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A JFK airport employee filmed a ceiling collapsing on his co-worker's desk after a pipe burst

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

jfk pipe burst video

  • A water main burst in Terminal 4 at JFK International Airport on Sunday.
  • A video from a Hallmark Aviation Services employee shows a ceiling collapsing over his co-worker's desk as a result of the burst pipe.
  • Both the man and his co-worker were unharmed.

 

A water main burst in Terminal 4 at JFK International Airport on Sunday, flooding a baggage claim area and leaving travelers unsure of when they'd receive their luggage.

Hallmark Aviation Services employee Jonathan Chiu caught some of the flooding in a video that shows a ceiling collapsing over his co-worker's desk, WNBC reported. Both Chiu and his co-worker were at a safe distance from his desk when the ceiling fell.

The video was posted to YouTube by Chiu's co-worker, Tavita Basdeo.

SEE ALSO: A Ryanair passenger climbed onto the wing of a plane after becoming frustrated about the wait to deboard

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NOW WATCH: A crypto expert explains the difference between the two largest cryptocurrencies in the world: bitcoin and Ethereum

'This is a magic moment:' Here's Jeff Gundlach's full presentation on markets and the economy in 2018

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

jeffrey gundlach

The stock market is likely to end its record streak of positive returns this year, according to Jeffrey Gundlach, the founder of DoubleLine Funds. 

During his "Just Markets" webcast with investors on Tuesday, Gundlach forecast that the S&P 500 would end 2018 without a positive total return. Last year was the market's ninth in a row, the longest on record.

But don't count Gundlach among those forecasting a US recession any time soon. No economic indicator that typically sends a recession signal is flashing one right now, he said.

On the bond market, Gundlach said it was likely that the 10-year treasury yield would continue rising if it hit 2.63%. The benchmark bond's yield spiked by 7 basis points to 10-month high after the Bank of Japan trimmed its bond purchases. 

Gundlach also weighed in on bitcoin, saying that the cryptocurrency had likely topped. 

Here's his full slide deck, courtesy of DoubleLine:







See the rest of the story at Business Insider

ProShares and VanEck are withdrawing their requests for bitcoin ETFs

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

FILE PHOTO: A view of Ducatus cafe, the first cashless cafe that accepts cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, on their opening day in Singapore December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

  • ProShares and VanEck both withdrew requests to the Securities and Exchange Commission to launch bitcoin-linked exchange traded funds. 
  • Bitcoin ETFs have long been viewed as a natural next step in the maturation of the bitcoin market. 


Two financial services giants — ProShares and VanEck — are withdrawing requests to the Securities and Exchange Commission to list bitcoin ETFs. 

VanEck, which filed for its actively managed Bitcoin Strategy ETF on December 11, asked the Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday to withdraw that amendment. ProShares, which said it would launch a suite of bitcoin ETFs in September, also withdrew its request on Tuesday, according to a filing

Neither VanEck nor ProShares provided a specific reason why they decided to withdraw the products in their filings. 

Matthew Babinsky, the author of VanEck's filing to the SEC, declined to comment on the letter. Press representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Robert Borzone Jr, the author of ProShares' letter, did not respond to messages seeking comment. 

Bitcoin-linked ETFs have long been viewed as a natural next step for the cryptocurrency, following the launch of Cboe Global Markets' and CME Group's bitcoin futures offerings in December. 

"We started down this road in the form of an ETF," Chris Concannon, president of Cboe, told Business Insider after regulators gave US exchange groups the green light to launch futures. "A healthy market is a healthy underlying market, derivatives markets, and an ETF. That will take time."

Bats Global Markets, which was acquired by Cboe earlier this year, attempted to list a bitcoin exchange-traded fund backed by the Winklevoss twins. That attempt was rejected by regulators, with the Securities and Exchange Commission citing the lack of "surveillance-sharing agreements with significant markets for trading the underlying commodity or derivatives on that commodity."

Business Insider reported Saturday a proposal by the New York Stock Exchange to list five new funds linked to bitcoin futures on one of its markets.

The new leveraged and inverse exchange-traded funds, planned by ETF-maker Direxion Asset Management, are designed to track trading in bitcoin futures markets, not bitcoin itself. The leveraged ETFs, according to a filing to the SEC, seek to provide investors returns that multiply returns in the underlying market.

This story is developing. Check back for updates. 

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NOW WATCH: We talked to Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman about tax reform, Trump, and bitcoin

CES 2018: Kodak soars on KodakCoin and Bitcoin mining plans

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

The photo firm Kodak is to create its own crypto-currency and provide a Bitcoin-mining service.

Mercedes-Benz just unveiled a flashy new interface with a 3-D display and voice control that recognizes slang

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

mercedes-benz ces 2018

  • Mercedes-Benz revealed a new user interface at CES on Tuesday.
  • The interface, called MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience), will feature three-dimensional digital displays, a touchscreen, voice control, and over-the-air updates.
  • Mercedes-Benz plans to debut the interface in its upcoming A-Class vehicles.

 

Mercedes-Benz revealed a new user interface at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on Tuesday.

The interface, called MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience), will feature three-dimensional digital displays, a touchscreen, voice control, and over-the-air updates. While some of those features are starting to become more common in luxury vehicles, Mercedes-Benz hopes MBUX will separate itself from competitors with its simple, intuitive design.

On the visual side, a digital instrument panel and touchscreen feature minimalist displays that could make it easier for a driver to find and comprehend information or settings. Users will also have the option to view menus in two or three dimensions.

While Gorden Wagener, Mercedes-Benz's chief design officer, didn't go into detail about how the 3-D display will work, the screen behind him indicated the display would create the illusion of depth, rather than popping out toward the user.

Wagener also demonstrated how drivers would be able to use a graphical representation of their car to make changes to the settings, in addition to text-based menus.

mercedes-benz ces 2018

Another distinguishing feature is a voice-control system designed to recognize slang and conversational speech patterns. Sajjad Khan, Mercedes-Benz's vice president of digital vehicle and mobility, demonstrated how that might work by simulating a weather-related question while on stage.

"Hey Mercedes, can I wear flip-flops tomorrow?" he asked, which prompted what may have been a recording of the voice-control system to respond that the weather would be too cold for flip-flops.

Khan said the system would allow drivers to talk to their cars the same way they might talk to friends, and would update to incorporate new slang terms. Users can also integrate voice-control devices like Google Home and Alexa into the interface.

mercedes-benz ces 2018

Mercedes-Benz will be able to update the interface over the air and plans to debut it in its new A-Class cars, which the company has said it will unveil in February.

SEE ALSO: The 10 most high-tech sedans you can buy

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NOW WATCH: The 5 issues to consider before trading bitcoin futures

Clint Carlson's hedge fund assets drop $1 billion in five months after brutal performance

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

head in hands face palm

  • Carlson Capital's hedge fund assets dropped by $1 billion in five months.
  • The firm's Black Diamond Thematic fund lost 22.1% last year, with assets dropping more than $300 million from August to December. 


Assets at Clint Carlson's investment firm have dropped by nearly $1 billion in five months, client documents show.

The Dallas-based hedge fund managed $8.2 billion firmwide at the start of 2018, down from $9.1 billion in August 2017, according to documents seen by Business Insider. The drop was exclusively a result of a decline in hedge fund assets, with that business seeing assets fall from $7.6 billion to $6.6 billion. Carlson Capital's collateralized loan obligation business in contrast saw a small increase in assets, now up to $1.6 billion. 

More than $300 million of the decline in hedge fund assets can be attributed to Carlson's Black Diamond Thematic fund. On August 1, 2017, that fund managed $1.2 billion, per client documents. The fund managed $854 million as of the start of this year.

That fund was the firm's worst performer last year, falling 22.1% after fees, adding on to losses sustained earlier in 2017.

Carlson's flagship multistrategy funds also lost money last year, losing -4.47% (Double Black Diamond, LP, $2.2 billion) and -5.99% (Black Diamond Partners, LP, $499 million), after fees. 

Hedge funds on average posted gains last year while the stock market rallied, meanwhile. The HFR Fund Weighted Composite Index gained 8.5% in 2017. The S&P 500 was up 21.8%.

The firm's other strategies posted net gains, meanwhile: 

  • Black Diamond Relative Value Partners LP: +1.45%, with $307.5 million in assets
  • Black Diamond Arbitrage Partners, LP: +6.85%, with $86.5 million in assets

An external spokesperson for Carlson declined to comment.

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NOW WATCH: A crypto expert explains the difference between the two largest cryptocurrencies in the world: bitcoin and Ethereum

STOCKS HIT A RECORD HIGH: Here's what you need to know

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

trader

US stocks rose, hitting another record high, as investors continue to price in the impact of tax cuts ahead of corporate earnings season, which starts later this week.

The S&P 500 rose 0.2%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.5% and the more tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 increased 0.2%.

First up, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 25,403.47, +102.47, (+0.48%)
  • S&P 500: 2,753.55, +3.58, (+0.21%)
  • Nasdaq: 7,163.58, +6.19, (+0.16%)
  • US 10-year yield: 2.55%, +0.07
  • WTI crude oil: $62.89, +$1.16, +1.88%

1. Goldman Sachs identifies two areas of tax reform that could throw investors for a loop this earnings season. They include required corporate write-downs of deferred tax items, and the more than $275 billion in taxes S&P 500 companies will owe on previous overseas cash and earnings.

2. Jamie Dimon regrets calling bitcoin a 'fraud.' But he added that he's still not interested in the cryptocurrency at all, speaking to Fox Business on Tuesday.

3. HSBC outlines how to make a killing by betting on the rise of artificial intelligence. The firm has identified three primary categories — areas that focus on the hardware components and technology needed to support AI.

4. Fed officials are scrambling to figure out how to fight the next recession. Yet instead of focusing on tried and true policy measures like low interest rates and bond buys, Fed officials current and former appear interested in broad shifts in the policy framework.

5. Credit Suisse says there’s been a ‘fundamental shift’ in how investors view the stock market's relentless rally. As the S&P 500 has risen, investors have positioned themselves to profit from new highs by demanding more call options.

ADDITIONALLY

One of Whole Food’s biggest competitors just inked a deal that could help it compete with Amazon — and the stock is surging

Ethereum jumps back above $1,200

Kodak's the latest company to benefit from jumping on the blockchain bandwagon — but its move actually makes sense

Mike Novogratz is planning a crypto version of Goldman Sachs

A Wall Street analyst says Under Armour could suffer the same fate as Reebok

SEE ALSO: HSBC: Here's how to make a killing betting on the robot revolution

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: Bitcoin mania, a Nobel Prize-winning economist talks Trump, and a deep dive on unstoppable tech stocks

Bitcoin ETF Proposals Withdrawn After SEC Pushback

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

Several firms seeking to list exchange-traded funds (ETFs) tied to bitcoin have withdrawn their filings at the request of officials from the SEC.

Kodak Gets in on the Blockchain and ICO Picture

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

kodak.jpg

Kodak, the iconic photography company first established in in the 1880s, has joined the blockchain and ICO age. Today, January 9, 2018, it announced a new blockchain-based platform with WENN Digital to empower and protect image makers, photographers and artists.

The new platform, known as KodakOne, will enable users to register their work and license it with the platform. The image rights management platform will utilize the new KODAKCoin cryptocurrency to provide photographers with a new revenue stream and secure platform for protecting their work.

The smart contract associated with KODAKCoin will ensure that photographers receive payment immediately upon their work being licensed in addition to receiving a share of the overall platform revenue. The platform will also continually scan the web to monitor and protect the artist’s IP and assist them in dealing with illegal use of their work.

“For many in the tech industry, ‘blockchain’ and ‘cryptocurrency’ are hot buzzwords, but for photographers who’ve long struggled to assert control over their work and how it’s used, these buzzwords are the keys to solving what felt like an unsolvable problem,” said Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke in a statement. “Kodak has always sought to democratize photography and make licensing fair to artists. These technologies give the photography community an innovative and easy way to do just that.”

The KODAKOne platform and KODAKCoin cryptocurrency were developed for Kodak by WENN Digital. Their ICO will begin on January 31, 2018, and is open to accredited investors from the U.S., U.K., Canada and other select countries. This ICO is issued under SEC guidelines as a security token under Regulation 506 (c) as an exempt offering.

The post Kodak Gets in on the Blockchain and ICO Picture appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Smart Contracts Proposal MAST Inches Closer to Bitcoin's Code

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

A long-standing proposal to bring "smarter" smart contracts to bitcoin's main net has just taken one step closer to implementation.

Kodak stock gets a blockchain bounce — it more than doubled after the company announced a new cryptocurrency (KODK)

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

Photographers take pictures as the Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft carrying the crew of Jack Fischer of the U.S. and Fyodor Yurchikhin of Russia blasts off to the International Space Station (ISS) from the launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, April 20, 2017. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov

  • Kodak's stock more than doubled in price early Tuesday following news that the photo company will launch a new blockchain-based rights-management service.
  • Kodak will use a blockchain, which is the technology behind bitcoin, to track the online use of photographs licensed through its system. The service is designed to help photographers get paid for use of their images. 
  • Blockchains have shown promise in being used to track the licensing, use, and sale of artistic works.


Kodak shares more than doubled in price early Tuesday following an announcement that the historically influential photography company will launch a new blockchain product.

The company's stock was trading $7.05 a share at press time, up $3.95, or 127.4%

Kodak is only the latest company to revive interest in itself and see its shares surge after making an announcement related to blockchain technology, the digital ledger behind cryptocurrencies including bitcoin and ether. But Kodak's new project, which involves a rights-management system for images and a related cryptocurrency, appears to be a serious effort to use a blockchain to solve a real problem.

Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke"For many in the tech industry, 'blockchain' and 'cryptocurrency' are hot buzzwords, but for photographers who've long struggled to assert control over their work and how it's used, these buzzwords are the keys to solving what felt like an unsolvable problem," Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke said in a statement.

KodakOne, the rights management service, is designed to allow photographers to track how their copyrighted images are being used on the internet. That dovetails with one of the capabilities of blockchains; by design they can be used to track ownership of digital goods, including intellectual property rights.

The rights management service will continuously crawl the web to keep track of how images registered in its system are being used online. When the crawler comes across unlicensed uses of images in its system, the service will help photographers get paid for their work. 

Keeping track of the ownership of goods, particularly of works of art traded and used online, could end up being one of the main ways blockchains are used in the real world. It can be difficult for collectors to verify the authenticity of a piece of art, especially those bought online. It can also be hard for artists to restrict the use of their works, or to be sure that they will really get paid for use of them. 

