The BRICS nations, consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, are actively seeking to expand their alliance by inviting additional countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE to join, forming what is referred to as BRICS+. Furthermore, there have been discussions within the group about the possibility of creating a shared currency called BRICS.

New regulations include that crypto exchanges and wallet providers looking to operate across the 27-nation bloc will be able to do so with a license issued under MiCA, which will likely be truly enforced in June after being published in the official EU journal. However, critics argue that excessive regulations could stifle innovation and drive crypto businesses away from the EU.

Millions of Russians whose salaries are barely enough to survive, in the event of unforeseen expenses – be it illness, accident or mobilization – have no choice but to take a loan. But when poor people go for a loan, they most often turn not to a bank, but to a microfinance organization, where loans are issued without any nitpicking about borrowers’ financial situation, sometimes at 325% per annum. It is not surprising that this high-performing business has long been populated by people with connections.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Says He Doesn’t Want ‘Anti-Crypto’ People on the US Securities and Exchange Commission
"[The] SEC’s function now is not to protect the American people, but it’s to protect the banks – particularly the central banks and those interests," Kennedy said. The presidential candidate also spoke about the impact of inflation [...], saying that digital assets presented an "exit ramp" for those worried about traditional money being misused in the name of foreign wars or bailing out big banks.

Another dormant crypto wallet awakens after 8 years, moving ETH worth almost USD 15 million
This has been happening quite often over the recent few months. Why? In the current case, which has been observed and reported by Lookonchain, a participant in Ethereum's ICO has moved holdings to another wallet address, also with a very short transaction history. Here is the data from the Ethereum explorer:

The firm asserted that regulators in the U.S. are “actively trying to stop companies (banks and fintechs) from supporting crypto assets – even when the companies are trying to do it correctly and by the book”. Unbanked said it recently signed a term sheet for a $5 million investment with a $20 million valuation. Though it did not state which regulations prevented it from receiving the loan, it said it ultimately had not received the funds as of yet and will resume operations.

Recent comments by Ledger shareholder and former CEO Éric Larchevêque that governments could subpoena access to user funds held on a Ledger device that has subscribed to its new Recover service sparked consternation among Ledger users. Now Ledger's current CEO Pascal Gauthier has shrugged off concerns, arguing that governments only issue subpoenas in the case of a serious act like terrorism or one involving drugs. "It's not true that the average person gets subpoenaed every day." Aha.

Emerging US Debt Deal Would Raise Limit, Cap Spending for Two Years
Extreme far right Republicans still stand in the way of a compromise.

Broker commission in retail financials services damages household wealth by 375 million euros annually, study finds
Household wealth in countries with commission bans grows significantly more than in countries without commission bans, a research team from the University of Regensburg claims. They measured the difference in returns at 1.7 percent p.a. The researchers call lawmakers in countries like Germany, where the loss amounts to 2,400 euros per household per year, to ban commission-based sales of financial products. In the recent past, Denmark, Finland, the UK, the Netherlands, Norway as well as Australia and New Zealand have introduced such bans and established alternative payment methods, e.g., according to advisory time or assets under management. Here is the study:

JPMorgan Is Freezing Customers’ Bank Accounts and Discriminating Against Clients, Law Enforcement Officials in 19 US States Say
"It is clear that JPMorgan Chase & Co. (Chase) has persistently discriminated against certain customers due to their religious or political affiliation," the law enforcement officials, led by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, wrote in a letter to JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. "This discrimination is unacceptable. Chase must stop such behavior and align its business practices with the anti-discrimination policies that Chase proclaims.”

China has created its own subprime infrastructure crisis, and now it is trying to bail itself out
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) made high-risk, often-unneeded billion-dollar infrastructure loans, with no conditionality, poor risk planning, shrouded in opacity and secrecy. Cash-poor developing countries that lacked the ability to pay were particularly vulnerable, a report says. The seeds of project failure were sown from the outset by a lack of transparency, risk management, and viable controls to check corruption and incompetence.

UK: Majority of gig economy workers earn below minimum wage, study says
52% of those doing jobs ranging from data entry to food delivery are earning below the minimum wage, a study by University of Bristol finds. Average wages are £8.97 per hour – around 15% below the current UK minimum which rose to £10.42 in May. Three out of four workers say they are experiencing work-related insecurity and anxiety.

US officials assessing possible ‘manipulation’ on banking shares
Regional bank stock prices plummeted recently, and short sellers made a killing, even though the banks themselves seemingly were not in danger of failing. Multiple parties now call for an investigation.

"The shares of many West Coast regional banks have been hit particularly hard since the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in March, in part because of concerns that their customer bases are similar. PacWest is based in Los Angeles. The stock is down 72% this year."

Patrick Boyle, a well-known finance YouTuber, explains why First Republic Bank failed and how the sale to JPMorgan by the FDIC took place

As lithium prices fall, Chile's government takes over the world's largest lithium reserves.

I'm very happy to admit that I've never used cryptocurrency and I never will.

A financial model investigating the issuance of digital money as central bank digital currency (CBDC) or as stablecoins found that a fully-integrated digital currency would lead to higher and less volatile asset prices, and household welfare gains are potentially large which could lead to an increase in consumption by up to 2%. However, a fully-integrated digital currency would depress bank deposit spreads, particularly during times of crises, which limits the banks’ abilities to recapitalize losses after a bank crises. These investment losses, not specifically bank runs, create instability, the paper argues. Another research paper found that bank runs are not as big as initially feared. This paper can be found here: Both papers focus on the issuance of CBCD and stablecoins and do not include privately issued money like LETS/Time Dollars and similar privately issued complementary currency systems. (Edited to correct a typo.)

Federal Reserve notes would become fully redeemable for and exchangeable with gold, with the U.S. Treasury and its gold reserves backstopping Federal Reserve Banks as guarantor. Historians have long been criticizing that the elimination of gold redeemability from the monetary system freed central bankers and federal government officials from accountability when they expand the money supply, fund government deficits though trillion-dollar bond purchases, or otherwise manipulate the economy.

Prosecutors charged former FTX-founder Bankman-Fried with directing payments in order to unfreeze accounts belonging to his hedge fund, Alameda Research, that Chinese authorities had frozen. In addition, prosecutors last month also unveiled four other counts against Bankman-Fried, accusing him of orchestrating an illegal campaign donation scheme to buy influence in Washington DC.

EU Claims Amazon Tax Structure Out Of A ‘Bond Movie’
"Project Goldcrest — it sounds like the title of a James Bond movie, but it is not,” it’s the name “Amazon gave to a complex tax construction by which it fundamentally reorganized its global business,” European Commission attorney Paul-John Loewenthal told a court hearing.

Long before the current AI hype, fund managers have been employing machine learning techniques for decades. Nothing could stop the success of the trading bots in markets striving for ever more efficiency. Then came the pandemic - and the humans fought back.

Women on corporate boards appear to spur more robust analysis and discussions of pertinent but complex information leading up to a buyout, researchers say. “Female directors offer a different perspective. And when you have more perspectives, you tend to get better discussion.”

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