NexChangeNOW Daily Briefing – Wednesday March 04, 2020

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    What Moved Global Markets
    Coronavirus update: There are almost 91,000 cases globally of which more than 80,000 are in China. Infections have appeared in 77 other countries and territories, with Ukraine the latest to report its first case. China’s death toll was 2,943, with more than 125 fatalities elsewhere.
    – Iran has had 77 deaths, the highest number outside China, and 2,336 confirmed infections, the health ministry said on Tuesday. 
    – The death toll in Italy, Europe’s worst-affected country, jumped to 79 on Tuesday and the number of confirmed cases passed 2,000. France reported its fourth coronavirus death.
    – The worst outbreak outside China is in South Korea, where President Moon Jae-in declared war on the virus, ordering additional hospital beds and more masks as cases rose by 600 to nearly 5,000, with 34 deaths. 
    – In the United States, the virus is now believed to be present in at least four communities in the Pacific Northwest. Six people have died in an outbreak in Seattle. 
    – The U.S. Federal Reserve cut interest rates on Tuesday in an emergency move to shield the world’s largest economy from the impact of the coronavirus, as Group of Seven finance officials pledged unspecified “appropriate” policy moves. 
    – U.S. stock markets fell sharply on Tuesday on worries that even a half percentage-point cut in interest rates might not be enough to stave off the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak and halt the worst sell-off in more than a decade.
    – Global stocks suffered a rout last week on fears that the disruption to supply chains, factory output and global travel caused by the epidemic could deal a serious blow to a world economy trying to recover from the U.S.-China trade war.
    US Elections: In Super Tuesday nominating contests across 14 states, from Maine in the East to the delegate-rich prize of California in the West, the Democratic battle to find a challenger to Republican President Donald Trump in the Nov. 3. Bernie Sanders looked to take command as polls opened. A candidate needs at least 1,991 delegates to the party’s national convention in July to win the Democratic nomination outright.

    Crypto Prices (from CoinMarketCap)
    Bitcoin: Down 0.43% to $8,812.99
    Total trading volume (24h): $42.35+ billion USD

    Ethereum: Down 1.28% to $226.96
    Total trading volume (24h): $20.06+ billion USD

    3 biggest movers 24 hours
    Biggest Mover 1: BOSAGORA (BOA) is up 69.89% to $0.113825
    Biggest Mover 2: Electronic Energy Coin (E2C) is up 49.52% to $0.018593
    Biggest Loser: ChronoCoin (CRN) is down 64.29% to $0.003699

    What moved Crypto Markets (i.e. digital assets)
    – Steemit and TRON have moved to reverse a recent blockchain soft fork that sought to reduce their ability to sway governance decisions, according to a blog post. The effort was seemingly assisted by crypto exchanges Binance, Huobi, Poloniex and other exchanges, as tokens held by those firms were used by Tron and Steemit to overturn the soft fork and maintain control over the Steem network for at least 4 to 6 weeks. The “hostile takeover” has angered community members, prompting some developers to pull back their Steem-related apps and making them accuse the exchanges of using customer deposits to facilitate the move. 
    – Vitalik Buterin, a co-founder of ethereum, also chimed in and gave his interpretation of the incident. “Apparently Steem DPOS got taken over by big exchanges voting with depositors’ funds,” he tweeted. “Seems like the first big instance of a ‘de facto bribe attack’ on coin voting (the bribe being exchs giving holders convenience and taking their votes.” TRON founder Justin Sun stood behind his decision.
    – “Big Four” consultancy giant KPMG said that cryptocurrency custodians have “tremendous” growth potential as more institutional investors join the space. “Cryptoassets are no longer an exotic instrument, bit player or sideshow. There is broad market acceptance that permissionless blockchains, native tokens and cryptoassets will enable robust new ecosystems of commerce and trade,” said Mike Krajecki, managing director for KPMG’s Emerging Technologies practice, in a report.

    Other Specialties
    Fintech: “Sharia fintech”: How startups in Indonesia race to tap growth by aligning with Islam. Questions about compliance with the Islamic law are a significant hurdle for the adoption of digital payments and other fintech services. Known as Sharia, the law strictly prohibits charging interest, or “riba”, and clerics in Indonesia disagree on whether the popular cashback rebates and discounts given by digital wallets qualify. Social media videos in Indonesia on whether e-wallets are “haram” – prohibited by Islam – or incorporate “riba” rack up hundreds of thousands of views. Indonesia’s top Muslim clerical body has even issued an edict deeming virtual money acceptable, as long it met specific conditions.
    Healthtech: Healthcare analytics firm Tricog has raised $10.5 million in a series B round of funding. The investment comes in from UTEC – The University of Tokyo Edge Capital and several other venture companies from the US and Japan. The startup helps in the wellness, screening and diagnosis of acute as well as chronic heart diseases. Using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, the five-year-old startup has helped 3 million patients over the world. It also uses its virtual cardiology services for help in remote clinics.
    AI: At least two US senators intend to probe Clearview AI, the secretive facial recognition startup that’s compiled a database of billions of photos scraped from Facebook, Instagram, and other websites, about the sale of its technology to countries with documented human rights abuses. On Tuesday, Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts sent a letter to the company questioning the sharing of its facial recognition software with countries including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, following reporting from BuzzFeed News. Last week BuzzFeed News reported that Clearview documents indicate that more than 2,200 private and public organizations around the world, including the FBI, Macy’s, and law enforcement agencies in 27 different counties, have tried its technology, which matches a photo of someone’s face to existing pictures of them on the web.
    Smart cities: Manchester City Council is proposing a five-year action plan to halve its greenhouse gas emissions: from around 30,000 tonnes a year in 2019-20 to around 15,000 tonnes a year in 2024-25. The plan also looks at how the council can help galvanise the wider change needed through its powers and policies while lobbying government for the funding and broader policy changes to remove barriers to cutting carbon.

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