🌍 Beijing tightens entrance rules

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Here’s what you need to know

Beijing imposed new covid-19 testing rules. Incomers must test for the illness within 72 hours of arriving in the Olympics host city, which detected its first omicron case over the weekend. Meanwhile, India’s case count hit an eight-month high.

Walmart is planning its own cryptocurrency. US patent filings show the world’s largest retailer also wants to make and sell virtual goods, including NFTs.

China’s economy is slowing down. Thanks to weak demand and strict covid-19 measures, the country is expected to report its slowest quarterly GDP growth since mid-2020.

Tonga was smothered with ash after a volcano erupted. Up to 80,000 people in the country may have been affected, while tsunami waves crashed into New Zealand and other Pacific islands.

Microsoft warned of destructive malware in Ukrainian government networks. A cyberattack appears to have been deployed after Russian diplomats said talks with the US and NATO were essentially dead.

Novak Djokovic is wishing he bought travel insurance. The unvaccinated Serbian tennis star left Australia after the government revoked his entry permit, saying Djokovic’s presence risked spreading anti-vaccine views.

What to watch for

What happens when renegades decide to dismantle traditional loci of power and create value where there was none before? Miami’s North American Bitcoin Conference, that’s what.

The three-day crypto extravaganza kicks off today, with speakers that include investor Mark Cuban and Miami mayor/bitcoin hype man Francis Suarez, plus dozens of events with titles like “Hashpower: The Next Great Commodity” and “The Revolution Will Not Be Centralized.” One lucky attendee will even win a ticket to space.

Bitcoin ❤️  Miami’s startup scene is a match made in heaven: Both are passion projects finally getting mainstream attention, both have gotten a boost during the pandemic, and it’s possible neither will exist in 100 years.

Netflix wants you to pay up

In an entertainment world dominated by at-home viewing, Netflix is hoping its prestige will justify a new $15.49 monthly price tag—especially since its standard plan is now more expensive than HBO Max.

There’s no question Netflix is spending a boatload on content: $17 billion this year, to be exact. But the price bump also reflects Netflix’s need to squeeze more revenue out of North America, where subscriber growth is getting weaker. That conundrum leaves Netflix with an ambitious to-do list: Court larger audiences outside the US, continue the (expensive) quest for blockbuster franchises, and cultivate a reputation as the premier player in an increasingly crowded field.

A line graph showing the growth in total Netflix subscribers in the US and Canada versus everywhere else from 2019 through 2021. US and Canada subscriber growth has mostly plateaued at under 80 million, while outside of those two countries, subscribers have surpassed 120 million.

Best companies for remote workers

Best Companies for Remote Workers 2022 logo

One area where Netflix’s prestige is lacking: remote work, which its CEO has called a “pure negative.” Workers across industries see it differently: They report feeling more productive at home, and many would rather quit than be office-bound.

What’s your WFH experience? We’re ranking the Best Companies for Remote Workers. Submit your company to see if they make the list.

Handpicked Quartz

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🛴  Spin is pulling out of cities that won’t regulate e-scooters

🎤  How Africans and African-Americans can honor Martin Luther King

🌳  Japan’s new net-zero project will use more energy than it produces

Surprising discoveries

Who’s the “most famous face in China”? The country’s De Rucci mattress man has been named, but no one really knows who Timothy James Kingman is.

A Rhode Island man faked his own death to escape prosecution. Nicholas Alahverdian was found alive in Scotland after being hospitalized for covid-19.

Facebook patented a robotic eye. The eye is designed to “mate” with an animatronic head so it will “appear authentic to an observer.” Sure.

Trade in your FitBit for a FaceBit. Researchers are working on an N95-attachable device that can track your breathing and heart rate.

Before thoroughbred horses, there were kungas. About 4,500 years ago, the donkey-Syrian wild ass hybrid was quite revered.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, a De Rucci mattress, and a herd of kungas to hi@qz.com. Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our iOS app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Kira Bindrim and Morgan Haefner.