Backed by COSIMO Ventures, Oneiro NA Inc. has announced the launch of ndau, the world’s first buoyant digital currency optimized for the long-term store of value.
Oneiro completed its equity round from COSIMO Ventures earlier this year and has successfully sold privately nearly $15 million of ndau to date. Unlike stable coins, ndau is not pegged to fiat currencies or commodities. Rather, incentives and economic controls are built into the design of the ndau blockchain in ways that improve on both digital predecessors as well as traditional non-digital currencies. ndau features innovations which seek to provide a combination of digital governance, reduced volatility, value appreciation potential, and long-term dependability not found in existing cryptocurrencies.
Jim Kent, CEO of Oneiro, said: “While other cryptocurrencies have achieved an impressive rate of growth, their volatility has presented a barrier to mainstream adoption, warding off many institutional and retail investors from entering the market. In order to move towards acceptance of a decentralized digital monetary system, we must address the problems of governance, stability, and dependability that limit wider acceptance of cryptocurrencies, especially for a long-term store of value. We are thrilled to have built a truly resilient, global digital currency that will address these issues.”
ndau was initially formulated by the ndau Collective, a group of over 20 leading experts from world-class institutions including MIT, Columbia University, Carnegie Mellon, New York University, University of Chicago, and Goldman Sachs and who specialize in disciplines ranging from economics and monetary policy to cryptography and computer science. Typical stable coins are largely pegged to other currencies or commodities and are therefore subject to the influence of institutions that may not prioritize the interests of long-term holders. This leads to inflationary policies that erode value over time. By contrast, ndau, is governed by the Blockchain Policy Council (BPC), a group of digital delegates continuously elected by ndau holders that are held accountable to the interests of the entire ndau ecosystem.
While stable coins have features to push against price drops relative to fiat currencies, they are also limited in their ability to increase in value over time, making them a less optimal choice for long-term value storage compared to traditional assets. The BPC’s monetary policy fosters a pro-growth environment for the value of ndau while mitigating its downside volatility.
Ken Lang, a technology pioneer and an early member of the ndau Collective said: “When a group of early bitcoin enthusiasts came together a few years ago to map out the biggest limitations to wide adoption of cryptocurrencies, it was clear that those looking to use crypto for long-term value storage had problems that weren’t being addressed. ndau was created as a solution to these problems. The ndau Collective designed an ecosystem of decentralized participants and roles that use built-in incentives, checks, and balances to align interests properly and to protect the interests of all ndau holders fairly. These participants and roles, such as market makers, delegates, and endowment managers, work together to promote price stability without limiting growth – making it a better fit for long term value storage.”
ndau has economic incentives built into its ecosystem to encourage market interactions between ndau holders that tend to stabilize its price. ndau holders are rewarded based on duration of holding, ensuring that those holding it for its intended purpose are well served. ndau’s monetary policy automatically responds to market conditions in real time, releasing new ndau for sale from the endowment only when demand warrants, and according to a public schedule of target prices that rise exponentially over time. Proceeds from ndau sales flow into an endowment of assets, which serves as a source of liquidity to support ndau monetary policy. During market downturns, excess supply of ndau are taken out of circulation through both algorithmic mechanisms and by market makers, who buy back ndau at a dynamic floor price – similar to how central banks conduct open market operations, except more decentralized.
Robert Frasca, Managing Partner at Cosimo Ventures, said: “COSIMO Ventures is a team of highly experienced former entrepreneurs who invest in the tech space, and we currently focus on blockchain projects that have something really unique to offer. We surveyed the landscape of cryptocurrencies, and we invested in Oneiro because the ndau coin is leveraging blockchain technology to create a really groundbreaking buoyant currency. ndau challenges many of the assumptions held by current cryptocurrency thought leaders today, especially in the realms of digital governance and combining value growth with stability.”
The buoyant nature of ndau positions it as ideal for individual investors, institutions, and businesses alike looking to diversify into an asset that rewards long-term holding. In addition to ndau’s dynamic “guide rails” on price, further economic mechanisms automatically apply in every standard ndau blockchain transaction, providing “buoyant” market forces that dampen downside volatility and instead push upwards. The built-in incentives and economic structure of the ecosystem position ndau to better meet the needs of long-term crypto holders who want their investment to both mitigate volatility and appreciate in value.
For more information on ndau, please visit ndau.io.
Egypt wants to register millions of gig workers for state insurance, aid
By Menna A. Farouk
CAIRO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Egypt will start registering millions of gig workers in order to offer them health insurance and emergency state aid during the coronavirus pandemic, which has taken a particularly heavy toll on the nation’s ad-hoc employees, officials said.
There are at least 14 million gig workers in Egypt, and while some workers and campaigners welcomed the government’s drive, others warned that many workers could be reluctant to sign up – fearing tax and social security payment demands.
The government said it plans to identify and support 2 million gig workers in the country of 100 million people by the end of this year, labour ministry spokesman Haitham Saad El-Din said on Saturday.
