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First Move with Julia Chatterley
Beijing Warns it could be Tough on Tech Until 2025; The Poly Network Hackers Return Lots of the Loot; Twitter, the Social Giant Sparks a Political Row after Blocking India's Opposition. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired August 12, 2021 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR: Live from New York, I'm Julia Chatterley. This is FIRST MOVE. And here is your need-to-know.
Regulatory reveal. Beijing warns it could be tough on tech until 2025.
Crypto conscience. The Poly Network hackers return lots of the loot.
And Twitter tension. The social giant sparks a political row after blocking India's opposition.
It's Thursday. Let's make a move.
A truly warm welcome to FIRST MOVE today. Fantastic to have you with us on a thermometer busting summer Thursday, a perfect day, too for the FIRST
MOVE hotlist topped by sizzling stocks.
The Dow and the S&P 500 all at all-time highs. Europe also near records, too, on hopes for spicy new fiscal stimulus. Pick-up profits, too, some 90
percent of S&P 500 companies beating Q2 estimates with Disney delivering theirs later on after the closing bell, and beware of stifling hot Chinese
regulation, too. Beijing announcing that its regulatory crackdown could simmer for the next five years.
Fire alarm inflation fears, too. U.S. consumer inflation rising well above Fed targets in July, albeit with some tantalizing transitory hints, of
course, that was earlier this week. Well, this morning, Producer Price numbers are fresh out of the oven and coming in very hot, too, up a
blistering 7.8 percent in July and one percent month over month, both numbers coming in above estimates.
Let's take a look at futures and the reaction that we're seeing now, well, trying to warm up, let's call it that. Europe also mixed, the U.K. economy
over there, growing at a near five percent rate in the second quarter. Now, that was below the Bank of England's projections, but it is stronger, of
course than much of the E.U.
Growth worries are going to intensify, I think, for the remainder of 2021. The International Energy Agency slashing its forecast for oil consumption
due to what it called an abrupt drop in demand last month due to COVID concerns.
Asia in the meantime, stock markets there broadly lower, concerns over that newly announced phase in China's scorching regulatory crackdown. Beijing is
hot to hold, and a wide range of industries will surely lead to cooler investor interest going forward. It's already taken place and that's where
we begin today's drivers.
A five-year crackdown, China looks to set to continue tightening its grip on business for years to come as revealed in a blueprint from the ruling
Communist Party leadership. Steven Jiang is in Beijing with more.
Steven, great to have you with us. We actually had Leland Miller of the China Beige Book on earlier this week, and he said, actually, no one knows
where the regulations are going to go. And he wasn't sure, actually that Beijing knew either and actually stepped forward with this blueprint today,
and we certainly have a greater sense and it looks to be lengthy. Walk us through what we know.
STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR BUREAU PRODUCER: Well, Julia, this five-year plan is titled a "Blueprint to build a rule of law government." It runs through
2025. Now, like many official Chinese document, it also lacks specifics, but some sections and wording I think reaffirms or seem to reaffirm the
worst fear of many investors.
For example, the party and government promised, quote-unquote, "actively promote legislation," meaning even more laws and regulations in areas such
as national security and education, as well as financial services. It also promises to intensify law enforcement in food and drugs and again mentioned
education, as well as some of the so-called buzzword industries, artificial intelligence, Big Data, Cloud computing, these industries will face better
governance as well, according to this document.
Now, all of this, of course, comes on the heels of some of the most recent and unprecedented government crackdown on some of China's most prominent
private companies starting late last year, of course, with Alibaba's ANT Group and then more recently, the ride-hailing group, DiDi, and of course,
the example most talked about is probably the private after school tutoring industry, which was turned from one of the most popular services provided
by the private sector to basically illegal business almost overnight because of an onslaught by regulators.
And as I just mentioned, education is indeed mentioned more than once in this document -- Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, it's fascinating, isn't it? Because we have seen investors spooked by this. We've seen what? $1 trillion plus wiped off the
value of some of these Big Tech stocks, but every nation not just China is struggling with how to regulate, how to deal with some of these companies
that have grown incredibly quickly and regulation to protect users, to protect consumers has lagged behind.
What are those users saying on places like social media, Steven, in the face of what they're seeing here, because not all regulation has to be bad?
We always talk about China in terms of control, but users of this and users of these products do need to be protected to some degree, too. There is a
balance. What are the users saying?
