NexChangeNOW Daily Briefing – Wednesday Dec 11, 2019

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    What Moved Global Markets
    – It’s a DEAL! Not the one you think, though. Canada, Mexico and the United States have reached an agreement on a new North American free trade deal and they will sign it on Tuesday, but the pact still needs the approval of U.S. and Canadian lawmakers, Mexico’s president said. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said the three countries had agreed on tweaks to labour, steel and aluminium provisions in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
    – The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that U.S. negotiators had asked Chinese officials to commit to some upfront agricultural purchases, while Beijing wants those purchases to be proportional to rollbacks of existing U.S. tariffs. Hence, European stocks recovered some of their early losses on Tuesday, gold prices rose.
    Oil prices slipped for a second straight day on Tuesday as a slowing global demand outlook outweighed OPEC’s deal with associated producers last week to deepen output cuts in 2020.
    – While there’s still a certain level of uncertainty in the air, US-based businesses are reported to be struggling to make crucial investment and hiring decisions given questions about relations with each of the top 10 U.S. trading partners.
    The end of the traditional IPO? Venture capitalists and bankers say that almost every tech company pursuing a public offering is considering a direct listing. GitLab, which has announced plans to go public next year, is leaning towards a direct listing, according to people familiar with the matter. So does Airbnb. Because companies still can’t raise cash in direct listings, many will still choose IPOs, but with less restrictive lockup periods.

    Crypto Prices (from CoinMarketCap)
    Bitcoin: Down 1.85% to $7,275.35
    Total trading volume (24h): $17.59+ billion USD

    Ethereum: Down 0.95% to $146.28
    Total trading volume (24h): $6.72+ billion USD

    3 biggest movers 24 hours
    Biggest Mover 1: Hype Token (HYPE) is up 137.39% to $0.001224
    Biggest Mover 2: ROMToken (ROM) is up 114.45% to $0.000369
    Biggest Loser: Pledge Coin (PLG) is down 76.04% to $0.000734

    What moved Crypto Markets (i.e. digital assets)
    – Remember Telegram’s major $1.7 billion token sale? According to court filings, Telegram told investors it was using Wall Street megabanks BNY Mellon and Credit Suisse to move and store fiat currency it managed to raise.
    – More than 80 banks in Japan have shown interest in joining JPMorgan’s blockchain payments platform, the Interbank Information Network (IIN). Daizaburo Sanai, an executive director at JPMorgan, told Bloomberg in an interview published Tuesday that the number is highest from any single country on the network, which currently has over 360 banks worldwide.
    – A new bitcoin futures fund managed by the $15 billion asset manager Stone Ridge has been approved by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). While firms like Galaxy Digital and VanEck have recently rolled out similarly structured funds, the new fund intends to invest only in cash-settled futures, which addresses regulatory concerns regarding potential market manipulation and has won it a personal endorsement from SEC official Dalia Blass.

    Other Specialties
    Fintech: Tis’ the season for Apple fans. Starting on Tuesday, people who have an Apple Card can buy an iPhone in 24 monthly instalments without paying interest. Under the program, monthly payments for a new iPhone from the Apple Store will get bundled into the minimum Apple Card payment in the iPhone’s Wallet app, Apple said. Apple also announced that it will offer a 6% discount on purchases at its retail stores until the end of December while using the Apple Card, a holiday promotion that is twice the usual discount.
    Healthtech: Proteus Digital Health has spent two decades trying to develop “smart pills” that can be used to tell a smartphone app whether patients have taken their medications. The technology was so promising that, three years ago, investors valued the company at $1.5 billion. But Proteus has struggled to turn its vision into reality and is now desperate for cash after an expected $100 million funding round recently fell through. To preserve enough money to stay afloat, the company furloughed the majority of its employees for about two weeks in November. As 2019 wraps up, Proteus has become the latest Silicon Valley company that’s gone from a one-time high flyer, raising a total of over $500 million, to deep in crisis mode after its partnership with a large pharmaceutical company failed to materialize in a way that could justify its valuation.
    Al: IBM has created an artificial intelligence software system that can do play-by-play and colour commentary of soccer videos. While doing play-by-play, the system tracks players in real-time and can identify passes, crosses and shots on goal. For pre-selected video highlights, it can also incorporate commentary based on statistics and standings drawn from a database, matching the information to whatever is happening in the video.
    Smart cities: Mercedes Benz rolls out robo-taxi service in California. The app-based service would use Mercedes-Benz S-Class cars. A safety driver would still be on board to monitor the vehicle. The service is only available to a small number of people from private organizations. The vehicles will travel between West San Jose and downtown, Daimler said, moving along San Carlos Street and Stevens Creek Boulevard.

    NexChangeNOW Pick of the Day
    Singapore-based blockchain company SpaceChain has launched its bitcoin wallet into space