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The death of cash

Evening Briefing

The U.K. became the first western country to approve a Covid-19 vaccine, with its regulator clearing the Pfizer-BioNTech shot ahead of decisions in the U.S. and European Union. Here is what will happen next. Moderna, maker of another frontrunner, said it's benefiting from the troubles of two other pharmaceutical companies. Japan is suffering a new and more serious wave of infection while in the U.S. hospitalizations and deaths skyrocket out of control. Some 2,473 Americans died from Covid-19 just yesterday, for a total of 272,000 dead. A spokeswoman for President Donald Trump, Kayleigh McEnany, said Wednesday that despite health expert warnings about large gatherings, the White House will hold plenty of holiday parties. Here is the latest on the pandemic. —David E. Rovella 

Bloomberg is mapping the pandemic globally and across America. For the latest news, sign up for our Covid-19 podcast and daily newsletter.

Here are today's top stories

PayPal CEO Dan Schulman said the use of digital currencies is set to go mainstream as more merchants take a "digital first" approach to payments, looking to digital wallets filled with crypto. Cash looks like it's on the way out. 

The U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation that could lead to Chinese companies including behemoths like Alibaba and Baidu getting kicked off U.S. exchanges if Washington regulators aren't allowed to review their financial audits. The bill easily cleared the Senate in May. Trump is expected to sign it.

Who is allegedly paying bribes for get-out-of-jail-free cards from Trump? The clues to the pay-for-a-pardon investigation are behind all those black marks in a Justice Department filing that has Twitter sleuths running wild.

Many Americans face the prospect of a bleak holiday, with millions unemployed and benefits almost exhausted as months of partisan gridlock blocked a second coronavirus bailout bill (though Congress is still trying, even now). But for consumers with money to spend, it seems that spending $2 billion on Christmas trees was the right choice.

Goldman Sachs pledged that it would reclaim $67 million from five former top executives that was tied to the 1MDB corruption scandal. Of the five, there's a lone holdout: Gary Cohn. Six weeks later, the Wall Street giant is still waiting on its former president to pay up. It may be waiting awhile.

Gary Cohn 

Photographer: Scott McIntyre/Bloomberg

Australia said it won't give ground on a list of Chinese grievances as a growing diplomatic fight hurts trade between the two countries.

The world is on the brink of what may be its most important energy experiment, David Fickling writes in Bloomberg Opinion. If proposals to build a new industry producing so-called green hydrogen succeed, we may have the final piece of the puzzle to prevent devastating climate change. If they fail, we may be about to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on a white elephant.

What you'll need to know tomorrow

What you'll want to read in Bloomberg Green

Can Fund Managers Save Earth's Biodiversity?

A Dutch sustainability expert wants financial giants to apply the lessons of ESG to plants, animals and ecosystems. Some are starting to listen, but industry critics worry that Wall Street pledges to help slow the destruction of the natural environment are just another opportunity for greenwashing.

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