Wells Fargo to test blockchain system

Wells Fargo & Co. said on Tuesday it will pilot its own digital currency powered by blockchain to help move cash across borders and between branches in real time.

The currency, called Wells Fargo Digital Cash, will be linked to the U.S. dollar and transferred using the bank’s distributed ledger technology to keep track of payments within its internal network. The system will allow the bank to bypass third parties in the asset transfer process, saving costs and time, said Lisa Frazier, head of the Innovation Group at Wells Fargo.

The fourth-largest U.S. bank’s corporate clients will not have to make any changes to the way they interact with the bank because the currency will not be client-facing.

The pilot will begin next year, but the bank has tested the technology by moving money between Canada and the United States. After the broader rollout the company hopes to expand to multicurrency transfers.

Wells Fargo has been bullish on the potential for blockchain technology but more skeptical of cryptocurrency such as bitcoin Last year, Wells Fargo joined U.S. rivals in banning the purchase of bitcoin by credit card customers, due to its volatility.

— Reuters


Higher turnover for women, minorities

Cable and communication companies are hiring more women and people of color than they did two years ago, but the industry is still predominantly white and male, with higher turnover and lower rates of promotion among women and minority employees.

Turnover rates are about a third higher for women and minority employees compared with men, according to a 2019 survey released Tuesday from the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications and Women in Cable Telecommunications. The attrition persists despite gains for women and minorities in the boardroom and among top managers, the biennial study showed.

“While we’re pleased that we saw forward progression, we’re really not done until we see representations that are reflective of our universe,” said Maria Brennan, president and chief executive of WICT.

The study, administered by consulting firm Mercer and funded by the Walter Kaitz Foundation, determined that if patterns persist, the number of people of color at the management level won’t change over the next decade — and those in professional jobs will decline. For women, Mercer projected a slight increase in management and no change at the professional level.

— Bloomberg News

Also in Business

HBO Max, the upcoming streaming service from AT&T's WarnerMedia, has secured exclusive five-year streaming rights in the United States to all 12 seasons of comedy hit "The Big Bang Theory." Ranked as the No. 1 comedy on U.S. television for the past seven years, the show has garnered an audience of about 20 million people. All 279 episodes will be available on HBO Max when it launches in the spring of 2020, WarnerMedia said in a statement. The show about four brilliant but socially inept scientists began in 2007.

U.S. factory output increased in August in a broad advance that signals manufacturing may be starting to stabilize. Production at manufacturers rose 0.5 percent, Federal Reserve data showed Tuesday, after falling the prior month. Total industrial production, which also includes output at mines and utilities, increased 0.6 percent, the most in a year as crude oil extraction bounced back after Hurricane Barry depressed drilling in the Gulf of Mexico a month earlier.

A former lawyer for Ken Griffin's Citadel Securities and cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has been tapped to lead the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission unit that monitors derivatives markets and reviews new products. Dorothy DeWitt, who served in senior legal and compliance roles for Citadel, will oversee the CFTC's division of market oversight, the regulator said in a statement Tuesday. She has been a top attorney at Coinbase since November, according to her LinkedIn profile.

— From news services

Coming today

8:30 a.m.: Commerce Department releases housing starts for August.

2 p.m.: Federal Reserve policymakers meet to set interest rates.