- Biden’s $1.9 Trillion Economic Support Package in the Senate
- Oil on the Rise after OPEC + Meeting
- NFT Wind Blowing in the Cryptocurrency World
Biden’s $1.9 Trillion Economic Support Package in the Senate
The $1.9 trillion economic support package requested by US President Joe Biden against Covid-19 and previously passed by the House of Representatives has begun to be discussed in the Senate.
At the Senate General Assembly, the necessary majority was achieved as a result of the voting on whether the draft should be included in the agenda or not.
After the 50-50 equality situation emerged in the voting held in the General Assembly hall, US Vice President Kamala Harris, who voted as the President of the Senate, broke the equality in favor of the Democrats and the draft was discussed.
The need for a consensus reached between the White House and the Democrats in Congress prior to the session in the Senate, and the regulation that high-income Americans would gradually benefit less from the support package was also included in the package.
With the start of the talks in the Senate, the entire 628-page bill began to be read at the request of Republican Senator Ron Johnson. Democrats argued that the demand to “read the bill” is a “delay and delay tactic”, while some Republicans stated that this process was unnecessary.
Afterwards, while it is expected to move to the discussion section, which is stated to be 20 hours, and then continue the sections where the bill can be voted, Congress sources point out that the final vote of the bill may take a few days.
“No matter how long it takes, the Senate is going to stay in session to finish the bill this week,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Thursday.
The bill, which was passed in the US House of Representatives on Saturday morning, is seen as the biggest package that the Biden administration is working on against the economic effects of Covid-19. If accepted in the Senate, the bill will be sent to Biden’s table for signature.
To win the support of moderate Democrats, party leaders also agreed to limit the number of people who will get direct payments of up to $1,400. New income caps could mean at least 8 million fewer people would get checks than under the bill passed by the House on Saturday. The Senate also removed a House-passed provision to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025. The chamber’s parliamentarian ruled lawmakers could not do so under budget reconciliation. In addition to the Republicans in the Senate, some Democrats close to the center opposed a step in this direction on the grounds that it would “increase unemployment”.
Oil on the Rise after OPEC + Meeting
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the OPEC + group, which consists of some non-OPEC producer countries, decided to extend the current production cuts for another month, while Russia and Kazakhstan were excluded.
The 14th Ministerial Meeting, where the energy and oil ministers of 23 OPEC + member countries came together using video conferencing to determine the amount of production cuts to be implemented by April.
According to the statement made by OPEC, Russia will increase its production by 130 thousand barrels per day in April and Kazakhstan will increase 20 thousand barrels due to seasonal reasons.
Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, will continue its voluntary cut of 1 million barrels per day next month. Thus, the OPEC + group will cut production by 7 million 900 thousand barrels per day in April.
The meeting of the OPEC + group, where it will determine the production cut to be applied from May, will be held on April 1.
Responding to journalists’ questions at the press conference held after the meeting, Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman stated that the meeting was fruitful and said, “We made a good and surprising deal.”
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Novak stated that they continue to carefully monitor the basic trends in the global economy.
“With cautious optimism, we can say that the situation is slowly starting to improve. We hope that the signs of recovery we are seeing today will form the basis for the recovery of the global economy and ultimately oil demand. We are laying the foundation for future growth now, and the year 2021 will become very important on that path.”
Oil surged to $65 per barrel, following the OPEC + meeting’s decision to keep production stable.
After the OPEC + meeting, the barrel price of Brent crude oil rose to $67.72, up 5.69 percent compared to yesterday’s close. This figure was recorded as the highest level in the last 14 months. The barrel price of West Texas type (WTI) crude oil rose 5.81 percent to $64.84.
NFT Wind Blowing in the Cryptocurrency World
In October 2020, Miami-based art collector, cryptocurrency investor and mathematician Pablo Rodriguez-Fraile spent almost $67,000 on a 10-second video artwork that he could have watched for free online. Last week, he sold it for $6.6 million. The video by digital artist Beeple, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann, was authenticated by blockchain, which serves as a digital signature to certify who owns it and that it is the original work.
It was stated in the video that it was confirmed by the “blockchain”, which is known as a new step in meeting the digital world. On the other hand, such works that create a new type of digital asset are known as “Non-fungible token” (NFT).
It’s a new type of digital asset – known as a non-fungible token (NFT) – that has exploded in popularity during the pandemic as enthusiasts and investors scramble to spend enormous sums of money on items that only exist online. Blockchain technology allows the items to be publicly authenticated as one-of-a-kind, unlike traditional online objects which can be endlessly reproduced.
The monthly sales of the OpenSea platform, which is a free-market environment for NFTs, reached $86.3 million in February.
What is NFT?
Unlike dollars, stocks, bitcoins, or gold bars, which are changeable assets, ‘immutable’ NFT assets represent each unique item. The bitcoin in your hand and the bitcoin in someone else’s hand mean the same value.
However, consider that each bitcoin has a different value. Then this is no longer a unit and a transfer vehicle. This is the case of NFT assets. Although there may be many of the same thing, the originality and ownership of one of them can be known with certainty. Examples of NFT are digital artworks, sports cards, virtual pieces of land found as domain names and IP addresses on the Internet, or wallet names used for cryptocurrency. NFTs can really be anything digital (such as drawings, music, your brain downloaded and turned into an AI), but a lot of the current excitement is around using the tech to sell digital art.
“You can go in the Louvre and take a picture of the Mona Lisa and you can have it there, but it doesn’t have any value because it doesn’t have the provenance or the history of the work,” said Rodriguez-Fraile, who said he first bought Beeple’s piece because of his knowledge of the U.S.-based artist’s work.
“The reality here is that this is very, very valuable because of who is behind it.”
Investors caution, however, that while big money is flowing into NFTs, the market could represent a price bubble.
Like many new niche investment areas, there is a risk of significant losses if the hype dies down, while there could be prime opportunities for fraudsters in a market where many participants operate under pseudonyms.