Coronavirus Is Devastating the Conference Circuit; Wall Street Traders Are Tethered to the Desk With Virus Arriving

Mar 4, 2020

First Read

A Reporter’s Story About the Boca Cancellation
By John Lothian

Last week I told the JLN staff I expected by Wednesday or Thursday this week that FIA would cancel the Boca conference. They looked surprised. It was still surprising today when word first circulated that the Futures Industry Association had cancelled the Boca conference.

Tuesday morning, while I was working on scheduling a video interview for the Boca conference, an email came back to me with the note that the interview was off as Boca was being cancelled. A quick call gave me details that could only come with a decision, not just a rumor. I got lucky.

To prepare for when the cancellation confirmation would come, I started writing the story JLN published Tuesday morning about the cancellation. The story was all ready, with help from Sarah Rudolph’s editing, but no amount of waiting mid-morning would seem to bring the announcement.

To read the rest of this commentary, go here.

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Hits & Takes
By JLN Staff

Walt Lukken had this to say on Twitter yesterday: “Today we made the difficult decision to cancel @FIAconnect #FIABoca due to concerns for the health and wellbeing of our conference attendees surrounding the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus.”~JJL

Japanese drugmaker “Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. is developing an experimental therapy for the novel coronavirus with the goal of making it available in 9 to 18 months,” Bloomberg reported.~JJL

The FCA has issued this Statement on Covid-19~JJL

On March 4, 1961 an F2 tornado hit the south side of Chicago, injuring 115 people and killing one. Also that day, I was born. Here is a youtube video with classic newsreel commentary about the tornado that hit that day.~JJL

Our CMW Page of the Day yesterday was TRON (TRX), because of the ongoing situation with Steemit, which TRON now owns. In case you missed it yesterday, there’s a big scandal in the crypto space. Justin Sun, the creator and founder of TRON, enlisted the help of several major cryptocurrency exchanges – including Binance, Poloniex, and Huobi – to gain control of the Steemit blockchain. Steemit is run by its community; people are elected to make decisions by community members who trust them to make decisions that are in the community’s best interest. It is intended to function like a representative democracy. However, the more tokens you have, the greater your “voting power.” TRON, apparently at Justin Sun’s behest, enlisted the voting power of the above exchanges (using their holdings of customer and exchange-owned STEEM tokens) to overturn a system update supported by the community – an update intended to limit TRON’s voting power, which became enough to challenge the entire community – banning several elected leaders in the process. TRON and Steemit also released a statement calling the community action “criminal and illegal,” and calling the elected leaders “hackers.” Sun and the above exchanges have promised to remove their voting power after 4-6 weeks, once the Steemit platform is “under control.” That’s evidently small comfort to the Steemit community, a large number of whom are outraged by this action. (It’s also worth noting that since TRON has demonstrated it can force control away from the community at will, there is little stopping it from doing something similar in the future, should the community vote on something it doesn’t like). Since then, Sun has announced over Twitter that he stands by his actions, but several key Steemit employees have announced their resignation over the event. Steemit’s community is reportedly mobilizing to challenge TRON’s control over the platform.~MR

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Futures Industry Association Cancels Prestigious Boca International Conference Due to an Abundance of Caution Because of Global Coronavirus Outbreak
By John Lothian

The Futures Industry Association has cancelled its International Conference in Boca Raton, Florida scheduled to start next week out of “an abundance of caution.” The FIA board reportedly voted unanimously to cancel the event due to the risk of spreading the coronavirus, which has spread to 65 different countries around the world and seen over 88,000 people infected with the virus.
The Boca Raton conference is the most important conference of the year for the Futures Industry Association, as it brings derivatives, capital and environmental markets leaders from around the world to the popular Boca Raton Resort and Club.
The conference was to run from March 10-12, 2020. This would have been the 45th year of the Boca Conference, which the FIA bills as its “most powerful and prestigious event.” Registration fees will be refunded.

To read the rest of this report, go here.

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Jeffrey E. Kopiwoda Joins DV Trading, LLC as Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel;Shifra Katz Promoted to Chief Compliance Officer and Senior Counsel
DV Trading, LLC
DV Trading, LLC announced today that Jeffrey E. Kopiwoda has joined the firm as its Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel. DV has also promoted Shifra Katz to Chief Compliance Officer and Senior Counsel.
/jlne.ws/2TknFya

*****Boca news a week early.~JJL

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Intercontinental Exchange Reports Record February Volumes; ADV +39% y/y, OI +14% y/y
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE:ICE), a leading operator of global exchanges and clearing houses and provider of data and listings services, today reported February 2020 trading volume and related revenue statistics, which can be viewed on the company’s investor relations website at https://ir.theice.com/ir-resources/supplemental-information in the Monthly Statistics Tracking spreadsheet.
/jlne.ws/39obS7y

*****Up 39% is pretty good.~JJL

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Nasdaq’s Dillard On Data Driven Investment Solutions
Nasdaq (profile)
Lauren Dillard, Executive Vice President and Head of Global Information Services at Nasdaq sat down with Julie Cooling, Founder & CEO, RIA Channel to discuss opportunities in Nasdaq’s data services, analytics and index licensing business.
Dillard joined Nasdaq in 2019 from The Carlyle Group, where she served as COO and CFO of its Investment Solutions Group before leading it as Managing Director. No stranger to the power of customized solutions, Dillard foresees several opportunities for Nasdaq to expand its footprint in the model investing business with Dorsey Wright models, as well as client driven products such as indexes.
/jlne.ws/32MZz1X

