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Bitcoin's Price Battles New Resistance in Bid to Breach $1,000

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Bitcoin prices fluctuated around $1,000 on 13th February, as the digital currency encountered technical resistance and reluctant crypto traders.

Source

STOCKS HIT ALL-TIME HIGHS: Here's what you need to know (AAPL, AGN, PLKI, BURL, QSR)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

tim cook

The three major US equity indexes rose to all-time highs early in Monday's trading session.

Shares of Goldman Sachs contributed the most to the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Apple, a component of the tech-heavy Nasdaq and the Dow, rose to a record high.

The S&P 500's market capitalization topped $20 trillion for the first time. 

Here's the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 20,410.35, +140.98, (0.70%)
  • S&P 500: 2,328.12, +12.02, (0.52%)
  • Nasdaq: 5,762.89, +28.76, (0.50%)
  1. Allergan is buying fat-reduction biopharmaceutical company Zeltiq Aesthetics for $56.50 a share, or about $2.48 billion. Allergan buys other companies often.
  2. Restaurant Brands, which owns Burger King and Tim Hortons, reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit. Sales at stores open for at least one year climbed while costs fell. 
  3. Restaurant Brands is interested in buying Popeyes, according to Reuters. A deal would take Popeyes' Louisiana-style fried chicken and biscuits to a global market. 
  4. Burlington Coat Factory no longer sells products from Ivanka Trump's brand onlineAs of Friday, the discount-retailer's website doesn't show a stock of Ivanka Trump accessories and clothing.

Additionally:

Trump's trade-war mongering is starting to rattle Wall Street

There are 2 questions Yellen won't be able to dodge on Capitol Hill this week

Trump can't take all the credit for the Trump rally

The former Goldman Sachs executive running Trump's economic team is also playing a big role in the repeal of Obamacare

Staying close to home could be the smartest financial decision millennials make

A credit head at the world's biggest investor breaks down why investors are pouring into one of the riskiest markets

JPMorgan's head IPO banker on what to expect in 2017

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's how to use one of the many apps to buy and trade bitcoin

STOCKS HIT ALL-TIME HIGHS: Here's what you need to know (AAPL, AGN, PLKI, BURL, QSR)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

tim cook

The three major US equity indexes rose to all-time highs early in Monday's trading session.

The S&P 500's market capitalization topped $20 trillion for the first time. 

Shares of Goldman Sachs contributed the most to the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Apple, a component of the tech-heavy Nasdaq and the Dow, rose to a record high.

Here's the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 20,412.16, +142.79, (0.70%)
  • S&P 500: 2,328.25, +12.15, (0.52%)
  • Nasdaq: 5,763.96, +29.83, (0.52%)
  1. Allergan is buying fat-reduction biopharmaceutical company Zeltiq Aesthetics for $56.50 a share, or about $2.48 billion. Allergan buys other companies often.
  2. Restaurant Brands, which owns Burger King and Tim Hortons, reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit. Sales at stores open for at least one year climbed while costs fell. 
  3. Restaurant Brands is interested in buying Popeyes, according to Reuters. A deal would take Popeyes' Louisiana-style fried chicken and biscuits to a global market. 
  4. Burlington Coat Factory no longer sells products from Ivanka Trump's brand onlineAs of Friday, the discount-retailer's website doesn't show a stock of Ivanka Trump accessories and clothing.

Additionally:

Trump's trade-war mongering is starting to rattle Wall Street

There are 2 questions Yellen won't be able to dodge on Capitol Hill this week

Trump can't take all the credit for the Trump rally

The former Goldman Sachs executive running Trump's economic team is also playing a big role in the repeal of Obamacare

Staying close to home could be the smartest financial decision millennials make

A credit head at the world's biggest investor breaks down why investors are pouring into one of the riskiest markets

JPMorgan's head IPO banker on what to expect in 2017

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's how to use one of the many apps to buy and trade bitcoin

The owner of Burger King may want to buy Popeye's and the stock is surging (QSR, PLKI)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

popeye's fried chicken tenders biscuit

Restaurant Brands International Inc, the owner of the Burger King and Tim Horton's fast-food chains, has approached Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc to express interest in an acquisition, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

A deal would be a bet by Oakville, Ontario-based Restaurant Brands that it can use its international reach to introduce Atlanta, Georgia-based Popeyes' famous Louisiana-style fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits to more diners globally.

RBI and Popeyes have yet to agree on a deal price, and there is no certainty that negotiations will continue, or that they will lead to any agreement, the people said. Restaurant Brands has also been considering the acquisition of other companies, one of the people added.

The sources asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential. Popeyes declined to comment, while Restaurant Brands did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Following the news, Popeye's stock surged to a new-all time high in trading. As of 3:20 p.m. ET, the stock was up roughly 10.6% at $73.01 a share.

