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Bitcoin WARNING: Could Facebook and Amazon cryptocurrency plans TOPPLE bitcoin? | City & Business | Finance

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The industry behemoths are both working behind the scenes to develop tokens that could easily overpower bitcoin. Rumours that the online giants were working on separate crypto projects began at the start of the year, but it is now understood from insiders at both companies that they are step closer to becoming a reality in 2019. Facebook has been on a huge recruitment drive recently, snapping up the top talent within the blockchain (the underlying technology for cryptocurrencies) industry. Amazon too has been busily recruiting specialists.

According to one of the UK’s leading cryptocurrency and blockchain academics, the move into crypto by Facebook and Amazon could easily overshadow bitcoin.

Gavin Brown, senior lecturer in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “This really could be an absolute gamechanger and would be a seriously smart move by both companies. 

“This time last year Mark Zuckerberg was talking about crypto and blockchain being a solution to the challenges that Facebook faces, but there’s never been any clarity about what form that would take.

“But if it is, as anticipated, the creation of a ‘Facecoin’ as such then it would seriously take the world by storm – the same applies to Amazon.”

The idea behind creating a cryptocurrency for Facebook users or just Amazon customers makes sound financial sense for both provider and user.

Both organisations would be able to keep total control over all the funds within their domain, while customers would be offered a raft of incentives.

Mr Brown cites the example of the Starbucks prepaid card to demonstrate how much cash the idea of a company crypto would put at the fingertips of large organisations.

He said: “Starbucks holds an astonishing $1.3 billion on pre-paid cards.

“They could offer a discount within their own eco-system – it’s a saving for the customer but also guaranteed spend into the Starbucks accounts.

Now imagine how that could work as a crypto with Facebook or Amazon.”

The idea behind gaining control over tokenised spending was explored by Disney when it launched its own paper currency – the Disney Dollar – in the eighties.

Mr Brown said: “If you went to Florida you exchanged your fiat currency which had pictures of Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln on it for tokens featuring Donald Duck and Goofy instead.

“Inside their eco system there was commercial gain to be had by being able to control the currency within your realm – the principal of a cryptocurrency through Facebook or Amazon would be the same, only digital.

“This is direct spending within those financial eco systems, and it’s a really smart move.”

One of the main attractions of investing in a Facebook or Amazon token is the fact that it would be unlikely to be as complex as bitcoin or its peers.

The processes for setting up digital wallets with many cryptocurrencies can be laborious and difficult to understand.

Mr Brown added: “This would be easier, and enables people to move between the old world of fiat to the new world of cryptocurrency without going through the complicated procedures that currently put many people off getting involved.

“This would be a simple step into that market for them, and if you’re a CTO of a multinational and suddenly the creation of money is available to you in this fashion then it becomes impossible to ignore.”

But what effect will the move by giants like Amazon and Facebook have on bitcoin?

Could this be a nail in the original crypto’s coffin?

He said: “It’s certainly a nail, but it couldn’t ever be THE nail.

“Bitcoin is and always will be attractive to millions of people so I doubt the coffin will ever get built.”

Coin Rivet is a website bringing news, information, analysis, opinion and insight from the fast-moving blockchain world.

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S&P 500 posts highest close since November 8 on trade optimism

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – The S&P 500 posted its highest closing level since Nov. 8 on Friday as investors clung to signs of progress in the ongoing trade talks between the United States and China.

Investors assessed a slew of headlines on the talks, with top trade negotiators from the two countries meeting to wrap up a week of discussions on some of the thorniest issues in their trade war.

If the two sides fail to reach a deal by midnight on March 1, then their seven-month trade war could escalate.

“People are expecting some sort of positive news on trade and tariffs with China fairly soon,” said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“But we won’t know until the end of next week,” he said, and, “there has been a lack of specifics.”

Optimism on the trade front and dovish signals from the U.S. Federal Reserve have driven the recent gains and left indexes well above their lows of December, when the market swooned on fears of an economic slowdown. The S&P 500 is now up about 19 percent since its late-December low.

