Facebook Coins Cryptocurrency: It was only a matter of time. Facebook is hoping to introduce mainstream customers to the world of cryptocurrency through a new digital coin, writes The New York Times. Users can send the coin to friends and family through WhatsApp, which Facebook owns. Facebook isn’t alone. Telegram, which has roughly 300 million users around the world, is also working on a digital coin with Signal, an encrypted messaging service.
“‘It’s pretty much the most fascinating thing happening in crypto right now,’” said Eric Meltzer, a co-founder of a cryptocurrency-focused venture capital firm, Primitive Ventures, to the Times. “‘They each have their own advantage in this battle, and it will be insane to watch it go down.’”
Cash Is No Longer King: China is taking center stage as a trend-setting tech hub. The country is laying the groundwork for Japan to become a cashless society, according to The Wall Street Journal. As more Chinese tourists head to Tokyo with the expectation of paying by phone, the Japanese are being forced to push old-time paper money to the wayside.
Instagram is Informing Your Insurance Rate: If you’re an avid skydiver or scuba-diver, you may think twice before posting photos from your adrenaline activity. Insurance companies are now following individuals with a hankering for adventure on Instagram as a way to reassess (read: jack up) the cost of their life insurance, writes The New Yorker. For now, the burden is on the insurer to prove this information is based on actuarial principles and can actually prove correlation or causation–but at the rate, we’re going, it won’t be long before that’s possible.
Feeding the US’s Food Fears: The US is demanding more access to the UK’s food markets post-Brexit by asking them to reduce “unwarranted barriers.” The trade deal would cut tariffs and non-tariff barriers for US industrial and agricultural goods, as well as reduce regulatory differences, according to The Guardian. With no context, that seems reasonable–no one likes an unwarranted barrier–until you realize that said barriers currently ban chlorinated chicken and hormone-injected beef.
“British people value and demand the high standards of animal welfare, environmental protection, and food safety that our own farmers adhere to,” the National Farmers Union President Minette Batters told The Guardian. “These world-leading standards must not be sacrificed in the pursuit of reaching rushed trade deals.”
Bargain-Hunters Reap Loan Benefits: Those who shop at discount stores are now more likely to receive personal loans through Discover Financial Services, according to The Wall Street Journal. Discover plans to use AI to look at an individual’s financial standings and habits, which will inform their likelihood to receive a personal loan.
Additionally, the company best known as a credit card provider is motivated by the need to get a handle on losses from personal loans. The WSJ reports Discover has tightened underwriting standards and cut back on approvals. Previously, they’ve lent money to those looking to renovate their home or go on a vacation. Because there’s no collateral in these cases, it’s harder to enforce repayment.