ubs

 
 

Rise, fall and suspense – bitcoin’s wild first decade

LONDON: From its birth in an anonymous, academic style paper to one of the world's most volatile and closely watched financial instruments, bitcoin has lived through a tumultuous first 10 years.

Here is a look back at some of the trials and tribulations of the world's most popular virtual currency as it stands on the brink of either mass market acceptance – or early retirement.

Bitcoin 'Bible'

Published on Oct 31, 2008 by a person or group writing under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, the currency was introduced to an unsuspecting world in a nine-page paper called “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”.

Nakamoto's objective: to create a system that can send payments “directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution”.

It was, in effect, a master plan for a global currency that could not be controlled by any central bank and could be accessed by anyone.

'Genesis block'

The first 50 bitcoins were born at 1815 GMT on Jan 3, 2009. These were bunched into a single unit called a block, the first of which was appropriately called the “genesis block”.

From then on, every new block was attached to the one that came before it, creating what is today commonly known as a block chain.

The first transaction between two accounts occurred nine days later, when Satoshi Nakamoto sent 10 bitcoins to computer scientist Hal Finney as a test.

0.00076 dollars

Bitcoin's first value was deduced on Oct 5, 2009 from its cost of production.

At the time, the best way to get bitcoins was to “mine” them – essentially, use computers to solve difficult puzzles that release bitcoins from a block.

The electricity costs – these operations involve massive banks of interconnected processors – were offset by bitcoin's real-world value.

The puzzles get more difficult with the rise in the number of users, making their mining progressively more expensive.

US$30 million pizza

On May 22, 2010, a virtual currency developer in Florida named Laszlo Hanyecz got a pizza delivery man to accept 10,000 bitcoins for two pizzas. It was the first known bitcoin payment, worth about US$41 at the time. Today, each of those pizzas would be worth in excess of US$30 million (RM125 million) in bitcoin.

May 22 is now known as “Bitcoin Pizza Day”.

Nakomoto's vanishing act

Nakamoto announced his, her or their withdrawal from the project on Dec 12, 2010, ceasing all bitcoin operations four months later.

The identity and number of bitcoins owned by Nakamoto has remained a mystery since.

Nakamoto briefly reappeared in an internet chat room in 2014, denying a Newsweek magazine article that claimed to unmask the creator's identity.

Bankruptcy protection

After malfunctioning for over two weeks, the main bitcoin exchange – based in Tokyo and known as Mt Gox – filed for bankruptcy protection in February 2014.

Accounting for nearly 80% of all bitcoin operations, the exchange said it had been hacked, losing some US$477 million in crypto currencies.

Its former chief, a Frenchman name Mark Karpeles, is still facing legal proceedings in Tokyo, where he was briefly placed under arrest. Karpeles has pleaded not guilty to embezzlement and data manipulation charges.

Breakthrough

Last year was a mercurial one for bitcoin, with the currency hitting glboal headlines after soaring in value from less than US$1,000 in January to US$19,511 on Dec 18 – its all-time high, according to Bloomberg data.

The virtual bubble burst in the subsequent days, with bitcoin's value fluctuating wildly over the course of the following weeks.

It is now worth about a third of its record value and is experiencing much more modest trade volumes and price swings, which analysts see as either a sign of maturity or the beginning of bitcoin's end.

Suspense

Bitcoin hopes its next breakthrough will come with approval by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of its own exchange-traded fund (ETF) – a security similar to a stock that would track bitcoin's value.

ETFs are one of the most popular trading mechanisms and the SEC's green light would give bitcoin a massive boost, securing both its short-term future and reputation among giant investment funds.

The SEC is currently reviewing several applications. It has balked so far, expressing concern about the risk of fraud. – AFP


Media Prima to provide content for Europe’s Dailymotion video streaming service

KUALA LUMPUR: Media Prima Bhd has inked a memorandum understanding (MoU) with Dailymotion, which will see the media group's video content being made available on the platform.

When asked if there are concerns over piracy and copyright, CEO of Media Prima Televisions Networks, Johan Ishak told reporters that the group currently works with authorities such as the Home Ministry and the Communications and Multimedia Ministry to tackle the issue.

Additionally, it also has an internal unit to look after IPs for content from all its platforms.

“Whenever we find any incidences of piracy…we will get authorities to help us shut it down,” he added.

According to Dailymotion's Vice President of Content in Asia Pacific, Antoine Nazaret the necessary tools and technology are in place to ensure that media content uploaded to its platform are protected.

“The tools are at scale so you can address as much challenges as you can..millions if we need. We know that we can scale at that size to make sure that it is protected not only here but if the content is used in a wrong way elsewhere in the world, we(will) know that it was there,” explained Nazaret.

The platform is owned by Paris based multinational company, Vivendi.

