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Breakfast Briefing: Amazon Go, Blockchain Cruise & Tesla’s New Rival

Amazon Go Launches Today

Amazon’s new cashier-less physical store launches in the company’s Seattle campus.

Editor’s Remarks: The e-commerce giant has been working on Amazon Go for over five years and now it has finally become a reality. The physical store features cameras that monitor shoppers’ every move and feed data through an algorithm that totals up their receipt once they exit the shop. The company has labelled this new way of doing the groceries as “just walk out” shopping, since there are no counters or queues. Amazon Go receipts also feature a so-called “trip timer”, which shows customers just how long it took them to purchase their goods. Amazon’s foray into physical stores follows similar moves by Alibaba, which recently opened 20 supermarkets in Beijing.

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Blockchain Cruise Sets Sail

Last week, 600 crypto-enthusiasts embarked on the second annual Blockchain Cruise.

Editor’s Remarks: Ironically, the cruise coincided with a week that saw bitcoin tank 20% but that did little to dampen the enthusiasm of 600 cryptocurrency fans on board the 1,020-foot yacht. Many of those on board were paper millionaires, who kicked back to bitcoin-themed hip-hop and filmed their exploits with a small fleet of drones hovering over the vessel. Ronnie Moas, a cryptocurrency enthusiast who has become famous for his seemingly wild bitcoin price predictions, was in attendance and told a baying audience that bitcoin could hit $300,000 in under seven years. Also aboard the cruise was Kaspar Korjus, an Estonian official looking to launch a national cryptocurrency.

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Analysts Bullish on Twitter

Six Wall Street analysts have upgraded Twitter stock since results in October.

Editor’s Remarks: The social media company is currently in its third year of CEO Jack Dorsey’s turnaround strategy and signs show that the plan is finally paying off. Back in October, the company posted results that beat analysts’ expectations, prompting a 40% share price rally and better sentiment on Wall Street. Following Facebook’s recent announcement that it will cut back on how much business and brand content features on its signature newsfeed, analysts expect that media outlets will view Twitter as an increasingly relevant tool. However, observers have pointed out that Twitter’s current share price of around $23 is still short of its $26 IPO price.

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China Car Startup Seeks $400m

Byton, a Chinese startup headed by former BMW executives, is looking to raise a new round of funding.

Editor’s Remarks: Byton unveiled a concept electric vehicle at this month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and has since been scouting for potential investors. The SUV on show featured facial recognition software to unlock doors and Amazon Alexa integration. The company expects that its first model will hit the market next year and retail at $45,000. By comparison, Tesla’s Model 3 starts at $35,000 and carries a lot more brand power. So far, Byton has received $200m in funding from Suning Holdings and various Chinese state-owned funds.

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Norwegian Airlines Sets Record

A plane flew from New York to London in just five hours and 13 minutes.

Editor’s Remarks: The jet landed 53 minutes ahead of schedule, which meant the flight was a full three minutes quicker than the previous record set by a British Airways flight in 2015. Optimal weather conditions and a powerful tail-wind helped the Norwegian Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner beat the previous record-holder but the plane’s pilot thinks that low altitude turbulence actually prevented an even faster journey. However, the new record still falls far behind times achieved by the Concorde, which was able to complete the transatlantic journey in just three-and-a-half hours before ceasing operations in 2003.

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