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$8,000? Goldman Sachs Analysts See Possible Bitcoin Price Jump

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

Goldman Sachs analysts predicted that the price of bitcoin could surge as high as $8,000 in a note distributed to clients earlier this week.

(+) Cryptocurrency Analysis: Bitcoin Price Tumbles to $7000 as Rally Fizzles

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

The post (+) Cryptocurrency Analysis: Bitcoin Price Tumbles to $7000 as Rally Fizzles appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

NextBlock CEO Alex Tapscott Cancels Plans to Go Public and Will Return Money to Investors

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Tapscott

Alex Tapscott, CEO of NextBlock Global, a venture capital company investing in blockchain technologies, announced in a press release yesterday that he is canceling their plans to go public through a reverse takeover (RTO) of Nobelium Tech Corp., a company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX).

Tapscott said the young company had “stumbled” in falsely listing some crypto and blockchain experts as members of the firm’s advisory board. He is currently talking to NextBlock investors to work out how to return their original investments and to “rebuild the trust of those [they] have disappointed.”

NextBlock Global raised $20 million in their initial oversubscribed fundraising in July 2017 and had hoped to raise $100 million in the public offering. They planned to invest in digital currencies, blockchain hosting platforms and blockchain-based applications.

CIBC and investment bank Canaccord Genuity (a former employer of Tapscott’s) were underwriters on the deal, but CIBC pulled its support from the young venture capital firm amid the allegations.

According to BNN, clients of CIBC received an email saying, “CIBC has withdrawn as an agent from the NextBlock Global Limited private placement.” CIBC was not available for comment.

Sources have told BNN that Canaccord Genuity remained in the deal.

An article in Forbes last week detailed complaints from Kathryn Haun, Vinny Lingham, Dmitry Buterin and Karen Gifford that Tapscott had circulated an investor deck that incorrectly listed them as members of the NextBlock advisory board.

Dmitry Buterin, co-founder of Blockgeeks and father of Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, was included in at least one draft of the investor deck. He told Bitcoin Magazine in a recent interview what had happened. He recounted:

“It’s pretty simple. Alex asked me to be an advisor, I declined. Then I got a deck forwarded to me which listed me as an advisor. It was forwarded to me by investors who received it from Alex.”

Buterin said he had met with Tapscott to let him know he wouldn’t be on the advisory board:

“We had a meeting and I was not convinced that they have the right resources to pull this off.”

When Is an Advisory Board Not an Advisory Board?

A thread on Twitter about NextBlock recently included some comments about how advisory boards have become routine and are often used as window dressing for making ICO pitches and, therefore, they aren’t really “advising” as such.

One user commented that likely only 50 to 60 percent of advisory boards are legitimate anymore, and put the NextBlock situation in a different light, implying that it’s become common practice to dress up a proposal with photos of known experts.

Amber D. Scott, CEO of Outlier Solutions, told Bitcoin Magazine that she gets several requests a week to sit on ICO advisory boards. Scott explained that the conversation often goes like this:

ICO rep: “We saw you speak at an event and would love to add you as an advisor.”

Scott: “I’ve looked at your website/white paper and I’m not sure where you need compliance advice. Could you please elaborate on that?”


ICO rep: “You don’t actually have to do anything. We’ll just put your picture and bio on the website. You have a great name in the community.”


Andreas Antonopoulos, well-known author of “Mastering Bitcoin,” says on his website that he does not accept invitations to sit on advisory boards and that he will not discuss projects publicly if he does work as an advisor.


Vitalik Buterin has also had to make it clear several times on Twitter that he is not an advisor for a number of firms that have touted his advice.


What could have been a major scandal for both the Tapscotts (father Don and son Alex) has been averted by this move, but how much long-term damage both NextBlock and the Blockchain Research Institute will sustain to their reputation remains to be seen.


The father-son Tapscott team co-founded the Toronto-based think tank Blockchain Research Institute, and co-authored the book “Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business and the World,” which has been translated into more than 20 languages.

The Blockchain Research Institute is holding a Members Summit this week in Toronto. Members of the think tank include CIBC, Microsoft, IBM, Fujitsu, Accenture, Tencent, Bell, Nasdaq, FedEx, Interac and the Governments of Canada and Ontario.

The post NextBlock CEO Alex Tapscott Cancels Plans to Go Public and Will Return Money to Investors appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Stampery Demonstrates Timestamping on Public Blockchains like Bitcoin and Litecoin

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

[…]

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Stampery Demonstrates Timestamping on Public Blockchains like Bitcoin and Litecoin

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

[…]

The post Stampery Demonstrates Timestamping on Public Blockchains like Bitcoin and Litecoin appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

One of the hottest hedge fund launches of the year has doubled its assets in about 6 months

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

trader surprised shocked

  • Hedge fund Light Sky Macro launched earlier this year, with the backing of Steve Cohen, Dan Loeb and a number of other hedge fund managers.
  • The fund had a rough start but is now in positive territory.
  • The fund was started by Ben Melkman, a former partner at Brevan Howard.

 

NEW YORK – Things are looking good for Ben Melkman's Light Sky Macro.

After a rough start earlier this year, the macro hedge fund is posting slight gains and raising more money – double what it had about six months ago.

The hedge fund gained 0.59% after fees since launching March 1 through September, a person familiar with the returns told Business Insider. It means the fund has recouped early losses — after dropping about 3.5% from March through the end of April.

Light Sky Macro has quickly raised assets and is currently managing $1.7 billion, the person added. That's about double what the firm managed at the end of April.

Light Sky had expected to launch on March 1 with about $400 million before scaling up. The firm is now what the industry calls "soft-closed," meaning that the fund is not actively seeking new investors but allowing investments from existing relationships.

Some of the biggest names in the hedge fund industry backed Light Sky Macro, including billionaire Steve Cohen, Third Point's Dan Loeb and Moore Capital's Louis Bacon, Business Insider earlier reported.

Melkman previously was a partner at Brevan Howard Asset Management, a Europe-based hedge fund titan that has been losing assets.

Macro funds are down about 0.4% for the year through September, per data tracker HFR.

SEE ALSO: Bank of America Merrill Lynch has signed on with a quant firm — and it shows where Wall Street is headed

DON'T MISS: We keep hearing that billionaire hedge funder Steve Cohen has been crushing it recently — and just at the right time

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: We just got a super smart and simple explanation of what a bitcoin fork actually is

STOCKS TICK UP: Here's what you need to know

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

ice climbing

Stocks edged up on Monday, with all three indices just barely scraping into new highs. 

  • Dow: 23,556.61, +17.42, (+0.07%)
  • S&P 500: 2591.78, +3.98, (+0.17%)
  • Nasdaq: 6,789.11, +24.51, (+0.38%)

1. Disney has reportedly been in talks to buy most of 21st Century Fox, CNBC's David Faber reported. A deal would exclude the Fox broadcast network because Disney could not own two broadcast networks, the report said. It would also exclude Fox's sports channels to avoid regulatory scrutiny that would come on concerns that combining with ESPN is anti-competitive.  

2. Broadcom offered to buy its rival Qualcomm in what would be the largest tech deal ever... A deal would make Broadcom the third-largest maker of chips and other components that go into smartphones behind Intel and Samsung, according to Bloomberg. 

3. ...But Qualcomm is going to do whatever it takes to fend of Broadcom. The offer price undervalues Qualcomm and is below what its board would seriously consider, the Financial Times reported. That's in spite of the 28% premium that Broadcom's offer places on Qualcomm's closing price Thursday, the eve of the first news report on the deal.

4. Saudi Arabia detained 11 princes, dozens of former ministers, and billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal over the weekend. "We expect no immediate changes in oil policy. MBS seems strongly committed to anchoring the OPEC agreement deep into 2018 and moving ahead with the Aramco sale," Helima Croft, the global head of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets, said in a note to clients.

5. House GOP leaders scored a big win for their giant tax plan. Rep. Tom MacArthur of New Jersey on Monday said he planned to support the tax bill rolled out by House GOP leaders last week, despite changes to a key deduction for his state. He was initially skeptical of the bill because of its proposed repeal of most of the state and local tax deduction, which allows people to subtract what they pay in state and local taxes from their federal tax bill. 

6. New York Fed President William Dudley is preparing to retire earlier than planned, further setting the stage for a fresh slate of US central bankers next year. The news comes after Trump named Jerome Powell to succeed Janet Yellen as Fed chair last week.

7. Intel and AMD shares climbed after the two companies announced a plan to take on Nvidia, the largest maker of graphics chips. Intel is set to announce a partnership with AMD to produce a processor that would combine an Intel central processing unit (CPU) with an AMD graphics processing unit (GPU), according to the Wall Street Journal. The chips would be intended to be for use in laptops and capable of handling high-end video gaming.

ADDITIONALLY:

One group of stocks has been destroying the market since the election — all thanks to Trump.

Saudi Arabia's purge is "a stunning political development" and a "shot across the bow at the old establishment."

JPMorgan says technological innovations like big data and AI could cause the next market correction.

GOLDMAN SACHS: Bitcoin could get close to $8,000.

A crucial line in Trump's new tax plan will make it a lot harder to buy a $1 million home.

The next four days will be crucial for the GOP tax plan.

Bitcoin's "bubble" is unlike anything we've seen recently.

SEE ALSO: Xi Jinping is officially China's most powerful leader since Mao — here's what that means for the economy

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Tesla's value is surging 'because the vision is so intoxicating'

These 2 companies are riding the bitcoin wave and their stocks have skyrocketed by more than 1,000%

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

bitcoin convention


 

The cryptocurrency wave that appears to be sweeping Wall Street is not just benefiting bitcoin. 

The digital currency, which has seen its price spike 600% this year, is getting a bit more respect and attention from traditional Wall Street players. Exchange groups CME and Cboe, for instance, are planning to roll out their own bitcoin futures products and Goldman Sachs is considering a bitcoin trading operation. Over 70 cryptocurrency hedge funds have sprouted up to take advantage of investment opportunities in the booming crypto space, according to analytics provider Autonomous NEXT

And at least two bitcoin-related companies appear to be riding the wave as well. 

The stock of Bitcoin Group, a bitcoin mining company, and Hive Blockchain Technologies, another crypto mining company, have both seen their share price appreciate by more than 1,000%.

On Monday the price of Bitcoin Group, a Australia-based company, traded near $80 per share,up 1,006% since the beginning of the year. The company operates bitcoin mining facilities in Australia, Iceland, and China. 

