This Chinese artist has invented a language that even the illiterate can read

This Chinese artist has invented a language that even the illiterate can read

Chinese artist Xu Bing spent seven years compiling emojis, corporate logos and other simple images in an effort to create a language that can be read by everyone. Inspired by airplane safety cards, Xu’s pictogram language aims to transcend cultural, educational and linguistic divisions and let the illiterate “enjoy the delight of reading just as the intellectual does,” he says.

Above is a page from Xu’s “Book from the Ground: From Point-to-Point,” a novella that relates 24 hours in the life of a young white-collar worker in a city. In the page above, the protagonist visits CNN.com to check out the daily news. Some critics have compared the book with James Joyce’s “Ulysses,” in that it follows an Everyman through the minutiae of a single day, including defecation, day dreaming about what to eat, and agonizing over love.

This book, which is designed to be read by everyone, is a companion piece to a previous work that could be read by no one. For “Book from the Sky,” Xu invented 4,000 faux Chinese characters and hand-carved them into wooden blocks. He used this typeset to create books and scrolls that looked realistic from a distance but proved to be nonsensical up close.

Read more: http://knowmore.washingtonpost.com/2014/10/30/this-chinese-artist-has-invented-a-language-that-even-the-illiterate-can-read/

Sucks to be Jay! Pat Sajak spots a downside to Carney’s CNN gig

http://twitter.com/#!/midwestfrog/status/509711884539674624

Well, hiring Jay Carney as a political commentator pretty much put the kibosh on that. But as Pat Sajak points out, the deal isn’t so great on Jay’s end, either:

http://twitter.com/#!/patsajak/status/509711237639192577

Ouch.

http://twitter.com/#!/BennyRoastbeef/status/509711397367054336

Yeah … pretty much. Also, there’s this:

http://twitter.com/#!/SWGaspar/status/509712064105824256

Heh.

***

Related:

‘Shocking!’ Jay Carney takes his ‘revolving door’ clown show to CNN

‘Come on’! Howard Kurtz asks if Jay Carney can be ‘independent voice’ at CNN

Twitchy coverage of Pat Sajak

Read more: http://twitchy.com/2014/09/10/sucks-to-be-jay-pat-sajak-spots-a-downside-to-carneys-cnn-gig/

With Two Tweets Carl Icahn Added About $17 Billion To Apple’s Value

Jason Reed / Reuters

Billionaire hedge funder Carl Icahn disclosed a large stake in Apple today and said he was encouraging the company to increase the buyback program — on Twitter, of all places.

Those two tweets alone, however, sent Apple shares up about 5% and added about $17 billion to Apple’s market cap. The jump in price comes at a time when Apple is facing an issue with its public image — and whether the creator of the iPhone can still innovate.

So, how much more valuable is Carl Icahn’s twitter activity compared to certain companies?

1. At $2.8 billion, JC Penney is worth about a fifth of Carl Icahn’s Twitter activity.

Lucas Jackson / Reuters

2. Zynga, at $2.3 billion, is worth even less than that of JC Penney.

Stephen Lam / Reuters

3. Campbell Soup is worth $15 billion — just shy of Icahn’s tweets.

Frank Augstein / AP

4. Netflix, also worth about $15.3 billion, is just under the Carl Icahn Twitter phenomenon.

Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

5. Ralph Lauren, worth $16.2 billion, doesn’t make the cut either.

Fred Prouser / Reuters

6. Groupon is worth about $7 billion — two and a half of them would do the trick.

Rick Wilking / Reuters

7. And Icahn’s tweets are worth about the market cap of Tesla Motors.

8. Aol is worth about $2.8 billion, or about a third of a single Carl Icahn tweet.

Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

9. Finally you’ll need at least 3 BlackBerry market caps (about $6 billion each) to make up for Icahn’s tweets.

The Canadian Press, Geoff Robins / AP

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/mattlynley/with-two-tweets-carl-icahn-added-about-17-billion-to-apples

Higher Heating Bills Might Keep Shoppers Home After Rough January

How much could higher heating costs represent?

After miserable weather in much of the nation led to lower mall traffic last month, retailers have something else to worry about: higher heating bills.

“Higher heating bills could have a lagging impact as consumers begin to receive and pay” them, KeyBanc analyst Ed Yruma wrote in a note Tuesday. The colder weather could add $53 to $200-plus onto the average winter heating bill of $600 to $2,000, he wrote, potentially cutting into discretionary spending this spring.

