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Bitcoin is rallying — and can no longer be dismissed: Brian Kelly



Bitcoin is rallying and can no longer be ignored, said Brian Kelly, founder and CEO of BKCM LLC, an investment firm focused on digital currencies.

“It’s a serious market,” Kelly said from Hoover Institution’s annual Monetary Policy Conference at Stanford University on Friday.

“When I would go to events like this in years past, you would kind of dismiss bitcoin,” Kelly said on “Fast Money.” “But it’s been brought up several times at this conference and taken quite seriously. And I think you have to with a market cap at half a trillion dollars.”

The cryptocurrency reached $9,700 around 5:15 p.m. ET Friday. While significantly lower than its mid-December highs around $19,700, the coin continues to regain losses from lows of around $6,000 earlier this year.

Kelly credits Goldman Sachs and its plans to open the first bitcoin trading firm of any Wall Street bank for pushing the demand higher.

“Goldman made a big move into the cryptocurrency space,” Kelly said. “They are definitely the leaders among the institutions in the space.”

Regulatory clarity is also pushing the coin’s value higher.

“One thing that is interesting is that bitcoin is clearly a currency,” Kelly said. “Almost everyone I’ve talked to, and people here at this event, are talking about bitcoin as a currency, not a security.”

Finally, Kelly said Blockchain Week New York City, bitcoin’s biggest event, is coming up next week, helping to generate more buzz around the coin.

“Essentially, everyone from the world will be descending upon New York to talk about cryptocurrency,” he said.

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Samsung related shares plunge after heir Jay Y Lee is sentenced to jail again



Jay Y. Lee, co-vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, center, wears a protective mask as he is surrounded by members of the media while arriving at the Seoul Central District Court in Seoul, South Korea, on Monday, June 8, 2020.

SeongJoon Cho | Bloomberg via Getty Images

SINGAPORE — Shares of groups related to South Korean-conglomerate Samsung Group plunged on Monday after Samsung heir Jay. Y Lee was sentenced to two and a half years in jail by a South Korean court on Monday.

By Monday’s market close in South Korea, shares of industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics fell 3.41%. after dipping more than 4% earlier in the session.

Samsung C&T’s stock also saw heavy losses, and dropped 6.84%. Meanwhile, Samsung SDI declined 4.21% while Samsung Heavy Industries fell 2.74%. and Samsung Life Insurance slipped 4.96%.

Samsung related shares dragged down South Korea’s broader index, and the Kospi fell 2.33% by the close of the trading day.

Lee’s return to prison came after a retrial of a bribery case involving former President Park Geun-hye, according to local news agency Yonhap.

“In this case, a company’s freedom and right to wealth were violated due to the abuse of power by the former president,” Lee’s lead attorney said in a statement given by Samsung Electronics, according to a CNBC translation.

The 52-year-old Samsung scion was unexpectedly freed from jail in 2018 after a South Korean appeals court suspended his prior jail sentence. He was previously charged with giving 29.8 billion Korean won (around $27 million) worth of bribes and promising to give more, Yonhap reported.

Former president Park recently had her 20-year prison sentence on graft charges upheld, according to Reuters.

— CNBC’s Chery Kang contributed to this report.

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China says it will sanction U.S. officials for ‘nasty’ behavior on Taiwan



A Chinese and U.S. flag at a booth during the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai, November 6, 2018.

Johannes Eisele | AFP | Getty Images

SINGAPORE — China will impose sanctions on U.S. officials who displayed “nasty” behavior over the issue of Taiwan, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Monday.

The decision was revealed by the foreign ministry’s spokewoman, Hua Chunying, in response to a reporter’s question on what China would do in response to the U.S. lifting restrictions on its relations with Taiwan.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had earlier this month announced that his country will no longer limit contact between its officials and their Taiwanese counterparts. China slammed the decision and vowed to fight back.

China claims Taiwan — a democratic and self-ruled island — as its territory that must one day be reunited with the mainland, and insists that the island has no right to participate in international diplomacy of its own. The Chinese Communist Party has never governed Taiwan.

Experts have warned that Taiwan will remain a contentious issue in the bilateral ties between the U.S. and China. Former Australian Kevin Rudd, a long-time China watcher, told CNBC last week that Pompeo’s move could upend a major foundation underpinning U.S.-China relations.

Rudd was referring to the “one China policy,” the principle in which the U.S. and the international community recognize that there’s only one central Chinese government — under the Communist Party of China in Beijing.

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Electric carmaker Xpeng releases driverless features to rival Tesla



Xpeng CEO He Xiaopeng stands next to the company’s P7 electric sedan as he addresses media at the 2020 Beijing auto show.

Evelyn Cheng | CNBC

GUANGZHOU, China — Chinese electric carmaker Xpeng Motors has announced a new autonomous driving feature designed to work on highways, as it ramps up its challenge to domestic rivals as well as Tesla.

The feature — called Navigation Guided Pilot or NGP — will allow the company’s flagship P7 sedan to automatically change lanes, speed up or slow down, or overtake cars and enter and exit highways.

It is part of the next generation of Xpeng’s XPILOT 3.0 so-called advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) which the company expects to launch in the first quarter of this year. ADAS refers to a system with some autonomous features but where a driver is still required.

Xpeng is one of China’s electric vehicle start-ups looking to race ahead in the country’s growing market as it battles other upstarts such as Nio and Li Auto, as well as U.S. electric car giant Tesla.

Mass deliveries of Xpeng’s P7 sedan, a direct rival to Tesla’s Model 3, began last June. Xpeng delivered 27,041 vehicles in 2020 — more than double from a year ago. 

The NGP is a challenge to Tesla’s autonomous ADAS called Autopilot. One of Autopilot’s features is called Navigate on Autopilot, which has similar functions to Xpeng’s NGP.

China’s electric vehicle companies are looking to add more autonomous features to their cars. Nio has its own system called NIO Pilot.

How Xpeng’s system works

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