National Car Rental Extends Loyalty Benefits Through 2021

National Car Rental Extends Loyalty Benefits Through 2021

Travelers walk past a National Car Rental Systems Inc. rental booth inside the Indianapolis … [+] International Airport in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. Travel on all public roads rose 0.5 percent in December, up from the same month last year, totaling 263.6 billion miles, according to the Department of Transportation. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Loyalty programs took the full brunt of the pandemic earlier this year when the travel industry nearly ground to a halt. Among airlines and hotels, the logical strategy was to extend loyalty programs and benefits for a full year, allowing travelers to stay home during the pandemic and resume activity in 2021 with the same benefits.

Rental car companies also followed suit, though, they didn’t extend full program benefits into the new year; now, however, players are formally starting to extend a wider suite of program features.

Last week, Enterprise Holdings, which owns National, Alamo and Enterprise Rent-A-Car announced that National’s Free Days, a popular benefit in the Emerald Club program, would be extended for a full year to the end of 2021. National’s Free Days are one of the most lucrative benefits of the Emerald Club; after renting as few as two vehicles from the agency, travelers earn an additional Free Day that they can use for later travel. For road warriors often in transit for business travel, these days can add up to significant balances at the end of the year.

National, Enterprise and other competing rental agencies already extended respective loyalty programs, elite tiers and points to expire at the end of 2021 instead of 2020. According to Enterprise, however, National is the first agency to start extending benefits such as free nights into 2021.

The decision to extend elite benefits and loyalty programs at large through 2021 may be an indication of how demand is recovering in the travel industry. Once air travel contracted significantly in March, both airline and hotel loyalty programs were fairly quick to realize long term demand and fully extend loyalty programs into 2021.

The car rental industry, by contrast, has seen more of a mixed year. With many travelers grounded from air travel, rental car travel has stepped up to fill in some of the demand. And with leisure outpacing business travel in the recovery, there’s extra demand coming from families looking to road trip in a self-contained bubble versus the risks and costs of traveling by air.

Still, weak demand in the business travel sector, a segment that is typically deeply associated with loyalty, means that programs like the Emerald Club may be seeing less use this year. Since rental car companies want to keep that loyalty in play for after the pandemic, a broader, yearlong extension to the current program can help insulate demand from its heaviest travelers.


Author: Grant Martin

Sacrificing privacy does not make us safer

Sacrificing privacy does not make us safer

In the last month, we’ve seen the United States Federal Reserve come after BitMEX for failing to identify customers, crypto intelligence firm CipherTrace report that most crypto exchanges are not collecting enough user info, and the so-called “FinCEN Files” demonstrate that even large banks that collect and report vast troves of suspicious transactions are not doing enough to unbank the bad guys. Suffice to say, it’s a great time to be alive for compliance hardliners and a rough patch for privacy advocates, aside from a healthy recent boost in the price of Monero (XMR).

Stepping back and looking at the larger trend, many in the crypto community are now imagining a world with two “Bitcoin blockchains” — or perhaps, two distinct networks of various blockchains. The first is a blessed white blockchain, or “lightchain,” akin to a friendly neighborhood where everybody knows each other’s name; the other is a sinister “darkchain” full of drug traffickers, pimps and terrorists (as far as we know).

Privacy advocates fear that because Know Your Customer rules are being placed on exchanges that custody crypto and that banks and institutional wealth will make crypto mainstream via similar custodial solutions, only those who custody crypto with such institutions will be allowed onto the lovely lightchains. These chains will lie within the lofty ivory pillars of Wall Street and beneath the halls of wealth and power, while the vast unwashed masses who prefer to hold and control their own crypto will be forced into a crypto ghetto on the darkchain.

While the basis of these fears is well founded, it is important to remember the original purpose of AML compliance, originating in 1970s America, was to assist law enforcement in its investigations. Maintaining a vast reporting system for monitoring user activity and feeding it to the government, like the modern Transportation Security Administration airport panopticon, is a 21st century, post-9/11 invention of Bush-era America and hardly a prerequisite for a global financial network.

