NexChangeNOW Daily Briefing – Tuesday May 12, 2020

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What Moved Global Markets
Coronavirus update:
– Global cases: More than 4.15 million
– Global deaths: At least 285,000

  1. Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out a cautious plan on Monday to get Britain back to work, including advice on wearing home-made face coverings.
  2. Thousands of Swiss children returned to school on Monday. So did kids in Vietnam.
  3. France tiptoed out of one of Europe’s strictest coronavirus lockdowns on Monday, allowing non-essential shops, factories and other businesses to reopen for the first time in eight weeks.
  4. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday announced a gradual easing of lockdown measures despite a new surge in infections which took Russia’s tally past Italy’s, making it the fourth-highest in the world. The official tally is 221,344. Only Britain, Spain and the United States have recorded more cases.
  5. Germany reported on Monday that new coronavirus infections were accelerating exponentially after early steps to ease its lockdown, news that sounded a global alarm.
  6. The S&P 500 ticked higher on Monday as gains in healthcare and technology stocks countered losses in financials.
  7. Oil prices fell on Monday as investors worried about a second wave of coronavirus infections, but new output cuts from Saudi Arabia tempered worries about oversupply and limited price losses. Brent crude futures fell $1.04, or 3.4%, to $29.93 a barrel by 12:58 p.m. EDT (1658 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell 30 cents, or 1.2%, to $24.44 a barrel.
  8. Chinese investment in the United States dropped to $5 billion in 2019, a slight decrease from a year earlier and the lowest level since the global financial crisis a decade ago, according to a new analysis by the U.S.-China Investment Project.

Crypto Prices (from CoinMarketCap)
Bitcoin: Down 0.71% to $8,671.11
Total trading volume (24h): $57.85+ billion USD

Ethereum: Down 0.68% to $188.56
Total trading volume (24h): $20.23+ billion USD

3 biggest movers 24 hours
Biggest Mover 1: SatoExchange Token (SATX) is up 61.20% to $0.001626
Biggest Mover 2: GHOSTPRISM (GHOST) is up 60.89% to $0.928526
Biggest Loser: Harmony (ONE) is down 52.32% to $0.002704

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

  1. The most anticipated cryptocurrency event of 2020! Bitcoin has just experienced a once-in-four-years event: its third halving, which has cut the miner block reward from 12.5 BTC to 6.25 BTC. Having overcome the halving, Bitcoin is trading at $8,500 at the time of writing.
  2. While Bitcoin price correlation appears to be questionable, the latest Bitcoin halving has a direct impact on miners. Unprofitable miners have already begun shutting down their equipment, they will not want to do it after the halving — because then they’re losing money.
  3. The European Central Bank currently sees no “business case” for launching its own digital currency but is looking at how one would work should that change, ECB board member Yves Mersch said on Monday. “The lack of a concrete ‘business case’ for a CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency) at present should and does not stop us from seriously exploring the optimal design of a CBDC so that we will be well prepared should we ever take (that) policy decision,” Mersch told a virtual conference.

Other Specialties
Fintech: French private equity company InfraVia Capital Partners said on Monday it has closed a new tech-focused 270 million euros ($292 million) fund, which has attracted investors including Iliad telecoms founder Xavier Niel. InfraVia said the new fund had received the support of more than 15 investors, including French insurers, family offices and successful entrepreneurs such as Niel. It added that French state bank BPIFrance would be an anchor investor for the fund.

Healthtech: Clinicians at Mount Sinai have begun using Google Nest cameras in-patient rooms to provide video-based patient symptom and vital-sign tracking, as well as two-way communication. Using Nest cameras for this helps healthcare professionals, including nurses and doctors, limit their potential exposure to COVID-19, allowing them to centrally monitor and provide care while limiting person-to-person interaction to only extremely necessary contact.

Smart cities: Siemens Smart Infrastructure is launching a thermal imaging body temperature solution that aims to minimise the risk of infection in buildings. Thermal imaging cameras measure the body temperature at a distance of up to two metres. If the camera screening indicates an elevated body temperature, a second reading must be taken using a medical thermometer to confirm the finding. The system is typically used at the entrance of buildings such as factories and hospitals but could also be used at border crossings.

AI: MIT tech reports: Our weird behaviour during the pandemic is screwing with AI models. Buying behaviour and even online search behaviour have been very different since the pandemic began. First, we started panic shopping for Lysol, face masks and toilet paper, then – all of a sudden – Lego and phone chargers. This has affected artificial intelligence, causing hiccups for the algorithms that run behind the scenes in inventory management, fraud detection, marketing, and more. Machine-learning models trained on normal human behaviour are now finding that normal has changed, and some are breaking as a result. Machine-learning models are designed to respond to changes. But most are also fragile; they perform badly when input data differs too much from the data they were trained on. What’s clear is that the pandemic has revealed how intertwined our lives are with AI, exposing a delicate codependence in which changes to our behaviour change how AI works, and changes to how AI works to change our behaviour. This is also a reminder that human involvement in automated systems remains key.

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