JIANG: That's right. There is mixed reviews online, but also interesting to know the relatively muted market reactions, at least in this region to
this release of this major document. I think a lot of people, including investors around the world have accepted or started to accept this new
normal under Xi Jinping.
And of course, according to the government, as you said, they are doing this to protect the vital interests of the masses. And then of course, you
know, not only does this document, reaffirm the government's determination to start some of the drastic regulatory moves they have done recently, but
also, at least according to some people, it provides some guidance, at least some hints in terms of potential future hotspots. So, that could be a
positive thing for investors.
And as you know, some major players have already said they were going to wait to see clarity in this new environment, including SoftBank, for
example, a major player in this market with their CEO say he is willing to wait for a year or two.
So, I think a lot of people have already responded, or at least trying to learn this new normal in this new era under Xi Jinping -- Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, I couldn't have said it better. Welcome to the new normal, whether it's going to be ultimately a negative or a positive thing
for users, for investors, whichever way you look at this, welcome to the new normal.
Steven Jiang, great job. Thank you, over in Beijing there.
Okay, let's move on. Hackers with heart? More than half now of the $600 million stolen by hackers from DeFi platform, Poly Network has now been
returned. Clare Sebastian joins us with all the details.
Clare, wowsers. Didn't I say yesterday, $595 million to go? Well, a lot less today. I'm not even going to do the math. And fascinating, also, the
hackers are saying, look, we just did this do to make a point, ultimately, that these things aren't yet secure enough. Talk us through that.
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Yes, we know more today, Julia, but there is still a lot of mystery around this. In terms of the
amount returned, a tweet about four hours ago from Poly Network confirmed that $342 million worth of these assets has now been returned. That leaves
some, I don't know, $260 million odd left, depending who you talk to. So, there's still a lot left.
But this is a significant development in this bizarre story that reveals so much of the sort of good and bad about decentralized finance. The question
as to why it's being returned, there's a lot of speculation.
There was a lot of talk about whether this was a white hat hacker doing this as a sort of move to reveal this vulnerability for the good of the
community. Chainalysis, which is a blockchain intelligence company, they published some messages, a sort of Q&A in Ether transaction notes from the
hacker, which said that he apparently he or she takes responsibility to expose the vulnerability before any insider hides it and exploits it, which
could suggest something in the vein of white hat hacking.
But they also said, they were doing it for fun, and as a challenge. And of course, $600 million is a lot of money to steal, if you're just doing it to
sort of expose a vulnerability. And there's another reason that it is sort of prevailing among blockchain experts is that the reason why it was
returned is because this was now such a high profile case, the internet was alight with analysts trying to figure out where this money was moving
successfully, in a lot of cases, and it left the hacker with nowhere to turn, no way to cash out safely. So, they ended up returning the money.
That would suggest that the rest will be returned. But of course, we don't know that for sure yet -- Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, it's definitely not a white hat right now. It's sort of a dirty gray. Give back the rest of the money, and then we'll talk about the
white hat. I'll tell you what, and I agree with you completely about the challenges of taking so much money in that the attention that it drew, as a
result, it also is going to draw the attention of regulators who obviously look at this sector, they are confused, they are trouble with how best to
regulate this without suppressing innovation.
You get a $600 million hack, and suddenly all eyes are on it, and they know they have to take action. And of course, they were watching clearly in the
last 24 hours.
SEBASTIAN: Yes, I think it was interesting that Senator Elizabeth Warren chose yesterday to publish a letter that was sent to her by the S.E.C.
Chairman Gary Gensler, in response to a question from her about whether the S.E.C. has enough authority to regulate crypto. His consensus on that is
overwhelmingly no. He said, right now, I believe investors using these platforms are not adequately protected. He said that the S.E.C. is
currently using all the authority it has.
It is clear where the line is between sort of whether something has a security or not and they can regulate it if it is But he says that the
legislative priority he thinks should center on crypto trading, lending, and DeFi platforms, which is of course, what we're talking about with this
$600 million dollar hack.
SEBASTIAN: And you know, I think it's worth mentioning the DeFi platforms, they are mirroring in a lot of cases the riskier parts of the traditional
financial system, things like lending, trading, and derivatives, all of that, and anyone can set up a DeFi platform.
Of course, there are a lot of benefits to this decentralized system. But as the CEO of Binance pointed out on Twitter yesterday, there are no
guarantees when something goes wrong.
