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Santander launches blockchain-based foreign exchange using Ripple tech

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Santander has launched a foreign exchange service that uses blockchain technology to make same-day international money transfers.

The service, called Santander One Pay FX, uses tech developed by blockchain firm Ripple. Santander said it is the first cross-border payments service using blockchain to be made by a bank.

Blockchain, or distributed ledger technology, is a decentralized network that records a growing list of transactions. It was originally used as the technology to underpin bitcoin but banks have become increasingly interested in other use cases, like clearing and settling payments.

Santander’s blockchain-powered foreign exchange platform is currently live in four different countries — Spain, the U.K., Brazil and Poland. A wider roll-out is expected in coming months, the bank said.

Innoventures, a $200 million fintech, or financial technology, venture capital fund set up by Santander, was one of a number of investors to participate in Ripple’s first round of funding in 2015.

Ripple has struck partnerships with multiple banks and other financial institutions, including Santander. Banks are less keen to use the firm’s digital currency XRP, but earlier this year two money transfer firms, MoneyGram and Western Union, announced projects involving the cryptocurrency.

On Wednesday, Ripple invested $25 million into a fund started by Blockchain Capital, a venture capital firm dedicated to blockchain.

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Uber wins legal fight to regain London license

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A man holding up a smartphone with the Uber transport app visible on screen, while taxis queue in the background, on June 4, 2019. (Photo by Olly Curtis/Future via Getty Images)

Olly Curtis | Future | Getty Images

Uber won its legal fight to continue operating in London on Monday, as a judge overturned a ban on the ride-hailing app by the city’s transport regulator.

Last year, TfL stripped Uber of its license for a second time — it first declined to renew Uber’s London license in 2017 — citing a “pattern of failures” that had put passengers at risk.

The watchdog said a glitch in Uber’s systems allowed unauthorized drivers to upload their photos to other driver accounts and fraudulently pick up passengers in at least 14,000 journeys.

Uber had tried to allay the regulator’s passenger safety concerns, introducing a new system in April to verify drivers’ identities through a mix of facial recognition and human reviewers.

London is Uber’s largest market by far in Europe. The company has racked up around 3.5 million users and 45,000 drivers in the U.K. capital since launching there in 2012.

It’s the city’s top ride-hailing player but faces heavy competition from several new operators including India’s Ola and Estonia’s Bolt.

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

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Dow futures up 200 points following a 4-week losing streak

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Spencer Platt | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Stock futures climbed in early morning trading on Monday following a four-week losing streak on Wall Street.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 213 points. S&P 500 futures and the Nasdaq 100 futures also traded in positive territory as well.

The S&P 500 and the 30-stock Dow were coming off their fourth straight negative week, shedding 0.6% and 1.8%, respectively. It marked the first time since August 2019 that the two benchmarks suffered a four-week losing streak.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq eked out a 1% gain last week, posting its first positive week in four as the technology sector rebounded slightly from the recent deep rout. 

Signs of a worsening pandemic continue to keep investors on edge. New daily coronavirus cases topped 1,000 in New York state on Saturday, marking the first time the state’s new infections have broken the 1,000 threshold since early June.

Major averages are on track to post steep losses for September, a historically weak month for stocks. The Dow and the S&P 500 have fallen 4.4% and 5.8%, respectively, while the Nasdaq has dropped 7.3%. The declines followed a massive comeback from the coronavirus sell-off that saw the S&P 500 climb more than 50% from its March bottom.

“When markets get to the kinds of extremes we saw a month ago, it tends to take a very deep correction before the worst is behind us,” Matthew Maley, chief market strategist at Miller Tabak, said in a note on Sunday. “It also usually sees several ‘waves’ of a decline.” 

Investors continue to monitor the developments on further fiscal stimulus after negotiations between House Democrats and the Trump administration fell apart in early August.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday a last-minute coronavirus aid deal remains on the table as House Democrats try to forge ahead on a smaller aid package costing about $2.4 trillion. The chamber could vote on the bill as soon as next week.

Meanwhile on Saturday, President Donald Trump announced that he will nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.

The move sets up a confirmation fight just weeks before Election Day. Hearings to consider Trump’s nominee are set to begin Oct. 12, Senator Lindsey Graham said late Saturday.

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K-pop sensation BTS’ label prices IPO at top end of range

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South Korean boy band BTS backstage during the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

John Shearer | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

SINGAPORE — Shares of Big Hit Entertainment, the music label behind global K-pop phenomenon BTS, were priced on Monday at the top end of the range ahead of their highly anticipated market debut.

Big Hit Entertainment’s stock price was set at 135,000 South Korean won (approx. $115) per piece, according to a regulatory filing on Monday. That was at the top end of the 105,000-135,000 won per share range which was earlier announced. Big Hit is expected to make its market debut in October.

According to the regulatory filing, Big Hit will also raise 962.55 billion Korean won (approx. $820 million) through the offering. The stock was 1,117 times oversubscribed by institutional investors, the filing showed.

Entertainment stocks in South Korea popped on the back of the IPO pricing announcement by Big Hit. Shares of YG Entertainment were up nearly 10%, JYP Entertainment were higher by 8.36% and SM Entertainment jumped more than 6%.

A recent Reuters report indicated that retail investor interest for Big Hit’s IPO is expected to be strong, with fans of BTS reportedly looking to secure shares of the label.

Reuters also said demand among South Korean retail investors for new share listings has been strong as markets are filled with cash after government stimulus efforts to prop the coronavirus-hit economy.

Earlier in September, South Korean video game publisher Kakao Games saw a blockbuster market debut, and shares surged by the daily permissible limit of 30% on their first trading day.

— CNBC’s Chery Kang contributed to this report.

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