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China leads the world with new state-backed digital currency

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In a push to dominate global financial technology, the Chinese government is aiming to roll out the world’s first state-backed digital currency.

Why it matters: China’s new currency could set global standards for the use of national digital currencies — and give Beijing unprecedented visibility and control over domestic financial transactions.


  • At least 60 countries are exploring the use of an official digital currency, but China is furthest along in making those plans a reality, while the U.S. has largely sat on the sidelines.

What’s happening: The Chinese government has started pilot programs in Beijing, Shanghai, and other cities that give small amounts of the currency, known as the Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP), to residents on a lottery system, with a limited number of retailers participating.

  • Chinese officials have stated they hope DCEP is ready for wider use in time for the Beijing Olympics in February 2022.
  • Some officials also hope DCEP could help internationalize China’s currency, though China’s tight capital controls have made the renminbi less attractive for international transactions.

The big picture: Rolling out a national digital currency offers several advantages.

  • Improving efficiency in the financial system. Cash and coins are inefficient and expensive to store.
  • Reducing systemic risk. “The existing system is owned by private companies. Should Alipay or WeChat pay [go] bankrupt, which is extremely unlikely, it creates systematic risk,” Trivium China analyst Linghao Bao told CNBC. A government alternative would provide a layer of security.
  • Spurring innovation. A state-backed digital currency could potentially provide a host of new opportunities for businesses, tech companies, and trade.

But it isn’t just about efficiency and innovation. Chinese officials have made it clear that they view the digital currency as a key staging ground for global geopolitical competition, according to a January report by Yaya Fanusie and Emily Jin of the Center for a New American Security.

  • “Fintech is the commanding heights of future global financial competition,” Chinese central bank vice-governor Fan Yifei said in November 2019. “Whoever grasps this advanced productive capability will possess the strongest core competitiveness in finance.”

Background: Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum exist on a decentralized ledger and are intended to skirt controls by governments or companies. But DCEP would be managed directly by China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC).

  • Chinese officials have said DCEP offers “controllable anonymity” — meaning payments could be anonymous to companies and other users but not to the government.

In the hands of an authoritarian government, a digital currency also offers unprecedented surveillance and control. “Never before has a government ever had access to individual user transactions directly. Technology hasn’t allowed that,” Fanusie told Axios.

  • “DCEP offers a direct route for the government to cut a person off from payments, from their funds, from their accounts. Right now, the government has to go through a private company or a bank to do that.”
  • This capability could be used to reduce criminal abuse of the financial system, but also in theory to monitor and shut down the accounts of dissidents, human rights activists, persecuted groups such as Uyghurs, and others engaging in non-criminal behavior that the Chinese Communist Party may want to suppress.

What to watch: Though DCEP could help internationalize the renminbi to a moderate degree, it’s unlikely to challenge the U.S. dollar any time soon.

  • But international DCEP transactions could bypass SWIFT, the most widely used international payments system, making it easier for people and governments to evade U.S. financial sanctions.

Go deeper: What central bank digital currencies mean for crypto

Source: https://www.axios.com/china-digital-currency-dd20ff05-7562-4e10-966e-43caf00e629e.html
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian

Facebook’s Long-Stalled Digital Currency Could be Tested This Year: Report

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Facebook hopes to launch a trial of its long-stalled digital currency project by the end of this year, according to a new report from CNBC. The currency, first announced in 2019 as Libra and then renamed Diem after some bad publicity, will now be pegged to the U.S. dollar, provided the tech giant can actually get it…

Read more…

Source: https://gizmodo.com/facebooks-long-stalled-digital-currency-could-be-tested-1846719510
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Matt Novak

Venmo Launches Ability to Buy, Sell, and Hold Cryptocurrencies Like Bitcoin

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Payment app Venmo will now let users buy, sell, and hold four cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin and bitcoin cash, according to a press release from the company Tuesday morning. But users won’t be able to send cryptocurrencies like bitcoin to their Venmo friends just yet.

