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Izabella Kaminska joined FT Alphaville in October 2008, which was, perhaps, the best time in the world to become a financial blogger. (Added bonus: there was a free breakfast trolly.) Before that she worked as a producer at CNBC, a natural gas reporter at Platts and an associate editor of BP’s internal magazine. She has also worked as a reporter on English language business papers in Poland and Azerbaijan and was a Reuters graduate trainee in 2004.

Everything she knows about economics stems from a childhood fascination with ancient economies, specifically the agrarian land reforms of the early Roman republic and the coinage and price stability reforms of late Roman emperors. Her favourite emperor is one Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletian.

She studied Ancient History at UCL, and has a masters in Journalism from what was then the London College of Printing.

And yes, she is also a second-generation West London Pole (who likes mushroom picking, bigos and pierogi).

The de-monetisation of the economy started with coffee

Starbucks, the mobile payments and data pioneer, is going to know your coffee routine so well that in three years time you won’t even have to do anything to ensure your coffee is ready and waiting for you.  Read more

Have we crossed the inflation Rubicon?

From tech billionaires going around recommending loss-leading tech companies finally start raising prices and Spotify looking to restrict free streaming, *something* seems to be happening.
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On the return of Japanese inflation

The most likely outcome of continued asset purchases in Japan will be a large inflationary impulse via a collapse of the yen, says Diana Choyleva. This she thinks will happen sometime towards the end of 2017 or in 2018 as institutional investors and corporates flee domestic markets. Read more

A double deficit and a falling pound

As many economists have noted, a key problem for the UK is its negative international investment position (IIP), which fuels a large part of the country’s current account deficit. This is derived from the difference between total assets and liabilities of rest of the world holdings (RoW), and constitutes a net asset position of £269bn (in favour of foreigners).  Read more

World’s smallest violin at the ready: the billionaire crisis is here

Tis the millennials who shall inherit the earth. And the millennials like to wear trainers.
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Brexit and Britain’s dutch disease

The pound is up on the back of Theresa May agreeing to opposition demands for “a full and transparent” Brexit debate in parliament before activating Article 50.

But even if it wasn’t, would it really be that bad for the British economy? Let’s pause for some perspective maybe? Read more

On the ongoing demise of globalisation

According to strategists Bhanu Baweja, Manik Narain and Maximillian Lin the elasticity of trade to GDP — a measure of wealth creating globalisation — rose to as high as 2.2. in the so-called third wave of globalisation which began in the 1980s. This compared to an average of 1.5 since the 1950s. In the post-crisis era, however, the elasticity of trade has fallen to 1.1, not far from the weak average of the 1970s and early 1980s but well below the second and third waves of globalisation.  Read more

A message to blockchainers from the Nobel committee

It seems appropriate that in the current hysterical blockchain climate — a climate epitomized by the notion that everyone from bankers and lawyers will soon be dis-intermediated because of smart-contracts on blockchains — the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded its latest prize to Oliver Hart from Harvard University and Bengt Holmström from MIT for their work on contracting. Read more

Introducing the ‘mutualised database’

Move aside distributed ledger technology and permissioned ledgers. The preferred description du jour: the mutualised database. Read more

‘Post Truth’ in the Bracken Room (sorry, tickets now gone)

Adam Curtis, the BBC documentary maker who is a bit like marmite (you either love him or hate him), has a new film out on iPlayer on October 16 called HyperNormalisation: Read more

Ride-hailing apps are creating an inefficient and unfair transit system

At FT Alphaville we’ve questioned the rationality of glorifying a business model ( Transportation Network Companies TNCs like Uber) which undermines decades worth of urban planning work focused on encouraging mass transit options like buses and trains, whilst marginalising petrol-guzzling space-consuming single-occupant cars. It seems backward, to say the least. Read more

Fintech’s security/access paradox problem

Were contactless cards always too good to be true? According to the left organised crime report from Europol, criminal groups are adapting their strategies to take advantage of these near field technology systems. Read more

In Japan, my kingdom for a dollar hedge

Could the collapse of covered interest rate parity be the harbinger of even stranger things to come ? At the heart of the issue is how on earth the interest rate differential between two currencies in the cash money markets is no longer equal to the differential between the forward and spot exchange rates. Read more

Yahoo email capture

As a yahoo email user, we can testify to the fact that being continuously told by friends and family that: “hey there, I think you’re email may have been hacked” was good enough of an incentive to defect to an alternative provider. Read more

The Deutsche domino

Is there something particularly hubristic about a German bank being the bank to trigger a renewed eurozone banking panic? We think so. Read more

Inquiring minds want to know: can blockchain reconcile 200% institutional ETF ownership?