Sub-zero temperatures and heavy snowfall kept many shoppers at home last month, and Weather Trends International is now calling for the coldest February in 21 years, according to a note from J.P. Morgan analyst Matthew Boss.

Retail companies like Buckle, Bon-Ton, and Ascena Retail might be impacted the most by the higher heating bill effect, given their concentration of stores in the Midwest and the Northeast, and their lower-income consumers, KeyBanc’s Yruma wrote.

Ike Boruchow, an analyst at Sterne Agee, said retailers without significant e-commerce operations will be especially hurt by the tough weather.

Estimated impact of weather on winter energy bills:

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/sapna/higher-heating-bills-might-keep-shoppers-home-after-rough-ja

Another Aged Billionaire Joins Twitter

This morning, Carl Icahn, who is embroiled in a fight with Dell founder and CEO Michael Dell over the computer company’s future, joined Twitter. This isn’t Icahn’s first social media move: He started a blog called “The Icahn Report” in June 2008 and updated it through April 2009. Icahn joins his fellow aged-billionaire investors Warren Buffett and T. Boone Pickens on Twitter. Buffett started his Twitter account in May and has only tweeted three times. Pickens, on the other hand, has tweeted over 1,500 times and is responsible for perhaps the greatest billionaire tweet in history.

Icahn is famous for his willingness to get into highly public spats with company executives and rival investors, like Bill Ackman, who Icahn loudly yelled at on CNBC for almost half an hour over their respective investments in the nutritional supplement company Herbalife. Ackman shorted the company in December, alleging it was a pyramid scheme, and Icahn took a sizable long position in the company in February.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/matthewzeitlin/another-aged-billionaire-joins-twitter

Exclusive: Secrets From The Sexist Pitchbook Of One Of Wall Street’s More Notorious Firms

John Thomas Financial founder Tommy Belesis in the 2010 film Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. Courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

John Thomas Financial Inc. is a brokerage house straight out of the movie Boiler Room, with brokers fueled by vending machines stocked with nothing but energy drinks and music from Rocky films blaring from speakers. Its founder, Anastasios “Tommy” Belesis, even had a role in the sequel to Wall Street.

Junior brokers cold-call prospects for up to 14 hours a day, working from a memorized script that they rehearse by screaming pitches across the room to each other before the opening bell, a former employee of the firm told BuzzFeed.

BuzzFeed obtained both that script, used by brokers of every level at the 200-employee firm, as well as another script known internally as the “Golden Pitchbook,” which is given only to a privileged few senior brokers at the firm. Considered a performance reward for top brokers, the “Golden Pitchbook” is handed down from their mentors at the firm who have also received the elusive tome, the source said.

“It’s secret, privileged information,” said the source. “Some people at the firm don’t even know about it.”

The book’s origins date to the 1980s at Bear Stearns, and it has gone through various iterations on its journey into the hands of the lucky JTF broker who, after impressing superiors, is walked down the street to a Kinkos, where senior brokers supervise the book’s copying and hand-off.

“It’s a reward for senior brokers to give to junior brokers on their team as an investment in them,” the source said. “Once they had it, they used it all the time.”

The book offers a rare behind-the-scenes look into the world of high-pressure, hard-scrabble Wall Street stock jockeying, featuring detailed scenarios and responses used to pitch stocks to prospective clients.

The aggressive pitch tactics in the book and supporting JTF documents, such as what one scenario described by the source as “Don’t Pitch The Bitch,” have caught the attention of the FBI, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

In March, the SEC charged Belisis with fraud for a hedge fund scheme in which he steered bloated fees to JTF. A month later, Finra filed a formal complaint against JTF regarding the firm’s actions in Februrary 2012, when it allegedly pushed shares of America West Resources, Inc. (AWSR) common stock on investors, thus inflating the price. Brokers at the firm also allegedly failed to execute sale orders for clients in a timely manner but sold the majority of its proprietary shares for a more than $1 million profit.

The firm’s alleged failure to execute at least 14 client sell orders lost investors thousands, and America West is now in bankruptcy. In an even more outrageous twist, the Finra complaint accuses Belesis of intimidating employees with threats of maligning their broker records and, in one case, running over an employee with his car.

Against that backdrop, here are some of the techniques outlined in the “Golden Pitchbook” used by JTF brokers. The firm’s attorney, Robert Bursky, in February told Bloomberg it did not use “high-pressure tactics.” He said at the time it doesn’t use scripts. Bursky did not respond to BuzzFeed’s requests for comment.

