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US Says, “No Way, Huawei!” 

Daniel Chase

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Serving as the president of any country is a difficult job. Now, when I say ‘difficult,’ I’m not talking about trying to write a ten-page essay the night before it was due, on a book you didn’t read for class and you’re still hungover from last night. While that is impressive, and, I can neither confirm nor deny whether I’ve bested that challenge before, no job in the world can amount to the incredible amount of stress endured as president. President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping of China are two men responsible for leading the world’s leading superpowers, I can only imagine the pressure they are under.

After what has seemed like an unending trade war between the US and China, Trump and Jinping sat down together several days ago and ironed out a 90-day trade truce, resulting in China agreeing to buy $1.2 trillion worth of American products, and America would remain in a holding pattern and not impose any more tariffs on Chinese goods. 

Now, by trade, I am not necessarily a pessimist, but I try to be as realistic as humanly possible. Historically, or at least over the course of the last few years, whenever something positive takes place in the geopolitical arena, almost immediately a headline hits media outlets about a story of some sort of unethical business practice or war crime. In the case of the brief moments of laughter and childlike wonder felt after the US and China agreed to a trade truce, within hours of this deal, Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese tech giant Huawei, was arrested in Canada.

Now, here’s where all of this starts to get interesting.

Canadian officials arrested Ms. Meng, at which time she was immediately “sought for extradition by the United States” according to Ian McLeod, a spokesman for Canada’s Justice Department. 

As for the reasoning behind Ms. Meng’s arrest, Huawei, China’s largest telecom equipment manufacturer, has recently been under investigation for allegations that the company has broken American trade controls on Cuba, Sudan, Iran, and Syria. Huawei has garnered significant successes by tapping into telecom markets in countries around the world, but when the company decided to work with Syria, where American officials had been working to impose limits on technology in an attempt to prevent further human rights abuses, these businesses tactics have resulted in claims that China is purporting these atrocities. Earlier this year, the US Treasury and Commerce Department began investigating Huawei for claims that the company was potentially violating economic sanctions against Iran, according to the New York Times. 

“US law prohibits exports of certain US-origin technologies to certain countries. When Huawei pays to license certain US tech, it promises not to export to certain countries like Iran, So it is not unreasonable for the US to punish Huawei for flouting this US law.”

Julian Ku, Professor, Hofstra University 

Under the guise of threats to national security, President Trump has done everything in his power, while president, to thwart any attempts made by China to threaten the US tech industry. The arrest of a Huawei executive only furthers this point, given that Huawei and several other Chinese telecommunications companies have come dangerously close to beating the US to release devices on 5G wireless networks. Back in March, President Trump convinced US government officials to block Broadcom, a Chinese telecom company, from acquiring its US-based rival Qualcomm (QCOM), suggesting that the deal would pose a significant threat to national security. 

Naturally, a government panel was immediately assembled to investigate these potential national  security risks, specifically the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (Cfius), which then released a letter explaining their concerns on the matter:

“Qualcomm has become well-known to and trusted by, the U.S. government. Reduction in Qualcomm’s long-term technological competitiveness and influence in the standard setting would significantly impact U.S. national security…This is…because a weakling of Qualcomm’s position would leave an opening for China to expand its influence on the 5G standard-setting process. Chinese companies, including Huawei, have increased their engagement…”

Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States Letter 

The degree to which the US, and the Trump administration, is willing to go, in terms of scrutinizing the business operations of Chinese tech companies, only furthers the notion that President Trump feels threatened by China. In terms of the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, I foresee China responding accordingly very shortly. 

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Show Me The Digital Currency

Daniel Chase

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It has been said if you listen closely, you can hear money talking louder than any other person in the room. For centuries, those with greater access to capital have had the privilege of sitting in the driver’s seat, while others living with less means have kowtowed to the demands of the affluent. In the year 740 B.C., long before you or I walked the Earth in search of avocado toast and AirPods, the Tang Dynasty in China introduced the first pieces of paper currency.

After they invited block printing (think stamps), the government started to print money because metal coins were far too heavy to carry compared to the featherweight nature of paper. Prior to the Tang Dynasty getting that paper, dozens of ancient civilizations used bartering systems to trade for what they needed. Ultimately, someone decided that coins and paper money held greater intrinsic value than shiny rocks or three seashells. 

In the thousands of years following the introduction of paper currency, we’ve seen a tidal shift in not only what money looks like, but how it is spent. According to an April 2017 survey, 40% of internet users in developed countries stated that they purchase items online at least “several times per month.” As we’ve seen with the rise of e-commerce sites like Amazon.com and other online shopping platforms, consumers are losing interest in buying products at brick-and-mortar locations.

Ironically enough, 70% of Americans still say they use paper money on a weekly basis, but several financial analysts believe the global economy is headed in a cashless direction. 