***** My models always had too much glue.~JJL

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Big banks want regulation eased because of coronavirus. Experts call it opportunistic.
Renae Merle – The Washington Post
The country’s biggest banks are asking federal officials for long-sought regulatory relief as part of the government’s efforts to contain the economic fallout from the coronavirus, requests that experts lambasted as opportunistic and unnecessary.
/jlne.ws/2wukdru

******Stay home regulation is the new thing.~JJL

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Coronavirus cryptocurrency creators claim they’re not cashing in on death
Darren Parkin – Coin Rivet
The mainly anonymous group which created the CoronaCoin – a token claiming to be “backed by proof of death” – say their project is designed to educate the public about the disease.
They even claim that 20% of all funds will be donated to the Red Cross and its efforts to assist in controlling the spread of Covid-19.
/jlne.ws/38oGAMi

***** I like proof of life better.~JJL

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Tuesday’s Top Three
Our most read story Tuesday was Jack Welch Inflicted Great Damage on Corporate America, a Bloomberg opinion piece by Joe Nocera. Next was The Financial Times’ Robinhood shutdown leaves users feeling robbed. Third was our MarketsWiki page on Ed Ryan, who was featured in a JLN Open Outcry series video.

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MarketsWiki Stats
173,457,512 pages viewed; 24,064 pages; 223,429 edits
MarketsWiki Statistics

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CryptoMarketsWiki Website»
CryptoMarketsWiki, our archive of the cryptocurrency and blockchain world, is going strong and keeping pace as this area of finance grows and evolves.

Recently Updated Pages

Recently updated pages include
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Bitfinex
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Lead Stories

Coronavirus Is Devastating the Conference Circuit; Health risks spur hundreds of cancellations, causing tens of millions of dollars in losses as organizers weigh offering refunds
Collin Eaton, Rebecca Elliott and Elizabeth Findell – WSJ
Leaders of Austin’s South by Southwest festival reassured the public this week that the Texas tech, film and music event would still kick off as planned March 13, despite concerns over the coronavirus epidemic.
/jlne.ws/2uSG8sd

Wall Street Traders Are Tethered to the Desk With Virus Arriving
Lananh Nguyen and Michelle F Davis – Bloomberg
Issues abound as banks prepare to split workforce among sites; Working from home requires fast connection, high-end equipment
It’s a familiar refrain on busy Wall Street trading days: I’m stuck at the desk. Now it’s taking on new meanings. After spending years enhancing trading desks with cutting-edge analytics, fast access to outside venues and layers of surveillance, banks are finding it’s hard to relocate their human operators, even in the face of the deadly coronavirus. With the illness now reaching New York, firms are trying to figure out what to do with armies of employees who can’t simply log in from a laptop at home.
/jlne.ws/2TlMyt9

The seeds of the next debt crisis; With debt levels already at a record high, coronavirus raises the risk of a credit crunch in a world of low interest rates
John Plender – FT
The shock that coronavirus has wrought on markets across the world coincides with a dangerous financial backdrop marked by spiralling global debt. According to the Institute of International Finance, a trade group, the ratio of global debt to gross domestic product hit an all-time high of over 322 per cent in the third quarter of 2019, with total debt reaching close to $253tn. The implication, if the virus continues to spread, is that any fragilities in the financial system have the potential to trigger a new debt crisis.
/jlne.ws/2VJgi4Y

New York Coronavirus Case Sets Off a Complex Risk Calculus
Crayton Harrison – Bloomberg
Westchester County man’s movements will be tough to track; JPMorgan tests contingency plan; Bronx school closes
After a second case of coronavirus was confirmed in the New York City area Tuesday, public-health officials and corporate risk managers are contending with the ever-more-likely scenario that the disease is spreading in the region, forcing them to confront difficult choices about how to protect people.
/jlne.ws/32WfmMc

In Boston, Money Managers Fire Shot at Wall Street Brokers; Investor conference next week will cut banks out of a lucrative role
Liz Hoffman – WSJ
The world’s biggest money managers and dozens of corporate chief executives will gather in Boston next week. No bankers allowed.
/jlne.ws/38oGO66

Supreme Court Justices Indicate They May Further Narrow SEC’s Enforcement Authority
Challenge focuses on how regulators return ill-gotten gains to investors
Dave Michaels – The Wall Street Journal
U.S. Supreme Court justices Tuesday indicated they may be inclined to rein in how courts and regulators order wrongdoers to return money earned through illegal investment schemes.
In arguments, liberal and conservative justices questioned how they could narrow the remedy without quashing it outright, an alternative they appeared to reject. The Securities and Exchange Commission obtains billions of dollars in such relief every year with the goal of returning it to harmed investors.
/jlne.ws/2vE46Ym

Are securities analysts doomed?
FT
Securities analysts try to point investors in the right direction. But they are in retreat themselves because of tightening regulation, the changing nature of investment and the shifting focus of big business
/jlne.ws/2VKS4ay

Coronavirus raises the risk of real trouble in corporate bonds; Even the Fed’s rate cut cannot prevent economic ‘sudden stops’ that will hurt business
Mohamed El-Erian – FT
Sudden sell-offs in markets have a nasty way of exposing vulnerabilities that take on a disruptive life of their own, and risk amplifying the initial shock through a self-feeding cycle.
/jlne.ws/3cxa8KX

