Bitcoin’s price has increase more than 12-fold in the past four years, and the combined market of crypto-assets is now valued at more than $500 billion. Such valuations have caused many to think that the market is overheated.
“I tend to think of bitcoin as an interesting experiment, not a permanent feature of our lives,” said Robert J. Shiller, Sterling Professor of Economics, Yale University, USA. Schiller compared the market to a speculative bubble that rouses public interest. “It involves contagious stories about people making a lot of money.”
But beyond the hype of a single crypto-currency, thousands of other digital currencies have been introduced, and blockchain, the technology underlying bitcoin, carries the potential of providing decentralized, incorruptible ledger, which could be used in a variety of other contexts.
Whether or not crypto-currencies offer a widespread, scalable alternative to traditional currencies depends greatly on their efficiency of use and on how well they function as a store of value. Volatility in the bitcoin market carries risks for those who hold their savings in the market, and many prefer to see bitcoin as an asset, rather than a replacement for central-bank-created currency.
Regulators around the world have raised concern about the way in which crypto-currencies make it easy to move money anonymously. As such, they provide a useful tool for illicit activities, such as money laundering.
“I do think [crypto-currency] needs to be regulated, just like anything I would want to become mainstream should be regulated,” said Neil Rimer, General Partner and Co-Founder, Index Ventures, Switzerland. Regulation could be one way of increasing public trust in the experiment.
Not only are nations seeking to regulate the use of crypto-currency, many are also seeking to take advantage of the disruptive innovation associated with it. For example, Sweden is considering the creation of its own digital currency, an “e-krona,” which would complement traditional notes and coins, said Cecilia Skingsley, Deputy Governor of the Swedish Central Bank (Sveriges Riksbank). “Cash is going out of fashion very quickly,” she added, and digital currencies could provide consumers greater convenience and, potentially, efficiency.
Some developing nations have also seen the potential of becoming part of the crypto-currency movement. “A lot of smaller economies now – they start to think if we just make our regulation a little bit more crypto-friendly we can attract a lot of investment and a lot of talent,” said Jennifer Zhu Scott, Principal, Radian Partners, Hong Kong SAR.
The staying power and pricing of bitcoin suggest that crypto-assets will continue to have a disruptive impact on global finance, but they raise more questions than answers about what shape that disruption will take.
First Global Gastronomy Tourism Startup Competition Launched
The World Tourism Organization and Basque Culinary Center (BCC), have launched a pioneering initiative for the gastronomic tourism sector, with a global call for startups or companies, mature or emerging, technological and non-technological, with innovative ideas capable of revolutionizing and integrating gastronomy in tourism and inspiring tourists with new ways and reasons to travel.
The gastronomic tourism sector is moving towards innovation and the diversification of its offerings. UNWTO, in collaboration with its Affiliated Member, Basque Culinary Center (BCC), has launched the 1st UNWTO Gastronomy Tourism Startup Competition, the first and largest initiative in the world dedicated to identifying new companies that will lead the transformation of the gastronomic tourism sector.
Intangible cultural heritage has become the decisive factor that attracts and captivates tourists. Gastronomy tourism, as a component and vehicle of culture and tradition, is an indispensable resource that adds value and provides solutions for destinations that seek to stand out through unique product offerings.
The Competition will make it possible to identify the best solutions and projects that contribute the most to the sector through pioneering proposals in the implementation of emerging and disruptive technologies, as well as emerging companies or startups. It aims to identify challenges and projects, and to catalyse innovations that can transform the Gastronomy Tourism sector in the near future.
“Innovation and tourism investments are not ends in themselves, but are means to promote better tourism products, improve tourism governance and harness its proven capability to foster sustainability, create jobs and generate opportunities,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili.
“Education and innovation are essential for the development of sustainable gastronomic tourism. At Basque Culinary Center, we support entrepreneurship and the development of new business projects to ensure the future of the sector. In this regard, we are proud to once again team up with our partners at UNWTO in order to continue fostering entrepreneurship and innovation linked to gastronomy tourism through this initiative,” said Joxe Mari Aizega, General Manager of Basque Culinary Center.
