Good Thursday. Here’s what we’re watching: Why Walmart is raising its hourly wage.

South Korea spooks the market for digital money. What the retail giant is doing: Raising the starting wage for all hourly workers to $11 an hour, starting next month and costing an extra $300 million Expanding maternity leave to 10 weeks and paid parental leave to six weeks Adding a new benefit for adoption expenses of $5,000 per child Giving out bonuses of up to $1,000 for eligible workers, determined by tenure, up to a total of $400 million Who benefits: Walmart said in its most recent annual report that it had nearly 1.5 million associates in the U.S. That’s much bigger than any other company that has announced tax-related worker benefits to date.

(AT&T, for instance, has roughly 200,000 employees who will likely benefit from that company’s $1,000-per-worker bonus.) “We are early in the stages of assessing the opportunities tax reform creates for us to invest in our customers and associates and to further strengthen our business, all of which should benefit our shareholders. However, some guiding themes are clear and consistent with how we’ve been investing — lower prices for customers, better wages and training for associates and investments in the future of our company, including in technology.

Tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S.” More from Matthew Boyle of Bloomberg: With the wage increase and bonus payment, the world’s biggest retailer seeks to even its pay gap with resurgent rival Target Corp., while simultaneously sending a high-profile thank you to the U.S. government for slashing the corporate tax rate. As of this morning, Bitcoin was down 4.5 percent, Ethereum was down 9 percent and Ripple was down 13 percent, according to CoinMarketCap.

Thank the South Korean government, which may ban virtual currency trading in what has been the third-largest market. Officials have been concerned about tax evasion and rampant speculation. Read more from…

thumbnail courtesy of