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What Moved Global Markets
– Morgan Stanley shares jump 7% after massive beat on fourth-quarter profit. The bank said Thursday that fourth-quarter profit surged 46% to $2.24 billion, or $1.30 a share, compared with analysts’ 99 cent estimate. Revenue climbed 27% to $10.86 billion, exceeding the estimate by more than $1 billion. The firm’s smallest division, investment management, exceeded expectations by the most: The business produced $1.36 billion in revenue, almost 100% more than a year earlier and exceeding the $783.2 million estimate by more than half a billion dollars.
– US-China phase one deal brings some market relief, but experts warn uncertainty remains. “There’s a great sense of welcome that the deal was signed and a little bit of relief, naturally, and some measured optimism about how we can move forward,” said Gregory Gilligan, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China. Despite some provisions, Tim Seymour told CNBC it was an “agreement where China got largely what they wanted” and that there’s still a “whole lot of uncertainty.”
– European companies called on European Union policy-makers on Thursday to toughen their approach to China to secure a level playing field for European businesses.
3 biggest movers 24 hours
Biggest Mover 1: Tachyon Protocol (IPX) is up 101.90% to $0.075402
Biggest Mover 2: Futurax (FTXT) is up 84.83% to $0.000003
Biggest Loser: QURA GLOBAL (QURA) is down 96.59% to $0.001623
What moved Crypto Markets (i.e. digital assets)
– Former CFTC Chair Christopher Giancarlo has formed a nonprofit to promote digital dollar. The nonprofit aims to create a “portable” digital dollar, which can be sent “as easily as a text”. Giancarlo said: “A digital dollar would help future-proof the greenback and allow individuals and global enterprises to make payments in dollars irrespective of space and time.”
– Binance.com may soon stop serving Japanese users. The exchange said it will implement a “gradual restriction of trading functions” for Japanese residents “at a later date”. The move appears to be similar to Binance’s U.S. initiative.
– Cryptocurrency exchange and custodian Gemini has launched a “captive” insurance company, dubbed “Nakamoto.” Captive insurance is an alternative to self-insurance in which a company creates a licensed insurance company to provide coverage for itself. Gemini’s Nakamoto is licensed by the Bermuda Monetary Authority, according to an announcement published Thursday. Nakamoto will provide $200 million worth of coverage to Gemini customers for assets held in offline or “cold” wallets. Gemini said it is the “largest” limit of insurance cover currently available by any crypto custodian in the world.
Fintech: A newly launched fintech firm hopes to leverage the token sale model to back investments in real-world assets. But it’s taking a different approach than many previous projects. Hong Kong-based Two Prime – recently founded by open-source veteran Marc Fleury – calls the sale a Continuous Token Offering (CTO), as opposed to an initial coin offering (ICO) in which most tokens are sold early on. The goal is to use the funds raised to help make crypto a proper new asset class that appeals more to the financial world. The firm will release an initial five million tokens (just five percent of the 100 million to be created in total) onto the secondary markets, with the rest being released over the next 10 years. That’s similar to the approach taken by Ripple with its XRP sales, and the firm said the process resembles equity fundraising. Two Prime’s FF Accretive Token (FF1) will initially to be traded on Japan-based crypto exchange Liquid in late February, starting at $3 per token, the firm said.
Healthtech: Researchers have created a virtual reality clinic to make it easier for stroke survivors to attend their physical and occupational therapy sessions. Results from a proof-of-concept study suggest that the technology – and the social connection it facilitates – are effective at encouraging therapy participation.
Al: Apple has purchased a little-known artificial-intelligence company for a reported $200 million. According to GeekWire, the acquired company, Xnor.ai, is a Seattle-based startup that specializes in low-power, edge-based artificial-intelligence tools. Apple recently acquired a similar startup called Spectral Edge, a British startup that used machine learning to dramatically enhance the quality of photos that could be taken on the iPhone camera.
Smart cities: The European Investment Bank has provided Estonia’s taxi app Bolt with a $56 million venture loan – to literally compete with Uber. The financing will be used by Bolt to invest in ride-hailing and food delivery — key services also offered by Uber. Competition between Bolt and Uber has heated up after the latter was blocked from operating in London.
NexChangeNOW Pick of the Day
Former Fed Chair Janet Yellen at the AFF 2020