, however, carry the potential to enable tech-savvy drug dealers, thieves and assassins to store their black money on a USB stick or in some unknown corner of the Dark Web. The argument can indeed be made that all bitcoins should simply be outlawed, but this course of action entails two potential problems: firstly, there are now countless legitimate Bitcoin owners, such as the Winklevoss twins (perhaps best known for suing Mark Zuckerberg for $65m); secondly, as the so-called “War on Drugs” has perfectly demonstrated, unlawfulness does not prevent people from engaging in illegal activities. Therefore, regulation seems like the only logical option. After all, in the past two years alone, the global value of Bitcoins has shot up from $3bn to $29bn. The emergence of other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum and Ripple have pushed the worldwide value of cryptocurrencies to $50bn. However, the Eurozone has banned €500 bills, the UK has released a new £1 coin and India recently destroyed the majority of its banknotes to clamp down on black money. Allowing an unregulated cryptocurrency that can be traded in infinite denominations to grow exponentially therefore seems like a terrible contradiction. Most of our readers appear to agree.

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The Darkest Hour: Fatalities in WW2

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Following the release of The Darkest Hour, which stars a beefed-up Gary Oldman as former British prime minister Winston Churchill, the Second World War has once again peaked the interest of the public. The movie depicts how Churchill dealt not only with the mess at Dunkirk in the opening stages of the war but internal divisions in his war cabinet as Neville Chamberlain and Lord Halifax pushed for a diplomatic solution to avoid all-out war. In the end, Churchill’s decision to go to war prevailed and, as the common quip goes, victory was seized through British intelligence, American strength and Russian blood. Looking at the number of fatalities that each side sustained, there is no small amount of truth to this statement. Following the collapse of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, the consequent launch of Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa and the eventual push back of German forces after their defeat in Stalingrad, an astronomical 20 million Russians died.

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How Are the Chinese Net Giants Faring?

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chinese tech

In the last year, China’s tech giants have really come into their own. Finally, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent have shed their former reputation as “China’s version of [insert western tech company]” and begun to define their business models by their own terms. The market has rewarded them for it too: Baidu gained 60% in 2017, with Tencent and Alibaba each up about 120%, which trumped the price gains achieved by their western competitors. Tencent has cemented itself as the world’s biggest video games company due to its ever-expanding portfolio of mobile games and savvy investments in a broad range of foreign tech firms. Alibaba, meanwhile, has expanded into physical supermarkets in China, where it hopes to build further streams of revenue. Baidu is somewhat lagging, as its relatively small market cap indicates but the company is actively testing autonomous cars.

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How Big Banks Have Invested in FinTech Since 2013

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big banks fintech

In the UK at least, fintech has been characterised by challenger banks such as Starling and Monzo opening their (virtual) doors to customers in recent years. However, that does not mean that big banks aren’t getting in on the fun too. Since 2013, premier investment bank Goldman Sachs has completed some 37 fintech-related investments with Citibank trailing with 25 similar deals over the same period. Kensho is one company that has received a lot of attention from Wall Street’s biggest players; Goldman, JPMorgan, Citi and Morgan Stanley all invested in the machine learning startup’s Series B fundraise last year at a valuation of $500m. with the advent of blockchain, it seems like 2018 will see many more fintech deals take place.

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