Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Move over bitcoin: Speculators drove up the price of a single unit of Zcash – a new virtual currency that was built to be all but untraceable – to over $1,000 on Monday, a few days after it was introduced. The online currency, developed by scientists at Johns Hopkins and MIT, uses advanced cryptography that enables Zcash "to be sent around the world essentially without a trace, unlike Bitcoin." Price volatility aside, Bloomberg offers a smart take on why anonymity is important for a currency's fungibility.
Wall Street Journal
Atomic Ant: Ant Financial Services Group, the financial affiliate of Chinese online-shopping giant Alibaba, is building a global network of merchants that accept its payment services by forging partnerships with companies around the world. "For now, those overseas services are aimed at a surging number of Chinese tourists who use Ant Financial's Alipay mobile-payments application at home," the Journal reports. "But by distributing its technology platform to retailers world-wide, Ant is laying the groundwork for what could eventually be a challenge to Visa and Mastercard." Ant has more than 450 million users and processed more than 150 million online transactions a day in the first quarter, nearly as many as Mastercard and about 60% of Visa's volume.
Not so Good: JPMorgan Chase allegedly withheld a $12 million payment to Good Technology, a mobile security company, worsening a cash shortage that forced it to sell itself to BlackBerry for $425 million, a deal brokered by the bank. According to court documents unsealed last Friday, the plaintiffs, including some Good Technology employees, accuse the bank of accelerating the company's demise, even while the bank was advising it on a sale. The plaintiffs argue that the deal, in which the bank earned $4.1 million in fees, undervalued Good Technology in order to win future business from BlackBerry.
Outperformers: Bank stocks outperformed the broader U.S. equity averages in October. Financial stocks gained 2.5% last month, compared to a 1.9% loss for the full S&P 500. "Out of the top 30 companies by market value, banks and some large tech companies led the charge," the paper reports. "JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup all rallied more than 3% in October after disclosing better than expected quarterly results."
New York Times
A 'fun' read: The paper reviews a biography of former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan ("The Man Who Knew: The Life and Times of Alan Greenspan"). "While Greenspan was (and is) a more capable economist than he gets credit for these days, he was an even better politician. This view of Greenspan as a political animal is central to [author Sebastian] Mallaby's account. It is also, along with the often amusing depictions of Greenspan's personal life, what makes it so much fun to read," according to reviewer Justin Fox.
"You are going around on the Bitcoin blockchain leaving a trail of everything you do, which will last forever. The idea of Zcash is you don't have to go to special lengths to achieve privacy — privacy is baked into the system." -- Matthew Green, Zcash developer.