CHATTERLEY: No, absolutely not. I have an image of these hackers now as a pirate wearing a gray pirate's hat and they certainly have a black-eye as a
result of what they did. Time to buy a patch. Give the money back.
Clare Sebastian, thank you so much for that.
All right, let's move on. India's main opposition party is accusing Twitter of stifling freedom of expression by blocking 5,000 of its accounts. A
spokesperson for the Congress Party also alleging that the action came because of pressure on Twitter from the Indian government.
Joining us now from New Delhi is Vedika Sud.
Vedika, great to have you with us. I think the context here is very important. Twitter is a company, of course that has been battling the
government over new laws and not suppressing tweets that the government took offense to. Fast forward today, and we do see main opposition party
tweets blocked by the company. But it's not that simple. Talk us through this.
VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: Absolutely not that simple, Julia. Great to be with you this morning. Well, very quickly, a few developments that have
actually culminated into the standoff between Twitter and the main opposition party, the Congress.
Now in February, the government introduced some strict new information technology guidelines, which has one aim in mind, which was to regulate
social online content. And for this, they wanted tech giants to also hire people who would actually regulate the content and respond to legal demands
to delete tweets.
Now, for tech giants, the fear was along with activists here in India, that this could be giving the Indian government too much discretionary power and
that's exactly what the Congress Party has said today.
Now, why does this happened? It's happened because unfortunately, on first of August this year, there was an incident in New Delhi, the alleged gang
rape and murder of a nine-year-old. Now, senior Congress leader, Rahul Gandhi went to meet the parents of this rape victim, and he did put up
pictures and visuals of his interaction with them.
According to Indian laws, this is in violation because it is said and believed, and it is also prescribed as law that you cannot make public
images and visuals of an alleged gang rape victim or the family. And because of that, the National Commission for Child's Rights wrote to
Twitter asking them to pull down the content put up by Rahul Gandhi, and that's what they did. After due diligence, they claimed they did suspend
Now, come to today. That's exactly what's happening with many more accounts belonging to senior Congress leaders and members of the party. Twitter has
responded to CNN's question and query on this, stating that it is in violation of their policies and they try to safeguard and protect the
individual's privacy in this case, because of which they say hundreds of accounts have been temporarily locked. And what they expect these people to
do, whose accounts have been locked is very simple, delete the tweet, or then go ahead and challenge what they've done, and go ahead and take some
action on their part as well. But that's where it stands.
Now you have Rahul Gandhi's sister, also a top Congress leader coming out today and tweeting to say that -- and she has alleged here that the Twitter
company has actually colluded with the Modi government, and has also slammed Twitter for going ahead and compromising the democracy and freedom
of the country.
So that's from that end, and this is going to be a huge faceoff in the coming days, with a lot of people also supporting the Congress Party and
some obviously supporting the Modi government, as far as faceoff is concerned, its freedom of speech versus these regulations as of now --
CHATTERLEY: Yes, it's a confluence of so many factors, a tragic loss of life and crime. The challenge between a company and the government itself,
the opposition party trying to fight for something and now the Twitter handles being blocked.
We'll continue to draw light on this because it does raise questions I think about the activities of a government, of an individual business
operating -- a foreign business operating in India, too. And of course, the tragic events of what happened to that young child.
Vedika, thank you for explaining what's going on there. Vedika Sud, thank you for joining us from New Delhi there.
Okay, let me bring you up to speed with some of the other stories making headlines around the world. Taliban fighters in Afghanistan have captured
the strategic City of Ghazni. It's the 10th provincial capital this week that the group claims to have seized. With it, the Taliban now control key
locations to the north and south of Kabul, leaving the city increasingly isolated.
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh joins us now with more. Nick, good to have you with as. You were describing the tragic events, I think of what we've seen and
what we've seen happen so quickly over there in Afghanistan.
CHATTERLEY: Now, U.S. intelligence suggests that the government could be under threat in months, a few months. What more do we know?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Well, I mean, the capital could in fact been encircled in as little as 30 days. If you bring
that map up again, you can see essentially, what you earlier saw under the words, Sar-e-Pul, is roughly where Kabul lies. And you can see around there
how perilous it is getting for the Capitol, major cities increasingly in Taliban hands.
And the interesting side story coming out of how Ghazni came to fall, it's been under pressure for a number of days, but it appears that essentially,
the local governor surrendered to the Taliban.
