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    Norwegian Wealth Fund’s Watchdog Says New CEO Deal Still Faulty

    The head of Norges Bank’s Supervisory Council told key lawmakers gathered for a rare parliamentary hearing that risks remain for conflicts of interest and that rules were broken when hedge-fund manager Nicolai Tangen was hired to head the fund. Tangen is due to start his new job on Sept. 1.The watchdog “doesn’t share the view” of Norges Bank that possible conflicts of interest between the wealth fund, Tangen’s firm AKO Capital LLP and his personal assets have “for all practical purposes been eliminated,” Julie Brodtkorb, the head of the Supervisory Council, said in the webcast hearing on Monday.The central bank, which manages the fund, has broken both ethical principles and transparency laws in the appointment process, and may also have breached the central-bank act in providing insufficient information to the Finance Ministry, she added.Controversial AppointmentTangen’s appointment come under fire almost from its announcement in March. The watchdog, some policy makers and other observers have criticized different parts of the hiring process, with most of the debate focusing on how Tangen would create Chinese walls between his wealth, estimated at about 700 million pounds ($900 million), AKO (where he will remain the biggest owner) and his new job.Norges Bank governor Oystein Olsen repeated in comments to the parliament’s Finance Committee on Monday that the risk of conflicts had been all but eliminated, although he conceded there had been “learning points along the way.”After the hearing, the committee may decide to ask the Finance Ministry to take some form of action, though the threshold for challenging the central bank’s prerogative to hire the wealth fund CEO appears to be high. The Conservative-led minority government has so far been careful not to get drawn into the debate, and its ally in parliament, Progress, has already made clear it’s satisfied with the terms of Tangen’s contract.The opposition Labor Party, the parliament’s biggest group, has yet to decide on whether it will push for the committee to get the government involved, its deputy leader Hadia Tajik said by phone before the hearing.The Supervisory Council, whose members are appointed by parliament, doesn’t have the power to overrule the central bank’s decisions.©2020 Bloomberg L.P. More

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    Q&A: How Blockchain Could Transform the Art Industry

    But there could be a solution that helps the industry get back on its feet and achieve much-needed digitization: blockchain. Here, we talk to Niko Kipouros, founder and CEO of 4ARTechnologies, about how this technology could transform the way we purchase and own artwork — and even ensure that the provenance and authenticity of masterpieces are never doubted.Continue Reading on Coin Telegraph More

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    Exclusive: Microsoft faces complex technical challenges in TikTok carveout

    (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp ‘s (O:MSFT) bid to carve out parts of TikTok from its Chinese owner ByteDance will be a technically complex endeavor that could test the patience of President Donald Trump’s administration, according to sources familiar with the setup.Trump has given Microsoft until Sept. 15 to put together a blueprint for an acquisition that safeguards the personal data of Americans stored on the short-video app, and he has issued an order to ban it if there is no deal by then.Microsoft is negotiating a transition period that will give it time to ringfence TikTok technologically from ByteDance after they agree to a deal, Reuters reported on Aug. 2.The clean break that Trump and lawmakers envision could take a year or more, some of the sources said.TikTok is functionally and technically similar to ByteDance-owned Douyin, which is available only in China, and shares technical resources with it and other ByteDance-owned properties, people familiar with the matter said.ByteDance started working on their technological separation several months ago amid scrutiny from the U.S. government, a source familiar with the process told Reuters. It began planning for a split as part of a strategy to shift its power from China, Reuters has reported.While the code for the app, which determines the look and feel of TikTok, has been separated from Douyin, the server code is still partially shared across other ByteDance products, the source said. The server code provides basic functionality of the apps such as data storage, algorithms for moderating and recommending content and the management of user profiles.To ensure uninterrupted TikTok service, Microsoft would likely need to rely on ByteDance’s code while it reviews and revises the code, and moves to a new back-end infrastructure to serve users, according to cyber security expert Ryan Speers at River Loop Security, which provides services including cybersecurity due diligence for deals.Any continuing technical or operational reliance of the U.S. business on the Chinese company after the sale generally would have been unacceptable to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), said Aimen Mir, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury responsible for CFIUS, now a partner at the law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.In the past, CFIUS has required adoption of increased protections pending a sale, including separation of the U.S. business from foreign sellers to the furthest extent possible, he said.Another challenge Microsoft faces is how it will transfer what is viewed as TikTok’s secret sauce, the recommendation engine that keeps users glued to their screens. This engine, or algorithm, powers TikTok’s “For You” page, which recommends the next video to watch based on an analysis of user behavior.TikTok uses recommendation algorithms that are independent from Douyin, according to two sources familiar with the matter. But what makes it tick is the content and user information that is fed into the algorithm.”Algorithms are not worth anything without the data,” said Jim DuBois, a former Chief Information Officer at Microsoft. DuBois is a venture adviser at Ignition Partners. “Segmenting the data for those countries is a significant task.”Microsoft’s negotiations for the acquisition of the U.S., Canada, New Zealand and Australia operations of TikTok complicates a separation. Not only would TikTok have to be separated from ByteDance, it would have to be broken up from TikTok’s other regions. This adds to the technical challenges because of the amount of data involved.”The biggest part is separating the user data – both content and data about users,” DuBois said, noting hard disks of data would likely need to be transferred between ByteDance and Microsoft.TikTok had said its user data was stored in the U.S., with a backup in Singapore, separate from the rest of the company.The proposed timeline makes consummating a deal very challenging, said Karen C. Hermann, a deal lawyer at Venable LLP: “It can sometimes take months and months just to identify the business needs of the divested business, what IP and other assets it uses exclusively, and what assets and IP it shares with other businesses in the company group.” More

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    China: Loudi City Mayor Promotes Blockchain to Fight Crime

    At a meeting of Loudi’s Municipal Public Security Bureau on Aug. 10, Mayor Yang Yiwen responded to reports on the progress of a trial blockchain project that is currently being conducted by the bureau and a local technology firm.Continue Reading on Coin Telegraph More

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    Watch Now: Here's What's Moving Markets – August 10 (Video)

    Investing.com – Our senior markets analyst Jesse Cohen gives us his top five things to know in financial markets on Monday, August 10, including:- Wall Street Set For Higher Open As Eventful Week Kicks Off- Republicans, Democrats Continue Debate On More Fiscal Stimulus- Royal Caribbean (NYSE:RCL), Marriott International (NASDAQ:MAR) Report Earnings- Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX), Inovio Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:INO) Also Report Results- U.S. JOLTS To Shed More Light On Economy More

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    Macau announces partial restart of tourist visas, hoping for casino revival

    Macau’s Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Ao Ieong U announced that the highly anticipated individual visit scheme (IVS) would resume from Aug. 12.Casinos in the world’s biggest gambling hub have experienced heavy losses since February when travel dried up due to the coronavirus. Greater China accounts for more than 90% of Macau’s tourists.Executives have said that without a resumption of the IVS scheme there will not be much hope for casino operators.The announcement comes nearly a month after China loosened coronavirus-related border restrictions between Macau and the neighboring coastal province of Guangdong.The direct impact on gaming revenue from the Zhuhai IVS restart is likely to be limited, said Vitaly Umansky, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein in Hong Kong.”However, the restart of IVS and group visa issuance (which has been suspended since late January) is another baby step in the right direction as China and Macau slowly loosen travel between the two jurisdictions.” More