In fact, this recently imposed norm was a major impetus for many privacy-friendly innovations in crypto, including, arguably, Bitcoin (BTC) itself. In other words, the “lightchainers” are justifying potentially removing the privacy from blockchains under the same “War on Terror” rationale for the Patriot Act, only with the possibility of permanently airing your dirty laundry on a public ledger rather than keeping it between the banks and government (and occasionally leaked to Buzzfeed).

More importantly, it has long been obvious that even in the crypto space, the imposition of global mandatory wallet identification and traceability has strained this original “assisting law enforcement” rationale for AML rules. Historically, the Elliptics, CypherTraces and Chainalysises of the world have spent most of their energy working with law enforcement to map out actual criminals and their transactions resulting from actual criminal activity, rather than setting up vast dragnets of everybody’s wallet addresses.

Whether it was Mt. Gox or other exchange hackers, BitLocker scammers or international criminals of many stripes, Bitcoin has a feature that allows blockchain exploration compliance firms to demarcate known bad guys and create an actual “darkchain” not to be mixed into the polite company of the remaining blockchain(s).

This system has worked. Most virtual asset service providers, or VASPs, (i.e., exchanges) use blockchain explorer compliance tools to block and track transactions on the darkchain and assist law enforcement with its investigations. These efforts have also made it much, much harder for actual criminals to launder their crypto on compliant exchanges.

So, let us reject the thesis that we are barreling toward a “lightchain-vs.-darkchain” dichotomy. Rather, let’s recognize that we already have a small darkchain of proven money launderers that VASPs do not, and should not, work with and should freeze and work with law enforcement to deal with. We then have the splotches of lightchains that exist within VASPs (i.e., exchanges) for which they are, and should be, legally obligated to keep private and share only to the extent they detect darkchain or demonstrable criminal activity, rather than sharing private user information of noncriminals. This leaves us with a third chain, the vast, lovely, delightfully opaque “graychain” blockchains that have served us so well for all these many years.

To “keep blockchain gray,” we must resist the efforts of the lightchain to penetrate the gray by penalizing VASPs and blockchain exploration and compliance tools that engage in unjustified tainting of the gray with the white. In other words, publicizing identifying information of exchange customers should lead to lawsuits and, in Europe, anti-privacy enforcement actions. Likewise, we must resist the darkening of our beloved graychain by policymakers, pundits and so-called crypto lawyers who advocate for penalties on operating in the gray zone.

There is nothing wrong with holding your crypto in a hardware wallet, and to argue that those who exercise healthy cybersecurity by doing so have “something to hide” stains credibility. We must resist this by advocating for the graychains, which are by no actual measures true vectors for money laundering, and by pointing out the irrationality of believing that pseudonymous blockchains are more valuable when they are no longer anonymous at all. In the end, even if the lightchainers are successful, they will be sowing the seeds of even more private forms of money that lie beyond their reach.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Zachary Kelman is the managing partner of Kelman PLLC, a boutique law practice based in New York specializing in matters related to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. The firm handles both litigation and corporate matters, including advising on compliance with international standards for data and financial services. Zachary has advised governmental bodies and central banks around the world on the application of local and international laws to digital assets and their many uses.


Blockchain Bites: Ripple’s MoneyGram Pump, OKEx’s Bitcoin Cash Plan, Bitcoin’s Birthday

Blockchain Bites: Ripple’s MoneyGram Pump, OKEx’s Bitcoin Cash Plan, Bitcoin’s Birthday

Ripple has invested over $50 million in remittance agency MoneyGram over the course of the companies’ working relationship. Forbes revealed an investigation detailing the byzantine company construction Binance might have created to keep away from U.S. rules. Ether grew as a share of Genesis Capital’s complete mortgage e-book. 

No offenses
Buyers who say they misplaced round £100,000 ($130,000) in an alleged cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme will not see remuneration after bringing their claims to the police. Based on an investigation by the Metro newspaper revealed Tuesday, numerous buyers mentioned they’d invested in a cryptocurrency venture referred to as Lyfcoin on guarantees of hefty returns, however had not acquired their a refund. West Midlands Police dropped the case, nevertheless, saying not one of the proof offered took the case “additional ahead” and, the Metro mentioned, “no offenses had been dedicated.”

