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CNN 10

Pros And Cons Of Cryptocurrencies; Concerns About Christmas Tree Availability; Famous Spruce Has Arrived In New York City. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired November 15, 2021 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: On this Monday in mid-November, we`re thankful you`re taking 10 minutes for CNN 10. I`m name is Carl Azuz. Here`s

something a little different to start today`s show. Which of these currencies is worth the most in U.S. dollars? One British pound, one Euro,

one Yen, or one Bitcoin.

If you`ve been following cryptocurrencies or digital currencies, you`ll know the answer is bitcoin. In fact, one Bitcoin is worth more than $64,000

right now, but the currency`s value can also be its weakness. What we mean by that is the value can fluctuate wildly, back in May after it reached a

previous high values of $60,000.

Bitcoin dropped by 50 percent to be worth $30,000. It may be the best known cryptocurrency, but Bitcoin`s not the only one. Others include Ethereum,

Binance Coin, Moon River and Dogecoin. There are dozens of cryptocurrencies out there, and as they gain acceptance with big companies like PayPal and

Microsoft, some organizations are starting to pay their employees, at least partially, in crypto.

But a financial planner interviewed by CNN says this shouldn`t be the only way people get paid, and for most American workers, it`s not even

worthwhile. For one thing like you saw with Bitcoin, their value can be extremely volatile, up one day, down the next. For another, they`re taxed

in different ways and there`re aren`t as many protections for you if you get hacked, scammed out of your money or locked out of your account.

That`s a major difference between cryptocurrencies and U.S. dollars which can be insured by the Federal government if the local bank you have money

in goes out of business. The fact that crypto isn`t rooted in a traditional bank, and isn`t controlled by traditional government regulations is exactly

what appeals to its supporters. What`s not known yet is whether cryptocurrencies will achieve the level of stability or acceptance they`ll

need to become a reliable replacement for money as we know it.


JON SARLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Cryptocurrencies are more than a decade in are worth trillions of dollars, more than the GDP of Italy, and to many

crypto is the future of money. But unlike the now of money, the money that`s in your pocket good luck trying to find a place to buy a cup a

coffee. Depending on who you ask, cryptocurrency is the biggest transformation of money since the invention of paper or the biggest scam

since Charles Ponzi had a postal stamp he wanted to sell you.

So let`s talk about how it works. We know there are many different kinds of crypto. There`s Bitcoin, the most famous and the most valuable of all

crypto. Then you have all coins like Dogecoin. There are thousands of these smaller cryptos who`s value fluctuates wildly as new ones are being minted


And there`s Etherium, which has enabled the rise of NFTs, digital art and collectables that are traded on the block chain. So you might not be able

to buy a cup of coffee with crypto, but you can by an NFT of one. And what binds the majority of all of them together is the block chain, this

decentralized network of computers that verifies transactions.

But another thing that binds cryptocurrencies right now is that they aren`t actually that useful. Transaction times are slow. For Bitcoin, it could

take up to 20 minutes for a single transaction to go through, on top that you`ll be paying expensive fees. So if cryptocurrencies aren`t really that

useful as a currency, than why are they so valuable.

MELTEM DEMIRORS, CSO COINSHARES: Cryptocurrencies are backed by nothing, but the underlying technology and people`s belief in it.

SARLIN: Belief in it. Many people believe cryptocurrency is going to get them rich. Others believe in what you can call a technolibertarianism,

putting their faith in these decentralized networks over a central bank or a corporation.

TAVONIA EVANS, FOUNDER, GUAPCOIN: Cryptocurrency is designed to empower the individual with the idea that they are the back, and they are the

governance of this cryptocurrencyyyy. There cryptocurrencies are supposed to be governed by the people and to belong to the people.

SARLIN: But critics say all this talk about expanding access to sending money is just that. Talk. Since we already have all of these efficient ways

to buy a cup of coffee. Why add another?

NOURIEL ROUBINI, ECONOMIST: There are no practical uses of cryptocurrencies. 99 percent of transactions are just using one crypto to

buy another one. Not buy good. Not buy services. It`s just a (inaudible) of a financial bubble. We`ve no link to anything in the real world.

SARLIN: Another concern, the networks powering cryptocurrencies are using energy, a lot of it. Take that coffee NFT from before, one NFT on average

uses as much energy as driving around 500 miles in a car. And yet billions of dollars of investments are still pouring in, governments themselves are

looking to launch their own digital currencies to compete with crypto while at the same time, writing legislation to regulate it.

