There's a lot of talk about virtual currencies lately — how they work, economic implications and whether they're safe. But now a Native American tribe is using a bitcoin-like currency to help strengthen its sovereignty.
In South Dakota, the Oglala Lakota Nation has become the first Native American tribe to launch its own form of virtual currency. Payu Harris, its creator, calls it mazacoin.
Credit-card rivals Visa and MasterCard said Friday they have formed an industry-wide group aimed at improving payment security in the wake of a number of breaches that compromised customers' data.
"The recent high-profile breaches have served as a catalyst for much needed collaboration between the retail and financial services industry on the issue of payment security," Visa President Ryan McInerney said in the statement.
Now that medical insurers must accept all applicants no matter how sick, what will these new customers cost health plans? And how will their coverage costs affect insurance prices for 2015 and beyond?
Few questions about the Affordable Care Act are more important. How it all plays out will affect consumer pocketbooks, insurance company profits and perhaps the political fortunes of those backing the health law.
A few Denver actuaries, bound to confidentiality, will be the first to glimpse the answers.
NPR's business news starts with a $9 billion grocery sale.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
WERTHEIMER: The no. 2 grocery chain in the U.S., Safeway, is being acquired by the owner of Albertson's, the fifth largest grocer. Cerberus Capital Management is paying just over $40 a share for Safeway, the company said last night. The multi-billion-dollar deal creates a food retailer with more than 2,400 stores and more than 250,000 employees. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
All the polar air this winter has frozen the Great Lakes to an extent not seen in 35 years. Scientists say the record for ice coverage, set in 1979, could soon be broken. That year, nearly 95 percent of the Great Lakes were covered with ice. As of yesterday, ice coverage was at 92 percent.
The recent bout of winter weather that many of us have felt has hit the U.S. economy. Winter storms cooled job growth in February. The only question is by how much. Economists, investors and job seekers are looking to today's employment report from the government for an answer. NPR's John Ydstie says their predictions have been dampened by the weather too.
JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: John Sylvia is the top economist for Wells Fargo. His forecast for job growth in February has been pounded down by the weather.