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El Salvador To Make Bitcoin Legal Tender

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IMF Wants El Salvador To Stop Use Of Bitcoin

El Salvador will on Tuesday become the first country in the world to make Bitcoin an official legal tender, the government declared in a statement on Monday.

In preparation for its adoption, the country has commenced installing Bitcoin ATMs to enable citizens to convert cryptocurrency into dollars and withdraw it in cash.

This followed lawmakers’ votes to legalise cryptocurrency in June.

Although the Central American country believes that the measure will boost its economy, many of the 6.5 million population who have little or no knowledge of how cryptocurrency works had kicked against it since it was announced, while others embraced it.

Nigel Green, the CEO of deVere Group, financial services firm, predicted that other countries would follow suit.

READ ALSO: El Salvador Becomes First Country To Adopt Bitcoin For Use As Legal Tender

“Other countries, in particular other Central and South American nations, will be watching with great interest to see if the experiment works to shore up El Salvador’s shaky economy,” Mr Green said in a statement.

He, however, admitted that President Nayib Bukele’s adoption of cryptocurrency as national currency alongside U.S. dollars would come with risks.
Last week, Salvadorans took to the streets to protest against the possible risks.

The risks, according to him, are “a possibility that El Salvador could run out of dollars and that institutions, such as the IMF, might not look favourably on a nation that has adopted Bitcoin.”

Mr Green, however, noted that he was giving the move a welcome because the country “chose to be reliant upon a major first-world currency, the U.S. dollar, to complete transactions. But this reliance on another country’s currency also comes with its own set of, often very costly, problems.”

He also stressed the Central American country’s reliance on dollars because it could not print its own money, noting that its economy cannot benefit from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s money-printing agenda.

“Therefore, El Salvador must either borrow or earn the dollars it needs,” he said. “A stronger U.S. dollar can have a crippling impact on emerging-market economies, such as that of El Salvador.”

He further pointed out that “central banks around the world have been devaluing their currencies, while Bitcoin’s supply is not only limited but also new coins are mined at a decreasing rate too.”

On the upside, he believed that El Salvadorans could “find their new adopted currency gives them more purchasing power when they buy from overseas.”

 

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Microsoft Acquires Game Maker Activision Blizzard For $68.7b

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Microsoft Acquires Game Maker Activision Blizzard For $68.7b

In an all-cash transaction, software company Microsoft has acquired Activision Blizzard, the video game maker behind hits like Call of Duty and Candy Crush, for $68.7 billion.

This development makes Microsoft the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony.

“Today, Microsoft Corp. announced plans to acquire Activision Blizzard Inc., a leader in game development and interactive entertainment content publisher.

“This acquisition will accelerate the growth in Microsoft’s gaming business across mobile, PC, console and cloud and will provide building blocks for the metaverse,” the software company said in a statement.

Microsoft is paying $95 a share, roughly 45 per cent above Activision’s stock price before the announcement and will continue running the company.

READ  ALSO:  In World-first Transplant, Man Gets Pig Heart

This move will see the software company inherit Activision’s staff strength of about 10,000 employees, nearly 400 million monthly gaming users and access to some of the world’s most popular games such as “Warcraft,” “Diablo,”

“Overwatch,” “Call of Duty” and “Candy Crush”. In return, Activision will have access to a range of artificial intelligence and other programming software.

Activision CEO Bobby Kotick will remain in his position until the deal is closed in 2023. Once the deal closes, the unit will fall under Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft gaming.

 

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BREAKING: Buhari Lifts Suspension On Twitter

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The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has lifted the suspension on Twitter operations in the country, effective from 12 am, January 13, 2022. This was disclosed in a press statement on Wednesday signed by the Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency and Chairman Technical Committee Nigeria-Twitter Engagement, Kashifu Abdullahi. The statement read in part, “The Federal Government of Nigeria directs me to inform the public that President Muhammadu Buhari, has approved the lifting of the suspension of Twitter operation in Nigeria effective from 12 am tonight, January 13, 2022. “The approval was given following a memo written to the President by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Pantami.”

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has lifted the suspension on Twitter operations in the country. This takes effect from 12:00 a.m., January 13, 2022.

This was disclosed in a statement on Wednesday by the Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency and Chairman Technical Committee Nigeria-Twitter Engagement, Kashifu Abdullahi.

