What Moved Global Markets
– Global cases: More than 4.97 million
– Global deaths: At least 327,000
- The World Health Organization expressed concern on Wednesday about the rising number of new coronavirus cases in poor countries, even as many rich nations have begun emerging from lockdown. The global health body said 106,000 new cases of infections of the novel coronavirus had been recorded in the past 24 hours, the most in a single day since the outbreak began.
- GlaxoSmithKline’s consumer health unit has tied up with Mammoth Biosciences to develop a test that uses a technology commonly used in gene editing to detect novel coronavirus infections.
- Two studies in monkeys published on Wednesday offer some of the first scientific evidence that surviving COVID-19 may result in immunity from reinfection, a positive sign that vaccines under development may succeed, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday.
- The S&P 500 hit more than a two-month high on Wednesday as signs of additional economic stimulus raised hopes of a swift recovery from a coronavirus-driven slump. The tech-heavy Nasdaq was trading at its highest level in three months and was about 5% below record levels, supported by a surge in shares of Facebook and Amazon.com to their all-time highs.
What Moved Crypto Markets (i.e. digital assets)
- The French central bank has announced the first successful test of a digital euro. Per a May 20 announcement from Banque de France, France has become the first country to successfully trial a digital euro, operational on a blockchain, following a call for new technology to back such a development at the end of March. The bank says it tested a sale of securities for central bank digital currency (CBDC) on May 14, signalling the beginning of more robust testing.
- The Libra Association has hired Robert Werner, a former director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), as its first general counsel.
- The next-generation version of Uniswap, the non-custodial exchange protocol, has gone live. The new version introduces features like ERC20 pairs, more manipulation-resilient price oracles and flash swaps, among others. Uniswap saw its busiest quarter ever in Q1 2020, when its volumes surged more than 225% compared to the final quarter of 2019.
Fintech: Sony said on Tuesday it will turn its listed financial arm, Sony Financial Holdings Inc, into a wholly-owned unit through a tender offer worth about 400 billion yen ($3.72 billion). The deal will allow the Japanese electronics and entertainment giant to strengthen its presence in the fintech field to compete with global tech majors such as Alibaba Group and Apple.
Healthtech: Apple-Google contact tracing technology finally launched. Authorities in 23 countries across five continents have sought access to it. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday a programme to test and trace those suspected of having been in contact with people who have tested positive for COVID-19 would be in place by June 1.
Smart Cities, AI: China ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing said on Wednesday that it will start using artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to verify if drivers in its Latin American markets wear masks and disinfect cars to keep rides safe amid the coronavirus pandemic. Didi, which is in eight countries across Latin America, Australia and Japan, introduced the use of such technologies in China since January, when the country started taking measures to stop the spread of the virus. From May 22, Didi’s ride-hailing drivers in Latin America will need to take a selfie with a mask on to pass the AI verification, and from June they will need to report their body temperature to the phone app and upload photos of daily vehicle disinfection works to the phone application.
AI: Alibaba Group Holding Ltd will invest 10 billion yuan ($1.41 billion) into an AI (artificial intelligence) and IoT (Internet of Things) system centred around its Tmall Genie smart speaker.