So now with highly volatile cryptocurrencies entering the mainstream, there are still more questions than answers. It is the future of money or is it

just a bubble? Is it beholden to the hands of government, or could it be shackled by regulators? And will we ever be paying for that cup of coffee

in doge?


AZUZ: 10 Second Trivia. The modern Christmas tree tradition likely originated in what country? England, France, Germany or Rome. Historians

the Christmas tree as we know it originated in 16th century Germany.

This has become a season of warnings that people should shop early. We`ve told you how slowdowns in the supply chain could mean lower stocks of

Christmas and holiday gifts. We`ve reported on a possible run on turkeys as Thanksgiving approaches, meaning people who wait too long might not be able

to find the right sized bird for their families.

Today, a new warning about Christmas trees. They may be in short supply as the holiday approaches. Supply chain problems could mean lower availability

and higher prices for artificial trees and when it comes to natural ones, some farmers say they`re ready for the holidays while other are saying

wholesale trees, which they may bring in from different farms, are harder to find this year. It`s very challenging for Christmas tree growers to plan


KARIN CAIFA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christmas trees are never far from Jonice Underwood`s mind.

JONICE UNDERWOOD, PINE VALLEY CHRISTMAS TREE FARM: Surprising how many people do think that you put them in the ground in the Spring and you`re

going to harvest them at, you know, November, December. It doesn`t work that way.

CAIFA: At her family farm, Pine Valley Christmas Trees in the northeast corner of Maryland, the journey from planting seedlings in these fields to

a family`s living room is a long one.

J. UNDERWOOD: Once you plant them out, depending on the type of tree it may take six to 10 years before you have a sellable tree.

CAIFA: To too much water to too little, to pests, a lot can happen. It also means farmers like Underwood can`t simply ramp up supply when demand


J. UNDERWOOD: Because it take seven to 10 years for your crop to, you know, mature you don`t have much choice about how many trees you can offer up.

CAIFA: More Americans stayed home for the holidays in 2020 because of the pandemic. So Christmas trees were in high demand, and some sellers found

themselves short, a consequence of the great recession more than a decade ago that put a lot of farmers out of business.

CARL HOLLOWAY, HOLLOWAY CHRISTMAS TREE FARM: We were actually sold out on about the 3rd of December. We had another load of trees come in and it was

going in a day and a half.

CAIFA: In southern California, Carl Holloway says he plants about 3,000 trees per year on a farm his father started in 1958.

HOLLOWAY: We grow a Monterey pine which is a beautiful tree but a lot of people would rather have what they grew up. They still do.

CAIFA: His crops fighting challenges like California droughts. He brings in about half the trees he sells each year, mostly balsam and grand firs from

the Pacific northwest where tree crops have also been hit hard by fires and extreme heat. In Oregon for example, one of the country`s top Christmas

tree producers, farmers only cut and sold 3.44 million trees in 2020 down 27 percent from 2015 according to the USDA.

HOLLOWAY: And because of that and because of labor shortages and other things, the price of the trees has gone up at least 100 percent in the

last 10 years.

CAIFA: All effecting Holloway`s bottom line. But for both farmers a hectic holiday season is family tradition.

J. UNDERWOOD: I love when our customers come in and they say, you know, my child was a baby when I first started coming here and now they`re bringing

their children or their grandchildren.

CAIFA: Those deep roots may be a reason to appreciate a tree a little bit more this year. In Elkton, Maryland, I`m Karin Caifa.


AZUZ: While we`re on the subject of Christmas trees, specifically ones from Maryland, this here tree has been chosen to become part of a famous

tradition at New York City`s Rockefeller Center. It`s a "biggin", almost 80 feet tall, 12 tons in weight.

The 85-year-old Norway Spruce was donated by a family in Maryland, the first time a tree from that state will stand at Rockefeller Center and it

will be covered with 50,000 colored lights. We`ll see and that`s enough to "Rockefeller". It will certainly "balsam" over, "spruce" things up, endure

"freezer" temperature, "illuminate" spirits that "needle" a little bit more light at this time.

As they say, "trees" the season. I`m Carl Azuz and from the east coast, we are flying over to Honolulu, Hawaii for today`s shout out. It`s a "treet"

to see our viewers at Radford High School.