Bitcoin mining is the process by which new bitcoins are unleashed and bitcoin transactions are processed on the underpinning blockchain network. 

Screen Shot 2017 11 06 at 2.28.34 PM

Hive Blockchain Technologies, a Canadian firm, is up 3,690% year-to-date at $4 per share. The company began trading under the ticker "HIVE" in September after it "took over the listing of Leeta Gold Corp," according to Bloomberg. 

Screen Shot 2017 11 06 at 2.28.59 PM

The market for cryptocurrencies, which now includes over 1,000 different coins and tokens, recently surpassed $200 billion, according to Coinmarketcap.com.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Gary Shilling calls bitcoin a black box and says he doesn't invest in things he doesn't understand

Survey Polls American Awareness of Cryptocurrencies and ICOs

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

ICO

In October 2017, LendEDU, a marketplace for financing loans, credit cards and other financial products, polled 1,000 Americans asking a series of questions related to Ethereum, Ripple and initial coin offerings (ICOs). They did this to gain insight into the average American’s perception of cryptocurrency. The poll was conducted by online polling company OnePoll, which acted as a third party and was able to provide an age and gender breakdown of respondents. The poll was answered by 1,000 Americans ages 18 and up over two days, from October 27 to 30.

Ethereum:

At the time of writing, with a market capitalization of $28.49 billion, Ethereum is the second-largest cryptocurrency, about one-fourth the market capitalization of Bitcoin. Since the start of 2017, the price of ether has grown from $7.98 to $298.

  • 31.60 percent of Americans have heard of Ethereum and 18.20 percent of Americans are planning to invest in ether (ETH)

The survey showed that American awareness of Ethereum trends toward a younger (millennial) demographic with 58.49 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 having heard of the cryptocurrency and 32.08 percent of the same demographic planning to invest in Ethereum as an asset for the future.

47 percent less Americans have heard of Ethereum compared to Bitcoin based on a LendEDU survey conducted a month prior on Bitcoin. When asked whether or not they would invest in either cryptocurrency as an asset for the future, Americans 25–34 showed the most interest. The number of these respondents saying they would invest in Bitcoin was only 6.68 percent greater than those saying they would invest in Ethereum.  

On the opposite end of the spectrum, only about 1.34 percent of Americans 55 and older plan to invest in Ethereum as an asset for the future. Across all age groups, 37.80 percent of respondents were unsure about investing in Ethereum, which could indicate a lack of knowledge about cryptocurrency as much as general uncertainty about future investing.

Ripple:

  • 22.20 percent of Americans have heard of Ripple and 14.80 percent of Americans are planning to invest in Ripple (XRP)

At the time of writing, with a market capitalization of approximately $8 billion, Ripple is the third-largest cryptocurrency (depending on whether or not you count Bitcoin Cash). That’s one-fifteenth the size of Bitcoin’s market capitalization. Since the start of 2017, the price of Ripple has grown from $0.006 to $0.201.

As can be seen by these numbers, LendEDU’s survey respondents showed awareness and investment interest in Ripple at similar levels to those for Ethereum.

In a recent interview, the CEO of Ripple, Brad Garlinghouse, made the point to elaborate on the differentiating value propositions for each of the three largest cryptocurrencies:

“In 2017, people have realized there isn’t going to be one crypto to rule them all. You’re seeing vertical solutions where XRP is focused on payment problems, Ethereum is focused on smart contracts, and increasingly Bitcoin is a store of value. Those aren’t competitive. In fact, I want Bitcoin and Ethereum to be successful.”

ICOs

It’s no secret that initial coin offerings (ICOs) have risen in popularity this year as much for their innovative investment opportunity as their regulatory controversy and scams. In September 2017, China declared ICOs to be illegal, while the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) exposed two different ICOs claiming to be backed by real estate and diamonds to be frauds. 

  • 24.90 percent of Americans have heard of ICOs and 15.10 percent of Americans are planning to invest in startups via ICOs

As seen in this chart, almost two-thirds of the American population polled are not sure whether or not ICOs are illegal, while 21 percent believe that investing in them is illegal. As a comparison, in the Bitcoin survey from September, only 10.69 percent of respondents incorrectly believed it was illegal to own bitcoin in the U.S. 

Summary

Across all questions, LendEDU found a group of respondents who have yet to hear about these specific cryptocurrencies but are open to the idea, or at least unsure, about investing in them. All this to say, in the U.S., cryptocurrency cannot be considered mainstream: Ethereum is not quite as well-known as Bitcoin, most are unsure about whether or not ICOs break the law, and Ripple’s market capitalization is not a strong indicator of its success as a currency. 


The post Survey Polls American Awareness of Cryptocurrencies and ICOs appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Survey Polls American Awareness of Cryptocurrencies and ICOs

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

ICO

In October 2017, LendEDU, a marketplace for financing loans, credit cards and other financial products, polled 1,000 Americans asking a series of questions related to Ethereum, Ripple and initial coin offerings (ICOs). They did this to gain insight into the average American’s perception of cryptocurrency. The poll was conducted by online polling company OnePoll, which acted as a third party and was able to provide an age and gender breakdown of respondents. The poll was answered by 1,000 Americans ages 18 and up over two days, from October 27 to 30.

Ethereum:

At the time of writing, with a market capitalization of $28.49 billion, Ethereum is the second-largest cryptocurrency, about one-fourth the market capitalization of Bitcoin. Since the start of 2017, the price of ether has grown from $7.98 to $298.

  • 31.60 percent of Americans have heard of Ethereum and 18.20 percent of Americans are planning to invest in ether (ETH)

The survey showed that American awareness of Ethereum trends toward a younger (millennial) demographic with 58.49 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 having heard of the cryptocurrency and 32.08 percent of the same demographic planning to invest in Ethereum as an asset for the future.

47 percent less Americans have heard of Ethereum compared to Bitcoin based on a LendEDU survey conducted a month prior on Bitcoin. When asked whether or not they would invest in either cryptocurrency as an asset for the future, Americans 25–34 showed the most interest. The number of these respondents saying they would invest in Bitcoin was only 6.68 percent greater than those saying they would invest in Ethereum.  

On the opposite end of the spectrum, only about 1.34 percent of Americans 55 and older plan to invest in Ethereum as an asset for the future. Across all age groups, 37.80 percent of respondents were unsure about investing in Ethereum, which could indicate a lack of knowledge about cryptocurrency as much as general uncertainty about future investing.

Ripple:

  • 22.20 percent of Americans have heard of Ripple and 14.80 percent of Americans are planning to invest in Ripple (XRP)

At the time of writing, with a market capitalization of approximately $8 billion, Ripple is the third-largest cryptocurrency (depending on whether or not you count Bitcoin Cash). That’s one-fifteenth the size of Bitcoin’s market capitalization. Since the start of 2017, the price of Ripple has grown from $0.006 to $0.201.

As can be seen by these numbers, LendEDU’s survey respondents showed awareness and investment interest in Ripple at similar levels to those for Ethereum.

In a recent interview, the CEO of Ripple, Brad Garlinghouse, made the point to elaborate on the differentiating value propositions for each of the three largest cryptocurrencies:

“In 2017, people have realized there isn’t going to be one crypto to rule them all. You’re seeing vertical solutions where XRP is focused on payment problems, Ethereum is focused on smart contracts, and increasingly Bitcoin is a store of value. Those aren’t competitive. In fact, I want Bitcoin and Ethereum to be successful.”

ICOs

It’s no secret that initial coin offerings (ICOs) have risen in popularity this year as much for their innovative investment opportunity as their regulatory controversy and scams. In September 2017, China declared ICOs to be illegal, while the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) exposed two different ICOs claiming to be backed by real estate and diamonds to be frauds. 

  • 24.90 percent of Americans have heard of ICOs and 15.10 percent of Americans are planning to invest in startups via ICOs

As seen in this chart, almost two-thirds of the American population polled are not sure whether or not ICOs are illegal, while 21 percent believe that investing in them is illegal. As a comparison, in the Bitcoin survey from September, only 10.69 percent of respondents incorrectly believed it was illegal to own bitcoin in the U.S. 

Summary

Across all questions, LendEDU found a group of respondents who have yet to hear about these specific cryptocurrencies but are open to the idea, or at least unsure, about investing in them. All this to say, in the U.S., cryptocurrency cannot be considered mainstream: Ethereum is not quite as well-known as Bitcoin, most are unsure about whether or not ICOs break the law, and Ripple’s market capitalization is not a strong indicator of its success as a currency. 


The post Survey Polls American Awareness of Cryptocurrencies and ICOs appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Bitcoin-Bashing Saudi Prince Alwaleed Arrested for Money Laundering

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

[…]

The post Bitcoin-Bashing Saudi Prince Alwaleed Arrested for Money Laundering appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

Bitcoin's Price Slips Below $7,000

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

The price of bitcoin has slid below $7,000 just a day after climbing above the $7,600 level.

Netflix is sliding following report Disney has been in talks to acquire parts of 21st Century Fox (DIS, NFLX, FOXA)

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

reed hastings netflix

  • Disney has reportedly been in talks to acquire parts of 21st Century Fox.
  • Netflix shares are slipping after the news.
  • Disney is set to pull its content from Netflix to start its own streaming service in 2019.
  • Watch shares of Netflix move in real time here.

Shares of Netflix are sliding, down 0.67% at $198.67, after a CNBC's David Faber reported that Disney has been in talks to acquire certain entertainment parts of 21st Century Fox.

The potential deal would not include Fox's broadcast network, as Disney wouldn't be able to own two broadcast networks, the report says. The talks have been about the studio divisions of Fox's business, along with National Geographic, FX Networks and the UK's BSkyB.

The talks come after Disney acquired BAMTech to help build out its standalone streaming services for the company's sports and entertainment properties. Adding Fox's entertainment assets could bolster Disney's streaming offerings when it starts offering its services in 2018 and 2019. Netflix is the current holder of the rights to much of Disney's iconic catalog of content. That deal is set to expire in 2019.

Netflix hasn't been sitting still though. The company reportedly plans to spend more than $7 billion on content next year as it develops more original content. Netflix also bought MillarWorld and poached Shonda Rhimes from her longstanding host, ABC.

Disney is up 1.27% after the news but is down 5.79% this year.

Netflix is up 56.38% this year.

Read more about Disney's streaming plans here.

