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Australian Craig Wright Identifies Self as Bitcoin Creator

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Craig Steven Wright, an Australian entrepreneur, identified himself as the creator of bitcoin almost five months after he was outed in media reports as the man behind the virtual currency.

Wright said in a blog post and interviews with three media organizations that he developed the original bitcoin software under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, a claim that’s been disputed by others. Wright provided technical evidence, including the original encryption keys, that have been confirmed by prominent members of the bitcoin community, the BBC reported.

Wright was named as the creator of bitcoin by both Wired and Gizmodo in December, which he said caused unwanted attention on his work and family. A white paper on the virtual currency was released under the name of Nakamoto in 2008 detailing the concept of peer-to-peer electronic cash before software was rolled out in early 2009. More than one other person has previously been identified as the original creator.

“Some people will believe, some people won’t and to tell you the truth I don’t really care,” he said in a video clip posted to the BBC’s verified Twitter account. “I don’t want money, I don’t want fame, I don’t want adoration. I just want to be left alone.”

Skeptical Observers

Before Monday, Wright had stayed silent on the December reports, which cited e-mails, deleted blog posts and documents. He also revealed himself as bitcoin’s creator to the Economist and GQ magazines, the BBC said.

The evidence Wright provided didn’t completely dispel all doubts about his claim to be Nakamoto, according to the Economist. The magazine said Wright did not definitively show he had control over an original stash of bitcoin suspected to be owned by Nakamoto. He also had a potential personal interest in influencing debate within the bitcoin community, and claiming he is Nakamoto would strengthen his argument, the magazine said.

Jonathan Underwood, a technical adviser to bitcoin startup bitbank Inc., said the proof Wright posted on his blog was a signature from an old transaction and not evidence that the Australian actually controls Nakamoto’s private bitcoin keys.

“I didn’t believe Craig was Satoshi when it was news last December, and I still don’t believe it,” said Underwood.

Yuzo Kano, who runs a bitcoin exchange in Tokyo, is also skeptical of Wright’s claims.

“The key he posted on his blog is actually publicly available information,” said Kano, who quit Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to open BitFlyer Inc. in 2014. “This doesn’t prove at all that he holds the private keys.”

Moving Mainstream

Bitcoin’s libertarian roots, with no central issuing authority and a public ledger to verify transactions, has become more mainstream with its adoption by merchants around the world. Its underlying technology has also drawn interest from banks including Goldman Sachs and Citigroup Inc.

Advocates have promoted bitcoin as a global, decentralized currency for the Internet age, and venture capital investments in companies affiliated with the technology topped $1 billion last year. Yet the instrument has proven volatile, its role in money laundering and other illegal activity is a constant source of questions, and the price fluctuates with each regulatory clampdown or criminal investigation.

New bitcoins are generated all the time, when operators of number-crunching computers called miners solve complex equations and record every transaction. The number of bitcoins that can be generated, however, is limited by design in the digital currency’s underlying software, and the built-in scarcity mechanism means ever more powerful computers are needed to mine the currency.

Computing Background

When Wright was first identified, he was living in a modest home on a quiet tree-lined street in the suburb of Gordon, about 13 kilometers from Sydney’s central business district.

His then social-media profile suggested a man with an enthusiasm for virtual currency and computing. In addition to numerous college degrees and a stint as a chef, his now-deleted LinkedIn profile listed him as the chief executive officer of DeMorgan Ltd.which has researched bitcoin, proposed a bank for the currency, and offers wallet and exchange services.

Wired’s evidence for naming Wright as the currency’s creator included 2008 blog posts discussing bitcoin, along with e-mails, transcripts and accounting forms that corroborate the link. The tech magazine also cited a 2014 administrator’s report into Hotwire Preemptive Intelligence Pty., which indicated the e-payment software firm was backed by A$30 million ($23 million) of bitcoin owned by its managing director Wright.

The New York Times and New Yorker magazine have both tried to find the person behind the pseudonym. In a 2014 cover story, Newsweek identified the real Satoshi Nakamoto as a California physicist, who denied the report.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade long experience in the global financial market.

