Sign in

Marker
Pop business for the intelligent reader. A publication from Medium.

And we’d love your help writing it

Marker’s daily column Number Crunch went on hiatus in March. While it used to be written and published by Marker Editors, we’re now resuming the column on a less frequent basis, and opening it up to writers on Medium. Marker contributor Tabarak Khan has done the honors of reopening the series with her fascinating look at how the U.S. Justice Department recovered $2.3 million in Bitcoin from a recent ransomware attack, revealing that cryptocurrencies are not as anonymous or untraceable as some criminals might like to believe.

If you’re interested in writing for this series, take a look at past…


Number Crunch

Blockchain technology still leaves digital crumbs behind

Sixty-four bitcoin, or roughly $2.3 million: That’s how much cryptocurrency the Justice Department recovered earlier this week from the total 75 bitcoin ransom paid by Colonial Pipeline, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. The cyberattack shut down the country’s largest oil pipeline in May, prompting gas shortages and price hikes across the country.

The ransom recovery reveals a fundamental misconception that cryptocurrencies are anonymous and not traceable. Cryptocurrencies are not tied to people but to digital keys, making their owners pseudonymous rather than fully anonymous. As explained by the Journal’s David Uberti, criminals have relied on blockchain’s pseudonymity to…


Number Crunch

A global study conducted by Microsoft’s Work Trend Index found that 41% of respondents were considering leaving their jobs

41%: That’s the share of respondents in a 30,000-person global survey of workers conducted by Microsoft’s Work Trend Index who say they are considering leaving their jobs, as reported by Bloomberg.

The survey found that 54% of workers say they are overworked, and 39% say they are exhausted. Their bosses, meanwhile, seem not to be sharing in their struggles, as a majority of managers and company leaders surveyed reported that they were thriving at work.

Working remotely during the pandemic appears to be a mixed bag for workers — while some employees value the flexibility it provides, others suffer from…


Number Crunch

Forget ‘Titanic’. ‘Ever Given’ is the maritime blockbuster we need

$400 million per hour: That’s the economic cost caused by a quarter-mile-long container ship that has been stuck in the Suez Canal since Wednesday, blocking passage for other ships on one of the world’s busiest trade routes, based on a rough estimate by Lloyd’s List, as reported by Bloomberg.

Rescue efforts have been ongoing, with the cargo ship Ever Given having been partially refloated but still stuck in the middle of the Suez Canal. The canal accounts for roughly 12% of the world’s seaborne trade, which should give you an idea of how much global trade is at a standstill…


Number Crunch

Standardized testing is back, but this time it’s for Covid-19

$10 billion: That’s how much the U.S. government will spend on Covid-19 testing in schools across the country, according to the Wall Street Journal. The funding, part of the recent $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, formally known as the American Rescue Plan Act, is meant to fuel the Biden administration’s drive to get as many schools reopened as quickly as possible — an effort that’s fast becoming a political issue as much as a health and safety issue.

While schools have not proven to be Covid-19 hot spots per se, widespread closures have been a pain point for many Americans…


Number Crunch

The gig companies don’t pay into unemployment insurance for their drivers, who have depended on a federal small business loan program to get through the pandemic

The Number Crunch logo next to the text “$80 million: the amount of federal government assistance that has gone to tens of thousands of Uber and Lyft drivers during the pandemic Source: Washington Post.” Below the text are flat pink renderings of 2 cars.
The Number Crunch logo next to the text “$80 million: the amount of federal government assistance that has gone to tens of thousands of Uber and Lyft drivers during the pandemic Source: Washington Post.” Below the text are flat pink renderings of 2 cars.

$80 million: That’s at least how much government assistance tens of thousands of Uber and Lyft drivers received during the pandemic under the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans program, established to provide assistance to small businesses, entrepreneurs, and independent contractors during the pandemic. That makes their drivers one of the largest groups to benefit from the program, according to an investigation by the Washington Post.