Bill Gates Is Really Worried About the Coronavirus. Here’s Why; The debate is splitting into two broad camps: Call them the “growthers” and the “base-raters.”
Tyler Cowen – Bloomberg
Just how bad will the new coronavirus be? I can’t answer that question, but I have observed the debate splitting into two broad camps: Call them the “growthers” and the “base-raters.”
/jlne.ws/2vGsj0n

The Rise of the Green Financial Hubs
Emily Chasan – Bloomberg
Green finance is a worldwide affair. While the traditional money centers of New York and London play critical roles in the burgeoning renewable economy, investment is increasingly originating farther afield, nearer to places in need of upgraded energy infrastructure. That means countries from South Africa to Morocco to Kazakhstan are betting they can compete as new hubs of climate-focused funding.
/jlne.ws/38oII6M

Europe Toils to Contain Virus as Confirmed Cases Inch Upward
Stefan Nicola and John Follain – Bloomberg
Infections have spread out from most-affected nation Italy; Major events canceled, including tourism fair, motor show
In less than two weeks, the coronavirus has spread in Europe from a handful of cases in northern Italy to thousands across the continent, with pockets of infection from Spain to Belarus.
/jlne.ws/2Ik7Q4c

China Opens a Coronavirus Bond Spigot, and Companies Rush In; ‘They are buying the debt that other investors don’t want to touch, helping to push down the yields’
Fight for Control
WSJ
The coronavirus epidemic has sparked a bond bonanza in China, with financial institutions and companies rushing to sell debt at low interest rates.
/jlne.ws/2IkWblu

Coronavirus Delivers Jolt to Sleepy Currency Markets; Foreign-exchange markets have become more unsettled as interest-rate expectations evolve
Joe Wallace – WSJ
The coronavirus epidemic has delivered a jolt to previously sleepy foreign-exchange markets. Currency trading had mostly been calm in recent years, as a degree of certainty about the outlook for U.S. interest rates and other factors, such as the low cost of insurance against major foreign-exchange moves, suppressed volatility.
/jlne.ws/2PKxEdU

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

The Mexican Stock Exchange (BMV Group) and GuavaTech, Inc.; Announced an agreement that will provide clients with direct access to BMV’s Equity and Derivatives markets.
GuavaTech
GuavaTech, a Managed Service Provider specializing in the financial services industry, and the Mexican Stock Exchange (BMV Group), a leading Latin American exchange, are pleased to announce an agreement offering BMV ´s market data through GuavaTech at the Equinix NY5 datacenter. This agreement will provide clients with direct access to BMV’s equity and derivatives markets in a managed environment.
/jlne.ws/2uRoqp1

MIAX Exchange Group Reports February 2020 Trading Results and New Records; Recognized for Most Innovative Technology for Second Year in a Row at Fund Technology and WSL Awards; Tom Jarck Joins Exchange Group as Volatility Products Specialist
Miami International Holdings, Inc.
Miami International Holdings, Inc. (MIH) today reported February 2020 trading results for its three fully electronic options exchanges – MIAX , MIAX PEARL and MIAX EmeraldTM (together, the MIAX Exchange GroupTM). The MIAX Exchange Group collectively executed over 55.4 million equity option contracts in February for a combined average daily volume (ADV) of 2,919,913 contracts, representing a total U.S. equity options market share of 10.92%, all of which were new monthly records. Additionally, the MIAX Exchange Group set new daily records for equity option contracts executed (5,199,080) and equity option market share (12.14%), while MIAX, MIAX PEARL and MIAX Emerald all set new individual exchange daily records for contracts executed (2,181,676; 2,780,300; and 257,830, respectively).
/jlne.ws/2VLGxHJ

CME Group reports record trading volumes in February; February saw several new records at CME Group as average daily volume surged 58% compared to last year.
Kiays Khalil – The Trade
CME Group has revealed it saw a record average daily volume of 30.1 million contracts last month, with several new highs seen across its business.
/jlne.ws/39nBQYR

Traded derivatives contracts and OTC clearing at Eurex show strong growth
Eurex
Eurex’s February figures showed strong growth across virtually all product classes, with European equity index derivatives, OTC clearing, and Eurex Repo’s GC Pooling leading the way.
/jlne.ws/38icwSx

New DAX focuses on sustainability;DAX 50 ESG index started; leading index with ESG focus contains top 50 stocks of the German stock market
Deutsche Börse Group
As of today, the leading German index DAX® has a new, sustainable family member: the DAX® 50 ESG Index. This index takes into account environmental, social and corporate management criteria, ESG for short, and tracks the top 50 companies based on ESG performance, market value and turnover. The index was launched by Qontigo, the index and analytics business of Deutsche Börse Group.
/jlne.ws/39qUqz6

Intercontinental Exchange Announces Multiple Volume Records for ICE ETF HubIntercontinental Exchange, Inc.
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE:ICE), a leading operator of global exchanges and clearing houses and provider of data and listings services, today announced multiple records for its ICE ETF Hub platform in February 2020.
/jlne.ws/2uSIYNT

