🐤 Pass the buck

America's central bank has a plan to make instant financial transactions more secure.

Friday | March 17th, 2023
Early Chirp

It’s finally Friday, chirpers! If you had a week that was so stressful or bizarre you can barely believe it actually happened, you’re not alone. We’ve all had experiences so wild that when you tell someone else, they say “you must be joking!”

You can find a little bit of comfort on TikTok, where people are sharing their own unbelievable scenarios. Check out this audio if you want to add your own video to the mix.

-Chris Agee

$283.23 (2.48%)
Dow Jones
$371.98 (1.17%)
S&P 500
$68.35 (1.76%)
$0.00 (0.09%)
$650.07 (2.67%)
$0.01 (10.41%)
*Market data for this issue is from March 16th, 2023 at 7:18pm EST

🏦 Markets: There’s still plenty of uncertainty hovering over the financial markets following the collapse or near failure of several banks across the U.S. and beyond. Fortunately, it appears that one such institution — First Republic — avoided a similar scenario with a bailout of sorts by a group of larger banks.

Investors are also cautiously optimistic that the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank will take appropriate action. As a result, it was a surprisingly calm day on Wall Street. All three major indexes posted gains on Thursday.


The Breakdown

A quick look around the world.

The Breakdown Giphy

🐶 No bull: Labrador retrievers have had a good run, but for the first time in more than 30 years, they are not the most popular dogs in America. The French bulldog claimed the top spot with about 21,000 more of them registered last year than labs. Fans say they’re cute, low-maintenance, and easy to care for — but critics say their breeding has left them with genetic deficiencies that result in a pretty miserable life.

💰 Take it to the bank: Credit Suisse stock took a big hit amid investor concerns about the Swiss bank’s solvency. After two U.S. banks collapsed last week, the American and European central banks face a tough decision about how to raise interest rates enough to address inflation but not so much that it’ll make the banking crisis worse.

⚔️ Unauthorized: It’s been nearly 20 years since the U.S. military invaded Iraq, and lawmakers in both parties say the time has come to put an end to the war authorizations that came about at that time (as well as those associated with 1991’s Gulf War). One such bill is headed for a Senate vote and GOP Sen. Todd Young said it reflects a desire to “do the right thing at the right time.”

Share this issue:
Facebook Twitter Linkedin Email

Which do you find more adorable?

  1. Frenchies
  2. Labs
Share this poll:
Facebook Twitter Linkedin Email

Federal Reserve Takes On Zelle With New Instant Payment Platform

The central bank says the move will help fight consumer fraud.

Federal Reserve Takes On Zelle With New Instant Payment Platform Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve has a lot on its plate these days, particularly as it weighs how much to keep raising interest rates to bring down inflation without creating more uncertainty within the banking industry.

Nevertheless, the central bank is moving forward with its long-anticipated program to offer a more secure system for sending and receiving instant payments.

Fighting fraudsters

A primary motivation behind the FedNow service is combatting the fraud that has tarnished private-sector options like Zelle. Users of that platform have been targeted by scams in which criminals seek to convince them to send payments in irreversible transactions.

In response, lawmakers and regulators have pushed for a new option — and the Fed believes its service will fit the bill.

FedNow executive Nick Stanescu explained: “Fraud management features are a high priority for [financial institutions] and are being tested along with transaction flows in the countdown to launch.

What we know so far

The system hasn’t yet officially launched, but all signs point to an introduction early this summer. There are still some unknown factors about how it will operate and who stands to benefit from it, but here are a few fast facts about the program:

  • Consumers won’t access FedNow directly, but it will act as an intermediary between a sender’s bank and the recipient’s financial institution.
  • It will include tools that will give consumers a way to easily file disputes and resolve any conflicts that arise in the process.
  • Other features planned for the future will enhance the platform’s ability to address errors and further safeguard against fraud.