And he has subsequently been arrested by Afghan Security Forces for that, but it shows you to some degree, how a lot of these cities must be feeling
isolated cut off from resupply, and how, of course, it shows how exceptionally hard the job is for the limited number of very effective
Afghan Security Forces, essentially, their commandos to go around the country putting out all these different fires.
Now, there's a lot of discussion, there's been some reshuffling within the higher ranks of the Afghan military today as to whether or not the Afghan
government strategy has been sensible. They seem to have tried to hold as much territory as possible rather than allocate places they knew they could
defend. It's sort of history now, frankly, because we've seen 10 cities fall in under a week. Two of them major, Kunduz and Ghazni.
Kandahar the second biggest city in Afghanistan is looking pretty perilous to after a prison break there yesterday seems to have got about a thousand
prisoners out of jail there. So, we'll see how that pans out. But it's a bit of a leap to start discussing how quickly Kabul could be encircled. But
then, unfortunately, all sort of reasonable assessments of timetables falling apart since we've seen this extraordinary rush in the last six
But it is interesting at this stage to see the U.S. government's response. They are still looking for diplomacy. Their chief negotiator in Doha and
Qatar, they're tweeting about how the Taliban should be releasing government officials and soldiers who they've captured and accusing them of
atrocities. And they are putting out, it seems bleak assessment of how bad things are getting.
Extraordinary after 20 years of military application there to see their presence reduced to this.
CHATTERLEY: Extraordinary and heartbreaking. And, Nick, incredibly quickly, I guess, the conversation about the potential fall of Kabul is
important if you're the Afghan government desperately searching for some kind of strategy to turn the tide here. Is there anything that you can see
with all your experience over the past several years reporting on this and being there that you see as a potential strategy other than outside help?
PATON WALSH: And obviously, Kabul is vital. I wasn't suggesting that. It's I was just wondering quite how fast we'll get to that moment where it is
indeed encircled, because once the North, the other cities of Mazar up there are in Taliban hands, they can begin to concentrate possibly on the
The strategy for that? Well, if the U.S. wants to apply extensive airpower, they could certainly keep the Taliban out of there, they could possibly
even assist the Afghan Forces in pushing them out of other cities. But it's been seen over the past days that the long heralded Afghan Army that the
U.S. always talked about being able to handle its own security, and many wondered quite where it was, isn't big enough or effective enough to do the
job for the whole country.
So essentially, the strategy now for the government has to be we're going to hold this place and this place, and essentially see how long they can
tough that out. But for now, it appears the fires keep emerging in new places, and they're simply unable to race them fast enough -- Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, feels like it is surmountable task, Nick, great to have you. Thank you, Nick Paton Walsh there.
All right, we're back after this. Stay with us.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE. Volvo is deploying its class eight electric trucks to the East Coast of America for the first time, delivering
five to Manhattan beer distributors in New York as part of its commitment to sustainability. The trucks batteries can be charged in 70 minutes and
have a range of up to 150 miles.
Joining us now from New York is the President of Volvo Trucks, North America, Peter Voorhoeve. Peter, fantastic to have you on the show, and I
can see the truck behind you actually. So you're going to have to talk me through the details, but just explain the benefits that this truck brings
to this organization versus the traditional trucks that we see every day on the roads.
PETER VOORHOEVE, PRESIDENT, VOLVO TRUCK NORTH AMERICA: Yes. Hi, Julia. And thank you very much for having me on your on your show.
It's a very exciting day. This is indeed the official handover of the first out of five electric trucks for Manhattan Beer, and that's good news,
because this electric truck will help us to execute on our sustainability agenda, Volvo's sustainability agenda, but also Manhattan Beer's
This trip has a zero tailpipe emission. That means there is no greenhouse gases. There is an immediate contribution to clean air, and there is an
enormous noise reduction. So, if these trucks drive around in the five boroughs to deliver their beer, the quality of life of the people in new
urban streets will improve dramatically.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, see, this is an important point, and also is the delivery distance that you're going because I think one of the big criticisms and
questions of electric trucks is, hang on a second, a lot of these trucks are used to go all over the country, they are long haul vehicles, and if
you're only able to go 150 miles, and you also have to charge it at that point, and you need the infrastructure in order to be able to do that, how
useful are they?
Peter, are you saying that is as great as these are, they are sort of inner city and close by delivery vehicles really.
