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SAN FRANCISCO — Since China's government declared all cryptocurrency transactions illegal last week and banned citizens from working for crypto-related companies, the price of bitcoin went up despite being shut out of one of its biggest markets.
Experts say large-scale Chinese miners of cryptocurrency — the likes of Bitcoin and Ethereum — will take their high-powered, electricity-guzzling servers offshore. Exchanges of the digital money and the numerous Chinese startups linked to the trade also are expected to rebase offshore after dropping domestic customers from their rosters.
The shift highlights how virtual currencies can evade government regulation.
"The exchanges have been pushing offshore anyways, and with the exchange business you need cloud infrastructure, you need developers, you need management to move things in the right direction, and so whether that is sitting in Taipei, San Francisco, Singapore or Shanghai, it doesn't really matter — those businesses are very virtual," said Zennon Kapron, Singapore-based founder the financial consulting firm Kapronasia.
"The real impact we've probably seen though is in the miners, and most of those miners [are in] the process of shifting overseas or [have] already completed moving overseas," he said.
Strongest anti-crypto action to date
On Sept. 24, the People's Bank of China, Beijing's monetary authority, released a statement saying cryptocurrencies lack the status of other monetary instruments. The notice, issued in tandem with nine other government agencies, including the Bureau of Public Security, declared all related business illegal and warned that cryptocurrency transactions originating outside China will also be treated as crimes.
Explaining the ban, China's official Xinhua News Agency reported Friday that cryptocurrencies have disrupted the controlled economy's financial systems and contributed to crimes such as money laundering.
Cryptocurrencies — digital commerce tools that aren't linked to a centralized banking authority — first appeared in China around 2008. Chinese banks began to prohibit the use of digital currencies in 2013 and stepped up regulations after 2016.
China was the world's biggest Bitcoin miner and supported the largest exchange by volume, according to the news website CryptoVantage. It says many of those who suddenly made millions when Bitcoin prices soared four years ago were in China.
Mining for digital currency — the process of using computers to enter bitcoins into circulation and verify cryptocurrency transactions in exchange for a payout — should get easier overseas as Chinese exit the market, Kapron said. | Photo by Sajad Nori on Unsplash
Chinese miners and traders head to Singapore
The Chinese ban carries penalties for international exchanges that do business with people inside China, and news reports indicate international crypto exchanges are trying to cut ties with Chinese clients in recent days. But the companies themselves are largely staying quiet.
A spokesperson for digital currency exchange Coinbase said Wednesday it does not "have anything to share at this time" about the crackdown in China. U.S.-based Worldcoin Global, a new type of cryptocurrency, did not reply to a request for comment.
China's growing pressure on crypto over the past few years had prompted stakeholders to leave the country, Kapron said, adding that less than a quarter of the country's original cryptocurrency peer-to-peer lending startups — small firms that connect individual lenders and borrowers — remain in China.
Mining for digital currency — the process of using computers to enter bitcoins into circulation and verify cryptocurrency transactions in exchange for a payout — should get easier overseas as Chinese exit the market, Kapron said.
Smaller operators, he added, may be able to mine more easily without the competition of giant Chinese operations.
Singapore looms as a prime go-to place for operations that need not be physically onshore. The country had accepted about 300 cryptocurrency license applications as of July. From China, e-commerce giant Alibaba as well as digital financial firms Yillion Group and Hande Group have applied, news reports in Asia say.
Other Asian countries lack the legal welcome mat that Singapore has extended, said Jason Hsu, vice president of the Taiwan Fintech Association industry group.
"Where would that money flow to? I think it's a question that needs to be answered," Hsu said. "I think in Asia, Singapore would be a destination for them to go to. Singapore obviously has the clearest regulations and also wants to attract more digital fintech [financial-technology] companies."
Outside Asia, Amsterdam and Frankfurt are "establishing their footprint as international centers" for financial technology, said Rajiv Biswas, Asia Pacific chief economist with market research firm IHS Markit. Financial technology covers cryptocurrency.
