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What Moved Global Markets
– Tis’ the season! Prices for electronics sold online at top U.S. retailers were up slightly heading into the critical U.S. shopping season, but sites including Walmart Inc and Amazon.com Inc have held prices steady for many other popular holiday products despite the pressure from tariffs on Chinese imports.
– Reuters reports that U.S. economic growth picked up slightly in the third quarter, rather than slowing as initially reported, and there are signs the downturn in business investment may be drawing to a close.
– European stocks rose for the fourth session on Thursday, as telecom stocks rose after a report that Deutsche Telekom is examining a possible merger with France’s Orange, while hopes for an end to the U.S.-China trade dispute also helped the mood.
What moved Crypto Markets (i.e. digital assets)
– Cryptocurrency theft has surged in 2019 compared with last year, with more money flowing through digital exchanges and criminals looking to carry out bigger heists, according to a report from blockchain forensics company CipherTrace obtained by Reuters. Losses from digital currency crime soared to $4.4 billion in the first nine months of the year, up more than 150% from $1.7 billion in all of 2018.
– The freshest one: South Korean cryptocurrency exchange UPbit has been hacked, losing nearly $50 million worth of ether (ETH) cryptocurrency.
– India’s government is set to embrace blockchain through the adoption of a national strategy focused on the emerging technology. Sanjay Dhotre, minister of state for electronics and information technology in the government of India, today said that a “National Level Blockchain Framework is being prepared” considering the technology’s potential and different use cases.
– HSBC bank is planning on tracking roughly $20 billion in assets on a blockchain-based custody platform early next year, Reuters reported Wednesday. According to the report, HSBC intends to move its current paper-based records onto its Digital Vault platform by March 2020, allowing investors to track securities in real-time. The U.K.-based bank will specifically digitize its private placement records, allowing investors to quickly check on holdings.
Fintech: British lender NatWest has launched a digital bank to compete in the U.K.’s thriving fintech space – like unicorn Revolut. NatWest launched cloud-based bank Bo on Wednesday, with the service going live on both Apple’s App Store and Google Play. Those who sign up to the digital bank will be sent a bright yellow Visa card and access their account via Bo’s mobile app.
Healthtech: Cool story about Facebook reportedly bidding against Google in an attempt to buy Fitbit, a company famous for wearable health-tracking devices. Mystery dinners and reliable sources included.
Al: Minecraft game contest between human and AI is ending soon. The contest is designed to spur advances in an approach called imitation learning. Competitors may take up to four days and use no more than eight million steps to train their AIs to find a diamond. That’s still a lot longer than it would take a child to learn, but much faster than typical AI models nowadays.
Smart cities: Two New York City Council members introduced two pieces of legislation to improve street safety for cyclists and pedestrians, as well as promote healthy, sustainable transportation options. One would establish an Office of Active Transportation and the other would create an Office of Pedestrians. And of course, there will be a bike mayor, and a pedestrian mayor.
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