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ICO, BANKING, ENERGY, HEALTHCARE, RETAIL AND E-GOV AS THE BLOCKCHAIN TRENDIEST AREAS TO BE DISCUSSED AT BLOCKCHAIN CONFERENCE ABU DHABI

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ICO, BANKING, ENERGY, HEALTHCARE, RETAIL AND E-GOV AS THE BLOCKCHAIN TRENDIEST AREAS TO BE DISCUSSED AT BLOCKCHAIN CONFERENCE ABU DHABI

The blockchain industry has been developing more rapidly than the boldest forecasts predicted. Having become an integral part of the financial and banking spheres, it has already occupying its niche in medicine, insurance, document circulation, energy, retail and other economy spheres. Today, the blockchain is blooming. However, it is worth knowing what we may expect from the technology in the next 6-9 months.

On December 7, 2017, Abu Dhabi will host for the second time the main blockchain conference of the MENA region – Blockchain Conference Abu Dhabi (BConference), which will bring together representatives of the blockchain industry from around the world to talk about their successful experience of using the technology in the most relevant areas for the region.

The key topics of the BConference Abu Dhabi 2017 include:

  1. The most innovative technology of our time: Up-to-date information on the crypto-currencies and blockchain

The crypto-currency market capitalization has approached the $ 143 trillion mark in 2017. Governments, investors and business are actively developing plans on using the blockchain to enter the list of the most technologically advanced countries in the world. For example, in October 2016, the authorities of the largest city in the UAE, Dubai, announced the launch of a blockchain strategy to become the first city operating on the blockchain technology by 2020.

One of the BConference panel will be devoted to the preliminary issues on the crypto-currency and blockchain market review, the possibilities of their use within the country and beyond its borders, the analysis of successfully implemented cases. In addition, the participants will get acquainted withthe projections and prospects for the blockchain development in the Middle East Region.

  1. Financial sector: How may the blockchain improve the financial inter-national payments and banking transactions at all levels?

Researchers from the British HR agency Robert Half Financial Services have found that 52% of the world’s financial services companies plan to implement the blockchain as it facilitates transactions, increases their speed and reduces the costs for the parties. According to the study of the TABB group, the blockchain will enter the daily life of all financial companies by 2026.

  1. Logistics: Control over the goods import and export around the globe

The world commerce volume,excluding oil, in the emirate of Dubai in the first 2 quarters of 2017 has amounted to approximately$ 259 billion, which makes it a major trade hub connecting the markets of Asia, Africa and Europe. The blockchain or the distributed ledger technology will reduce the amount of customs documentation accompanying all movements of goods and will allow their suppliers and recipients to track all processes andthe compliance with the terms and conditions of supply contracts in real time. The authorities of the emirate together with IBM and a number of other companies are already working on the creation of such blockchain platform.

  1. Energy: Reducing costs in the energy market

The blockchain has already been successfully used to exchange surplus solar energy in the US and Australia, where full-fledged virtual exchanges have been created for this purpose. In the experts’ opinion, a decentralized approach in the energy market will make it possible to significantly reduce costs not only by eliminating intermediaries in the energy market but also by using local energy exchange as needed. It is most likely that the blockchain will become a means of updating and improving existing centralized energy systems as well as create a mixed distributed system where both large power plants and micro networks will participate.

  1. Healthcare: Modernization of healthcare systems

The decentralized data transmission system has already been actively used for the purpose of technological modernization of the healthcare system. The study of the blockchain technology potential is carried out in terms of its use in the diverse medical administration starting from the basic client data commit process and ending with the monitor of the development and treatment of the patients’ diseases.

  1. Investment raising: ICO boom

The initial coin offering (ICO) is challenging some other ways of the fundraising. In 2017, the start-ups have already raised 10 times more funds through the ICO than in 2016. According to a research firm in the crypto-currency field Smith & Crown, in 2017, the blockchain start-ups have raised over $ 1 billion through ICO. The unconventional method of investment generation is almost as efficient as the usual IPO.

 The Conference may be of interest to representatives of the banking and financial sectors, managers and owners of companies in the field of money transfers and exchange operations, energy companies, save-energy companies, retailers, blockchain start-ups as well as representatives of public authorities at all levels.

To participate in the Blockchain Conference Abu Dhabi, please register onhttps://bconference.org/

Business

Audi aims to sell one million cars in China in 2023

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Audi aims to sell one million cars in China in 2023 1

BEIJING (Reuters) – German premium automaker Audi aims to sell 1 million vehicles in China in 2023, versus 726,000 vehicles in 2020, the brand’s China chief Werner Eichhorn said on Wednesday.

Audi, which is making cars in the world’s biggest auto market with FAW Group, will also add more products in China, Eichhorn said. Audi’s rivals include Daimler and BMW.

(Reporting by Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh; Editing by Himani Sarka

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Netflix forecasts an end to borrowing binge, shares surge

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Netflix forecasts an end to borrowing binge, shares surge 2

By Lisa Richwine and Eva Mathews

(Reuters) – Netflix Inc said on Tuesday its global subscriber rolls crossed 200 million at the end of 2020 and projected it will no longer need to borrow billions of dollars to finance its broad slate of TV shows and movies.

