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This is today’s edition of The Download our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s going on in the world of technology.

Money is about to enter a new era of competition

We’re on the cusp of a giant upheaval to the ways we pay for things. Cash is on the way out, and the digital technologies set to replace it could transform the very nature of money. Today, central-bank money serves at once as a unit of account, a medium of exchange, and a store of value. But newer technologies, including cryptocurrencies, could separate those functions out. That shift could weaken the dominance of central banks and set off another wave of currency competition, one that could have lasting consequences for many countries.

To many, cash now seems largely anachronistic. People across the world commonly use their smartphones to pay for things. This shift may look like a potential driver of inequality: if cash disappears, one imagines, that could disenfranchise the elderly, the poor, and others at a technological disadvantage. In practice, though, cell phones are nearly at saturation in many countries. And digital money, if implemented correctly, could be a force for financial inclusion. The big questions now are around how we proceed, and whether the huge digital money shift ultimately benefits humanity at large—or exacerbates existing domestic and global inequities. Read the full story.

—Eswar Prasad

The must-reads

I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.

1 Fears are growing that Russia has used chemical weapons in Mariupol
Both the US and UK are investigating. (BBC)
Why it’s so difficult to confirm chemical weapons allegations. (Axios)
China is parroting Russian war propaganda. (NYT $)
 The people of Bucha experienced a month of sheer horror under Russian occupation. (NYT $)
Ukraine has asked its allies for tens of billions of dollars. (FT $)
Twitch streamers in Ukraine are streaming the war to their Russian followers. (Motherboard)

2 Experimental fashion designers are pushing boundaries in the metaverse
And they’re optimistic it’ll translate into real-world sales. (Wired $)
Meta’s taken its first steps towards monetizing the metaverse. (The Verge)
Shockingly, pixel-flavored Coca-Cola does not taste good. (The Verge)
+ Meta spent more than $15 million protecting Mark Zuckerberg last year. (Bloomberg $)

3 Shanghai’s locked-down residents are living and sleeping in their offices
While trying to respect each others’ privacy. (AFP)
They’re also concerned about false-positive results. (SCMP)
A lawyer ended up in quarantine in China for three months. (NYT $)
Japan has reported its first case of new covid strain omicron XE. (CNBC)

4 China has green-lit its first new online games for nine months
Following concerns the country’s youth was addicted to gaming. (FT $)

5 AI is helping hospitals to treat deadly sepsis infections
Algorithms can plug the gaps in how medics diagnose the complicated condition. (WSJ $)
 Hundreds of AI tools have been built to catch covid. None of them helped. (TR)

6 How social media ushered in a decade of stupidity
Because we’re all scared of getting caught in a firestorm. (The Atlantic $)
Is it possible to rid social media of hatred? (The Observer)

7 More pet owners are cloning their beloved fluffy friends 

But they don’t share the same quirks as their predecessors. (WP $)

8 Tesla fans are struggling to convert loves ones to ‘full-self driving’
Their families, quite reasonably, have some concerns about its safety. (CNN)

9 Why Netflix has added a double thumbs-up icon 

When a single thumbs-up just isn’t enough to show your appreciation. (Protocol)
Streaming platforms are revitalizing Indian actors’ careers. (BBC)

10 A love letter to slow, old email 
?
The real beauty of it? You can reply at your own pace. (NYT $)

Quote of the day

“I was enjoying a life that was ruining the world.”

—Pete Knapp, who lives in London, recalls the horror of first experiencing anxiety about climate change, according to The Guardian.

We can still have nice things

A place for comfort, fun and distraction in these weird times. (Got any ideas? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me.)

+ When Alien met The Muppets.
+ Easter’s fast

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By: Rhiannon Williams
Title: The Download April 12, 2022: The future of money, and restyling the metaverse
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2022/04/12/1049562/the-download-april-12-2022-the-future-of-money-and-restyling-the-metaverse/
Published Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2022 12:36:35 +0000

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LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys

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Bitso, a leading cryptocurrency platform operating in Latin America, and the Mexican Football Federation (FMF), today announced the joint launch of the first collectible NFT of the Mexico National Team’s jerseys that was acquired in cryptocurrencies.

This morning through their social media platforms, the FMF and Bitso announced the opportunity to acquire the new official National Team fan jerseys ahead of the team’s participation in the 2022 World Cup. In just 20 minutes, the entire collection sold out.

bitsonftjeysey
The NFTs of the jerseys have an exclusive design for the metaverse – each is unique on the blockchain and can be resold by its owner in subsequent transactions.

The collection consisted of 100 official physical jerseys, each with a corresponding NFT version of the jersey that fans’ avatars can wear within the Decentraland metaverse. Each physical and NFT jersey set sold for the equivalent of $1,800 MXN in ethers.

“Our mission is to make cryptocurrency useful in the everyday life of Mexicans; we are committed to spreading the technology through innovative opportunities that help people throughout the country familiarize themselves with this new world. We are very excited to offer the incredible, historic opportunity for the fans of our National Team so that through their Bitso account, they can wear the colors of the National Team on and ‘off’ the field in the metaverse.”
– Bárbara González Briseño, General Director of Bitso México

Jersey NFTs

Created by Bitso, the virtual jersey sports the official colors of Mexico and the new National Team shield, characteristics that will make it stand out when users wear it in the virtual world of Decentraland.