VOORHOEVE: Julia, we need to get started somewhere, right? There is an enormous amount of trucks on the roads and there is local distribution,
regional distribution, and long haul, and we don't necessarily -- everybody if you think about the trip, you think about the long haul trip. But
there's an enormous amount of trucks. Class eight trucks, by the way, that do local and regional distribution.
Let's look at what happens in ports, right? The transport of containers is not that long. Let's look at the distribution of foods and pickups, et
cetera. The truck that you see behind us here will drive less than 150 miles a day, but will do an enormous amount of deliveries. And if we have
these trips now in the city, we can accelerate the introduction of electric trucks.
Again, we will dramatically improve the impact on the climate, but also, it will dramatically improve the quality of life in cities like New York City.
So, I think it is important to get started, and that's what we have done within Volvo Trucks. We have decided to go out with the electric offering
right now, even though we are at 150 miles, there was plenty, plenty of applications to start going, deliver on our sustainability agendas, tackle
the climate challenges that we have and then going forward, we will go to longer haul distribution.
Volvo Trucks has now the battery electric vehicle. It's live. We can sell it, we can build it. We build it here in the U.S., by the way, and it is
operational. It's not a pilot.
Later on, later on in the decade, we will come with other applications like fuel cell electric, and then you go to long haul. But we need to get
started somewhere, and to my opinion, to go in urban streets and urbanized areas is where we need to get started.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, you are preaching to the choir, my friend, because I live in New York City and I would love cleaner air, quite frankly, and I agree
with you, we have to start somewhere.
CHATTERLEY: What's the cost comparison, Peter, of this? Again, relative to the competition, particularly if we stick with just inner city or near city
deliveries. How much cheaper is it? Because President Biden announced his commitment to have all or at least up to half, we hope, of new cars by 2030
with zero emissions.
So you're talking about something that fits very much with that mandate, but clearly, you can tell me better perhaps what more support businesses
need, consumers need to be encouraged to buy these kinds of vehicles, whether it's a car or whether it's a truck, in this case?
VOORHOEVE: Well, the switch from fossil based fuel to electric and zero tailpipe emission vehicles like this VNR Electric behind me is a little bit
more complicated than just building the truck. You need a couple of elements in place.
For the moment, electric vehicles are more expensive than fossil based vehicles, be it diesel, be it a clean diesel, be it CNG. So, we need State
and Federal agencies to help us with incentive programs, which by the way, you see now happening here in the City of New York. And you see also that,
for instance, in the State of California. So, we need some incentive programs in order to get the ball rolling, if I may say like that.
Next to that, then we need charging infrastructure. In the case of Manhattan Beer, Manhattan Beer has their own charging facilities here on
site. That is enough, because they can run the whole day on one charge. But we need to look at charging infrastructure. And the utility companies need
to play their role, which they are doing, by the way, in order to provide the necessary permits and capacity for this charging.
So, there's a couple of elements that we need in place in order to make the switch towards electric vehicles. Maybe one last thing that I would like to
mention on this as well. And that's maybe then the fourth, next to charging next to incentives, next to the trip. We also need a service network.
And we're very happy that here, right around the corner for Manhattan Beer, we have our truck dealership, Milea, who is the first certified electric
vehicle dealer on the East Coast. We have certified electric vehicle dealers on the West Coast already. Milea is now the first one here. They
are able now to help our customers and in a consultative approach to say okay, how do I introduce electric vehicles? Which routes make sense? How do
I do work with route optimization?
But also later on, how do I service the vehicle? And we service the vehicles with gold contracts. So, there's a couple of elements that need to
be in place. But again, here in this case today, it worked and we have -- we're going to put the first five on the roads on the East Coast.
CHATTERLEY: Clean up beer deliveries here in New York. That's what we like to hear. Peter, great to have you with us. Thank you so much for joining
us, sir. And fascinating to chat with you today. Peter, Voorhoeve, the President of Volvo Trucks North America. Great to speak to you, sir. Thank
VOORHOEVE: Thanks very much, Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Okay, the market opens next. Stay with us.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE and it's a -- let's call it a summary start, aka people are still on the beach to the U.S. trading day
after a record breaking close, Wednesday. New data prices -- prices data at the wholesale level jumping almost eight percent year-over-year last month,
but new jobless claims have fallen for the third straight week. The Fed, of course wanting to see continued improvement in employment data before it
decides to taper stimulus.
