A Chinese national flag flutters on the Pearl River in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China. Picture: REUTERS
A Chinese national flag flutters on the Pearl River in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China. Picture: REUTERS

1. Cashing in on crypto

In a move that may seem to go against the point of decentralised currencies, Goldman Sachs has announced the launch of a new cryptocurrency called USD Coin, unveiled by its fintech startup, Circle. It becomes the first major bank to venture into the market and could bring some stability to cryptocurrencies, as USD Coin will be pegged to the dollar. The company hopes it will eventually be accepted anywhere that takes traditional currencies.

The bank also recently announced that it will open a bitcoin trading desk.

2. Poll supports Burundian president’s play for power

Citizens of Burundi have voted to amend its constitution by introducing changes that could extend the rule of president Pierre Nkurunziza all the way to 2034. More than 73% of 4.7m voters in a referendum supported the constitutional amendments.

Nkurunziza, whose current term expires in 2020, ran for a third term in 2015 and went on to win the election, sparking a bloody political conflict that claimed the lives of more than 1,200 Burundians.

3. China’s social dystopia

Eleven million flights and 4m train trips have been denied to people who have fallen foul of China’s social credit system has blocked people from taking more than 11m flights and 4m train trips. The system is used to punish citizens for bad behaviour by creating blacklists that bar offenders from travelling, getting loans or jobs, staying in hotels, and limiting Internet access.

The move has drawn comparisons with dystopian British TV show Black Mirror.

It is unclear what offences those targeted have committed.

Bad behaviour on planes and trains, failing to abide by court judgments or making comments critical of government on social media appear to be covered by the sanctions.