Screen Shot 2017 02 13 at 3.20.35 PM

SEE ALSO: Allergan is buying a fat-freezing company for $2.5 billion

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Two Face Trial over Bitcoin Exchange Linked to JPMorgan Hack Probe

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

[…]

The post Two Face Trial over Bitcoin Exchange Linked to JPMorgan Hack Probe appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

The former Goldman Sachs executive running Trump's economic team is also playing a big role in the repeal of Obamacare

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

gary cohn donald trump josh kushner

Gary Cohn, the former Goldman Sachs COO and President Donald Trump's National Economic Council head, is working on a variety of economic matters for the President according to a new profile of his role, but also a big health-related issue: the repeal of Obamacare.

According to a profile of Cohn's first few weeks in the White House from the New York Times' Kate Kelly, Cohn has not only taken a large role in the new administration when it comes to matters such as job growth and regulation, but has been involved in the Trump administration's plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.

Cohn — a long-time Democrat — has had meetings with Republicans leaders including House Speaker Paul Ryan, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the head of the Financial Services Committee, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy about the replacement bill, according to the report.

During his career at Goldman Sachs, Cohn did not have a job related to healthcare, instead, working in mortgages and commodity trading before becoming CEO Lloyd Blankfein's right-hand man. Despite the lack of direct health policy experience, it should be noted that the ACA does have significant tax and economic elements to it that Cohn could bring expertise to.

The Times report said that Cohn is also considering non-economic statutory parts of the law as well —  citing such provisions as one that allows children to stay on their parents' insurance until they turn 26 and another regarding special enrollment periods that allow people to sign up for ACA-based exchange plans outside of the two-month open enrollment period.

Cohn is also working with a "healthcare specialist" on the Obamacare plan, but did not specify the role of that person, said the report.

The insight gives a sense of the leadership involved in the Republican crafting of a replacement plan. While two plans have been introduced by GOP lawmakers during this legislative session, a complete, cohesive replacement has not yet been put forward by the GOP leadership.

Additionally, the report makes no mention of newly-confirmed Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, who Trump said during a press conference in January was involved in the crafting of a replacement. Reports have refuted that characterization, saying that the administration was keeping Price away from the replacementt planning process so as not to have a conflict between his proposal and the administration's work during his confirmation hearings. 

Price himself would not confirm that he was working with the president on Obamacare during his confirmation testimony to the Senate Finance Committee.

It is so far unclear what Price's role will be in the replacement process now that he has been confirmed.

Both the House and the Senate approved a budget resolution in January that would allow Republicans to repeal large swaths of the ACA that impact the federal budget, however, there are a number of procedural steps still needed to repeal the law.

Read the New York Times' full Cohn profile here»

SEE ALSO: 'I have to have coverage in order to make sure that I don't die': GOP lawmakers get blasted on Obamacare at town hall

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Report: Hedge Funds are Buying Customer Claims of Mt Gox Bitcoin Payout

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

[…]

The post Report: Hedge Funds are Buying Customer Claims of Mt Gox Bitcoin Payout appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

Hedge Funds Are Reportedly Racing to Buy Mt Gox Creditor Claims

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

International hedge funds are said to be moving to purchase claims held by customers of the failed bitcoin exchange Mt Gox.

Source

Chinese Bitcoin Miner HaoBTC is Shutting its Exchange after PBOC Measures

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

The PBOC's regulatory requirements has pushed one bitcoin company to shut down its exchange operations.

The post Chinese Bitcoin Miner HaoBTC is Shutting its Exchange after PBOC Measures appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

PRESENTING: Where the 2 leading French presidential candidates stand on the major issues

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

As we edge closer to the unpredictable French presidential election, it's worth taking a look at what the current favorites stand for — and how the markets are feeling about it.

Recent opinion polls suggest that center-right candidate François Fillon might be knocked out in the first round, which is scheduled to take place around late April, in light of a recently surfaced scandal involving his wife's work as a parliamentary assistant.

And so, as things stand right now, analysts are arguing that it looks increasingly likely that the final showdown in May will be between far-right Marine Le Pen, the leader of the nationalist Front National, and centrist Emmanuel Macron, who is running as an independent.

In terms of policy, Le Pen recently outlined a plan to overhaul France, including her intention to hold a referendum on France's membership in the European Union if the EU does not agree to redesign the union as a loose coalition of nations without a common currency or a border-free area. Additionally, she has stated her intention to exit the euro. On the flip side, Macron has presented himself as both pro-European and pro-business.

Below, their views on the economy, immigration, and Europe in general, courtesy of Capital Economics.

macron versus marine le pen issues

Notably, markets are feeling a bit wary of Le Pen's proposals.

"Le Pen’s announcement of her radical vision for France unnerved euro-zone financial markets last week, with the gap between French and German 10-year government bond yields widening to its biggest since 2012," Jessica Hinds, European economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a note. "Macron is certainly the more reassuring choice."

"Perhaps unsurprisingly, we are skeptical that the [National Front] plan will revive the French economy," she continued. "Moreover, the economic and political chaos that would ensue from France leaving the euro and re-denominating its debts and the associated rise in borrowing costs would probably discourage investment."

Additionally, Hinds added that Le Pen's plan does little to address longer-run problems in France's economy such as the aging population.

The first round of France's elections will be on April 23 and the second round will be on May 7.  

