Bitcoin, Digitalization, Decentralizing Venture, Mall Matters, Huntresses

A weekly selection of fine writing from Conked.


Bitcoin Is Winning the Covid-19 Monetary Revolution

Niall Ferguson | Bloomberg | 30 NOV 2020

Many parts of the world have now shifted to electronic payments, accelerated by the 2020 pandemic. Bitcoin, described as “peer-to-peer version of electronic cash” that bypasses financial institutions, “has risen 139% year-to-date”, far outstripping gold or the dollar. Monetary evolution tends to happen with mass plagues, and Covid-19 has similarly been beneficial for cryptocurrency. We have accelerated our digital world by 10 years in 10 months as people rejected cash for safer online transactions. Now seen as a “store of value” many huge companies have purchased huge amounts of bitcoins. The advantages and unique features outstrip any disadvantages as Bitcoin benefits from an era of digital transactions. (2,555 words)

How Digitalization Is Preparing a Fight for World Market Supremacy

Peter Schadt & Hans Zobel | Jacobin | NOV 2020

The latest world war is for technological dominance in the digital age, being fought by the EU, China and the United States of America. The battle plans include common standard languages set for different machines to increase viability while also protecting national markets. Even diesel limit values vary around the world, and differences in standards may exclude competitors from outside a country from encroaching on various domestic markets. Under Trump, the US identified the EU, specifically Germany, and China as opponents and it remains to be seen how the Biden administration will approach the world markets. (1,996 words)

Decentralizing Venture

Erik Torenberg | Substack | 30 NOV 2020

“Venture Capital? More like Venture Soviet Russia!” We have evolved from a world where primitive societies were self-sufficient to a time of specialisation requiring the co-operation of many others in markets for our daily needs. Examining capital, it aligns knowledge with power. When thinking of venture capitalists, they have focussed their decision making on specific areas or specialised funds and some have developed expertise on attempting to identify trends. Village Global is both specialist and generalist and “back founders’ visions for building a new and better future wherever those convictions take them” to be involved with agility in emerging areas. (1,332 words)

The Death of the Department Store and the American Middle Class

Jason Del Rey | Vox | 30 NOV 2020

The closure of many department stores, and, naturally, employee numbers, puts an additional squeeze on middle-class America. Incomes have shrunk in the last decade for a large percentage of the country, resulting in a growth of popularity for discount chains.  Even before the pandemic, Americans increasingly turned to online marketplaces, and many brands embraced a direct-to-consumer strategy, reducing their dependence on department stores. When stores close, the malls can become hollowed out spaces, robbing the local community of recreational spaces let alone retail therapy. In some communities, it is creative approaches to mall redevelopment that may solve these problems. (3,902 words)

Reintroducing the Big-Game Huntresses of the Ancient World

Luke Fater | Atlas Obscura | 30 NOV 2020

Evidence shows that it is time to shake up the idea of hunting as a male-exclusive activity in ancient times. Findings, based on remains from hundreds of burial sites, now show that hunting was “gender neutral in the ancient Latin American world.” While some professionals derided conclusions based on burial goods found with remains, others have known of ancient big-game huntresses for decades. Though to some of us, the idea of ancient women hunting is a new concept, others are at pains to emphasise the importance of the work of the gatherer and ensure each are seen as equal value their community. (1,020 words)


“In the end, we all become stories.”

― Margaret Atwood

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Rand Leeb-du Toit, Conkerer

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