Read more…

Source: https://gizmodo.com/venmo-launches-ability-to-buy-sell-and-hold-cryptocur-1846719679
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Matt Novak

How to Start a Concierge Business

Starting a concierge business is a great idea! People are busier than ever these days, and you can provide a much-needed service by helping them take care of things like errands and other tasks. Even better, you can run this business out of your home and you don’t need anyone other than yourself. You can always grow your team after you find your niche and become successful.

[Edit]Steps

[Edit]Business Organization

  1. Select which services you will offer. A personal concierge can offer a wide variety of services for their clients. Write down exactly what sort of concierge you want to be and what you will do. For example, maybe you are going to be a personal concierge that assists with errands and household tasks. You might include services like:[1]
    Start a Concierge Business Step 1 Version 2.jpg
    • Grocery shopping
    • Picking up/dropping off dry cleaning
    • Purchasing and sending gifts
    • Walking dogs
    • Caring for plants
  2. Focus on a niche where you can excel. You might start by offering a wide array of services and discover that you are better at some than others. You might also find that you really love doing some things and really dislike some others. It’s definitely okay to adjust your services as you grow your business. Find a niche where you can really do well and focus on expanding that area of your business.[2]
    Start a Concierge Business Step 2 Version 2.jpg
    • For example, maybe you discover that you’re getting a lot of great feedback about your gift buying services. Start developing that part of your business by adding more customizable options and doing more marketing in that area.
  3. Give your clients a high standard of service so they refer you to others. You want each client to feel like they are your most important. Try adding an extra touch, like leaving a personal note when you drop off their groceries or spending an extra few minutes playing with their dog. When your clients give you positive feedback, ask if they would mind leaving a positive review on social media or giving your name to a friend.[3]
    Start a Concierge Business Step 3 Version 2.jpg
    • You can use these positive reviews in marketing and advertising your business.
  4. Get basic office equipment and reliable internet to run your business. Make sure that you have a cell phone that gets good reception so that your clients can easily reach you. You’ll also need a laptop with a stable internet connection so that you can work on your website and keep your accounts up to date. You don’t need much in the way of office furniture, especially if it’s just you starting your own business. If you have other employees, you might consider renting office space.[4]
    Start a Concierge Business Step 4 Version 2.jpg
    • You can print your promotional materials at a place like a FedEx or UPS store that offers professional printing so that you don’t have to invest in your own equipment.
  5. Expect to work non-traditional hours. A good concierge should be available when clients need them. That means that you shouldn’t plan to work a traditional 9-5 job. Depending on what types of services you offer, you might find yourself working early mornings, evenings, weekends, and even holidays.[5]
    Start a Concierge Business Step 5 Version 2.jpg
    • It’s also important to understand that most of your days will probably be different from each other. For example, you might have 7 clients on Mondays, but only 1 on Tuesdays. Use your downtime to work on things like billing and marketing.