Polls suggest that Le Pen would come out on top in the first round, but that she would be defeated in the second round — although, of course, things in politics could change quickly and it would be wise to regard opinion polls with a degree of caution.

SEE ALSO: What 25 major world leaders and dictators looked like when they were young

Join the conversation about this story »

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Ford is gaining after announcing it will pour $1 billion into a new driverless car company (F)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Ford Motor is higher by 0.4% at $12.56 a share on Monday morning after announcing late Friday that it will invest $1 billion over the next five years in Argo, a new driverless car company.

The investment in Argo marks a big shift in Ford's strategy, which has previously focused on in-house efforts to develop autonomous driving. Argo was founded by two engineers who previously worked on autonomous driving at Alphabet and Uber. Ford will own the majority of the company as part of the deal, but the startup will run independently. The company aims to have its fully autonomous cars on the road in a commercial setting, such as a ride-sharing program, by 2021.

The acquisition is the latest in a string of transactions in the self-driving car race. General Motors paid $1 billion to acquire driverless car startup Cruise last year. Meanwhile, Toyota is investing $1 billion in developing autonomous driving technology and associated safety features. 

“The term autonomous vehicles is just thrown about so liberally in this industry. I mean, there are five levels of autonomy,” Ford CEO Mark Fields said to Business Insider. "My only fear in the industry is somebody tries to come out with one of those [self-driving cars] before it’s ready and then there’s an event."

Ford

SEE ALSO: Ford CEO reveals a major fear about self-driving cars

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Ford is gaining after announcing it will pour $1 billion into a new driverless car company (F)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Ford Motor is higher by 0.4% at $12.56 a share on Monday morning after announcing late Friday that it will invest $1 billion over the next five years in Argo, a new driverless car company.

The investment in Argo marks a big shift in Ford's strategy, which has previously focused on in-house efforts to develop autonomous driving. Argo was founded by two engineers who previously worked on autonomous driving at Alphabet and Uber. Ford will own the majority of the company as part of the deal, but the startup will run independently. The company aims to have its fully autonomous cars on the road in a commercial setting, such as a ride-sharing program, by 2021.

The acquisition is the latest in a string of transactions in the self-driving car race. General Motors paid $1 billion to acquire driverless car startup Cruise last year. Meanwhile, Toyota is investing $1 billion in developing autonomous driving technology and associated safety features. 

“The term autonomous vehicles is just thrown about so liberally in this industry. I mean, there are five levels of autonomy,” Ford CEO Mark Fields said to Business Insider. "My only fear in the industry is somebody tries to come out with one of those [self-driving cars] before it’s ready and then there’s an event."

Ford

SEE ALSO: Ford CEO reveals a major fear about self-driving cars

Join the conversation about this story »

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Staying close to home could be the smartest financial decision millennials make

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

small house front porch

Trying to convince your parents to let you move into their basement? Here's some data that might help.

A new study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland that looked at 45 years of earnings data, shows that young people who lose a job but are still living fairly close to their parents rebound much more quickly. 

That’s presumably because they are able to rely on help from their families for basic things during a time of difficulty or transition. (Another possible explanation — mom's nagging to 'stop playing x-box and get a job' is a potentially great motivator to pick up the pieces.)

"We find post-job-loss earnings recovery is faster for young adults who live near their parents than for young adults who live farther away," the Cleveland Fed paper says.

parents

"This positive effect diminishes gradually as the distance to one’s parents increases. Most of the effect is driven by higher wages after job displacement, not by differences in the number of hours worked." 

The effect is absent for older workers who may be caring for elderly parents, the study finds. 

SEE ALSO: There are 2 questions Yellen won't be able to dodge on Capitol Hill this week

Join the conversation about this story »

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Verizon slides after announcing it's bringing back an unlimited data plan (VZ)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Verizon is down 1.25% at $48.37 a share on Monday morning. 

The company said on Sunday that it will launch an unlimited LTE data plan, "Verizon Unlimited", on Monday February 13th.

This is the first time in more than five years that Verizon, the nation’s largest carrier in terms of total subscribers, will have an unlimited offering. The new plan comes on the heels of other renewed and aggressive pushes into unlimited data from rival carriers, most notably T-Mobile, which in August replaced all of its existing mobile plans in favor of one unlimited offering, titled T-Mobile One.

According to equity analysts at Jefferies in a note released on Monday, "Verizon's re-introduction of unlimited wireless, along with a free phone promotion, likely reflects the challenges of maintaining handset share with premium pricing as the industry has rapidly moved to unlimited offerings. Historically, VZ has indicated the belief that unlimited data devalues the network and does not provide proper returns."

The plan will start at $80 per month for an individual line or $45 per line for a group of four on smartphones or tablets. Both new and existing subscribers will be able to sign up. 

Jefferies analysts maintain a "Hold" rating with a price target of $51.

Verizon

SEE ALSO: Verizon is launching an 'unlimited' data plan for the first time in more than 5 years

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Apple tops all-time closing high after UBS says it's undervalued (AAPL)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Apple hit $133.82, surpassing its best close on record after UBS analyst Steven Milunovich said the company is undervalued. The stock's all-time high print is $134.54 and occurred on April 28, 2015. 

