How One of the Most Profitable Trades of the Last Few Years Blew Up in a Single Day
- Every week, hosts Joe Weisenthal and Tracy Alloway take you on a not-so-random walk through hot topics in markets, finance and economics.
- In recent years, one of the easiest ways to make money in this market has been to bet on low volatility.
- Up until recently, markets have been exceptionally tranquil, and trades predicated on that tranquility continuing have made a fortune.
- But two of the most popular vehicles for making that trade, XIV and SVXY got obliterated in one day in early February.
- On this week's episode of the Odd Lots podcast, we speak to Pravit Chintawongvanich, the head of Derivatives Strategy at Macro Risk Advisors about the episode.
- He explains what the short volatility trade was, how specifically these funds operated, and how they ultimately became victims of their own success.
Cryptocurrencies ‘could drop to near-zero at any time,’ Ethereum founder warns
- Cryptocurrencies are a nascent asset class and could fall violently at any time, the founder of blockchain network Ethereum warned on Saturday.
- Cryptocurrencies have recovered slightly from a severe sell-off which saw the market lose as much as $100 billion in market value in a single day.
- Bitcoin recovered to a price above $10,000 last week after falling as low as $5,947.40 the week before.
- Ethereum is a blockchain network; blockchain is the technology that underpins cryptocurrencies.
- It maintains a continuously growing record of cryptocurrency transactions across a decentralized network.
- Buterin is one of many popular figures who has been impersonated on Twitter by scammers promoting questionable cryptocurrency offers.
- These accounts often ask users to send an amount of cryptocurrency in exchange for a larger amount.
- The Ethereum co-founder warned users not to trust people offering cryptocurrency on Twitter.
- Christopher Giancarlo, have been impersonated on Twitter by such scammers.
The More Gender Equality, the Fewer Women in STEM
- A new study explores a strange paradox: In countries that empower women, they are less likely to choose math and science professions.
- According to a new paper published in Psychological Science by the psychologists Gijsbert Stoet, at Leeds Beckett University, and David Geary, at the University of Missouri, it could have to do with the fact that women in countries with higher gender inequality are simply seeking the clearest possible path to financial freedom.
- What’s more, the countries that minted the most female college graduates in fields like science, engineering, or math were also some of the least gender-equal countries.
- In this study, the percentage of girls who did excel in science or math was still larger than the number of women who were graduating with STEM degrees.
5G is helping make this the most high-tech Olympics ever
- Major companies like Samsung and Intel are showing off their technology, including self-driving cars, virtual-reality viewing stations and super-fast video streaming.
- Intel is hoping to dazzle fans with the technology by offering new ways of watching Olympic athletes.
- It's set up 5G stations to track cross-country skiers, deployed dozens of cameras inside an ice arena, and made this the first Winter Olympics to be broadcast live in virtual reality.
- The company says it's running simulated snowboarding and cross-country skiing competitions for fans, as well as a virtual reality "space mission" designed to let guests experience the feeling of lunar gravity.
- But in just a few years' time, he envisions the Olympic Village becoming a "smart city," where cars can send real-time data to traffic lights, and display boards can transmit information people are looking up on their phones.
Why AI has yet to solidify its role in health care
- If you’re searching for an industry that’s defined by innovation and technological progression, look no further than health care.
- So, is the health care industry ready for a breakthrough when it comes to artificial intelligence?
- The air, being AI innovation, wants to escape the balloon and disperse into the environment which would be the health care industry in this scenario.
- But the latex balloon, which represents the industry challenges, is holding the air inside.
- As we consider where things stand with AI in health care (and when the next breakthrough will occur), it’s helpful to identify some of the key opportunities and challenges that exist in the present environment.
- For AI to truly become transformational in health care, innovation needs to be centered on two key factors: cost and convenience.
Westpac banks on AI advances as automation and cognitive systems mature
- The bank's general manager of technology applications development, Tim Whiteley, said that, while he expected the rapidly evolving technology to change the nature of doing business, there was still years of work to do to train software to work properly.
- Customers are also dealing with AI-enabled chatbots based on work with IBM's Watson in its contact centres and Mr Whiteley said AI would be phased in across the bank steadily over the coming years.
- Under chief information officer Dave Curran, Westpac has overhauled the bank's internal systems in a way that makes it easier for it to track and deal with individual customers, regardless of the technology platform they use to interact with it.
- Mr Whiteley said he believed that the nature of work being conducted by humans would change, and that Westpac had begun working on programs that would reskill its own staff for future jobs.
How biometrics is giving identities to 'invisible citizens'
- Simprints makes portable fingerprint readers for charities around the world.
- It's working with charities in Kenya to provide digital healthcare records for people in poorer communities, who don't have any official documents.
- For each person who has their fingerprint scanned, an algorithm creates a unique ID, which can be linked to their health records.
- Nicholas Mwaura is head of technology at the Kenyan community health charity COHESU.
- He is working with a team of doctors and volunteers, using Simprints' technology to scan prints and create one of the country's first biometric identification databases.
- Once someone is successfully enrolled they can easily visit a doctor -- who can then access their entire medical history digitally.
- Although it's revolutionizing healthcare in developing countries, fingerprint scanning isn't the newest or most technologically advanced biometric tool.
NAB swings axe on first 1000 jobs
- NAB is poised to cut 1000 jobs as part of a strategy to remove layers of middle management and simplify the bank announced by CEO Andrew Thorburn last November.
- The bank needs to make 1000 positions redundant every six months as part of a plan to cut a total of 6000 jobs over three years while bolstering its workforce with 2000 technology specialists.
- NAB's chief people officer Lorraine Murphy acknowledged it was a difficult time for those affected by the cuts in a piece of internal communications seen by The Australian Financial Review.
- The bank also reported 2.5 per cent lift in full year cash profit to $6.6 billion.
- The bank reported a 3 per cent rise in net profit to $1.65 billion for the first quarter in early February noting a rise in expenses that are projected to grow over the course of the year.
Qualcomm moves to solve NXP price issue: Sources
- Qualcomm and its advisors have been working to reassert control over the company's deal to acquire NXP Semiconductors this weekend, by trying to figure out what price will be enough to garner the 80 percent of shares needed to close the deal, sources tell CNBC.
- With large blocks of stock held by hedge funds such as Elliott Management, Davidson Kempner, Och Ziff, Soroban Capital, Pentwater and D.E. Shaw, Qualcomm has been forced to recognize it won't be able to gain the shares necessary to close the deal unless it increases the price it is willing to pay.
- At the same time Qualcomm has been trying to figure out how to close the NXP deal, it has also been resisting efforts by Broadcom to acquire it for $82 a share in cash and stock.
There's a lot of blockchain hype, but money-transfer start-up Veem is using it today
- Veem, formerly known as Align Commerce, uses three methods of sending money: Treasury, SWIFT and blockchain.
- SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) is the decades-old system that banks use for sending international payments, which can take days to settle.
- In the fourth quarter, Veem's blockchain-based volume more than doubled from a year earlier and accounted for 62 percent of its total transactions, Forzley told CNBC.
- In order for Veem to move money on blockchain from the U.S. to Mexico, for example, the company transfers dollars to bitcoin locally and then from bitcoin to pesos on the other side.
- While blockchain now accounts for the bulk of Veem's transactions, it only handled 10 percent of the total amount of money sent in the fourth quarter.