November 2, 2017— Technological advances have fundamentally changed the way our society exchanges goods and services and have paved the way for the rise of the “gig economy.” This type of economy is mainly made up of flexible jobs that are usually short term in nature and are composed mostly of independent contractors and freelancers instead of full-time employees—think about the Ubers, Lyfts, and Airbnbs of the world.
October 24, 2017— Initial coin offerings (ICOs), a new form of fundraising for blockchain-based startups, have been front and center in the cryptocurrency world in recent months as activity has risen exponentially (please see ABCs of bitcoin for more background on bitcoin and cryptocurrencies). ICOs have raised just over $2bn in funds in 2017 (as of end of 3Q) compared to just $104mn in all of 2016.
October 17, 2017—Japan holds general elections on October 22. Polls suggest Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) will secure its current large majority of seats. Abe’s personal popularity has sagged due to family and cabinet scandals. Nevertheless, voters welcome an improving local economy and support his plans to strengthen the armed forces and increase education and childcare spending.