NexChangeNOW Briefing – Monday June 01, 2020

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What Moved Global Markets
Coronavirus update:
– Global cases: More than 6 million
– Global deaths: At least 368,000

  1. A true historic event: After the successful launch of Elon Musk’s SpaceX mission, astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley have disembarked the SpaceX Crew Dragon space capsule and entered the International Space Station. SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft docked at the space station at 10:16 a.m. ET Sunday morning after launching from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center Saturday and travelling 19 hours.
  2. If you’re following the current situation in the US, where a white police officer in Minneapolis strangled a black man, while he was saying “I can’t breath” (exactly the words of Eric Garner who died in the same circumstances before the previous US presidential election), and the whole thing was caught on camera and has gone viral. The protest started immediately and has been growing bigger ever since. Another night of outrage left stores looted and cars smouldering in many U.S. cities on Sunday as curfews failed to quell the violence that replaced peaceful daytime demonstrations.
  3. Wall Street Week Ahead: Investors are taking a closer look at the market’s consumer discretionary companies, saying it may be months before consumers return to their previous shopping habits, making it unlikely that the companies will see a pickup in revenues in the near term. Next Friday’s U.S. jobs report is expected to show that the unemployment rate rose to 19.8% in May, smashing April’s record 14.7%, according to a Reuters poll. Overall, retail companies in the S&P 500 are up 12.9% for the year to date, a gain powered largely by Amazon’s 31% rally.
  4. As global infections topped 6 million, the European Union issued a statement asking the U.S. to reconsider its decision to cut ties with the World Health Organization. 
  5. India is extending lockdown restrictions to June 30 in what the home ministry is calling “containment zones,” while allowing restaurants, malls and religious buildings to reopen in other parts of the country.
  6. One of the top Italian doctors said on Sunday that the new coronavirus is losing its potency and has become much less lethal.

Crypto Prices (from CoinMarketCap)
Bitcoin: Down 1.45% to $9,524.75
Total trading volume (24h): $29.45+ billion USD

Ethereum: Down 1.51% to $238.24
Total trading volume (24h): $14.11 billion USD

3 biggest movers 24 hours
Biggest Mover 1: Aitheon (ACU) is up 120.40% to $0.003273
Biggest Mover 2: Nasdacoin (NSD) is up 99.52% to $0.043581
Biggest Loser: Bitball (BTB) is down 65.20% to $0.001631

What Moved Crypto Markets (i.e. digital assets)

  1. China’s Central Party School has published a new book, Discussing Digital Currency with Leading Officials, that according to local media reports touches on topics like central bank digital currency, stablecoins, exchanges and trading, cross-border payments and initial coin offerings. According to the reports, the book describes Libra as a threat to China’s leadership in the global payment system and outlines the country’s plan to push back on it by improving the regulatory framework for digital currency.
  2. French banking giant Societe Generale (SocGen) recently tested tokenized bonds and settled them in digital euros issued by the central bank of France. The bank is working on more such projects, as well as building asset tokenization solutions to help improve liquidity for investors. A spokesperson for the French central bank said that it has built its “internal private blockchain” to test digital euros, but it will test other technologies as well. The Block reports that more banks will tokenize assets in the near future.
  3. The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, or FINMA, has authorized InCore bank to carry out digital assets transactions, allowing customers worldwide to access and transact within the bank. The official announcement represents an important step in creating a blockchain-friendly environment across the EU banking sector. InCore bank becomes the first Swiss business-to-business bank approved to operate within the crypto sphere. The firm now allows the institutional clients to trade, hold, and transfer digital assets. FINMA has also allowed the bank to develop its tokenization capabilities.

Other Specialties
Fintech: US-based startup Marqeta, a card issuing platform, had raised the $150m investment in new capital from a leading institutional investor. Marqeta has since declined to name the investor, although it has been reported by various sources including Forbes, that a source familiar with the matter has named Capital Group. In May 2019, Marqeta announced $260mn equity financing. According to Businesswire, Marqeta is also backed by Goldman Sachs and Visa.
Healthtech: Omada Health, which provides digital tools for people with chronic health conditions to change their behaviour, raised $57 million and spent $30 million of it acquiring Physera. Investors are clamouring to get behind the space, as regulations loosen to make it easier for providers to bill for virtual care visits.
Smart Cities: The race to automate vehicles on China’s roads is heating up. Didi, the Uber of China, announced on Friday an outsized investment of over $500 million in its freshly minted autonomous driving subsidiary. Leading the round — the single largest fundraising round in China’s autonomous driving sector — is its existing investor Softbank, the Japanese telecom giant and startup benefactor that has also backed Uber. As China’s largest ride-hailing provider with mountains of traffic data, Didi clearly has an upper hand in developing robo-taxis, which could help address driver shortages in the long term.
AI: Microsoft is replacing journalists with AI. Between Wednesday and Thursday, roughly 50 staffers received the news that their contracts would not be renewed after their June 30 expiration date. MSN will use AI to perform their previous duties, like re-writing content and some articles. One staff member who worked on the team told The Guardian: “I spend all my time reading about how automation and AI is going to take all our jobs, and here I am – AI has taken my job.”