As one example of how companies are using the digital ledger technology to deal with such issues, the Italian fine art website Look Lateral uses a blockchain called Dragonchain to generate proof of authenticity for the art it sells. The site sells some works of art for more than $100,000, and it depends on its blockchain to collect payment and to offer a record of ownership.

Kodak's image-rights project, which it developed in partnership with the blockchain development company Wenn Digital, will use a new cryptocurrency called KodakCoin. When photographers license their images through KodakOne, they will be paid in KodakCoin. The photographers can then sell their KodakCoins on a cryptocurrency exchange for dollars. 

KodakCoins will go on sale January 31 via a fundraising technique called an initial coin offering, through which the company will sell a set amount of coins. Companies establishing new blockchain-based systems commonly launch new cryptocurrencies to serve as a means of exchanging money within those systems. However, such alternative cryptocurrencies sometimes see their value spike as investors look to turn a profit on the hype around new coins.

"KodakCoin is all about paying photographers fairly and giving them an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a new economy tailored for them, with secure asset rights management built right in," Wenn Digital CEO Jan Denecke said in the statement.

SEE ALSO: Disney built a blockchain, and now its creators are trying to turn it into a commercial platform to compete with Ethereum

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NOW WATCH: A Navy SEAL explains why you should end a shower with cold water

1,000 Bitcoin Mining Rigs: Long Island Iced Tea Completes ‘Long Blockchain’ Pivot

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

The post 1,000 Bitcoin Mining Rigs: Long Island Iced Tea Completes ‘Long Blockchain’ Pivot appeared first on CCN

A former beverage producer has completed a pivot into the blockchain space with the purchase of 1,000 bitcoin mining rigs from hardware producer Bitmain. Long Blockchain Leaps Headfirst Into Bitcoin Mining Market Long Blockchain Corp. — formerly known as Long Island Iced Tea — is purchasing 1,000 AntMiner S9 units, along with power supplies, for

The post 1,000 Bitcoin Mining Rigs: Long Island Iced Tea Completes ‘Long Blockchain’ Pivot appeared first on CCN

How a Hackathon Birthed the CryptoKitties Origin Story

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

cryptokitty.jpg

CryptoKitties,” the most popular game ever released on the Ethereum blockchain to date, became an instant success in December of 2018. About 180,000 people have already signed up for CryptoKitties since the cute creatures were introduced to the world just a few months ago. Over $20 million in ether has already been spent, and at least 10 kitties have sold for more than $100,000.

Yet while the impressive numbers behind this crypto-phenomenon clearly demonstrate its success, most people remain unaware of how and why CryptoKitties came into being in the first place.

Hackathons Breeding Blockchain Innovations

The birth of CryptoKitties (Alpha) happened during the ETHWaterloo hackathon, the world’s largest Ethereum hackathon, which took place in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, back in October 2017. The project to bring cats to the Ethereum blockchain had a surprise alpha launch during the 36-hour Ethereum-based hackathon, which attracted hundreds of developers, mentors and sponsors from across the globe.

The CryptoKitties team came to the ETHWaterloo hackathon prepared, wearing rainbow-colored cat T-shirts, along with cat-balloons marked as the “CryptoKitties Team.” The four-person team also handed out customized Pokemon business cards and stickers featuring a link to their website. The alpha launch during the hackathon featured different breeding challenges that demonstrated how CryptoKitties could produce offspring. Winners of these challenges were rewarded with ether.

According to ETHWaterloo’s organizer, Liam Horne, the CryptoKitties team joined the hackathon with a new and innovative idea for the Ethereum blockchain, along with a truly creative marketing strategy.

“The four-person CryptoKitties team was building an entirely new technology on the Ethereum blockchain, but also had the business skills to get the word out,” Horne told Bitcoin Magazine. “For instance, each ETHWaterloo participant was gifted two CryptoKitties. A total of 50 CryptoKitties were given away at the start of the event. From there, users were able to trade and breed hundreds of cute, collectible, digital cats. By the end of the hackathon, hackers, cryptocurrency enthusiasts and other curious users had bred over 1,500 CryptoKitties in just 36 hours.”

At the end of the event, the CryptoKitties team was chosen as one of the 8 winners, which opened up several new opportunities, including the chance to meet with some VC firms. Their win also marked the start of a surge of media exposure that expanded to several mainstream media outlets.

Hackathons Spark Creativity

The idea may have once sounded crazy, but it turns out that putting kitties on the blockchain has become all the rage. Yet none of this would have been possible without the support of the ETHWaterloo hackathon.

“People usually perceive hackathons as being competitions,” said Horne, who has been organizing hackathons since his university days. “The ETHWaterloo hackathon, however, was not about this. We framed this as an event where programmers fascinated by Ethereum could be in the same room for 36 hours. The purpose of this was to experiment and have fun with Ethereum-based blockchain technology.”

He said that the CryptoKitties team was given advice from mentors, feedback from sponsors and a chance to test out their ideas with other programmers who understood the value of having digital cats on the Ethereum platform.

This in mind, Horne believes that hackathons are crucial for sparking new innovations in blockchain technology. The next Ethereum hackathon is set to take place in Denver next month. This event will be supported by Horne’s new initiative called ETHGlobal, which will help hackathon organizers around the world launch their own ETHWaterloo-style hackathons.

“Hackathons are simply a place for great minds to come together for a short period of time with the explicit goal of producing something practical and tangible using some kind of technology. It is astonishing how much can be done when you get the right group of people together for a weekend to just have fun and build something they find interesting,” said Horne.

“I have seen prototypes be built that have later turned into profitable businesses; projects that were dreamed of, built, launched and used by hundreds of people in the span of 36 hours at hackathons like ETHWaterloo.

“The most valuable component, however, is what happens after the hackathon ends. Every now and then a team of hackers will keep working together on their hack and the event will act as a catalyst for a project that could become quite meaningful and interesting to the world, and to investors.”

Ultimately, hackathons allow hackers to work together with other people who are interested in the same technology, providing an additional set of ears, eyes and more ideas. In particular, hackathons in emerging tech fields — such as blockchain technology — allow hackers to come up with fresh projects that could eventually turn into something much larger down the road, like CryptoKitties. And with over 500,000 people listed as interested in attending Ethereum Meetups worldwide, blockchain-based hackathons are bound to breed many more unique and clever innovations in the future.

The post How a Hackathon Birthed the CryptoKitties Origin Story appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

CREDIT SUISSE: There’s been a ‘fundamental shift’ in how investors view the stock market's relentless rally

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

traders cboe options

  • Recent options-trading activity suggests "a more fundamental shift in outlook, rather than just bullish tactical positioning," according to Credit Suisse. 
  • The past two weeks have seen a drop in the S&P 500's six-month skew, which measures option prices betting on a decline relative to those betting on a rise. 
  • That's a noteworthy difference from the drop in short-dated skew, which was already happening, Credit Suisse says.


The stock market's unrelenting march higher has changed how investors see this bull market, according to Credit Suisse.

As the S&P 500 rose, investors positioned themselves to profit from new highs by demanding more call options, which are instruments that give them right to buy stocks at an agreed price.

In a note on Monday, Mandy Xu, the chief equity derivatives strategist at Credit Suisse, spotlights the S&P 500's skew, a measure that tracks option prices betting on a decline relative to those betting on a rise.

Short-term skew fell in the final months of 2017, implying traders were demanding a higher volume of options that would benefit from higher stock prices. This wasn't unexpected, since the market was rising in just the right mix of conditions: Volatility as measured by the Cboe's index was at historic lows, the GOP was set to pass the most comprehensive corporate-tax reform in decades, and economies around the world were in growth mode. 

"However, longer-dated skew had stayed fairly elevated – until now," Xu said.

"Over the past two weeks, SPX 6M skew has fallen from the 82nd percentile high to now the 55th percentile. The decline in longer-dated skew suggests a more fundamental shift in outlook, rather than just bullish tactical positioning."

That is, traders appear to be betting that stocks could keep going up well into 2018.

Screen Shot 2018 01 09 at 12.26.17 PM

Morgan Stanley's equity analysts recently declared we're in the full-blown "euphoria" stage of this bull market. And it's not hard to find proof of this claim.

The S&P 500 is the most 'overbought' in at least 22 years, according to its relative-strength index, which measures the size and speed of its price movements.  

Across sectors, analysts are betting that the market's biggest driver — earnings growth — will be the most impressive in several years. The analysts who forecast company earnings have made the smallest cuts to their fourth-quarter estimates since 2010, according to FactSet. 

The American Association of Individual Investors found last week that only 15.6% of those it polled were bearish, a three-year low, and down from 34% a month ago. 

The list goes on. And so, it's no surprise, as Credit Suisse suggests, that it's getting lonelier to be a bear in this market.   

SEE ALSO: MORGAN STANLEY: We've entered the final stage of the stock market's remarkable rally

DON'T MISS: Wall Street is set up for an abnormal earnings season

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NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: Bitcoin mania, a Nobel Prize-winning economist talks Trump, and a deep dive on unstoppable tech stocks

UBI Bitcoin Is the Latest in Series of SEC Cryptocurrency Crackdown Targets

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

UBI Bitcoin SEC Crackdown

In a story that is getting all too familiar recently, the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) halted trading on yet another cryptocurrency, UBI Blockchain. The SEC explained:

"The Commission temporarily suspended trading in the securities of UBIA because of (i) questions regarding the accuracy of assertions, since at least September 2017, by UBIA in filings with the Commission regarding the company’s business operations; and (ii) concerns about recent, unusual and unexplained market activity in the company’s Class A common stock since at least November 2017."

Shares in UBI Blockchain traded as high as $115 after selling for just $0.55 less than a year ago; a couple of weeks ago it was trading at around $9. Bloomberg is reporting that UBI Blockchain has just 18 employees, no revenue, $15,406 dollars in cash on hand and $6.3 million in debt. UBI filed with the SEC in September 2017 for a planned sale of 72.3 million shares of stock by its executives, but the phone number listed in the filing has since been disconnected. The share halt started January 8, 2018, and will run through January 22, 2018.

Latest in a Series of Scam Crackdowns

On December 19, 2017, the shares of The Crypto Company were halted by the SEC over concerns of manipulative trading. The shares had surged in price by 2700% in a single month. The halt went through January 3, 2018, which saw the stock drop to $175 from its high of $642. Their 10-Q filing shows cause for concern: The company, which rebranded in July of 2017, had less than $600,000 in revenue, most of which was from trading cryptocurrency. The stock at its highest gave this company with seemingly few people and no product, a market cap of $6.5 billion.

Also in December, the SEC halted both the Munchee ICO and the Plexcoin ICO. Munchee ran afoul of the SEC by emphasizing they were creating a secondary market as an investment vehicle long in advance of the utility of the token being made available. The SEC complaint argued their token was considered a security regardless of their utility at the time of the sale. Munchee consented to the SEC’s order without admitting to or denying the findings and returned the investors’ money.

The SEC took a much heavier hand with Plexcoin, as their new Cyber Unit filed its first charges since being created in September 2017 to focus on misconduct involving distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) and initial coin offerings (ICOs). The scheme involved a recidivist Quebec securities law violator, Dominic Lacroix, and his partner, Sabrina Paradis-Royer.

The SEC obtained an emergency court order to freeze the assets of PlexCorps, Lacroix and Paradis-Royer. Chief of the Cyber Unit, Robert Cohen, said, "This first Cyber Unit case hits all of the characteristics of a full-fledged cyber scam and is exactly the kind of misconduct the unit will be pursuing. We acted quickly to protect retail investors from this initial coin offering's false promises."

In September 2017, the SEC had a double hitter with two companies from one person, Maksim Zaslavskiy. He was responsible for REcoin, touted as "the first ever cryptocurrency backed by real estate," and the Diamond Reserve Club. Neither company performed any of the actions that they claimed they would and neither had any of the resources touted. The SEC obtained an emergency court order to freeze the assets of Zaslavskiy and his companies.

Just today, we have news breaking that the CEO of Fantasy Markets, Jonathan Lucas, has allegedly disappeared with investors' money.

The SEC has also issued a statement concerning celebrity endorsements of ICOs out of concern for naive potential investors who may be swayed by big names selling dubious products.

Since the SEC started to pay attention to ICOs last summer, they’ve been taking a pretty understanding stance when dealing with enforcement. Andrew J. Chapin, the CEO of Benjacoin for example, describes how the SEC contacted him about his upcoming ICO in order to discuss what he and his company were planning. He says that he was glad he took the call and learned the “right way” to do things, instead of ignoring it and trying to skirt around the regulations. Thus, in these early days, it appears that the SEC is giving companies an opportunity to make things right, so far, without assessing fines or penalties. But how long that will last is anyone’s guess right now.

The post UBI Bitcoin Is the Latest in Series of SEC Cryptocurrency Crackdown Targets appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

UBI Blockchain Is the Latest in Series of SEC Cryptocurrency Crackdown Targets

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

UBI Bitcoin SEC Crackdown

In a story that is getting all too familiar recently, the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) halted trading on yet another blockchain-related company stock, UBI Blockchain. The SEC explained:

"The Commission temporarily suspended trading in the securities of UBIA because of (i) questions regarding the accuracy of assertions, since at least September 2017, by UBIA in filings with the Commission regarding the company’s business operations; and (ii) concerns about recent, unusual and unexplained market activity in the company’s Class A common stock since at least November 2017."

Shares in UBI Blockchain traded as high as $115 after selling for just $0.55 less than a year ago; a couple of weeks ago it was trading at around $9. Bloomberg is reporting that UBI Blockchain has just 18 employees, no revenue, $15,406 dollars in cash on hand and $6.3 million in debt. UBI filed with the SEC in September 2017 for a planned sale of 72.3 million shares of stock by its executives, but the phone number listed in the filing has since been disconnected. The share halt started January 8, 2018, and will run through January 22, 2018.

Latest in a Series of Scam Crackdowns

On December 19, 2017, the shares of The Crypto Company were halted by the SEC over concerns of manipulative trading. The shares had surged in price by 2700% in a single month. The halt went through January 3, 2018, which saw the stock drop to $175 from its high of $642. Their 10-Q filing shows cause for concern: The company, which rebranded in July of 2017, had less than $600,000 in revenue, most of which was from trading cryptocurrency. The stock at its highest gave this company with seemingly few people and no product, a market cap of $6.5 billion.

Also in December, the SEC halted both the Munchee ICO and the Plexcoin ICO. Munchee ran afoul of the SEC by emphasizing they were creating a secondary market as an investment vehicle long in advance of the utility of the token being made available. The SEC complaint argued their token was considered a security regardless of their utility at the time of the sale. Munchee consented to the SEC’s order without admitting to or denying the findings and returned the investors’ money.

