NexChangeNOW Daily Briefing – Friday March 27, 2020

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What Moved Global Markets
Coronavirus update:
– Global cases cross 492,000
– Global deaths: At least 22,000

  1. Three months after the coronavirus emerged in China, it has quickly spread to nearly half a million people across the globe, killing more than 22,000 people and bringing the world economy to a near-grinding halt.
  2. The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has grown to 8,165.
  3. Switzerland has 10,714 confirmed coronavirus infections and 161 people have died of the disease.
  4. India is on its first day of a national lockdown, that will last 21 days.
  5. G20 leaders are to discuss the response to coronavirus during a video conference chaired by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman.
  6. The White House prepares to pass a historically massive $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the $2 trillion relief package aimed at easing the economic impact of the coronavirus “irresponsible” and “reckless,” saying it doesn’t do enough for his state’s huge loss in revenue.
  7. The U.S. Department of Labor reported a historic jump in the number of Americans seeking jobless benefits this past week, perhaps the most glaring figure to illustrate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy. Also, the Ifo economic institute’s German employment barometer fell in March to its lowest level since January 2010.
  8. Stocks traded sharply higher on Thursday.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 650 points, or more than 3%. The S&P 500 gained nearly 3% while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 2.6%. Those gains put the major averages on track for a three-day winning streak.

Crypto Prices (from CoinMarketCap)
Bitcoin: Up 1.21% to $6,786.21
Total trading volume (24h): $36.15+ billion USD

Ethereum: Up 1.63% to $139.68
Total trading volume (24h): $11.75+ billion USD

3 biggest movers 24 hours
Biggest Mover 1: Qredit (XQR) is up 97.86% to $0.000521
Biggest Mover 2: SynchroBitcoin (SNB) is up 90.59% to $0.279987
Biggest Loser: Blockcloud (BLOC) is down 75.53% to $0.000188

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

  1. Bitcoin’s mining difficulty, an indicator of competition among bitcoin miners, has seen the second-largest decline in the network’s history. The difficulty has dropped by around 16%. This is the largest drop ever since bitcoin miners started using ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) chips to mine the cryptocurrency in early 2013. 
  2. Telegram has been fighting a legal battle with the Securities and Exchange Commission since October. Earlier this week, a federal judge in New York issued a preliminary injunction ruling, finding that distribution of gram tokens would violate U.S. securities laws. At least 10 investors in Telegram’s blockchain project are said to be ready to get their funds back.
  3. Technology security firm Least Authority has completed its audit of ETH 2.0 specifications at the Ethereum Foundation’s request. The report identified a lack of documentation on the protocol’s peer-to-peer (P2P) networking layer and the Ethereum node records (ENR) system. The audit also highlighted two areas of potential security vulnerabilities: the block proposer system and the P2P messaging system.

Other Specialties
Fintech: Africa is using digital finance as a means to stem the spread of COVID-19. Governments and startups on the continent are implementing measures to shift a greater volume of payment transactions toward mobile money and away from cash — which the World Health Organization flagged as a conduit for the spread of the coronavirus. It’s an option facilitated by the boom in fintech that’s occurred in Africa over the last decade. By several estimates, the continent is home to the largest share of the world’s unbanked population and has a sizable number of underbanked consumers and SMEs. But because of that, fintech — and startups focused on financial inclusion — now receive the majority of VC funding annually in Africa, according to recent data. As COVID-19 cases began to grow in the continent’s major economies last week, Africa’s leader in digital payment adoption — Kenya — turned to mobile-money as a public-health tool. The country’s largest telecommunications company, Safaricom, implemented a fee-waiver on East Africa’s leading mobile-money product, M-Pesa, to reduce the physical exchange of currency in response to COVID-19.
Healthtech: Less than a week after launching an app to track potential exposure to the coronavirus, Singapore is making the technology freely available to developers worldwide. The city-state rolled out an app called TraceTogether on March 20 and described it as a supplementary tool for its contact tracing efforts that relied on the recall and memory of infected individuals. Contact tracing is the process of identifying those with close contact with infected patients. If a user is diagnosed with COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, they could allow Singapore’s health ministry to access their app data to identify people who had close contact with the infected individual.
AI: A billionaire developer of software and artificial intelligence,, is teaming up with top universities and companies to see if A.I. can help curb the current and future pandemics. Known as the Digital Transformation Institute, the new research consortium includes commitments from Princeton, Carnegie Mellon, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California, the University of Illinois and the University of Chicago, as well as and Microsoft. It seeks to put top scientists onto gargantuan social problems with the help of A.I. — its first challenge being the pandemic. The public-private consortium would spend $367 million in its initial five years, aiming its first awards at finding ways to slow the new coronavirus.
Smart cities: The National League of Cities (NLC) in the US partnered with Bloomberg Philanthropies to build the COVID-19: Local Action Tracker, a searchable spreadsheet of data regarding the policy actions that cities across the U.S. are enacting to protect residents and surrounding regions from contracting COVID-19. The tracker currently includes information on 464 policy actions from nearly 180 cities with populations of 30,000 or more.

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