UNWTO and Basque Culinary Center have entrusted the process of finding startups to BCC Innovation through its Culinary Action! programme, which has accelerated nearly 50 startups by providing innovative, sustainable and high added value solutions to the gastronomy value chain.
Sustainability and technology
Startups are invited to pitch business models that are related to sustainability, respect the value chain, offer an authentic and coherent narrative, and add value to cultural and local heritage.
The winners of this competition will have the opportunity to present their projects at the 5th World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism (2-3 May 2019, San Sebastián, Spain), with the possibility of receiving personalized consulting and mentoring from the BCC experts of project accelerator Culinary Action!
Eurasian Research on Modern China-Eurasia Conference
October 26-27, 2018,National Academy of Sciences, Armenia.
Address: Marshal Bagramyan 24, Yerevan, Armenia.
Organizers:“China-Eurasia” Council for Political and Strategic Research, Foundation, Armenia,Institute of Oriental Studies,National Academy of Sciences, Armeniaand Department of Oriental Studies, ISEC, National Academy of Sciences, Armenia.
Supported by:“Transport Project Implementation Organization” SNCO,Armenia,“Diplomatic Foundation of Armenia” and “Modern Diplomacy”, Greece.
Table of Contents
(English Language Panels)
- Panel 1։ China and Eurasian Economics
- Panel 2։China’s One Belt, One Road and the World
- Panel 3։ China and One Belt One Road Initiative
- Panel 4։ China, Eurasia and Politics
- Panel 5: The History of Interaction between China and Eurasia
- Panel 6։ China and the South Caucasus
- Panel 7:China and Eurasia (International Relations)
October 26, 2018
Welcome Address (11:00-11:30)
Panel 1: (English Language). China and Eurasian Economics(11:45-13:40)
Ma Bin, (Fudan University, China), “Railway Express between China and EU:New Model of International Transportation or Traditional tool of Economic Growth?”.
Connor Judge (SOAS, University of London, Great Britain), “Competing Narratives for Chinese Investment: Serbia and Mongolia”.
Srdjan Uljevic, (American University of Central Asia, Kyrgyz Republic),
“India’s Foreign Policy in the Age of China’s Dominance in Asia”.
Arjun Chapagain, June Wang, Linda Che-lan Li, (City University of Hong, China),
“The Trans-Himalayan Trade of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants: AGeo-Historical Political Lens”.
Anna Zalinyan, (Armenia), “Peculiaritiesbetween China and European Countries on Public Administration Reforms”.
Key note Speech 13:40-14:00
Zachary Paikin (University of Kent, Great Britain, Senior Editor at Global Brief Magazine)
“The Future of Liberal Order: Russia-China Relations and Eurasian Consequences”.
October 26, 2018 (11:50-12:30)
Panel 2: (Russian Language) China’s One Belt, One Road and the World-Панель 2 Китайская инициативаОдин пояс, один путь и мир
AnatolyTsvyk, (RUDN University, Russia),
“The EU and OBOR: Mutual Benefit or Competition?” / ЦвыкАнатолий. (Российский университет дружбы народов, Россия).«Европейский союз и инициатива «Один пояс, один путь»: взаимная выгода или конкуренция?».
Konstantin Tasits,(Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, Russia),
“Sino-Georgian Economic Relations in Modern Era”. Тасиц Константин. (Российский институт стратегических исследований Россия). «Экономические отношения Грузии и Китая на современном этапе».
October 26, 2018
Panel 3։ (English Language) China and One Belt One Road Initiative (14:30-17:00)
Jukka Aukia, (University of Turku, Finland),
“Belt and Road: the Baltic States within the 16+1”.
Uzma Siraj,(Federal Urdu University Islamabad, Pakistan),
“Eastern Europe Between Constraints, Coercion, and Opportunities: BRI and China Challenging Russia and EU in their Backyard”.
Mher Sahakyan, (“China-Eurasia” Council for Political and Strategic Research, Armenia).