According to Milunovich, management has emphasized the importance of services the past year, however, the services business is still underappreciated by the market. If Apple services were valued similarly to PayPal, the stock would be at least 10% higher, according to the note. 

Services currently contribute profit that's greater than all non-iPhone segments combined, according to the Milunovich's team. Services like the App Store account for most of Apple's revenue and profit growth and Apple Music may turn into a broader content bundle. 

The bank maintains a "Buy" rating and has a 12-month price target of $138.

Apple

SEE ALSO: Apple CEO Tim Cook believes augmented reality is 'a big idea like the smartphone'

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Apple hits all-time high after UBS says its undervalued (AAPL)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Apple hit an all-time high of $133.82, up 1.3%, on Monday morning after UBS analyst Steven Milunovich said the company is undervalued. 

According to Milunovich, management has emphasized the importance of services the past year, however, the services business is still underappreciated by the market. If Apple services were valued similarly to PayPal, the stock would be at least 10% higher, according to the note. 

Services currently contribute profit that's greater than all non-iPhone segments combined, according to the Milunovich's team. Services like the App Store account for most of Apple's revenue and profit growth and Apple Music may turn into a broader content bundle. 

The bank maintains a "Buy" rating and has a 12-month price target of $138.

Apple

SEE ALSO: Apple CEO Tim Cook believes augmented reality is 'a big idea like the smartphone'

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Needham: Outlook For Bitcoin ETF Approval Remains Unchanged

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

As one of the more high-profile bitcoin ETF efforts edges closer to possible approval, analyst Needham & Co has released a deeper look at the factors that could influence the US Securities and Exchange Commission's decision on the matter. Published Friday, the report doesn't go so far as to alter its outlook for the Winklevoss Bitcoin […]

Source

Trump can't take credit for the Trump rally

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

donald trump

The most notable moves in US markets since November 9 started before the election and likely won't be sustained only by its outcome. 

To recap, US stocks rose to all-time highs after President Donald Trump won the election. Treasury yields also rose, as it appeared that inflation may finally start to take off.  

The narrative was that Trump, who had touted a pro-business platform, would have the support of a Republican Senate and House of Representatives to enact his tax reforms and infrastructure investments. 

But Jonathan Golub, the chief equity strategist at RBC Capital, is among those analysts who argue that the preexisting economic backdrop was a bigger mover of markets and will remain the most important catalyst. 

"Given our Street-high S&P 500 price target of 2500, it’s easy to assume that our call is a simply a play on President Trump’s pro-growth policies," Golub said in a client note on Monday. "This is hardly the case. While we believe that market-friendly policy prescriptions have the potential to boost stock prices, we see reflation and a cyclically stronger economy as the more likely forces driving equities from here."

Golub showed that incoming economic data had started to improve before the election:Screen Shot 2017 02 13 at 9.01.49 AM"In many ways, what Trump has gotten right, more than anything else, is timing," Golub said, adding that Trump ran for president in the weakest year of the economic recovery.

"Growth and inflation expectations had already begun to renormalize around mid-year and incoming data began to turn higher just before Election Day."

One of the standout moves after the election was a rise in market-based expectations for inflation. This showed in the rise of breakeven inflation — the difference between Treasury yields and their equivalents that are indexed to inflation.

Breakevens had also started rising before the election:

Screen Shot 2017 02 13 at 9.14.58 AM

The chart below from Golub's note shows that the equity and bond market performances post-election were not all that outsized compared to the preceding months:Screen Shot 2017 02 13 at 9.03.43 AMThe market reaction "followed the typical trajectory around close presidential elections, pricing out the uncertainty risk premium rather than pricing in policy changes or stimulus; ditto for the move up in bond yields," said Binky Chadha, Deutsche Bank's chief global strategist, in a note on Thursday. In other words, investors hate uncertainty, and so they embraced Trump's decisive electoral-college win, not all that he promised but had not yet delivered on. 

"The post election 'Trump rally' has not reflected expectations of policy changes or stimulus," he said.

Chadha published a 2017 S&P 500 target of 2,600, the highest among major Wall Street firms. He forecast a 15% gain for the year to be driven by share buybacks, economic growth, and higher corporate profits — all of which may or may not be driven by Trump's policies. 

"Put differently, pro-growth policies might be the icing on the cake, but a stronger backdrop is the cake," Golub said. 

SEE ALSO: Markets are starting to get nervous about Trump

DON'T MISS: There's a new biggest bull on Wall Street and he thinks stocks could rally 15% this year

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The People's Bank of China is still pursuing Bitcoin exchanges

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

bitcoin

This story was delivered to BI Intelligence "Fintech Briefing" subscribers. To learn more and subscribe, please click here.

The People's Bank of China (PBOC) has been hounding domestic bitcoin exchanges for some time now, pressuring them to ensure compliance with existing financial regulations and issuing warnings about the risks of bitcoin trading.

