Tag Archive : Covid19

Chronic in the time of COVID-19: 4/20 goes digital

By Alice Wallace | CNN

This year’s 4/20 was shaping up to be big.

The high holiday honoring the cannabis plant was projected to draw record public celebrations and retail sales — a reflection of the grassroots movement evolution into a burgeoning US industry. Plus, at 4:20 pm on April 20, 2020, it is the year of “four 20s.”

Read the rest of this story on MercuryNews.com.

US Citizens Might be Investing their COVID-19 Stimulus Package in Crypto

Data suggests that some US citizens are possibly investing their $1200 COVID-19 stimulus package in cryptocurrencies. 

Brian Armstrong, CEO of United States crypto exchange recently published a tweet, suggesting that a small portion of US citizens might be using their COVID-19 related stimulus granted by the US government to buy cryptocurrency. According to Armstrong, deposits and buys worth $1200 (which is exactly the stimulus amount granted) has increased by more than four times. It is being speculated that this data has been formulated from transaction trends in Coinbase. 

Stimulus package amid the COVID-19 pandemic

The US government recently announced a $1200 stimulus package for Americans who might be facing tremendous financial hardship amid the COVID-19 outbreak, due to loss of jobs or extremely low income. As of now, most middle-class people in America do not have a steady source of income, as the government has closed down consumer-facing businesses for the time being. As many as $22 million Americans have filed for unemployment since the pandemic started. 

Citizens have started receiving the stimulus, and the recent increase in the number of $1200 worth buys and deposits suggest that they are investing the relief fund in cryptocurrencies. 

The Washington Post recently reported that low-income Americans who do not file tax returns also have the right to claim the package, and parents are eligible for an additional $500 per child. The demand for relief funds has been overwhelming, so much so, that many banks across the US are facing server issues and are being unable to handle bulk requests. 

Amid the grave economic crisis, the US government recently allowed fintech giant PayPal to lend money to businesses in need. PayPal has also cut down its loan interest rates in order to help small businesses sustain and keep paying their employees. On the other hand, Square founder Jack Dorsey announced that it will enable citizens to claim their stimulus package via the Cash App so that the process can be made more streamlined and efficient for those who do not have access to banks. 

Agile Marketing in times of COVID-19

Martina Filipovic, Senior Marketing Specialist, sharing her thoughts on importance of marketing agility in times of COVID-19

Importance of marketing agility in the gaming industry

Unlike the financial crisis of 2008 when most B2Bs have played intact and remained silent marketing-wise, nowadays marketers have chosen merely to adapt the marketing strategy to the unexpected new rules in the industry.

NSoft is predominantly digital marketing oriented and bases its marketing decisions on metrics, analytics and projections. Confronting this situation was a great challenge for the team as it was necessary to make an ad hoc budget rebalance and refocus the existing marketing strategy. NSoft’s in-house marketing team has made it all possible – the people’s expertise and long term global marketing experience have helped NSoft mitigate this turbulent period.

The main focus was to promptly react to the new industry situation and keep the brand presence serving clients in line with the Board decisions. Combining adjusted marketing activities on all of NSoft’s digital platforms resulted in an overall growth compared to the same period last year. This confirms the accuracy of the NSoft’s marketing decisions and points out that the other gaming industry’s stakeholders were eager to find a solution for this situation as well. This mutual need will be present in the future as well since the industry recovery is expected to start very soon.

Storytelling and networking during the COVID – 19 era

Increased online media consumption was inevitable – in just a few days the industry has switched completely online, proving, once again, the importance of prompt reactions in unprecedented times. The first goal for NSoft was to proactively address changes and suggest solutions as this situation was new for all gaming industry stakeholders. It was mandatory for NSoft to reach out to its clients and audience with relevant content thus showing them that we have a strong solution to their quests – more than ever it was important to keep in touch with the clients and overall industry. NSoft’s Sales and Business Development team have shared their thoughts on everything that’s been going on in the industry and have provided their insight on what the future holds for the stakeholders.

With F2F events being canceled or postponed online networking has become a necessity. The industry has recognized the importance of keeping everyone up to date with all the information and suggesting alternative options. It was only obvious that NSoft joines the rest of the industry with sharing the remedy options for this turbulent period in a webinar organized with EG Media. Webinar shall be covering a hot topic “How can number virtuals complement your new virtual sports offering”. On April 21 Mr Ivan Rozic, Senior Vice President for Global Sales and Business Development at NSoft and Mr Zoltán Tűndik, Head of Business at European Gaming Media and Events (part of Hipther Agency) will tackle this important issue.

The power of diversified product portfolio

As the situation in the industry changed drastically – NSoft had to adapt its communication and product offerings accordingly. 

Our clients are most affected by this situation and we wanted to find a way to ease this demanding period for them as well.

