NexChangeNOW Daily Briefing – Friday Dec 20, 2019

Listen to the audio:

What Moved Global Markets
– The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to impeach President Donald Trump after 10 hours of partisan debate. Trump becomes only the third president, joining Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson, to be formally impeached by Congress. Trump has been impeached over allegations he tried to use military aid to pressure Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky into investigating his political rival Joe Biden, who is a frontrunner to take on Trump in the 2020 election. Will Donald Trump be removed from office? It is extremely unlikely. Now he has been impeached by the lower house of Congress, which is controlled by the Democrats, he will face a trial by the Senate. In order for Trump — who has more support in Republican Party circles — to be removed from office, it would take a two-thirds majority of Senators to vote against him. It is likely that the trial will be moved to 2020.
The stock market is ignoring Trump’s impeachment. The impeachment should not have any negative impacts on fiscal or monetary policy, but may have brought some positive developments, like the China trade deal and bipartisan support for a new NAFTA.
– The market is however fueled by the US-China trade deal update: Wall Street hit all-time highs again on Thursday as U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said an initial U.S.-China trade deal would be signed in early January.

Crypto Prices (from CoinMarketCap)
Bitcoin: Down 0.99% to $7,179.97
Total trading volume (24h): $24.55+ billion USD

Ethereum: Down 1.50% to $128.51
Total trading volume (24h): $9.02+ billion USD

3 biggest movers 24 hours
Biggest Mover 1: Orchid (OXT) is up 113.80% to $0.644564
Biggest Mover 2: CryCash (CRC) is up 67.36% to $0.059637
Biggest Loser: Global Digital Content (GDC) is down 68.64% to $0.000285

What moved Crypto Markets (i.e. digital assets)
– Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has proposed creating a cryptocurrency for Muslim countries as an alternative to the US dollar. Rouhani said the U.S. has used economic sanctions as the “main tools of domineering hegemony and bullying” of other nations. Last month, BRICS nations also proposed creating a cryptocurrency for settling payment transactions between the group.
– Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has been granted a U.S. patent for an invention that makes sending bitcoin as easy as email, literally. The patent, granted on Tuesday and filed in March 2015, details a system for users to make cryptocurrency payments with email addresses linked to corresponding wallet addresses. The sender makes a request to send cryptocurrency to an email address, and the system automatically transmits the agreed amount – so long as they have the required balance – from the sender’s wallet to the wallet corresponding to the receiver’s email address. The system takes 48 hours for the transaction to clear, once the receiver has confirmed the payment. Cryptocurrencies not in use would be stored in a secure vault that can only be accessed by the email address linked to the corresponding wallet.

Other Specialties
Fintech: Goldman Sachs leads $15M investment in Indian fintech startup ZestMoney. Bangalore-based ZestMoney announced today that it has raised $15 million from Goldman Sachs and existing investors. ZestMoney assesses data and uses AI to help the unbanked people build a profile and become credit-worthy. The startup has partnered with more than 3,000 merchants including Flipkart, Amazon and Paytm to offer financing options to customers at point-of-sale. It has amassed more than 6 million users, who can access credit of $140 to $3,000. The startup, which maintains partnership with nearly every online payments processor in the nation, including Razorpay, BillDesk, Cashfree, CCAvenue and PayU, has also made a push in the brick and mortar market by inking deals with Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi and Pine Labs, which has deployed over 300,000 point-of-sale machines across the country.
Healthtech: Healthtech developments in APAC – A 2019 Review.
Al: YouTube has premiered a Robert Downey Jr-fronted series that seeks to demystify artificial intelligence. The documentary – produced by the actor in partnership with his wife Susan – is one of the platform’s highest-profile and biggest-budgeted factual commissions to date. The first episode of the Age of AI centres on a digitally-created, AI-powered baby. The Baby X project, led by special-effects artist Mark Sagar, aims to teach a digital infant via a virtual brain powered by neural networks. The second episode focuses on AI and healthcare, a controversial area Google is heavily invested in.
Smart cities: Another legal blow for Uber in Europe: A regional court in Frankfurt has banned the company from sending ride-hailing requests to rental car companies via its app — with the court finding multiple competition violations. The ruling, over Uber’s dispatching process, follows a legal challenge brought by a German taxi association. In Germany, Uber’s ride-hailing business works exclusively with professional and licensed private-hire vehicle (PHV) companies — whose drivers and cars have the necessary licenses and permits to transport passengers. So the court ban essentially outlaws Uber’s current model in the country — unless it’s able to make changes to come into compliance.

NexChangeNOW Pick of the Day
NVIDIA Unveils ‘Highly Advanced’ Processor for Autonomous Vehicles and Robots