READ ALSO: After Twitter, Govt Moves To Regulate Netflix, Others

The statement read in part: “The Federal Government of Nigeria directs me to inform the public that President Muhammadu Buhari, has approved the lifting of the suspension of Twitter operation in Nigeria effective from 12 am tonight, January 13, 2022.

“The approval was given following a memo written to the President by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Pantami.”

 

 

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In World-first Transplant, Man Gets Pig Heart

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In World-first Transplant, Man Gets Pig Heart
Dr. Bartley Griffith, left, performed the operation on David Bennett Sr. to receive a new heart from a genetically modified pig. Credit...University of Maryland School of Medicine

A United States man has become the first person in the world to get a heart transplant from a genetically-modified pig.

David Bennett, 57, is doing well three days after the experimental seven-hour procedure in Baltimore, doctors say.

The transplant was considered the last hope of saving Mr Bennett’s life, though it is not yet clear what his long-term chances of survival are.

“It was either die or do this transplant,” Mr Bennett explained a day before the surgery.

“I know it’s a shot in the dark, but it’s my last choice,” he said.

Doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center were granted a special dispensation by the US medical regulator to carry out the procedure, on the basis that Mr Bennett – who has terminal heart disease – would otherwise have died.

READ ALSO: New Route For Regulating Blood Sugar Levels Independent Of Insulin

He had been deemed ineligible for a human transplant, a decision that is often taken by doctors when the patient is in very poor health.

The pig used in the transplant had been genetically modified to knock out several genes that would have led to the organ being rejected by Mr Bennett’s body, the AFP news agency reports.

For the medical team who carried out the transplant, it marks the culmination of years of research and could change lives around the world.

Surgeon Bartley Griffith said the surgery would bring the world “one step closer to solving the organ shortage crisis”. Currently 17 people die every day in the US waiting for a transplant, with more than 100,000 reportedly on the waiting list.

Dr Christine Lau, chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, was in the operating theatre during the surgery.

“He’s at more of a risk because we require more immunosuppression, slightly different than we would normally do in a human-to-human transplant. How well the patient does from now is, you know, it’s never been done before so we really don’t know,” she told the BBC.

“People die all the time on the waiting list, waiting for organs. If we could use genetically engineered pig organs they’d never have to wait, they could basically get an organ as they needed it.

“Plus, we wouldn’t have to fly all over the country at night-time to recover organs to put them into recipients,” she added.

The possibility of using animal organs for so-called xenotransplantation to meet the demand has long been considered, and using pig heart valves is already common.

In October 2021, surgeons in New York announced that they had successfully transplanted a pig’s kidney into a person. At the time, the operation was the most advanced experiment in the field so far.

However, the recipient on that occasion was brain dead with no hope of recovery.

This watershed moment provides hope of a solution to the chronic shortage of donor human organs. But there is still a long way to go to determine whether giving people animal organs is the way forward. Pig hearts are anatomically similar to human hearts but, understandably, not identical. It’s not ideal, compared to swapping in a human donor heart. But it is possible to plumb them in and get them working.

The bigger issue is organ rejection. These pigs are bred to lack genes that can cause rejection.

They are cloned with certain genes “knocked out” and reared until they reach an age where their organs are big enough to be harvested for transplantation.

It is too soon to know how Mr Bennett will fare with his pig heart. His doctors were clear that the surgery was a gamble. The risks are huge, but so are the potential gains.

Mr Bennett, however, is hoping his transplant will allow him to continue with his life. He was bedridden for six weeks leading up to the surgery, and attached to a machine which kept him alive after he was diagnosed with terminal heart disease.

“I look forward to getting out of bed after I recover,” he said last week.

On Monday, Mr Bennett was reported to be breathing on his own while being carefully monitored.
But exactly what will happen next is unclear.

Mr Griffith said they were proceeding cautiously and carefully monitoring Mr Bennett, while his son David Bennett Jr told the Associated Press that the family were “in the unknown at this point”.

But he added: “He realises the magnitude of what was done and he really realises the importance of it.”

“We’ve never done this in a human and I like to think that we, we have given him a better option than what continuing his therapy would have been,” Mr Griffith said. “But whether [he will live for] a day, week, month, year, I don’t know.”

.BBC

 

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