What Moved Global Markets
– Coronavirus update: Total confirmed cases: More than 60,300; Total deaths: At least 1,369
– WHO tries to hunt down a so-called “patient zero” who spread coronavirus globally from a luxury hotel in Singapore.
– The Chinese province at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak reported a record rise in deaths and thousands more infections using a broader definition on Thursday, while Japan became the third place outside mainland China to suffer a fatality. Japan’s confirmed first coronavirus death – a woman in her 80s living in Kanagawa prefecture near Tokyo – added to two previous fatalities in Hong Kong and the Philippines.
– The Mobile World Congress, the annual telecoms industry gathering that draws more than 100,000 visitors to Barcelona, was cancelled on Wednesday after a mass exodus by exhibitors due to fears over the coronavirus outbreak.
– Jump in coronavirus cases halts stock rally; dollar gains.
– HSBC said on Thursday it had lowered its first-quarter forecast for mainland China’s economic growth to 4.1% year-on-year from 5.8% due to the fallout from coronavirus. The bank also cut its China full-year growth forecast to 5.3% from 5.8%, adding the impact was already starting to be felt in tourism, trade, supply chains and elsewhere.
– Alibaba Group Holding Ltd also warned of a drop in revenues at its key e-commerce businesses this quarter.
What moved Crypto Markets (i.e. digital assets)
– Spain’s soccer club FC Barcelona, which boasts Lionel Messi as a current team member, is set to have its own token that will give voting power to its “over 300 million” global fans. FC Barcelona has partnered with sports-focused blockchain startup Chiliz to launch the Barca Fan Token (BAR). The token is scheduled to roll out in Q2 of this year.
– Wells Fargo Strategic Capital, an investing division of the third-largest U.S. bank, has injected $5 million in blockchain analytics firm Elliptic. The fresh capital brings Elliptic’s total series B funding to $28 million, according to a statement shared with The Block on Thursday. The firm raised $23 million last September. Elliptic looks to expand in Asia and hire resources to sell its newly launched Discovery solution, which helps banks to decide which crypto exchanges to do business with.
– Cryptocurrency miner manufacturer Canaan’s stock price surged by around 80%, closing at $8.04 per share. Over 11 million shares have traded hands, compared to the average trading volume of 250,000 prior to today. The Block’s research analyst Matthew Yamamoto pointed out that Canaan’s stock might be underperforming compared to the Chinese stock market. Other market participants worry that the price rally may not be substantiated by revenue performance.
– Ohio resident Larry Dean Harmon, 36, has been charged with laundering more than $300 million in bitcoin for darknet marketplace AlphaBay. He is alleged to have run a mixing service called “Helix” that worked in conjunction with AlphaBay – one of the leading so-called “darknet marketplaces” accessible only via Tor browser. In total, Helix is said to have scrambled at least 354,468 bitcoin. The total value at the times of transaction is estimated to be over $311 million. That sum is worth $3.7 billion at today’s prices.
Fintech: JPMorgan Chase & Co has told financial technology companies that they will be barred from accessing its customer information by July 30 if they do not sign data access agreements with the bank and agree to a plan to stop using customer passwords to gather the data.
Healthtech: Immersion in virtual reality may relieve some of the pain of contractions before childbirth, a small study suggests. In a half-hour test among 40 hospitalized women in labour, those who used VR headsets that provided relaxing scenes and messages reported pain reductions compared with those who didn’t get headsets, researchers said in a presentation at the annual meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in Grapevine, Texas. The next step is to test the technology for longer periods.
AI: Ericsson has launched AI-powered Energy Infrastructure Operations, a new energy management solution that leverages artificial intelligence and advanced data analytics to optimize energy consumption across network infrastructure for communications service providers. Integrated into the Ericsson Operations Engine – the company’s AI-based, data-driven approach to managed services – the new solution enables service providers to reduce OPEX and CO2 emissions from their networks while maximizing site availability.
Smart cities: St Louis tests smart city emergency system. The US city of St Louis has teamed with the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology (DHS S&T) Directorate and software development company Coolfire for a smart city pilot related to emergency response capabilities.
The pilot demonstrated how first responders, emergency managers, and every other operating department (such as streets, water, health, and human services) could leverage Coolfire’s technology every day and during real-world emergency events – including everything from traffic accidents to floods or earthquakes.
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