According to reports, Sweden, a nation lauded for being both technologically advanced and full of delicious meatballs, is expected to go completely cashless by March 2023, at which point cash will not be accepted any longer as a form of payment. Back in 2012, the six largest banks in Sweden collaborated to develop a mobile payment platform called Swish, which is now used by millions of Swedes every day. 

TechCrunch recently published a piece discussing how the Chinese government plans to implement the “Village Revitalization Strategic Plan,” which is designed to improve the efficiency and level of financial services for rural communities across the nation.

The goal, according to the set of guidelines jointly published by China’s central bank, the Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, the Securities Regulatory Commission, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Affairs, is to “make mobile payments ubiquitous in rural China by the end of 2020. 

If we examine America’s potential to shift towards a cashless society, which could catalyze a global movement, the odds of this taking place are fairly likely. According to a 2017 survey conducted by CNBC, 50% of respondents said they carry cash with them less than half of the time when they are out, and if they do, 76% said they keep less than $50 on hand.

This trend has driven consumers to shift towards the use of debit cards. However, younger generations under the age of 18 cannot have their own checking account, so this has left a significant portion of the American population at an economic disadvantage. 

Luckily, a new mobile banking startup called Step wants to assist the next generation in understanding the value of a cashless dollar. The Company, founded by CJ MacDonald and Alexey Kalinichenko, former execs from the mobile gift card platform Gyft, started Step to help the nearly 75 million children and young adults under the age of 21 in the U.S., who are burdened by having to use cash for all their purchases. 

“Step” is banking on (apologies for the pun) the youthful spirit of todays’ teenagers who are hot to buy items on Amazon.com or purchase in-app downloads on their smartphones but are too young to have a debit/credit card. Step CEO Macdonald says the market for the startup isn’t based on the “unbanked,” it’s the “pre-banked.” 

“We’re building an all-in-one banking solution that primarily focuses on teens and parents. We want it to be a teen’s first bank account. We want to be a teen’s first spending card. And we want to teach financially literacy and responsibility firsthand.”

CJ MacDonald, Chief Executive Officer, Step 

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Back To The Food-ture

Daniel Chase

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Humanity is moving pretty fast, and if we don’t stop and look around once in while, we could miss it. Seemingly every day, tech startups receive seed funding to develop some crazy piece of technology meant to dramatically improve how we lives our lives, but the question is: do these companies understand what we really want or even need? First we need to understand the impetus behind many of these ideas. 

As a society with toddler-like attention spans, forever in search of the “next big thing,” it’s perfectly understandable that companies are sprouting left and right to capitalize on our fidgety nature. Having said that, I posit that it is time we take back our independence from technology that otherwise prohibits us from performing tasks we are perfectly capable of handling. 

Special Delivery! On-Demand Tech Companies Hit Billion-Dollar Valuations; Here’s How Investors Can Capitalize In The Market

The close of 2018 allowed investors across all industries to catch their breath after a  year of volatile upswings and economic downturns changing hands constantly. In that time, the tech stock market flourished with companies offering products and services to assist us in our time of panic. Considering that we made it out of 2018 largely unscathed, some of these companies, and their subsequent product offerings, are no longer necessary. 

One such sub sect of the tech industry that has proven its worth time and time again is that which includes companies developing delivery technology. While I fully agree that we’ve grown accustomed to a way of life that has slowly nurtured our codependence and inability to survive without it, there are some instances where tech has remedied serious systemic issues. Companies in delivery tech, specifically those working in on-demand food delivery are working to foster a healthy relationship between woman and machine, while still managing to make our lives easier. 

Food insecurity is an issue which affects millions of people around the world, and yet, as a global community, we have remained largely complacent in providing assistance. According to the USDA, a food desert is an area which is without access to fresh produce and other healthy foods. These areas are typically found in impoverished countries, and as a result, persons living in these places are at greater risk of malnutrtional diseases. 

In the United States, food deserts exist across the country. The horrific events of Hurricane Katrina left New Orleans and its people in a state of emergency. Though it occurred nearly fifteen years ago, a significant percentage of New Orleans residents still say they have to choose between buying food and paying bills, according to several analysts. 

Where companies in many industries have demonstrated apathy in terms of developing innovative solutions to assist people struggling to survive, there are some in the delivery tech industry determined to make a difference. 

Enter ParcelPal Technology Inc (PKG) (PT0.F) (PTNYF), a delivery tech company dead set on innovating, fabricating, distributing goods to consumers to improve their quality of life. At a time where access to food and supplies is difficult for millions of individuals, ParcelPal is determined to do what it takes to deliver to consumers what they need to get by. The Company recognized the systemic inequities that exist in society and sought to challenge tech industry norms and focus on consumers. 