Giovanni Ribisi in a scene from the 2000 film, Boiler Room. Courtesy New Line Cinema

Scenario #1: “Speak to My Wife”/Don’t Pitch the Bitch

When a potential client (prospect) told a JTF broker he wanted to speak to his wife before placing an order, the broker would offer a series of rebuttals designed to pressure the prospect to buy immediately. According to a source familiar with the firm, this method is referred to internally at JTF as “Don’t Pitch the Bitch,” a bit of industry jargon made famous in Boiler Room that discourages brokers from making sales pitches to women and implores male prospects not to involve their wives or girlfriends in stock-buying decisions.

“(Prospect) if you want to call me back so you can ask your wife if you can buy the stock, I will call my wife and see if I can sell you the stock, come on! You make business decisions daily without your wife.”

“Let’s face it, if you go home and tell your wife that you want to invest with a broker whom you don’t know very well, chances are you will be hit with a frying pan and spending the night on the couch. However, once she sees my brochure from the firm and a dossier that I send you in the FedEx package with a buy confirmation, what do you think she is going to say? Besides, it is a lot easier to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission right?”

“Should I send it to your home where your wife will throw it out or to the office where you will put it by your merchant banker book that you never read either?”

Scenario #2: “Not Interested”/The Slap and Hug

If a prospect told a JTF broker flat-out that he was not interested, the broker would use a technique called “the slap and hug” to essentially belittle the prospect before building him back up through kindness or feigned concern. Brokers also used reverse technique, “the hug and slap,” at times.

“I have never in my life met anyone who wasn’t interested in making serious money. (Firm) is making more serious money for people than anyone out there. It is not that you are not interested, something else is bothering you. I am a problem solver. Perhaps if you tell me what your actual concern is, I could help.”

Scenario #3: The Long-Term Relationship

JTF brokers want prospects to know that they are in this thing for the long haul, but they are definitely NOT gay.

“Let’s face it, your first step is the hardest. I am not looking for a one night stand. You married your girlfriend right? Let me ask you a question, you met your wife, but you did not jump into bed with her on the first night did you? Of course not!! Maybe you held her hand or maybe even kiss. Well look, I am not looking to jump into bed with you or even get a kiss, I simply want you to hold my hand with 100 shares and [in] 3-6 months you are gonna (sic) want to get into bed with me quite frankly. I am not that guy [laugh]. So do the 100 shares not because it’s good for me, but because it is good for you.”

Scenario #4: This Company Is Going to Be Bought Soon So You Need to Buy Now

To coax a reluctant prospect into buying immediately, the script contains a boilerplate response scenario suggesting that whatever stock the broker is pitching is about to get acquired, likely for a premium.

“More importantly, when I have timed it with a near term event I have made a tremendous amount of money the event here is a possible takeover. We are not buying this stock for earnings; we are buying it for a takeover, which I feel is eminent.”

Scenario #5: My Clients Are Rich and Smart, Unlike You…

…And the more you invest with JTF, the better your chances of becoming rich.

“I want to say sincerely: I have many clients with net worths ranging between $500K to $50 million…If I could just show you what lies ahead in the future and the types of deals I get involved with, I know you would be very impressed.”

“My firm has turned the average investor into millionaires and the millionaires into multi-millionaires. Not on one trade, but on a series of 3-4 transactions over a 1-2 year time frame.”

“Are you familiar with George Soros? This is the guy you want on your side….Let’s not let him make ALL the money!”

Vin Diesel stars in New Line Cinema’s drama Boiler Room. David Lee/New Line. images.newscred.com

Scenario #6: You Have Money, You Just Don’t Want to Give It to Me

A client claiming to not have money to invest is considered an insult, or an outright lie. Literally.

“No disrespect, but you telling me you are not liquid is an insult to both you and me! A guy with (amount) in the market has a couple hundred in the bank to back it up. There is always an excuse not to buy stock, but there is never an excuse not to make money!”

“Guys like you don’t ever let your bank accounts fall below 6 figures. Its not that you cant do it, its that you wont do it. I am going to buy you (shares) of (stock) at (price), money is due in one week but make me a promise. When I am not just right but exactly right, next time out we work in size and you send me 3 of your golfing buddies…OK?”

“(Prospect) if I offered you a Rolls Royce in min[t] condition today for $10,000 could you come up with the money? OF COURSE YOU COULD!! Let’s be candid, if you like my idea today, you could come up with ten times that amount.”

Scenario #7: Trust Us, We Did the Research for You

The script takes pains to instruct brokers in ways to avoid sending additional information requested by the client on the stock being pitched.

