By Michael Shields – Call it the battle for grandma’s passbook.
That is how politicians here are framing a debate over whether Austria should roll back banking secrecy and share information on depositors with European partners and the United States. Luxembourg’s decision this week to open its books has fixed attention on Austria, the last EU holdout.
The discussion has touched a nerve in a country where the confidentiality banks offer is so cherished that banking secrecy is anchored in the constitution. Why Austrians are so wedded to such secrecy is answered in part by a distrust of authority. The country’s Catholic identity and a nod-and-wink approach to off-the-books work in the shadow economy may play a role too. more> http://tinyurl.com/clhe2zr
By Farhad Manjoo – Bitcoin, of course. Bitcoin is a “digital currency” invented in 2009 by a cryptographic expert who went by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, but whose true identity remains unknown. It exists only in computers, minted at a regular rate by a network of machines around the world, and its value isn’t regulated by any government. The currency, like its creator, clings to the shadows. Bitcoins are like cash in that they aren’t tied to your identity, and transactions made with Bitcoins are irreversible and untraceable. But they’re like credit cards in that they aren’t physical.
After taking its $21.51 processing fee, the firm transferred my $1,000 to Bitfloor, one of the many online Bitcoin exchanges where people trade Bitcoins for cash. I immediately put in a purchase order, and within seconds the deal was done. I was the proud owner of 7.23883 Bitcoins, which I’d purchased for about $138 each. If I sold my coins now, my original $1,000 investment would be worth $1,700—not a bad return in less than a week’s time. more> http://tinyurl.com/d8t7gex
By Paul Ford – One of the oddest bits of news to emerge from the economic collapse of Cyprus is a corresponding rise in the value of Bitcoin, the Internet’s favorite, media-friendly, anarchist crypto-currency.
Bitcoin was created in 2009 by a pseudonymous hacker who calls him or herself Satoshi Nakamoto (and who might be several people). It’s a form of virtual cash used to buy goods and services online. Even by Web standards, it’s a strange and supergeeky phenomenon. This is what happens when software and networks meet the concept of currency, when you take peer-to-peer networks and advanced cryptography and ask, “How can I make a new economy?”
There are 10,952,975 Bitcoins in circulation. (With a digital currency you can be specific.) more> http://tinyurl.com/cv9zn4m
By Yalman Onaran – Cyprus is on the verge of an unprecedented financial experiment: imposing controls on money transfers in an economy that doesn’t have its own currency.
Countries from Argentina to Iceland have used similar measures in the past to defend against devaluation. Being part of the euro zone may make it harder for the Mediterranean island to enforce restrictions, as any money that leaves the banking system can be taken out of Cyprus without losing value. more> http://tinyurl.com/bp3ahmv
SLIDE SHOW (6)
By Jeffrey Lumetta – Milestones in Vending History
- 215 B.C. Hero of Alexandria, and Egyptian mathematician invents a device that dispenses holy water when a coin is inserted
- 1076: The Chinese produce coin-operated pencil vending
- 1700s: Coin-fed tobacco boxes appear in English taverns
- 1886: The US issues several patents for coin-operated dispensers
- 1888: Thomas Adams Company installs gum machines in New York train platforms
- 1905: US Post Office introduces stamp-vending machines
- 1930s: Ice-chilled soda machines are introduced
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Tagged Broadband, Currency, Industrial economy, Payment, Super regions, United States, Wireless