The S&P 500 technology index was up 1.3 percent, leading gains among the 11 major S&P sectors, while the trade-exposed industrials index climbed 0.6 percent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 181.18 points, or 0.7 percent, to 26,031.81, the S&P 500 gained 17.79 points, or 0.64 percent, to 2,792.67 and the Nasdaq Composite added 67.84 points, or 0.91 percent, to 7,527.55.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., February 22, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

All three indexes registered gains for the week, with both the Dow and Nasdaq posting a ninth week of increases.

The number of New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq stocks hitting 52-week highs hit 367, the most since mid-September and outnumbered those hitting year lows by the widest margin in six months.

Stocks briefly pared gains after U.S. officials briefed on the negotiations said more time is likely needed in the talks given China’s resistance this week to American demands for specific steps by Beijing to end forced transfers of U.S. technology and certain other policies.

Afterward, President Donald Trump said there was a very good chance the United States would strike a deal with China to end the trade war, and that he was inclined to extend his March 1 deadline to reach an agreement.

“Right now the downside risk has been not as steep, but there’s always a concern that something happens last-minute,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey.

“Having a Chinese economy that stabilizes is constructive for global markets,” she said. “That’s what is key in terms of the market looking at the results.”

Kraft Heinz Co tumbled 27.5 percent, and was the biggest drag on the S&P along with a 1.7 percent fall in Class B shares of the company’s controlling stakeholder, Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

The packaged food company posted a quarterly loss, disclosed a Securities and Exchange Commission probe and wrote down the value of its iconic Kraft and Oscar Mayer brands.

Slideshow (2 Images)

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.99-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.45-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 64 new 52-week highs and three new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 112 new highs and 21 new lows.

About 6.9 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges. That compares with the 7.3 billion-share daily average for the past 20 trading days.

Additional reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis

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FCA sets $14 million annual target compensation for CEO Manley: filing

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FILE PHOTO: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) CEO Mike Manley arrives at the memorial service held in honor of former CEO Sergio Marchionne in Turin, Italy, September 14, 2018. REUTERS/Massimo Pinca/File Photo

DETROIT (Reuters) – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCA) has set an annual compensation target for Chief Executive Officer Mike Manley consisting of pay, cash and equity bonuses of $14 million, the automaker said in a regulatory filing on Friday.

Manley took over as the head of FCA last July after the abrupt departure of his predecessor Sergio Marchionne. The company paid its new CEO 600,442 euros ($680,240) for 2018 and he will receive a bonus for 2018 of $367,000 to be paid this year.

Manley also was granted FCA 180,364 shares for his work in 2018, which will vest in 2019 if the company meets certain targets. The fair value per share on the date those were granted was $16.61, FCA said.

His target annual compensation consists of a base salary of $1.6 million, and a bonus of $2.4 million and an equity award valued at $10 million, both linked to the company hitting certain performance targets.

Former CEO Marchionne received 6.6 million euros in compensation for 2018, which consisted of nearly 2 million euros in base pay and an annual bonus for 2017 of just over 4.6 million euros.

For the 2014 to 2017 time period, Marchionne also received 2.8 million FCA shares. The fair value per share was $14.84, FCA said.

FCA chairman John Elkann received a base salary of 1.7 million euros and no annual bonus.

Reporting by Nick Carey; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall

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Flattening U.S. yield curve in late 2018 ‘flashing red’ on economy: Fed’s Williams

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President and Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, John Williams, addresses a news conference in Zurich, Switzerland September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A flattening U.S. yield curve in December, which was close to being inverted, was “flashing red” about a deceleration in U.S. economic growth heading into 2019, despite some solid data at the time, New York Federal Reserve President John Williams said on Friday.

The yield curve flattens as the gap between short and long-dated yields narrow, suggesting investors’ worries about a slowing economy.

The yield curve inverts when shorter-dated yields rise above longer-dated ones. An inverted yield curve has preceded all U.S. recessions in the past 50 years.

Williams was giving closing remarks at a conference about quantitative tools, jointly sponsored by the New York Fed and the Atlanta Federal Reserve.

Reporting by Richard Leong; editing by Diane Craft

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