Busting the bitcoin myths
Posted On 06.01.1966
Already have a business account with us? Is your business prepared for Hedge Accounting under IFRS 9? Every 15 seconds there is an incident of financial fraud in the UK. Help protect your business and stay one step ahead busting the bitcoin myths the fraudsters by watching our videos and reading the information and articles below.
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What next for bitcoin and will it rise again? Gatehouse Bank lands latest blow in the best buy savings battle with table-topping fixed rates of up to 2. My dad invested his pension but he’s too ill to handle it any more – what can we do? Can I get broadband without a landline? For the likes of Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and Benjamin Disraeli, becoming an Honorary Freeman was a way for the Square Mile to pay its highest possible tribute. It is the City’s award for the contribution they have paid to public life.
In more recent times it has been bestowed on JK Rowling, Mary Berry and Dame Judi Dench. Another is the grim-sounding servitude, where you apprentice yourself to a guildsman. Finally, and this is the route I took, redemption, where you are nominated by two existing Freemen and, of course, pay a fee. And so it was that when I received my Freedom, on a grey day last month, I was following in the footsteps of members of guilds or Livery Companies dating back to 1237. The Freedom of the City of London today is largely symbolic, but Murray Craig, the clerk of the Chamberlain’s Court who performed my ceremony, tells me it used to be almost literally a licence to make money.
The cartel-busting, free trade-loving Victorians did away with all those closed shops. Even now, though, my framed Freedom certificate is accompanied by a small, red cardboard envelope, which people used to use to carry a copy around, like a driving licence, to prove their credentials. So, in theory, I could still set up my printing press in the Square Mile, or these days, more likely my website. Freedom certificate presented to Princess Diana and a letter from Lord Nelson. The grateful hero wrote from the Battle of the Nile to thank the Lord Mayor for making him a Freeman, sending the sword of the defeated French admiral, Armand Blanquet, as a token of esteem.
T HIS is not a myth. Freemen can in fact still do this, albeit only once a year in a charity event that is organised by the Worshipful Company of Woolmen. In the past, this was quite an important privilege,’ says Andrew Buckingham of the City of London Corporation. The point was not so much that you could take your sheep over the bridge, but that you did not pay the toll, meaning you would see a much bigger profit margin when you got them to Smithfield Meat Market or the Wool Exchange for sale. And it wasn’t just sheep: you could take cattle, pigs, hens and geese.
Sheep were the most important animals, however, because in the past the cloth and wool trade was a key industry for the English economy. Freemen were allowed to traipse the City with their sword drawn, to defend themselves from pickpockets, and they were exempt from the press gangs because their skills were considered too valuable for them to be put to sea. Freemen, apparently, are allowed to be drunk and disorderly without fear of arrest. It’s actually better than that,’ says Andrew Buckingham. You can be drunk and disorderly and granted a safe passage home. I’m not a drinker, but if I did get tiddly, would a watchman have to call me an Uber, or pour me into a black cab? Would he have to pay the fare, too?
I don’t know if there is much or any truth in these things, or if they are just myths. As well as the certificate, Murray Craig hands me a small red book entitled Rules For The Conduct Of Life, written in the 18th Century by Lord Mayor John Barnard for apprentices who became Freemen. It gives timeless advice on subjects such as how to be helpful without meddling, and how to manage a big workload that could come in handy when I’m facing multiple deadlines. From having been a licence to make money, one of the most important functions these days of the Guilds and Livery Companies is to give it away. The Stationers’ Foundation, for instance, raises money for education, including Saturday schools for disadvantaged children in the capital and the Stationers Crown Woods Academy in South-East London.