HKEX to Introduce New Stock Option Classes
HKEX
Five new Stock Options to be introduced on 23 March; Stock Options average daily turnover exceeds 520,000 contracts in first two months of 2020; Trading of eight Stock Futures and two Stock Options will be discontinued on 30 March
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) is pleased to announce today (Wednesday) the launch of five new stock option classes on Monday, 23 March 2020.
/jlne.ws/2Tniuh1

Nasdaq February 2020 Volumes
Nasdaq
Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ) today reported monthly volumes for February 2020, on its investor relations website.
/jlne.ws/32Vgxvd

Optimism about current conditions pushes farmer sentiment index to all-time high
CME Group
Producers’ perception of improved current conditions in the agricultural economy pushed the Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer to all-time record highs. The barometer rose to 168 in February, an increase of one point from January, and was up 18 points since December.
/jlne.ws/2TlNuxB

Monthly Activity Report
Tradeweb
RECORD VOLUMES IN FEBRUARY
Average daily volume (ADV) across rates, credit, equities and money markets for Tradeweb Markets was a record $885.6 billion (bn) in February 2020, an increase of 47.0 percent (%) year over year (YoY). Average daily trades for the month totaled 62,494.
/jlne.ws/2TwpBEI

Romania’s stock exchange sees steepest plunge since “greed tax” announced; Romania’s stock exchange sees steepest plunge since
Iulian Ernst -Intellinews.com
The last trading week of February saw a 10.5% decrease of the Bucharest Stock Exchange’s (BVB’s) main index, BET, the steepest decline since December 2018 when investors were knocked out by a government decree that introduced the so-called “greed tax”, data compiled by Ziarul Financiar daily show. The Romanian stock market fell during the week from about 10,100 points to about 9,100 points, according to the BVB.
/jlne.ws/2wpedAD

Fintech

Bad tech nearly sent me to coronavirus quarantine; In China, increased surveillance is another symptom of the epidemic
Yuan Yang – FT
“Your temperature is abnormal. We’ll have to send you to the hospital,” said the guard standing at the gate to my Beijing compound. It was a frosty Saturday morning and I had come back from walking my dog.
/jlne.ws/2VPS6xX

Ant Financial Takes Stake in Swedish Payments Firm Klarna
Sarah Syed and Lulu Yilun Chen – Bloomberg
Alipay owner wants to collaborate with European counterpart; Deal plays into Ant’s plans to expand into consumer lending
The financial services affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has agreed to buy a minority stake in Klarna, and will expand its international partnership with the Swedish payments firm.
/jlne.ws/2vCjZyD

Bloomberg thrills fintech world with cryptocurrency shoutout; Democratic candidate calls for clarifying cryptocurrency regulations, establishing a framework for initial coin offerings
Jim Saksa – Rollcall
It’s just three sentences and five bullet points, not even 100 words, but Mike Bloomberg’s platform for cryptocurrencies has the nascent technology’s boosters cheering and champing at the bit for more.
/jlne.ws/2TmnbYf

High-Flying Trading App Robinhood Goes Down at the Wrong Time; Robinhood remained down part of Tuesday as the markets bounced around, leaving customers angry and nursing big losses.
Nathaniel Popper, Tara Siegel Bernard – NY Times
Robinhood has become a Silicon Valley darling by presenting itself as a tech-savvy alternative to traditional stock trading platforms. But this week, with the financial markets in chaos, the start-up’s technology failed at the most crucial moment.
/jlne.ws/32Vimbx

Robinhood’s 17-hour outage reignites debate over a controversial rule that reshaped the stock market
Frank Chaparro – The Block
Robinhood has been making headlines for its 17-hour platform outage, but angry clients could be just the beginning of their concerns, according to some market structure experts.
/jlne.ws/39qWGGA

Robinhood’s cofounders blame ‘stress to its infrastructure’ from an ‘unprecedented load’ for massive outages during huge market gyrations
Dan DeFrancesco – Business Insider
Robinhood’s cofounders posted a note on Tuesday night to the popular trading app’s blog blaming recent system-wide outages that infuriated users on “stress to its infrastructure” from an “unprecedented load.”
/jlne.ws/2Ijmhp8

Cryptocurrencies

India’s top court overturns ban on banks dealing in cryptocurrencies; Decision paves way for a trading revival but nascent industry still faces obstacles
Benjamin Parkin – FT
India’s top court has overturned a ban on banks dealing with cryptocurrencies, providing vital relief to an industry that had been pushed to the brink of extinction.
/jlne.ws/2vrDmul

Exchanges call for greater regulatory clarity at IRS crypto tax summit
Michael McSweeney – The Block
Representatives for two cryptocurrency exchanges called for greater regulatory clarity from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) during a Tuesday event at the U.S. tax authority’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. During an IRS Virtual Currency Summit panel focused on exchange issues, the audience – comprised of industry stakeholders and IRS officials – heard from Coinbase head of global tax information reporting Sulolit Mukherjee and Kraken head of global tax Lisa Askenazy Felix. Also appearing on the panel was Jamison Sites, Washington national tax manager for RSM Tax LLP as well as John Cardone, assistant deputy commissioner for compliance integration.
/jlne.ws/3axEZpf

