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Breakfast Briefing: Oil Hits $80 & Ocado Soars 70%

 4 min read / 

Oil Hits $80 A Barrel

Oil hit its highest prices in nearly four years due to tight supply and tensions with Iran.

Editor’s Remarks: Prices have recovered from as low as $30 a barrel in 2017, due largely to supply cuts agreed between OPEC and Russia, a strengthening world economy and political tensions across the globe. A number of analysts have said that prices are likely to go as high as $100 in the coming months, while Saudi Arabia has announced that it will co-operate with other oil nations if the market is faced with a shortage of oil. Many observers are now hoping that OPEC and Russia will consider lifting their supply restrictions.

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Coinbase Makes VC Investments

Coinbase has backed Compound, a firm that is building a liquid crypto money market.

Editor’s Remarks: Compound, unlike other cryptocurrency exchanges, intends to offer customers the chance to earn interest on their deposited assets. Coinbase, a foremost digital exchange, has announced that it partook in Compound’s $8.2m seed round, which was led by Andreessen Horowitz and Bain Capital Ventures. Compound presently operates via the Ethereum blockchain but its CEO Robert Leshner has said that he wants to expand to digitised versions of traditional currencies and securities. Coinbase’s VC fund has so far made nine investments into early-stage blockchain projects.

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Ocado Jumps 70%

Shares in the UK online grocer soared after a deal with US firm Kroger was announced. 

Editor’s Remarks: The deal will enable Kroger to use Ocado’s technology for its own grocery delivery business in the US, marking the UK company’s first foray across the pond. Kroger has taken a 5% stake in Ocado as part of the deal, which will see Ocado receive a monthly fee in exchange for the rights to its systems. Ocado has been on something of a deal-making spree in recent months, having signed a deal with Sweden’s ICA – another grocery business – earlier this month and Canadian supermarket Sobeys earlier in the year.

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Monzo Unveils Apple Pay

The UK-based digital bank has added Apple Pay to its mobile current accounts.

Editor’s Remarks: Monzo is known for embedding customer feedback loops into its service. After Apple Pay received over 2,000 mentions in Monzo forums, the company is now adding it to its app. However, many of Monzo’s fans will be wondering what the delay has been, given that rival Starling Bank rolled out Apple Pay nearly a year ago and Monzo itself launched Google Pay last October. Monzo currently has around 650,000 UK users and is a top contender in the increasingly crowded digital banking space.

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Jack Dorsey Backs Bitcoin

The Twitter co-founder expressed his hope that bitcoin becomes the internet’s default currency.

Editor’s Remarks: During a conversation with Lightning Labs’ Elizabeth Stark, Dorsey said that he wishes that bitcoin becomes the internet’s native currency. Dorsey, who also founded payment provider Square, conceded that bitcoin remains a controversial topic in most establishment circles. However, he added that the vision of a decentralised open source cryptocurrency is very much aligned with Square’s own vision of empowering people to transact across the web. Dorsey also added that in promoting bitcoin, Square would never encroach on the cryptocurrency’s fundamental openness.

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