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"Even as investors celebrate a banner year for stocks, the [Bitcoin] party next door is so wild there's no longer any way of ignoring it" ... Barron's cover story by Avi Salzman:

  • "The crypto-rocket shot past $11,000 [this] week just hours after eclipsing $10,000, which itself was mere days after pushing past $9,000. It then slid sharply before surging yet again."
  • "Now Wall Street is about to join in the fun. On Friday, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission green-lighted plans by the CME and the Chicago Board Options Exchange to introduce Bitcoin futures ... Nasdaq is planning to offer its own futures next year, while Cantor Fitzgerald will introduce a Bitcoin options product."
  • Why it matters: "[G]etting listed on some of the largest exchanges in the country is a tectonic shift for Bitcoin, which has been associated with drug dealing and called a 'fraud' by the chief executive of the nation's largest bank."
  • But, but, but ... "Because the futures are cash-settled — traders will receive dollars on the settlement date instead of Bitcoin — the Street technically won't be getting its hands dirty by buying the stuff directly."
  • "[T]here is a flip side ... extreme volatility, operational risk, security challenges."

Go deeper

Biden confronts mounting humanitarian crisis at the border

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Pool/Getty Images     

Just over a month into his presidency, President Biden is staring down a mounting crisis at the border that could be just as bad as the ones faced by Barack Obama and Donald Trump, if not worse.

Why it matters: Immigration is an issue that can consume a presidency. It's intensely and poisonously partisan. It's complicated. And the lives and welfare of vulnerable children hang in the balance.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

The rise of vaccine passports

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Vaccine passports were touted early in the pandemic as an important piece of the plan to get people back to normal life. Now they’re becoming a reality.

Driving the news: CLEAR, the secure digital identity app that you see in airports around the world, and CommonPass, a health app that lets users securely access vaccination records and COVID test results, have joined forces.

"Vaccine tourism" stretches states' supplies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Americans who are highly motivated to get vaccinated are traveling across state lines after hearing about larger vaccine supplies or loopholes in sign-up systems.

Why it matters: "Vaccine tourism" raises ethical and legal questions, and could worsen the racial socioeconomic and racial inequalities of the pandemic.