“China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative and Armenia”.
Ma Xiaoyun, (Party School of CPC Tongling Municipal Committee, China),
“OBOR and China’s Midland Open Economy Development-A Case Study on Anhui”.
Gabriel de Rezende Piccinini, Alena Vysotskaya Guedes Vieira(University of Minho, Portugal),
“The Eurasian Economic Union and the One Belt, One Road Initiative: how Brazil and the European Union See It”.
Clayton HazvineiVhumbunu, (University of KwaZulu-Natal, Republic of South Africa).
“The Economic Impact of China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative on Eurasia”.
Ani Hakhverdyan (Russian-Armenian University, Armenia), “The Energy Silk Road”.
October 26 (17:20) ****Drinks and Pizza (Reception).
Panel 4։ (English Language) China, Eurasia and Politics(10:00-12:20)
Anahit Parzyan, (“China-Eurasia” Council for Political and Strategic Research, Foundation, Armenia), “Some aspects of Digitalization of China”.
Maximilian Ohle, (Nankai University), Richard J. Cook, (Nankai University), Zhaoying Han, (Nankai University China, the Editor-in-Chief of the Nankai Journal),
“China’s Engagement with Kazakhstan and Russia’s Zugzwang: Why is Astana Incurring Regional Power Hedging?”
Izabella Muradyan, (Chinese Centre Culture and Science, Armenia),
“Geo-Economic Cooperation with China under One Belt, One Road Initiative: Armenian Keys from EAEU”.
Luiza Grigoryan, (European University in Armenia),
“China and the Brics”.
October 27, 2018 (10:00-11:20)
Panel 5: (Russian Language) The History of Interaction between China and Eurasia-Панель 5. Историясношения (Китай-Евразия)
Sergey Kozlovsky, (The Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, Ukraine), “The Theory and genesis of Pax Sinica”/КозловскийСергей. (Львовский национальный университет имени Ивана ФранкоУкраина). «Теория фронтира и генезис PaxSinicia».
KhusnutdinovaLiailia, (Ufa State Petroleum Technological University, Russia), “On Historical Aspect of Chinese nation in Republic of Bashkortostan”. /ХуснутдиноваЛяйля. (Уфимский государственный нефтяной технический университет. Россия).«К проблеме истории Китайского народа в Республике Башкортостан».
Panel 6: (English Language)China and South Caucasus (13:10-14:30)
Vakhtang Charaia,(Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Georgia),
“Trade and Investment between South Caucasus, China and EU”.
Gabriela Radu, (Strategic Analyst,Romania),
“Foreign Direct Investment Trends in the Southern Caucasus”.
Saren Abgaryan. (Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China),
“China-Armenia Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) in the Context of Chinese Evolving BIT Practice and Jurisprudence”.
October 27 (11:20-12:30)
Панель 7. (Russian Language)КитайиЕвразия (Внешняяполитика)- China and Eurasia (International Relations)
Andranik Hovhannisyan, (Russian-Armenian University, Armenia), “The Pivot towards Asia: Perspectives of Formation of Asian NATO”. /ОваннисянАндраник(Российско-Армянскийуниверситет, Армения).«ПовороткАзии: перспективыформирования «АзиатскогоНАТО»».
OganesyanArusyak, (RUDN University, Russia), “The Role of Eastern Asia in China’s Foreign Policy”. /ОганесянАрусяк.(Российский университет дружбы народов, Россия).«Роль Восточной Азии в современной китайской внешней политике».
KhubrikovaBadma, (BuryatStateUniversity, Russia), “SoftPowerintheEraofXiJinping”. /ХубриковБадма, Бурятскийгосударственныйуниверситет.
«Мягкая сила» в эпоху Си Цзиньпина».
October 27 (15:00) ****Drinks and Pizza (Reception).
National Academy of Sciencesis in the Center of the city, in the front of National Assembly of Armenia.Address: Marshal Bagramyan 24, Yerevan, Armenia.
Nearest Subway station is “Marshal Bagramyan”.
Working languages in different panels are English or Russian.
