The Queen of Bitcoin
Struggling to turn your bitcoin hoard into cash or superyachts? There’s a person you need to meet…
When it comes to financial technology, Quintus is an unrepentant Luddite. Indeed, part of him longs for the more civilised days when ownership of shares was confirmed by physical certificates and City business was conducted in gentlemen's clubs, or with one's stockbroker, over port and cigars. Doubtless such nostalgia seems quaint, or even amusing to today's generation, but he likes to consider his scepticism at least partly vindicated by the recent turn of events in bitcoin.
Even before the recent collapse in the price, those who had the good sense to cash out at the peak have found out that using virtual profits to buy physical goods in the real world was not as easy as one might assume. For one thing, the vast majority of businesses do not accept cryptocurrencies as they are seen as too volatile, as Ben Machell points out in The Sunday Times. Even trying to turn your "bitcoin hoard" into pounds or dollars can be "a complicated, time-consuming and at times a prohibitively costly process". Banks are often reluctant or simply refuse to handle the currencies and have a habit of treating those who do with suspicion.
However, if "you've several million pounds worth of bitcoin burning a hole in your virtual wallet", 29-year-old Eleesa Dadiani "can help you turn it into actual superyachts or gold bullion". Dadiani launched her new service as an offshoot of an art gallery she owns.
She now uses her connections (she is a member of the Georgian nobility), experience and a "certain amount of persuasion" to "act as one-part matchmaker, one-part luxury-goods agent" to the digital-currency elite, helping them "gatecrash the world of old money assets". As perhaps the only person in Europe currently offering such a service, she's attracted a lot of attention. Her biggest success so far was to help an anonymous Chinese billionaire buy a fleet of four Formula One racing cars using $4m worth of the digital currency litecoin.
Ms Dadiani is such a fan of the currencies that she is launching her own version, Dadicoin, later this year, she tells the BBC. Her liking for digital currencies is "not a demand-driven decision at all, it's intuitive based on the way things are going", she says. "For me, blockchain [the technology underlying bitcoin] is going to be the biggest thing since the internet." But she has nobler aims than just flogging trinkets to the super-rich, as Ailis Brennan reports in the Evening Standard.
Her art sale in Mayfair, the first in the art world to sell work solely using cryptocurrencies, will run until 20 March, and the work on sale has been created to commemorate the anniversary of the end of World War I. Decentralised digital currencies will undermine the great-power rivalries that led to the war, she thinks, and believes her exhibition looks forward "to a brighter future in which individuals have greater autonomy and entrenched state power can be overcome". Let's hope she is right, but it seems a lot to ask from a digital token.
Tabloid money a snack for the ladies
Doritos is to develop a new range of crunch-free crisps for women, says Camilla Tominey in the Sunday Express. Cue outrage. The #MeToo-ers spat out their Kettle Chips in disgust. Was sexual harassment and gender inequality not enough? Now they have to put up with inferior nibbles, too? Indra Nooyi, CEO of parent company PepsiCo, explains: "Women don't like to crunch too loudly in public. And they don't lick their fingers generously and they don't like to pour the little broken pieces into their mouth." Clearly, Noori has never been to a Stella & Dot party.
We need to take back the F-word, says Karren Brady in The Sun on Sunday. Somehow, feminism has "come to be associated with raging, men-hating, bra-burning women" particularly among younger women. "But I guess it is easier for young people to take our current freedoms for granted." When Brady took over Birmingham Football Club in 1993, women were banned from the boardroom. "Now, I am proud to serve as a role model for women in business." The bottom line is that every man and woman who believes in equality should be proud to call themselves a feminist.
Plastic surgeons have revealed a 16% rise in men going under the knife, reports Brian Reade in the Daily Mirror. The increase is mainly accounted for by men seeking "brow lifts" to get rid of worry lines. That baffles me. The cost of such procedures start at around £5,000. So, even if the surgery works, fears of how you're going to make the payments if you lose your job, or if you should wake up with one eyebrow stuck in Roger Moore mode, or of someone saying "I preferred you when you looked like the pre-op Gordon Ramsay", would surely "turn any man's worry lines into miniature Death Valleys".