HTC to release a blockchain router to let users run a full bitcoin node at home
Yilun Cheng – The Block
Taiwanese electronics manufacturer HTC is working on a new blockchain router that would allow customers to run a full bitcoin node from their home. The new device, called EXODUS 5G Hub, is set to launch in Q2. It aims to improve data privacy in the home space by letting users hold on to their own keys through a hardware wallet. The goal, according to HTC decentralized chief officer Phil Chen, is to challenge the dominance of smart devices produced by big tech companies – Amazon Alexa, Google Nest, Facebook, etc. – that leave users’ private data vulnerable.
/jlne.ws/2vCqf9B

Cryptocurrency Bourses Win India Case Against Central Bank Curbs
Upmanyu Trivedi – Bloomberg
RBI had barred banking services from using digital currencies; Supreme court ruling on Wednesday struck down the RBI’s curbs
Cryptocurrency exchanges scored a victory in India after the nation’s Supreme Court endorsed their stand against curbs put in place by the central bank that effectively outlawed virtual currencies in Asia’s third-largest economy.
/jlne.ws/2xbiGqX

Singapore Crypto Firm Aims to Triple Value to $300 Million
Zheping Huang – Bloomberg
Wu Jihan’s Matrixport is said to eye $40 million in funding; Crypto firms are enjoying a bounce-back in Bitcoin this year
Matrixport, the crypto-finance venture founded by Bitmain Technologies Ltd.’s billionaire chief Wu Jihan, is seeking to raise $40 million in a funding round at a post-investment valuation of $300 million, according to people familiar with the matter.
/jlne.ws/3aoRVgU

Jihan Wu’s Matrixport plans to raise $40M at a post-money valuation of $300M – report
Yogita Khatri – The Block
Bitmain co-founder Jihan Wu’s crypto financial services startup Matrixport is reportedly seeking to raise $40 million at a post-investment valuation of $300 million. Bloomberg reported the news on Wednesday, citing “people familiar with the matter.” Matrixport is said to have already pitched to investors in recent weeks. Publicly launched last July, Matrixport has been operating since February 2019, the firm’s COO Daniel Yan told The Block last month. The startup’s business lines include crypto trading, lending, and custody – for both retail and institutional clients.
/jlne.ws/2wrfIOz

Facebook Weighs Libra Revamp to Address Regulatory Concerns
Joe Light, Benjamin Bain, and Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
Facebook Inc. and its partners are considering redesigning the Libra cryptocurrency project so that the network accepts multiple coins, including those issued by central banks, in an effort to woo reluctant global regulators and rebuild momentum for the plan. When Facebook unveiled Libra, it said it intended to create a single global digital currency. Anyone, especially the 1.7 billion people who have no bank account, could send money anywhere in the world at little cost, as easily as sending a text.
/jlne.ws/32QXIco

Bitfinex to delist 46 crypto trading pairs amid the decline of the global altcoin market
Yilun Cheng – The Block
Bitfinex is set to remove a total of 46 cryptocurrency trading pairs from its platform, effective March 6, due to low liquidity exhibited by a number of altcoins. The pairs being delisted include a wide range of altcoins trading against Ethereum (27 trading pairs) and Bitcoin (16 trading pairs) as well as OmiseGo and 0x against DAI and Verge against Japanese yen.
/jlne.ws/2vtDfhV

Bitcoin using more electricity per transaction than a British household in two months; Around 98 per cent of rigs mining Bitcoin will become obsolete before they achieve anything, experts warn
Sarah Knapton – Telegraph
Just one Bitcoin transaction uses the same amount of electricity as a British household for nearly two months, new figures have shown.
/jlne.ws/2ToamfS

Bitcoin’s Computing Power Is Growing Again After Coronavirus-Related Disruption
Wolfie Zhao – Coindesk
The computer processing power of the bitcoin network is growing again – albeit slowly – as major Chinese miner manufacturers gradually resume business after the coronavirus outbreak delayed shipments. The average hashing power on bitcoin (BTC) over the past seven days has reached a new high of around 117.5 exahashes per second (EH/s), up 5.4 percent from where it stagnated for a month beginning Jan. 28, according to data from PoolIn, which, along side with F2pool, are currently the two largest bitcoin mining pools.
/jlne.ws/2VKmEkE

Singapore Crypto Firm Aims to Triple Value to $300 Million
Zheping Huang – Bloomberg
Matrixport, the crypto-finance venture founded by Bitmain Technologies Ltd.’s billionaire chief Wu Jihan, is seeking to raise $40 million in a funding round at a post-investment valuation of $300 million, according to people familiar with the matter. Crypto startups are riding somewhat of a resurgence along with a modest recovery in Bitcoin prices. Matrixport pitched its latest round to investors in recent weeks, the people said, asking not to be named because the matter is private. The startup took in $7 million to $8 million in revenue for 2019 and expects that to more than double this year, according to a slide deck shared with investors and viewed by Bloomberg. The firm was valued at $114 million in a previous round, according to the deck.
/jlne.ws/39mklYJ

Samsung to Target EU Payments Sector With Blockchain-Based Solution for Banks
Paddy Baker – Coindesk
Samsung’s enterprise technology arm is building a blockchain-based settlements solution for merchants and banks. The Korea Herald reported Wednesday that Samsung SDS had signed a memorandum of understanding with Israeli fintech solutions provider Credorax to develop the solution, aimed to create efficiencies by automatically logging payments data on bank records and ledgers. The product, which hasn’t yet been named publicly, will work on Samsung SDS’ Nexledger Universal platform, the proprietary blockchain first unveiled in 2017. Work processes will be automated using AI technology from Brity Works, another Samsung SDS company.
/jlne.ws/3cvMQ8s