The SEC took a much heavier hand with Plexcoin, as their new Cyber Unit filed its first charges since being created in September 2017 to focus on misconduct involving distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) and initial coin offerings (ICOs). The scheme involved a recidivist Quebec securities law violator, Dominic Lacroix, and his partner, Sabrina Paradis-Royer.

The SEC obtained an emergency court order to freeze the assets of PlexCorps, Lacroix and Paradis-Royer. Chief of the Cyber Unit, Robert Cohen, said, "This first Cyber Unit case hits all of the characteristics of a full-fledged cyber scam and is exactly the kind of misconduct the unit will be pursuing. We acted quickly to protect retail investors from this initial coin offering's false promises."

In September 2017, the SEC had a double hitter with two companies from one person, Maksim Zaslavskiy. He was responsible for REcoin, touted as "the first ever cryptocurrency backed by real estate," and the Diamond Reserve Club. Neither company performed any of the actions that they claimed they would and neither had any of the resources touted. The SEC obtained an emergency court order to freeze the assets of Zaslavskiy and his companies.

Just today, we have news breaking that the CEO of Fantasy Markets, Jonathan Lucas, has allegedly disappeared with investors' money.

The SEC has also issued a statement concerning celebrity endorsements of ICOs out of concern for naive potential investors who may be swayed by big names selling dubious products.

Since the SEC started to pay attention to ICOs last summer, they’ve been taking a pretty understanding stance when dealing with enforcement. Andrew J. Chapin, the CEO of Benjacoin for example, describes how the SEC contacted him about his upcoming ICO in order to discuss what he and his company were planning. He says that he was glad he took the call and learned the “right way” to do things, instead of ignoring it and trying to skirt around the regulations. Thus, in these early days, it appears that the SEC is giving companies an opportunity to make things right, so far, without assessing fines or penalties. But how long that will last is anyone’s guess right now.

The post UBI Blockchain Is the Latest in Series of SEC Cryptocurrency Crackdown Targets appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Mike Novogratz is planning a crypto version of Goldman Sachs

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

Novogratz, Mike Novogratz, Fortress CEO, SALT

  • Famed hedge funder turned cryptocurrency enthusiast Mike Novogratz announced Tuesday that he is launching a cryptocurrency bank. 
  • Bloomberg News reported Novogratz plans to take the entity public on a Canadian venture exchange. 
  • In December, Novogratz tabled plans for a cryptocurrency-focused hedge fund.

 

Less than a month after tabling a plan to start a cryptocurrency hedge fund, famed trader Mike Novogratz announced he has a cryptocurrency bank in the works. 

In a statement out Tuesday, Novogratz said he is looking to raise $200 million for Galaxy Digital LP, a "best-in-class, full service, institutional quality merchant banking business" for the crypto market. Novogratz also plans to list the company on TSX Venture Exchange, a Canada-based exchange for small cap companies. 

A person familiar with the initiative told Bloomberg News that Novogratz "had been laying the groundwork for Galaxy for months."

The new bank will be born out of Canadian-based First Coin Capital, which Novogratz plans to buy and then merge with Bradmer Pharmaceuticals. Its main businesses will include trading, advisory services, asset management, and private equity-like investing. 

"Bradmer, to be renamed Galaxy Digital Holdings, will own an interest in the merchant bank and be listed on the TSX exchange," Bloomberg's Erik Schatzker reported. "The person familiar with his plans said Novogratz envisions Galaxy as the Goldman Sachs of crypto."

That person said Novogratz plans to put his massive $400 million crypto fortune into the bank.

Novogratz has been an outspoken advocate for blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. The former Fortress trader pumped the brakes on a plan for a $500 million cryptocurrency hedge fund in December

“We didn’t like market conditions and we wanted to re-evaluate what we’re doing,” Novogratz said of his decision to table the fund on December 22. 

At the time bitcoin was trading slightly above $12,000, down a whopping $7,000 from its all-time high set on December 19. 

In a tweet about the plummeting bitcoin price, Novogratz said: "My hunch is we consolidate between 10-16k for a while. Extreme would be 8k." The bitcoin bull market isn't over, "just pausing," he added.

In November,  Novogratz said bitcoin could go as high as $40,000 within a couple of months.

Read the full report on Bloomberg>>

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NOW WATCH: We talked to Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman about tax reform, Trump, and bitcoin

A Wall Street analyst says Under Armour could suffer the same fate as Reebok (UA, UAA, DKS, HIBB, KSS, DSW)

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

Under Armour

  • Shares of Under Armour fell 5% after Susquehanna Financial Group's Sam Poser downgraded the stock.
  • He said that the company is following in the footsteps of Reebok, which cheapened its brand by selling products to low-cost retailers.
  • Poser maintained that Under Armour may not be able to recover from its poor brand management decisions.
  • Check out the real-time stock price for Under Armour.

Under Armour's stock fell by as much as 5% on Tuesday after Susquehanna Financial Group Analyst Sam Poser downgraded its stock.

Poser criticized the company for going the way of Reebok by advertising to lower-cost retailers such as Kohl's, DSW, and Famous Footwear. He believes that could cause high-end retailers such as Dick's Sporting Goods and Hibbett Sports to lose faith in Under Armour because they may see it as cheapening its brand.

Reebok once had $1 billion in annual revenue, but is now driving under $200 million in sales. Poser warned that Under Armour may suffer the same fate.

"Reebok opened up moderate distribution to sustain revenue growth and it eventually nearly mortally damaged the brand," he wrote. 

High-end retailers have already planned to bring their Under Armour business down double-digits in 2017, a trend that will likely continue in 2018, Poser said. He added that the company will need to pull its products from the low-cost retailers, create better products, and provide new offerings and styles to stand a slim chance of reversing its fortunes.

This is troubling for a company that has had trouble remaining relevant with consumers following the departures of a few key executives. Last quarter, Under Armour lowered its guidance after reporting disappointing sales.

Posner downgraded the stock to Negative and set his price target at $11 a share, down about 27% from current levels.

Under Armour shares are up 1.22% this year.

Under Armour

To read more about how Under Armour is struggling with forces that may be beyond its control, click here.

 

SEE ALSO: SUNTRUST: Under Armour isn't necessarily in control of its own destiny

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NOW WATCH: Why bitcoin checks all the boxes of a bubble

A Wall Street analyst says Under Armour could suffer the same fate as Reebok (UA, UAA, DKS, HIBB, KSS, DSW)

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

Under Armour

  • Shares of Under Armour fell 5% after Susquehanna Financial Group's Sam Poser downgraded the stock.
  • He said that the company is following in the footsteps of Reebok, which cheapened its brand by selling products to low-cost retailers.
  • Poser maintained that Under Armour may not be able to recover from its poor brand management decisions.
  • Check out the real-time stock price for Under Armour.

Under Armour's stock fell by as much as 5% on Tuesday after Susquehanna Financial Group Analyst Sam Poser downgraded its stock.

Poser criticized the company for going the way of Reebok by advertising to lower-cost retailers such as Kohl's, DSW, and Famous Footwear. He believes that could cause high-end retailers such as Dick's Sporting Goods and Hibbett Sports to lose faith in Under Armour because they may see it as cheapening its brand.

Reebok once had $1 billion in annual revenue, but is now driving under $200 million in sales. Poser warned that Under Armour may suffer the same fate.

"Reebok opened up moderate distribution to sustain revenue growth and it eventually nearly mortally damaged the brand," he wrote. 

High-end retailers have already planned to bring their Under Armour business down double-digits in 2017, a trend that will likely continue in 2018, Poser said. He added that the company will need to pull its products from the low-cost retailers, create better products, and provide new offerings and styles to stand a slim chance of reversing its fortunes.

This is troubling for a company that has had trouble remaining relevant with consumers following the departures of a few key executives. Last quarter, Under Armour lowered its guidance after reporting disappointing sales.

Posner downgraded the stock to Negative and set his price target at $11 a share, down about 27% from current levels.

Under Armour shares are up 1.22% this year.

Under Armour

To read more about how Under Armour is struggling with forces that may be beyond its control, click here.

 

SEE ALSO: SUNTRUST: Under Armour isn't necessarily in control of its own destiny

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: PAUL KRUGMAN: Bitcoin is a more obvious bubble than housing was

Intel and AMD are sliding after Microsoft says significant slowdowns can occur after Meltdown and Spectre updates (AMD, INTC, MSFT)

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

microsoft windows terry myerson

  • Flaws in how modern CPUs operate have sent computer makers scrambling to issue fixes.
  • The fixes, though, could slow down older machines and servers, Microsoft said.
  • Shares of Intel slipped on the news.


In a blog post on Tuesday, Microsoft's executive vice president of Windows and devices, Terry Myerson, said that a significant slowdown will likely occur on some Windows machines after installing updates to protect against the recently announced Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities.

Intel was down about 0.6% before the blog post, and is trading about 1.65% lower after. AMD is trading about 3.42% lower on Tuesday after the blog post.

With the post, Microsoft seems to confirm developers' fears that updates required to protect against recent CPU vulnerabilities could significantly slow servers and older Windows machines. The "Meltdown" and "Spectre" CPU flaws affect nearly every computer, tablet, phone and server made in the last decade.

Microsoft and its peers have been trying to get ahead of the vulnerabilities by releasing updates that make major changes to how computers allow programs to access secure data. The updates could slow computers by up to 30%, according to some early estimates.

Microsoft said that newer personal computers will likely not have a perceivable performance dip. Older personal computers, as well as those running the Windows Server operating system, can expect "more significant slowdowns," according to Microsoft.

Microsoft said that it is still testing the speed impacts of updating systems, and it doesn't have concrete numbers yet. The slowdowns will likely depend on the number of times a program asks to access secure data, which means some users could see bigger slowdowns than others.

The software maker also acknowledges that there is still much to be learned as companies like Intel, AMD, Amazon, Google, and Apple all issue updates.

Watch Intel's stock price move in real time here.

intel stock price

SEE ALSO: AMD is slipping after Microsoft halts updates to AMD machines

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NOW WATCH: Bitcoin can be a bubble and still change the world

Intel and AMD are sliding after Microsoft says significant slowdowns can occur after Meltdown and Spectre updates (AMD, INTC, MSFT)

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

microsoft windows terry myerson

  • Flaws in how modern CPUs operate have sent computer makers scrambling to issue fixes.
  • The fixes, though, could slow down older machines and servers, Microsoft said.
  • Shares of Intel slipped on the news.


In a blog post on Tuesday, Microsoft's executive vice president of Windows and devices, Terry Myerson, said that a significant slowdown will likely occur on some Windows machines after installing updates to protect against the recently announced Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities.

Intel was down about 0.6% before the blog post, and is trading about 1.65% lower after. AMD is trading about 3.42% lower on Tuesday after the blog post.

With the post, Microsoft seems to confirm developers' fears that updates required to protect against recent CPU vulnerabilities could significantly slow servers and older Windows machines. The "Meltdown" and "Spectre" CPU flaws affect nearly every computer, tablet, phone and server made in the last decade.

Microsoft and its peers have been trying to get ahead of the vulnerabilities by releasing updates that make major changes to how computers allow programs to access secure data. The updates could slow computers by up to 30%, according to some early estimates.

Microsoft said that newer personal computers will likely not have a perceivable performance dip. Older personal computers, as well as those running the Windows Server operating system, can expect "more significant slowdowns," according to Microsoft.

Microsoft said that it is still testing the speed impacts of updating systems, and it doesn't have concrete numbers yet. The slowdowns will likely depend on the number of times a program asks to access secure data, which means some users could see bigger slowdowns than others.

The software maker also acknowledges that there is still much to be learned as companies like Intel, AMD, Amazon, Google, and Apple all issue updates.

Watch Intel's stock price move in real time here.

intel stock price

SEE ALSO: AMD is slipping after Microsoft halts updates to AMD machines

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Why bitcoin checks all the boxes of a bubble

The chief investment strategist at $6 trillion fund giant BlackRock says Trump's trade policy is the biggest risk to markets

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

Richard Turnill Blackrock CIO

  • Richard Turnill, BlackRock's chief investment strategist, notes that a measure of geopolitical risk has spiked to the highest since March 2015.
  • Out of all geopolitical risks, Turnill is most worried about President Donald Trump's trade policy, which he says could disrupt global markets.


As stocks continue their relentless pursuit of new record highs, and as the global economy grows at a steady clip, it's easy to assume that market is free of risk.

But underneath the veneer of stability lies geopolitical uncertainty that's recently spiked to its highest since March 2015, above even the period immediately after President Donald Trump's election victory, according to data from BlackRock. 

The firm's chief investment strategist, Richard Turnill, is most worried about Trump's trade policy, he wrote in a recent blog post. More specifically, he's concerned about a potential breakdown in North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) discussions, as well as increasing tensions with China as the US reviews its practices. Any sort of a flair-up in these areas could result in a short-term pullback in emerging-market stocks, said Turnill.

"This is a risk that could shake up global growth and earnings prospects — and call into question our economic outlook," he wrote.

If such a situation were to transpire, Turnill recommends the purchase of US Treasuries, which he notes can be an effective hedge.

But despite Turnill's apprehension around Trump's trade policy, he's not necessarily expecting any sort of catastrophic market event. According to a study crunching data going back to 1962, he finds that "sudden geopolitical shocks tend to hurt global risk assets only briefly if the economy is sound."

The chart below shows just how resilient the market has been in the face of elevated risk. The blue line — which gauges the degree of financial market concern about geopolitical risk — has spiked on multiple occasions during the 8 1/2-year stock bull market. But as the green line shows, global equities have continued steadily higher over the period.

But that's not to say we're completely out of the woods. Turnill finds that a "longer-lasting and more acute negative global market reaction is more likely if multiple shocks occur simultaneously or if the economy is weak."

Screen Shot 2018 01 09 at 11.40.16 AM

SEE ALSO: HSBC: Here's how to make a killing betting on the robot revolution

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NOW WATCH: Why bitcoin checks all the boxes of a bubble

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.

2017 was a rough year for Wall Street bond traders — with low volatility and decreased demand leading to revenue slides across the industry

But despite the second down year in a row for fixed income, currency, and commodities (FICC) sales and traders, the hiring outlook in 2018 has some silver linings, according to new report from Options Group, one of Wall Street's top recruiting firms. Here's our story.

In related news, it's bonus season on Wall Street — here's when each of the big banks is announcing how much people will get paid.

In markets news, Wall Street just freaked out about a potential hiccup to a revolutionary gene editing technology — but it’s not as bad as it seems. GoPro's plunging stock made short sellers $45 million in a single day. Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway could get a $37 billion windfall from tax cuts. And two areas of tax reform could throw investors for a loop this earnings season, according to Goldman Sachs. 