[Edit]Finances and Insurance

  1. Draft a basic business plan to help define your business. You can develop a thorough plan at some point, but to get started, write a short plan that is about 10 pages. This will help you get a concrete idea of what your business will look like. You’ll be able to show it to others as you work to get the permits and insurance that you’ll need to get going. Make sure your business plan includes:[6]
    Start a Concierge Business Step 6 Version 2.jpg
    • Your business concept
    • Market analysis
    • Financial analysis
  2. Consult an expert about legal requirements for setting up a business. When you start a business, you need to determine if you should set it up as an LLC or an S corp. You also need to make sure that you get all of the local permits that are required. Sound confusing? It’s not just you that feels that way, so don’t worry. You’re not expected to know these things, so take a deep breath and ask someone who is an expert. Ask an attorney, your accountant, or tax preparer for advice.[7]
    Start a Concierge Business Step 7 Version 2.jpg
    • Share your business plan with them and ask them to help you navigate specific resources that you need for a concierge business. Your needs are probably different from someone opening up a cafe, for example.
    • Check city hall’s website for resources for starting a new business in your community. You’ll find lots of resources there, too.
    • Don’t shrug off getting permits. If you don’t have them, you could get in trouble for not properly setting up your business.
  3. Call your insurance agent to get coverage for your business. Even if you’re the only employee and you’re working from home, your personal insurance won’t cover your business. Call or email your insurance carrier and ask about business coverage. They might need to see your business plan, so be prepared to send them what you have. Ask them to walk you through different coverage options and the rates for each.[8]
    Start a Concierge Business Step 8 Version 2.jpg
    • Explain to the agent where your business will be located, how many employees will be working there, and answer any questions they have. This will help them understand your needs for your concierge business.
    • Get quotes from a couple of other agents. It never hurts to shop around a little for great rates. You can usually get a quick quote by visiting a website or making a phone call.
  4. Open business banking and credit accounts. Even though it might seem easier, don’t use your personal accounts to run your business. It will make things a lot easier at tax time and for general record-keeping if you keep things separate right from the start. Call or visit your bank and ask them to help you get set up with business accounts.[9]
    Start a Concierge Business Step 9 Version 2.jpg
    • For a business credit card, ask for one with a low APR and perks like cashback.
  5. Charge hourly rates for customers who use your services occasionally. As a concierge, you may have customers who contact you a few times a week or maybe a couple of times a year. For these types of clients, it’s probably a good idea to set up an hourly rate schedule. Determine your rates in advance and include them on your website. It’s okay to have different rates for different services. When your figure out your rates, take into account the difficulty of the task, whether you need transportation or equipment, and the going rate in your area.[10]
    Start a Concierge Business Step 10 Version 2.jpg
    • For example, you might charge $25 an hour for light housekeeping, but only $20 an hour for basic house sitting services that include bringing in mail and watering plants.
    • Typically, concierge services range from $25 per hour to $125 depending on the service and the market.
  6. Offer monthly rates for regular clients. You may attract clients that want to take advantage of many of your services on a regular basis. In this case, you will both probably find it easier if they pay a flat monthly fee rather than billing them by the hour. You can determine a maximum number of hours that you will work and make that part of the agreement. Make it clear on your website what a monthly rate includes.[11]
    Start a Concierge Business Step 11.jpg
    • For example, you could advertise a “Premium Package” that includes weekly errands, light housekeeping, and other tasks for $1500.
  7. Adjust your pricing as necessary. Once you’ve started taking clients you might realize that you have set your prices too low and you’re not making enough money. Or you might see the opposite and find out you’ve set prices too high and you’re having a hard time attracting clients. Don’t be afraid to adjust your prices as necessary. Starting a business is a learning curve.[12]
    Start a Concierge Business Step 12.jpg

[Edit]Marketing and Advertising

  1. Come up with a memorable name for your business. The name is going to be what people use to find your business, so try to come up with one that is catchy and descriptive. It should let people know what your business does and also be something that they will easily be able to recall.[13]
    Start a Concierge Business Step 13.jpg
    • Something like Paul’s Personal Concierge Service lets customers know that they will receive personal attention and the alliteration might help them remember it.
    • Run a quick Google search to make sure there is not already a business with the name you want to use.
  2. Build a basic website that is easy for customers to use. This might sound really tough, but don’t worry. There are lots of tools available to help you if you’ve never set up a website before. You can use an online platform like Weebly or Wix that will help you build a website for free.[14]
    Start a Concierge Business Step 14.jpg
    • You can also hire a professional to build and maintain your website for you if this is something you really don’t want to tackle.
  3. Use social media to attract customers. Social media is one of the best ways to advertise your new business because you can easily reach a wide audience and it’s free. Set up accounts for your business on popular sites like Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin. Make sure to include important information like how to contact you and what services you provide in your bio.[15]
    Start a Concierge Business Step 15.jpg
    • Keep your posts professional and positive. Try an Instagram post that is a photo of a dog with the caption, “Does your best friend need some extra company while you work? Call Paul’s Personal Concierge Service! Available for pet care and all of your other personal assistant needs!”
  4. Ask everyone you know to spread the word about your new business. Word of mouth is another effective and free way to get new customers. Encourage family and friends to tell people about your new business. Let them know the important details, like the name, contact info, and services you provide.[16]
    Start a Concierge Business Step 16.jpg
    • Say something like, “Hey, it seems like the people you work with might be interested in a personal concierge. Would you mind hanging up one of my flyers in your break room?”