Dailymotion will also be powering Media Prima's Tonton over-the-top (OTT) service platform.

As for Tonton, which ceased video-on-demand subscription on Aug 31, 2018, Johan said the group may relook the possibility of re-implementing subscription services in the future when there is enough demand for paid content.


Cryptocurrency bitcoin marks 10 years

LONDON, Oct 23 — October 31, 2008 marked the birth of bitcoin. Ten years on, the world’s first cryptocurrency is at the forefront of a complex financial system viewed warily by markets and investors. From its first evocation amid a global…


Banks lead US stock slide, extending market’s losing streak

la-1540243046-64t2aqthj3-snap-image

Banks led a broad slide in U.S. stocks Monday as an early rally faded, giving the benchmark S&P 500 index its fourth straight loss. Health care and energy stocks also helped pull the market lower, outweighing gains by technology and consumer-focused stocks. Crude oil prices eked out a small gain after spending most of the day in the red. The latest losses came as traders geared up for a busy week of company earnings reports that should help answer how Corporate America is coping with rising interest rates, inflation andRead More


New trade pact leaves most US industry at mercy of Mexico

NEW YORK/MEXICO CITY: The new North American trade agreement ends key legal protections for many US businesses operating in Mexico, leaving their operations exposed to a risk they had avoided under the old trade deal: Mexico’s court system. For thousands of US firms, the change could add complications and uncertainty to doing business south of […]


Hitachi Sunway hopes Budget 2019 will support Malaysia’s data centre industry

KUCHING: Hitachi Sunway Information Systems Sdn Bhd (Hitachi Sunway), hopes the government will recognise data centres as key growth enablers, as highlighted in the group’s aspirations for Budget 2019. According to Group chief executive officer (CEO) and director Cheah Kok Hoong, Malaysia is on a path to rebuild itself and Hitachi Sunway believes digital transformation […]


Bonia’s subsidiary CRG Inc to be listed on LEAP Market by end of November

PETALING JAYA: Bonia Corp Bhd's wholly owned subsidiary CRG Incorporated Bhd, which is the design, marketing and distribution company for Carlo Rino and CR2 brands, is expected to be listed on the LEAP Market of Bursa Malaysia Securities by end of November.

Outlining its plans in the information memorandum released today, CRG said it aims to increase its geographical footprint in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. This includes developing a strong online presence for its Carlo Rino brand in Southeast Asia over the next five years, to tap into the e-commerce market in the region which is expected to grow to US$29.4 billion (RM122.2 billion) in sales by 2020.

It has also granted Kafak the exclusive rights to use the Carlo Rino brand, as well as operate and manage boutiques carrying the Carlo Rino range in the Middle East for five years, with a five-year renewable period.

“Through this distributorship arrangement, we intend to expand our retail presence to other countries in the Middle East, including the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain,” it said.

In terms of expanding its product range, CRG said it is in the midst of undertaking research on the market for accessories and fashion-related collections, with the aim of launching various accessory product ranges over the next five years.

Its products are generally targeted at young working adults between 18 and 35 years old.

CRG's principal markets are Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam. In Malaysia, it has 39 boutiques and outlets, and 120 department store counters. It also has authorised distributors/dealers in Vietnam, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Brunei.

According to an information memorandum by the approved adviser and continuing adviser, TA Securities Holdings Bhd, the distribution of CRG shares to entitled shareholders and cash payout, to entitled shareholders who hold less than 100 Bonia shares, is expected to take place in mid-November.

The demerger of CRG involves a series of transactions namely capitalisation, subdivision, conversion and dividend-in-specie. The capitalisation, subdivision and conversion have been completed as of Aug 13.

Bonia will distribute via a dividend-in-specie, its entire shareholding in CRG and rights to CRG shares, to the entitled shareholders on the basis of one CRG share for every one Bonia share, upon receipt of approval-in-principle from Bursa Malaysia Securities for the listing.

The completion of the dividend-in-specie will result in the demerger of CRG from Bonia, and the entitled shareholders will directly hold shares in the same proportion as their shareholdings in Bonia, except for those who hold less than one board lot of Bonia shares, who will be paid cash in lieu of the number of shares they are entitled to.


Uber to appeal against Singapore regulator’s decision on deal with rival Grab

SINGAPORE: Uber Technologies Inc has decided to appeal against a decision by the Singapore competition regulator that its merger with regional rival Grab violated the city-state's competition laws, the firm said today.

Last month, Singapore slapped ride-hailing firms Grab and Uber with fines and imposed restrictions on their businesses to open up the market to competitors, after concluding that their merger had driven up prices. It fined Grab S$6.42 million (RM19.35 million) million) and Uber S$6.58 million (RM19.84 million).

Uber said it was making the appeal independently of Grab, as a matter of principle. Separately, Grab said it would not appeal against the regulator's decision.