The IRS Is Inviting Crypto Firms to a ‘Summit’ in DC Next Month
Nikhilesh De – Coindesk
The Internal Revenue Service has invited a number of undisclosed crypto startups to a summit on March 3 to discuss its existing approach to taxing cryptocurrencies as well as enforcement efforts, according to a copy of the invitation obtained by CoinDesk.
/jlne.ws/2IjCWZS

Politics

‘You don’t want to go to war with a president’
How Dr. Anthony Fauci is navigating the coronavirus outbreak in the Trump era.
Sarah Owermohle – Politico
Anthony Fauci might be the one person everyone in Washington trusts right now.
But at 79, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is in the thick of one of the biggest battles of 35 years in the role: The race to contain coronavirus when the nation is deeply polarized and misinformation can spread with one tweet — sometimes, from the president himself.
/jlne.ws/2Tlp1IS

A State Propaganda Leader Tackles Fake News Beyond His Reach
Zoltan Simon – Bloomberg
Hungary wants freedom of expression online, minister says; Orban’s government is facing EU rule-of-law investigation
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is used to being on the defensive over restrictions on the rule of law and the media. In the online world where the biggest tech firms rule, though, his government says it’s all for openness.
/jlne.ws/2VG08cx

More U.S. Coronavirus Travel Restrictions Coming, TSA Chief Says
Michaela Ross – Bloomberg
More countries to be announced “soon” Pekoske testified; Travelers from restricted countries being medically screened
More travel restrictions will be announced soon to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, said Transportation Security Administration chief David Pekoske.
/jlne.ws/39qX4ow

Seung Min Kim, Maria Sacchetti and Brady Dennis – Washington Post
Facing growing pressure to demonstrate that it is moving aggressively to combat the spreading coronavirus that has claimed at least nine lives in the United States so far, the Trump administration vowed late Tuesday that any American can now be tested for the virus if a doctor deems it necessary.
/jlne.ws/32MFRna

Virus Tests and Transparency Are Main Concerns in U.S. Congress
Daniel Flatley and Jeannie Baumann – Bloomberg
Senators question Trump officials on containment, response; Government experts pledge truth, even if it contradicts Trump
Senators questioned Trump administration scientists Tuesday about the availability of coronavirus tests, treatment for those infected and a vaccine, as the number of infections and deaths in the U.S. continues to grow.
/jlne.ws/32Til8a

Scared of Sanders presidency, Wall Street doubles down on Democratic moderates
Lawrence Delevingne, Mike Spector and Svea Herbst-Bayliss – Reuters
Prominent Wall Street Democrats have been hatching strategies to ensure their presidential nominee will be a moderate, while also turning their attention to down-ticket candidates in congressional races as a “hedge” against that possibility, people involved with the efforts told Reuters.
/jlne.ws/32MGvkA

Regulation

A flaring tax can end this wasteful and damaging practice; Oil is valuable, but it is often cheaper to burn the gas than sell it
Jason Bordoff – FT
In the past decade, US oil and gas companies have become so successful in finding and getting oil out of the ground that they have started burning billions of dollars worth of gas each year. When a company produces oil, natural gas often comes out of the ground with it. Because oil is so valuable, it is often cheaper to burn the gas than build the infrastructure to sell it.
/jlne.ws/3andeiM

US Supreme Court weighs future of crisis-era consumer agency; Justices appear split over scope of a president’s authority to fire head of CFPB
Kadhim Shubber – FT
The US Supreme Court on Tuesday appeared divided about whether to give the president the unfettered power to fire the head of a crisis-era consumer protection agency, in a case with potentially broad implications for the financial sector.
/jlne.ws/2VLwFxM

UK watchdog admits 7 investment funds breached ‘trash ratio’; Revelation raises pressure on Andrew Bailey ahead of parliamentary grilling
Owen Walker – FT
The UK’s financial watchdog has revealed for the first time the extent to which fund managers breached European rules designed to limit the liquidity crunches behind scandals involving high-profile fund managers, including Neil Woodford and GAM.
/jlne.ws/2TycyR0

FCA ‘Working Closely’ With Financial Services Sector on Covid-19
Colin Keatinge – Bloomberg
The U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority said it’s working closely with the financial services sector to ensure an effective response to the Covid-19 outbreak, according to a statement dated March 4.
/jlne.ws/2uQQTer

Industry continues push for standardised EMIR derivatives reporting; Reporting of derivatives transactions under EMIR has proved problematic for firms and regulators, as trade groups call for a standardised approach.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Several major trade associations have teamed up to publish a set of guidelines aimed at standardising reporting of derivatives transactions under the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR).
/jlne.ws/32NNdqx

FINRA & CE Council: Enhancing Industry Continuing Education
FINRA
The biggest change to the Continuing Education program in 25 years is underway. The CE Council, FINRA and other CE Council members are working together to transform continuing education for broker dealers with a number of proposed changes, including moving to an annual CE requirement, working to reduce duplication between the firm and regulatory elements of continuing education and providing those who leave the industry a means of maintaining their qualification.
/jlne.ws/32ZTLm9

Investing and Trading

US 10-year yield falls below 1 per cent for first time; US central bank pullback shows force policymakers need to calm financial conditions
Colby Smith – FT
The 10-year US Treasury yield dropped below 1 per cent for the first time on Tuesday, after the Federal Reserve delivered its first emergency rate cut since the financial crisis in order to stave off the long-term economic impact from the spread of the coronavirus.
/jlne.ws/2TBJMip