Netflix stock price

SEE ALSO: UBS: Disney has one big advantage that'll make its streaming movie service succeed

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: A market warning, the big bitcoin debate and a deep dive on tech heavyweights

Netflix is sliding following report Disney has been in talks to acquire parts of 21st Century Fox (DIS, NFLX, FOXA)

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

reed hastings netflix

  • Disney has reportedly been in talks to acquire parts of 21st Century Fox.
  • Netflix shares are slipping after the news.
  • Disney is set to pull its content from Netflix to start its own streaming service in 2019.
  • Watch shares of Netflix move in real time here.

Shares of Netflix are sliding, down 0.67% at $198.67, after a CNBC's David Faber reported that Disney has been in talks to acquire certain entertainment parts of 21st Century Fox.

The potential deal would not include Fox's broadcast network, as Disney wouldn't be able to own two broadcast networks, the report says. The talks have been about the studio divisions of Fox's business, along with National Geographic, FX Networks and the UK's BSkyB.

The talks come after Disney acquired BAMTech to help build out its standalone streaming services for the company's sports and entertainment properties. Adding Fox's entertainment assets could bolster Disney's streaming offerings when it starts offering its services in 2018 and 2019. Netflix is the current holder of the rights to much of Disney's iconic catalog of content. That deal is set to expire in 2019.

Netflix hasn't been sitting still though. The company reportedly plans to spend more than $7 billion on content next year as it develops more original content. Netflix also bought MillarWorld and poached Shonda Rhimes from her longstanding host, ABC.

Disney is up 1.27% after the news but is down 5.79% this year.

Netflix is up 56.38% this year.

Read more about Disney's streaming plans here.

Netflix stock price

SEE ALSO: UBS: Disney has one big advantage that'll make its streaming movie service succeed

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: $6 TRILLION INVESTMENT CHIEF: Bitcoin is a bubble

Disney has reportedly been in talks to buy most of 21st Century Fox (DIS, FOXA)

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

FILE PHOTO: Disney's Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger holds a news conference at Shanghai Disney Resort as part of the three-day Grand Opening events in Shanghai, China, June 15, 2016. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

  • Disney was recently in talks with 21st Century Fox to buy most of the company, according to CNBC's David Faber
  • The deal would trim 21st Century Fox's assets into a more focused slate of news and sports networks that can better compete in a changing media landscape, the report said. 
  • An acquisition would exclude Fox News because Disney cannot own two broadcast networks, the report said. Fox's sports channels would also not be combined with ESPN to avoid anti-trust scrutiny.
  • Disney was reportedly interested in buying National Geographic and FX Networks, among others. 

 

21st Century Fox has been in talks to sell most of itself to Disney, CNBC's David Faber reported on Monday.

An acquisition would leave 21st Century Fox a smaller, more focused portfolio of news and sports networks to better compete in a changing media space, the report said. 

A deal would exclude Fox Broadcast Network because Disney could not own two broadcast networks, the report said. It would also exclude Fox's sports channels to avoid regulatory scrutiny that would come on concerns that combining with ESPN is anti-competitive.  

Disney was reportedly interested in buying Fox assets including the studio division, the UK telecoms company BSkyB, National Geographic, and FX Networks. 

Fox was willing to discuss an acquisition with Disney because its senior management believed the way to scale its media properties was not by buying others, the report said. Both companies aren't in talks but could resume them, according to the report. 

The price of an acquisition that may have been discussed was not reported. 

21st Century Fox shares spiked 6%, while Disney's shares gained 1% on the news. Other cable networks including Viacom and Discovery Communications rallied.  

SEE ALSO: Broadcom offers to buy Qualcomm in what would be the largest tech deal ever

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: A market warning, the big bitcoin debate and a deep dive on tech heavyweights

Giga Watt Partnership Boosts Crowd-Gaming Ecosystem

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Giga Watt gaming

Located in the State of Washington northeast of Grand Coulee Dam, the nation’s largest producer of hydroelectric power, Giga Watt is continuing its steady ascent into one of the top crypto mining operations in the world.


Recently, Giga Watt announced a partnership with the decentralized cloud gaming platform, Playkey. The partnership will employ Giga Watt’s powerful computing infrastructure to expand Playkey’s cloud gaming ecosystem.


The Playkey model uses both individual miners, including gamers with powerful PCs, and professional mining facilities, such as Giga Watt’s, to mine Playkey tokens (PKT). While mining, users help to support Playkey’s existing network by contributing to their GPU supercomputer solution.


This partnership comes on the heels of Playkey’s launch of a blockchain-powered cloud platform that allows anyone to play an unlimited number of top-rated games from around the world without downloads or installations. Playkey manages  this by enabling gamers with powerful PCs to share their GPU power, effectively acting as cloud service providers. This strategy will allow miners to boost their computational potential, affording them the same efficiency as cryptocurrency mining yet with less risk. Gamers can select the best server in the cloud to play their favorite games from any device, and pay for the service by using the PKT token.


The Giga Watt partnership represents a huge step forward in Playkey’s ecosystem building process. When the decentralized cloud gaming platform goes live next year, Giga Watt will allow Playkey to support a significant number of simultaneous gamers right from the start.


“Playkey benefits by having a professional mining partner in a key target market,” said Egor Gurjev, founder and CEO of Playkey. “The partnership will allow us to scale quickly in the United States while maintaining a high quality of service. As a major player in the mining market, Giga Watt will also help Playkey build connections in the professional mining industry.”

Gurjev also recognizes that cloud-based online gaming requires the same high-capacity computing power necessitated by Bitcoin mining, and Giga Watt’s state-of-the-art facility makes it a prime partner for Playkey’s move to blockchain.


Thanks to this innovative cloud-gaming service, Playkey gamers can play any AAA-level game on any PC, notebook or Mac — even obsolete devices. In other words, as long as their device is capable of displaying YouTube videos, players can use their computers for gaming via Playkey. Thus gamers can cease participating in the never-ending "weapons race" of regular and costly hardware upgrades.


“Today, 70 percent of Steam players are unable to play AAA titles such as Grand Theft Auto V in high resolution, while 30 percent of players cannot even run these titles on their legacy PCs,” said Gurjev. “Our mission at Playkey has been to solve this problem; and now by combining our current technological achievements with blockchain technology we can provide top level service all over the world.”


Gurjev believes the most complicated aspect in building a cloud-gaming ecosystem is during the initiation period, when there is a scaling risk that there could be more players than current miners can maintain. For Playkey, Giga Watt mitigates this possibility. “Their huge processing powers will cover this risk providing enough space and power for everyone to play,” said Gurjev.


The partnership is best characterized as strategic for both sides. Playkey and Giga Watt can provide each other with reciprocal business. Playkey uses more of Giga Watt’s power than ordinary private miners and, in turn, Giga Watt will provide a lot more mining power than Playkey’s private PC users.


The greatest hope for this partnership is that it will enable both technology companies to scale effectively with less risk. “We hope Giga Watt will provide us strong support during the first 12 months of Playkey platform growth in order to reach our goal of 1 million players in our decentralized cloud,” said Gurjev. “After that, in the following 24 months, we're going to make a leap to 10 million players. When we reach those gaming audience levels, Playkey and Giga Watt hold dominant positions as game delivery and mining platforms.”


The post Giga Watt Partnership Boosts Crowd-Gaming Ecosystem appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Qualcomm is going to do whatever it takes to fend off Broadcom (BCOM, QCOM)

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

Steven Mollenkopf ceo qualcomm

  • Broadcom on Monday offered to buy Qualcomm in what would be the largest tech deal on record. 
  • Qualcomm is set to reject the unsolicited offer, according to several reports. 
  • This sets Broadcom up to start a hostile takeover campaign for its rival, which has been rattled recently by a lawsuit with Apple over licensing fees. 
  • Qualcomm shares on Monday traded below the offer price of about $70 per share, suggesting that traders were skeptical. 

 

The semiconductor giant Broadcom is set to enter a tasking campaign in its bid to buy Qualcomm.

Earlier on Monday, Broadcom said it made a $70-per-share offer to Qualcomm shareholders that consists of $60 in cash and $10 in Broadcom shares. If approved, it would be the largest-ever tech acquisition, surpassing the $60 billion tie-up between Dell and EMC in 2016. 

But Qualcomm is poised to reject the unsolicited offer worth $103 billion, according to the Financial Times

The offer price undervalues Qualcomm and is below what its board would seriously consider, the FT reported. That's in spite of the 28% premium that Broadcom's offer places on Qualcomm's closing price Thursday, the eve of the first news report on the deal.

Qualcomm said Monday that its directors were assessing Broadcom's bid and would act in their shareholders' best interest.

Meanwhile, Broadcom is getting ready for a proxy battle and may make its pitch directly to Qualcomm shareholders if the board rejects the deal, Bloomberg reported. Another tactic Broadcom could use is to nominate directors for Qualcomm’s board ahead of the company’s annual general meeting in 2018. 

Traders are skeptical of Broadcom's chances. The stock gained again on Monday, but only to as high as $65.32 a share just before noon in New York. That's still shy of the offer price and indicates that traders are playing it safe. 

Broadcom's bid is a very ambitious attempt to grow its share of the market for components that go into mobile phones. It's also a timely bid Qualcomm, whose earnings this year have been hurt by a global legal fight with Apple over its licensing fees for patents. The combined company would be third-largest chipmaker behind Intel and Samsung. But that's almost certain to draw the ire of the US Department of Justice for antitrust concerns. 

SEE ALSO: Broadcom offers to buy Qualcomm in what would be the largest tech deal ever

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Saudi Arabia's purge is 'a stunning political development' and 'a shot across the bow at the old establishment'

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

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, attends the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia October 24, 2017. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

  • Over the weekend, Saudi Arabia detained dozens of high-profile figures, including 11 princes and dozens of former ministers, in a new anti-corruption probe headed by the kingdom's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
  • Saudi officials say the detainments are about getting rid of corruption, while some analysts argue it represents the latest step in Mohammed bin Salman's efforts to consolidate power.
  • While most media attention has been focused on billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the detention of Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah may have more profound internal political implications.

 

Over the weekend, Saudi Arabia detained dozens of high-profile figures, including 11 princes and dozens of former ministers, in a new anti-corruption probe headed by the kingdom's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS).

Saudi officials say the detainments are about getting rid of corruption, while some analysts argue it represents the latest step in Mohammed bin Salman's efforts to consolidate power in order to continue his plans to overhaul the country's economy.

"Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's Saturday night purge represents a stunning political development in Saudi Arabia and a shot across the bow at the old establishment," Helima Croft, global head of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets, said in a note to clients.

"While MBS’ moves to fundamentally remake the state have won praise from local business leaders, his disruptive approach has alienated important elements in the royal family and clerical establishment," she continued. "MBS’ supporters maintain that the arrest of princes was entirely about eradicating corruption, but it seemingly serves a broader consolidation plan. Whether this represents a start to or preempts a ‘Game of Thrones’ remains to be seen."

Consolidating power

Among the notable figures detained is billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who has sizeable stakes in Twitter, Apple, and Citigroup. He also has investments in the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris, the Savoy in London, the Plaza in New York, and has invested in the AccorHotels chair and London's Canary Wharf, according to the New York Times.

His arrest likely rattled companies that count the company he founded, Kingdom Holding, as a major investor or shareholder, the New York Times said. Shares of the company, which trade on the Saudi stock exchange, fell about 7.6% on Sunday.

But despite the large amount of media attention being focused on Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Croft argues that the detention of Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah, who was the chief and then minister of the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG) since 2010 (a post that was also held by his father, the late king Abdullah), could have more profound internal political implications.

SANG serves as a praetorian guard for the royal family and would be sent to clear the streets in the event of a major internal uprising, Croft said. It has been in the middle of politics before, including in 1964 when the Guard sided with Faisal against King Saud and helped to usher the monarch out of power and ensure an orderly transition.

As for why this is relevant today, Croft wrote in her note:

"Mutaib was a clear favorite of King Abdullah and he was seen as his preferred choice to be the first of the founder’s grandsons to inherit the throne. Abdullah, however, never inserted his son in the succession line and the ascension of King Salman and MBS blocked Mutaib’s path to power. However, in the immediate aftermath of the dramatic June dismissal of Mohammad bin Nayef as Crown Prince, both Mutaib and MBS’ uncle Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz were cited as prominent royal holdouts and centers of princely opposition to the new regime."

"While MBS’ supporters insist that Saturday’s move had absolutely nothing to do with staving off a coup and maintain that it was entirely about eradicating corruption, detaining Mutaib does also seemingly serve a broader power consolidation agenda," Croft said. "The fact that private airstrips were closed on Saturday also does suggest that more high-level arrests may be looming.

Taking it a step further, Jason Tuvey, Middle East Economist at Capital Economics added that it remains to be seen how the Guard, which has been under the influence of Price Mutaib's branch of the family for decades, will respond to the development. However, if the Guard "falls into line," he said, then MBS will effectively control the security services in the kingdom, as he is already the defense minister and oversees internal security matters as the head of the Council of Political and Security Affairs.

saudi arabia succession

Ambitious projects

Mohammed bin Salman has launched a number of ambitious projects since his father ascended to the throne in 2015, including attempting to overhaul the oil-dependent economy and pursuing a more hawkish foreign policy at a time when younger Saudis started feeling the pinch of fiscal austerity. He also said he would lead the country back to "moderate Islam," and the kingdom recently announced that it would allow women to drive in June 2018.

Most notably, Mohammed bin Salman has been pushing forward with his ambitious Vision 2030 reform plan, which aims to curtail what he called the kingdom's "addiction" to oil via various measures, including the public listing of a part of the kingdom's crown jewel, Saudi Aramco.

"In principle, efforts to clamp down on corruption are clearly welcome. Corruption hinders the Saudi economy in a number of ways," Tuvey said of the weekend's events. "However, the speed and breadth of the clampdown could deal a blow to the economy. Firms might delay investment plans as they await to see if they will get caught up in the allegations. Foreign investment – which MBS is trying to court to support his Vision 2030 reform plans – may also be deterred given the rise in uncertainty and the fact that many rely on partnerships with firms owned by those being detained."

Since Mohammed bin Salman has taken an increasingly important role in both domestic and foreign policy, most analysts aren't expecting any major policy shifts in the near future following the events over the weekend.

"Saudi Arabia's latest anti-corruption purge further consolidates Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's power, which will in turn be positive for the reform drive beyond short-term market instability," analysts at BMI Research said, arguing that his anti-corruption drive will likely be well-received by the Saudi population and by investors.

"That said, the continued clampdown on dissenting voices raises long-term risks of backlash against King Salman and the crown prince, especially if the reform momentum stalls or if Saudi Arabia's assertive foreign policy backfires," they added.

SEE ALSO: Oil climbs after Saudi Arabia detains princes and dozens of former officials

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JPMORGAN: Robots could cause the 'next major correction'

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

robot artificial intelligence AI

  • JPMorgan says technological innovation like big data and artificial intelligence could cause the next big market correction.
  • The firm notes that financial conditions are overheating, which has already created a situation with little room for error.

 

Apparently too much technological advancement can be a bad thing ... at least in the early stages of a revolution.

That's according to JPMorgan, which says market cycles can sometimes become victims of their own progress.

As new ideas or techniques arise, that can create "huge volatility," which in turn pulls in new participants who aren't prepared or knowledgeable enough to immediately know what they're doing, JPMorgan says. The firm warns of the dire short-term consequences that can result and highlights two key areas of innovation that could lead to issues.

"This then leads to excesses and corrections before better management and expertise leads innovations to become incorporated in daily economic and financial life," Jan Loeys, the head of asset allocation and alternative investments at JPMorgan, wrote in a client note. "Today innovation is all about big data and AI (artificial intelligence), which will eventually greatly transform society, but could easily become the core of the next major correction."

But big data and AI alone won't be enough to end what's been a historically strong market, with stocks now in their ninth year of a bull market. Other stresses must be roiling the market, and JPMorgan sees that coming from what it describes as "financial overheating."

An example of this can be seen in a trade that involves shorting equity volatility, or betting against moves in the stock market. One of the most crowded trades around, many market experts have stressed caution over what they see as artificially suppressed price swings that could unfurl any day.

Of most concern for JPMorgan right now are lofty stock valuations, investment-grade bond spreads, and junk-bond yields. And the firm notes that once investors get one taste of success, they'll continue chasing returns, even as bubble conditions start to form.

"The speed of these upgrades and asset price rallies is both exhilarating and scary," Loeys wrote. "The faster we rally, the greater the joy, but the more one should be worried about the eventual reckoning."

So what does the firm think you should do? Start trimming positions or putting on hedges, even if the market looks invincible. If they're right about a coming correction, you'll be glad you did.

SEE ALSO: The emergence of a new kind of fund could 'radically alter' the investment industry

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What you need to know on Wall Street today

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

Welcome to Finance Insider, Business Insider's summary of the top stories of the past 24 hours. Sign up here to get the best of Business Insider delivered direct to your inbox.

The next four days will be crucial for the GOP tax plan

The House Republican bill to reform the tax code meets its first real test Monday, with House Ways and Means Chair Kevin Brady bringing his bill to the committee for the start of a multi-day markup.

Broadcom has offered to buy Qualcomm in what would be the largest tech deal ever. And banks could earn a huge payday – $280 million – from Broadcom's mega-bid.

There's a mystery facing the new Fed chair nominee Jerome Powell – and a false step could hurt the economy. And New York Fed President William Dudley is planning to retire early.

In hedge fund news, Bank of America Merrill Lynch has signed on with a quant firm – and it shows where Wall Street is headed.

In markets:

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio wrote for Business Insider today, saying that Trump's tax plan would be like asking New Yorkers to take out $1,000 out of an ATM and giving it to a hedge-fund manager.

And a crucial line in Trump's new tax plan will make it a lot harder to buy a $1 million home.

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Bitcoin Gold Hard Fork Draws Mixed Reactions

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

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GOLDMAN SACHS: Bitcoin could get close to $8,000

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

charts trader screen

  • Bitcoin touched a record high of $7,592 a coin on Monday.
  • Goldman Sachs' head of technical analysis says the chart points to a possible run athe $8,000 level.

 

Goldman Sachs thinks bitcoin still has more room to run.

The red-hot cryptocurrency, which has gained more than 600% this year and is currently trading near $7,200 a coin, could threaten the $8,000 mark, according to a note sent out to clients on Monday from Goldman Sachs technical head Sheba Jafari.

"It exceeded an equality target from the July low at 6,044," Jafari wrote. "This break indicated potential for an impulsive advance, one that could reach at least 7,941. This is the minimum target for a 3rd of 5-waves up and should therefore be a level from which to watch for signs of a consolidation."

Goldman Sachs bitcoin

The cryptocurrency put in an all-time high of $7,592 a coin early Monday as traders continue to pile in following the announcement that CME Group, one of the world's largest exchange groups, was launching bitcoin futures trading by the end of the year. Bitcoin has gained more than $1,000 since the November 1 announcement. 

The gains also come as traders await the implementation of a looming fork in bitcoin's network

Disagreements in the cryptocurrency community over an upgrade known as SegWit2x could split bitcoin into two more cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin has already forked into bitcoin cash and bitcoin gold.

Another fork would double the amount of coins for people who hold them on an exchange or in a wallet backing the fork. Trevor Koverko, the CEO of Polymath, a cryptocurrency technology company, told Business Insider that folks could be buying in before the fork to get that free cash. 

"Speculation on this free money is driving up the price," he said. "Smart traders are riding the wave and will pull out before the fork."

 

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Twitter's stock price is down after its fourth-largest investor was arrested in a Saudi Arabian anti-corruption sweep (TWTR, AAPL, C, FOXA)

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

Al Waleed Bin Talal

  • Saudi Prince al-Waleed bin Talal was arrested on Saturday as part of a wide-reaching anti-corruption roundup of officials.
  • The Prince is a multi-billionaire who owns shares in a number of large tech and entertainment companies.
  • Twitter, one of al-Waleed's largest holdings, was down on Monday following the news of his arrest.
  • Watch Twitter's stock price move in real time here.

Billionaire Prince al-Waleed bin Talal was arrested on Saturday as part of a wide-reaching roundup of Saudi officials and royalty. Prince al-Waleed is known as an investor through his majority stake in the investment company Kingdom Holding, which has invested in a large number of international companies including Twitter, Citigroup, Apple and others.

The prince is worth about $19 billion, according to data from Bloomberg. His largest source of wealth, worth $8.4 billion, is his stake in Kingdom Holding Company. The billionaire also owns a 4.71% stake in Twitter, worth about $607.8 million.