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Barclays Tell High Net Worth Investors to Shun Africa and Other Emerging Economies

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Barclays Bank

Barclays to High Net Worth Clients, Stay Off Africa and Other Emerging Economies

Barclays, one of the world’s largest investment banks, has started advising high net worth clients to stay off Africa and other emerging economies.

According to Barclays, despite the recent recovery noticed in emerging-market stocks, investors are better off avoiding the risks that still abound in emerging nations. Barclays Plc, however, advised high net worth clients to focus on U.S equities despite the S&P’s breakneck rally.

The investment bank said emerging economies do not have enough fiscal buffers to spend their way out of the COVID-19 pandemic and will likely continue to struggle in the near-time compared to the US with 12 percent of gross domestic product fiscal-support.

It said the huge US stimulus may halt rebound in emerging-markets stocks as more money is expected to flow into the world’s largest economy and its European counterparts.

“Compared to the U.S., emerging-market economies appear more vulnerable,” said Haider, the London-based managing director and head of global growth markets. “Their central banks have less room to maneuver, their governments may not be able to provide unlimited support and equity markets, given their sector mix, can be more challenged by an economic slowdown.”

Barclays added that even after 33 percent rebound in stocks of emerging markets since the panic selloff subsided in March, stocks are still down by 9 percent from year-to-date while the US S&P 500 stocks are up by 45 percent. Presently, their stocks trading at a 36 percent discount to US stocks, up from 25 percent three months ago.

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Crude Oil Rises to $43.1 Per Barrel on Production Cuts Extension

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  • Crude Oil Hits $43.1 Per Barrel Following OPEC’s Production Cuts Extension

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil price is measured, rose by 1.25 percent on Monday during the Asian trading session following OPEC and allies’ agreement to extend crude oil cuts to the end of July.

OPEC and allies, known as OPEC plus, agreed to extend production cuts of 9.7 million barrels per day reached in April to July on Saturday.

In the virtual conference, delegates agreed that members, including Nigeria and Iraq presently struggling to attain a 100 percent compliance level must keep to the agreement or be forced to do so in subsequent months.

Nigeria, Iraq and others failed to keep to the cartel’s agreement in May after reports show that Nigeria only managed to attain a 19 percent compliance level during the month while Iraq struggled to attain just 38 percent in the same month.

Russia and Saudi Arabia, the two largest producers of the group, warned members to stick to the agreed quota if they want to rebalance the global oil market.

While the errant producers such as Iraq and Nigeria have vowed to reach 100% conformity and compensate for prior underperformance, we still think they will likely continue to have some commitment issues over the course of the summer,” said Helima Croft, head of global commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets.

The potential return of Libyan output could also cause considerable challenges for the OPEC leadership.

Earlier on Monday, Brent crude oil hits $43.1 per barrel, more than a month record-high, before pulling back slightly to $42.83 per barrel.

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Gold Dips by 2 Percent on Better Than Expected Job Report

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  • Gold Dips by 2 Percent on Better Than Expected Job Report

Gold prices declined by 2 percent on Friday following a better than expected US non-farm payroll report.

The report showed an increase of 2.5 million payroll numbers against a decline of 7.5 million predicted by many experts.

The surprise number boosted investors’ confidence in US recovery as many dumped their haven investment (gold) for the stock market.

“We had significantly stronger-than-expected U.S. payroll numbers – an increase of 2.5 million versus an expectation of a decline of 7.5 million – that 10-million swing has brought forward expectations of the economic recovery in the United States,” said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategies at TD Securities.

Spot gold immediately declined by 1.9 percent per ounce to $1,678.81 while the U.S. gold futures slid 2.6 percent to settle at $1,683.

Gold was also being pressured by stronger yields and a slightly firmer dollar, “meaning the opportunity cost to hold gold in the portfolio has gone up,” Melek added.

The surprise didn’t stop there, US Dow Jones was up 614 points despite the protest going on the US and US-China tension.

Also, NASDAQ rose by 29 points while the S&P index added 50 points increase.

Note: Investors generally increase their investments in gold and other haven assets during a crisis to avert risk exposure and do the opposite once they sense a better economy.

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