“By the time you get information or research reports, you are buying the stock 5 points higher. The way to make money in this business is to buy in to fundamentally sound companies that are timed with near term events or catalysts. With this approach I have made a fortune for a select group of individuals.”

“Ok (prospect) Fine! I have no problem with that, but let me ask you something first, correct me if I am wrong. What you’re telling me is that if I send you the information you want about the company and it mentions the merits I described, that you will open an account? (NO) Then obviously (prospect) the request for information is not your real concern.”

Scenario #8: Buy Now or You Will Miss Out

“Please understand, the secret of our program is matching timing opportunity. If we thought next month was the time to buy, I would not be calling you today. I would be calling you next month. You need to understand what we are doing here. I can appreciate now may be a bad time, but unfortunately the market is not going to wait for you. Lets be honest, when I call you back you will ask me to call you back again, then it will be tax time. To make exceptional returns, you must but on value and at the right timing. You know what sir? Your worst nightmare is to work with a broker who brings you a winning situation and is willing to play phone and mail tag with you. We both don’t have time for it. The reason my clients retain a broker like myself is for my exact pricing and timing. Without these 2 tools, you are tying my hands behind my back I may as well work at Charles Schwab.”

Bonus Scenario: Misusing the Term “Fiduciary”

One response in the pitchbook says that JTF brokers have a “fiduciary responsibility” to call back individuals whom they have spoken to.

The use of the term “fiduciary responsibility” is problematic in that it grossly misstates the broker’s professional standards of conduct when it comes to the relationship with a prospect. By law, the SEC does not require brokers to have a fiduciary duty to their clients, only financial advisers.

In fact, the commission has been pushing to change the laws pertaining to financial services professionals and their fiduciary responsibility to their clients, and has even acknowledged that investors are confused by the level of fiduciary responsibility their financial planning professional has to them.

The SEC has formally recommended a rule that would “implement a uniform fiduciary standard of conduct for broker-dealers and investment advisers when providing personalized investment advice about securities to retail customers.”

Like, say, customers who may have just bought the next America West from a broker at John Thomas Financial.

“The Golden Pitchbook”

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JTF Stock Scripts and Closes

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Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/mariahsummers/exclusive-secrets-from-the-sexist-pitchbook-of-one-of-wall-s

How the shutdown hurt government recruitment

How the shutdown hurt government recruitment

Pro-tip: if you want people to apply for jobs at your company, don’t randomly deny workers pay for weeks on end when your executives get mad at each other. The job search site indeed.com found that searches for federal government jobs fell precipitously when the government shut down earlier this month. And it’s not like the situation pre-shutdown, with a freeze on federal employee pay, made working for the feds that attractive to begin with. It’s like we’re trying to deter the best candidates from going into public service.

Read more: http://knowmore.washingtonpost.com/2013/10/31/how-the-shutdown-hurt-government-recruitment/

7 Reasons J.C. Penney’s Social Media Team Is Probably On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown

Someone please buy the J.C. Penney social media team a drink — they desperately need it.

The retailer’s small group of employees monitoring its social media mentions has been having a rough go of it over the last year. Just yesterday, for instance, the team was fending off accusations that a J.C. Penney billboard of a Michael Graves tea kettle from its new home collection looked like Adolf Hitler.

After alienating customers and losing $4.3 billion last year, the J.C. Penney social media team, which appears to number fewer than 9 people based on LinkedIn profiles and Twitter sign-offs, has been deluged with a steady stream of complaints.

Here are some of the more depressing ones from recent months.

1. They had to deny making a teapot that looked like Hitler and defend themselves by saying they would rather have made it look like a snowman, baby panda, kitten or puppy.

The teapot, incidentally, sold out within hours, the Atlantic noted.

Even Patton Oswalt and Mia Farrow chimed in…

2. They have to deal with a lot of hate speech from ignorant people that are still mad about Ellen Degeneres working with the company last year.

3. They got flack for ditching 3 million Facebook fans on the “JCPenney” Page.

As part of former CEO Ron Johnson’s corporate makeover, he tried to rebrand the retailer as JCP. Johnson went so far as to change the URL to the company’s Facebook page to “JCP,” which left customers who liked the old page out in the cold. Now it appears the two are combined under “JCP” and the one with “JCPenney” in the URL doesn’t exist.

4. Customers are obsessed with St. John’s Bay, a J.C. Penney private label, and will not stop until it’s back.

Everyone wants to know when the scaled-back label will return to its former glory. Constant posts. Polls. Questions.