Twitter was down 2.26% on Monday, the first day of trading since news of al-Waleed's arrest. The Prince's stake amounts to about 34.95 million shares of the company, making him the fourth largest investor, behind two investment firms, Vanguard and Clearbridge, and co-founder Evan Williams, according to data from Bloomberg.

Through Kingdom Holding, al-Waleed also holds shares in Citigroup, 21st Century Fox, Time Warner, Apple, Ebay, and Motorola, according to the company's website. The size of Kingdom Holding's stake in these companies was not disclosed, and the company could have changed or closed its positions since last updating their website.

It is unclear what will happen to al-Waleed's investments after his arrest, and some of the companies he invests in were down on Monday.

Here's where some of the prince's biggest investments are trading Monday morning:

 Read more about the arrests here.

twitter stock price

SEE ALSO: Saudi Arabia arrests 11 princes, including billionaire investor Prince al-Waleed bin Talal

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Bitcoin Bull Raises Bitcoin Price Target to $11,000

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WALL STREET PAYDAY: Banks could earn $280 million from Broadcom's mega-bid for Qualcomm (AVGO, QCOM, JPM, MS, MC, C)

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

Stanford is the reigning men's soccer champions.

  • Broadcom has announced a $130 billion takeover bid for fellow semiconductor giant Qualcomm.
  • It would be the largest tech acquisition of all time. 
  • Wall Street bankers could earn as much as $280 million in fees for advising on the deal. 

Broadcom sent tremors through the semiconductor industry when it unveiled a $130 billion bid for rival Qualcomm — a deal that, if successful, would be the largest tech takeover of all time. 

The deal is also making waves on Wall Street, where bankers could earn a monster payday from the tie-up of the fourth- and sixth-largest chipmakers in the world. 

Moelis & Co., Citi, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and Morgan Stanley are each advising Broadcom on the potential merger, which came to light Friday, the day after Broadcom CEO Hock Tan made a high-profile visit to the White House to announce his company's relocation to the United States.

Those banks could share between $110 million and $135 million in fees, according to Jeffrey Nassof, director of consulting firm Freeman & Co.

Bank of America, Citi, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan, and Morgan Stanley are also helping arrange debt financing, and Silver Lake Partners has agreed to supply $5 billion in convertible debt financing. 

Qualcomm is reportedly resistant to the Broadcom's overtures, which would face close regulatory scrutiny and a long path to completion. 

The San Diego-based company, which has been in lengthy talks for its own proposed $38 billion acquisition of NXP Semiconductors, hasn't revealed its banking team for the Qualcomm deal, which would generate between $120 million and $145 million in fees, according to Nassof. 

Goldman Sachs and Evercore have been advising Qualcomm on the NXP transaction. 

All told, if the largest tech acquisition in history plays out, it could mean one of the largest Wall Street paydays in history, too: as much as $280 million in advisory fees. 

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Bitcoin hits all-time high ahead of another potential fork

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

Screen Shot 2017 11 06 at 9.50.15 AM

Bitcoin, the seemingly unstoppable digital currency, gave up some of its gains Monday morning after breaking through an all-time high above $7,600 on Sunday. 

The price of bitcoin was down 1.5% at $7,295 a coin Monday, according to data from Markets Insider. Bitcoin has been on a tear since CME, one of the largest exchange groups in the world said it was preparing to launch a bitcoin futures product by the end of the year.

Since the announcement bitcoin has gained over $1,000 a coin.

The launch of bitcoin futures will likely open the door to more bitcoin-linked products and wider participation in bitcoin trading by other Wall Street firms. Kevin Beardsley of UK-based B2C2, a trading firm that executes multi-million dollar bitcoin trades, told Business Insider that the company is already seeing more interest in the cryptocurrency space from traditional hedge funds and foreign exchange companies.

"They see it as a way to have a non-correlated investment," Beardsley said."Institutional money is starting to pour in and we are seeing demand increase."

A looming fork in bitcoin's network might also be playing a role in bitcoin's recent rise. Disagreements in the cryptocurrency community over an upgrade known as SegWit2x could split bitcoin into new, different cryptocurrencies. That would double the amount of coins for people who have their coins on an exchange or in a wallet backing the fork. 

Trevor Koverko, the CEO of Polymath, a cryptocurrency technology company, told Business Insider that folks could be buying in before the fork to get that free cash. 

"Speculation on this free money is driving up the price," he said. "Smart traders are riding the wave and will pull out before the fork."

Bitcoin is up more than 600% year-to-date. 

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'Even our best friends have to play by the rules': US Commerce Secretary calls for Britain to fall in line behind American standards post-Brexit

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

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, speaks at the Conferederation of British Industry's annual conference in London, Britain, November 6, 2017.

  • US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in London speech that the US "want[s] to be your number one trading partner worldwide" post-Brexit.
  • But Ross attacked "regulatory divergence" between EU and US, and called for Britain to follow US standards to boost trade.
  • Asked about recent aircraft tariffs that have put 1,000 Northern Irish jobs at risk, Ross said: "Even our best friends really have to play by the rules."


LONDON — US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has called for Britain to fall in line with US regulatory and safety standards post-Brexit in order to boost trade between the two nations.

On his first visit to London since becoming Commerce Secretary, Ross said that the "relationship between the US and UK has never been stronger."

Speaking at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI)'s annual conference, Ross said: "Our relationship can be even stronger. We want more trade and more investment. We want to be your number one trading partner worldwide."

He added that President Trump places an "especially great deal of emphasis" on striking a trade deal between the pair post-Brexit.

However, Ross stressed that any trade agreement between the pair would have to be "free, fair, and reciprocal" and the billionaire former businessman repeatedly attacked "regulatory divergence" between the US and the EU.

Ross said that Britain must "reduce unnecessary divergence in regulation and standards" to boost trade and listed specific grievances he had heard from US businesses that trade with the EU. These included:

  • limited or no access to the EU's standards-setting process;
  • a lack of transparency and "ability to participate" in the regulatory process;
  • "limited use of science in assessing risk" of chemical processes in farming and other organic matter;
  • barriers to trade in the digital economy;
  • EU tariffs that are higher than in the US.

Theresa May Donald TrumpRoss attacked "burdensome and unnecessary" EU labelling requirements for chemicals, "geographic indicators on food products", and called for the UK to allow car manufacturers to self-certify that vehicles meet safety standards.

Britain's future trading relationship with the US is proving a controversial subject. There is a high profile disagreement in the UK cabinet over whether to allow US chlorine-washed chicken, currently banned in the EU, to be allowed into Britain.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has said there are "no health reasons" to stop trade, but Environment Secretary Michael Gove has objected to the controversial cleaning method.

Ross, who was named in the "Paradise Papers" tax disclosures over the weekend, said that the US was unable to begin trade negotiations with the UK until it has officially left the EU, but said the tw0 nations are holding "preliminary scoping discussions."

"Despite what challenges lie ahead, the UK will continue to be a valuable partner post-Brexit both bilaterally and on the world stage," Ross said.

'Even our best friends really have to play by the rules'

President Trump has repeatedly said that a trade deal with Britain post-Brexit is one of his top priorities. However, there are fears that Britain may not get a good deal, with politicians pointing to a dispute between the US and Canada over aircraft that has put British jobs under threat.

A man works on a C Series aeroplane wing in the Bombardier factory in Belfast, Northern Ireland September 26, 2017.The US Department of Commerce announced plans to levy a 220% tariff on every Bombardier C Series airliner imported into the US in September.

The ruling follows claims from rival Boeing that Bombardier's C-series planes were being sold into the US at abnormally low prices due to Canadian state subsidies, at the detriment of Boeing's own planes.

Bombardier is a Canadian company but has a significant manufacturing base in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where the wings of C Series aircrafts are manufactured.

The factory employs around 4,500 people. Roughly 1,000 of those work on C Series planes and the tariff has led to speculation that jobs could be at risk.

Asked about the Bombardier tariff issue after his speech, Ross said: "Even our best friends must abide by the rules. To us, the real question is: is there subsidy? Is there the potential dumping of those aircrafts into the US market? Preliminary, our determination is there has been.

"The one thing I can assure you is that that particular case, like all the others, will be handled in a fair, transparent, professional, and even-handed way. We understand the political sensitivity, both here and in Canada. But the fundamentals remain: Even our best friends really have to play by the rules. We intend to and we intend that you will do so."

Ross' comments will likely be seized upon by "hard" Brexiteers such as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who has argued against Britain simply adopting EU standards and regulations wholesale post-Brexit to prevent disruption to the UK's trading relationship with the continent.

However, "hard" Brexiteers — who favour a clean break from Europe — may object to Ross' comments about opening up Britain's regulatory and standard-setting process to US influence. One of the key arguments in favour of Brexit was returning sovereignty to Westminster from Brussels.

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NOW WATCH: I spent a day trying to pay for things with bitcoin and a bar of gold

Bitcoin is “Clearly in a Bubble”: Societe Generale Deputy CEO

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Bitcoin price surges prior to update

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

Price of Bitcoin

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

The price of Bitcoin has boomed over the past few weeks, with a price of $7,314 at the time of writing. One of the the drivers behind this is Bitcoin’s anticipated code update on November 16, dubbed Segwit2x, which will increase the size of blocks on the blockchain powering Bitcoin from 1MB to 2MB.

In turn, this will increase the speed, and size, of transactions that can be processed on the Bitcoin blockchain, making it more efficient. The code update, called a fork, will follow a similar pattern to previous ones, which led to the creation of new cryptocurrencies Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold.

The potential for another fork of this nature is one of the major drivers behind Bitcoin’s price boom. When a fork occurs, the rules determining what a “block” is are changed. The rules are determined by the people mining cryptocurrency on the blockchain, and if they cannot agree on those rules, then two different blockchains occur simultaneously. When this happens, a new cryptocurrency is created and, because both new blockchains share the same history, the original tokens are duplicated in the new currency.

In a way, it seems like holders of the original cryptocurrency, in this case Bitcoin, are receiving free money. It’s the potential for this scenario to occur off the back of Segwit2x that’s driving more people to invest in Bitcoin.

A new cryptocurrency is by no means certain, meaning Bitcoin investors hoping to double their holdings may be disappointed. The outcome of the software update isn't set in stone, and the scenario outlined above may not occur. If a majority decision on the new rules, either for or against, can be agreed by miners then the blockchain underpinning Bitcoin will continue to operate as it has done historically. In that case, those hoping to gain “free” cryptocurrency will be left wanting.