Coronavirus poses big test of capitalism’s stakeholder conversion; Outbreak will show whether there is substance behind pledges to manage for the long term
Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson – FT
How stakeholder-friendly will companies feel in a falling market? The corporate consensus has shifted remarkably quickly to the idea that executives must manage for the long-term benefit of employees, consumers, suppliers and the planet — rather than focus only on meeting investor expectations for the next quarter.
/jlne.ws/2PNoLAb

Coronavirus pushes aviation sector into ‘crisis zone’; Carriers cancel flights and freeze hiring while jet makers reassess delivery guidance
Tanya Powley and Peggy Hollinger and Javier Espinoza – FT
Airbus is reviewing its 2020 delivery targets, issued barely three weeks ago, as the global spread of coronavirus in recent days through Europe and into the US pushes the aviation industry into crisis mode.
/jlne.ws/2VIc8dB

US Fed’s coronavirus rate cut is first move in a dance with markets; Investors expect more action but policymakers say fiscal policy should take the strain
Brendan Greeley, Colby Smith and Jennifer Ablan – FT
When the Fed and markets move together it is difficult to figure out who is watching whom — former Fed chair Ben Bernanke called it the “hall of mirrors” problem.
/jlne.ws/2VLuKZZ

Traders Speculate the BOE May Follow Fed With Emergency Cut
James Hirai and David Goodman – Bloomberg
Markets now see a 60% chance of a 50bps reduction in March; HSBC, Nomura say a move may come before scheduled meeting
Speculation is mounting that the Bank of England will follow the Federal Reserve with an emergency interest-rate cut.
/jlne.ws/2Ihtl5B

How to Hedge a Coronavirus; ‘Black Swan’ fund Universa made huge gains in February as markets swooned from coronavirus risk without making any assumptions about the epidemic
Spencer Jakab – WSJ
Imagine that an investor knew back in early December that a deadly coronavirus was spreading in Wuhan, China, that could become a pandemic. Or imagine that he at least heard and heeded the warning by the tragically muzzled Dr. Li Wenliang at the end of that month.
/jlne.ws/39ocfiq

Fallen Angels Test Coronavirus-Stricken Bond Markets; As economic worries mount, the relegation of Kraft Heinz, Renault and Macy’s to the junk-bond market is another risk for the lowest-rated companies
Jon Sindreu – WSJ
The Federal Reserve’s surprise interest-rate cut Tuesday didn’t assuage equity investors’ concerns about the impact of the coronavirus, yet it seems to have stabilized trading in corporate bonds.
/jlne.ws/32Q7eNh

The Great Wall Street Housing Grab; Hundreds of thousands of single-family homes are now in the hands of giant companies — squeezing renters for revenue and putting the American dream even further out of reach.
Francesca Mari – NY Times
Chad Ellingwood wasn’t really in the market for a home in the summer of 2006. But when his best friend came across an intriguing listing in Woodland Hills — a bedroom community in Los Angeles County’s San Fernando Valley — the two men decided to visit on a whim.
/jlne.ws/3asPx96

Institutions

H2O’s auditor flags trades with Lars Windhorst-linked broker; Fund manager traded controversial German financier’s bonds with Shard Capital
Robert Smith and Cynthia O’Murchu – FT
H2O Asset Management’s auditor has flagged that the firm broke rules governing open-ended funds by engaging in large trades with a small brokerage linked to the controversial financier Lars Windhorst.
/jlne.ws/3ct3kOB

Heavy flows into ESG funds raise questions over ratings; Providers under spotlight on the integrity of their scoring systems
Billy Nauman – FT
ESG ratings are becoming embedded in financial markets. A growing number of investment indices now hinge on companies’ rankings for environmental, social and governance criteria, and some banks are even offering better borrowing terms to companies with strong ESG scores.
/jlne.ws/2PLFIep

Banks test disaster recovery sites on coronavirus fears; What happens when at-home trading competes for bandwidth with Netflix?
Laura Noonan – FT
Banks are sending hundreds of staff to test their UK and US disaster recovery sites, installing big screens in traders’ homes and pushing regulators for a reprieve on trading rules so they can keep their businesses running through a coronavirus outbreak.
/jlne.ws/2vucREF

Billionaire Hohn’s Hedge Fund Slumps 8.8% as Virus Rocks Markets
Nishant Kumar – Bloomberg
The Children’s Investment Fund fell last month in market rout; The February drop followed a 3.8% gain in the previous month
Billionaire activist investor Christopher Hohn’s hedge fund slumped 8.8% last month as the deadly coronavirus outbreak plunged markets into turmoil.
/jlne.ws/39p27pz

Genesis Investment Management outsources execution to Northern Trust; Neil Dacey, head of trading at Genesis Investment Management, has joined the Northern Trust trading desk to oversee emerging markets as part of the deal.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
London-based boutique asset manager Genesis Investment Management has outsourced its execution to Northern Trust, both institutions have confirmed.
/jlne.ws/38kpIXi

