Afternoon Coffee: West Virginia Tests Blockchain at the Ballot Box, China Announces Retaliatory Tariffs

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Blockchain certainly has seen its share of hype as a potential fix for numerous procurement and supply chain problems, but West Virginia is testing the hot technology for a different use case: voting. As The Wall Street Journal reports, the state is trying to make casting a ballot easier for those serving overseas or living abroad through a phone-based app supported by blockchain.

Retaliatory Tariffs

In the latest in a series of escalating tit-for-tat trade measures, China announced plans Friday to impose $60 billion of new tariffs on American goods, NPR reports. The Chinese government “did not specify what types of American products would be affected or when those tariffs would take effect.”

BoE Rates

Confident in prospects for the U.K. economy, the Bank of England raised its benchmark interest rate Thursday for only the second time in a decade, the BBC reports. The rate now stands at 0.75%, up a quarter of a percentage point from earlier. While some business groups expressed skepticism about the move due to uncertainty around Brexit’s potential effects on the economy, Mark Carney, the Bank's governor, said rates could be cut again if necessary.

Jobs Report 

And finally, a domestic economic update: The U.S. labor market added 175,000 jobs in July, the New York Times reports, dropping the unemployment rate to 3.9% from 4%. Average hourly earnings held steady at a 2.7% year-over-year gain, rising 7 cents to $27.05.

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