All audience members are required to register for the conference. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Conference Facebook Page:
A new bioeconomy strategy for a sustainable Europe
European Commission has put forward an action plan to develop a sustainable and circular bioeconomy that serves Europe’s society, environment and economy.
As announced by President Juncker and First Vice-President Timmermans in their letter of intent accompanying President Juncker’s 2018 State of the Union Address, the new bioeconomy strategy is part of the Commission’s drive to boost jobs, growth and investment in the EU. It aims to improve and scale up the sustainable use of renewable resources to address global and local challenges such as climate change and sustainable development.
In a world of finite biological resources and ecosystems, an innovation effort is needed to feed people, and provide them with clean water and energy. The bioeconomy can turn algae into fuel, recycle plastic, convert waste into new furniture or clothing or transform industrial by-products into bio-based fertilisers. It has the potential to generate 1 million new green jobs by 2030.
Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness Jyrki Katainen said: “It has become evident that we need to make a systemic change in the way we produce, consume and discard goods. By developing our bioeconomy – the renewable segment of the circular economy – we can find new and innovative ways of providing food, products and energy, without exhausting our planet’s limited biological resources. Moreover, rethinking our economy and modernising our production models is not just about our environment and climate. There is also great potential here for new green jobs, particularly in rural and coastal areas.”
Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, added: “The EU aims to lead the way in turning waste, residue and discards into high value products, green chemicals, feed and textiles. Research and innovation plays a key role in accelerating the green transition of the European economy and in meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”
Delivering a sustainable circular bioeconomy requires a concerted effort by public authorities and industry. To drive this collective effort, and based on three key objectives, the Commission will launch 14 concrete measures in 2019, including:
Scaling up and strengthening the bio-based sectors:
To unleash the potential of the bioeconomy to modernise the European economy and industries for long-term, sustainable prosperity, the Commission will:
- establish a €100 million Circular Bioeconomy Thematic Investment Platform to bring bio-based innovations closer to the market and de-risk private investments in sustainable solutions;
- facilitate the development of new sustainable bio-refineries across Europe.
Rapidly deploying bioeconomies across Europe:
Member States and regions, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe, have a large underused biomass and waste potential. To address this, the Commission will:
- develop a strategic deployment agenda for sustainable food and farming systems, forestry and bio-based products;
- set up an EU Bioeconomy Policy Support Facility for EU countries under Horizon 2020 to develop national and regional bioeconomy agendas;
- launch pilot actions for the development of bioeconomies in rural, coastal and urban areas, for example on waste management or carbon farming.
Protecting the ecosystem and understanding the ecological limitations of the bioeconomy
Our ecosystem is faced with severe threats and challenges, such as a growing population, climate change and land degradation. In order to tackle these challenges, the Commission will:
- implement an EU-wide monitoring system to track progress towards a sustainable and circular bioeconomy;
- enhance our knowledge base and understanding of specific bioeconomy areas by gathering data and ensuring better access to it through the Knowledge Centre for the Bioeconomy;
- provide guidance and promote good practices on how to operate in the bioeconomy within safe ecological limits.
The Commission is hosting a conference on 22 October in Brussels to discuss the action plan with stakeholders and highlight tangible bio-based products.
In their letter of intent to the Presidencies of the European Council and Parliament, President Juncker and First Vice-President Timmermans announced this Communication as part of the Commission’s priority to boost jobs, growth and investment in the EU. It is an update to the 2012 Bioeconomy Strategy.
The bioeconomy covers all sectors and systems that rely on biological resources. It is one of the EU’s largest and most important sectors encompassing agriculture, forestry, fisheries, food, bio-energy and bio-based products with an annual turnover of around €2 trillion and around 18 million people employed. It is also a key area for boosting growth in rural and coastal areas.
The EU already funds research, demonstration and deployment of sustainable, inclusive and circular bio-based solutions, including with €3.85 billion allocated under the current EU funding programme Horizon 2020. For 2021-2027, the Commission has proposed to allocate €10 billion under Horizon Europe for food and natural resources, including the bioeconomy.
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