No taperings of COVID mandates, meanwhile, in Corporate America. The New York Stock Exchange joining a long list of firms requiring employees and
guests to be vaccinated. Beginning next month, only people who have received two vaccine doses will be allowed on to the trading floor.
In the meantime, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize a third dose of the Moderna or Pfizer COVID vaccine for people
with weakened immune systems. Moderna has said a third shot will likely be necessary to keep us as safe as possible through the winter.
And joining us now, cofounder and chairman of the Moderna, Noubar Afeyan. He is also the founder and CEO of Flagship Pioneering.
Noubar, great to have you with us on the show, as always. There is much to discuss, I know, but I do want to start with your research and findings
from Moderna on the efficacy of the third dose and why it's necessary, perhaps heading into the fall, too.
NOUBAR AFEYAN, COFOUNDER AND CHAIRMAN, MODERNA: Julia, thanks for having me back. Indeed, we've been releasing data as we get them concerning the
efficacy of a third booster shot and what it is showing us is an elevation of antibody levels that is quite substantial, even compared to the second
And it's been shown through many, many studies that the level of antibodies are the first line in the best line of protection we have against getting
infected altogether. Once we get infected, of course, vaccinated people have an advantage over those who are unvaccinated as to the mildness of the
disease, but certainly to be able to protect against infection.
And as we enter into a phase where variants are beginning to dominate, that are somewhat more infective and transmissible, we think that we need to
consider elevating, certainly for highly vulnerable people, the level of antibody levels so we can give maximum protection.
CHATTERLEY: The key there, I think, was what you said about highly vulnerable people. I mean, the World Health Organization has raised serious
reservations about the prospect of giving some people in the world certain parts of the world, let's be clear, a third vaccine dose when so many
others in other parts of the world in poorer nations, in particular, haven't even had one dose yet.
I know, it is a difficult question. It's sort of moral. It's also scientific. But, Noubar, what do you think of that? Is it safer
scientifically to vaccinate as many people as possible with even just one dose versus giving others and a smaller proportion three? How do you think
about it as a company at Moderna?
AFEYAN: Well, Julia, I think that what we need to do is do both. And I think that the way the issue is always framed is that we're either going to
do one or the other.
But actually what is missed is that we are, as are others, ramping our production very rapidly, to be able to produce multiple, in our case, three
billion doses next year. And in so doing, we believe we'll be able to handle both demands, and we see our colleagues in the industry doing the
same so that in aggregate, I think if we can work in a coordinated way to get adequate supplies to wherever they're needed to vaccinate folks, as
well as boost the protection, I think that can be done.
I think this is not a conflict we need to create, as opposed to just simply ramp up so we can tailor to or handle the needs of all who are being
impacted by this.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, you raise a great point that actually we shouldn't have to choose. The hope is that we can get vaccines to parts of the world that
need them and be able to provide a third dose to those who need it, too.
In the interim, and I think this is an important question, too. Just a question about the durability of the efficacy that you've seen with your
vaccine as time goes on. What can you tell us about your data on that? Because for many people that are lucky enough even to have two doses, what
do they need to understand as we head into the winter about the protection that it continues to provide?
AFEYAN: Well, you know, from the early days, what we have set out to do is to develop and offer the highest degree of protection available to the
largest number of people for the longest possible amount of time safely and we have said this over and over again.
The part we couldn't show, until recently is the over a long period of time, because it turns out, that's one thing you can't show six months
durability without waiting six months. Well, we did wait six months and the data that we announced last week seems to indicate that at least in the
mRNA 1273 Moderna vaccine, we're seeing relatively little diminution in protection over the six months, we've gone from 94 to 93 percent.
There have been other reports with other vaccines, some mRNA, some not that have shown a larger drop off, and of course, people are -- scientists are
beginning to study why that might be. I know, in our case, the dose that we've used, the 100 microgram dose was designed to give maximum durability
and protection, and it seems to be doing that.
Likewise, as we look at the effect of delta versus alpha, the original strain, we're also seeing higher levels of protection there. Again, we
think due to the high dose that we've used. Our technology allowed us to safely deliver these kinds of high doses and against an unknown enemy, an
unknown pathogen as in the SARS-CoV-2 virus, we thought that's the way to go, and it is beginning to show some results that are differentiated.