However, even this result is unlikely to have a negative impact on the price of Bitcoin, as a majority decision would improve perceptions of stability, while a code update is sure to improve processing power of its underlying system. Whatever the outcome of the software update, we expect Bitcoin to continue to ascend in the near future.

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Oil climbs after Saudi Arabia detains princes and dozens of former officials

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

FILE PHOTO: Mohammed bin Salman attends a graduation ceremony and air show marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of King Faisal Air College in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser/File Photo

  • Oil prices are higher on Monday after Saudi Arabia detained dozens of high-profile figures over the weekend.
  • Analysts don't expect major short-term changes to oil, given that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was behind the purge, has backed the kingdom's oil policy.


Oil prices were higher on Monday after Saudi Arabia detained dozens of high-profile figures — including 11 princes, former ministers, and the billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal — in a new anti-corruption probe headed by the kingdom's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Brent crude oil, the international benchmark, was up 0.7%, at $62.50 a barrel, at 8:28 a.m. ET.

Though the kingdom is one of the key players in the global energy market, most analysts aren't expecting any major shifts in the near future, given that Salman backed the kingdom's oil policy.

"Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's Saturday night purge represents a stunning political development in Saudi Arabia and a shot across the bow at the old establishment," Helima Croft, the global head of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets, said in a note to clients.

"MBS' supporters maintain that the arrest of princes was entirely about eradicating corruption, but it seemingly serves a broader consolidation plan," she continued. "We expect no immediate changes in oil policy. MBS seems strongly committed to anchoring the OPEC agreement deep into 2018 and moving ahead with the Aramco sale."

Analysts at BMI Research also said in a note to clients that the detainments over the weekend were unlikely to lead to immediate changes.

"Given that MBS has been the architect of the kingdom's current oil policy, we believe that this latest development does little to alter the status quo domestically," they said.

As for what this might mean for OPEC policy, they continued:

"Internationally, MBS's tightening grip on power also signals a continuation of the current OPEC policy. The Crown Prince has pressed for the kingdom to adopt a more interventionist stance in the oil market and has been central to the OPEC, non-OPEC production cut deal. This represents a stark contrast to policy adopted under the former oil minister Ali Al-Naimi, who chose to step back from the market and allow the price to clear the global supply glut.

"MBS's concern has been to support a higher and more stable oil price, which may reflect the need for higher revenues to fund the Saudi Vision 2030 diversification drive (the IMF estimates an oil price of above $70 per barrel in 2018 to achieve a fiscal surplus) or concerns over the valuation of Aramco ahead of its planned IPO."

OPEC and several other producers — including Russia but not the US — last November agreed to cut production, with the Saudis agreeing to bear the brunt of the cut. In May, they extended the cuts into 2018. The decision to reduce production reflected producers' desires to end the global supply glut, which kept oil prices depressed for over two years and increased domestic financial stresses.

Against this backdrop, Salman has been pushing forward with his Vision 2030 plan, which aims to curtail what he called the kingdom's "addiction" to oil via various measures, including the public listing of a part of the kingdom's crown jewel, Saudi Aramco. He recently told Bloomberg that he supported extending the cuts past March.

Croft said the bigger question about the crown prince's oil policy was the medium-term agenda, arguing that "there were some signs last week that the young leadership is hedging its bets on oil's actuarial table."

Specifically, she noted that the kingdom's new NEOM megacity project is expected to be powered by solar and clean energy and that last week the Saudi finance minister said Vision 2030 was a response to the recent volatile oil-price environment.

"Thus, there may be a question mark over the role that conventional fossil fuels will play in the MBS modernization plan as he is clearly focused on all things disruptive," she said.

OPEC will meet again on November 30. Most analysts expect the cartel and other non-OPEC producers to roll over the production cuts.

oil brent

SEE ALSO: All the countries Trump will visit in Asia — and what he'll encounter when he gets there

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Bitcoin Price Fades After Spike to New Record High

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

Following yet another record high at the weekend, bitcoin is trading on the back foot today.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch has signed on with a quant firm — and it shows where Wall Street is headed (BAC)

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

Manoj Narang

  • Manoj Narang, who launched quant hedge fund MANA Partners earlier this year, has launched a subsidiary that's developing financial products based on trading data.
  • Bank of America is using the firm's simulating tool to test its algorithms and make sure they comply with new regulations in Europe, called MiFID II. 
  • Mana's move is an example of a broader trend, as high-frequency trading firms seek new ways to use their expertise to expand business, and investment banks look to partner with tech savvy upstarts. 

 

Manoj Narang, founder of quant hedge fund MANA Partners, has launched a trading subsidiary that is developing market-testing products. One of his first clients: Bank of America Merrill Lynch. 

Narang, who previously founded high-frequency trading firm Tradeworx, quietly launched the subsidiary, MANA Tech, last November. The firm is developing a range of products. One is a simulating tool that allows financial firms to run their algorithmic trading strategies through previous market conditions. The tool allows traders to test whether their algorithms are safe and how they will affect other traders. 

Bank of America is one of the first users of the product, according to people familiar with the matter. The bank is beta testing the simulator ahead of the rollout of European regulation, called MiFID II, next year. The new regulation, which goes live in January, intends to prevent traders from causing unintentional market chaos, such as the Flash Crash in 2010, among other things.

The law puts more responsibility on buy-side and sell-side firms to monitor their trade execution decisions – leading to more scrutiny from regulators, according to JWG, a regulatory compliance advisor.

Narang declined to identify other clients but said that other banks and exchanges are evaluating signing on. A spokeswoman for Bank of America declined to comment.

MANA Tech is also marketing a product using similar data that allows investors to measure how much money their algorithmic strategies would have performed in past market conditions, and identifies how they could become more profitable.

The move is part of a larger trend, as high frequency traders seek new ways to make money amid a market that has presented fewer opportunities, Business Insider has reported. And investment banks are increasingly partnering with firms that have already built high spec tech, as they look to cut costs and avoid having to replicate it in-house. 

"Quantitative trading whether, it's statistical arbitrage or high frequency trading, is becoming more and more about technology," Narang said.

"It's much more beneficial to be a quant trading firm where technology is a profit center and not a cost center. It allows you to spend much more on your technology than you can with the traditional setup where technology is a tax on trading profits," Narang added. "The most successful quantitative firms going forward are going to have that philosophy."

The subsidiary has raised external money via Series A funding, and is gearing up to do Series B funding round, Narang said. He declined to identify the external investor. 

Narang declined to say how much his hedge fund firm manages. As of February 1, the firm managed about $777 million in regulatory assets, according to an SEC filing. Regulatory assets give an idea of a fund's size but do not indicate actual assets under management, since it includes leverage – or borrowed money – and long and short positions, among other things.

SEE ALSO: A hot new hedge fund is based on smart computers picking off dumb ones

MUST READ: $18 billion fund manager started by Al Gore and a Goldman Sachs exec sets sights on Silicon Valley

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NOW WATCH: Gary Shilling calls bitcoin a black box and says he doesn't invest in things he doesn't understand

Bitcoin Price Recedes after Surge to $7,600

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

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Is Bitcoin Becoming Harder to Spend Amid All-Time Highs?

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

[…]

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The Queen's complicated tax status – explained

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

queen elizabeth

  • The Queen was named in the dataleak dubbed the "Paradise Papers," after the Duchy of Lancaster was found to have invested in offshore funds.
  • An investment was also made in rent-to-own retailer Brighthouse, which was criticised earlier this year for being irresponsible. 
  • There is no suggestion the Queen or Royal Household are involved in wrongdoing.
  • The Queen is officially exempt from tax, but makes voluntary payments on income, assets and gains not used for official purposes.

 

LONDON — The Queen of England is one of the world's wealthiest individuals to have been named in the Paradise Papers dataleak, but has she done anything wrong?

The leak, handed to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and published on Sunday, details the complex financial arrangements that allow some of the world's wealthiest to legally hide their money and assets offshore, arranged by offshore law firm Appleby

According to the documents, the Duchy of Lancaster, which provides the Queen with some of her income and deals with investments for her £500 million private estate, invested as much as £10 million offshore in funds based in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.

"Our investment strategy is based on advice and recommendation from our investment consultants and appropriate asset allocation," Chris Adcock, CFO of the Duchy told the BBC.

"The Duchy has only invested in highly regarded private equity funds following a strong recommendation from our investment consultants," he said.

However, about £4,000 was invested in rent-to-own retailer Brighthouse, which was last month found by the Financial Conduct Authority not to be a "responsible lender," and was criticised in 2011 by charity Barnardo's for being "morally bankrupt." The Duchy reportedly did not know of the investment in Britghthouse until it was approached by The Guardian.

The Duchy said it had not received tax advantages from investing offshore, and that the Brighthouse holding now equates to £3,208. There is no suggestion that the investments are illegal, or that the Queen is illegally evading tax.

However, the revelations have sparked debate about whether the Queen should be investing offshore and how much oversight is given to investments.

 

Speaking at the CBI conference on Monday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the Queen, and anyone making offshore investments, should apologise.

The Queen's tax status 

According to the Royal Household, the Monarchy has "sometimes been described as an expensive institution, with Royal finances shrouded in confusion and secrecy." In reality, it says, the Household is "committed to ensuring that public money is spent as wisely and effectively as possible, and to making Royal finances as transparent and comprehensible as possible."

A 2013 Memorandum of Understanding outlined that the Queen is not legally liable to pay income tax, capital gains tax or inheritance tax. Instead, the Queen and the Prince of Wales make voluntary payments to the UK tax authority HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), but the details of the payments are private.

However, the Sovereign Grant is exempt. This Grant is an annual payment that funds the Queen's official duties, and was £42.8 million ($56 million) in 2016/17.

In essence, the Queen receives this payment in exchange for giving the government all but the equivalent of 15% of profits from the Crown Estate. It covers expenses including the family's travel, palace upkeep and royal employee salaries, and the accounts are audited by the National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee.

But income tax is paid on private sources of the Queen's income, known as the Privy Purse, and on trading profits. This includes the Duchy of Lancaster, a portfolio of land and assets owned by the royal family. The Duchy of Cornwall, another portfolio of properties, covers the Prince of Wales' and his heirs' costs.

