What Moved Global Markets
– Coronavirus update: Seventy new coronavirus cases were confirmed on board the Diamond Princess quarantined cruise ship in Japan, bringing the total on the ship to 355, by far the largest cluster of cases outside China. Within China, authorities reported 2,009 new cases on Sunday, noting that this was down from more than 2,600 the previous day. They said this showed their efforts to halt the spread of the virus were bearing fruit. “The effect of the coronavirus controls is appearing,” Mi Feng, spokesman for the Health Commission, told reporters. The new cases brought the total to 68,500 in mainland China, with 1,665 deaths, including 143 fatalities reported on Sunday. Outside China, more than 500 cases have been confirmed, mostly of people who travelled from Chinese cities, with five deaths.
– An 80-year-old Chinese tourist has died of the coronavirus in France, becoming the first fatality in Europe. France has recorded 12 cases of the virus.
– Investors are edging back into emerging markets, even though worries about the coronavirus’ impact on global economic growth have clouded prospects for the boom-and-bust asset class. Nearly $730 million flowed back into emerging markets exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in the past week, according to Lipper, after two straight weeks of outflows that accompanied sharp declines in the stocks and currencies of developing countries.
What moved Crypto Markets (i.e. digital assets)
– Bitcoin price has fallen further dropping about $300 – to $9.6K – in less than one hour on Sunday.
– Coinbase Commerce has integrated DAI as a payment option for its merchant customer base. According to Coinbase’s press statement, merchants on the Coinbase Commerce platform now have the option to accept payments in DAI. They can use the platform dashboard to link their stores to a Coinbase Commerce checkout or do it in-person using the point-of-sale interface. Merchants do not need to pay any fees to use Coinbase Commerce.
– Binance announced that it is about to launch a new futures product tracking crypto-asset NEO. The NEO/USDT futures will be launched on Feb. 17 and traders will be able to select leverage between 1x and 50x. The fees that the exchange imposes on trades of the contract in question are a 2% base initial margin rate, 1% base maintenance margin rate and a 0.5% liquidation fee.
Fintech: Remittances giant MoneyGram announced a new service allowing real-time money sending, but the solutions of its blockchain partner Ripple are not involved. MoneyGram recently announced FastSend, a new service that allows its customers to send money in real-time to a phone number via a dedicated website or mobile application. Surprisingly MoneyGram’s latest product does not make use of Ripple’s technology. FastSend uses Visa’s Direct Original Credit Transaction to deliver funds to bank accounts through Debit card deposit. While DLT is not involved, the dedicated website and app make use of an open-source cloud-based microservices.
Healthtech: Microsoft founder Bill Gates thinks artificial intelligence and gene therapy are the two technologies with the greatest power to change lives. In a speech Friday at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Gates said AI can “make sense of complex biological systems,” while gene-based tools have the potential to cure AIDS. Gates said the most exciting part of AI “is how it can help us make sense of complex biological systems and accelerate the discovery of therapeutics to improve health in the poorest countries.” Gene-editing technologies will meanwhile help with vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics, Gates said.
AI: Artificial Intelligence systems that companies claim can “read” facial expressions are based on outdated science and risks being unreliable and discriminatory, one of the world’s leading experts on the psychology of emotion has warned. Lisa Feldman Barrett, professor of psychology at Northeastern University, said that such technologies appear to disregard a growing body of evidence undermining the notion that the basic facial expressions are universal across cultures. As a result, such technologies – some of which are already being deployed in real-world settings – run the risk of being unreliable or discriminatory, she said.
Smart cities: A German court on Sunday ordered Tesla Inc to stop clearing forest land near Berlin to build Gigafactory, its first European car and battery factory, a victory for local environmental activists.
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