CHATTERLEY: Okay. I also want to talk about a hot topic here in the United States, but I think everywhere around the world where children under the
ages of 12 are heading back to school in the coming weeks, I appreciate you're only phase two in this, so we have to qualify that very carefully.
But I wondered if you could share anything about even just the early stages of what you're seeing with trials of those between six months and 12 years
old. Are you able to give us anything?
AFEYAN: We can't obviously give definitive results of protection until we do the trials that are ongoing right now. But what I can tell you is that
we are quite confident that these trials will be completed as quickly as we can, potentially this fall, such that we have the data to base a decision
At the end of the day, your listeners should realize that the choice is between being vulnerable to a serious infection and being protected from
that infection. But then making sure we understand just how safe the vaccine is to the largest number of young subjects in this case, as we're
So, it's really a question of trading off risk versus risk. There is no alternative to this risk, we're going to take one kind of risk. We think
that the more we learn about the infection, the more the infections affecting young folks, the more we're going to realize that a safe vaccine
will be important. And we think we're on our way to developing that, hopefully with data to support that claim coming this fall.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, and we look forward to that.
Finally, your work is vast. I know, we spent a lot of time talking about COVID. But I know you're also looking at utilizing the mRNA platform to
tackle flu as well in the future, which is something that up until this point, at least we talked about far more than anything else. Obviously, it
was overtaken by COVID. Can you tell us anything about the work there?
AFEYAN: Broadly, we are working on a number of respiratory vaccines, flu being one of them, RSV, and we expect over time this mRNA platform to offer
protection against multiple respiratory threats on a seasonal basis, potentially. And then more broadly, mRNA is being used across 24 different
drug and vaccine programs in our pipeline.
And of course, what's happened due to the pandemic is an acceleration and a ramp up of the production capability sufficient to be able to supply any
number of other effective products coming out of this platform that Moderna pioneered.
So, we're actually quite encouraged by the fact that the science seems to be scalable, seems to be broadly applicable. And we just have to do the
work needed to show the regulators that this approach could offer some quite advantaged new tools over what's been available in the past.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, I mean, the beauty as well of this platform and we are seeing it in practice, too, I believe, you've signed an agreement with the
Canadian government to be able to manufacture vaccines over in Canada as well. I just wanted to ask, does that involve sharing the patent of what
you have created for the COVID vaccine, too, and perhaps and are you talking to other governments at Moderna to perhaps do the same? Obviously,
again, it's something that would be very, very useful in continents like Africa, for example, what can you tell us?
AFEYAN: Well, you know, Moderna as the innovator in this space certainly has a very broad patent estate and it is using it for the benefit of
patients everywhere and subjects for vaccines everywhere. And through us, that technology will be available anywhere we forge partnerships, and set
up plants and production capabilities and even research capability.
So, Canada was the first place that we announced, setting up a production facility that Moderna will establish and operate, but it obviously will be
a form of protection in future pandemics. We are having discussions with a few other countries, we don't have anything to announce yet. That includes
consideration in Africa and elsewhere.
I think that the distinction between patents and the production knowhow technology is an important one, because these patents have been publicly
available for many years. People have read them, many other mRNA producers have had access to this technology. So, it's not a question of just
patents, it is really a question of being able to use the knowhow, and we very much are interested in making sure we strategically deploy this in
different places in the world.
We operate as a global company, albeit a young one, and we continue to want to do that as in as many ways as we can.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, one, one scientist said to me, if it were just about handing over a recipe, then they'd be a Master Chef, and they are not. It's
simply not that simple.
Noubar, I cannot wait until we get through the pandemic and we can talk about what else you have going on, because you're a very interesting man
and you have a lot of things going on. And I promise we will get there, but I appreciate your insights on what's going on at Moderna specifically
today. Thank you. Noubar Afeyan, founder and chairman of Moderna. Thank you.
CHATTERLEY: Okay, a blockchain based app to help the unbanked, Cambodia's Central Bank looks to win the economy of the U.S. dollar with a high-tech
solution. That's next.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE. Cambodia just one of the Southeast Asian countries currently challenged by the delta variant after
successfully containing the coronavirus for months.
The pandemic of course has presented a unique test in a country where more than 70 percent of the population remain unbanked.
