Traders Losing $1 Million Build EU Case for Bitcoin Regulation (Bloomberg)
Trading Bitcoins could bleed you dry, the European Union’s top banking regulator said as it weighs whether to regulate virtual currencies. Thefts from digital wallets have exceeded $1 million in some cases and traders aren’t protected against losses if their virtual exchange collapses, the European Banking Authority said in a report warning consumers about the risks of cybermoney.
Most Americans Don’t Know Bitcoin While Some Guess Xbox (Bloomberg)
Some Americans think Bitcoin is an Xbox game. Others think it might be an iPhone app. The majority have no idea it’s a virtual currency they can use to buy everything from T-shirts to Tesla Motors sedans, according to a Bloomberg National Poll. Only 42 percent of Americans who responded to the Dec. 6-9 telephone survey correctly identified Bitcoin, which has gained more than 80-fold in value this year as its popularity expands. “I’m not sure what the value of it is, and what I’d be able to exchange it for,” says Olga Ruff, 62, of Dallas, who correctly identified Bitcoin. Ruff says she’s unlikely to start accepting it for the small jewelry business she operates out of her home: “What use would it be for me?”
Pope attacks megasalaries and wealth gap (Reuters)
Pope Francis said in the first peace message of his pontificate that huge salaries and bonuses are symptoms of an economy based on greed and inequality, and he called again for nations to narrow the wealth gap. In his message for the Roman Catholic Church’s World Day of Peace, marked around the world on Jan. 1, he also called for sharing of wealth and for nations to shrink the gap between rich and poor, more of whom are getting only “crumbs.” “The grave financial and economic crises of the present time … have pushed man to seek satisfaction, happiness and security in consumption and earnings out of all proportion to the principles of a sound economy,” he said. “The succession of economic crises should lead to a timely rethinking of our models of economic development and to a change in lifestyles,” he said…The new pope’s style is characterized by frugality. He shunned the spacious papal apartment in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace to live in a small suite in a Vatican guest house, and he prefers a Ford Focus to the traditional Mercedes.
Falcone’s Life Insurer Prices Shares at Low End of Range in IPO (Bloomberg)
Fidelity & Guaranty Life, the insurer controlled by billionaire Philip Falcone’s Harbinger Group Inc., raised $165.75 million in its initial public offering, pricing the shares at the low end of the marketed range. Fidelity sold 9.75 million shares for $17 apiece, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, after offering them for $17 to $19. The sale of a 17 percent stake values the company at $965 million. Falcone is focused on running Harbinger Group, which has businesses from insurance to consumer products, after reaching a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in August that bars him from the hedge-fund industry. He’s also been banned from being an officer or director of Fidelity & Guaranty, which is run by former MetLife Inc. executive Lee Launer. “FGL is being attractively priced,” Manal Mehta, an investor in Harbinger Group via his Sunesis Capital LLC, said in an e-mail before the details were announced. “Falcone’s woes are a gift to investors participating in the offering.”
Startups Are Quick To Fire (WSJ)
Here’s another way that startups are reinventing the way companies work: Firing people before the ink is dry on their employment contracts. At one startup, Steve Fredrick, of venture-capital firm Grotech Ventures, says he saw a senior executive fired after three days. “It was like an organ-transplant rejection,” he adds. Hoping to board a rocket ship to IPO riches and build the next big thing with a beer in hand, tech-savvy workers are flocking to fledgling companies. Almost anyone joining one of these upstarts faces the risk that it could collapse long before minting millionaires as Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc. have done in the past two years. But there are personal risks, too. New hires often don’t realize just how precarious their job at a startup can be. Startup managers say they try to let underperformers or poor fits go within their first three months, but some hires don’t last even that long.
Residents in affluent neighbourhood turn to ‘vandalising’ cars with sauce in fight against parking on their streets (DM)
Homeowners in Edgbaston, Birmingham, are taking the law into their own hands because they say the local council has done nothing to reduce the number of vehicles left on their road. The word ‘idiot’ has been daubed with a food substance on the [hoods] of cars which are left outside houses all day. The area is known for being an affluent suburb of Birmingham which hosts international cricket and tennis matches every year. But during the year it is seen as a free-parking hotspot due to its proximity to one of Birmingham’s biggest hospitals, the Queen Elizabeth. It is also close to the University of Birmingham, making it a convenient place for students who don’t want to pay for parking. Read more »