In fact, just this week, the PBOC held a closed-door meeting with several then-unnamed exchanges to discuss its concerns. This increased scrutiny has prompted some exchanges to take measures to preempt a feared regulatory crackdown.

Now, two new developments have emerged in this ongoing saga:

  • The PBOC revealed the details of its private meeting. In a statement on its website on Thursday, the PBOC said the meeting had been with nine of the country's smaller bitcoin exchanges, and released their names, Reuters reports. The PBOC said the parties discussed risks and issues in the domestic bitcoin market, and that it warned the exchanges that they face closure if they violate regulations by engaging in money laundering and margin lending. After the meeting, a number of the exchanges followed the example set by larger competitors last week, and introduced fees, according to CoinDesk.
  • OKCoin and Huobi suspended cryptocurrency withdrawals on their exchanges. Also on Thursday, the major exchanges released statements announcing that they would suspend bitcoin and Litecoin withdrawals on their exchanges for a month, Bloomberg reports. Both exchanges explained the suspension would last while they "upgraded" their systems to ensure they are compliant with anti-money laundering, foreign exchange management, and other financial rules. The announcement caused bitcoin prices to drop sharply on Thursday morning, from $1,063 at the start of the day to $946 by mid-afternoon.

These developments suggest that the PBOC is preoccupied with ensuring existing regulations are enforced. The PBOC's emphasis to date has been on bitcoin exchanges abiding by existing financial regulations, rather than on introducing new market-specific rules for these players. This indicates both that the exchanges may be in violation of these rules, and also that oversight of the industry has not been adequate. As such, it is perhaps likely that the next chapter in this story will be tougher penalties for transgressors, rather than the introduction of any new regulations for bitcoin exchanges.

Blockchain technology, which is best known for powering Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, is gaining steam among finance firms because of its potential to streamline processes and increase efficiency. The technology could cut costs by up to $20 billion annually by 2022, according to Santander.

That's because blockchain, which operates as a distributed ledger, has the ability to allow multiple parties to transfer and store sensitive information in a space that’s secure, permanent, anonymous, and easily accessible. That could simplify paper-heavy, expensive, or logistically complicated financial systems, like remittances and cross-border transfer, shareholder management and ownership exchange, and securities trading, to name a few. And outside of finance, governments and the music industry are investigating the technology’s potential to simplify record-keeping.

As a result, venture capital firms and financial institutions alike are pouring investment into finding, developing, and testing blockchain use cases. Over 50 major financial institutions are involved with collaborative blockchain startups, have begun researching the technology in-house, or have helped fund startups with products rooted in blockchain. 

Jaime Toplin, research associate for BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, has compiled a detailed report on blockchain technology that explains how blockchain works, why it has the potential to provide a watershed moment for the financial industry, and the different ways it could be put into practice in the coming years.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • Spending on capital markets applications of blockchain is expected to grow at a 52% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2019, according to Aite Group, to reach $400 million that year.
  • Banks and major financial institutions are working both collaboratively and independently to develop blockchain tech. Over 50 major financial institutions are involved with collaborative blockchain startups, like R3 CEV or Chain. And many are investing in the technology on their own as well.
  • Putting blockchain to use for real-world transactions is likely not that far off. If working groups' tests are successful, firms could be using it to transact real value as early as the end of this year and we could see widespread industry application within the next few years. 

In full, the report:

  • Examines the funding increases that are pouring into blockchain
  • Assesses why blockchain is becoming so popular and what factors are driving up increased research and development
  • Explains in full how blockchain technology work and what assets make it valuable and vulnerable
  • Identifies pain points in the financial industry and profiles how various firms are using blockchain to solve them
  • Demonstrates the challenges to mainstream adoption and their potential solutions

To get your copy of this invaluable guide, choose one of these options:

  1. Subscribe to an ALL-ACCESS Membership with BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report AND over 100 other expertly researched deep-dive reports, subscriptions to all of our daily newsletters, and much more. >> START A MEMBERSHIP
  2. Purchase the report and download it immediately from our research store. >> BUY THE REPORT

The choice is yours. But however you decide to acquire this report, you’ve given yourself a powerful advantage in your understanding of blockchain technology.

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The People's Bank of China is still pursuing Bitcoin exchanges

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

bitcoin

This story was delivered to BI Intelligence "Fintech Briefing" subscribers. To learn more and subscribe, please click here.

The People's Bank of China (PBOC) has been hounding domestic bitcoin exchanges for some time now, pressuring them to ensure compliance with existing financial regulations and issuing warnings about the risks of bitcoin trading.

In fact, just this week, the PBOC held a closed-door meeting with several then-unnamed exchanges to discuss its concerns. This increased scrutiny has prompted some exchanges to take measures to preempt a feared regulatory crackdown.