Critics claim that Uber and Lyft are shifting employer costs to the government. Last year, Uber and Lyft, along with Instacart and DoorDash, collectively spent $202 million on a successful campaign to…


Number Crunch

The cost of not giving black films and filmmakers the funding, support, or distribution they deserve

Number Crunch logo in the top right corner, above the text “$10 billion: How much revenue Hollywood loses out on every year by undervaluing Black films and filmmakers Source: McKinsey & Co.” Behind the text is a film slate illustration.
Number Crunch logo in the top right corner, above the text “$10 billion: How much revenue Hollywood loses out on every year by undervaluing Black films and filmmakers Source: McKinsey & Co.” Behind the text is a film slate illustration.

$10 billion: That’s how much the American film and TV industry stands to gain in annual revenues, a 7% increase from the baseline, by addressing racial inequities prevalent in the industry, according to a recent study by the consultancy McKinsey, and reported in Deadline.

The McKinsey study found that Black-led film and TV projects are consistently underfunded and undervalued even though they tend to outperform other projects when it comes to returns on investment.


Number Crunch

Corporate merchandise is going crypto

An illustration of a hard shell taco and accompanying text below it. The text says “$18,000: The approximate sale price of an NFT created and sold by Taco Bell. Source: Rarible” The Number Crunch logo is in the top right hand corner.
An illustration of a hard shell taco and accompanying text below it. The text says “$18,000: The approximate sale price of an NFT created and sold by Taco Bell. Source: Rarible” The Number Crunch logo is in the top right hand corner.

10 ETH, or approximately $18,000: That’s how much a limited-edition digital collectible created by Taco Bell sold for on the NFT trading platform Rarible last week. The fast-food chain last week issued a series of four different collectible GIF depictions of tacos in different art styles, each in a collection of five, all of which have been sold. NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are records of ownership of digital assets on the Ethereum blockchain, providing a degree of uniqueness and scarcity to otherwise endlessly reproducible digital items.

Although the buyer who paid $18,000 for one of the Taco Bell NFTs bought…


Number Crunch

Investors are hot for the business of keeping things cold

The text “$18 billion: The valuation of Lineage Logistics, a company specializing in refrigerated storage Source: The Wall Street Journal” next to the “Number Crunch” logo. Behind the text there is an illustration of icicles.
The text “$18 billion: The valuation of Lineage Logistics, a company specializing in refrigerated storage Source: The Wall Street Journal” next to the “Number Crunch” logo. Behind the text there is an illustration of icicles.

$18 billion: That’s the recent valuation of Lineage Logistics, a Novi, Michigan-based company that is now the world’s largest temperature-controlled warehouse and storage firm (as gauged by total space), according to the Wall Street Journal. Sure, Zoom, Robinhood, and Peloton grab a lot more headlines as “pandemic winners.” But private firm Lineage fits the description, too, as the cold-storage business has heated up over the past year.

The reason: The skyrocketing demand for food delivery and online grocery shopping during the pandemic has led to increased demand for cold-storage warehousing. …


NUMBER CRUNCH

Only 1% of global lithium is currently mined in the U.S. That could be a problem.

Number Crunch logo with the text “1%: Share of global lithium output that is mined and processed in the U.S. Source: Wall Street Journal.” Below the text is an illustration of 100 batteries — with 99 filled-in batteries and 1 outline of an empty battery.
Number Crunch logo with the text “1%: Share of global lithium output that is mined and processed in the U.S. Source: Wall Street Journal.” Below the text is an illustration of 100 batteries — with 99 filled-in batteries and 1 outline of an empty battery.

1%: That’s the share of global lithium that is currently mined and processed in the U.S., according to the Wall Street Journal. For context, China mines 10% of the world’s lithium and processes more than two-thirds of the raw metal, which is the core component of rechargeable batteries that power cell phones, laptops, and increasingly electric vehicles.

Climate scientists and analysts forecast a rising demand surge for lithium as fossil fuels take a backseat with the market share of EVs expected to balloon to roughly 50% of total cars manufactured worldwide by 2030. Now, the federal government is focusing on…

Marker

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store