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Breakfast Briefing: SpaceX, Ethereum’s Run and Kalanick Sells

SpaceX’s NASA Mission

Elon Musk’s SpaceX completed its first mission of 2018, known as codename Zuma.

Editor’s Remarks: SpaceX launched a classified payload into low-earth orbit on behalf of the US government using the company’s flagship Falcon 9 rocket. The first stage rocket managed to land and, therefore, can potentially be reused in future launches. SpaceX was chosen for the mission by defence contractor Northrup Grumman, which picked the company due to the substantial cost savings it offers. Following a spate of bad weather on the East Coast and heightened security checks, the NASA mission was pushed back several times in late 2017. SpaceX aims to launch a total of 30 flights this year after a record 18 were completed last year.

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Kalanick to Sell Uber Stake

Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is selling 29% of his shares in the company.

Editor’s Remarks: After SoftBank acquired one-fifth of Uber, the Japanese conglomerate is now buying 29% of Kalanick’s stake in the company. The recent SoftBank deal devalued Uber, down to $48bn from as high as $70bn in previous funding rounds. For Kalanick, 2017 was a rollercoaster year that saw him ousted from his own company, which itself was rocked by a number of scandals across the globe. He is likely to pull in around $1.4bn for the sale. Additionally, Benchmark, one of Uber’s earliest investors plans to sell around 15% of its own holding, amounting to around $900m.

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Ethereum Extends Price Run

After breaking through $1000, the price of ether has moved above $1200.

Editor’s Remarks: Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin has recently warned that the cryptocurrency market has not done enough to justify the huge amounts of cash sloshing around the cryptosphere. The market appears to have taken his statement as further evidence of his growing role as a figurehead for the blockchain world, and investors are piling into his platform. Nearly every ICO takes place on the Ethereum network and it currently dominates the market for decentralised applications. Following the latest price rally, Ethereum has retaken the number two spot from Ripple, which had occupied the position since the new year.

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Investors Pressure Apple

Two investors want to investigate whether the iPhone is too addictive for children.

Editor’s Remarks: In a letter to Apple sent over the weekend, shareholders Jana Partners and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System urged the company to enable parents to restrict their children’s iPhone usage. Part of their concerns come from the potential link between high iPhone usage and poor mental health, which the investors say Apple must investigate. Governments around the world are also moving to curb how much time children spend on their phones. France, for instance, aims to ban smartphones in primary and middle school. The call follows Apple’s announcement that all of its Mac and iOS devices are vulnerable because of flawed chip designs.

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UK Wants EU Medicine Regulation

The UK hopes to remain under the watch of the EU medicine regulator after Brexit.

Editor’s Remarks: Despite calls from the some EU nations that the UK cannot cherry-pick the aspects of the single market that it will enjoy after leaving the bloc, Britain is pushing to remain under EU regulation for medicine. Similar moves have been made for the UK’s chemicals and aviation industries, which some hope will stay adherent to European safety standards and the jurisdiction of the ECJ. The apparent “red line” drawn by Theresa May regarding any future role of the ECJ in British affairs post-Brexit has evidently been blurred in recent months.

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