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Lebanon hops on the crypto train

Lebanon hops on the crypto train

Antoine Yazbek and Zaki Soubra are budding Lebanese cryptocurrency entrepreneurs, and they radiate seriousness in their endeavor. As a journalist, one is inclined to consider an entrepreneur serious if they answer a series of probing interview questions without losing their temper at the intrepid—or sometimes just intractable—media type across the table. A more general measure

Seeking crypto transparency

The concepts and realities of digital currencies are, at best, confusing. To understand more about the Lebanese cryptocurrency community, and the opportunities that the cryptocurrency economy opens for Lebanese business and banks—including the idea of a sovereign digital currency issued by Banque du Liban, Lebanon’s central bank—Executive sat down with Stéphane Abichaker. A locally well

The bitcoin revolution

In a white paper sent to a cryptography mailing list on October 31, 2008, an unidentified individual (or group) using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto described what the paper’s title called “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.” This paper was soon followed by a software implementation of the cash system believed to have been compiled by

Disruptive technology

In the long run, which will be the bigger B? Will the banking industry do to blockchain, and thus to the soul of Bitcoin, what in recent years it started doing to feeble fintech operators: acquire challengers and digest unwanted competitors before they can threaten legacy players? Or will the blockchain bacterium lead to a

The crypto challenge

For years, the world has been engulfed in accelerating debates full of fear and fascination about Bitcoin, altcoins, and blockchain economies. Just look at January 2018, which brought threats and announcements of state regulation over cryptocurrency in some jurisdictions, bans of exchanges, rumors of impending restrictions alongside news pointing to the opposite, reporting on both

Ball in their court

This summer, after years of procrastination, Lebanon passed a law increasing salaries for public sector workers. To help offset the salary increase, Parliament approved new taxes. But, in a surprising move, a group of parliamentarians challenged the constitutionality of the tax law in front of Lebanon’s highest court, the Constitutional Council, which ruled in their

A multilateral tale

For 12 years, Lebanon did not ratify a state budget, and politicians have never offered an adequate reason to explain why. To understand what went wrong, we need to understand the process. Who should be doing what, and when should they be doing it? What does it actually take to create and ratify a budget,

Getting the books back in order

On paper, the Lebanese state should function. The constitution—frequently ignored as it may be—envisions a rational budgetary process that allows for planning, checks and balances among different branches of government, and an annual allocation of resources based on anticipated needs. In simple terms, every year the government should ask Parliament for the legal authority to

Return to sanity now

After years without a state budget, Parliament met in October and voted the 2017 budget into law. What Parliament should have done is pass the 2018 budget, because the current fiscal year is almost over. There are also allegations that Parliament broke the law and violated the constitution: To pass a budget an audit must

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