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Cryptocurrencies

Breakfast Briefing: NEO, Bitcoin and Trump’s Security Strategy

NEO Price Explodes

Often dubbed China’s Ethereum, NEO tokens have soared over 100% over the past week.

Editor’s Remarks: Although NEO’s recent trading performance has been eclipsed by the likes of bitcoin, Litecoin and Ripple, the Chinese cryptocurrency has soared in value. At the time of writing, NEO is sitting at $75 apiece, after retreating slightly from an all-time high of $81. Before the latest rally, NEO had spent much of September through to December in the range of $20 to $40. The latest price surge coincides with Ethereum’s developers announcing an ICO template, which suggests that the Chinese state might be considering lifting its ban on ICOs.

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Chinese Tech Focuses on AI

Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba have reaffirmed their commitment to AI.

Editor’s Remarks: China’s tech titans each consider AI to be one of the pillars of their strategy going forward. Each has also set up a network of labs devoted to testing AI at home in China as well as abroad. On China’s Singles Day, Alibaba deployed AI solutions to generate over 400m personalised banner ads that catered for an individual’s tastes and purchasing habits. Chinese tech giants have one distinct advantage over their western counterparts: data collected from their enormous consumer testing ground. Additionally, while western governments are restricting what data tech companies can collect, Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba face no such hurdles.

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Bitcoin Shorts Fall Flat

Following the launch of bitcoin derivatives, the digital currency continues to rise.

Editor’s Remarks: Many felt that the launch of CME’s bitcoin futures would prompt a wave of short-selling but this has so far failed to materialise. Regardless, the release of bitcoin derivatives by exchange providers CME and Cboe widens the market for institutional traders to join the bitcoin craze. Some brokers are concerned that short-selling activity is subdued because bitcoin futures may not move in line with bitcoin itself due. On the other hand, traders and institutions are perhaps also nervous about simply being burned by an asset that, for now, seems only to have an upward trajectory.

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Trump Unveils Security Strategy

President Donald Trump called China a ‘competitor’ when unveiling his national security strategy.

Editor’s Remarks: By law, US presidents are required to release a national security strategy, which underpins their administration’s diplomatic and military activity across the globe. Accordingly, yesterday’s unveiling marked the first time that President Trump set out his foreign policy objectives. Trump’s statement included criticisms of Russia and China, who he called “revisionist” powers intent on shaping the world “antithetical to US value”. The announcement follows Trump’s recent trip to China and Putin’s message of thanks to the US president after American intelligence helped to prevent a terror attack in St Petersburg.

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Facebook Penalises Clickbait

The social media giant announced measures to curb spammy content.

Editor’s Remarks: Facebook said yesterday that it will prevent page owners and individuals from sharing and publishing content that is designed to receive high engagement and go viral. Such content includes posts titled “Like if you’re an Aries”, which induce readers to engage and thereby grows the originating page’s online reach. The changes will be made directly to the Newsfeed algorithm, which will now demote pages that promote engagement bait tactics. Facebook confirmed that certain posts that serve a social utility, such as missing child reports, will be exempted from the clampdown. The move is thought to be partly a response to criticism levelled at social media giants in the aftermath of the 2016 US election.

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