In news from Washington, a top Fed official says a policy shift once seen as radical is "not nearly as scary as you might think." And Congress may be getting ready to create a whopper of a fiscal cliff.

Lastly, in crypto news, Jamie Dimon says he regrets calling bitcoin a "fraud." The tea company that planned to buy bitcoin mining machines is backpedaling on its plans. And bitcoin's main technology opens up opportunities to profit from 14 stocks, HSBC says.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: A crypto expert explains the difference between the two largest cryptocurrencies in the world: bitcoin and Ethereum

Startups Helping the FBI Catch Bitcoin Criminals

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

Criminals were early adopters of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.But these forensic analysis companies prove that criminals should stick with cash.

Low Supply? China’s Crackdown on Mining Could Lead to Bitcoin Price Surge

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

The post Low Supply? China’s Crackdown on Mining Could Lead to Bitcoin Price Surge appeared first on CCN

As Bloomberg and CnLedger have reported, the Chinese government intends to crackdown on the cryptocurrency mining industry in the upcoming months. Analysts have stated that the dismissal of miners in China could lead to a bitcoin price surge due to a decrease in supply. No Ban According to CnLedger, it is unlikely that the Chinese

The post Low Supply? China’s Crackdown on Mining Could Lead to Bitcoin Price Surge appeared first on CCN

CRYPTO INSIDER: Prices rebound

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

NCAA Basketball Rebound  Kansas Jayhawks Ohio State Buckeyes

Welcome to Crypto Insider, Business Insider’s roundup of all the bitcoin and cryptocurrency news you need to know today. Sign up here to get this email delivered direct to your inbox.

Major cryptocurrencies are gaining Tuesday morning. Prices are still down over the last 24 hours, but not by the staggering numbers that showed up yesterday.  

Here are the current standings:

What's happening:

SEE ALSO: Bitcoin miners are reportedly fleeing China because it is cracking down on cryptocurrencies

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: PAUL KRUGMAN: Bitcoin is a more obvious bubble than housing was

CRYPTO INSIDER: Prices rebound

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

NCAA Basketball Rebound  Kansas Jayhawks Ohio State Buckeyes

Welcome to Crypto Insider, Business Insider’s roundup of all the bitcoin and cryptocurrency news you need to know today. Sign up here to get this email delivered direct to your inbox.

Major cryptocurrencies are gaining Tuesday morning. Prices are still down over the last 24 hours, but not by the staggering numbers that showed up yesterday.  

Here are the current standings:

What's happening:

SEE ALSO: Bitcoin miners are reportedly fleeing China because it is cracking down on cryptocurrencies

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: PAUL KRUGMAN: Bitcoin is a more obvious bubble than housing was

Central banks are experimenting with blockchain technology — here's why

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

  • Business Insider spoke to economist Garrick Hileman, from the University of Cambridge, about central banks experimenting with blockchain technology
  • Hileman said an increasing number of central banks are looking to the system due to its resilience and transparency.
  • He adds that although blockchain could become important as banks move away from physical currency, there are privacy issues with the technology.

 

Full transcript below. 

Garrick Hileman: Central banks, as our data shows, are actively testing blockchain technology for a variety of different use cases, everything from new central bank digital currencies, new payment systems, to records management – having some kind of audit trail for certain functions and so on.

There’s actually a long list of things central banks are looking at blockchains to do. There’s a number of advantages, potentially, to central banks by incorporating blockchains. Probably the most significant is the resilience of the blockchain technology. The fact that bitcoin has been operating for just about nine years now and has suffered not a nanosecond of downtime is quite compelling, I mean, not very many large IT systems today can claim the kind of uptime that bitcoin claims.

If you’re a central bank providing critical infrastructure – payment systems, thinking about maybe moving away from physical cash to a completely electronic money-based system, having a technology that is resilient and will have zero downtime is actually really important.

We can imagine the kind of chaos that would ensue if we moved to an electronic money system and that system went offline for any significant period of time - days, weeks or more. You would likely see pandemonium in the streets if people can’t make payments.

So, blockchain can be quite resilient, it can also be a way to create greater transparency into central banking, more credibility because of the rules a blockchain-based system enforces.

But there are a number of challenges too. There’s a concern around the lack of privacy, interestingly, of blockchain technology. Bitcoin’s famous for offering high levels of privacy, but actually blockchains leak data, leak information, it’s possible to figure out who’s doing what on a blockchain system because it’s a public record.

So the lack of privacy could be a concern and a hesitation for central banks thinking about blockchain technology.

Produced by Fraser Moore. Camera by Leon Siciliano.

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Visa Crackdown on Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Debit Cards Has No Big Impact

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

The post Visa Crackdown on Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Debit Cards Has No Big Impact appeared first on CCN

Visa, the $270 billion financial service provider and credit card network, has terminated its partnership with Wave Crest, a Gibraltar-based digital payment processing company, effectively disabling bitcoin and cryptocurrency debit cards. TenX, Xapo, Coins.ph, Bitwala, BitPay, CryptoPay, Users All Affected All of the bitcoin and cryptocurrency debit card service providers including TenX, Xapo, Coins.ph, Bitwala,

The post Visa Crackdown on Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Debit Cards Has No Big Impact appeared first on CCN

AMD is slipping after Microsoft halts updates to AMD machines (AMD, MSFT, INTC)

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

Visitors look at motherboards being displayed at the AMD booth during the 2012 Computex exhibition at the TWTC Nangang exhibition hall in Taipei June 6, 2012. REUTERS/Yi-ting Chung

  • Flaws in most modern CPUs have been the biggest tech story of the year so far.
  • In an attempt to fix the flaws, Microsoft has rendered some computers running AMD's processors unusable.
  • Microsoft blames AMD for the issues and has halted updates until they can be resolved.
  • Watch AMD's stock price move in real time here.


CPU flaws known as Spectre and Meltdown have rocked the computing world recently, and the latest updates are sending shares of AMD sharply downward, trading 3.42% lower to $11.86 late Tuesday morning.

Some computers running Windows on AMD chips have been rendered unbootable after installing updates from Microsoft. Microsoft has halted these updates and blames documentation provided to Microsoft engineers by AMD for the issue, The Verge reported on Tuesday.

Meltdown and Spectre are the names of two major flaws in modern CPU hardware. The flaws could potentially allow hackers to access sensitive information stored on CPUs that was previously thought to be stored securely.

The computing world has been working to mitigate potential hacks since the flaws were discovered several months ago by Google engineers. The hacks were disclosed to the public last week, and Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon have been scrambling to issue updates to their machines.

Intel's CEO took to the CES keynote stage in Las Vegas on Monday and said a fix will be coming later this week that will secure 90% of Intel CPUs. Intel slipped 0.60% on Tuesday after the speech and is down 4.48% over the last week.

AMD has largely evaded negative associations with the CPU flaws even though its tech is affected. AMD shares have risen 12.46% over the past week.

Read more about the Intel CEO's keynote speech here.

amd stock price

SEE ALSO: Intel's CEO publicly addresses its big chip vulnerabilities, says response has been 'remarkable'

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NOW WATCH: Why bitcoin checks all the boxes of a bubble

Struggling burger chain Byron could close 20 UK restaurants as it fights 'gathering economic headwinds'

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

byron byron 013

  • 20 Byron restaurants at risk of closure.
  • Britain's casual dining sector is suffering from a nationwide consumer spending squeeze.
  • KPMG: "Gathering economic headwinds starting to impact the sector more profoundly."


LONDON — Upmarket UK burger chain Byron could close 20 restaurants, as Britain's casual dining sector continues to suffer from a nationwide consumer spending squeeze.

Accountancy firm KPMG said on Tuesday afternoon that Byron, which has 67 restaurants and employs 1,800 people, will launch a "company voluntary arrangement" (CVA) on Wednesday. A CVA is a restructuring effort that would help the firm slash its bills but requires the approval of all its creditors, including landlords.

Byron was founded in 2007 and was one of the first restaurants to spearhead a revolution in the UK's burger market, transforming the image of the fast food from an unhealthy, down-market food to an indulgent treat.

The chain expanded quickly and was sold in 2013 for £100 million to London private equity group Hutton Collins Partners.

But Byron has struggled with "gathering economic headwinds" recently, according to KPMG partner Will Wright. Sales growth slowed from 24.4% in 2015 to 16.7% in 2016, the Telegraph reported, with profit also dipping.

Simon Cope, chief executive of Byron, said in a statement: "Byron’s core restaurant business and brand remain strong but the market that we operate in has changed profoundly. In order to continue serving our loyal customer base, we need to make some critical and difficult changes to the size and shape of our estate."

Cope, who lead a turnaround of Japanese casual chain Wagamama, was brought in to help revive Byron last May. He told Business Insider at the time: "I think there's a big ambition for Byron. It's a very, very competitive space."

The CVA is vital to Byron's financial viability because a cash injection agreed as part of a rescue deal last month is conditional on its approval.

A 'sector-wide slowdown'

Byron's trendy burger offering has suffered in recent years amid a consumer spending squeeze driven by rising inflation. Inflation peaked at 3% last year, driven by the slump in the value of the pound after 2016's Brexit vote.

Fulham Shore, the owner of trendy pizza chain Franca Manca, another prominent fixture in the UK's casual dining scene, saw shares crash 20% in September after the business issues a profit warning citing a "sector-wide slowdown."

Will Wright, restructuring partner at KPMG and proposed supervisor of the CVA, said in an emailed statement:

"Over the last ten years, Byron has grown to become a stand-out name within the UK’s casual dining sector.

"However, in recent times, certain parts of its portfolio have not met expectations, and with gathering economic headwinds starting to impact the sector more profoundly.

"As with similar CVAs, this arrangement seeks to strike a balance which provides a fair compromise to landlords, while allowing the viable part of the business to move forward across a smaller, more profitable core estate.

"It’s important to stress that no restaurants will close on day one, and employees, suppliers and business rates will continue to be paid on time and in full."

The creditors will vote on the CVA, which requires 75% approval, on 31 January.

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NOW WATCH: The 5 issues to consider before trading bitcoin futures

The tea company that planned to buy bitcoin mining machines is backpedaling on its plans

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

Long Island Iced Tea bottles



Long Blockchain, which until December was known as the Long Island Iced Tea Corporation, has walked back its announcement to raise capital through a new stock issuance in order to purchase 1,000 bitcoin mining rigs, the company said Tuesday in a press release.

The company, which has not responded to multiple requests for comment, had originally planned to raise $8.4 million by selling 1,603,294 shares at a price of $5.25 per share to finance the purchasing of 1,000 S9 Antminer machines, which sell online for $2,725 a piece. That would leave the company with an extra $5.69 million in cash that it did not explain its plans for.

Long Blockchain still plans to purchase the rigs, it said, but it is unclear with what money. According to the press release, “The Company can make no assurances that it will be able to finance the purchase of the mining equipment.” According to its most recent earnings report for the quarter ended September 30, 2017, the company had $439,673 in cash on hand, but reported a loss of $0.43 per share.

Long Island Iced Tea originally pivoted to its new name and focus back in December 2017, when the name change sent its stock soaring by 400% and saved it from being delisted by Nasdaq.

An investigation by Bloomberg news in January revealed that top shareholders of the Long Island, New York-based company have ties to model Heidi Klum, a Kennedy heiress, and the owner of a New Zealand rugby team known for lavish, supermodel-filled parties.

Shares were trading at $6.39 Tuesday morning — still up more than 200% since last month's pivot.

You can read about some other seemingly ridiculous pivots to blockchain in our full roundup here>>

Screen Shot 2018 01 09 at 10.09.55 AM

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NOW WATCH: Why bitcoin checks all the boxes of a bubble

The tea company that planned to buy bitcoin mining machines is backpedaling on its plans

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

Long Island Iced Tea bottles



Long Blockchain, which until December was known as the Long Island Iced Tea Corporation, has walked back its announcement to raise capital through a new stock issuance in order to purchase 1,000 bitcoin mining rigs, the company said Tuesday in a press release.

The company, which has not responded to multiple requests for comment, had originally planned to raise $8.4 million by selling 1,603,294 shares at a price of $5.25 per share to finance the purchasing of 1,000 S9 Antminer machines, which sell online for $2,725 a piece. That would leave the company with an extra $5.69 million in cash that it did not explain its plans for.

Long Blockchain still plans to purchase the rigs, it said, but it is unclear with what money. According to the press release, “The Company can make no assurances that it will be able to finance the purchase of the mining equipment.” According to its most recent earnings report for the quarter ended September 30, 2017, the company had $439,673 in cash on hand, but reported a loss of $0.43 per share.

Long Island Iced Tea originally pivoted to its new name and focus back in December 2017, when the name change sent its stock soaring by 400% and saved it from being delisted by Nasdaq.

An investigation by Bloomberg news in January revealed that top shareholders of the Long Island, New York-based company have ties to model Heidi Klum, a Kennedy heiress, and the owner of a New Zealand rugby team known for lavish, supermodel-filled parties.

Shares were trading at $6.39 Tuesday morning — still up more than 200% since last month's pivot.

You can read about some other seemingly ridiculous pivots to blockchain in our full roundup here>>

Screen Shot 2018 01 09 at 10.09.55 AM

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It's bonus season on Wall Street — here's when each of the big banks is announcing how much people will get paid

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

man happy sunglasses champagne

  • Wall Street bonus season, where bankers really make their money, is nearly upon us. 
  • People familiar with the big banks' bonus schedules have provided an outline of when each bank is expected to announce bonuses. 


While most of us experience a mix of excitement and apprehension in the weeks approaching Christmas, for bankers the feeling comes a month later. 

2017 is officially in the books, and Wall Street is headed toward its favorite time of the year: bonus season. 

Yes, bankers typically make healthy, six-figure base salaries, but the annual bonus is where the best on Wall Street really get rich. 

Not everyone is sharing the same level of enthusiasm and seasonal spirit, however. Some parts of Wall Street are looking at much fatter paydays than others. Traders had a rough year in 2017, while investment bankers are looking at a rebound in compensation after a strong performance this past year.  

The announcements are expected to start rolling in as soon as the end of this week.

Business Insider spoke with people familiar with bonus schedules at the big banks. Bonus dates have been known to change at the last moment, but based on the current thinking, here's when Wall Street's top banks are expected to announce bonuses:

  • Morgan Stanley is set to kick things off this Thursday, January 11. A person familiar with the matter also said the bank will be announcing managing director promotions as well. 
  • Citigroup is next up the following week. They're expected to announce just after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, so January 16. 
  • JPMorgan is expected to announce the middle of that week, around the 17th. 
  • Goldman Sachs is expected to announce at the end of next week, so around the 19th. 
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch is the last to go of the big US banks. They're expected to announce the following week, in the neighborhood of the 25th — though that could shift a bit since the date is more than two weeks away. 