We offered our entire palette of virtual games on the web: Virtual Sports Betting products and Draw-based games completely free of charge for the period from April 1 to June 1, 2020. This means no setup fees, no minimum monthly fees and no monthly revenue share invoices for 2 months.

NSoft is grateful to all of its media partners for helping us help the industry in this demanding period – our long term partnerships have once again proved their value.

Post-crisis future – the new normal

Although at the moment, the entire focus is on activities that require immediate actions, NSoft is keeping an eye on the future as the new normal is expecting us after this lock-down. At any moment it is necessary to have a strategic plan for the post-crisis actions and tools to execute those decisions in order to fully support our business and consequently the business of our partners. It’s obvious that the industry is struggling at the moment but this too shall pass. Now is the right time to revise all the actions and plans, adjust steps towards new activities and step up the game as the post-crisis will require even more strategic marketing implementation.

Smoking marijuana and coronavirus: Even occasional use raises risk of Covid-19 complications

By Sandee LaMotte | CNN

If you’re smoking weed to ease your stress during the coronavirus pandemic, experts say it’s time to think twice.

Smoking marijuana, even occasionally, can increase your risk for more severe complications from Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Read the rest of this story on MercuryNews.com.

COVID-19 Could Neutralize Post Bitcoin halving Price dump

Some cryptocurrency experts have speculated that the market crash brought about by the COVID-19 global pandemic could actually reduce the risk of BTC price dump post the Bitcoin halving. 

In a webinar discussion among top crypto experts, Chris Bendikson, Head of Research at CoinShares expressed his opinion about the possible crypto scenario post Bitcoin halving.

He believes that miners have already prepared themselves for the halving following the price crash in March. As a result of which there will not be much of an impact on their profitability, and the situation has compelled miners with backdated equipment to either drop out or upgrade.

Chris Bendikson thinks that there could be a slight volatility post the halving for a few months, but post that, the mining industry will find itself in a strong position with a low-cost base. 

He went on to add, “What that means is that miners are likely to not have to sell as high of a proportion of their mined coins as before the halving and the actual halving, when you add that to this, means that we’re potentially about to see a midterm bullish virtuous cycle in the making.”

Importance of Bitcoin Explained

Alex Laughton-Scott, Associate Director of CoinShares, on the other hands seemed pretty optimistic about Bitcoin. He opined that this is a perfect time for the world to understand and acknowledge the importance of Bitcoin, its uses, and its benefits.

He said that the post-COVID-19 Bitxoiun scenario could be a really bright one, and this period when the world is under a lockdown could well serve as a ‘brewing period’. 

Scott stressed on the fact that, amid any sort of crisis, ‘all correlations go to 1’. He explained that the price dump in March was further enhanced by stop losses and automated trades, apart from the low market cap, which eventually led to high volatility.

However, he is also optimistic about the fact that these correlations will eventually drop, and as they do, the institution will realize how crypto can fetch massive benefits during crises. 

Bloomberry Resorts creates hospital for COVID-19 patients

Bloomberry Resorts Corp has completed the conversion of its Manila sports venue into a hospital.

The company made a decision to turn the Rizal Memorial Sport Complex into a medical facility to fight the coronavirus and has constructed an emergency treatment area for those suffering from COVID-19.

Bloomberry Cultural Foundation initially turned Ninoy Aquino Stadium into a 116-bed unit that can house patients, has nurse stations and provides temporary furniture.

The makeshift hospital is now finished and, with its completion, the company has requested new permits to expand its efforts.

Bloomberry then moved on to create an additional 108-bed unit; construction is expected to be finished by the end of next week.

The second phase started on 8 April, after the announcement that the Philippine government extended the lockdown of the country’s main island Luzon until 30 April.

Bloomberry Resorts Corp stated it is happy to help in the fight against the pandemic.

Many of Bloomberry’s casinos and facilities will remain closed for the foreseeable future, both in the Philippines and outside.

Solaire Resort, a large complex in Manila, closed its doors mid-March, while Jeju Sun Hotel and Casino in South Korea is also temporarily closed until further notice.

Jack Dorsey Starts $1 Billion Fund to Fight the COVID-19 Pandemic

As per the recent reports, Twitter CEO and Square founder, Jack Dorsey has opened a new initiative named Start Small LLC and has funded it with $1 Billion which is approximately 28% of his wealth. Jack confirmed via twitter that the funds raised through this initiative will be used to support the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. He clarified that once the crisis is over, the remaining funds will be directed towards girl’s health, education, and universal basic income (UBI) initiatives. 

Explaining his inclination towards UBI and girl’s education, Jack mentioned, “Why UBI and girl’s health and education? I believe they represent the best long-term solutions to the existential problems facing the world. UBI is a great idea needing experimentation. Girl’s health and education is critical to balance”

While assuring that the funding will be completely transparent, Jack added that this initiative is the best long-term solution to the existential problems facing the world.

Talking about Start Small LLC, he clarified that all grants will be made from the foundation directly to the beneficiary organization. Furthermore, all financial transactions in this regard including sales and grants will be available publicly through a tracking sheet. 