[Edit]Tips

  • Ask other small business owners in your area for tips about getting started.
  • Make sure you have reliable transportation for running errands.

[Edit]References

  1. https://theworkathomewife.com/how-to-start-a-personal-concierge-service-business/
  2. https://theconciergesociety.com/starting-a-personal-concierge-business-my-take-after-12-years-in-business/
  3. https://howtostartanllc.com/business-ideas/personal-concierge
  4. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/37930
  5. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/37930
  6. https://theworkathomewife.com/how-to-start-a-personal-concierge-service-business/
  7. https://theworkathomewife.com/how-to-start-a-personal-concierge-service-business/
  8. https://theconciergesociety.com/starting-a-personal-concierge-business-my-take-after-12-years-in-business/
  9. https://howtostartanllc.com/business-ideas/personal-concierge
  10. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/37930
  11. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/37930
  12. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/37930
  13. https://seniorservicebusiness.com/how-to-start-a-senior-concierge-business-in-10-easy-steps/
  14. https://howtostartanllc.com/business-ideas/personal-concierge
  15. https://howtostartanllc.com/business-ideas/personal-concierge
  16. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/37930

Source: https://www.wikihow.com/Start-a-Concierge-Business
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Dogecoin has risen 400 percent in the last week because why not

Dogecoin has risen 400 percent in the last week because why not

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Dogecoin, a blockchain-based digital currency named for a meme about an excitable canine, has seen its price rise by a factor of five over the last week. The price spike has made it one of the world’s 10 most valuable cryptocurrencies, with a market capitalization of $45 billion.

Understanding the value of cryptocurrencies is never easy, and it’s especially hard for Dogecoin, which was created as a joke. Dogecoin isn’t known for any particular technology innovations and doesn’t seem to have many practical applications.

What Dogecoin does have going for it, however, is memorable branding and an enthusiastic community of fans. And in 2021, that counts for a lot. In recent months, we’ve seen shares of GameStop soar to levels that are hard to justify based on the performance of GameStop’s actual business. People bought GameStop because it was fun and they thought the price might go up. So too for Dogecoin.

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Source: https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2021/04/dogecoin-has-risen-400-percent-in-the-last-week-because-why-not/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Timothy B. Lee

Twitter Super Follow borrows OnlyFans strategy to charge for tweets

Twitter is preparing to launch paid tweets, with a new Super Follow system which will work a little like Patreon or OnlyFans. Announced during the company’s investors presentation, Super Follow will offer a new way for those with followings on Twitter to monetize that audience, with everything from exclusive content to special badging. Twitter has long talked about – and, … Continue reading

Source: https://www.slashgear.com/twitter-super-follow-borrows-onlyfans-strategy-to-charge-for-tweets-25661290/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Chris Davies

Mastercard will support cryptocurrency payments later this year

7f983920-6c53-11eb-bfe3-0f4a19bb87c0Mastercard has become the latest payment company to give cryptocurrencies its blessing. The financial services firm has begun preparations to support select cryptocurrencies later this year, Mastercard’s digital asset and blockchain VP Raj Dhamodhara…

Source: https://www.engadget.com/mastercard-cryptocurrency-support-113518862.html
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How to Use Microsoft’s “Money in Excel” to Manage Your Finances

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By connecting your bank, loan, and credit card accounts, you can budget your money easily using Money in Excel. If you’ve already set up Money in Excel but haven’t spent much time with it yet, here’s how you can make the most of it.

Read This Article on How-To Geek ›

Source: https://www.howtogeek.com/708253/how-to-use-microsofts-money-in-excel-to-manage-your-finances/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Sandy Writtenhouse

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