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Chump change: US mints lost $69m on pennies last year
Increasing demand for metals (due, in part, to the rise of electric vehicles) has caused the cost of minting currency to soar. Last year, it cost the US government 1.5 cents to make a penny and 7 cents to make a nickel.
Zinc, which makes up 97.5% of the penny, increased 3x in price over the last 15 years -- and, as of 2017, pennies cost the US government $69m to make (nickels another $9.5m).
Since the cost of a penny eclipsed its value in 2006, debate has raged about whether to eliminate it from circulation. But, despite attempts to pitch the penny, consumers are dead set on pinching them.
The penny has survived assassination attempts before
Pennies have ruffled feathers across the political spectrum: President Barack Obama ridiculed pennies as symbols of government inefficiency, and John McCain co-sponsored a bill to suspend penny production as part of a currency overhaul proposed as a $16B savings.
But despite opposition from politicians and advocacy groups, polls show people take particular pride in pennies. When Chipotle tried to eliminate pennies by rounding, the burrito-makers were roasted for ‘stealing’ from ‘hapless customers.’
Putting pennies out to pasture
Other countries seem to have more sense about their cents. Canada nixed the penny in 2013 and adopted the rounding rule. Australia killed off its penny in 1993 and plans to phase out its nickel soon.
In America, scientists are already at work developing a new alloy to drive down the cost of nickels. If the US Treasury accepts this new formula, these fresh nickys could end up in a cash register near you.
For reference, when America killed off the half-penny in 1857, it had the buying power of a modern dime. So, economically, it would be a smaller deal to eliminate today’s penny -- but, no one wants to let go of Lincoln.
Leave a penny, take $69m
Thy Kingdom come: Lebron James shoots for $1B net worth
SPOILER ALERT: Lebron James signed a 4-year, $154m deal with the Lakers Sunday, after spending the last 4 years with the Cleveland Lebron Jamesaliers.
Unsurprisingly, this deal will put him over the $300m mark in total career earnings by 2022, a feat only 2 other NBA superstars (Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant) have achieved.
But, when it comes to Lebron’s personal business ventures, his earnings extend far beyond the court (65% of his income comes from endorsements), and the NBA prays at his feet because of it.
Witness: The King is a one-man business
An NBA ownership group analysis showed that signing James could generate approximately $65m in revenue for a team per year (and still, no one has gifted him a cactus).
Since James joined the league in 2003, he’s pocketed $765m -- raking in more than $50m annually through endorsement deals with Nike, Coca-Cola, and Beats to name a few.
Not to mention, he’s now a bona fide Hollywood producer and co-founder of a digital sports programming network, putting him well en route to a very rare island…
The Island of NBA Billionaires
4 years ago, Lebron told GQ that his biggest milestone was to “maximize [his] business” and become a billionaire -- like another notable #23 (his Airness, Michael Jordan).
Ironically, the Cav’s offered James an even bigger deal to stay in Cleveland (4-year $250m), but when it comes to “maximizing” his business worth, the 3-time NBA champ knows LA has more to offer.
Tech-savvy Estonia wants you to know it has 1.3m people -- and 4 unicorns
Over the weekend, the president of Estonia went on a spree of not-so-humble bragging about her tiny country’s 4 unicorns.
Some literalist readers asked for photos of mythical beasts and recommended putting them in a zoo -- but, trolls aside, the tiny tech powerhouse does have the world’s most digitized government and a disproportionately strong tech industry for a population of just 1.3m.
From Soviet bloc to e-Estonia
Just 5 years after gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Estonia launched a program called ‘Tiger’s Leap’ to invest in computer and network infrastructure.
By 2000, Estonia made history as the first country to make internet access a human right. Since then, it’s incubated a number of highly successful tech companies under the banner of its ‘e-Estonia’ program.
Eastern Europe’s self-made unicorn pasture
In a country where kids learn to code by the first grade, it was only a matter of time before startups began to sprout.
Estonian-born Skype kicked off a startup boom when Microsoft bought it for $8.5B and its founders reinvested all of their profits in their home country.
Since then, 3 other companies have achieved $1B+ ‘unicorn’ valuations -- Playtech (gambling software), Taxify (ride-hailing), and TransferWise (money transfer).
Meanwhile, Estonia continues to invest in itself. The country continues to attract tech investment with e-residencies and protects its national IP with a countrywide municipal blockchain network and a ‘digital embassy’ in Luxembourg that safeguards data from cybercrime.
Startups navigate foreign waters in the yacht sharing industry
Let’s face it, unless you’re Jay-Z or a rich pirate, most yacht-owning people spend only a fraction of their year at sea.
According to The Economist, French yachts, on average, set sail no more than 10 days a year, and in America, a $12m yacht leaves port for only 2 weeks on average.
And, naturally, companies have emerged to capitalize on these pristine poop decks.
But, don’t call them ‘the Airbnb of yachting’
Airbnb wishes they could be so bold...
In Europe, a French firm aptly named Click&Boat navigates these uncharted waters from a barge on the Seine in Paris with 70 employees. C&B’s fleet of rentals has grown to 22k and they’re already profitable on 15% commission per craft.
Stateside, 6-year-old, Miami-based Boatsetter has raised $17m in VC funding and floated over 26k rentals.
Despite maritime laws dropping anchor…
Both firms are moving full steam on building out their operations.
Boatsetter, for one, has been gobbling up budding rivals (both firms have bought numerous competitors) and launching new products, like boat insurance for peer-to-peer rentals.
STORE: Your stuff, without a separate room for your plastic tubs, $33.33
Collapsible crates are proof that we are indeed an advanced species. Just pop out the sides for a crate that holds 66lbs of whatever you can fit in it, then collapse it back to a 2-in-high base you can stack in your closet when you’re not using it.
WEAR: Over-ear workout headphones that stay on your head, $249.95
These bluetooth bad boys from The Rock’s Under Armor workout line promise breathable, moisture-wicking ear pads that won’t slip off mid-sweat. They’re also removable and washable and come with a vented case, so they won’t get mildewy after 2 workouts.
GET: A second Samsung Galaxy S9 with T-Mobile, Terms Apply
T-Mobile deal coming in hot. Buy a Samsung Galaxy S9 and score another when you add two lines of qualifying service with T-Mobile. That’s a smartphone for you, and a spare to do with it whatever your touch-sensitive heart desires.
After work, I’m getting groceries… seriously, I’m gonna do it. *Orders takeout for the 3rd night this week.* Target now offers same-day shipping on groceries and essentials your home desperately needs. Just order with the Shipt App and send a Shipt Shopper on their way with the goods.
Because you can’t just hold it for 3-5 business days.
That’s right, folks: Target, your favorite big box wallet vortex, has partnered with logistics startup Shipt to offer day-of delivery of essential everyday items like toilet paper, groceries -- and that Aztec-print soap dispenser you need in your kitchen immediately.
Convenience, so hot right now
These days, instant gratification is table stakes, and Target’s here to deliver.
Meaning, right now, as we speak (write?), you could be purchasing next week’s groceries and have them delivered before you get home tonight. I don’t have to eat cereal for dinner again? Sign me up.
Just download the Shipt app, shop the fine goods of Targét, schedule a delivery, and then kick ya’ boots off -- the deed is done.