Western Europe ranked this year as the world's biggest crypto economy in the world with inflows of more than $1 trillion or 25% of all global trade, activity, news and data service Chainalysis says. Europe's surge follows similarly rapid growth in 2020.
Eventual resurgence for crypto in China?
Authorities in China are targeting crypto now as part of a wider "crackdown on overnight riches" and to "clean out the wild, wild West," Hsu said, referring to largely unregulated market sectors. The trade will go underground for now, he forecasts, and China will eventually come out with an official digital currency issued through major banks.
Several countries are considering adopting new digital currencies that would allow people to exchange money without an intermediary, such as a bank. Proponents argue these currencies could capture the benefits of cryptocurrencies that make exchanging money easy, but without the price volatility of decentralized digital assets like bitcoin.
Chinese authorities may eventually swing to a more tolerant view of non-state-sanctioned digital currencies, though subject to strict criteria on what's legal or otherwise, said Song Seng Wun, economist in the private banking unit of Malaysian bank CIMB. Blockchain, the core technology behind the public transaction ledger that makes crypto commerce transparent, could continue to develop in China for other ends, he added.
(This article is originally written by Ralph Jennings) (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, China, Market, Ban
By Md Waquar Haider
When popular smartphone brands like Xiaomi and realme entered the laptop market in India last year, they were expected to shake the existing giants, specifically under the Rs 50,000 category. However, chip shortage and supply crunch have somewhat dented their plans to make a significant mark to date. According to industry experts, the issue with smartphone makers entering the laptop category is two-fold. The first one is a massive supply crunch in the laptop component market and only big brands are able to get volume and supplies.
The other factor is that the traditional players are very strong in the consumer laptop market. Top 3 players control more than 70 per cent of the market and strong portfolio, distribution, and channel reach as well as brand marketing has helped them massively. "New brands can surely make a dent in the consumer laptop market but are challenged by supply issues right now. Watch out for them in 2022 as and when supply situation eases up," Navkendar Singh, Research Director, Client Devices & IPDS, IDC India told IANS.
Dominated by HP Inc, Lenovo and Dell, the traditional PC market (inclusive of desktops, notebooks, and workstations) in India continued to be robust as the shipments grew by 50.5 per cent year-over-year (YoY) in the second quarter (Q2), according to IDC. Notebook PCs continue to hold more than three-fourth share in the overall category and grew 49.9 per cent YoY in 2Q21, reporting a fourth consecutive quarter with over 2 million units. Desktops also indicated a recovery as shipments grew 52.3 per cent YoY after recording the lowest shipments of the decade in 2Q20.
According to Prabhu Ram, Head, Industry Intelligence Group, CMR, driven by the pandemic and the associated accelerated pivot to remote work, learn and unwind culture, PCs have been witnessing heightened demand. "Despite the current supply chain constraints, PCs are here to stay in the new never normal. In the run-up to the festive season, established PC market leaders will continue to leverage their brand salience and gain market share," Ram told IANS.
According to industry experts, the issue with smartphone makers entering the laptop category is two-fold. | Photo by Manuel on Unsplash
"On the other hand, there is a niche market for those new market entrants that are able to differentiate themselves from the competition in terms of features and value. "Alongside, they would need to back it with strong brand messaging to create awareness and recall amongst the target consumers," Ram added.
HP maintained its lead in the India PC market with a 33.6 per cent share as its shipments grew 54.2 per cent annually. Dell Technologies continued to hold the second position with a 22.1 per cent share and an impressive 86.1 per cent YoY growth in 2Q21. Lenovo maintained the third position with a share of 17.8 per cent in 2Q21.
Arvind Suraj, Research Fellow, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), said that there is always a trust issue with new brands. "You won't buy a laptop in 6 or 7 months just like smartphones. In this case, we often go for existing players. Brands like Lenovo, HP, ASUS and Acer have already gained our trust," he said. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Chip, shortage, laptop, market, India, Xiaomi, hp, dell, brands
A drug used to treat agitation in people with dementia is no more effective than a placebo, and might even increase mortality, according to a new study published in The Lancet. The research, led by researchers at the University of Plymouth, showed that antidepressant mirtazapine offered no improvement in agitation for people with dementia -- and was possibly more likely to be associated with mortality than no intervention at all.
