NexChangeNOW Daily Briefing – Monday March 02, 2020

Listen in:

What Moved Global Markets
Coronavirus update: Leaders in Europe, the Middle East and the Americas rolled out bans on big gatherings and stricter travel restrictions as cases of the new coronavirus spread around the world. The United States on Saturday reported its first death from the disease. Ecuador on Saturday reported its first case, in a woman who had travelled from Madrid, while Mexico reported four cases, all in people who had visited Italy. Brazilian officials confirmed the country’s second case. More than 700 tourists remain quarantined at a hotel in the Canary Islands, after several Italian guests there tested positive for coronavirus.
Louvre in Paris was closed on Sunday.
– Schools and universities in Italy, which is experiencing Europe’s worst outbreak of the disease, will stay closed for a second consecutive week in three northern regions. The country has reported more than 1,100 cases and 29 deaths. 
– In Iran authorities have also banned visits to hospitals and nursing homes as the country’s caseload hit nearly 600. One Iranian lawmaker, elected in Feb. 21 polls, has died from the disease along with more than 40 other Iranians, and several high-ranking officials have tested positive for the virus. Azerbaijan said on Saturday it had closed its border with Iran for two weeks.
– Shares of Saudi Aramco hit 32.50 riyals ($8.66) in intraday trade on Sunday, the lowest since it began trading in December following a record initial public offering, as oil prices plunged amid worries about the global spread of the coronavirus.
US elections: Democratic U.S. presidential front-runner Bernie Sanders raised $46.5 million in February, his campaign said on Sunday. The donations in February bring Sanders’ total haul since he entered the race to $167 million. The announcement came the day after former Vice President Joe Biden scored a decisive victory over Sanders in South Carolina. That was the fourth nominating contest in the state-by-state Democratic race to pick a challenger to Republican President Donald Trump in the Nov. 3 election. The race for the Democratic nomination is entering a more urgent phase. On Tuesday, 14 states will hold contests and award a third of the available delegates who will determine the eventual nominee. Ten more states vote in the subsequent two weeks.

Crypto Prices (from CoinMarketCap)
Bitcoin: Up 0.74% to $8,633.69
Total trading volume (24h): $36.25+ billion USD

Ethereum: Down 0.05% to $220.81
Total trading volume (24h): $18.11+ billion USD

3 biggest movers 24 hours
Biggest Mover 1: Egoras Dollar (EUSD) is up 328.96% to $1.06
Biggest Mover 2: Sirin Labs Token (SRN) is up 148.32% to $0.017367
Biggest Loser: Acute Angle Cloud (AAC) is down 67.94% to $0.007149

What moved Crypto Markets (i.e. digital assets)
– Gold broadly succumbed to the sell-offs affecting traditional markets due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Between Feb. 24 and Feb. 29, XAU/USD lost a total of 7.3% before a slight rebound. The fragile performance puts gold roughly on par with “digital gold,” Bitcoin, the weekly losses for which currently stand at around 9%. After rebounding from 4-week lows of $8,450, the largest cryptocurrency returned to its forecast average price and has since attempted to reclaim its 200-day moving average near $8,800.
– Decentralized exchanges (DEX) on Ethereum just recorded their highest monthly trading volume. In February 2020, DEXs logged over $372M in trading volume, a 62% increase from the month prior. February’s volume overtook the previous all-time-high volume of $358M in July 2019.
– Crypto exchange Bitstamp, recognized as one of the 10 exchanges with “real” trading volumes by Bitwise, has added full support for SegWit (bech32) bitcoin addresses. The move will allow Bitstamp’s users to generate new bitcoin deposit addresses in bech32 format, as well as to withdraw bitcoin in such addresses. Segregated Witness or SegWit technology is an optional protocol upgrade to blockchain networks, which help accommodate more transactions in one block (1MB size) and thereby help reduce fees per transaction.
– Japanese messaging giant LINE closed its Singapore crypto exchange BITBOX and has launched a global platform called BITFRONT. BITFRONT is based in the U.S. and currently supports trading in five coins, including bitcoin and ether. A LINE spokesperson said that BITFRONT is currently not available for users in New York, Hawaii and Nevada. With today’s launch, LVC Corporation now operates two exchanges – global platform BITFRONT and BITMAX in Japan, which was launched in 2018.

Other Specialties
Fintech: The UAE Banks Federation, a body representing 53 lenders in the country, formed new committees to promote governance and the transformation of the banking sector in the UAE. The representative body formed two technical committees on FinTech and consumer protection along with three advisory committees on compliance, risk and information security, it said in a statement on Sunday.
Healthtech: Amazon has banned more than one million products which claim to protect against the coronavirus – or even cure it. The online retailer told Reuters it had also removed “tens of thousands” of overpriced health products from unscrupulous sellers. The World Health Organisation (WHO) expressed concern about some misleading Amazon listings earlier this month, including fake treatments.
AI: Coinbase was among a large group of companies that tested facial recognition software from Clearview AI. Clearview has provided services to more than 2,200 entities, including Wells Fargo and Bank of America as well as law enforcement agencies. The startup has attracted considerable controversy and is currently facing legal threats from social media giants like Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube for collecting images without user consent.
Smart cities: Pedestrian deaths in 2019 hit their highest rate since 1988, according to a new projection from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). Based on data from the first six months of the year, GHSA is projecting that 6,590 pedestrian fatalities occurred last year in the U.S., a 5% increase from 2018. The report found most pedestrian fatalities took place on local roads, at night and outside of intersections, which GHSA said shows “the need for safer road crossings and increased efforts to make pedestrians and vehicles more visible.” Over the past decade, nighttime pedestrian fatalities have increased by 67%, compared to a 16% increase in daytime fatalities, according to the report. Unsafe driving behaviours such as speeding, distracted and drowsy driving are also to blame, GHSA said. The association noted that the number of pedestrian crashes involving an SUV has climbed by 81% over the past decade, while crashes involving passenger cars have seen a 53% increase.

NexChangeNOW Pick of the Day
CCP Exec: ICOs and Crypto Trading Should Be Banned in the Future