Ackman hedges to protect against coronavirus’ ‘negative’ impact
Svea Herbst-Bayliss – Reuters
Billionaire hedge fund investor William Ackman on Tuesday said he has moved to protect the firm’s $6.6 billion portfolio, which includes restaurant chain and hotel stocks, as the spread of the coronavirus has sparked prolonged panic selling in markets.
/jlne.ws/38lLbz3

JPMorgan Tests U.S. Virus Plan With Thousands Working From Home
Michelle F Davis – Bloomberg
Leaders are reviewing contingency plans as coronavirus spreads; JPMorgan also testing back-up trading locations for resilience
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is asking thousands of U.S. employees to work from home as it tests a contingency plan for closing domestic offices should the coronavirus spread, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
/jlne.ws/32NU3fC

Regions

China’s Workers Suffer Layoffs, Slashed Pay and Shutdowns as Coronavirus Batters Businesses; An economic slowdown is putting strains on a labor market that was already under pressure
Stella Yifan Xie – WSJ
A sharp economic slowdown in China caused by the coronavirus epidemic is putting new pressure on the country’s labor market, as businesses struggling to maintain or revive operations resort to pay cuts and layoffs—or simply shut down.
/jlne.ws/3cwOsi8

Deloitte employee in London tests positive for coronavirus; Big Four accountant tells staff they can return to work in the City
Tabby Kinder and Ian Smith – FT
A Big Four accountant has warned that one of its employees has tested positive for coronavirus following a holiday to Asia and has been taken to hospital.
/jlne.ws/2TGEbY2

China’s stranded workers drag down coronavirus-stricken economy; Beijing’s aim to kick-start factory operations stymied by labour and transport woes
Sun Yu in Zhumadian – FT
Li Zhenguo is trying hard to return to work after spending five weeks at home in Zhumiao, a village in the central Henan Province.
/jlne.ws/2VJ6GqF

Rare Default on Green Bond in India Flags Broader Credit Strains
Anurag Joshi – Bloomberg
S&P cut Jain Irrigation to default after missed payment; India’s companies facing rising risk of defaults on cash woes
An Indian irrigation company has been cut to default by S&P Global Ratings after it failed to pay interest on its green dollar bond, in a further sign that stress among local firms is spilling over into the nation’s offshore debt market.
/jlne.ws/2xa6Ihg

U.S. Surges Ahead as World’s Top Hotspot for the Fabulously Rich
Benjamin Stupples – Bloomberg
Number of $30 million-plus fortunes in U.S. rose 6% in 2019; China was second, followed by Japan, Knight Frank study finds
The U.S. is home to even more of the super-rich. The country created the most individuals last year — 13,443 — with fortunes of $30 million or more, according to Knight Frank’s 2020 Wealth Report. China was second with 7,892 new ultra-high-net-worth individuals, while Japan was a distant third.
/jlne.ws/2TAwDGp

Coronavirus Spread in China Slows Drastically But Doubt Remains
Bloomberg News
While infections in the rest of the world accelerate, the coronavirus epidemic is showing signs of easing at its center — China — with new cases slowing dramatically and recoveries gathering pace. Still, doubt remains over whether the government’s statistics show the full picture.
/jlne.ws/3ar6BMr

Sweden Responds to Virus Threat With Wage Support for Businesses
Rafaela Lindeberg – Bloomberg
Sweden is set to expand an existing support program for businesses to protect the largest Nordic economy from the fallout of the novel coronavirus, according to local media.
/jlne.ws/2vuLxSX

Swiss Negative Rates Make Homes Unaffordable, Credit Suisse Says
Jan Dahinten – Bloomberg
Switzerland’s negative interest rates make owning a home increasingly unaffordable in a country where a single-family property can cost more than 10 times the average annual salary, according to research by Credit Suisse Group AG.
/jlne.ws/38mj0Qn

Brexit

Brexit: Peugeot could seek compensation to keep UK factory open
Jasper Jolly – The Guardian
Peugeot could demand compensation from the British government to keep its Vauxhall factory in Ellesmere Port open in the event of a bad Brexit deal, its chief executive has said. Carlos Tavares, the head of Peugeot’s owner, PSA, said the carmaker’s European workers should not be forced to bear the costs of “customs barriers” between the UK and the EU when the transition period finishes at the end of the year.
/jlne.ws/32NQTIM

In Brexit Britain, There May No Longer Be Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen
Reuters via NYT
England — Before dinnertime at Damian Wawrzyniak’s restaurant, he is busy preparing an elaborate array of dishes – slow cooked lamb with fermented broccoli inspired by his time cooking at the world-famous Noma restaurant and Polish sausages from his homeland. Wawrzyniak came to Britain 16 years ago before gaining renown working as the head chef at the London Olympics and cooking for members of the royal family.
/jlne.ws/39oarWK

Bentley says Brexit priority is auto deal with Europe, not the U.S.
Costas Pitas – Retuers
Luxury carmaker Bentley (VOWG_p.DE) said that maintaining free trade with the European Union was its priority over a Brexit deal with the United States, saying less favourable terms could force it to do more of the work on its British-made cars abroad. Britain formally left the EU on Jan. 31 but little will change in its relationship with the bloc this year, with London and Brussels negotiating a new relationship due to come into force from 2021.
/jlne.ws/2Tlwk38

Britain says no secret plan to diverge from EU financial rules
Reuters
Britain has no plan to rip up the financial rulebook after a post-Brexit transition period ends, financial services minister John Glen said on Wednesday.
/jlne.ws/38lzloG

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