What Moved Global Markets
– Coronavirus update: China reported on Wednesday its lowest number of new coronavirus cases in two weeks, bolstering a forecast by Beijing’s senior medical adviser for the outbreak there to end by April, but U.N. health authorities warned it could still “go in any direction”.
– All three major U.S. stock averages reached record highs on Wednesday.
– The fast-spreading coronavirus is starting to disrupt testing of experimental medicines in China, posing a threat to plans by global drugmakers that have invested billions of dollars to harness the potential of the Asian economic powerhouse. The U.S. clinical trials database lists nearly 500 studies with a site in the city of Wuhan, which has endured the brunt of an outbreak that has killed more than 1,100 people and infected more than 44,000 in China. About 20% of global trials are now conducted in China, up from about 10% just five years ago, according to GlobalData Plc. China has imposed a virtual lockdown on Wuhan and severely restricted travel in its wider province of Hubei and some other cities. While it is too early in the outbreak first detected in December to fully assess its impact on clinical trials, if it goes on much longer the pharmaceutical industry’s China strategy is likely to be disrupted.
– Gucci and other luxury labels expect smaller crowds at their catwalk shows this month, with Chinese buyers and influencers set to miss the major marketing fixture.
3 biggest movers 24 hours
Biggest Mover 1: SophiaTX (SPHTX) is up 156.36% to $0.004142
Biggest Mover 2: Fox Trading (FOXT) is up 123.90% to $0.008931
Biggest Loser: eosDAC (EOSDAC) is down 51.51% to $0.009850
What moved Crypto Markets (i.e. digital assets)
– Coinbase announced Wednesday that it takes another swing at supporting margin trading after it suspended the functionality in 2017 following a flash crash in the price of ether. The precipitous drop dragged ETH’s price down to 10 cents from more than $300 in a matter of milliseconds. Starting Wednesday, certain clients of the exchange will be able to trade with as much as 3x leverage.
– Authereum, a platform for onboarding users to decentralized apps or DApps, has gone live on the Ethereum network following a $1.1 million seed round from investors including Coinbase Ventures and Synapse Capital.
– After eight months of development, the team announced on Wednesday the launch of the Authereum platform. The startup closed its seed round in mid-January, according to its co-founder Chris Whinfrey, when it raised $1.1 million from 1confirmation, Coinbase Ventures, Republic Labs, Synapse Capital, as well as a group of angel investors.
– Stablecoins issuer Tether added a compliance tool from blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis to track suspicious transactions in “real-time”. Chainalysis’ Know Your Transaction (KYT) software has been integrated with Tether to monitor transactions and “quickly understand the risk profile of each token holder,” according to an announcement Wednesday. The tool will look for potentially criminal or otherwise illicit activity.
Fintech: The National Bank of Egypt (NBE), the country’s biggest bank by total assets, has joined Ripple’s blockchain-based payments network RippleNet. NBE has signed a co-operation agreement with Ripple and is claiming to be the first bank in Egypt to use blockchain technology, local newspaper Youm7 reported Tuesday. The bank is seeking to facilitate faster and cheaper cross-border payments via RippleNet. Egypt is one of the top five remittance recipient countries, according to figures from the World Bank. Migrants sent $29 billion worth of funds in 2018 alone to the Middle East country.
Healthtech: Researchers from Israel and Italy are collaborating on a space project to examine the resistance of bacteria that cause human diseases. The study, planned for March, will see four experiments conducted remotely on a nanosatellite, provided by Israeli company SpacePharma. Scientists will examine the influence of antibacterial materials on bacteria in zero-gravity conditions. It is hoped the results will help with the development of new means to prevent and treat antibiotic-resistant infections.
AI: New Zealand Police has recruited an unusual new officer to the force: an AI cop called Ella. Ella is a life-like virtual assistant that uses real-time animation to emulate face-to-face interaction in an empathetic way. Its first day of work will be next Monday, when Ella will be stationed in the lobby of the force’s national headquarters in Wellington. Its chief duties there will be welcoming visitors to the building, telling staff that they’ve arrived, and directing them to collect their passes. It can also talk to visitors about certain issues, such as the force’s non-emergency number and police vetting procedures. After three months on the job, Ella’s future on the force will be evaluated.
Smart cities: Eight London tech start-ups have been shortlisted for funding from the UK capital’s Civic Innovation Challenge. This year’s challenge, delivered in partnership with Microsoft and the Social Tech Trust, was to come up with solutions to help make the planning system more accessible and to counter violent extremism online. More than 125 entrants were whittled down to the eight finalists in the second round of mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s Civic Innovation Challenge. They will now work with City Hall and the Metropolitan Police Service to develop their proposals to help tackle these key challenges facing the city.
Two winners – one per category – will each be awarded a contract worth £40,000.
NexChangeNOW Pick of the Day
London-Based AI Fund SkyMind Sets Its Sights on Southeast Asia