The Group of 7 is an informal group of seven powerful democracies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. The presidents of the European Commission and European Council also attend G-7 meetings because several of Europe’s largest countries are also members.
WASHINGTON, DC, June 14, 2021 - Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, has expressed gratitude for the G7’s support of a new $650 billion allocation of the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights (SDRs)—the largest issuance in history.
Huge concrete data centres, permanently plugged into power plants and telephone exchanges, maintain much of online life. But the infrastructure behind internet-based cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, dogecoin and ethereum is more like a rusty travelling circus. And right now, that circus is on the road.
The price of the world’s second largest cryptocurrency, ether, hit a new all-time high of US$1,440 (£1,050) on January 19. This breached a previous high set three years ago and gave ether a total value (market capitalisation) of US$160 billion, although it has since fallen back to around US$140 billion.
An attorney friend recently asked me out of the blue about nonfungible tokens, or NFTs. What prompted his interest was the sale of a collage composed of 5,000 digital pieces, auctioned by Christie’s on March 11, 2021, for a remarkable US$69 million. Mike Winkelmann, an artist known as Beeple, created this piece of digital art, made an NFT of it and offered it for sale. The bidding started at $100, and the rest of the auctioning process transformed it into a historical event.
NatWest, the UK retail bank, has announced it will not engage with business customers who accept payment in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. It follows recent announcements from HSBC that it won’t allow transfers from digital wallets and won’t enable customers to buy shares in companies associated with cryptocurrencies, such as Coinbase or MicroStrategy.
Tesla’s relationship with cryptocurrencies has been a stop-start rollercoaster. In February, the electric vehicle manufacturer announced it had purchased US$1.5 billion (£1.1 billion) of bitcoin and planned to accept the cryptocurrency in future as a means of payment from its customers. The price of the largest cryptocurrency surged that day from just over US$39,000 to US$46,000, on its way to an all-time high of almost US$65,000 in April – and a paper profit of well over US$1 billion for Tesla.
China is making promising progress with testing its digital yuan currency. It has announced the success of a pilot in Suzhou City, near Shanghai in eastern China, where 181,000 consumers were given ¥55 (£6) of free money in digital wallets to spend at participating outlets in the Double Fifth shopping festival between May 1 and 5.
For four decades, there has been a global race to the bottom on multinational tax, with Britain and its network of tax havens at the heart of it. Multinationals have seen tax as a cost rather than paying states their due share of revenues to provide public services like transport, energy, laws and education, without which businesses could not operate with any degree of efficiency and reliability. But in today’s era of climate change and social responsibility, paying fair taxes is widely seen as a primary duty of corporations, not an expense or a choice.