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A unique digital asset.  The definition of a nonfungible token (NFT) may be simple in writing, but its applications stem to far-reaching uses that encompass a plethora of opportunities.  In its essence, nonfungible means the token can’t be exchanged for another thing of equal value and each token is an entirely original and unique piece.  An NFT could be an entirely blockchain-originating image.  This same image could have an exact duplicate that is a completely different NFT because of its varied blockchain code.  On April 16th, 2021, a single NFT created by the infamous whistleblower, Edward Snowden, sold for 5.4 million dollars.  So what are these new digital assets, and how are they being used in the global business world?

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Optimism for the end of the pandemic has steadily increased with the arrival of widespread vaccinations. No industry is more ready for a return to normality than the tourism industry. In 2019, the last normal year for travel, tourism provided $8.9 trillion to the global GDP. Through October of 2020, tourism revenue was down $935 billion. As we look forward to being able to travel again, let’s look at which cities and locations see the most visitors per year.

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During the last week of March, France President Macron read the “anti-separatism” law for the first time. This law states a plan to ban women under the age of 18 from wearing hijabs in public. There is now a second amendment that would ban women from wearing their religious clothing on school trips or activities with their children. France has over 5.4 million Muslims and government senators are hesitant to proceed with these amendments.

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One of the most afflicted industries from the pandemic was entertainment.  The prevention of travel and crowded environments, as well as the cancellation of many global sporting events, had a significant impact on the gambling industry. Brick-and-mortar gambling companies experienced decimated levels of revenue in 2020 due to lockdown restrictions.  However, these events gave way to the rapid growth of the online gambling market—an emerging trend that is here to stay.

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Tulum, located in Quintana Roo, Mexico, is known for its modern bohemian-style atmosphere, its beautiful beaches and cenotes, and its eco-friendly nature. Just a decade ago, Tulum was relatively untouched and undeveloped, but it is now one of the fastest-growing destinations in the world for both vacations and residency. A big reason for this is the developers’ strict commitment to preserving Tulum’s natural beauty by building highly sustainable and environmentally friendly infrastructures. These efforts have attracted some of the world’s best architecture firms and novel real estate investors alike.

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The usage of ethically made materials has been one of the biggest issues in the fashion industry. In particular, fast fashion brands such as H&M, Zara, Shein, and Romwe have been targets to move towards sustainable fashion and more ethical consumption. The newest issue on this front is dealing with the accusations that recently surfaced regarding the H&M Group profiting off of forced labor of the Uyghur people in the Chinese territory of Xinjiang.

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As technology continues to advance and phase itself into many aspects of our lives, the discussion of digital currencies being used by central governments has been brought to the table time and time again. With countries like China already deciding to implement a digital currency through their central government, pressure has been brought on to other large forces of the global financial sector as to whether or not they will do the same.

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Live stream selling is a newer form of e-commerce that is changing the way consumers around the globe shop. This new way of shopping allows businesses of any size to demonstrate and display their products to a much larger audience than traditional shopping. As restrictions continue because of the pandemic, many consumers are turning to live stream selling as a way to stay connected and receive a more authentic way of shopping that can be done from anywhere. Consumers have continued to look for an interactive and personalized experience throughout the pandemic. Businesses can provide this experience through live stream services such as TaoBao or Tmall, and even Instagram, Facebook, or Amazon.

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The Risk Comparator tab within each Economic Classification page on globalEDGE has been updated to reflect the most recently available 2021 data.  With the onset of the pandemic starting after the source, The Economist, provided its ratings last year, this year's ratings will show the impact that COVID-19 has had on countries and on the different classifications of markets in terms of their country, political, currency, sovereign, banking sector, and economic structure risk.  Explore the individual links below to gain a better understanding of market trends and to see how exactly specific countries have faired in managing risk during the course of the past year.