Agitation is a common symptom of dementia, characterized by inappropriate verbal, vocal or motor activity, and often involves physical and verbal aggression. Non-drug patient-centered care is the first intervention that should be offered but, when this doesn't work, clinicians may move to a drug-based alternative.
Agitation is a common symptom of dementia, characterized by inappropriate verbal, vocal or motor activity, and often involves physical and verbal aggression. | Photo by Danie Franco on Unsplash
Antipsychotics have proven to increase death rates in those with dementia, along with other poor outcomes, and so mirtazapine has been routinely prescribed. This study was designed to add to the evidence base around its effectiveness. The study recruited 204 people with probable or possible Alzheimer's disease from 20 sites around the UK, allocating half to mirtazapine and half to placebo.
The trial was double-blind; meaning that neither the researcher nor the study participants knew what they were taking. The results showed that there was no less agitation after 12 weeks in the mirtazapine group than in the control group. There were also more deaths in the mirtazapine group (seven) by week 16 than in the control group (only one), with analysis suggesting this was of marginal statistical significance.
"Dementia affects 46 million people worldwide -- a figure set to double over the next 20 years. Poor life quality is driven by problems like agitation and we need to find ways to help those affected," said lead researcher Professor Sube Banerjee, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health at the varsity. "This study shows that a common way of managing symptoms is not helpful -- and could even be detrimental. It's really important that these results are taken into account and mirtazapine is no longer used to treat agitation in people with dementia," Banerjee added. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Depression, antidepressant, dementia, drug, effective, life, health
Digital beauty platform Boddess.com aims to be a disrupter in the Indian beauty market segment offering a curation of products to suit customisation and individual needs. Intime for the festive season, Chandni Goyal, Training Manager at House of Beauty and Boddess, shares a few tricks to see you through endless nights of partying:
* Have fun with colour and sparkle--Move away from blacks and browns and experiment with colours complementing your outfit. The traditional smokey eye can be given a touch of glamour with a dab of glitter eyeshadow in the inner corner of your eyes. It will make your eye make-up pop and will be just what is needed for a festive look.
Move away from blacks and browns and experiment with colours complementing your outfit. | Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash
* Define your eyes with wing eyeliner--Don't shy from entering the negative space and go all out to draw a bold line to define your eyes and make a statement. Start from the inner corner of the top lid--keep the line thin here, extending along the lash line, going thicker, and finishing with a thick wing towards the outer corner of the eyes.
Don't shy from entering the negative space and go all out to draw a bold line to define your eyes and make a statement. | Photo by Taylor Heery on Unsplash
* Don't forget the lashes--They can really make or break your entire look. Add a few generous coats of volumizing mascara and if you are a pro, apply false eyelashes for added depth.
Add a few generous coats of volumizing mascara and if you are a pro, apply false eyelashes for added depth. | Photo by Perchek Industrie on Unsplash
* Glossy lips--Glossy lips are big this season. Define your lips with a nude-pink lip liner and fill in the same lip liner all over your lips. Top it up with a clear crystal gloss that gives a glass-like shine and makes your lips look fuller and plumper.
Define your lips with a nude-pink lip liner and fill in the same lip liner all over your lips. | Photo by Nojan Namdar on Unsplash
* For the cheeks--A pop of colour that imparts a flushed, radiant glow will round out your look beautifully. This can be achieved with a cream blush, on the apples of your cheeks, and a layer of highlighter that melts into the skin on your cheekbone. Pinks, peaches and corals are the colours this season.
A pop of colour that imparts a flushed, radiant glow will round out your look beautifully. | Photo by Gursimrat Ganda on Unsplash
(Article originally published on IANS life) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: beauty, party, fashion, makeup, eyeliner, mascara, blush, season, tricks