Stock 19-05-2024 09:13 11 Views

​Tech 5: CME Lays Plans for Spot Bitcoin Trading, Google Unveils New Products at I/O​ Event

CME Group (NASDAQ:CME) is rumored to be in talks to offer spot Bitcoin trading in the near future.

Meanwhile, lawmakers voted to roll back a crypto policy introduced by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2022, a move that President Joe Biden has said he plans to veto, and OpenAI has gained a new partner.

1. Reddit to bring content to ChatGPT

The Nasdaq-100 (INDEXNASDAQ:NDX) was up 1.93 percent this week, with a 0.7 percent bump seen on Tuesday (May 14) following April’s higher-than-expected producer price index data. Its ascent continued until midday on Thursday (May 16), when three US Federal Reserve officials separately suggested that interest rates should remain where they are until there is sufficient data supporting a decrease in inflation to the central bank’s 2 percent target.

Alphabet’s (NASDAQ:GOOGL) share price, which has shown a generally positive trend this year, increased by a modest 0.19 percent after Tuesday’s keynote presentations at the Google I/O event. The company was trading at US$165.78 at the start of the week and closed on Friday (May 17) at US$177.29.

Finally, shares of Reddit (NYSE:RDDT) got a big boost on Friday on the news that it will be bringing its content to OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Through the partnership, Reddit will gain access to OpenAI’s technology, allowing it to build new tools and features for the community, and OpenAI will be able to access Reddit’s content. The press release announcing the deal does not mention Reddit’s data being used to train large language models.

2. CME may offer spot Bitcoin trading

CME Group is planning to offer spot Bitcoin trading to clients, the Financial Times reported on Thursday. According to three sources with knowledge of the situation, CME, which already hosts trading for Bitcoin futures, has been in talks with traders who are eager to trade crypto for immediate delivery in a regulated marketplace.

The introduction of spot Bitcoin trading via CME could have a significant impact on the market, as evidenced by the success of spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which were approved in the US in January after a lengthy battle with the SEC. Spot Bitcoin ETFs now hold 90 percent of the market share of Bitcoin exchange-traded products compared to only 10 percent held by Bitcoin futures ETFs, which were approved in 2021.

Introducing spot Bitcoin trading on the CME would also allow for basis trading, which involves a trader selling Bitcoin futures contracts while also purchasing Bitcoin at the current price. Basis trading is a common strategy within the US Treasury market, and its goal is to make a profit from the difference between the price of the futures contract and the spot market price. Aside from that, investors would be able to trade Bitcoin around the clock.

The CME is already the top Bitcoin futures exchange, having overtaken Binance in November 2023, and it currently has over 26,000 open positions worth around US$8.5 billion, according to the Financial Times. CME’s entry into spot Bitcoin trading could further solidify its position in the crypto market.

3. AI developments dominate at Google I/O

Google I/O, Alphabet’s (NASDAQ:GOOGL) annual conference for developers, took place on Tuesday. The keynote presentation centered on Gemini 1.5 Pro, with a 1 million token context window for enhanced multimodal understanding. The new system will be brought to Gemini Advanced, Google’s AI assistant, in June.

During the two hour event, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and several developers discussed how AI is being integrated into various Google products. The company introduced new AI features for Google services, including AI Overviews, Ask Photos and Search with Video, as well as Gemini’s incorporation into Workspace services and NotebookLM.

Google’s DeepMind team introduced its latest AI endeavor, Project Astra, which aims to replace Google Assistant on the Android network. Astra’s capabilities echo those of OpenAI’s GPT-4o, and include capturing and organizing video input to “recall” past events. Astra is still being refined and is not yet available to the public.

DeepMind also presented a suite of AI-enabled creative tools including Imagen 3, an advanced image-generation model; Music AI Sandbox, a platform that offers musicians creative support and sound-mixing tools; and Veo, Google’s newest AI-powered video-generation software capable of generating 1080p videos over a minute long.

Google also teased Gemma 2, the newest addition to its family of lightweight open models built on the same foundation as Gemini. Gemma 2, a 27 billion parameter model, will be optimized to run on NVIDIA’s (NASDAQ:NVDA) GPUs and will offer enhanced performance and efficiency on a single tensory processing unit host in Vertex AI.

4. Oracle and Qualcomm partner to build AI computer

Ampere Computing, a chip startup backed by Oracle (NYSE:ORCL), announced on Thursday that it is partnering with Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) to develop computers for AI applications. These computers will be powered by Ampere’s AmpereOne central processing units (CPUs) and Qualcomm’s AI 100 Ultra accelerator chips.

As part of this collaboration, Ampere is expanding its AmpereOne CPU lineup to include a 256 core variant, which will provide a 40 percent improvement in performance compared to other units on the market. A 12 channel memory version of the AmpereOne CPU is expected later this year. Both of these improvements will enhance the capabilities of the computers being developed by Ampere and Qualcomm, according to Ampere’s press release.

The move may challenge NVIDIA’s dominant position in AI infrastructure. In a company update included with Thursday’s news, Ampere shared performance data for Meta’s (NASDAQ:META) Llama 3; according to the firm, it used a third of the power and delivered the same performance running on the 128 core Ampere Altra CPU without a GPU compared to running on a NVIDIA A10 GPU paired with an x86 CPU.

5. Lawmakers support resolution to roll back SEC policy

A resolution seeking to overturn the SEC’s Staff Accounting Bulletin No. 121 (SAB-121) received bipartisan support in the Senate on Thursday. The 60 to 38 tally saw 12 Democrats and 48 Republicans vote in favor of killing the policy.

SAB-121 was issued in 2022 and provides guidance on how firms should account for crypto assets held in trust by platform users. The main stipulation of SAB-121 is that if a firm is responsible for safeguarding assets held for users, including maintaining the cryptographic key information necessary for electronic access, then the firm should present a liability on its balance sheet. The policy has been controversial since its inception as Republicans have argued the SEC “has not promoted process, transparency, or public engagement” in establishing crypto regulations.

Several lawmakers have sought to overturn SAB-121 through legislation, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo). On May 8, a bipartisan vote in the House of Representatives passed House Joint Resolution 109, which was presented by Representative Mike Flood of Nebraska and overturned SAB-121 under the Congressional Review Act; the resolution was then passed along for a Senate vote.

While the resolution won enough votes to pass, it fell short of the two-thirds majority needed in both the House and the Senate to prevent a veto, which Biden has stated that he will do.

Securities Disclosure: I, Meagen Seatter, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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