The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore's ruling that the transaction led to a substantial lessening of competition, and that Uber had intentionally breached the law, was “unsupported and incorrect”, Uber said in a statement.

Uber asked the CCCS to annul its fine, and said the regulator had used a very narrow definition of the ride-hailing market. It also pointed to Go-Jek's impending entry into the city-state, saying the Indonesian ride-hailing company would make for a formidable competitor.

Uber disputed the CCCS' allegation that Uber knew that the transaction infringed the law but nevertheless moved ahead.

“To the contrary, our view has always been that in a properly defined market – including at the very least
ride-sharing, street-hail taxis and new entrants – the
transaction respects the law and does not raise significant concerns,” it said.

Uber sold its Southeast Asian business to bigger regional
rival Grab in March in exchange for a 27.5% stake in the Singapore-based firm. But the deal invited regulatory scrutiny.

Last week, the Philippines' competition watchdog also fined the two firms, saying they consummated their merger too soon and that the quality of service had suffered.

“I do not expect that this decision or definition of the market used in Singapore by CCCS would significantly affect Uber elsewhere,” said Walter Theseira, an economics professor at the Singapore University of Social Sciences.

He said, however, that Uber may have an interest in conducting an economic analysis of the definition of the market to inform and contest similar cases elsewhere. – Reuters


‘China’s tariff on US LNG could leave projects dead in the water’

NAGOYA: LNG Canada challenged competing US liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects today, saying many could end up “dead in the water” as long as China keeps its tariff on imports of the fuel from the US as part of the trade war between the countries.

China in September announced a tariff on US LNG imports as part of an escalating trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.

This month, Royal Dutch Shell said it received a final investment decision (FID) for its US$31 billion (RM128.8 billion) LNG Canada project, which is expected to start exporting in 2025.

Speaking at an industry event in Nagoya today, LNG Canada CEO Andy Calitz said the FID “was irrespective” of Chinese tariffs on US LNG, but added such
measures would make US LNG less competitive.

“The world has become so competitive that if we are to face a 10% surcharge tariff on LNG, then as far as I’m concerned, you’re dead in the water. So I’m very happy to be in Canada,” he told Reuters.

Current US LNG exports remain competitive despite the 10% surcharge into China, as US natural gas is cheap thanks to booming shale output, allowing exporters to offer LNG at competitive rates.

Once operational, LNG Canada will have the advantage of being closer to Asia’s North Asian consumer hubs than US facilities, saving freight costs, while also avoiding fees for using the Panama Canal that current US LNG exporters must pay since they are located on the Gulf of Mexico.

Several US projects are still vying for financing and they must compete with rising output elsewhere, including from top producers Australia and Qatar.

Being competitive in China is key as it is the world’s fastest growing LNG import market.

Calitz said China would overtake Japan as the world’s biggest LNG importer “within the next 24 months”.

China’s natural gas consumption in 2017 rose 14.8% from the previous year to 238.6 billion cubic metres, and is expected to reach 270 billion cubic metres in 2018 and 320 billion cubic metres in 2020.


LNG Canada: China’s import tariff on US LNG could leave projects ‘dead in the water’

NAGOYA: LNG Canada challenged competing US liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects today, saying many could end up “dead in the water” as long as China keeps its tariff on imports of the fuel from the US as part of the trade war between the countries.

China in September announced a tariff on US LNG imports as part of an escalating trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.

This month, Royal Dutch Shell said it received a final investment decision (FID) for its US$31 billion (RM128.8 billion) LNG Canada project, which is expected to start exporting in 2025.

Speaking at an industry event in Nagoya today, LNG Canada CEO Andy Calitz said the FID “was irrespective” of Chinese tariffs on US LNG, but added such
measures would make US LNG less competitive.

“The world has become so competitive that if we are to face a 10% surcharge tariff on LNG, then as far as I’m concerned, you’re dead in the water. So I’m very happy to be in Canada,” he told Reuters.

Current US LNG exports remain competitive despite the 10% surcharge into China, as US natural gas is cheap thanks to booming shale output, allowing exporters to offer LNG at competitive rates.

Once operational, LNG Canada will have the advantage of being closer to Asia’s North Asian consumer hubs than US facilities, saving freight costs, while also avoiding fees for using the Panama Canal that current US LNG exporters must pay since they are located on the Gulf of Mexico.

Several US projects are still vying for financing and they must compete with rising output elsewhere, including from top producers Australia and Qatar.

Being competitive in China is key as it is the world’s fastest growing LNG import market.

Calitz said China would overtake Japan as the world’s biggest LNG importer “within the next 24 months”.

China’s natural gas consumption in 2017 rose 14.8% from the previous year to 238.6 billion cubic metres, and is expected to reach 270 billion cubic metres in 2018 and 320 billion cubic metres in 2020.