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Breakfast Briefing: Bitcoin Ban, Hammond Hits Back & Intel Eases Fears

South Korea’s Crypto Ban

South Korea is drafting a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading despite it being one of the most active markets. 

Editor’s Remarks: The move comes just after CoinMarketCap, one of the most popular cryptocurrency databases, decided to remove South Korean price data from its listings because of the enormous premiums that South Koreans are paying. On news of the potential ban, bitcoin fell to a low of $12,800 on the Bitstamp exchange. Any legislation will have to be passed by the nation’s National Assembly but should it be passed the consequences for the wider crypto market could be dire as South Korea is the third most active market for virtual currencies.

Read more on Google:

Chinese Workers Leaving the Valley

Successful Chinese employees are leaving Silicon Valley to make fortunes in China.

Editor’s Remarks: Silicon Valley is increasingly populated by talent drawn from China and India, and while there is no sign of shortage in Indian workers moving to California, there are signals the same is not true for the Chinese. Indeed, Chinese tech giants such as Alibaba and Tencent are relying more heavily on the so-called “reverse brain drain”, by which US-trained, Chinese-born employees are returning to their homeland to lead tech efforts. This is a potentially huge shift away from the one-time status quo, which saw Chinese graduates scramble for jobs overseas and foreign citizenships.

Read more on Technology:

Telegram Plans ICO

The encrypted messaging service plans to launch its own blockchain platform and native currency.

Editor’s Remarks: Telegram, founded by the elusive Pavel and Nikolai Durov, is looking to launch an ICO at a valuation of $3bn-$5bn. An initial private pre-sale is set to take place soon, which will raise up to $500m, before the public sale that is pencilled in for as early as March. Accordingly, Telegram’s ICO will be the largest ever, beating even Tezos last year, which raised over $230m last July. It is expected that the initial pre-sale will require a minimum buy-in of $20m and will largely be available only to the Durovs’ inner circle.

Read more on Instant Messaging

Hammond Hits Back At EU

Speaking in Berlin, the UK chancellor told EU officials “it takes two to tango”.

Editor’s Remarks: Chancellor Philip Hammond has flexed some muscle by telling a business audience in Berlin that the EU should be more open about what they want after Brexit. He pointed to the common quip that the UK is yet to decide what it itself wants from leaving the bloc but observed that Brussels has given little signal of what the future relationship will look like. Last month, at the EU summit, European leaders chimed that it was up to the UK to define the relationship that it sought with Brussels. Following a flopped cabinet reshuffle, Hammond’s show of strength is no doubt appreciated by Prime Minister Theresa May.

Read more on the UK:

Intel Defuses Concerns

The chipmaker says that fixes for the recent chip vulnerabilities will not slow computers much. 

Editor’s Remarks: Following the news that many of its chips were susceptible to cyber attacks due to a design flaw, Intel claims that the potential fix will not slow computer devices by more than 10%. In fact, test results released on Wednesday show that most PCs are barely affected, while ongoing tests will clarify the situation with regards to servers. The flaw was picked up at the tail end of last year by Google researchers who found that the design used in processors running nearly on all computers and phones might give hackers access to protected data.

Read more on Computing:

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