“It is part of a government plan to give assistance to this segment of the society which has been majorly affected by the pandemic,” he said, adding that officials were focusing first on identifying casual construction labourers.
Gig workers who have their employment status registered on their national identity cards under a new “irregular employment” category will be given free social security insurance and be eligible for state welfare programmes.
Egypt’s state-run insurance plan includes life insurance and disability cover, as well as covering healthcare costs.
The announcement is the latest in a series of government measures aimed at shielding vulnerable groups from the economic fallout of the pandemic.
Soon after the coronavirus outbreak began, it launched a programme that supports irregular workers with monthly aid, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi called for financial support to be boosted when a second virus wave took hold.
State welfare spending surged 36% in the first half of the current fiscal year, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said recently.
ON THE BOOKS
Some daily labourers hailed the registration drive as a positive step, saying it would help bring them into the formal economy and recognise their economic contribution.
“Millions of Egyptians have been affected by this pandemic but it’s really good that the government is not leaving us behind,” said Farouk Mahmoud, 35, a temporary worker from the city of Sohag.
Still, while the latest data puts the number of gig workers at 14 million, the real number may be much higher – making registering them a daunting administrative task, said Bassant Fahmi, a member of parliament’s economic affairs committee.
Some workers may also be wary about being on the books.
“Many of them may fear being asked afterwards to pay taxes or insurance. That could mean a lot of gig workers avoiding being identified by the government,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
But besides any misgivings about being under the government’s radar, many gig workers in Egypt are more concerned about the dearth of permanent job opportunities – especially for young people – and the health of the wider economy.
“It isn’t crucial for me to have a job on my ID,” said Abanoub Lotfi, a 26-year-old driver for ride-hailing service Uber, who has a degree in commerce.
“What really matters is that the government offers me a stable job that suits my academic background and helps me afford my needs and those of my family.”
(Reporting by Menna A. Farouk; Editing by Helen Popper; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)
Women finance firm directors earn 66% less than men in UK, study finds
By Lin Taylor
LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Female directors at Britain’s biggest financial services firms earn 66% less than their male counterparts on average, research showed on Monday, despite a rise in the number of women on company boards in recent years.
Women board members made 247,100 pounds ($349,720) on average per year while men earned 722,300 pounds, said the study by law firm Fox & Partners, which examined pay gaps in financial firms that are among the nation’s 350 largest listed companies.
“Despite having greater levels of diversity at more junior levels, financial services firms are still struggling to reflect that shift at the senior executive level,” said Catriona Watt, partner at Fox & Partners.
“In order to see long-term change, firms must be committed to taking steps that will lead to more women progressing through the ranks, getting into senior executive positions and closing the pay gap,” she said in a statement.
The number of women on FTSE 350 company boards has jumped by 50% in the last five years, reaching 1,026 in 2020, according to the Hampton-Alexander Review, an independent body aiming to boost gender diversity on FTSE boards.
More than a third of board positions are now held by women too, the Review said last week, hitting a target that it had set for the end of 2020.
Yet disparities exist, even at the top. The Fox & Partners study said female directors in FTSE 350 financial services firms were mostly in non-executive roles, which meant they were paid less and had fewer responsibilities than men.
“These shocking figures prove the gender pay gap is thriving,” said Felicia Willow, head of women’s rights group the Fawcett Society, which was not involved with the report.
“There are not enough women in top roles and those who have made it are all too often paid less than men.”
A year ago, Britain suspended the need for companies to report on the gender pay gap in their workforces due to the coronavirus pandemic, a step the government said would not derail attempts to pay men and women fairly.
Since 2017 the government has required employers with more than 250 employees to submit gender pay gap figures every year in a bid to reduce pay disparities.
The gap narrowed last year, with men earning 15.5% more than women on average, down from 17.4% in 2019, according to official data.
Companies will now have until Oct. 5 to report on pay gaps, according to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
($1 = 0.7066 pounds)
(Reporting by Lin Taylor @linnytayls; Editing by Helen Popper. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. )
UK consumer credit slumped as new lockdown hit in Jan – BoE
LONDON (Reuters) – British consumer borrowing fell at its fastest pace in January since May last year as the country went back into a coronavirus lockdown, Bank of England data showed on Monday.
Unsecured lending to consumers fell by 2.4 billion pounds ($3.35 billion), the biggest fall since last May’s 4.6 billion-pound drop and more than a median forecast for a 1.9 billion-pound fall in a Reuters poll of economists.
That took the year-on-year fall to 8.9%, the biggest decline since monthly records began in 1994, the BoE said.
British lenders approved 98,994 mortgages in January, down by about 4,000 from December.
The Reuters poll of economists had seen approvals falling more sharply, to 96,000.
($1 = 0.7174 pounds)
(Reporting by William Schomberg and Andy Bruce, editing by David Milliken)
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