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  • OPINION

    Authoritarian cryptocurrencies are on the march

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 18/10/2017

    » With Russia and China both embracing the idea of sovereign cryptocurrencies, it's time to ask a simple question: Why is a technology threatening to decentralise money so attractive to highly centralised, authoritarian regimes?

  • OPINION

    Give people a chance to sell their data to FB

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 01/02/2019

    » It's easy to be outraged by the revelation that Facebook has been paying users between the ages of 13 and 35 up to US$20 (624 baht) a month to allow practically unlimited access to their smartphone usage data. But outrage about the social media giant is so 2017. The latest dubious practice could be an opportunity to consider a more finely tuned business model.

  • OPINION

    The year of the woeful world leaders

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 28/12/2018

    » The dictionaries have decided on their 2018 words of the year. Oxford picked "toxic". Merriam-Webster went for "justice". Collins chose "single-use". However, I'd zero in on "misgovernment". Surely, 2018 saw a number of countries misruled by the worst crop of world leaders in recent memory.

  • OPINION

    Fighting tax dodgers can kill growth

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 26/07/2018

    » It's easy to be outraged about multinational corporations' shifting of profits to tax havens, but much harder to figure out how to stop them from doing it without hurting the economy. Evidence exists that curbing tax avoidance opportunities makes these firms move actual jobs, not just accounting profits, overseas.

  • OPINION

    Cambridge Analytica's business simply isn't data

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 23/03/2018

    » As the Cambridge Analytica scandal unfolds, the Western world is meeting a little-known part of its political industry, the one that has operated in developing nations since at least the 1990s. CA's methods as revealed by Britain's Channel 4 News, whose reporter posed as a potential Sri Lankan client, may be a bit extreme -- but for the most part, the consultancy has been one of many firms that have brought Western-style electioneering to lawless environments in which it has been blatantly abused.

  • OPINION

    Stock market is a lot like bitcoin now

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 08/02/2018

    » Just as President Donald Trump had nothing to do with the stock market's rise, despite the almost 60 boastful tweets he has posted about it since being elected, he has nothing to do with the recent stock crash. Instead, praise the machines -- and blame them, too.

  • OPINION

    Crypto markets aren't all the same

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 23/01/2018

    » There's a compelling reason to consider what's going on with cryptocurrencies a purely speculative boom-and-bust roller-coaster: Over a three-month period, the prices of all the top coins and tokens are rather strongly correlated, going up and down in unison. What does that make them if not the 21st-century incarnation of tulip bulbs?

  • OPINION

    Merkel's lacklustre win is good for the nation

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 26/09/2017

    » The sour faces of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's allies after the first exit poll results for the federal election were announced on Sunday night will prompt much talk of a Pyrrhic victory for Ms Merkel. But the outcome of Sunday's election could be good both for her and for German democracy: It has clarified the options for the next governing coalition, and it has made sure there will be vocal opposition to the government from both the left and the right.

  • OPINION

    Why cold, hard cash remains king in the digital age

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 28/06/2017

    » We don't have to like the way technology is changing the world. Given the technological disruption happening everywhere, it's reasonable to expect a little Luddite pushback. The growing share of cash in advanced economies might fall in that category.

  • OPINION

    Time is running out on the US fracking industry

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 21/10/2015

    » The US shale oil industry is in retreat, but it will largely survive next year, and its production decline will not be catastrophic enough for oil prices to shoot up. Scarier things probably await US frackers in 2017.

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