The bonuses are typically paid out a week or two after they're announced. 

Representatives from each of the banks declined to comment. 

Europe's largest banks report earnings after the US banks and start announcing bonuses afterward as well, usually in early February. 

If you have any insights into bonus season (comp numbers, expected dates, tips, advice, tales of success, excess, or horror stories) feel free to send an email to amorrell@businessinsider.com.

Frank Chaparro contributed to this report. 

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Bitcoin's main technology opens up opportunities to profit from these 14 stocks, HSBC says

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

dan schuman paypal

It's quite easy to buy bitcoin. But it's not as straightforward to directly profit from the technology that drives the cryptocurrency. 

Analysts at HSBC have identified a handful of stocks mostly in the US, Japan, and China that let investors to do just that. 

Blockchain is basically a decentralized system that ensures everyone has the same information about payments at the same time. It's an obsession in corners of Wall Street and central banks from China to Canada have discussed how it could be used. 

"Cash usage is falling, accounting for c. 85% of global transactions today, and this is set to accelerate thanks to technology, benefitting customers (convenience), businesses (security) and governments (tax evasion)," wrote HSBC's equity strategists in a recent note. 

"Blockchain is essentially a cashless payment solution, and those companies involved in cashless hardware, software and platform could therefore be set to benefit from a blockchain world."

The way HSBC screened for the stocks is dead simple: the analysts selected companies in the MSCI's All Country World Index whose business descriptions had any of the following terms: "mobile payment," "electronic money," "internet finance," and "mobile commerce." 

HSBC's basket of stocks has gained 119.9% over the past five years, while the MSCI ACWI has risen 51%. 

Here's the list:

SEE ALSO: One group of traders has risen to dominate bitcoin trading

"Mobile payment"



PayPal

Ticker: PYPL

Country: USA

Industry: Software & Services

Market Cap: $88.4 billion

2018 EPS growth estimate: 20.9%



Worldpay Group

Ticker: WPG

Country: United Kingdom 

Industry: Software & Services

Market Cap: $11.5 billion

2018 EPS growth estimate: 15.4%



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

It looks like Wall Street's big fear over the iPhone may have been overblown (AAPL)

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

iPhone X

  • Apple reports its first-quarter earnings early next month.
  • One analyst thinks that Apple will post strong sales, and higher margins for its phone business, thanks to a higher average selling price of the iPhone X.
  • It seems as if investor worry about the high cost of the phone and reported manufacturing issues were overblown.
  • Watch Apple trade in real time here.


Apple reports first-quarter earnings on February 1, and all eyes will be on how the flagship iPhone X sold during the holidays.

After details of the phone were announced, investors worried that the $1,000 price tag would lessen the impact of a new form factor and face tracking technology would have on demand.  According to Amit Daryanani, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, Apple has overcome those challenges to sell a lot of new phones in the last quarter.

"While investors have been debating about implications/drivers behind short lead-times for iPhone X, we think this reflects supply chain bottlenecks being alleviated vs. tepid demand for iPhone X," Daryanani, said in a note to clients.

Daryanani is optimistic about Apple's quarterly results because he thinks the higher average selling price of the iPhone, enabled by the expensive iPhone X, will lead to better margins for the company. He's expecting earnings of $3.14 per share on revenue of $86.0 billion. Wall Street is expecting adjusted earnings of $3.77 per share on revenue of $86.17 billion, according to data from Bloomberg.

The primary sales season for the iPhone X could be longer than previous phones too. Daryanani is expecting sales of 81 million devices on the high end, while the rest of Wall Street is closer to 79 million.

Apple could also be helped by the recent tax reform measures in the US. The company is expected to see its effective tax rates lowered from around 25% to the high teens, which could be worth about $1.25 per share in recurring earnings.

Apple is up 46.75% over the last year.

Read more about how the new US tax laws could benefit Apple here.

apple stock price

SEE ALSO: I used the iPhone X, and I can already tell it'll be worth its $1,000 price

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NOW WATCH: PAUL KRUGMAN: Bitcoin is a more obvious bubble than housing was

It looks like Wall Street's big fear over the iPhone may have been overblown (AAPL)

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

iPhone X

  • Apple reports its first-quarter earnings early next month.
  • One analyst thinks that Apple will post strong sales, and higher margins for its phone business, thanks to a higher average selling price of the iPhone X.
  • It seems as if investor worry about the high cost of the phone and reported manufacturing issues were overblown.
  • Watch Apple trade in real time here.


Apple reports first-quarter earnings on February 1, and all eyes will be on how the flagship iPhone X sold during the holidays.

After details of the phone were announced, investors worried that the $1,000 price tag would lessen the impact of a new form factor and face tracking technology would have on demand.  According to Amit Daryanani, an analyst at RBC Capital  Markets, Apple has overcome those challenges to sell a lot of new phones in the last quarter.

"While investors have been debating about implications/drivers behind short lead-times for iPhone X, we think this reflects supply chain bottlenecks being alleviated vs. tepid demand for iPhone X," Daryanani, said in a note to clients.

Daryanani is optimistic about Apple's quarterly results because he thinks the higher average selling price of the iPhone, enabled by the expensive iPhone X, will lead to better margins for the company. He's expecting earnings of $3.14 per share on revenue of $86.0 billion. Wall Street is expecting adjusted earnings of $3.77 per share on revenue of $86.17 billion, according to data from Bloomberg.

The primary sales season for the iPhone X could be longer than previous phones too. Daryanani is expecting sales of 81 million devices on the high end, while the rest of Wall Street is closer to 79 million.

Apple could also be helped by the recent tax reform measures in the US. The company is expected to see its effective tax rates lowered from around 25% to the high teens, which could be worth about $1.25 per share in recurring earnings.

Apple is up 46.75% over the last year.

Read more about how the new US tax laws could benefit Apple here.

apple stock price

SEE ALSO: I used the iPhone X, and I can already tell it'll be worth its $1,000 price

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Bitcoin can be a bubble and still change the world

People are freaking out about Toyota's self-driving vehicle that's eerily similar to one that hit a pedestrian on 'Black Mirror'

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

black mirror crocodile

  • Toyota unveiled its self-driving e-Palette concept vehicle at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on Monday.
  • "Black Mirror" fans thought the vehicle resembled a self-driving pizza delivery vehicle that hits a pedestrian on an episode of the show.
  • Toyota and Pizza Hut announced a partnership before the e-Palette reveal and suggested that the vehicle could be used to deliver pizza.

 

When Toyota unveiled its self-driving e-Palette concept vehicle at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on Monday, the company touted the vehicle's potential to serve as a multi-purpose delivery vehicle, mobile office, or storefront. Before the reveal, Toyota announced a partnership with Pizza Hut and suggested that the vehicle could be used to deliver pizza.

toyota e-palette

But fans of the show "Black Mirror" — whose episodes imagine dystopian futures based on modern trends and technology —  were reminded of a similar-looking pizza delivery vehicle that hits a character in the episode "Crocodile."

"We know how this goes," the show's Twitter account said in response to the e-Palette reveal.

"Nah, we aren't Fence's. 👀" Pizza Hut's account replied, referring to the fictional pizza company whose autonomous vehicle strikes a pedestrian.

black mirror pizza hut

"Black Mirror" fans expressed their concern on Twitter.

pizza hut black mirror

pizza hut black mirror

SEE ALSO: 10 terrifying predictions from 'Black Mirror' that could become reality

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Jamie Dimon Says He Regrets Calling Bitcoin a Fraud

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

JPMorgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon now reportedly regrets calling bitcoin a "fraud," though he is still not a fan of the cryptocurrency.

Target pops after raising guidance thanks to strong holiday sales (TGT)

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

Target

  • Target shares rose by as much as 4.82% to $70.42 during pre-market trading Tuesday after the retailer beat market expectations for holiday sales.
  • The company reported same-store sales rose 3.4% in the November to December period, easily beating the 0% to +2% range that Wall Street was expecting.
  • Target raised its fourth-quarter adjusted earnings-per-share guidance to between $1.30 and $1.40. Previously, it expected a range of $1.05 to $1.25.
  • For the full-year of 2017, the retailer sees an adjusted earnings-per-share of $4.64 to $4.74 from a prior guidance of $4.40 to $4.60.
  • The good news comes on the heels of strong traffic growth and solid digital sales.
  • Target recently acquired Alabama-based startup Shipt for $550 million as a way to fend off Amazon's encroachment into the grocery-delivery business.
  • You can watch Target's stock price move here.

To read about a grocery store that is successfully countering the Amazon threat, click here.

Target stock price

SEE ALSO: One grocery store is successfully fighting back against Amazon

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Target pops after raising guidance thanks to strong holiday sales (TGT)

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

Target

  • Target shares rose by as much as 4.82% to $70.42 during pre-market trading Tuesday after the retailer beat market expectations for holiday sales.
  • The company reported same-store sales rose 3.4% in the November to December period, easily beating the 0% to +2% range that Wall Street was expecting.
  • Target raised its fourth-quarter adjusted earnings-per-share guidance to between $1.30 and $1.40. Previously, it expected a range of $1.05 to $1.25.
  • For the full-year of 2017, the retailer sees an adjusted earnings-per-share of $4.64 to $4.74 from a prior guidance of $4.40 to $4.60.
  • The good news comes on the heels of strong traffic growth and solid digital sales.
  • Target recently acquired Alabama-based startup Shipt for $550 million as a way to fend off Amazon's encroachment into the grocery-delivery business.
  • You can watch Target's stock price move here.

To read about a grocery store that is successfully countering the Amazon threat, click here.

Target stock price

SEE ALSO: One grocery store is successfully fighting back against Amazon

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Why bitcoin checks all the boxes of a bubble

One of Whole Food’s biggest competitors just inked a deal that could help it compete with Amazon — and the stock is surging (SFM)

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

instacart delivery guy

  • Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods sent shockwaves through the grocery industry, and now competitors are bulking up on competitiveness in order to stand out.
  • Sprouts Farmers Market, a $3 billion natural grocery chain, has teamed up with Instacart, which already powers delivery for other local-area chains like Whole Foods, Costco, Safeway, and CVS.


Sprouts Farmer’s Markets, one of the largest natural grocery chains in the US, announced Tuesday that it has inked a deal with courier startup Instacart to power its home grocery delivery, sending its stock soaring 5% ahead of the opening bell.

The service will begin in the Phoenix and Tuscon, Arizona areas, and later expand to other large Sprouts markets which have yet to be announced.

Instacart, which is based in San Francisco, was most recently valued at $3.4 billion in March 2017. The company already powers delivery for other large chains in Arizona, including CVS, Whole Foods, Costco, and CVS Pharmacy, according to its website. The service is also available in the large metros like New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and more. Sprouts is notably absent from the East Coast, with most of its 280 stores in the West.

"We are excited to respond to customer demand for fast, convenient home delivery of their favorite Sprouts products in all of our major markets across the country,” Sprouts chief executive officer Amin Maredia, said in a press release. “Home delivery is a natural way for Sprouts to engage with our customers on their healthy living journey, and our partnership with Instacart allows us to quickly scale for growth."

Many delivery services have closed shop in recent years after having trouble turning a profit. Amazon in November scaled back its Fresh grocery delivery service across large swaths of the US east coast. Other startups, like Sprig, Maple, and SpoonRocket have also gone out of business. Meal delivery service Blue Apron which went public last year, has struggled with an almost always declining stock price ever since its IPO.

"With natural and organic growing at a 7-8% CAGR (per SPINS), we believe there's room for more than one player in this rapidly growing category," UBS said in a note to clients Tuesday. "Further, SFM's new customers have historically been more likely to come from traditional grocers vs. from other natural & organic competitors."

Shares of Sprouts are up 5.85% over the last six months, but the stock price has seen wild swings with dramatic drops. Still, Wall Street remains fairly bullish, with an average target of $25.84 — 2% above where shares were trading ahead of Tuesday’s opening bell, according to data from Bloomberg.

Screen Shot 2018 01 09 at 9.03.36 AM

SEE ALSO: Traders can't stop betting against battered Blue Apron

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NOW WATCH: PAUL KRUGMAN: Bitcoin is a more obvious bubble than housing was

HSBC: Here's how to make a killing betting on the robot revolution

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

robot artificial intelligence AI

  • Artificial intelligence is developing rapidly, and creating plentiful investment opportunities in its wake.
  • HSBC breaks down the areas to watch in the AI space, focusing not just on software, but also hardware on equipment.


The robot revolution is coming. The question for stock investors is — are you prepared?

After all, artificial intelligence (AI) will eventually decide life-shaping things like whether we're insurable or have medical coverage, while also hugely impacting transportation and resource infrastructure, says HSBC.

That development is likely to carry with it major money-making opportunities. The trick is figuring out which corporations stand to benefit most.

"Companies that are early adopters of AI into their business may benefit from the first-mover advantage, increased productivity, reduced costs and potentially greater market shares," a group of HSBC global equity strategists led by Ben Laidler wrote in a client note.

The firm notes that automation and AI are one of the most under-owned thematic plays. In other words, there's upside waiting for investors savvy enough to grab it.

The chart below shows just how many billions of dollars are set to be unlocked in the coming years — and highlights the specific areas that will generate that growth.

Screen Shot 2018 01 09 at 8.43.33 AM

In order to help in the stock selection process, HSBC has identified three primary categories — areas that focus on the hardware components and technology needed to support AI. This is where the firm thinks there's ample opportunities — not necessarily just in software, but also in machinery and tools.

Here are the group (all rationale from HSBC):

  • Sensors — The development of natural language processing and a range of new enhanced sensors.
  • Semiconductors — The high performance logic chips that are needed to analyze the data.
  • Infrastructure and communication — Datacenters will expand to process the data and next generation 5G will be used to receive and transmit data.

Unsurprisingly, HSBC's stock screen is dominated by US and Korean companies. Out of the companies selected by the firm, the following have market values of more than $100 billion:

In the end, if you're as bullish on AI as HSBC, you'd be well-served to check out the sectors and companies outlined above. Because according to them, the machines are growing stronger, and with that sort of growth comes incredible opportunity.

SEE ALSO: GOLDMAN SACHS: 2 areas of tax reform could throw investors for a loop this earnings season

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Fed officials are scrambling to figure out how to fight the next recession

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

janet yellen

  • Federal Reserve officials are actively considering a shift away from their current inflation targeting framework toward more aggressive measures to combat ultra-low inflation. 
  • However, the barrage of ideas being offered up adds to confusion about the outlook for monetary policy, and neglects the importance of the Fed's employment mandate. 
  • New ideas range from price-level targeting, to a temporary price level target, to an inflation target range rather than the current 2% goal.
  • Brookings Institution conference in Washington brought together Fed big wigs to discuss the issue. 