Shares of Netflix rose nearly 13% in extended trading as the financial milestone validated the company’s strategy of going into debt to take on big Hollywood studios with a flood of its own programming in multiple languages.

The world’s largest streaming service had raised $15 billion through debt in less than a decade. On Tuesday, the company said it expected free cash flow to break even in 2021, adding in a letter to shareholders, “We believe we no longer have a need to raise external financing for our day-to-day operations.”

Netflix said it will explore returning excess cash to shareholders via share buybacks. It plans to maintain $10 billion to $15 billion in gross debt.

“This is in sharp contrast to Disney and many other new entrants into the streaming market who expect to lose money on streaming for the next few years,” said eMarketer analyst Eric Haggstrom.

From October to December, Netflix signed up 8.5 million new paying streaming customers as it debuted widely praised series “The Queen’s Gambit” and “Bridgerton,” a new season of “The Crown” and the George Clooney film “The Midnight Sky.”

The additions topped Wall Street estimates of 6.1 million, according to Refinitiv data, despite increased competition and a U.S. price increase. Fourth-quarter earnings per share of $1.19 missed analyst expectations of $1.39.

With the new customers, Netflix’s worldwide membership reached 203.7 million. The company that pioneered streaming in 2007 added more subscribers in 2020 than in any other year, boosted by viewers who stayed home to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

COMPETITION HEATS UP

Now, Netflix is working to add customers around the globe as big media companies amp up competition. Walt Disney Co in December unveiled a hefty slate of new programming for Disney+, while AT&T Inc’s Warner Bros scrapped the traditional Hollywood playbook by announcing it would send all 2021 movies straight to HBO Max alongside theaters.

Disney said in December it had already signed up 86.8 million subscribers to Disney+ in just over a year.

“It’s super-impressive what Disney’s done,” Netflix Co-Chief Executive Reed Hastings said in a post-earnings analyst interview. Disney’s success, he added, “gets us fired up about increasing our membership, increasing our content budget.”

Netflix said most of its growth last year – 83% of new customers – came from outside the United States and Canada. Forty-one percent joined from Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

For January through March, Netflix projected it would sign up 6 million more global subscribers, behind analyst expectations of roughly 8 million.

Revenue for the fourth quarter rose to $6.64 billion compared with $5.47 billion a year ago, edging past estimates of $6.63 billion.

Net income fell to $542.2 million, or $1.19 per share, from $587 million, or $1.30 per share, a year earlier.

Netflix shares jumped 12.5% to $564.32 in extended trading on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru and Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Matthew Lewis)

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MGM Resorts drops takeover plan for Ladbrokes-owner Entain

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MGM Resorts drops takeover plan for Ladbrokes-owner Entain 3

By Tanishaa Nadkar

(Reuters) – Casino operator MGM Resorts International on Tuesday ditched plans to buy Ladbrokes owner Entain after the British company rejected an $11 billion takeover approach this month, sending Entain’s shares down nearly 12%.

The United States is seen as the next big growth market for sports betting, spawning a series of transatlantic partnerships tapping in to European technology and expertise. These include Caesars Entertainment agreeing last September to buy William Hill in a 2.9 billion-pound deal.

MGM said it would not submit a revised proposal or make a firm offer for Entain, which had said the approach announced two weeks ago significantly undervalued its business.

Entain shares closed down 11.9% at around 12.44 pounds in London. MGM shares were up 2.5% at $30.54 in New York trading late on Tuesday afternoon.

“We look forward to continuing to work closely with MGM to drive further success in the United States through the BetMGM joint venture,” Entain said in a statement.

Online betting firms have benefited during the COVID-19 pandemic-led lockdowns, as customers took to playing from home when casinos and betting shops were off-limits.

MGM had previously said a merger with the British bookmaker would be compelling and believed a deal would help expand BetMGM, which the two have operated since 2018.

The proposal, on the basis of 0.6 MGM share for each Entain share, was also backed by billionaire Barry Diller’s IAC. It valued Entain shares at 13.83 pence each when it was first announced.

Complicating matters, Entain Chief Executive Officer Shay Segev decided to step down just seven months into the role and in the middle of negotiations with MGM to take a job with sports streaming service DAZN.

Segev’s departure, as well as limited engagement in talks shown by Entain and a difference in price expectations between the two sides, led MGM to decide to walk away from the deal, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Entain, previously known as GVC, has itself expanded rapidly through a series of acquisitions and owns the bwin, Coral and Eurobet brands, operating traditional British high street betting shops as well as offering online gambling.

“While we are genuinely surprised MGM didn’t up its consideration … we don’t think this changes MGM’s ability to secure equity value enhancing benefits from the attractively growing US sports betting and iGaming pie,” JP Morgan analysts said.

The brokerage said it would not rule out further discussions with Entain depending on how the company shareholders reacted, adding it would be tough for someone else to buy Entain given so much potential equity value coming from the 50/50 BetMGM joint venture.

(Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Joshua Franklin in Miami; Editing by Keith Weir and Matthew Lewis)

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