NexChangeNOW Daily Briefing – Wednesday March 18, 2020

    Listen in:

    What Moved Global Markets

    Coronavirus update:
    Global cases: More than 190,000
    Global deaths: At least 7,519

    1. The world’s richest nations prepared more costly measures on Tuesday, focusing their attention on how to limit the inevitably devastating economic impact. In the world’s biggest economy, the United States, the Senate prepared to consider a multibillion-dollar emergency spending bill to offer relief from the pandemic, but the Trump administration pressed for $850 billion more.
    2. Airlines are among the worst-hit sector, with U.S. carriers seeking at least $50 billion in grants and loans to stay afloat as passenger numbers collapse. The Trump administration on Tuesday pursued a $850 billion stimulus package to buttress the economy and weighed a plan to send Americans $1,000 checks.
    3. Britain, which has told people to avoid pubs, clubs, restaurants, cinemas and theatres, was to unveil a rescue package for businesses threatened with collapse. Finance Minister Rishi Sunak announced £330 billion ($398 billion) of government-backed loans and guarantees. “We will do whatever it takes,” he said. France is to pump 45 billion euros ($50 billion) of crisis measures into the economy to help companies and workers, with output expected to contract 1% this year. The European Union (EU) eased its rules to allow companies to receive state grants up to 500,000 euros ($551,000) or guarantees on bank loans to ensure liquidity. The Philippines was the first country to close markets, while Europe – now the epicenter of the pandemic – saw airline and travel stocks plunge another 7%. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin says the US financial markets will stay open, but could shorten trading hours. What IS closed now – are Apple’s retail stores, closed “until further notice.”
    4. Wall Street rebounded on Tuesday, following its steepest declines since the 1987 crash, as the Federal Reserve took more steps to boost liquidity in a market.

    Crypto Prices (from CoinMarketCap)
    Bitcoin: Up 2.57% to $5,252.31
    Total trading volume (24h): $36.35+ billion USD

    Ethereum: Up 0.75% to $114.60
    Total trading volume (24h): $11.20+ billion USD

    3 biggest movers 24 hours
    Biggest Mover 1: Storeum (STO) is up 338.00% to $34.86
    Biggest Mover 2: Electronero (ETNX) is up 334.86% to $0.000782
    Biggest Loser: Super Bitcoin (SBTC) is down 64.30% to $0.354154

    What moved Crypto Markets (i.e. digital assets)

    1. Bakkt has raised $300 million in a new funding round. Investors include Intercontinental Exchange, Microsoft’s M12, Goldfinch Partners, Pantera Capital.
    2. Crypto exchanges Binance and WazirX have jointly set up a $50 million token fund to invest in Indian blockchain startups.
    3. Opera web browser now allows U.S. users to buy bitcoin and ether via Apple Pay and debit cards. The browser maker has partnered with payments firm Wyre for the new service. Coinbase Card now works with Google Pay. It allows users to spend their crypto “in the safest possible way”. The new option is currently live in 14 European countries.

    Other Specialties
    Fintech: In Singapore, IMDA partners up with Vietnam’s Grab Ventures to launch a 14-week accelerator programme, for Singapore-based startups with interest to venture overseas. It will focus on high potential startups with an aspiration to launch in the Vietnamese market. It will be held alongside the GVI Vietnam programme to enable startups from both countries to exchange ideas and learn from one another.
    Healthtech: Finnish health tech startup Oura, well known for its wellness-tracking ring and app, has secured $28 million in Series B funding from Forerunner Ventures, Jack Dorsey’s Square and Gradient Ventures. Interestingly, American neuroscientist Matthew Walker, the best-selling author of ‘Why We Sleep’, will be joining the company as Chief Science Advisor. Founded in 2013, Oura provides a smart ring and app delivering insights to inform sleep and health habits, giving users daily feedback to improve their health and to better understand their bodies.
    AI: In a blog post, Google said that to reduce the need for people to come into offices, YouTube and other business divisions are temporarily relying more on artificial intelligence and automated tools to find problematic content. Such software is not always as accurate as humans, which leads to errors, it added, however. And “turnaround times for appeals against these decisions may be slower,” it said.  Facebook followed suit, saying it would work with contract vendors this week to send home all content reviewers home indefinitely, with pay. The social media company drew public criticism last week for asking policy enforcers to continue coming to work, as it lacks secure technology to conduct moderation remotely.
    Smart cities: Waymo said on Tuesday it is temporarily suspending ride-hailing services in Phoenix that require a backup driver due to the coronavirus outbreak, but said fully automated robotaxi services would continue. Also, to limit the spread of the coronavirus, Uber and Lyft Tuesday began suspending shared rides on their ride-hailing platforms in the United States and Canada.

    NexChangeNOW Pick of the Day
    Nokia Adds 5G Support to Global IoT Network