Mass Live: A ‘strange effect’ of the COVID-19 pandemic: Coin shortage leaving stores, banks begging for loose change. “When the cash registers ran dangerously low of quarters this month, the owners of Fruit Fair supermarket took the drastic step of raiding their gumball machines. They aren’t alone in seeing coin supplies run dry. With many businesses shut down for months and customers concerned about spreading the coronavirus through cash, people are using coins less frequently — leading to a shortage of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters in circulation.”
New York Times: Will the Penny Survive Coronavirus? Some Hope Not. “A nationwide coin shortage caused by the coronavirus pandemic has revived a debate: Is now the time to eliminate the penny? During lockdowns, consumers have stayed home and avoided emptying their piggy banks of coins in exchange for paper money. Shoppers have also opted to rely on credit and debit cards instead of touching cash.”
BloombergQuint: U.S. Dollar Suffers Its Worst Month in a Decade. “The euro rose the most in a decade this month, the British pound is headed for its best July since 1990, and for the first time this year, every major currency in the world rose against the greenback. A gauge of the dollar against its biggest peers is down 4.4% this month, the worst rout in a decade.”
United States Mint: United States Mint Statement on Circulating Coins. “The impact of COVID-19 has resulted in the disruption of the supply channels of circulating coinage – the pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters that the American people and businesses use in their day-to-day transactions. The United States Mint is part of the solution to this issue, but we need your help as well.”
Los Angeles Times: No cash, please, we’re skittish: How coronavirus has spawned fear of paper money. “No longer a thing to be shoved mindlessly into a pocket, tucked into a worn wallet or thrown casually on a kitchen counter, paper money has seen its status change during the virus era — perhaps irrevocably. The pandemic has also reawakened the debate about the continued viability of what has been the lifeblood of global economies: physical bank notes and coins.”
BBC: Facebook ‘rethinks’ plans for Libra cryptocurrency. “Facebook is reportedly rethinking its plans for its own digital currency after resistance from regulators. It is now considering a system with digital versions of established currencies, including the dollar and the Euro, according to Bloomberg and tech site The Information.”
United States Mint: United States Mint Launches New Online Education Game “Map Mania”. “The United States Mint (Mint) launched its newest educational game Map Mania. This game teaches U.S. geography, helping students to learn the 50 states, state capitals, and state trivia based on the America the Beautiful Quarters® and 50 State Quarters Programs.” Apparently there are a dozen games for kids on the Mint site.
David Strom: Understanding new non-money uses for blockchain. “When it comes to thinking about blockchains, most of us automatically go to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and Ethereum and think about money. How much are these currencies worth in US dollars? How much value have they gained or lost recently? It took two financially-related but non-monetary examples that I heard about recently to convince me that I was looking at the wrong part of the elephant.”
CNET: Google puts women on US currency with an AR workaround. “In May, the Trump administration said it was pushing back a plan to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. But with a new Google app, you can see Tubman on the bill now. ”
Ars Technica: Facebook is backpedaling from its ambitious vision for Libra. “David Marcus, the head of Facebook’s new Calibra payments division, appeared before two hostile congressional committees this week with a simple message: Facebook knows policymakers are concerned about Libra, and Facebook won’t move forward with the project until their concerns are addressed.”
Bloomberg: Facebook Says Libra Won’t Launch Until Regulators Satisfied. “Facebook Inc. won’t launch Libra, the controversial cryptocurrency it’s planning to build with dozens of partner firms, until regulators’ concerns are fully addressed, according to the company’s top executive on the project.”
BBC: Will Facebook’s digital money Libra be good for Africa?. “As a Zimbabwean living in South Africa, I have become numb to the daylight robbery that ensues whenever I receive money from abroad or send cash to my family back home. As such, like many other cautious pragmatists, I relish the prospect of a network like Libra permanently disrupting the lucrative cash remittance businesses of large banks and money transfer services like Western Union and MoneyGram.”
The Zimbabwe Mail: Zimbabwe gov goes after black market blog websites and social media platforms. “The embattled micro-blog platform Market Watch Zimbabwe, rub by street black market money changing operatives who call themselves independent analysts focused on research into the Zimbabwean parallel markets as well as the stock market has suspended services after the government allegedly threatened them. It is understood that the there are multiple websites and social media platforms run by big street money changers and Market Watch and ZimBollar research institute are said to be on Zimbabwe government radar for causing mayhem to the currency market.”
The Hill: Understanding what Facebook’s Libra is — and what it isn’t. “When Facebook announced its own blockchain and cryptocurrency (both referred to as ‘Libra’), everyone from late-night comedy hosts to mainstream media outlets to regulators offered possible interpretations, implications, use cases and reasons for both encouragement and prohibition. In order to determine the usefulness (or lack thereof) of Libra, it is helpful to quickly demystify what these things are. After all, Facebook claims Libra ‘will enable a simple global currency and financial infrastructure that empowers billions of people.’ That is quite the goal.
TechCrunch: Facebook plans June 18th cryptocurrency debut. Here’s what we know. “Facebook is finally ready to reveal details about its cryptocurrency codenamed Libra. It’s currently scheduled for a June 18th release of a white paper explaining its cryptocurrency’s basics, according to a source who says multiple investors briefed on the project by Facebook were told that date.”