Vienna waltzes to the top of the quality of life rankings

Vienna

The city that has given us Christophe Waltz, Schubert and the wiener (no sniggering at the back), though not, curiously, the Viennese whirl – as this came from Britain –  now finds itself at the top of the quality of life rankings.

Vienna has displaced Melbourne as the world’s most liveable city, ending seven consecutive years at the top of the EIU’s Global Liveability Index. Osaka and Tokyo are meanwhile in the top 10 for the first time, and Hong Kong has overtaken its regional rival Singapore:

  1. Vienna
  2. Melbourne
  3. Osaka
  4. Calgary
  5. Sydney
  6. Vancouver
  7. Toronto
  8. Tokyo
  9. Copenhagen
  10. Adelaide

Before even downloading the report, it had occurred to me that high risers Vienna and Melbourne have something in common: their love of the coffee house. Vienna’s coffee house culture is laden with history and is now UNESCO intangible cultural heritage. Melbourne is now arguably the global capital of coffee. Third-placed Osaka also has good coffee – as I recall from visiting Kuromon Market – but it might have some catching up to do.

But coffee or not, it’s hard not to shake off the feeling that this index is for the elite. At the end of the day, these are very expensive cities indeed. Good liveability comes at a high price.

The EIU Global Liveability Index 2018 can be seen here (registration required).

Where to use bitcoin in Asia

Bitcoin in pocket

Inspired by Alexandra Talty’s excellent The Top 10 Bitcoin Cities in the World piece in Forbes, which looked at cities with the most bitcoin shops and businesses, I looked at doing the same in Asia.

Alexandra’s research showed that the leading 10 locations globally for bitcoin businesses were in Europe and the United States, followed by South America. There was no room in the top 10 for Asia, home to some of the world’s leading financial centres and fastest growing economies.

I used the same tool mentioned in the article, Coinmap, created by SatoshiLabs in the Czech Republic, to display ATMs, cafe, restaurants and other vendors in the form of a heatmap. The results were a little surprising.

The map clearly shows a concentration of services in East Asia, led by Korea, Japan and Taiwan, but bitcoin businesses are also clustered around digital nomad hotspots. Lit up heavily in red are Phuket and Krabi in Thailand, and Bali. Drilling deeper reveals hotels, bars, shops and transport companies, all taking bitcoin.

So yes, the big cities are there, but so are Asia’s holiday hotspots, or those locations traditionally associated with tourism.

It suggests that if you’re a digital nomad, or travelling widely within Asia, you could do worse than carry a few bitcoins in your pocket (virtually of course), which can of course be used irrespective of location.

Bitcoin venues in Asia, generated by Coinmap

However, we might not be seeing the full picture. As Alexandra also pointed out in her article, Coinmap relies on crowdsourcing – so there will almost certainly be gaps in places. There are also regulatory pressures – for example the currency in China.

Introducing a weekly YouTube roundup of opportunities in sixty seconds

Matt Brady smiling cheesily for the camera

As the headline suggests, I’m starting a weekly video roundup of the week’s events, because a) it’s fun; b) it’s fast; c) everyone else is doing it; and d) I can actually prove I’m a real person.

I’m also doing this in 60 seconds, to keep it short and sweet (or at least short), and keeping it ‘raw’. So that means no filters, and no faffing to get it right. Of course, this may or may not work…