According to Sovereign Grant accounts, income from the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall that go towards the Privy Purse "is taxed to the extent that the income is not used for official purposes."

Capital gains tax is only paid by the Queen on gains from the disposal of private assets from April 1993 onwards.

So, there you have it. It's tricky.

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New York Fed President William Dudley to retire early as the Fed overhaul gains steam

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

FILE PHOTO: New York Federal Reserve Bank President William Dudley speaks at a Thomson Reuters newsmaker event in New York, U.S. on April 8, 2015.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

  • New York Fed President William Dudley is set to retire in mid-2018, earlier than the end of his term in January 2019.
  • The news comes after President Donald Trump named Jerome Powell to succeed Janet Yellen as Fed chair last week.
  • Dudley, a former partner at Goldman Sachs, ran the New York Fed's markets group during the depths of the 2008 financial crisis, and was a close Yellen ally.


One of the Federal Reserve's most influential policymakers, New York Fed President William Dudley, is preparing to retire earlier than planned, further setting the stage for a fresh slate of US central bankers next year.

"For someone who has always had an interest in public policy and service, leading the New York Fed and being a member of the FOMC has been a dream job," Dudley said in a statement Monday.

The news had been reported by several outlets on Sunday.

A search committee led by Sara Horowitz, chair of the New York Fed's Board of Directors, has started the process of finding Dudley's successor. It expects to complete the search by mid-2018. 

 

Dudley, a former partner at Goldman Sachs Group Inc, ran the New York Fed's markets group during the depths of the financial crisis in late 2008 before taking the helm there in January 2009 for a 10-year term.

He has since steered a cautious and dovish path as vice chair of the Fed's policy-setting committee, and as a close ally of Fed Chair Janet Yellen and her predecessor Ben Bernanke.

Dudley's departure next year would likely come after U.S. President Donald Trump's nominee for chair, Fed Governor Jerome Powell, succeeds Yellen in February. Trump has three other seats to fill on the Fed's powerful Board of Governors, and a fourth if Yellen departs when her term as chair ends, giving the White House an unusually wide window to reshape the central bank.

Unlike governors, presidents of the Fed's 12 district banks are chosen by local boards, though they are approved by the Fed Board in Washington.

Dudley, as head of the New York headquarters, oversaw the Fed's accumulation of some $3.5 trillion in bonds in response to the crisis, as well as its decision to start shedding assets last month. His policy recommendations have proven cognizant of how financial markets were likely to react.

Trump's decision on Thursday not to reappoint Yellen to a second term broke with a decades-long Fed precedent.

SEE ALSO: There's a mystery facing the new Fed chair — and a false step could hurt the economy

DON'T MISS: Jerome Powell's Fed tenure is unlikely to be a smooth sail

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Bitcoin Startup RSK to Launch Smart Contracts Sidechain in 2017

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

RSK's effort to bring ethereum-like smart contracts to the bitcoin blockchain could go live in 2017, its lead developer has told CoinDesk.

Broadcom offers to buy Qualcomm in what would be the largest tech deal ever (BCOM, QCOM)

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

GettyImages 645842124

  • The semiconductor giant Broadcom has proposed to buy its rival Qualcomm for about $130 billion in what would be the largest tech deal ever.
  • Broadcom's offer comes amid a legal battle between Qualcomm and Apple. The chipmaker company could lose one of its biggest customers in a unit that earns most of its revenue.
  • Broadcom CEO Hock Tan was at the White House on Thursday to announce the company's relocation to the US from Singapore. That move means the deal would bypass oversight from the regulator that scrutinizes deals between American and foreign companies, but the Department of Justice is still likely to raise antitrust concerns.


Broadcom has proposed to buy its rival Qualcomm in a semiconductor deal that would be the largest-ever takeover in tech.

In a statement Monday, Broadcom said it offered Qualcomm shareholders $60 in cash and $10 a share in Broadcom shares. The offer represents a 28% premium to Qualcomm's closing price of $54.85 on Thursday, before initial reports of deal talks sent Qualcomm shares up 12% on Friday. It was valued at about $130 billion on a pro forma basis, including $25 billion of net debt.

A deal would make Broadcom the third-largest maker of chips and other components that go into smartphones behind Intel and Samsung, according to Bloomberg. Broadcom's bid comes amid a global legal battle between Qualcomm and Apple that could cost the semiconductor company one of its largest customers. Apple is disputing Qualcomm's practice of charging a share of the total price of iPhones and other Apple devices as a licensing fee for its patents.

"Our proposal provides Qualcomm stockholders with a substantial and immediate premium in cash for their shares, as well as the opportunity to participate in the upside potential of the combined company," Hock Tan, Broadcom's CEO, said in a statement.

"This complementary transaction will position the combined company as a global communications leader with an impressive portfolio of technologies and products," Tan said. "We would not make this offer if we were not confident that our common global customers would embrace the proposed combination."

Tan was at the White House with President Donald Trump last Thursday to announce the company headquarters' relocation to the US. This move means both companies can easily make deals without the review of the Committee on Foreign Investment, which regulates foreign investments in US-based companies.

A merger between the fourth- and sixth-largest semiconductor companies would still be scrutinized by the Department of Justice for antitrust concerns.

SEE ALSO: The 10 jobs that got the biggest raises in October

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ITV could 'go dark' on Virgin Media unless an £80 million bill is settled

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

The X Factor

  • ITV has an £80 million commercial disagreement with Virgin Media.
  • It could pull its main chain nel from the cable service unless it's resolved.
  • ITV wants payment after a recent change in copyright law.
  • Virgin said it will not be "paying for channels that are meant to be free."
  • Negotiations will come to a head early next year.


ITV could pull its flagship channel from Virgin Media unless the cable TV company pays it up to £80 million ($105  million).

The two media companies have been locked in a stand-off for months over the bill. If unresolved, the dispute could lead to ITV depriving 3.7 million Virgin subscribers of its main channel, home to shows like "The X Factor."

The negotiations were set to come to a head in September, when ITV's existing channel deal with Virgin expired, but the broadcaster extended the agreement until early next year. 

ITV is demanding payment of up to £80 million from Virgin, according to The Daily Telegraph, which is double an estimate analysts Liberum gave earlier this year.

The channel can demand payment for the first time, after the introduction of the new Digital Economy Act in April.

The legislation abolished a copyright exemption which cable TV platforms like Virgin had enjoyed since 1988, allowing them to carry channels like ITV without paying a penny.

ITV has so far stopped short of threatening to remove its main channel from Virgin, but insiders admit that it is an option available to the company if talks do not progress. 

An ITV spokesman said: "Our position is very straightforward: ITV, and other public service broadcasters, should be paid fairly by pay-TV platforms that make money from our multi-billion pound investment in original UK content so that we can continue to invest in the programmes, particularly drama and entertainment, that our viewers enjoy."

Virgin admits ITV could "go dark"

Virgin disagrees, and has itself admitted that ITV could "go dark" on its platform unless some common ground is agreed.

A spokesman told Business Insider: "Neither Virgin Media nor our customers will be paying for channels that are meant to be free."

He added: "The UK government has been very clear and consistent — no fees for public service channels like ITV1... ITV is already fully compensated for this through its prominent position, with the audience reach and additional advertising revenue this delivers."

A similar dispute erupted in the UK only this year. Discovery threatened to remove its channels from Sky, claiming the pay-TV company was not prepared to pay a "fair price" to carry the stations.

The matter was only resolved in an eleventh-hour deal between the two companies.

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Price of Success? Bitcoin Faces New Pressure in a Multi-Coin World

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

Day two of a popular bitcoin developer conference saw evidence the technical community is perhaps being challenged by larger changes in blockchain.

“As Soon as Possible”: Iran Lays Groundwork for Bitcoin Adoption

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

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Bitcoin Price Stabilizes at $7,300 After Achieving a New All-Time High

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

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Venezuela's new 100,000-bolivar note is worth less than $2.50 in US dollars

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

Venezuela's President Maduro

  • Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced a new 100,000-bolivar note.
  • In US currency, it was worth less than $2.50 on the back market as of last week.
  • High inflation after Venezuela's economic collapse in 2016 caused the bolivar's value to plummet.
  • Maduro plans to eventually eliminate all physical currency to alleviate cash shortages which continue to cripple the Venezuelan economy. 

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro unveiled a new 100,000 bolivar note last week. It is now the nation's highest value note, and was worth less than $US2.50 on the black market, The Associated Press reported.

This isn't the first time Venezuela has introduced new denominations. After the country's economic collapse in 2016, high inflation caused the bolivar's value to plummet. By December, the then-largest note of 100 bolivares, which was worth about $US0.02, was pulled from circulation. To counter this, new denominations of 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, and 20,000 bolivares were introduced. 

Maduro's unveiling of the 100,000 bolivar note means it's possible that some of these smaller notes may soon be phased out. This would cause serious problems for Venezuelans who, on average, are only allowed to withdraw about 10,000 to 20,000 bolivares a day, roughly $3 to $6 at black market exchange rates. 

In his national broadcast, Maduro also announced plans to eliminate the country's use of paper currency entirely, saying "the use of the physical currency is being replaced." 

Maduro also announced a 30% raise in the monthly minimum wage. The new monthly minimum of 177,507 bolivares, is equivalent to roughly $4.30. 

Venezuela is dealing with the largest economic crisis in its history

The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control hit Maduro with sanctions in August, after he convened a special assembly to rewrite the country’s constitution to expand the government’s power. US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin criticized the move, calling Maduro a "dictator who disregards the will of the Venezuelan people," and said that sanctions showed US opposition to the policies of the Maduro government.

Maduro assumed the role of acting president following the death of Hugo Chavez in March 2013. Inflation began to rise at the end of Chavez' presidency because of overspending from the years prior. By 2013, Maduro's government faced high inflation rates and shortages of goods. Inflation rose by more than 50% in Maduro's first year as president, with expected inflation rates of 2,300% by the end of 2017.

Rising inflation has caused increasingly violent protests against the Venezuelan government. Local media has estimated that more than 100 people have been killed in clashes between police and civilians since protests began in April. 

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Oil hits highest level in 2 years as Saudi Arabia's purge continues

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

FILE PHOTO - Saudi billionaire Prince AlWaleed bin Talal looks on during a news briefing in Manama, May 8, 2012. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed/File Photo

  • Brent oil price jumps to its highest level in over two years on Monday morning.
  • Jump comes amid ongoing purge in Saudi Arabia, the world's second largest oil producer in terms of barrels per day.
  • Saudi Arabia's state oil company, Aramco, is set to list on the stock market next year.