Funding remittance agency
MoneyGram has acquired over $52 million for providing “market development fees” for blockchain funds agency Ripple, because the companies struck a working relationship. In Q3 2020, Ripple invested over $9.Three million within the remittance agency, following a $15.1 million injection made the earlier quarter, based on Moneygram’s newest monetary report. MoneyGram has described the market growth charges as compensation for offering liquidity to Ripple’s On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) community – its funds product utilizing the XRP cryptocurrency to ship cash throughout borders.

Byzantine Binance
Binance Holdings Restricted created a company plan for cashing in on the U.S. market whereas avoiding the country’s regulatory scrutiny, Forbes reported Thursday, citing a 2018 doc it obtained. The leaked presentation outlines an online of U.S.-compliant entities that might funnel income to Binance, which is at present unregulated to function within the U.S. The Forbes article included a screenshot of a slide however not all the deck. Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao disputes the reporting, claiming the draft got here from an affiliated third occasion. U.S. affiliate Binance.US operates beneath a company construction just like the proposed community, based on Forbes. Binance.US CEO Catherine Cooley has lengthy refused to debate Binance.US’s possession.

Huawei’s DC/EP hardwar
China’s digital yuan appears nearer than ever to launch with the information that Huawei can be supporting the central bank digital currency (CBDC) on an upcoming vary of telephones. Introduced on Huawei’s Weibo channel Friday, the Mate 40 line of units will function a built-in {hardware} pockets with “hardware-level safety, controllable nameless safety, and twin offline transactions,” the tech large mentioned. In current weeks, a public trial within the metropolis of Shenzhen noticed 10 million digital yuan given away to residents in a form of lottery. The Mate 40 was introduced in October and would be the newest flagship from Huawei, together with the Professional and Professional Plus fashions, based on TechRadar.

“That most individuals nonetheless hate bitcoin isn’t a foul factor,” writes Dylan Grice of Calderwood Capital. The Economist offers an introduction to bitcoin by evaluating it to a complicated London membership recognized primarily for turning away Mick Jagger on the door.

Citing excessive gasoline charges and sluggish blocktimes, Audius mentioned it can migrate a part of its system to Solana’s blockchain from an Ethereum sidechain. Staking and governance performance will stay on Ethereum. (CoinDesk)

A margin change in FTX’s TRUMP future’s contract signifies merchants are factoring in President Donald Trump’s diminishing probabilities of reelection come Nov. 3. (CoinDesk)

OKEx, nonetheless paralyzed by founder’s arrest, particulars plans for a bitcoin cash arduous fork. (CoinDesk)

Completely satisfied birthday, Bitcoin
Tomorrow marks the 12th anniversary of Bitcoin’s white paper.

Revealed by pseudonymous developer Satoshi Nakamoto to a small cadre of cryptographers, the eight-page conceptual proof for a completely decentralized, peer-to-peer digital money system has since sparked a financial revolution.

Within the intervening years, Bitcoin has been referred to as many issues: a rip-off, a Ponzi scheme, lifeless on arrival, a joke, a device for criminals, rat poisoned squared, a forex for geeks – and did we mention dead?

Whereas pundits are wont to foretell Bitcoin’s demise, the easy ledger has remained and has even breathed new life into how societies take into consideration cash, monetary entry and the nebulous idea of “trust.”

Heads are turning. Yesterday, The Economist revealed an ode to Bitcoin saying, “Even people who find themselves hostile to Bitcoin will concede that its know-how is fiendishly intelligent. It’s primarily a means of accounting for who has spent what. As a substitute of a central change to maintain rating, and to confirm funds and receipts, it makes use of an digital ledger that’s distributed throughout all the system of bitcoin customers.”

Wishing Bitcoin a contented birthday, cybersecurity agency Halborn produced a video with numerous celebrities wishing it well. (It’s a bit bizarro, however well-meaning.)

In a cameo look, Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA mentioned, “Ya know Bitcoin was created by the nameless Satoshi Nakamoto doin his thang. I wanna say one factor about this – For those who don’t learn about it, you higher learn about it, as a result of yo… on the finish of the day scientists can create one thing, son, however the worth on every thing is what we placed on it. The Bitcoin revolution has began.”



National Car Rental Extends Loyalty Benefits Through 2021

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