The post LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys appeared first on CryptoNinjas.

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By: CryptoNinjas.net
Title: LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys
Sourced From: www.cryptoninjas.net/2022/07/29/latam-crypto-exchange-bitso-and-fmf-launch-nft-of-mexicos-national-team-jerseys/
Published Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2022 15:19:02 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://www.mansbrand.com/the-download-a-breakthrough-climate-bill-and-twitters-terrible-trends/

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Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth

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EXMO, a crypto exchange platform operating since 2014, announced this week a rebranded visual identity with includes a new logo, brand colors, and design features. This new branding comes as EXMO continues to grow its crypto platform while also seeking to expand its presence in other jurisdictions.

Some new developments underway at EXMO:

Soon, users will be able to earn passive income from EXMO’s new staking platform.Plans to launch an EXMO crypto debit card.Expansion of its services in international markets with the opening of offices in Poland and Lithuania.

EXMO’s new logo

The rationale for the re-brand:

“At EXMO, we have a vision of a world where crypto is in every wallet. Hassle-free. We want to achieve this by making crypto as simple and accessible to everyone as possible. And we know that you already appreciate EXMO for offering user-friendly services and helpful support. Also for the opportunity to trade anywhere and anytime, closing deals in just a few taps. Such important changes required a rethinking of our corporate style, which has long needed a massive upgrade. So today we are introducing a new brand identity for EXMO with a completely new visual concept. We are launching a new logo, brand colors, and design elements. Our key design principles are simplicity, boldness, and a pinch of fun. But most importantly, we have changed our logo. Simple and easily recognizable, it represents the humanity of our brand. The logo stands out due to the wavy letter ‘m’ which symbolizes exchange rate charts and also resembles a spring that will launch you into the crypto world.”
– The EXMO Team regarding the re-branding

The post Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth appeared first on CryptoNinjas.

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By: CryptoNinjas.net
Title: Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth
Sourced From: www.cryptoninjas.net/2022/07/26/long-running-crypto-exchange-exmo-unveils-lively-rebrand-amidst-growth/
Published Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2022 08:10:38 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://www.mansbrand.com/stitching-together-the-grid-will-save-lives-as-extreme-weather-worsens/

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Stitching together the grid will save lives as extreme weather worsens

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The blistering heat waves that set temperature records across much of the US in recent days have strained electricity systems, threatening to knock out power in vulnerable regions of the country. 

The electricity has largely stayed online so far this summer, but there have been scattered problems and close calls already. 

Heavy use of energy-sucking air-conditioners is the biggest problem. But intense heat can also reduce the output of power plants, blow transformers, and force power lines to sag. Severe droughts across large parts of the country have also significantly reduced the availability of hydroelectric power, according to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). 

It’s unlikely to get better soon. A number of grid operators may struggle to meet peak summer demand, creating the risk of rolling blackouts, the NERC report notes.

The nation’s isolated and antiquated grids are in desperate need of upgrades to keep the lights, heat, and air-conditioning on in the midst of extreme weather events that climate change is making more common, severe, and dangerous. One clear way to ease many of these issues is to more tightly integrate the country’s regional grids, stitching them together with more long-range transmission lines. 

If electricity generated in one area can be more easily shared across much wider regions, power can simply flow to where it’s needed at those moments when customers crank up air-conditioners en masse, or when power plants or fuel supply lines fail amid soaring temperatures, wildfires, hurricanes, or other events, says Liza Reed, a research manager focused on transmission at the Niskanen Center, a Washington, DC, think tank.  

The problem is it’s proved difficult to build more long-range transmission and grid interconnections for a variety of reasons, including the permitting challenges of erecting wires through private and public lands across cities, counties, and states and the reluctance of local authorities to forfeit control or submit to greater federal oversight.

The case of Texas

The unreliability of the US grid is not a new problem. Severe heat and winter storms have repeatedly exposed the frailty of electricity systems in recent years, leaving thousands to millions of people without power as temperatures spiked or plunged.

One of the fundamental challenges is that the grids today are highly fragmented. There are three main electricity networks within the US: the Eastern Grid, the Western Grid, and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). But there are numerous regional transmission organizations within those first two systems, including the California Independent System Operator, Southwest Power Pool, PJM Interconnection, New York ISO, and more. 

These grids form a complex web of networks operating under different regulators, rules and market structures, and often with limited connections between them.

Map USA grid
A variety of regional transmission organizations oversee different parts of the nation’s aging and fragmented grids, which operate under different rules and with often limited connections between them.
legend

ERCOT is especially isolated, in part because of the desire among local politicians, citizens, and power companies to avoid added competition, the hassle of following other states’ rules, and oversight from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). But the state offers a case study in why that can be a serious problem amid increasingly harsh climate conditions, Reed says.

The Texas grid operator pleaded with customers several times earlier this month to cut electricity use as blistering summer temperatures created  demand surges that threatened to outstrip supply and require rolling blackouts.  Low wind conditions, cloud cover, and outages at fossil-fuel power plants added to the strains.

Shutting off the electricity needed to run air-conditioning in triple-digit temperatures

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By: James Temple
Title: Stitching together the grid will save lives as extreme weather worsens
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2022/07/28/1056483/stitching-together-the-grid-will-save-lives-as-extreme-weather-worsens/
Published Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2022 08:00:00 +0000

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