5. Just posting a picture of their logo sets off a series of complaints. That’s it. Just the logo.

6. Almost 500 people “like” a Facebook page devoted to bringing back free snow globes this year that were apparently missing during Black Friday 2012

There isn’t an app for that yet?

7. They’ve been responding to an absurd amount of comments after J.C. Penney ran an ad earlier this month soliciting customer feedback on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #jcplistens

That ad got more than 50,000 “likes” on Facebook and nearly 20,000 comments.

So, yeah — unsurprisingly, J.C. Penney currently has an opening for a social media senior specialist on its website. Any takers?

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/sapna/7-reasons-jc-penneys-social-media-team-is-probably-on-the-ve

11 Chinese Internet Companies The U.S. Could Learn From

Chinese tech companies are often derided for repurposing the West’s best internet ideas for the local market. But lately tech companies in China, which ranks as the world’s largest smarpthone market and home to the largest number of internet users in the world, is outmaneuvering their Silicon Valley counterparts, especially with regards to mobile.

Here are 11 Chinese internet companies that are better than their U.S. counterparts drawn from Beta China, the new e-book by Hamish McKenzie that details this emerging innovation generation:

1. Weixin: A mobile social network

Via jingdaily.com (original credit to TechInAsia)

It took Facebook eight years to reach one billion users. In China, a mobile messaging app called Weixin (the English-language version of which is called WeChat) has accumulated more than 400 million users in just over two years.

Weixin started out as a mere rip-off of a Hong Kong-made app called TalkBox, but has since added features that mimic what’s available in Facebook (a timeline), GroupMe (group chat), Instagram (photo sharing with filters), and Skype (video calls). However, what’s most interesting about Weixin, which is owned by China’s biggest internet company, Tencent, is its business model. While Facebook scrambles to figure out what a social network looks like in the mobile era — and how to make money off it — Tencent has integrated payments and coupons into Weixin, and it will likely soon start distributing games through the app.

2. Changba: Karaoke with a mobile economy

While a killer karaoke app still eludes us in the West, tiny startup Changba has created a giant mobile social network of music lovers who sing into their phones, add photo slideshows to their tracks, and then share their creations among their peers and followers. The company took just 40 days to hit 10 million users. The app has its own charts and makes money through its virtual currency, with which users reward each other for their efforts.

3. Shakey Shakey Food God: Food recommendations app that learns your taste

Yelp looks primitive compared to China’s breakout food recommendations mobile app, the delightfully named Shakey Shakey Food God. With every shake of the phone, Shakey Shakey delivers a restaurant recommendation that draws on the user’s tastes, location, and the time of day. The app monitors users’ past activity — such as how long they linger on particular listings — to learn which restaurants are best suited to their tastes. By taking note of such factors, the app is able to get a pretty good idea of whether or not a user is at home, work, or on holiday.

4. Meilishuo: Social shopping with 30 million users

In the U.S., Pinterest is the place where people show off their taste in fashion. In China, it’s Meilishuo all the way. One big difference: Meilishuo has a robust business model. While Pinterest lets users build boards that flaunt their favorite items, Meilishuo’s users curate their own fashion catalogues, which other people then peruse and use as inspiration for purchases. Meilishuo takes a cut of every sale it drives — which, when you consider that it has more than 30 million users, turns out to be quite a lot. It also has an app that allows users to identify and share items they find in shopping malls.

5. Momo: Grindr done right for straight couples

Before there was Tinder, there was Momo, a flirting app that connects people both in close proximity and up for adventure. The app shows user profiles, how far away potential paramours are, and provides voice chat. Not quite two-years-old, the app already has more than 40 million users.

6. Sina Weibo: Twitter on steroids

What began as a Twitter clone has morphed into a kind of Facebook–Twitter hybrid that allows people to share messages and photos at scale and with the immediacy to escape China’s heavy-handed censors (at least for a while). Unlike Facebook, it is a powerful many-to-many broadcast platform. Unlike Twitter, it has threaded comments, so every “tweet” can become a fully fledged conversation among hundreds, or thousands, of people. Users can also pay for premium accounts, with which they customize their homepages, post audio tweets, and automatically filter tweets that come into their stream by importance. Sina Weibo claims more than 400 million users.