Now, two new developments have emerged in this ongoing saga:

  • The PBOC revealed the details of its private meeting. In a statement on its website on Thursday, the PBOC said the meeting had been with nine of the country's smaller bitcoin exchanges, and released their names, Reuters reports. The PBOC said the parties discussed risks and issues in the domestic bitcoin market, and that it warned the exchanges that they face closure if they violate regulations by engaging in money laundering and margin lending. After the meeting, a number of the exchanges followed the example set by larger competitors last week, and introduced fees, according to CoinDesk.
  • OKCoin and Huobi suspended cryptocurrency withdrawals on their exchanges. Also on Thursday, the major exchanges released statements announcing that they would suspend bitcoin and Litecoin withdrawals on their exchanges for a month, Bloomberg reports. Both exchanges explained the suspension would last while they "upgraded" their systems to ensure they are compliant with anti-money laundering, foreign exchange management, and other financial rules. The announcement caused bitcoin prices to drop sharply on Thursday morning, from $1,063 at the start of the day to $946 by mid-afternoon.

These developments suggest that the PBOC is preoccupied with ensuring existing regulations are enforced. The PBOC's emphasis to date has been on bitcoin exchanges abiding by existing financial regulations, rather than on introducing new market-specific rules for these players. This indicates both that the exchanges may be in violation of these rules, and also that oversight of the industry has not been adequate. As such, it is perhaps likely that the next chapter in this story will be tougher penalties for transgressors, rather than the introduction of any new regulations for bitcoin exchanges.

Blockchain technology, which is best known for powering Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, is gaining steam among finance firms because of its potential to streamline processes and increase efficiency. The technology could cut costs by up to $20 billion annually by 2022, according to Santander.

That's because blockchain, which operates as a distributed ledger, has the ability to allow multiple parties to transfer and store sensitive information in a space that’s secure, permanent, anonymous, and easily accessible. That could simplify paper-heavy, expensive, or logistically complicated financial systems, like remittances and cross-border transfer, shareholder management and ownership exchange, and securities trading, to name a few. And outside of finance, governments and the music industry are investigating the technology’s potential to simplify record-keeping.

As a result, venture capital firms and financial institutions alike are pouring investment into finding, developing, and testing blockchain use cases. Over 50 major financial institutions are involved with collaborative blockchain startups, have begun researching the technology in-house, or have helped fund startups with products rooted in blockchain. 

Jaime Toplin, research associate for BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, has compiled a detailed report on blockchain technology that explains how blockchain works, why it has the potential to provide a watershed moment for the financial industry, and the different ways it could be put into practice in the coming years.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • Spending on capital markets applications of blockchain is expected to grow at a 52% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2019, according to Aite Group, to reach $400 million that year.
  • Banks and major financial institutions are working both collaboratively and independently to develop blockchain tech. Over 50 major financial institutions are involved with collaborative blockchain startups, like R3 CEV or Chain. And many are investing in the technology on their own as well.
  • Putting blockchain to use for real-world transactions is likely not that far off. If working groups' tests are successful, firms could be using it to transact real value as early as the end of this year and we could see widespread industry application within the next few years. 

In full, the report:

  • Examines the funding increases that are pouring into blockchain
  • Assesses why blockchain is becoming so popular and what factors are driving up increased research and development
  • Explains in full how blockchain technology work and what assets make it valuable and vulnerable
  • Identifies pain points in the financial industry and profiles how various firms are using blockchain to solve them
  • Demonstrates the challenges to mainstream adoption and their potential solutions

To get your copy of this invaluable guide, choose one of these options:

  1. Subscribe to an ALL-ACCESS Membership with BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report AND over 100 other expertly researched deep-dive reports, subscriptions to all of our daily newsletters, and much more. >> START A MEMBERSHIP
  2. Purchase the report and download it immediately from our research store. >> BUY THE REPORT

The choice is yours. But however you decide to acquire this report, you’ve given yourself a powerful advantage in your understanding of blockchain technology.

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Bitcoin dives below $1,000

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Bitcoin is back below $1,000. Overnight selling has pushed the cryptocurrency down 1.1%, or $11, to $989 a coin, and below the psychologically important level for the first time since February 3 as sellers remain in control following the decision by some of China's largest exchanges to block withdrawals.

Last Thursday, following a meeting with the People's Bank of China, Huobi and OK Coin announced customers would be blocked from withdrawing their bitcoins. 

The announcement comes following a wild start to 2017 for bitcoin. It rallied more than 20% in the opening week of the year before crashing 35% on fears China would crack down on trading. 

Last week's announcement wasn't the first action China's exchanges have taken this year to curb trading. Earlier, they announced they would begin charging a flat fee of 0.2% per transaction. 

Bitcoin

SEE ALSO: We bought and sold bitcoin — here's how it works

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The yen is tumbling after Japan's GDP miss

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Screen Shot 2017 02 13 at 8.50.58 AM

The Japanese yen is weaker after a GDP miss.

The currency is down by 0.6% at 113.91 per dollar as of 8:46 a.m. ET.

Earlier, a preliminary estimate showed that the Japanese economy grew by 0.2% in the fourth quarter, below economists' expectations of 0.3%. This was the third consecutive quarter that growth slowed.

"Growth was not fast enough last quarter to reduce spare capacity any further, but the current level of the output gap remains consistent with stronger price pressures. The upshot is that monetary policy will remain on hold for a long time," wrote Marcel Thieliant, senior Japan economist at Capital Economics, in a note.

