NexChangeNOW Daily Briefing – Monday April 27, 2020

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What Moved Global Markets
Coronavirus update:
– Global cases: More than 2.9 million
– Global deaths: At least 206,000

  1. The number of cases rose in the Netherlands and in Turkey.
  2. Spanish children were allowed to go out for the first time in six weeks. Italy will start reopening its manufacturing industry on May 4. Israel allowed some businesses to reopen on Sunday and said it was considering letting children return to school. Iran plans to reopen mosques in parts of the country that have been consistently free of the coronavirus outbreak as restrictions on Iranians gradually ease. South Korea’s large churches reopened on Sunday.
  3. Among other significant news of the weekend: rumours have been spreading about the well-being of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. He had missed a big celebration 10 days ago, so Western media picked up a bunch of stories from “Kim Jong Un is in grave danger” to “he had heart surgery and didn’t survive because his surgeon’s hands were shaking” to “he is actually alive and well and safe and sound”.
  4. G20 on Sunday launched an international initiative to accelerate access to health tools needed to fight the new coronavirus. The finance minister of Saudi Arabia, the current G20 chair, said the group is still working to bridge an estimated $8 billion funding gap to combat the pandemic.
  5. The shuttering of the U.S. economy due to the coronavirus pandemic is a shock of historic proportions that likely will push the national unemployment rate to 16% or higher this month and require more stimulus to ensure a strong rebound.

Crypto Prices (from CoinMarketCap)
Bitcoin: Up 1.70% to $7,731.20
Total trading volume (24h): $35.22+ billion USD

Ethereum:  Up 0.85% to $197.98
Total trading volume (24h): $19.01+ billion USD

3 biggest movers 24 hours
Biggest Mover 1: Storeum (STO) is up 585.59% to $1.48
Biggest Mover 2: Spockchain Network (SPOK) is up 136.21% to $0.001474
Biggest Loser: GoWithMi (GMAT) is down 53.35% to $0.000675

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

  1. Bitcoin (BTC) price continues to grow week in and week out, as another 9% has been added to its value since last Sunday. 
  2. Nearly half of decentralized finance (DeFi) or Open Finance (OFI) startups tracked by The Block are headquartered in the U.S. Out of the total 73 OFI firms in our database, nearly 50% are based in the U.S., followed by the U.K. and Singapore.
  3. IBM Blockchain has launched its Rapid Supplier Connect network for assisting and vetting suppliers providing emergency goods needed for coronavirus relief efforts. The platform includes digital identity services to streamline supplier vetting, and offering emergency supplier onboarding. For buyers, the platform also provides a single platform through which information regarding a supplier can be accessed, including product listings. Now Northwell Health, a New York-based healthcare group comprising over 800 hospitals, has joined IBM’s Rapid Supplier Connect network. IBM will provide Rapid Supplier Connect free of charge to qualifying suppliers until August 31.

Other Specialties
Fintech: The Singapore Fintech Association (SFA) and Razer Fintech will reportedly be offering Financial technology firms in the city-state bridge financing, equity or equity-linked instruments, which will range from anywhere between $100,000 to $1.5 million (appr. S$143,000 to S$2.1 million). Financial assistance or relief is one of several measures that Fintech Razer and the SFA are launching, in order to address major challenges faced by Singaporean Fintech industry participants, following the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and resulting economic crisis.
Healthtech: TechCrunch prepared a report of tech companies that are trying hard to help people cope with lockdowns and isolation in so many ways: from recruiting volunteers to help elderly people, to psychological relief online forums.
Smart cities: Italian architect Stefano Boeri has designed a green ‘smart forest city’ for Mexico’s resort destination of Cancun. In addition to being planted with millions of trees and shrubs to help reduce its carbon footprint, it will also be a hub for climate change innovation. The ratio of plants to people in this smart city will be almost equal – with 362 hectares of planted surfaces (think parks, living façades and green roofs) in addition to a population of 130,000 humans. In total there will be about 7.5 million plants including 260,000 trees.
AI: A company from Israel has developed an AI-based technology to recognize faces concealed by masks, goggles and plastic shields. They just raised $5 million from Awz Ventures, a Canadian fund focused on intelligence and security technologies. The technology can be used to issue alerts of people who are in violation of quarantine and have gone outside to public areas while covering their faces with masks.

NexChangeNOW Pick of the Day
Report: Starbucks and Mickey D’s Could Try out China’s Digital Currency