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What Moved Global Markets
– US-China trade deal: DONE! The “phase one” U.S.-China trade deal will nearly double U.S. exports to China over the next two years and is “totally done” despite the need for translation and revisions to its text, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Sunday. He said there would be some routine “scrubs” to the text but “this is totally done, absolutely.” The deal, announced on Friday after more than two and a half years of on-and-off negotiations between Washington and Beijing, will reduce some U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods in exchange for increased Chinese purchases of U.S. agricultural, manufactured and energy products by some $200 billion over the next two years. China has also pledged in the agreement to better protect U.S. intellectual property, to curb the coerced transfer of American technology to Chinese firms, to open its financial services market to U.S. firms and to avoid manipulation of its currency. Chinese purchases of agricultural goods are expected to increase to $40 billion to $50 billion annually over the next two years.
– U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Saturday a “phase one” trade deal between the United States and China was “very good” for global economic growth and shall boost it.
– Meanwhile, The Office of the United States Trade Representative publishes a list of additional European goods, including Irish and Scotch whiskies, it’s now considering for 100% tariffs amid the fallout of its high-profile dispute with Airbus. The World Trade Organization in October backed a U.S. request to impose tariffs in response to what the U.S. deemed illegal subsidies to Airbus.
What moved Crypto Markets (i.e. digital assets)
– Fidelity Digital Assets considers rolling out Ether support in 2020 – if there is sufficient demand for it. During an interview with industry news outlet TheBlock published on Dec. 13, Tom Jessop, the president of Fidelity Digital Assets, answered questions about the firm. When asked about the possibility Fidelity Digital Asset may support Ether in the future, he said: “We’ve done a lot of work on Ethereum. We intend to support it in the New Year. We’re very led by our clients.”
– The first victim of the new EU AML regulation. Three months after raising a $2 million seed round, cryptocurrency payments startup Bottle Pay announced on Friday it is shutting down due to regulatory pressure from the European Union (EU). In a blog post, the UK-based firm said it will cease operating on Dec. 31 at 13:00 GMT due to concerns over EU’s 5th Anti-Money-Laundering-Directive (5AMLD), which is set to take effect in January 2020. Bottle Pay stated in the blog post that it strongly disagrees with the new regulation’s KYC rules and thinks these requirements would “alter the current user experience so radically, and so negatively, that we are not willing to force this onto our community.”
– Hacker steals $6.7 million worth of tokens from VeChain Foundation, the nonprofit behind the construction of the VeChain public blockchain platform. The company believes that the hack was the result of human oversight on the part of its finance and auditing teams. They said it does not reflect any inherent flaw in its standard procedures or hardware wallet solutions.
Fintech: PayPal is suing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for requiring the firm to make “misleading and confusing” disclosures about its fees. The digital payments giant filed a lawsuit against the CFPB on Dec. 11, arguing that the agency has ignored critical differences between digital wallets and prepaid products like prepaid debit cards (GPR). According to a Dec. 11 court filing seen by Cointelegraph, the CFPB mandates that digital wallets and GPR cards should be regulated the same way, which allegedly resulted in a “fundamentally ill-suited” regulatory regime for PayPal digital wallets. Specifically, the lawsuit refers to a new CFPB rule known as the “Prepaid Accounts Under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (Regulation E) and the Truth in Lending Act (Regulation Z) Rule.” Adopted in April 2019, the rule allegedly requires PayPal to provide disclosures about fees that the company does not charge as well as misrepresent the actual fees paid by most customers, the firm claimed.
Healthtech: Ibex Medical Analytics, an Israel-based startup focused on AI-powered cancer diagnostics and the KSM Research and Innovation Institute at Maccabi Healthcare Services, announced the deployment of the Ibex Second Read System for breast at Maccabi’s pathology institute, the largest pathology lab in Israel. According to Ibex, their Second Read System is the first-ever system that detects and grades cancer in breast biopsies. The system uses an AI-powered algorithm to analyze cases in parallel to pathologists. The pathologists’ diagnoses and the algorithm’s findings are then compared, alerting in case of discrepancies with high clinical importance (e.g. a missed cancer).
Al: Israel-based startup develops ‘self-healing’ cars powered by machine learning and AI. Aurora Labs has made a proactive and remote system to detect and fix potential vehicle malfunctions, and update and validate in-car software without any downtime. Similar to silent updates automatically implemented by smartphone applications car manufacturers will be able to update and continuously improve software running on connected vehicles.
Smart cities: The U.S. auto safety agency said Friday it will investigate a 12th Tesla crash that may be tied to the vehicle’s advanced Autopilot driver assistance system after a Tesla Model 3 rear-ended a parked police car in Connecticut on Saturday.
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