 

LONDON — Oil prices have jumped to their highest levels in over two years on Monday morning as Saudi Arabia purges ministers and businessmen on the grounds of anti-corruption, sparking concerns about oil production in the country and driving up prices.

Dozens of people have been detained in the crackdown, which has consolidated Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s power. Billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Saudi Arabia's best-known international investor, is also being held, officials said at the weekend.

The crackdown comes as plans for Saudi Arabia's economic reform programme accelerate, with the jewel in the crown — the public listing of state oil company Saudi Aramco — fast approaching.

As the world's second largest producer of oil, and the de facto head of the oil cartel OPEC, any possible disruption to production in the Kingdom would likely have a huge impact on the global balance of supply and demand for the commodity.

"In the early trading hours, Brent reached a high of $62.44, a level last seen in July 2015, and represents a 40.8% surge from June’s lows," Hussein Sayed, Chief Market Strategist at FXTM said in an email.

"There’s no doubt that OPEC and co. have been a major influencer of the most recent rally, but oil traders have a new political risk to consider, in the coming days and weeks. The anti-corruption crackdown in Saudi Arabia resulting in the arrest of 11 princes, and dozens of senior officials, led many traders to question how oil prices will be affected." 

Here's the chart of the rise of Brent crude — the international oil benchmark — in recent days (note oil's peak on Monday morning):

Screen Shot 2017 11 06 at 09.28.06

 

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UBS Chief Economist Compares Bitcoin to Tulip Mania

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

UBS chief global economist Paul Donovan has compared bitcoin to the Netherland's 1600s tulip crisis, but noted he was a fan of blockchain technology.

The UK minister formerly in charge of anti-money laundering has been named in the Paradise Papers leak

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

Bahamas

  • The man formerly in charge of anti-money laundering has been named in the so-called "Paradise Papers" leak of documents stolen from an offshore law firm.
  • Lord Sassoon served as President of the UK's Financial Action Task Force between 2007 and 2008, which combats money laundering and terrorist financing.
  • Sassoon was one beneficiary of a family trust worth millions and registered to an offshore secrecy jurisdiction. He says the UK tax authorities were aware of this, and he has not benefited from the trust in years.

 

LONDON — The man formerly in charge of anti-money laundering in the UK has been named in the Paradise Papers leak as a beneficiary of an offshore trust.

According to documents found in the International Consortium of Journalists' (ICIJ) Paradise Papers database, James Meyers Sassoon, who served as President of the UK's Financial Action Task Force between 2007 and 2008, is the beneficiary of a Cayman Island trust fund called DCR Herschorn Settlement.

On Sunday, more than 13 million documents that detail the complex financial arrangements of some of the world's richest individuals were leaked. The documents, dubbed the "Paradise Papers," were stolen from offshore law firm Appleby in a cyber attack last year, and shared with the ICIJ.

As President of the Task Force, Sassoon was in charge of combating money laundering and terrorist financing. He has also been a defender of legal tax avoidance (as opposed to illegal evasion), having said in 2010 that minimizing tax payments "is perfectly reasonable."

Sassoon, now a member of the House of Lords, was also the Treasury commercial secretary from 2010 to 2013, and was responsible for overseeing economic productivity and industrial strategy.

The fund was allegedly established by Sassoon's grandmother several decades ago, and originally operated under Bahamian law, (the Bahamas are also considered an offshore secrecy jurisdiction). Documents show the trust owns Orchard Limited, an investment holding company registered in the Bahamas, which held $124 million in 2002, according to financial statements. By 2007 it was holding $236 million, and the same year distributed $8 million to beneficiaries, records show.

Screen Shot 2017 11 06 at 08.36.18

By 2002, the trust had employed "Big Four" accountancy firm Deloitte to advise it on tax matters.

In 2008, documents show, a fax from Sassoon's father to an Appleby administrator showed Deloitte warned that UK taxpayers could be liable for UK taxes on more than $14 million of the funds if they were withdrawn.

Sassoon told the ICIJ the trust fund had been established by his grandmother 60 years ago for multiple family beneficiaries, including non-UK residents. He said it also included non-UK assets not liable for UK taxes. Given this, and that the trust had been established offshore to begin with, Sassoon told the ICIJ there was "no question of assets having been 'moved offshore.'"

He said UK tax authorities were aware of the settlement and its management company. "Where UK domiciled individuals have received any benefit from the settlement, that has been disclosed in the normal way and any tax due has been paid," Sassoon told the ICIJ.

"I have not received any benefit from the trust for more than 25 years." He also said he had disclosed his potential interest in the trust when he joined the Treasury in 2002.

Appleby has denied allegations of wrongdoing, and said it does not tolerate "illegal behaviour."

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PwC: The use of tax havens to avoid paying taxes will soon be 'unacceptable'

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

Tax march London

  • PricewaterhouseCoopers predicted that the use of tax havens to avoid tax will soon become "unacceptable."
  • The accounting firm said companies will need to put more effort into tax transparency, and trust in this area will be increasingly important for a business' "brand."
  • There is a growing demand for companies to be paying what is deemed their "fair share," the report said.

 

LONDON — Accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) predicted the use of tax havens by companies and individuals to avoid paying tax will soon become "unacceptable," a week before the release of the so-called Paradise Papers detailing the off-shore financial structures of the global ultra-rich.

In a report released on October 30, PwC said the public was increasingly hostile towards those perceived to be not paying their "fair share" of tax, and that businesses would need to put more effort into tax transparency in future.

"In an era of mistrust of financial services, especially among the millennial generation, tax will become important for the brand," the report said.

"Being viewed as not paying a fair share of tax or using questionable tax havens will be unacceptable."

On Sunday, a leak of documents from off-shore law firm Appleby revealed how individuals and companies use tax-havens and complex structures to legally protect their wealth from tax. 

The so-called Paradise Papers showed how about £10 million of the Queen's wealth was invested off-shore. They also detailed how President Donald Trump's trade chief, Wilbur Ross, has a stake in a company that does business with a gas producer partly-owned by Vladimir Putin's son-in-law. 

The news comes 18 months after the release of the so-called "Panama Papers" breach, in which 11.5 million documents were leaked from law firm Mossack Fonseca. The leak led to a series of high-profile scandals, including the resignation of the Prime Minister of Iceland after it was alleged he had hidden millions of dollars-worth of investments in an offshore shell company.

In recent years the UK tax collector, HMRC, has come under pressure to crack down on tax evasion — which is illegal, whereas avoidance is not — and increase tax receipts. A series of new tax and transparency laws came into force this year, including the new criminal offence of failing to prevent tax evasion.

The report said tax systems around the world were "broken," but that an era of greater transparency was beginning. It pointed to the Common Reporting Standard (CRS), in which over 50 countries, including several offshore financial centres, have agreed to share information on residents' assets and incomes. The CRS, it said, "effectively outsources responsibility for reporting on tax affairs to financial institutions."

The public, it said, will be able to judge whether companies are paying what is deemed fair, in the context of "an emotionally charged environment" and as "strong populist sentiment continues."

As such, it said, tax will increasingly become an "important operational business risk," and it will have to play a greater role "in the heart of business." Technological developments, the report said, will make accurate tax planning as well as transparency easier.

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NOW WATCH: I spent a day trying to pay for things with bitcoin and a bar of gold

Introducing iBTC: The New (ERC20) Innovative Bitcoin Solution

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

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(+) Asian Market Update: Asian Stocks Fall as Bitcoin Takes a Breather

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

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Trump tells Japan to build more cars in the US 'instead of shipping them over,' but they already build millions of vehicles in the states

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

Acura NSX Honda assembly plant Ohio

  • President Donald Trump caused some confusion with remarks he made about Japanese automakers on the second day of his Asia trip.
  • Trump said Japan's manufacturers should build more cars in the US "instead of shipping them over."
  • Japanese car makers like Toyota, Honda, and Nissan already build millions of their best-selling vehicles in the US.
  • The US president made similar comments about German automakers earlier this year, but many of those companies also have a large presence in the US already.

SYDNEY, Australia — President Donald Trump on the second day of his trip to Japan urged the country's automakers to build more cars in the US "instead of shipping them over."

At a gathering of US and Japanese business leaders in Tokyo on Monday, Trump lamented that "many millions of cars are sold by Japan into the United States, whereas virtually no cars go from the United States into Japan." He characterized the perceived disparity as an unfair trade advantage in favor of Japan.

"The United States has suffered massive trade deficits at the hands of Japan for many, many years," Trump said according to Reuters, while praising Japan for its spending on US military equipment.

Trump's remarks on Japanese auto manufacturing caught the attention of industry watchers in the US. Some of the top Japanese automakers, including Toyota, Honda, and Nissan, already build millions of their best-selling vehicles in the states annually.

Toyota Camry Toyota engineering facility Georgetown Kentucky

Toyota's largest auto manufacturing plant in the world is in Georgetown, Kentucky. It employs 8,200 people and the company announced in April that it would spend $1.3 billion to upgrade the facility.

At least nine of the Toyota brand's best-selling vehicles are manufactured in the US, including the Toyota Camry sedan, the Highlander and Sequoia SUVs, the Toyota Corolla, and the Lexus ES350 luxury sedan. Those vehicles are assembled at plants in Indiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Texas.

In 2016, Honda manufactured nearly 70% of the cars it sold in the US in America, according to the manufacturer. And Nissan builds eight vehicles, including the best-selling Altima family sedan, at its Canton, Mississippi, plant.

Trump had similar remarks about German automakers in May this year when he criticized Germany's trade surplus with the US and threatened to stop the sale of German vehicles in the US, Der Spiegel reported.

Those comments from Trump similarly raised eyebrows because two of the biggest German automakers, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, run factories in South Carolina and Alabama respectively. Volvo is building its first US plant in South Carolina, and Volkswagen builds its new Atlas SUV and the Passat sedan in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Those plants in the southern US have benefited their local economies and created thousands of jobs in their respective regions.

SEE ALSO: Trump's ignorance of the auto industry is terrifying

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NOW WATCH: I spent a day trying to pay for things with bitcoin and a bar of gold

Why Segwit2x Is Doomed to Fail

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

Developer Ariel Deschapell argues that the Segwit2x bitcoin fork is a broken attempt to change bitcoin, and that it's destined to fail.

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