JPMorgan Wants to Mint a Better Bitcoin, & 4 More Things You'll Want to Know Today

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The JPMorgan Chase headquarters on Park Avenue in New York
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Here's a quick rundown from the world of business and economics this morning: the things you need to know, and some you'll just want to know.

• It appears JPMorgan Chase wants to create its own version of Bitcoin. The bank (JPM) has filed a patent application for an electronic payment system that bears a strong resemblance to the digital crypto-currency, the Financial Times reports. The proposed system would let people transfer money over the Internet anonymously and without a fee.

• The biggest news of the day, though: There's a bipartisan budget plan in Congress that will take some of the sting out of the sequester, fund the government in 2014, and avoid another pointless shutdown. And it has a real chance of passing, because one of its top backers is the House's master of obstruction, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

• The gender gap in pay is shrinking, especially among younger women, but for those who'd prefer not to wait around for pay equity, a new study reveals a quick and powerful solution: Pick a major in science, technology, mathematics or business. The research reveals that even "for women who study in the lucrative majors, the pay gap disappears -- regardless of the prestige of the institution the women attend," writes Inside Higher Ed.

• If you find articles about the Volcker rule a bit too "inside baseball," we understand. But it's important to all of us, and here's why. The new rule (and the hundreds of pages of regulations that flow from it) means that banks can't take our federally guaranteed deposits and use them to gamble wholesale in the markets. But that doesn't mean they can't gamble at all: Wall Street banks dodged what they saw as a worst-case Volcker scenario because regulators crafted the trading ban in a way that leaves so-called "market-making" operations legal. (What's market-making, you ask? Trust us -- click the link and let the clever guys from Bloomberg explain it.)

• And finally, our friends across The Pond in the U.K. are upgrading their folding money: They're printing new banknotes on a much more durable polymer instead of paper. How much more durable? Funny you should ask, because the Brits went to some effort to find out just what it took to destroy them. (Seriously, when's the last time you put your money in the microwave?)
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