7. Xiaomi: Homegrown iPhone competitor built on Android

Created by serial entrepreneur and internet superstar Lei Jun, who some have called “the Steve Jobs of China,” Xiaomi makes a smartphone that is comparable to the best in the world but comes in at $400 cheaper per device than the iPhone in China. Now privately valued at $9 billion, according to Quartz, the 3-year-old company sells its Android-based phones mostly online and spends almost all of its marketing dollars on social media. It also sells an Apple TV-like set-top box, street shoes, and it is reportedly set to unveil a 47-inch smart TV in August.

8. YY: Hangouts for millions of people at a time

Via yy.com

Google Hangouts have brought massively interactive video to the US, but China’s YY.com has been doing that since 2008, just without the benefits of giant and stable data centers to provide all the computing horsepower needed to manage the immense traffic. YY is a huge communications platform that hosts various video and audio channels in which people can gather to be entertained, discuss specific topics, or learn lessons in a virtual classroom. The platform has its own virtual currency, which people use to reward karaoke singers, pay English teachers, or exchange for other virtual goods. One small-town karaoke singer makes more than $45,000 a month through her channel. YY, which went public in November last year, has more than 300 million users, more than 11 million channels, and has hosted up to 8 million concurrent users.

9. Jingdong: Like Amazon, but with three-hour delivery

Via jd.com

While Amazon is still working on same-day delivery, China’s Jindgong — formerly known as 360buy — recently introduced three-hour delivery in six major cities. Jingdong customers can also track their packages’ delivery progress via their mobile devices and contact delivery people in real time.

10. Dolphin: Gesture-based mobile browser

Search for web pages by gestures. In-browser sidebars for navigation. Mobile browser extensions, such as save-to-PDF or push-to-Dropbox. It was all done first by Dolphin, a Beijing-based startup that has since secured funding from Sequioa Capital and set up shop in the U.S.

11. UCWeb: Mobile browser that beat Amazon’s Silk by 7 years

UCWeb started building mobile browsers back in the feature phone era, when screens were the size of a Post-It note. Because its UCBrowser was built for a time when mobile internet connections were extremely sluggish, it relied on a cloud-powered architecture that helped quicken page-load times, carrying much of the data load on its own servers. Seven years after UCWeb invented the system, Amazon followed suit with its Silk browser for the Kindle Fire, which uses a similar cloud-powered approach. Now on smartphones, the UCBrowser is more than just a portal to the internet — it also serves as a kind of internet start page, with links to websites, an RSS reader for quick access to news, and integration with Evernote. UCBrowser now has more than 400 million users, about 20% of which are in India.

Hamish McKenzie’s Beta China: The Dawn of an Innovation Generation, is available for $1.99 via Amazon and Apple.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/hamishmckenzie/11-chinese-internet-companies-the-us-could-learn-from

Bitcoin Falls Flat Among Davos Crowd

Jim Urquhart / Reuters / Reuters

Gary Cameron / Reuters

 

DAVOS, Switzerland — The Saudi Arabian finance minister had a puzzled look on his face sitting in one of the lounges of the Congress Centre at the World Economic Forum. Ibrahim Abdulaziz al-Assaf was trying to remember where he’s heard the word “Bitcoin” before.

The managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, stopped by and broke his concentration. Air kisses ensued, and seconds later he was back in his chair when a flash of recognition crossed his face.

“The Bitcoin currency, yes!” he said. But when pressed for his thoughts on the issue, he said he didn’t have many. “I’ve just heard a bit about it, and really have no opinion.”

Bitcoin has garnered very little attention of the world’s political and financial elite gathered here for the World Economic Forum (WEF) — a seemingly golden opportunity for Bitcoin cheerleaders the Winklevoss twins and the handful of hedge funds that have invested in the currency to spread the word on its global reach and ability to transcend monetary borders.

The little attention given to Bitcoin hasn’t been at all favorable, either. U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said he was incredulous about the cybercurrency on Thursday, the same day JP Morgan Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon called it a “terrible store of value.”

And on a panel Friday, Nobel laureate economist Robert Shiller called Bitcoin “an amazing example of a bubble.”

Around the Congress Centre, the forum’s main hub, world and financial leaders seemed completely unaware at best and extremely skeptical at worst about Bitcoin’s merits.

“I don’t have enough of a knowledge base,” said Munib Islam, partner at the hedge fund Third Point Partners. “It’s top of mind on all of the finance blogs, so it’s a shame people aren’t talking about it here. I really don’t have much of an opinion about it.”

Noticeably absent from the WEF were Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who have addressed the financial elite before on their strong belief in Bitcoin’s legitimacy as a truly global currency.

Maybe next year.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/mariahsummers/bitcoin-falls-flat-among-davos-crowd