NexChangeNOW Briefing – Monday June 22, 2020

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What Moved Global Markets
Coronavirus update:
– Global cases: More than 8.93 million
– Global deaths: At least 467,800

  1. The coronavirus pandemic is entering “a new and dangerous phase,” a top official at the World Health Organization warned. Global cases count almost reached 9 million.
  2. A virus once defined by shifting epicenters is now distinguished by wide and expanding scope: Eighty-one countries have seen a growth in new cases over the past two weeks. Only 36 have seen declines. State of emergency in Spain has come to an end, and the country opened its borders. While Germany’s coronavirus reproduction rate jumps, indicating rising contagion.
  3. The U.S. current account deficit dipped to a near two-year low in the first quarter as the COVID-19 pandemic restricted the flow of goods and services, while companies continued to repatriate profits back home. The deficit slipped 0.1% to $104.2 billion, the smallest since the second quarter of 2018. A drop in imports and income payments narrowly outpaced a decline in exports and income receipts. Meanwhile, a record $2 trillion surge in cash hit the deposit accounts of U.S. banks since the coronavirus first struck the U.S. in January, according to FDIC data.
  4. The wall of money flowing into banks has no precedent in history: in April alone, deposits grew by $865 billion, more than the previous record for an entire year.

Crypto Prices (from CoinMarketCap)
Bitcoin: Up 0.29% to $9,399.51
Total trading volume (24h): $16.51+ billion USD

Ethereum: Up 1.02% to $233.50
Total trading volume (24h): $6.58 billion USD

3 biggest movers 24 hours
Biggest Mover 1: PLAAS FARMERS TOKEN (PLAAS) is up 438.10% to $0.013786
Biggest Mover 2: Jarvis+ (JAR) is up 81.32% to $0.003623
Biggest Loser: DeviantCoin (DEV) is down 63.55% to $0.408764

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

  1. Bitcoin spot volume may have been low this week, but the real action in crypto has been in the options market and decentralized finance. Compound has overtaken MakerDAO, Saturday, June 20, to become the largest decentralized finance protocol by total value locked according to data from DeFi Pulse. There is approximately $500M in cryptocurrency locked on Compound compared to $486M on MakerDAO. Coinbase also announced Thursday that it would begin accepting inbound transfers of COMP on Monday, June 22, to Coinbase Pro, with trading beginning on Tuesday.
  2. “Big Four” professional consulting firm Ernst & Young (EY) has launched a web-based cryptocurrency application that helps its U.S. users with tax filings. Called CryptoPrep, the app allows users to aggregate their crypto transactions and calculate capital gains or losses for Form 8949 of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The CryptoPrep app supports over 1,000 coins and “most popular exchanges.”
  3. Nearly 40% of companies surveyed by Deloitte have already implemented blockchain technology to improve their processes, but challenges remain for greater adoption. Deloitte surveyed around 1,500 senior executives across 14 countries and found that more companies have put money and resources on blockchain this year as compared to last year. In 2019, 23% of respondents said they had incorporated blockchain. This year’s figure (39%) is a “substantial jump”, said the “Big Four” consulting giant. “While blockchain was once classified as a technology experiment, it now represents a true agent of change that is,” said Deloitte. Blockchain has “evolved” and is now “solidly entrenched in the strategic thinking of organizations across industries,” according to Deloitte’s global and U.S. blockchain leader Linda Pawczuk.

Other Specialties
Fintech: Japanese ruling-party lawmakers are looking to make it easier for banks to expand into different industries, a step that could help traditional lenders push back against fintech rivals. The Liberal Democratic Party’s financial policy research panel wants to amend the banking law next year to relax limits on lenders’ lines of business as well as their investments in non-financial firms. The proposal, released last week, didn’t specify which areas banks might be allowed to enter. Japan’s government has been trying to improve financial services by giving tech firms and other outsiders a bigger role in the industry. Now some politicians see a need to boost lenders, which have been suffering from years of rock-bottom interest rates and are busy supporting businesses and households hurt by the coronavirus-fueled recession.

Healthtech: Three months after the World Health Organization recommended singing “Happy Birthday” twice during hand washing to fight the coronavirus, Japan’s Fujitsu Ltd has developed an artificial intelligence monitor it says will ensure healthcare, hotel and food industry workers scrub properly. The AI, which can recognize complex hand movements and can even detect when people aren’t using soap, was under development before the coronavirus outbreak for Japanese companies implementing stricter hygiene regulations, according to Fujitsu. It is based on crime surveillance technology that can detect suspicious body movements.

Smart Cities: Akon City, a “futuristic cryptocurrency themed city” founded by famous singer Akon, is ready to begin construction, with a plan to use the akoin cryptocurrency exclusively. Phase one of Akon City’s construction will include roads, a hospital, a mall, hotels, and a school. There will also be parks, universities, a stadium, and an industrial complex. 

AI: Software company Acronis has been storing the data of the best and brightest football teams. In the last few years, the company has landed contracts with football heavyweights including Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, and Inter Milan—backing up thousands of hours of footage of each club’s football games. Now, it plans to use that information to help them win more games. Acronis CEO Beloussov says that the technology could be used to fine-tune match strategies or develop personalized training plans for each player. Other possible applications include fast-tracking scouting of new talent and rehabilitation of injured players.