The Company has managed to develop and maintain an easy-to-use marketplace platform where customers can shop for the products they love and use every day and, rather than pick these items up from locations that could be difficult to travel to, ParcelPal couriers deliver orders to customers in an hour or less. ParcelPal Technology Inc (PKG) (PT0.F) (PTNYF) was founded to make life easier for people, and has risen to the top of the industry because they’ve achieved exactly what they set out to accomplish. 

In recent news, ParcelPal Technology Inc (PKG) (PT0.F) (PTNYF)announced at the tail-end of January that the Company has formed partnership with MADD Canada to aid in the continuous fight to prevent impaired driving. As part of the ParcelPal’s national rollout campaign, advertising for ParcelPal’s service will be seen across the country in various educational forms. Together, MADD Canada and ParcelPal will launch a national awareness campaign focused on educating Canadians on the dangers of impaired driving and the options they have for getting items they want or need without leaving the party. 

An Affiliate of JSG Communications, MIDAM VENTURES LLC has been compensated $75,000 per month for 3 months by ParcelPal Technology, Inc. for a period beginning September 1, 2018 and ending February 1, 2019 to publicly disseminate information about (PTNYF/PKG). We may buy or sell additional shares of (PTNYF/PKG) in the open market at any time, including before, during or after the Website and Information, provide public dissemination of favorable Information. We own zero shares.

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Bitcoin Could Be Rescued By Milennials​

Daniel Chase

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Everyone has a friend or loosely connected acquaintance they they wish would just give it a rest. I’m talking about those people that are so damned impassioned about a particular topic that they not only post regularly about it on social media but at every party, function, or event, it’s really all they can talk about. For one friend of mine in particular, he always talks about cryptocurrencies with statements akin to Will Hunting when he hit his stride in that Southie bar.

We try to tell him that Bitcoin has been struggling to get out of bed after a near two-year dry spell after enjoying an earth-shattering bull run in 2017. Sure, in the past bitcoin’s price shot up from mere pennies to nearly $20,000 in less than a year, but the once-famous crypto has failed time and time again to break out of its bear market tendencies. 

Nearly a decade has passed since Nakamoto released the fabled white paper describing the primordial framework of a peer-to-peer currency network. At the time, an anonymous cryptographer, with the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto, was furious with the fact that consumers were slowly being falling prey to the inefficacies of banks and other financial institutions. 

Nakamoto wrote that “commerce on the internet [had] come to rely almost exclusively on financial institutions as trusted third parties to process electronic payments,” and this nurtured dependence would ultimately lead to a fiscal downturn. With a P2P currency network that kept records of every transaction, banks were no longer needed and the era of decentralized currency was on the rise. 

For a time, everyone wanted a piece of the cryptocurrency market, but that has all been reduced to whispers and murmurs. However, according to a recent survey, interest in bitcoin and cryptocurrencies may be on the rise once more, namely because millennials and younger generations don’t trust those dastardly traditional banking institutions. According to Forbes, 43% of millennial online traders “have more trust in crypto exchanges than the U.S. stock market, compared to 77% of Gen X respondents who have more trust in stock exchanges.” 

It would seem that millennials could actually get credit for contributing something of value to society other than complaining about presidents and student loans. 

“We’re seeing the beginning of a generational shift in trust from traditional stock exchanges to crypto exchanges. Younger investors’ experience with he stock market has seen a great deal of loss of trust, with the fall of Lehman Brothers because of irresponsible practices followed by the worst recession since the Great Depression…Trust further eroded when Americans saw how..banks get free money through quantitative easing while their cost living continues to rise…”

Guy Hirsch, U.S. managing director, eToro

The growing millennial mistrust of banking institutions could rescue bitcoin from its current crypto winter. It is interesting that we place such a large amount of trust in banks, storing thousands of dollars in their systems, and yet we have absolutely no idea what happens to our money when its “protected” in our accounts. The trust-based model of depending on banks to transact and safely store money is outdated and, if there’s anything that can be said about younger generations, it’s the idea that older technologies and systems can and should be replaced as soon as possible. 

According to CoinMarketCap, there are presently over 2,000 cryptocurrencies on the market but analysts say that a majority of these coins are virtually worthless. The initial coin offering explosion of 2017 catalyzed an industry replete with hot shot entrepreneurs ready to throw money at the first crypto they could get their hands on, without any idea as to if these coins functioned. 

“Almost every ICO was just an attempt to raise money but there was no use for the underlying token…The vast majority of what’s our there will be eliminated…”

Barry Silbert, CEO of Digital Currency Group 

Only time will tell as to whether the age of cryptocurrencies will rise once more, but if we are depending on millennial to come to the rescue, historically their collective followthrough is less than noteworthy. 

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