As Federal Reserve Bank of Boston VP Ken Montgomery said, the tool “will enable every participating financial institution, the smallest to the largest and from all corners of the country, to offer a modern instant payment solution.”

Share this story:
Facebook Twitter Linkedin Email

Exploring The Past, Present, And Future Of ‘Shoppertainment’

There are several ways e-commerce companies are piling on the fun.

Exploring The Past, Present, And Future Of ‘Shoppertainment’ Giphy

As a writer, I always enjoy a good portmanteau, but I’ll admit I’d never heard of the combination of shopping and entertainment into one word — “shoppertainment” — until today. Scrolling through e-commerce stores has long been a hobby for some folks, but the concept is definitely becoming more mature … as we’ll see in this broad look at the state of the trend.

Where it came from

The term “shoppertainment” dates back to at least 2019, when the Asian company Lazada started using it to reference the games, shows, and interactive tools it was using to drive e-commerce sales.

But its roots date back to the early days of social media and online retail, when brands used posts to drive engagement and, in turn, traffic to their sites.

Where it is now

Although industry-leading e-commerce brands were among the first to build on the concept of “shoppertainment,” you’ll currently find small businesses and even individual sellers utilizing many of these tools.

A few of the more common methods that companies are currently using include:

  • Giveaways: Quizzes and contests that give customers a chance to win a prize are great ways to spread the word about a company or product.
  • Livestreams: New tech allows brands to air live videos that highlight products while providing entertaining content in the process.
  • Gamification: Whether it’s a “spin-the-wheel” concept or a full-scale role-playing narrative, games can turn a boring e-commerce site into an interactive destination.

Where it’s probably going

No one can predict the future, but advancements in virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality seem to forecast some big opportunities for shoppertainment over the next few years.

And since most of us have our phones with us wherever we go, you can bet that mobile marketing will only become more important for e-commerce brands everywhere.

Share this story:
Facebook Twitter Linkedin Email

Researchers Highlight Benefits Of Weed For Veterans

Medical cannabis might even replace some stronger prescription meds.

Researchers Highlight Benefits Of Weed For Veterans Giphy

Although it remains illegal at the federal level, states across the U.S. have voted to legalize cannabis — either for medical or recreational uses — at a rapid pace in recent years.

Even if you’re personally opposed to the notion of using weed to get high, a recent study might convince you that it’s at least worthwhile to let the nation’s men and women in uniform benefit from its therapeutic properties.

Wide-ranging research

According to new evidence published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, the medicinal use of cannabis can help veterans deal with a range of issues uniquely related to their military service.

The team of researchers from a trio of American colleges determined the following:

  • Among the most common uses of cannabis among veterans are to treat pain, sleep problems, and emotional issues.
  • Only a tiny fraction of those included in the study suffered any negative outcomes associated with using cannabis.
  • More than 44% of those who initially used cannabis and opioids together to treat pain had given up opioids in a subsequent survey.

It’s getting more common

As the medical use of weed becomes more common within the general population, the trend is especially evident among veterans.

The study determined that more veterans overall are adding cannabis into their treatment regimens, though it is worth noting that the study didn’t have much information available to document usage among older veterans.

While it might be tempting to view cannabis as a cure-all of sorts when discussing the myriad of issues that veterans can experience after their military careers, the researchers noted that their study doesn’t provide all the answers.

Amid the nation’s ongoing opioid epidemic, the study acknowledged that additional research is necessary to determine if cannabis is a good substitute for these powerful pain relievers.

Share this story:
Facebook Twitter Linkedin Email

Solve today's crossword and win a prize!

Highest score wins an Amazon gift card!


*Prizes are sent out via email the next day by 11am EST.

comic Instagram: @eyewashcomic
Early Chirp

Written by Chris Agee

90 N Church St, The Strathvale House
Grand Cayman KY1, 9006, Cayman Islands

Copyright © 2022 Early Chirp. All rights reserved.