Interestingly, Jack has extracted the entire funding amount from Square. He reasoned that he owns a lot more of Square than he does of Twitter. Hence it makes more sense to draw the funds from his Square shares. However, he acknowledged the fact that this initiative will benefit both Square and Twitter in the long run. He stated, “The impact this money will have should benefit both companies over the long-term because it’s helping the people we want to serve.”

Dorsey’s support for Bitcoin is well-known. BTC has been one of the most prominent revenue generators for Square’s CashApp. He recently offered the USE OF Square’s CashApp to distribute the U.S. stimulus package. 

We hope Jack’s initiative to donate and fund the fight against COVID-19 will be an example for others to come up and do their bit. 

Canadian Blockchain Startup Unveils – Civitas App to Fight COVID-19

As per the recent blockchain news, a Canada-based blockchain startup Emerge has come up with a blockchain application named Civitas App to fight against the existing global health crisis in Latin America. The startup announced that the app is aimed to stop the spread of the COVID-19 by ‘reducing gatherings in tight spaces’.

How will the App Work? 

The software integrated into the app will tally the locals’ government ID numbers with unique blockchain records. This will allow the authorities to determine is a person qualifies to be permitted for his/her home. Moreover, the app will also guide COVID-19 symptomatic citizens as to what is the safest time for them to go out for shopping essentials. This will essentially reduce the chances of them spreading the virus.

Blockchain Technology Actively Fighting the Global Pandemic

Countries across the world are using blockchain technology to overcome the detrimental effects of COVID-19. Here are a couple of examples.

The United Arab Emirates’ Ministry of Community Development (MOCD) is using the technology to check the digital identity of citizens for various governmental processes. It has also implemented blockchain-based chat systems to digitally authenticate official certificates and other documents.

The idea is to ensure that citizens can get this sort of work done from the comfort of their homes, and reduce the chances of being affected by the virus. 

The present scenario has also brought about a supply-demand crunch, thus inflating prices of essential items like medicines. To counter this problem,  Netherlands-based distributed ledger technology firm Tymlez has proposed its blockchain solution to optimize the supply chain of medical goods and control the soaring prices.

Lockdown in Central America

About 3 million citizens of Honduras are currently under lockdown and are facing heavy penalties if they violate quarantine protocols.  

In Honduras, the app will enable doctors to track patient symptoms and suggest relevant medical care to them. Such data will be available to both the users and healthcare officials while maintaining the utmost privacy. 

Similarly, other countries across the world are also under strict lockdown, and blockchain is definitely one of the go-to technologies that governments across the world have adopted. 

Bank of International Settlements (BIS) bets on CBDCs and digital payments amid COVID-19

As per the recent reports, the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) has placed its bets on Central Bank issued Digital Currencies and digital payments. In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the BIS has published a report, seeking central banks across the world to start developing CBDCs. The BIS is a 600-member international financial institution that represents as many as 60 central banks across the globe. 

The World Health Organization issued a warning recently in regard to the spreading of COVID-19 via banknotes. The BIS report suggests that there has been a negative sentiment among the public in using cash, post WHO’s announcement. In its report, BIS argued that credit card terminals and pin pads also a potential risk to the spreading of the deadly virus. It says, “Scientific evidence suggests that the probability of transmission via banknotes is low when compared with other frequently-touched objects, such as credit card terminals or PIN pads.”

In this scenario, the BIS has actively argued for the necessity of CBDCs and digital payments. However, the report suggested that these CBDCs should be developed in a manner that can withstand pandemics and cyber attacks. It stressed on the fact that the current risks of transacting in cash and credit cards could well end up being a catalyst to the prominence and adoption of CBDCs. Despite its inclination towards CBDCs, BIS also acknowledged the fact that doing away with cash and going completely digital could exclude the unbanked section of the society.

The report says, “Looking ahead, developments could speed up the shift toward digital payments. This could open a divide in access to payment instruments, which could negatively impact unbanked and older consumers. The pandemic may amplify calls to defend the role of cash – but also calls for central bank digital currencies.”

Cash transaction trend declines in the UK

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the demand for cash has somewhat reduced in the UK. ATM withdrawal rates have also plummeted. BIS predicts that this horrific global health crisis could drive consumers towards higher precautionary holdings of cash and increased mobile, card and online payments.

Santa Clara County shutters recreational marijuana take-out under COVID-19 shutdown

Cannabis dispensaries in the Bay Area’s most populous county are closing their doors to recreational users under new orders.

Santa Clara County has stopped allowing for in-store purchases of marijuana for non-medical customers, according to the county website. The change in policy apparently occurred in the last couple days.

Recreational users can still have marijuana delivered to their homes in the county, but only those who are prescribed cannabis by a doctor will still be able to pick it up in person.

Read the rest of this story on MercuryNews.com.