NexChangeNOW Daily Briefing – Thursday May 07, 2020

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What Moved Global Markets
Coronavirus update:
– Global cases: More than 3.7 million
– Global deaths: At least 263,000

  1. The World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Wednesday that countries emerging from restrictions needed to ensure they had adequate measures to control the spread of the disease like tracking systems and quarantine provision. The risk of returning to lockdown remains very real if countries do not manage the transition extremely carefully and in a phased approach. For example, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced steps to ease the coronavirus lockdown in Germany but at the same time launched an “emergency brake” mechanism allowing for renewed restrictions in case infections pick up again. Danish shopping malls, cafes and restaurants will be allowed to open next Monday and older children will return to school.
  2. A genetic study of samples from more than 7,500 people infected with COVID-19 suggests the new coronavirus spread quickly around the world after it emerged in China sometime between October and December last year, scientists said on Wednesday.
  3. U.S. private employers laid off a record 20.236 million workers in April as mandatory business closures in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak that savaged the economy, setting up the overall labour market for historic job losses last month.
  4. The benchmark S&P 500 rose modestly on Wednesday, with gains in technology shares offsetting declines in financials and defensive groups. Four of the 11 major S&P sectors were positive, with tech leading. The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose over 1%.
  5. The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed down by around 0.4% provisionally, with oil and gas stocks leading the losses. Crude oil prices turned negative on Wednesday, snapping a five-day winning streak. Fresh data showed that eurozone business activity collapsed to record lows last month.

Crypto Prices (from CoinMarketCap)
Bitcoin: Up 2.78% to $9,242.29
Total trading volume (24h): $51.38+ billion USD

Ethereum: Down 0.50% to $206.16
Total trading volume (24h): $21.41+ billion USD

3 biggest movers 24 hours
Biggest Mover 1: Switch (ESH) is up 132.05% to $0.204256
Biggest Mover 2: ExtStock Token (XT) is up 96.56% to $0.040986
Biggest Loser: IZEROIUM (IZER) is down 73.01% to $0.018417

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

  1. Bitcoin jumped to a high of $9,220 at 10:20 UTC on Wednesday, having settled above $9,000 the day prior to registering its first close above that psychological support in two months. Open interest – or the number of futures contracts outstanding on the CME – also rose to $351 million on Tuesday, the highest level since July 10, 2019.
  2. Stuart Levey, who currently serves as the chief legal officer for HSBC, has been named chief executive officer of the Libra Association. The move was announced in a Wednesday press statement. It comes less than a month after the Libra Association announced a broad reimagining to its stablecoin initiative, which will see the issuance of multiple, fiat currency-tied stablecoins. What’s more, materials released at the time strongly indicate that the project is looking to align itself, at least in part, around the efforts of the globe’s central banks to create digital currencies of their own.
  3. Justin Sun’s blockchain platform Tron will receive $2 million in U.S. coronavirus relief intended for salary protection … at least, according to a message sent to the project’s WeChat and Weibo channels. (Decrypt
  4. Translated from Chinese, the message said: “The funds from the US government, on one hand, shows that TRON is legally compliant in the US and has the support of the US government. On the other hand, it also proves that the TRON team is recognized at home and abroad.” TRON refused to comment to the media.

Other Specialties
Fintech: Today, a new Swiss challenger bank, Alpian, has announced closing a successful Series A funding round worth €11.5 million. The funds will enable Alpian to accelerate its growth and pursue its ambitions to receive a full banking license from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA), launching as a fully licensed digital affluent bank in 2021.

Healthtech, Smart cities: As part of an expanded Call for Code global challenge to develop solutions for Covid-19 as well as climate change, IBM has identified three initial top solutions for early deployment to help contribute to the pandemic response efforts. The top three solutions selected for their potential to help mitigate the impact of Covid-19 are:

  • Safe Queue is a community-driven mobile app that is intended to replace physical lines at shopping centres, small businesses, and polling places with on-demand virtual lines.
  • Are you Well? is an app created by a team from Altran in India, designed to be a comprehensive medical assistance system that could reduce the stress on over-taxed medical systems. A mobile app would help individuals evaluate their symptoms, aided by IBM Watson Assistant. 
  • CovidImpact is a solution which aims to reduce the financial impact of Covid-19 on small businesses. A predictive assessment tool, created with IBM Watson Tone Analyser linguistic analysis and IBM’s ILOG CPLEX rules engine for decision making, could forecast businesses’ financial risk levels.

AI: Ninety-one percent of artificial intelligence professionals say increased diversity is having a positive impact on AI technology, but opinions vary based on country as well as gender, according to an IBM study. The IBM Global Women in AI study was part of a broader look at diversity and honouring women in AI. According to IBM’s study, 85% of global AI professionals thought the industry has become more diverse in recent years. Most of the respondents said that diversity has had a positive impact on AI technology. In addition, 86% of AI professionals had confidence in AI systems’ ability to make decisions without bias, but 64% of respondents thought the general public felt the same way.

NexChangeNOW Pick of the Day
Telegram misses the deadline, offers investors payback options