"Looking ahead, the current strength in labour income suggests that consumer spending will start to recover again soon," he added. "However, we expect the yen to weaken further towards 130 by the end of this year, which will result in a surge in prices of imported goods and undermine households’ purchasing power. We therefore expect private consumption to slow again next year."

As for the rest of the world, here's the scoreboard as of 8:55 a.m. ET:

  • The Russian ruble is up by 0.4% at 57.9930 per dollar, while Brent crude oil, the international benchmark, is down by 1.0% at $56.13 per barrel.
  • The US dollar index is little changed at 100.90 ahead of a quiet data day. Consumer-price-index revisions will be announced.
  • The euro is down by 0.2% at 1.0623 against the dollar.
  • The British pound is up by 0.2% at 1.2513 against the dollar.

SEE ALSO: What 25 major world leaders and dictators looked like when they were young

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Trump’s trade-war mongering is starting to rattle Wall Street

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Donald Trump made international trade, and his skepticism thereof, a centerpiece of his presidential campaign. 

Yet Wall Street, ever hopeful, saw those promises as bluster, choosing instead to focus on Trump’s talk of corporate tax cuts and widespread deregulation.

Now that he’s in power, markets are starting to realize Trump has a lot more leeway to enact his trade agenda unilaterally than he does to act on the tax and regulatory fronts, where legislators and the judiciary will have a much greater say.

trade laws

That’s causing some economists to question the wisdom of the recent run-up in stocks, which were specifically catapulted higher by bank shares rallying on the hopes of a swift erasure of the post-crisis Dodd-Frank rules.

"Given President Trump’s long-held views that the US has been losing out on foreign trade, the likelihood and consequences of a trade war are Top of Mind," write Goldman Sachs economists in a research note. "US action on China’s currency policy and unilateral, targeted tariffs are likely, and China would respond proportionately." Trump has hired several ex-Goldman bankers as his top economic advisers.

A look at Trump’s key economic appointments more broadly has also put investors on alert for the possibility that the US will raise tariffs on trading partners like Mexico and China, unleashing retaliation with no clear end in sight.

"The incoming administration has a protectionist bend," says David Doyle, equities analyst at Macquarie Capital Markets Canada. Peter Navarro, an economics professor from the University of California at Irvine, has been appointed to lead a newly-formed National Trade Council. Navarro “has had an aggressive stance towards China," says Doyle. “For example, two books he has written are entitled 'Death by China and ‘The Coming China Wars.'" 

Leaving aside the possible nightmare of an actual war, what would be the cost of a US trade war with major partners? If it escalated into a full-blown crisis, the damage would difficult to tally. These are some of the proposals Trump made during his campaign. 

trump trade

Economists at the Peterson Institute for International Economics gave it a try ahead of the US elections, and found a trade war would be deeply hurtful to US workers, "plunge the US economy into recession and cost more than 4 million private sector American jobs." 

Screen Shot 2017 02 13 at 8.44.00 AM

Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff offers a stark warning to the Trump administration: "The US cannot win a trade war with China, and any victory will be Pyrrhic. The US needs to negotiate hard with China to protect its friends in Asia and deal with the rogue state of North Korea. And the best way to get the good deals Trump says he seeks is to pursue a more open trade policy with China, not a destructive trade war."

SEE ALSO: Investors don't trust the Fed anymore — and Trump might have something to do with it

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As Exchanges Pause Withdrawals, Chinese Bitcoin Investors Switch to P2P Trading

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

[…]

The post As Exchanges Pause Withdrawals, Chinese Bitcoin Investors Switch to P2P Trading appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

Infected Vending Machines And Light Bulbs DDoS A University

Forbes, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Hackers have taken advantage of the dismal state of IoT security yet again. This time they crippled Internet access at a university by hijacking everything from drink machines to light bulbs.

Some of the biggest US companies have their eyes on one of Trump's policy promises

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Doanld Trump earpiece

A lot of the companies in the S&P 500 have their eyes on President Donald Trump, and one of his policy promises has caught their eyes more than anything else.

Of the 317 S&P 500 companies that reported their earnings through February 8, roughly 52%, or 162, of those firms have mentioned Trump or the new administration in some wa,y according to analysis by FactSet's John Butters.

During their quarterly earnings calls, the favorite topic of conversation for these massive firms was the new administration's call to cut corporate taxes.

"In terms of government policies in conjunction with the new administration, tax policy was cited or discussed by the highest number of S&P 500 companies at 85," said the note from Butters.

Tax policy has long been cited by analysts and economists as one of the most beneficial policies for corporations that the Trump team has suggested. In a meeting with manufacturing CEOs during the first week of his presidency, Trump promised to cut the federal tax rate to 15-20% from its current statutory 35%.

Concerns grew, however, over the first three weeks of the Trump presidency that tax reform had taken a back seat as Trump focused his first slew of executive orders on immigration and trade.

On Thursday, however, Trump said during a meeting with airline CEOs that he will announce a plan in the "next two or three weeks" that will be "phenomenal in terms of tax."

