Listen to the audio:
What Moved Global Markets
– Major Asian markets were mixed on Tuesday as investors monitored further developments on the U.S.-China trade front, with the two economic powerhouses working toward a deal. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said Monday that Washington will consider extending certain tariff exclusions on $34 billion worth of imports from China. Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 scaled a record high as investors stateside cheered strong earnings and optimism on U.S.-China trade. However, an interim US-China trade agreement might not be completed in time for signing in Chile next month as expected.
– The central bank of Argentina has further imposed restrictions on U.S. dollar (USD) purchases to “maintain exchange stability and protect reserves”. Individual Argentinians will now be limited to USD purchases of $200 per month, a steep drop from the previous $10,000 per-month limit, according to a statement published by the central bank on Sunday. Any amount beyond the new limit will require special permission.
What moved Crypto Markets (i.e. digital assets)
– The Xi Pump is in full swing! Derivatives exchange FTX has launched an index of eight popular China-based cryptocurrencies.
– China state media asks investors to stay ‘rational’ and calm (as blockchain-related stocks jumped after Chinese President Xi Jinping publicly supported the technology last week).
– Social trading giant eToro has launched its CopyTrade feature which will allow US users of eToro to automatically copy all the trades of top cryptocurrency traders. The firm has also hired Alec Baldwin to promote the feature.
– Mining giant Bitmain is going through some big restructuring after reports that they allegedly wanted to go for an IPO in the US and the day after their rival Canaan Creative actually filed for an IPO on Nasdaq. Bitmain co-founder and executive director Micree Zhan is abruptly ousted. FT reports that the other co-founder Jihan Wu, who had previously stepped back from his role in the company, came back and organized the coup. “Bitmain’s co-founder, chairman, legal representative and executive director Jihan Wu has decided to dismiss all roles of Ketuan Zhan, effective immediately. Any Bitmain staff shall no longer take any direction from Zhan, or participate in any meeting organized by Zhan”.
– WeChat parent company and Chinese internet giant Tencent has received the green light to draft blockchain-based invoice standards from China’s tax officials. As reported by Global Times, Tencent’s blockchain invoice project was backed by multiple countries including the U.K., Switzerland, Sweden and Brazil, as well as China’s State Administration of Taxation.
Crypto ‘buzz’ Trending in Social Media
Worldwide Google searches for “Bitcoin” (not blockchain!) — currently worth $9,400 — are now near a three-month high, according to Google Trends. Current interest is at the highest level since early August, when BTC price was around $11,700. Notably, three of the top five regions reporting the most searches for the keyword in question are located in Africa.
Fintech: The Korea Internet Security Agency (KISA) will be supporting blockchain-related projects in 2020 with 10.5 billion won, about $9.0 million, in funding, but has ruled out supporting of crypto projects or crypto exchanges.
Healthtech: Facebook on Monday is debuting a new tool, called Preventive Health, that reminds users to get medical checkups, vaccines and tests.
Al: Turns out that Trump blacklisted the world’s most expensive AI startup – SenseTime, whose $7.5 billion valuation is the highest for an AI startup in the world. Interesting article on Japan Times about how the company “continues to thrive”. Trump’s administration is adamant about containing China’s rise, arguing that companies like Huawei steal intellectual property and threaten national security, while startups like SenseTime and Megvii are complicit in human rights violations in the Xinjiang region. (By the way, it’s based in HKSTP)
Smart cities: Asia-Pacific Smart City Panorama Report 2019 is out. The report provides an analysis of smart city dynamics among five key Asia Pacific Cities: Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Seoul.
NexChangeNOW Pick of the Day
“Digital assets are the future. We just need time to get there” – NexChange Interview Series with Alicia Garcia-Herero