What Moved Global Markets
– Global cases: More than 3.03 million
– Global deaths: At least 210,000
- The World Health Organization said on Monday that the coronavirus pandemic is “far from over” and is still disrupting normal health services, especially life-saving immunisation for children in the poorest countries.
- States from Minnesota to Mississippi this week prepared to join other states that have eased coronavirus restrictions to try to revive their battered economies, although some business owners voiced reluctance in the face of health warnings. Portugal may soon ease its coronavirus lockdown, but the widespread use of protective equipment will be essential and the country does not rule out “taking a step back” if the situation worsens. Construction workers were back at the burned shell of Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris on Monday.
- Stocks rose as investors mulled the possibility of reopening the economy after the outbreak.
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 132 points higher, or 0.5%. The S&P 500 gained 0.8% while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.9%.
- U.S. oil prices plunged nearly 25% on Monday on fears that worldwide storage will soon fill as the coronavirus pandemic continues to roil demand.
- West Texas Intermediate for June delivery fell 24.56%, or $4.16, to settle at $12.78 per barrel, after earlier trading as low as $11.88. International benchmark Brent crude fell 6.9% to $19.97. Each contract is coming off its eighth week of losses in nine weeks.
What Moved Crypto Markets (i.e. digital assets)
- Bitcoin hits its highest level since mid-March. BTC rose to $7,800 early on Monday to hit its highest level since March 12 – dubbed “Black Thursday” – when prices fell from $7,950 to $4,700 as the coronavirus pandemic crashed most markets.
- Six months after the beta test launch, China’s Blockchain-based Service Network — or BSN — is now officially available for global commercial use. Various Chinese government officials and heads of organizations gathered for a meeting in Beijing on April 25 where they announced the public launch of the BSN. Both corporate and individual developers have shown interest in the Blockchain-based Service Network. According to the report, more than 2,000 developers tried BSN in the six months since its beta release.
- Binance announced Monday the official launch of its mining pool service. In an announcement post, the company said that its initial offering would focus on bitcoin using Full Pay-Per-Share, or FPPS. Under this method, revenue from the block reward – currently 12.5 BTC – as well as at least some of the transaction fees are shared among pool participants. Future offerings will focus on both proof-of-work and proof-of-stake based networks.
- One of the world’s largest bitcoin mining machine makers is looking to list its shares in the U.S. According to The Block, Ebang International has formally filed for a U.S. IPO. It is looking to raise $100 million either on the Nasdaq or the NYSE and is hoping to list its shares under the symbol “EBON.”
Fintech: Stripe is updating its payments platform to help merchants increase revenue and to make the platform more reliable. The payments processor said it can now process card transactions with the six major networks, including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, JCB and China Union Pay using direct integrations in North America, Europe, Latin America and Southeast Asia. By directly integrating with the networks, rather than using intermediaries, Stripe said it can reduce latency.
Healthtech, AI: French researchers on Monday launched a voice assistant that can help callers suffering from potential coronavirus symptoms and direct them towards emergency services or their doctors using artificial intelligence. Anybody in France can now ring the “AlloCovid” service developed by French research institute Inserm, the University of Paris and French railway company SNCF, the group said. Callers are asked for their postcode but not their name. Depending on their symptoms and pre-existing conditions, they are directed to the right professionals. Developers hope the voice assistant, which is more easily accessible to old people who prefer telephones than mobile apps or filling forms, will help authorities detect new infection clusters after France exits lockdown on May 11. The system can handle 1,000 calls at a time. Callers’ information is sent anonymously to health authorities and kept for seven days before being destroyed.
Smart cities: The City of Boston partners with the hospital in COVID-19 testing programme. Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) will collect data from 1,000 asymptomatic Boston residents by administering testing for both the COVID-19 virus and the COVID-19 antibodies. The study will gather intelligence to evaluate community exposure.
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