 

WASHINGTON - Federal Reserve officials puzzled by chronically-low US inflation seem to agree on at least one thing: They worry, almost universally, that they will lack the tools to fight the next recession, whenever it comes.

Yet instead of focusing on tried and true policy measures like low interest rates and possibly bond buys, Fed officials current and former appear focused instead on broad shifts in the policy framework, including moving away from the current inflation targeting regime toward a potentially more aggressive approach. 

More importantly, the string of discordant ideas being offered up at a Brookings Institution conference by such high profile figures as former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, former White House economic advisor Lawrence Summers,and two current Fed members, does more to confuse the already muddled outlook for monetary policy than clarify it. 

Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren suggested the Fed follow the model of the Bank of Canada, which periodically reviews its approach to maintaining price stability. He also called for the Fed to move toward an inflation target range, which he hinted might be from 1.5% to 3%, rather than the current 2% goal. 

John Williams, president of the San Francisco Fed, called for a system where the Fed would target the price level, meaning that it would compensate periods of undershooting the 2% inflation goal with periods of overshooting. 

US inflation has remained stubbornly below the Fed's 2% target for much of the economic recovery, suggesting the labor market is not as healthy as the 17-year low unemployment rate of 4.1% suggests. Shifting to a price-level target is "not nearly as scary as you might think" Williams told the audience of monetary economists, academics, and market participants. 

He worried about the "issue of credibility" that has resulted from persistently below-target inflation, which makes it look " like the central bank is not committed to its goals." Prolonged low inflation, which also reflects soft wage growth, can make monetary policy less effective because "it gets into inflation expectations and makes it harder to achieve 2% objective in good times." 

inflation

The Fed's five interest rate increases starting in December 2015, following a period of seven years of zero rates and $4.5 trillion in bond buys, reflect in part a desire to rebuild a cushion for any potential economic downturn. 

Lack of tools or will?

Fed Chair Yellen indicated the Federal Open Market Committee could consider a shift under incoming chairman Jerome Powell.

"Right now the FOMC is not discussing or considering its inflation target," she said during her December press conference. "I wouldn’t say that we’re out of ammunition, but certainly it’s been recognized—and I’ve emphasized myself that, in the longer run, we may be—and we’ll have to see how this works out, but we may be in low interest rate environments where it could prove useful to have additional scope to conduct monetary policy.

"In that context, I think additional research—the academic economists and others are thinking hard about what more could be done, and I think these are matters that are certainly worthy of further study."

Summers argued the Fed will lack tools to fight the next recession, suggesting its bond purchases, known as quantitative easing or QE, did not work.

"I am completely unconvinced QE can be our salvation" in the next recession, he said, despite extensive evidence that the Fed's bond buys were in fact highly effective in preventing a deeper economic downturn and sustaining the longest, if one of the weakest, economic recovery in modern history. 

Starkly absent from the debate was the other side of the Fed's inflation mandate — full employment. Despite the 4.1% unemployment rate, a 17-year low, there is ample evidence the job market is operating well below full health for most Americans. Among that evidence is the low inflation rate itself, which reflects in part a lack of wage growth

Maybe the next big Fed conference could focus on those issues instead. 

SEE ALSO: A top Fed official says a policy shift once seen as radical is 'not nearly as scary as you might think'

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Jamie Dimon ‘Regrets’ Bitcoin ‘Fraud’ Remark, Remains Uninterested

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

The post Jamie Dimon ‘Regrets’ Bitcoin ‘Fraud’ Remark, Remains Uninterested appeared first on CCN

JPMorgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon has admitted “regrets” to his now infamous remark from last year when the Wall Street banker called bitcoin a “fraud”. It was in September 2017 and a banking conference when Dimon called bitcoin a “fraud” that was “worse than tulip bulbs”. A longstanding critic, Dimon also threatened to fire

The post Jamie Dimon ‘Regrets’ Bitcoin ‘Fraud’ Remark, Remains Uninterested appeared first on CCN

A great start for the S&P 500: Here's a super-quick guide to what traders are talking about right now

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

traders cboe

Dave Lutz, head of ETFs at JonesTrading, has an overview of today's markets.

Here's Lutz:

Good Morning!  Your “Stat of the Day” - With Yesterday’s gains, The SPX is up 2.7% in the first 5 days of 2018.  The Last 15 times that happened, the Spoos closed the year higher 100% of the time with avg gains of almost 20% notes the bloggers.  Futures are mixed to start today tho, with Nasdaq and Dow in the Green, but those smallcaps continue to lag.   It’s all Green in Europe, with the DAX up small – Cyclicals remain in rally mode - Tech names opened well bid, but seeing profit-taking as session winds on - Miners having a good day, while Siemens is leading Industrials higher - Telecom jumping behind Altice, While Banks rallying behind BNP.   FTSE is up40bp, enjoying the weaker Pound, as the heavily-shorted Supermarkets strong are behind Morrison’s.   In Asia,  Nikkei up 50bp to 26Y highs - Hang Seng added 40bp as Chinese Banks rallied - Shanghai added small - KOSPI off small despite the kumbaya with the North as Samsung stumbled - Fresh multiyear highs seen in Australia, Singapore and Malaysia, while India’s Sensex kissed a record high

The US 10YY is getting rejected from a early 2.5% test, while eyes were on JGB’s weakening, while the Yen is catching a bid as BoJ trims Bond Buying.  Strong German Industrial numbers can’t help Euro, which is breaking towards $1.19 in a hurry, while Sterling is under pressure on UK Minister Reshuffle.  With the Dollar moving towards 2018 peaks, Gold is retreating from 3M highs.   Ore adds 1% to 4month highs while Zinc hits 10Y highs in London – Helping Copper climb 50bp, but Platinum is breaking 1% lower.   A bid across the Energy complex, with WTI up 50bp and trying to get upside $62 – but Natty is finally showing some life, bouncing 2.5% early.

Here are the 10 things you need to know today.

SEE ALSO: 10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: Bitcoin mania, a Nobel Prize-winning economist talks Trump, and a deep dive on unstoppable tech stocks

A great start for the S&P 500: Here's a super-quick guide to what traders are talking about right now

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

traders cboe

Dave Lutz, head of ETFs at JonesTrading, has an overview of today's markets.

Here's Lutz:

Good Morning!  Your “Stat of the Day” - With Yesterday’s gains, The SPX is up 2.7% in the first 5 days of 2018.  The Last 15 times that happened, the Spoos closed the year higher 100% of the time with avg gains of almost 20% notes the bloggers.  Futures are mixed to start today tho, with Nasdaq and Dow in the Green, but those smallcaps continue to lag.   It’s all Green in Europe, with the DAX up small – Cyclicals remain in rally mode - Tech names opened well bid, but seeing profit-taking as session winds on - Miners having a good day, while Siemens is leading Industrials higher - Telecom jumping behind Altice, While Banks rallying behind BNP.   FTSE is up40bp, enjoying the weaker Pound, as the heavily-shorted Supermarkets strong are behind Morrison’s.   In Asia,  Nikkei up 50bp to 26Y highs - Hang Seng added 40bp as Chinese Banks rallied - Shanghai added small - KOSPI off small despite the kumbaya with the North as Samsung stumbled - Fresh multiyear highs seen in Australia, Singapore and Malaysia, while India’s Sensex kissed a record high

The US 10YY is getting rejected from a early 2.5% test, while eyes were on JGB’s weakening, while the Yen is catching a bid as BoJ trims Bond Buying.  Strong German Industrial numbers can’t help Euro, which is breaking towards $1.19 in a hurry, while Sterling is under pressure on UK Minister Reshuffle.  With the Dollar moving towards 2018 peaks, Gold is retreating from 3M highs.   Ore adds 1% to 4month highs while Zinc hits 10Y highs in London – Helping Copper climb 50bp, but Platinum is breaking 1% lower.   A bid across the Energy complex, with WTI up 50bp and trying to get upside $62 – but Natty is finally showing some life, bouncing 2.5% early.

Here are the 10 things you need to know today.

SEE ALSO: 10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: PAUL KRUGMAN: Bitcoin is a more obvious bubble than housing was

Google and Facebook's share of the online ad market could eventually be worth trillions of dollars (GOOG, AMZN, FB)

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

Sundar Pichai



Grab your calculators, because the online advertising market could be worth nearly twice what was previously predicted, according to Stephen Ju, an analyst at Credit Suisse.

"We believe looking at the large cap Internet operators within traditional $65ob advertising or ad+promo $1.3t market is inappropriate – the blue sky scenario for the global ad revenue opportunity is retail gross profit dollars, which we calculate as $3 trillion," Ju said in a note to clients on Monday.

The death of traditional retail has been widely reported, and Ju thinks that as the number of brick and mortar retailers continues to wane, more consumers will begin shopping online. As consumer behavior changes, so too will the habits of advertising buyers.

Ju estimates $3 trillion of total profit among the world's retailers. That profit can be used for a number of things, but represents the total amount of money that online giants like Google, Facebook, and Amazon could plausibly go after. Ju suggests that as retail continues to shift away from brick-and-mortar to online, an ever-greater share of that retail profit pool could move to buying online ads from the internet behemoths.

Other analysts have estimated the total market for internet advertisers to be closer to $1.3 trillion, which means that Facebook and Google could be fighting for a market worth twice what anyone previously thought, according to Credit Suisse's analysis.

Right now, some part of this potential advertising budget is being spent on traditional media like billboards and TV advertisements as retailers continue to try and attract consumers to physical stores. As consumers' habits change, more ad spending will shift over to the online giants, according to Ju.

To arrive at $3 trillion, Ju took the gross margin of the top 800 retailers, a number he found to be about 25%. He then multiplied that margin by global revenue for all retailers and arrived at his $3 trillion number. That represents the total profit available for global retailers to spend on online ads. Not all of that $3 trillion will land in the pockets of Google and Facebook, but it represents a "blue sky" estimate for the potential size of the market they are facing.

"Given the large addressable opportunity still ahead for all of the large-cap Internet companies, we have always been hard pressed to choose a favorite between them – that said we have adjusted the relative order to be Google, Amazon, and Facebook," Ju said.

Ju rates Amazon, Facebook, and Google all as an outperform.

Read about how a "submarine trend" in technology is affecting nearly every company you know. 

SEE ALSO: There's a 'submarine trend' in the tech world, and it's affecting nearly every company you know

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NOW WATCH: PAUL KRUGMAN: Bitcoin is a more obvious bubble than housing was

Singapore Dollar and Bitcoin the Same Under AML/CFT Laws: Deputy PM

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

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Singaporean laws do not make any distinction between transactions involving fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies like bitcoin under money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws, the country’s deputy prime minister said yesterday. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Singapore’s deputy prime minister and minister in charge of the central bank, was speaking at a parliamentary session on Monday when he was

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MPs say Brexit could lead to huge upfront VAT bills on EU goods and increase border delays

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

Nicky morgan

  • MPs debated a bill in parliament yesterday which could force firms to pay VAT upfront on goods imported from the EU.
  • The British Retail Consortium says the changes could lead to border delays and cashflow burdens for UK firms.

LONDON — An influential group of MPs has written to the UK Revenues & Customs office warning that new Brexit legislation being considered in parliament could force firms to pay big upfront VAT bills and increase delays at UK borders and ports.

The government says the Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill, which was debated in parliament on Monday, will end the existing tax regime "so that import VAT is charged on all imports from outside the UK" after it leaves the EU.

Currently, UK firms that import goods ready for sale from the EU can register with HMRC to bring them into the UK free of VAT. The government's impact assessment for the Bill was released last month, and indicates that 132,000 businesses interact with the customs system through such rules:

unnamed

Leaving the EU tax area is considered important by pro-Brexit MPs who say tax and financial sovereignty is a central reason leaving the 28-member state bloc.

But critics including pro-Remain MPs like Nicky Morgan say the changes mean UK firms will be forced to pay VAT up front on goods imported from the EU, which the British Retail Consortium says could significantly increase cashflow problems for firms.

Morgan, who is chair of the influential Treasury Select Committee, wrote on Tuesday to Jon Thompson, chief executive of Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC), to "seek clarification" on the legislation, which could force firms to pay VAT upfront on goods imported from the EU.

"Under the ... Bill, firms would have to pay VAT upfront on goods imported from the EU before they can be released into free circulation in the UK," Morgan said.

"The Government has already acknowledged that this would create an additional burden for businesses, and Autumn Budget 2017 committed to 'look at options to mitigate any cash-flow impacts.'"

"I have written to HMRC to seek clarification on the costs to businesses and consumers arising from this legislation, the options being considered to mitigate these costs, and the likelihood of the UK participating in the EU VAT area as part of its end-state relationship with the EU."

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NOW WATCH: The 5 issues to consider before trading bitcoin futures

Below $15K: Bitcoin Plays Defense Amid Bear Move

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

Bitcoin is on the back foot today, despite yesterday's sharp recovery from $14,000 levels.

How a City trader raised £8 million to open the world's first private members' wine club with 26,000 bottles in a Fort Knox-style cellar

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

67 pall mall grant

  • Grant Ashton is CEO and founder of 67 Pall Mall, which claims to be the world's first private members' club for wine lovers.
  • Previously a city trader for 30 years, Ashton opened the club after he managed to collect too much wine.
  • He raised £8 million from 87 investors to finance the project, which is aimed at making some of the world's rarest wines more affordable.
  • Now, the club has the most wines by the glass in the world and 2,750 members.


Grant Ashton had spent 30 years running trading floors in the City of London and Canary Wharf when he took a year off. It was hardly a holiday.

As well as starting a green gas business and taking Chartered Financial Analyst exams, he set out to solve a far less taxing issue: How to sell off the vast wine collection he had amassed.

"I started collecting, and like most collectors, you over-collect," Ashton told Business Insider.

This happy conundrum soon became a business plan when he fell in love with Sir Edwin Lutyens' Grade II-listed building, which had been empty for 15 years in central London. Fittingly, for a man who has worked at the likes of UBS and Barclays Capital, it was also once the west end branch of Hambros Bank.

Ashton has transformed it into setting for 67 Pall Mall, the world's first private members' club for wine lovers.

OUTSIDE OF PROPERTY

The 17,000 sq ft building now boasts 26,000 bottles of wine, and 12,000 hand-blown crystal glasses. It is home to 2,750 members, 18 sommeliers, the biggest wine list in the UK (4,000 wines), and 800 wines by the glass — the most in the world.

