NexChangeNOW Daily Briefing – Friday Jan 31, 2020

Listen to the audio:

What Moved Global Markets
– Coronavirus cases top 8,200 — surpassing 2003 SARS outbreak in less than a month. The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday it was declaring the China coronavirus outbreak that has killed 170 people in China a global emergency, as cases spread to 18 countries. It could also further spook markets, already shuddering at the ripple effects of damage to China’s economy. Global stocks tumbled on Thursday, while the yuan hit its lowest this year and oil prices slid.
– U.S. health officials confirmed on Thursday the nation’s first person-to-person transmission of the coronavirus. Costa Cruises is holding 6,000 passengers aboard the Costa Smeralda near Italy after a Chinese woman came down with a fever, raising concern that she may have the virus.

Crypto Prices (from CoinMarketCap)
Bitcoin: Up 1.82% to $9,434.63
Total trading volume (24h): $31.76+ billion USD

Ethereum: Up 5.38% to $183.15
Total trading volume (24h): $12.38+ billion USD

3 biggest movers 24 hours
Biggest Mover 1: WHEN Token (WHEN) is up 130.66% to $0.005356
Biggest Mover 2: ExtStock Token (XT) is up 127.67% to $0.016341
Biggest Loser: CloakCoin (CLOAK) is down 68.41% to $0.748037

What moved Crypto Markets (i.e. digital assets)
– Two leading manufacturers of crypto mining hardware,  Bitmain and Canaan, notified customers their shipments would be delayed at least a week because of the coronavirus quarantine in China.
– Cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex has added margin trading for tether gold (XAU₮). Starting Jan. 30, the exchange will support margin trading for XAU₮ with trading pairs for the US dollar, USD, and bitcoin. The margin feature will require initial equity of 20% and offer up to 5x leverage, according to a press statement.
– Tether Ltd., the company behind USDT, released XAU₮ on Jan. 23, with each token representing ownership of one troy fine ounce of physical gold held in a Switzerland vault. The stablecoin is available as an ERC-20 token on the Ethereum blockchain and a TRC20 token on the TRON blockchain.
– Bittrex has insured digital assets held in its cold (or offline) storage to up to $300 million, the highest coverage yet offered by a cryptocurrency exchange.  The company announced the news Thursday, saying it has obtained digital asset insurance that will protect users’ holdings in cases of “external theft and internal collusion.”

Other Specialties
Fintech: The Bank of Japan is getting ready to issue a digital currency if situations warrant. “The speed of technical innovation is very fast. Depending on how things unfold in the world of settlement systems, public demand for CBDCs [central bank digital currencies] could soar in Japan. We must be prepared to respond if that happens,” deputy governor Masayoshi Amamiya said in a seminar on Thursday.
Healthtech & AI: Microsoft announced a new five-year, $40 million artificial-intelligence initiative geared toward global health challenges and research. Dubbed AI for Health, the program will work to equip academia and non-profit research organizations for their medical research efforts, including the development of diagnostics, treatments and preventive measures. It also aims to address global health crises and healthcare disparities. The tech giant hopes to tackle the uneven distribution of data science expertise as well: Microsoft estimates that less than 5% of the world’s AI professionals work in healthcare and non-profit organizations.

The new program will build upon the company’s previous collaborations, like individual efforts focused on sudden infant death syndrome, leprosy and diabetic retinopathy, as well as its work on developing a secure system for sharing biomedical data.
Smart cities: During the 2019 ASEAN Summit, Thailand introduced the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) initiative to transform three Thai provinces into smart cities – which has turned out to be a success. With the aim to create a centre for trade, investment, regional transportation, and a strategic gateway to Asia – Thailand is confident that it would promote a seamless ASEAN. In accordance to Thailand 4.0, the country aims to achieve 100 smart cities by 2022, and now that goal is getting closer following the partnership between City Possible global network and Thai government agency, Digital Economy Promotion Agency (depa). Pioneered by Mastercard, 27 Thai smart cities had been inducted into the City Possible program which is designed to make technology work for people by aligning key stakeholders to address urban issues.

NexChangeNOW Pick of the Day
SEC: Unlike Donuts, Telegram’s Grams ‘Have No Intrinsic Value’