The second-highest topic of conversation was regulation, which was discussed by 63 companies. Trade policy came in third with 58 companies talking about the topic.

Screen Shot 2017 02 13 at 8.13.56 AM

SEE ALSO: Markets are starting to get nervous about Trump

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Some of the biggest US companies have their eyes on one of Trump's policy promises

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Doanld Trump earpiece

A lot of the companies in the S&P 500 have their eyes on President Donald Trump, and one of his policy promises has caught their eyes more than anything else.

Of the 317 S&P 500 companies that reported their earnings through February 8, roughly 52%, or 162, of those firms have mentioned Trump or the new administration in some wa,y according to analysis by FactSet's John Butters.

During their quarterly earnings calls, the favorite topic of conversation for these massive firms was the new administration's call to cut corporate taxes.

"In terms of government policies in conjunction with the new administration, tax policy was cited or discussed by the highest number of S&P 500 companies at 85," said the note from Butters.

Tax policy has long been cited by analysts and economists as one of the most beneficial policies for corporations that the Trump team has suggested. In a meeting with manufacturing CEOs during the first week of his presidency, Trump promised to cut the federal tax rate to 15-20% from its current statutory 35%.

Concerns grew, however, over the first three weeks of the Trump presidency that tax reform had taken a back seat as Trump focused his first slew of executive orders on immigration and trade.

On Thursday, however, Trump said during a meeting with airline CEOs that he will announce a plan in the "next two or three weeks" that will be "phenomenal in terms of tax."

The second-highest topic of conversation was regulation, which was discussed by 63 companies. Trade policy came in third with 58 companies talking about the topic.

Screen Shot 2017 02 13 at 8.13.56 AM

SEE ALSO: Markets are starting to get nervous about Trump

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's how to use one of the many apps to buy and trade bitcoin

Blockchain Venture Test Will Have to Wait With Mainstreet Launch Delay

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

One of bitcoin's first evangelists is launching an ICO, but investors may be wary of issues over the funding model.

Source

There are 2 questions Yellen won’t be able to dodge on Capitol Hill this week

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

janet yellen

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is used to taking heat during her fairly frequent testimonies before Congress.

But a lot has changed in Washington since Yellen’s last visit to Capitol Hill. She is now working under a President Donald Trump who actively maligned her during the election campaign, accusing her of acting politically by keeping interest rates low to help President Barack Obama.

Moreover, this is a president whose party controls both chambers of Congress and includes plenty of Republicans who are actively hostile to the Fed, many having notably called for the central bank’s abolition.

Since that doesn’t seem in the cards given that every civilized economy in the world has a monetary authority, Republicans have moved instead to curb the central bank’s powers with legislation claiming it will “Audit the Fed.” In reality, the Fed is already audited financially, and the bill is really just a backdoor way to give politicians more influence over monetary policy, something that longstanding experience with central bank independence suggests can quickly become problematic.

As president, Trump will have wide leeway to appoint new governors and even a new chair, as Janet Yellen’s term expires at the end of January 2018. All the more so after the resignation last week of Daniel Tarullo, the Fed's point man on regulation, following Trump's announcement that he intends to gut post-crisis financial legislation. 

Against that backdrop, lawmakers will likely to try to pin Janet Yellen down on two particular issues this week as she testifies before the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee. Neither encompasses what traders on Wall Street are most keen to hear — whether she’s sticking to her forecast for three interest rate increases this year.

The first and most obvious matter is the post-crisis Dodd-Frank financial reform. The Republican push to roll back the 2010 law aimed at preventing another crisis puts the Fed and Yellen herself in an awkward position since, as one of the key agencies implementing and debating the legislation, top central bank officials have often championed it publicly. European officials have also complained about Trump's proposed deregulation of Wall Street. 

One of the curious arguments the Trump camp appears to be making is that, because the new law failed to truly address the problem of banks deemed too big to fail, it might as well be scrapped altogether. This is not only illogical, it will certainly face vocal challenges from Democrats and public interest groups.

The second issue Yellen will have to grapple with is the Audit the Fed legislation. Many of its proponents will be her questioners. They will accuse the Fed of hiding behind a veil of secrecy and not being transparent. This is a clever deception — the Fed certainly could do more to be clear and transparent, but not for lack of disclosure of its finances. 

SEE ALSO: The Fed already has a problem with its 2017 forecast

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Forex Giants Trading Bitcoin? In Japan That Might Be Months Away

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

When new legislation becomes law later this year, Japan's blockchain market will see financial giants come on board, industry insiders tell CoinDesk.

Source

AI and Bitcoin Are Driving the Next Big Hedge Fund Wave

Wired, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

AI and Bitcoin Are Driving the Next Big Hedge Fund Wave
Jeffrey Tarrant believes that the hedge fund world is on the verge of a new, Silicon Valley-inspired revolution. He calls it the Third Wave. The post AI and Bitcoin Are Driving the Next Big Hedge Fund Wave appeared first on WIRED.

Bitcoin Correction Was Sharp but (Too?) Short-Lived

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

[…]

The post Bitcoin Correction Was Sharp but (Too?) Short-Lived appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

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