It was built with £8 million of finance — the "front to back cost of the club to date" — that Ashton personally raised from a now 87-strong list of investors.

As well as pulling this patchwork of investors together, he did the accounting, the legal work, and even cleaned the toilets. The club was a truly personal project.

"I started this club because I had too much wine, I wanted to share my wine with a bunch of my friends who had too much wine as well," Ashton said.

He and his investors realised that the world of wine had become far too expensive, meaning people who enjoy a glass of the good stuff often "downgrade" their choices. We've all had that moment when you settle for the cheapest bottle on the menu.

Ashton thinks his membership gets around this and opens up more expensive wines to people. "The key offering we have is our wine is very, very subsidised," he said.

"We can afford to show very, very good pricing relative to what things cost because it’s a membership club. People upgrade their choices. That’s what interests me in this — that’s kind of what got me involved."

And the demand since the club's launch in December 2015 suggests he hit upon something: 67 Pall Mall had 1,200 members before even opening its doors. It opened a second floor in October last year and started accepting new full members once again, with 2,750 now on its books.

The cost of membership is £1,500 a year, plus a £1,500 joining fee. Candidates require a proposer and seconder from within the club’s existing membership.

Overseen by Master Sommelier Ronan Sayburn, one of the cheapest bottles at 67 Pall Mall will set you back £40, while the most expensive can come in at an incredible £16,882. By the glass, the price range goes from £7 up to a whopping £667.

But of course it's not all about the wine.

On the first floor, the club boasts a Members' Lounge with an impressive-looking bar...

downstairs bar

...and a wine library.

WINE ROOM DOWNSTAIRS

A relaxed mezzanine leads to the second floor...

mezzanine books

...where you'll find the Club Room...

UPSTAIRS CHILL AREA

...which contains another bar and a coal fire, one of Ashton's favourite features.

UPSTAIRS BAR

There's also the 'Naughty Corner,' where members can find spirits should they tire of the vino.

GIN BAR   UPSTAIRS

Perhaps the coolest feature of the club is the Members’ Reserve facility, which allows members to store wine from their own collection in the club’s cellars, or the Chatwood "Invincible" Strongroom.

The room, a secure facility built for Hambros Bank in 1934 where the club also stores its finest and rarest wines, is a space that's like "something out of Goldfinger or Fort Knox," according to Ashton. It currently houses 26,000 bottles of wine and counting.

"Part of the proposition of the club is, if you have bottles of wine stored downstairs, you can sit here and say 'I’d like my bottle of Dom Perignon '02 please,' and they’ll go downstairs and grab your bottle from your box," Ashton said.

Members can even order the wine from an iPad, where they can view what they have in the downstairs collection, click on it, and order it to their table.

"You pay £20 corkage and you drink your own wine," he said. "Ours is very well priced, but... a lot of people store their own wine here because they have an emotional attachment."

And the vino stays fresh thanks to the Coravin wine access system, which allows bottles to be accessed and resealed without ever taking the cork out.

coravin machine.JPG

It pushes a needle through the cork, injects argon gas, then takes the out needle of the cork, allowing it to reseal.

"That allows us to have a huge list of wine, some of which have been open for 18 months," Ashton said. "It allows us to have 800 wines by the glass, and they don’t spoil, because you never take the cork out."

Demystifying the "dusty wine list"

And if members are daunted by the wine list, the sommeliers are on hand to help.

"They’ll find something amazing. They’ll bring me something I wouldn’t normally order," Ashton said. "Part of what we do is demystifying the huge dusty old list of wine. People get really intimidated by page after page."

And there's food to discover, too.

Head Chef Marcus Verberne — formerly of the likes of Caprice, The Ivy, and HIX — serves up a breakfast menu (a highlight is the 'Summer bubble 'n' squeak with fried duck’s egg & girolles'); a grazing menu, featuring oysters and charcuterie; and a more formal European a la carte menu in the first floor dining room, shown below.

dining area downstairs

"I suspect we’ll do some more dining," Ashton said, explaining that the club owns another floor in the building currently being used as office space. "Over time we'll find somewhere else for our offices to be and move up there and do something more as well," he said. "But give me a couple of years, I’m a bit tired."

So who are 67 Pall Mall's members?

"Anyone who loves wine is who’s here," Ashton said. "Anyone from a chateau owner, a lot of winemakers, wine trade, wine journalists...a lot of wine professionals are members.

"The rest are wine lovers, not people who have got huge collections or who have the most amazing knowledge — we’ve got those as well — but people who are interested in wine, interested in a nice social mix."

He added that 67 Pall Mall is a "non-fussy, nice, simple, ordinary, social club" where there's no formal dress code and members often wear jeans.

"This is not a sort of 'look at me' club, we’re not really that, we’re all about being a nice, gentle social club that’s fun. There’s always a glass of wine nearby. The ethos of it is very relaxed.

He added: "The nature of this is it’s not grown out of some hospitality group somewhere. It’s kind of authentic, it comes from the heart — a bunch of wine lovers. If you put a load of wine on a nice list, price it well, fill it full of nice people, not idiotic people who are just interested in the price, you’ll have a nice place."

members in club room.JPG

Working with wine

67 Pall Mall is also attracting an influx of young entrepreneurs in the city who can "sit down at 7 in the morning and get up again at 12.30 [at night] having sat here all day working, talking, drinking," Ashton said.

"If I as a 25-year-old a very long time ago thought, 'I’m going to open a wine club and raise millions of pounds,' they would have looked at me and said 'Don’t be silly, come back when you’re 40," he added.

"Now, we have an awful lot of entrepreneurs who are members here. They like wine, but they also quite like the nice, social club that’s a bit 'grown up' but not stuffy.

"Sitting around a boardroom table or conference room isn’t what people do as much anymore… they want to sit here, be social, in a relaxed setting that isn’t Starbucks or Costa coffee."

He said the club allows guests to use cell phones "if they do it discretely," and they can work on their laptops during the day. "But at 6 o'clock, but the laptop away — nobody needs to work after 6," he said. "That’s the nature of this club."

The club is currently made up of 70% men, something that Ashton is keen to change, partly through the decor done by renowned design studio Russell Sage.

"Getting the right kind of gender balance in this place is really important," he said. "We have a big push to get to 40% ladies, ideally 50/50."

While Ashton calls the downstairs floor "amazing, beautiful" with 80-year-old panelling, the goal of the second floor was to be "slightly younger, slightly cosier, slightly more feminine."

grant   ali image main.JPG

All in all, it's easy to understand why Ashton is there "too much," as he says.

"I love it, don’t get me wrong," he said. "I’d never go back to trading bonds for a living. I spent 25 years sitting behind a computer screen in the city. This is much more fun."

The wine way of life

Despite his love of the club, Ashton said "there would have been a lot easier things to do" than open 67 Pall Mall.

"It’s cost a lot of time, a lot of cups of tea with people explaining what we were going to do, getting everybody comfortable with what we do — getting the planning, getting the licensing, getting the investors together," Ashton said.

"I have swept floors in this place, I have literally cleaned the loos. I also raised the £8 million it took to do. I originally did all of the accounting, all of the fundraising, all of the legals, every single thing."

Still, he said it beats working for a living.

"That’s what I’ve learned from 25-30 years sitting behind a Bloomberg screen. Getting out in the world, meeting new people rather than just being on the phone all the time to people, it’s very good fun. The City had some amazing years, but it’s a lot tougher to work there than it used to be, and this is a lot more fun."

We can raise glass to that.

SEE ALSO: 21 of London's most exclusive private members' clubs, ranked by price

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: A crypto expert explains the difference between the two largest cryptocurrencies in the world: bitcoin and Ethereum

Ready to Rally? Ethereum Gains While Bitcoin, Ripple Fall in Value

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

The post Ready to Rally? Ethereum Gains While Bitcoin, Ripple Fall in Value appeared first on CCN

Apart from Ether, the native cryptocurrency of Ethereum, all major cryptocurrencies or the 10 most valuable digital assets in the global market have fallen in value. Tokens Adding Value to Ethereum, Justifiable Market Cap Over the past few months, since late 2017, many decentralized applications utilized at a large commercial scale have emerged. Apps like

The post Ready to Rally? Ethereum Gains While Bitcoin, Ripple Fall in Value appeared first on CCN

Ready to Rally? Ethereum Gains While Bitcoin, Ripple Fall in Value

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

The post Ready to Rally? Ethereum Gains While Bitcoin, Ripple Fall in Value appeared first on CCN

Apart from Ether, the native cryptocurrency of Ethereum, all major cryptocurrencies or the 10 most valuable digital assets in the global market have fallen in value. Tokens Adding Value to Ethereum, Justifiable Market Cap Over the past few months, since late 2017, many decentralized applications utilized at a large commercial scale have emerged. Apps like

The post Ready to Rally? Ethereum Gains While Bitcoin, Ripple Fall in Value appeared first on CCN

Here are the US states where more people are dying than being born

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

babies hospital nursery bassinets GettyImages 450681429

  • The Census Bureau released its estimates for how each state's population changed between 2016 and 2017.
  • One of the components is "natural population change," or net births minus deaths.
  • Most states had a positive natural change, but two states had more deaths than births.


The US Census Bureau recently released its estimates of state populations for 2017. In addition to including the overall changes in population between 2016 and 2017, the bureau also broke down the components of that change.

One of those components is "natural population change," or net births minus deaths. For most states, natural change was positive, with more births than deaths. Utah had the biggest natural increase relative to its 2016 population, with a net change of 11.5 per 1,000 residents.

However, two states had more deaths than births: Maine saw a natural population decrease of 0.9 per 1,000 residents, and West Virginia a decrease of 1.7 per 1,000.

Here's each state's natural population change between July 1, 2016 and July 1, 2017:

natural change state map

SEE ALSO: If you can solve one of these 6 major math problems, you'll win a $1 million prize

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NOW WATCH: Bitcoin can be a bubble and still change the world

Tax reform will make for a 'noisy' earnings season — but stocks should keep surging

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

animated trader

  • The effects of tax reform could stir up some turmoil in what's expected to be an otherwise very strong earnings season, according to Goldman Sachs.
  • The two areas to watch are required corporate write-downs of deferred tax items and the hundreds of millions of dollars S&P 500 companies will owe in taxes on overseas cash and earnings.


Fourth-quarter 2017 earnings season is set to kick off at the end of the week and Goldman Sachs is expecting a rocky ride, all thanks to GOP tax reform.

That's not necessarily a bad thing — after all, Goldman estimates that corporate profits will expand by 10% for the period. And since earnings growth has historically been the biggest driver of stock price gains during the 8 1/2-year bull market, that forecast is essentially a call for more record highs.

Goldman's outlook just means that the market may take some unexpected twists and turns along the way. And if you're able to see this potential turbulence coming, you could position yourself to best capitalize on any opportunities that arise.

The firm sees uncertainty stemming from two key areas:

  • 1) Required corporate write-downs of deferred tax items — Companies will now be forced to remeasure the value of their deferred tax assets and liabilities at the new 21% tax rate, says Goldman. The largest relative beneficiaries include utilities, telecom services, and energy, according to data compiled by the firm.
  • 2) S&P 500 companies will owe more than $275 billion in taxes on previous overseas cash and earnings — Goldman points out that the tax bill's deemed repatriation imposes a tax of 15.5% on untaxed overseas cash and 8% on untaxed overseas earnings. According to the firm's findings, tech stocks have the largest surplus of overseas cash and will own $123 billion, which accounts for 140% of expected quarterly net income. Healthcare stocks will face the second-largest bill, at 130% of net income, according to Goldman data.

Still plenty of share upside

As earnings season beckons, one thing working in the favor of stock investors is favorable analyst sentiment. Goldman points out that analysts have been lagging the market when it comes to pricing in the positive effect of tax reform — implying that expectations could still be recalibrated to the upside.

It's already started to happen, with consensus 2018 earnings-per-share estimates (EPS) rising 2% since the bill was successfully passed. And Goldman thinks that there may be more optimism to come, as evidenced by the 5% total boost it sees EPS getting before all is said and done.

Screen Shot 2018 01 08 at 10.09.47 AM

The EPS increase up to this point is simply a "nascent effort," Goldman chief US equity strategist David Kostin wrote in a recent client note.

So with all of that established, which sectors should you be looking at before earnings reports start rolling in? Lucky for you, Goldman has put together a handy guide showing profit growth forecasts by sector.

Energy is expected to be the top performer, which should come as no surprise, given its downtrodden state in past earnings periods, and the boost it's expected to get from deferred tax items. And never one to be deterred, technology is forecast to be third-best, despite potentially hefty taxes from repatriated earnings. Here's the full rundown:

Screen Shot 2018 01 08 at 10.03.12 AM

SEE ALSO: MORGAN STANLEY: We've entered the final stage of the stock market's remarkable rally

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NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: Bitcoin mania, a Nobel Prize-winning economist talks Trump, and a deep dive on unstoppable tech stocks

TD Ameritrade: Bitcoin 'Great Opportunity' to Get Millennials Trading

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

Investment services firm TD Ameritrade sees cryptocurrencies as the "greatest opportunity" to get millennials to trade, says its chief strategist.

British men spend nearly 15% more time relaxing than women

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

retirement beach old people

  • Men have five more hours of "leisure time" per week than women each on average.
  • New statistics from the ONS shed light on the gap between men and women when it comes to free time.
  • The ONS also found that people between 25 and 34 take the least free time of all.


LONDON — British men average five more hours of "leisure time" per week than women, new data released by the Office for National Statistics this week shows.

The data, which looks at the year 2015, shows that adult men have around 43 hours leisure time per week on average, while women only have about 38 hours to themselves each week.

The disparity between men and women has increased since the year 2000, the ONS said. Back then, men had an average of 42 hours of free time, compared to an unchanged figure of 38 hours for women.

Here's the chart:Screen Shot 2018 01 09 at 10.15.07"Leisure time for women could be less than for men because although women are more frequently engaged in part-time work than men, they spend more time completing unpaid work such as household chores and childcare," the ONS said.

"The hours spent on unpaid work are likely to replace those hours that could have been spent on leisure activities."

Breaking down the statistics further the ONS found that people who live on their own without children take as much as 14-15 hours more leisure time than those with kids.

People aged from 25-34 took the least leisure time of all, clocking just 35 hours for men, and 32 for women, as the chart below illustrates: Screen Shot 2018 01 09 at 10.19.11 The ONS classes leisure time as any time spent on "socialising, cultural activities, resting and taking time out, sports or outdoor pursuits, hobbies, computing and games, mass media, eating out and travel associated with these leisure activities."