A good questioned posed to us by former financial “ops guy” Fred Sommers (now retired) on Tuesday, relates to whether or not a blockchain can deal with the phenomenon of lots of different institutional parties thinking they own the very same ETF share? Read more

The diminishing returns of blockchain fetishism

Rather than pretending resources spent on data systems in information exclusive industries (like banking) can lead to longstanding productivity gains which don’t just buy us a little time until the next paperwork crisis in five years time, perhaps we should invest that money in the expansion of industrial capacity?  Read more

SDRs and the renminbi

China will join the exclusive club of “hard currency” issuing countries when its currency, the renminbi, becomes a fully fledged member of the IMF’s special drawing right basket on October 1. Read more

Are bank reserves meaningless?

Is the central bank in the business of lending bank reserves for final and absolute settlement purposes, or is it now in the business of lending safe assets like Tbills for final and absolute settlement purposes?  Read more

Breaking insurance models with big data

In the brave new world of machine learning, big data and artificial intelligence, no good deed will go unnoticed and no bad deed will go unpunished. Or so at least the dream goes.
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Doubling up on Mars

A cryptic Tweet from Iron-Man Elon Musk stating “Turns out MCT can go well beyond Mars, so will need a new name…” delighted the tech/science internet community when it was posted on Sept 17. Read more

Your comprehensive guide to the all new ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ London property market

Three months down the line, enough time has passed to properly assess the impact of Brexit on the London property market. Read more

Ski chalets, millennials and Brexit

Knight Frank’s annual ski property review is out. The good news for the chalet market is… Brits don’t have that much of an influence on chalet prices these days, so Brexit’s been no problem so far. Read more

How do you solve a problem like RTGS moral hazard?

With blockchain distributed ledger technology (DLT) of course.

The good news is that with the release of its new consultation paper on Friday titled A new RTGS service for the United Kingdom: safeguarding stability, enabling innovation, the BoE finally seems to be acknowledging that its real-time gross clearing system (RTGS) is far from perfect and does need overhauling.

But before we get to the role DLTs may play in that overhaul, some background on RTGS first. Read more

What’s old is new again, fintech news edition

Found scattered around a London-based fintech incubator set-up this week:

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Uber, the trading stamp unicorn

Uber, the unicorn that likes to transform investor funds into cheap promotional giveaways and publicity stunts, is hosting a pool party this Thursday and Friday in London to drum up support for its UberBus UberPool offer.

If you’re in the Uber London database you will have received this:

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Blockchain debate today at 1pm

Fed up of blockchain hype? Or, convinced that a shared database will revolutionise the world as we know it? Or, don’t know one way or the other?

The FT’s called a debate in which both sides of the argument will be properly defended. It’s in Markets Live form. It’s at 1pm UK time today. It features Izzy vs Simon Taylor, co-founder and blockchain director of 11FS.

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Mythbusting Uber’s valuation

Black cab drivers protesting in London in February. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Uber, the ride hailing app, is the archetypal billion dollar unicorn.

How it’s managed to convince investors it’s worth $62.5bn, however, is the real mystery, given its model is arguably neither innovative or viable. Read more

Tuna blockchains and Chilean Seabass

This is a schematic from a London-based company called Provenance which is trying to “commit tuna” to the Ethereum blockchain. It comes via a report with a handy public link:

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QE: quantitatively shrinking collateral reuse

Adding to the QE scarcity concerns already highlighted by David earlier on Monday, here’s a couple of charts from Citi’s Hans Lorenzen reflecting the fundamental “too much of a good thing” problem with QE.

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