What Moved Global Markets
– Coronavirus update: The virus spreads quite fast outside China: Germany said on Wednesday that it was heading for a coronavirus epidemic and could no longer trace all cases, as the number of new infections inside China – the source of the outbreak – was for the first time overtaken by those elsewhere. Asia reported hundreds of new cases, Brazil confirmed Latin America’s first infection and the new disease also hit Pakistan, Greece and Algeria. Global food conglomerate Nestle suspended all business travel until March 15.
– Norway’s Public Health Agency (FHI) said on Wednesday that one person had tested positive for coronavirus and was being kept isolated at home, in what was the country’s first confirmed case. Iraq banned all public gatherings and barred entry by travellers from Kuwait and Bahrain, the health minister said on Wednesday, banning travel to or from a total of nine countries as fears grew over the spread of the coronavirus.
– Stock markets across the world lost $3.3 trillion of value in four days of trading, as measured by the MSCI all-country index, but on Wednesday Wall Street led something of a rebound. U.S. health authorities, managing 59 cases so far, have said a global pandemic is likely, but President Donald Trump accused two cable TV channels that frequently criticise him of “doing everything possible to make (the coronavirus) look as bad as possible, including panicking markets”.
– Oil prices fell to their lowest in more than a year on Wednesday.
What moved Crypto Markets (i.e. digital assets)
– Ripple takes over the world with its payment services: it has added three new customers in South Korea who will utilize its blockchain-based payments network RippleNet. The deals have been signed with money transfer firms Sentbe, Hanpass and WireBarley, Ripple announced Tuesday. These firms aim to facilitate faster and cheaper cross-border payments via RippleNet.
– Remittance company MoneyGram has received $11.3 million from Ripple during the last two quarters of 2019, according to newly-published SEC filings. The filings characterize it as a “benefit” from Ripple to the tune of $8.9 million during the fourth quarter of 2019 and $2.4 million in the third quarter. According to an earnings call conducted on Tuesday by MoneyGram, the benefit appears to be derived from MoneyGram’s use of RippleNet. Lawrence Angelilli, MoneyGram’s CFO, said on the call that “as we’ve discussed in the past MoneyGram receives a market development fee based on the volume of foreign exchange that we transact on Ripple’s platform.” MoneyGram CEO Alex Holmes said during the earnings call that the remittance firm will continue to expand its use of Ripple’s platform in the coming year.
– The CBDC saga continues: The Bank of Canada has issued a contingency plan to prepare for scenarios that could warrant the launch of its own digital currency. While the central bank does not see a “compelling” case to issue a Canadian digital dollar at this time, it wants to build the capacity to launch retail, cash-like digital currency should the need for one ever arise. The central bank has identified two scenarios where it could decide to issue digital currency: firstly, if the use of physical cash is reduced or eliminated altogether, and second, if private cryptocurrencies were to make serious inroads.
– The IOTA network has been down for approximately 2 weeks and the IOTA Foundation doesn’t expect the mainnet to be reactivated until March 2. The webpage still warns IOTA’s mainnet is “not operational” and there’s a number of updates from the developers about the alleged Trinity wallet exploit.
Fintech: This morning it was announced that the UK will be the third market to introduce eBay’s new managed payments experience. eBay will expand its management of payments to the UK, in line with its corporate strategy to globalise and streamline services. The service, which will be rolled out this summer, will seek to provide more flexibility and options in payment methods. New payment methods will include credit card, Google Pay and PayPal, as well as Apple Pay for payments made through iPhones and iPads. The UK will be the third market to offer this experience, following on from the US and Germany.
Healthtech: Germany passed the Digital Care Act, which supports and further accelerates the digitalisation of the country’s healthcare system. The legislation creates numerous opportunities for health tech companies looking to enter the German market. For example, under the new laws, doctors are not only allowed to prescribe accredited digital health apps; their costs are covered by the statutory health insurance system.
AI: Clearview AI, a startup that compiles billions of photos for facial recognition technology, said it lost its entire client list to hackers. The company said it has patched the unspecified flaw that allowed the breach to happen. In a notification sent to customers obtained by Daily Beast, Clearview AI said that an intruder “gained unauthorized access” to its customer list, which includes police forces, law enforcement agencies and banks. The company said that the person didn’t obtain any search histories conducted by customers, which include some police forces.
Smart cities: Self-driving car companies in California covered nearly 2.9 million miles on public roads during 2019, the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles said on Wednesday. The data is part of California regulators’ annual so-called “disengagement reports”, which track how often a human driver must intervene to take control from a self-driving system during testing on public roads.
NexChangeNOW Pick of the Day
CryptoKitties Maker Signs Deal With the UFC