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NOW WATCH: We talked to Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman about tax reform, Trump, and bitcoin

Israel Central Bank Refuses to Recognize Bitcoin as a Currency

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

The post Israel Central Bank Refuses to Recognize Bitcoin as a Currency appeared first on CCN

Israel’s central bank has said it will not recognize cryptocurrencies like bitcoin as a currency nor a foreign currency as it does “not fit the legal definition” nor “fill the main functions of currency.” In a speech on Monday, Bank of Israel deputy governor Nadine Baudot-Trajtenberg revealed the central bank’s official position on the recognition

The post Israel Central Bank Refuses to Recognize Bitcoin as a Currency appeared first on CCN

Bank of Israel: Digital Currencies Are an Asset Not a Currency

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

The deputy governor of Israel's central bank has said that digital currencies like bitcoin are more of a financial asset than a currency.

Bitcoin Mining Wastes Energy? What If That's a Good Thing?

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

Long-term, the incentives bitcoin creates may drive efficiency and green energy solutions in the crypto world and even spur them in the wider economy.

Indian Lawyer Demands ‘Urgent’ Regulation of Bitcoin with Court Petition

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

The post Indian Lawyer Demands ‘Urgent’ Regulation of Bitcoin with Court Petition appeared first on CCN

A second Indian lawyer has filed a petition to urge authorities develop a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies like bitcoin in the country. Calcutta-based lawyer Bivas Chatterjee, who notably serves as the nodal office in the state of West Bengal, has filed for a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Calcutta High Court to force authorities

The post Indian Lawyer Demands ‘Urgent’ Regulation of Bitcoin with Court Petition appeared first on CCN

Ethereum price jumps again as it approaches a new all-time high

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

  • Digital currency ethereum gains more than 7% to trade above $1,200 for a second consecutive day.
  • It passed $1,000 over the weekend.
  • Ethereum's market capitalisation is now around $119 billion.

LONDON — The price of cryptocurrency ethereum is closing in on a fresh all-time high during European morning trade on Tuesday as its recent rally shows no signs of stopping. 

Ethereum, the second biggest cryptocurrency after bitcoin, crossed $1,000 per coin for the first time on Friday, and continued to gain over the weekend, surpassing $1,200 on Monday morning, before hitting a fresh record high of $1,261.41 at around 5.00 a.m. GMT.

The cryptocurrency then dipped a little as Monday's trade continued, but has climbed once again on Tuesday, hitting a daily high of $1,217, a gain of roughly 7.5%, at around 8.20 a.m. GMT (3.20 a.m. ET), as the chart below shows:

Screen Shot 2018 01 09 at 08.23.09

Ethereum's recent rally first started after a fourth-quarter report on the performance of the currency — which is a decentralized network for people to run contracts on — showed that transaction volumes on its network doubled, according to a blog post, "surpassing 10 transactions per second for days at a time."

Ethereum's recent rally means the cryptocurrency now has a market capitalisation of more than $119 billion, according to data provider CoinMarketCap.com. That equates to around 15% of the entire cryptocurrency market.

Ethereum's fortunes have diverged slightly from bitcoin's in early trading this week, with bitcoin dropping more than 8% on Monday. It has since staged a small comeback, but is up just over 1% for the day, as of 8.20 a.m. GMT:

Screen Shot 2018 01 09 at 08.26.32

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NOW WATCH: The 5 issues to consider before trading bitcoin futures

Aston Martin is reportedly lining up a £5 billion IPO

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

Aston Martin DB11

  • Aston Martin is reportedly lining up an IPO which values the firm at up to £5 billion ($6.8 billion).
  • The report said the manufacturer held preliminary talks with advisers and is considering the IPO along with other options.

LONDON — Iconic British car maker Aston Martin is lining up an IPO which values the firm at up to £5 billion ($6.8 billion), according to a Bloomberg report

Citing sources, the report said the manufacturer held preliminary talks with advisers and is considering the IPO along with other options.

Aston Martin, famed for its connection to James Bond, plans to launch an SUV model next year, something which could bolster investor interest in an IPO.

Last week the firm posted production and sales figures at a nine-year high, spurred by demand for its new DB11, marking a comeback which saw its sales sink following the global financial crisis.

Business Insider had not received a request for comment from Aston Martin at the time of publication.

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NOW WATCH: A crypto expert explains the difference between the two largest cryptocurrencies in the world: bitcoin and Ethereum

The High Street spending crisis is starting to claim scalps – 28% increase in shops going bust

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

A man passes a clothing shop holding a closing down sale in London October 20, 2010.

  • Deloitte: 28% increase in retail administrations in 2017.
  • Jaeger, Agent Provocateur, and Jones the Bootmaker among the chains that went bust last year.
  • Rising inflation, pension funding, and the National Living Wage are all putting pressure on retailers.


LONDON — The number of shops going bust increased last year for the first time in five years, new data shows.

Deloitte said on Monday that 118 retailers went into administration last year, up from 92 in 2016.

The increase was driven by trouble for large retailers, with a 55% rise in the number of large retailers — classed as any chain with more than 10 stores — going bust.

Chains that went bust last year include Jaeger, Agent Provocateur, cigarette wholesaler Palmer and Harvey, and Jones the Bootmaker.

The 28% rise in retail administrations outpaced the cross-sector average, which saw a 2% rise in administrations last year.

Dan Butters, a restructuring services partner at Deloitte, said in a statement: "In January 2017 we highlighted five key cost pressures for retailers, namely the impact of the National Living Wage, Sterling devaluation, rates increases, commodity price increases and pension funding."

Inflation hit a high of 3% last year as a result of the collapse in the value of the pound after the 2016 Brexit vote. Higher prices for essentials like food and fuel has meant consumers have less discretionary cash to spend on things like fashion, furniture, and electronics.

Retail analyst Richard Hyman told Business Insider: "We have flat demand at best, increasing capacity (online is growing steadily) and rising costs. Retail is trying to manage costs down but this often focuses on people - it’s a high fixed cost business and difficult to cut anywhere else. Cutting people usually diminishes a retail business directly or indirectly."

Butters said: "We see insolvencies in higher value categories, such as furniture, as a leading indicator that falling consumer confidence, and a drop in consumer spending, is starting to bite. This has implications for retail sub-sectors with a lower price point which typically take longer to feel the impact of reduced consumer spending."

Deloitte's figures come on the same day as a profit warning from Mothercare after tough Christmas trading. The update saw Mothercare's share price plunge 25% at the open in London.

Debenhams was also forced to issue a recent profit warning as a result of poor Christmas trading and Retail Week reports that House of Fraser is seeking rent reductions from landlords to offset poor trading. All of this suggests that the retail sector will remain under pressure in 2018.

Hyman told BI: "Not only will it continue this year, but it will accelerate. All the headwinds gaining ground in 2017 will gain still more in 2018."

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NOW WATCH: We talked to Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman about tax reform, Trump, and bitcoin

10 things you need to know in markets today

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

Robert Mueller

Good morning! Here's what you need to know in markets on Tuesday.

1. All of the government's most important ministers stayed in their positions during Prime Minister Theresa May's cabinet reshuffle on Monday. Boris Johnson remained Foreign Secretary, while Philip Hammond and Amber Rudd retained their posts as Chancellor and Home Secretary respectively. The biggest move was resignation of Education Secretary Justine Greening after May tried to move her to the Department of Work and Pensions.

2. Special counsel Robert Mueller's team is in talks with President Donald Trump's legal defense team about interviewing him as part of the Russia investigation, multiple media outlets reported on Monday. Mueller is overseeing the FBI's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election and whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow to tilt the race in his favor. 

3. Apple will be one of the largest beneficiaries from President Donald Trump's tax overhaul because as much as $24 billion could be freed up due to the lowered corporate tax rate, UBS Analyst Steven Milunovich said. Milunovich says that Apple has already been factoring in the lowered statutory US corporate tax rate of 25%—as proposed in President Donald Trump's tax overhaul—in its target capital structure, which determines how the company finances its operations and growth.

4. Meanwhile, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway could also be one of the biggest beneficiaries of tax reform in the insurance sector, according to Barclays. The company's book value could increase by about $37 billion, said Jay Gelb, an insurance analyst at Barclays, in a note on Monday. That's $10 billion more than what he estimated in a November note before the tax plan was finalized and signed. 

5. U.S. oil prices hit their highest since 2015 again on Tuesday as speculators bet on further price rises amid OPEC-led production cuts and a dip in American drilling activity, though some warned the rally could run out of steam. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $62.14 a barrel at around 6.35 a.m. GMT — 41 cents, or 0.7%, above their last settlement.

6. TransferWise is quietly launching its new "borderless" accounts and linked debit card to just 1,000 consumers on Tuesday. TransferWise first announced the "borderless" account, which lets people hold up to 28 currencies through one account, last May. It followed on from a similar product launched by rival international currency exchange WorldFirst. TransferWise's new account is linked to a debit card that lets people spend in local currency around the world on one card.

7. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd will consider a listing in Hong Kong, the South China Morning Post reported the company's founder Jack Ma as saying - remarks which follow the city's decision to allow dual class share listings. Ma was responding to an invitation by Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam to list in the city during a discussion at an event in Hong Kong.

8. Two U.S. companies withdrew proposals to launch bitcoin-based exchange-traded funds pending before the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday, citing ongoing concerns by the regulatory agency, filings showed. Staff at the SEC "expressed concerns regarding the liquidity and valuation" of futures based on the digital assets, according to one of the filings.

9. Ripple's XRP, the third largest cryptocurrency by market cap, slumped as much as 20% Monday as all three of the world’s largest digital tokens came under pressure. Ripple has been in the headlines a bunch over the past week thanks to the meteoric rise of XRP, which has  made multi-millionaires out of those lucky enough to hold massive amounts, like Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen. The currency is now down almost 40% from its recent highs however.

10. GoPro announced on Monday that it was cutting more than 250 jobs, and lowered its forecast for fourth-quarter revenues. In its preliminary fourth-quarter results, the action-camera maker said it was reducing its global workforce to fewer than 1,000 people.

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10 things you need to know in markets today

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

Robert Mueller

Good morning! Here's what you need to know in markets on Tuesday.

1. All of the government's most important ministers stayed in their positions during Prime Minister Theresa May's cabinet reshuffle on Monday. Boris Johnson remained Foreign Secretary, while Philip Hammond and Amber Rudd retained their posts as Chancellor and Home Secretary respectively. The biggest move was resignation of Education Secretary Justine Greening after May tried to move her to the Department of Work and Pensions.

2. Special counsel Robert Mueller's team is in talks with President Donald Trump's legal defense team about interviewing him as part of the Russia investigation, multiple media outlets reported on Monday. Mueller is overseeing the FBI's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election and whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow to tilt the race in his favor. 

3. Apple will be one of the largest beneficiaries from President Donald Trump's tax overhaul because as much as $24 billion could be freed up due to the lowered corporate tax rate, UBS Analyst Steven Milunovich said. Milunovich says that Apple has already been factoring in the lowered statutory US corporate tax rate of 25%—as proposed in President Donald Trump's tax overhaul—in its target capital structure, which determines how the company finances its operations and growth.

4. Meanwhile, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway could also be one of the biggest beneficiaries of tax reform in the insurance sector, according to Barclays. The company's book value could increase by about $37 billion, said Jay Gelb, an insurance analyst at Barclays, in a note on Monday. That's $10 billion more than what he estimated in a November note before the tax plan was finalized and signed. 

5. U.S. oil prices hit their highest since 2015 again on Tuesday as speculators bet on further price rises amid OPEC-led production cuts and a dip in American drilling activity, though some warned the rally could run out of steam. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $62.14 a barrel at around 6.35 a.m. GMT — 41 cents, or 0.7%, above their last settlement.

6. TransferWise is quietly launching its new "borderless" accounts and linked debit card to just 1,000 consumers on Tuesday. TransferWise first announced the "borderless" account, which lets people hold up to 28 currencies through one account, last May. It followed on from a similar product launched by rival international currency exchange WorldFirst. TransferWise's new account is linked to a debit card that lets people spend in local currency around the world on one card.

7. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd will consider a listing in Hong Kong, the South China Morning Post reported the company's founder Jack Ma as saying - remarks which follow the city's decision to allow dual class share listings. Ma was responding to an invitation by Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam to list in the city during a discussion at an event in Hong Kong.

8. Two U.S. companies withdrew proposals to launch bitcoin-based exchange-traded funds pending before the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday, citing ongoing concerns by the regulatory agency, filings showed. Staff at the SEC "expressed concerns regarding the liquidity and valuation" of futures based on the digital assets, according to one of the filings.

9. Ripple's XRP, the third largest cryptocurrency by market cap, slumped as much as 20% Monday as all three of the world’s largest digital tokens came under pressure. Ripple has been in the headlines a bunch over the past week thanks to the meteoric rise of XRP, which has  made multi-millionaires out of those lucky enough to hold massive amounts, like Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen. The currency is now down almost 40% from its recent highs however.

10. GoPro announced on Monday that it was cutting more than 250 jobs, and lowered its forecast for fourth-quarter revenues. In its preliminary fourth-quarter results, the action-camera maker said it was reducing its global workforce to fewer than 1,000 people.

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TransferWise is launching its new borderless account and debit card today — check it out

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

TransferWise borderless account card

  • TransferWise rolling out its "borderless" account and debit card to 1,000 customers.
  • Full rollout coming later in the year.


LONDON — TransferWise is quietly launching its new "borderless" accounts and linked debit card to just 1,000 consumers on Tuesday.

TransferWise first announced the "borderless" account, which lets people hold up to 28 currencies through one account, last May. It followed on from a similar product launched by rival international currency exchange WorldFirst.

TransferWise's new account is linked to a debit card that lets people spend in local currency around the world on one card. BI first reported on TransferWise's plans to launch a debit card in 2016.

The new consumer product brings TransferWise into competition with Revolut, the fast-growing London startup that also lets people hold multiple currencies through one account and spend it through a pre-paid debit card. Both Transferwise and Revolut are backed by venture capital firm Index Ventures.

TransferWise chairman and cofounder Taavet Hinrikus said in a statement: "The borderless account is a game changer for anyone living or working between countries. Opening a bank account abroad is incredibly difficult without a local proof of address, but the borderless account can be opened in minutes. For expats, second homeowners, freelancers, sole traders and more the borderless account is invaluable.

"One day anyone will be able to send and receive money, in any currency, from friends, customers or companies anywhere in the world, and spend anywhere, never worrying about the exchange rate again. That’s the vision for the borderless account. Today’s launch is a huge step towards realising that future."

London-headquartered TransferWise was founded 2011 as a platform for people to send money internationally online. More than £1.5 billion is sent over its platform each month.

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