CHATTERLEY: Riding the digitization wave that we've seen in other parts of the world, in October, the National Bank of Cambodia launched a blockchain
based payment system, Bakong, and just this week, the bank has struck a partnership with Malaysia's Maybank to facilitate payments between the two
Serey Chea is Assistant Governor and Director General of the Central Bank at the National Bank of Cambodia. And she joins us now from the capital,
Phnom Penh. Serey, fantastic to have you on the show. Fantastic to talk to you about this. Just talk to me about what you were hoping to achieve with
SEREY CHEA, ASSISTANT GOVERNOR AND DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE CENTRAL BANK AT THE NATIONAL BANK OF CAMBODIA: Well, first of all, thank you, Julia, for
having me. With the Bakong that we launched in October 2020, there are three main important goals with this application. One is interoperability,
living in a country where we have a very fragmented banking system where we've got the payment service providers and the banks are not -- who are
not talking with each other.
And, you know, by just making the analogy, it's like using a different mobile service provider and you can't call to each other. And so basically,
we want to aim to create this interoperability and make payment easy. Secondly, it is also for financial inclusion. We have, as you mentioned,
about 80 percent of our population not having a bank account.
And in fact, to open a bank account, it's a bit complicated for people in the rural area, because of the KYC requirement is more demanding. And so
opening a wallet account, because we implement a tiered KYC, it's much easier for them to open. And the third is also to encourage the use of
And now, this is an important point to emphasize, because Bakong in itself will not -- alone will not be able to encourage the local currency or take
away the U.S. dollar from the economy. It is one of the measures that has been implemented by the Central Bank, together with the government.
The important -- three important prerequisite is a sound macro fundamental, which is one is stable exchange rate, stable inflation rate. And third is a
positive economic outlook and create the confidence in the local currency.
So, definitely Bakong would make the use of local currency easier for the people.
CHATTERLEY: Oh, there's so much in there. I'm furiously trying to think about where I go first. So, to your point, and we mentioned it, a huge
proportion of the country around three quarters unbanked, but you do have high mobile penetration, so people can just access this, a mobile wallet
can make payments via a phone app and we were just showing people actually using it, which is why it's so easy. I believe, all you need to use this is
government ID and a mobile phone number and that's how you get access, far easier to your point thing than trying to get access to a bank account, for
CHEA: Yes, exactly. And in fact, during the COVID social distancing measure, and thank God, we've been working on this project way before and
when this pandemic hit, it's a silver lining of the whole situation is that we -- the digital adoption is much -- the pace of it is much faster.
So we have simplified the KYC measures. So, for now, if you just have a phone number, you can register a wallet and transact within a very small
amount, I think about $500.00. And if you want to add the value of your transactions on a daily basis, then you have to take a photo of your ID,
and then if you want to increase it further, you have to actually be present at a bank branch.
But at the moment, because it is targeting retail, just having a phone number on ID and take a selfie of yourself will be enough to allow you to
make transaction contactless.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, this is fascinating and around, I believe, 5.9 million people have already accessed it. One of the other things that I think is
quite fascinating about this, because you mentioned you know, this is about trying to encourage trust and confidence in the domestic currency, when
again, the vast proportion of financial transactions are paid with the U.S. dollar. So, it's about just rebuilding or building up the strength of the
currency of the nation, too, but its remittance flows.
I've read that around 1.2 million people send $2.8 billion home from regional nations around it back in in 2019. So, if you can facilitate
payments from countries like Malaysia, for example, and I use that one specifically for people to send remittances back to Cambodia, more
efficiently with lower cost, then this is vital as well and I believe you literally in the last 24 hours, agreed to deal on that with Malaysia. What
can you tell us?
CHEA: Well, I mean the basic idea of allowing this cross border come from a very personal experience where my youngest son was adopted from a woman
who was raped, and she was a migrant worker, and she sends money home and the money was used -- misused to her father who was alcoholic, and would
beat the mother and father who was a drug addict.
And so the idea with these cross border in my mind, I was thinking about other migrant workers, particularly women who work in Malaysia mostly as
domestic worker, and how can we help them send money easily home?
Cheap, is important, convenient is also important. But also important is that she will be able to send money directly to the school or directly to
the hospital rather than sending all at once to one person and this person risks of mismanaging the money.
And so this is very empowering for women for my own work in general. So we're very, very pleased with this launch within Malaysia, and we hope to
start seeing transaction flowing into an already we were informed by our embassy in Malaysia that they are bombarded with questions on how this is
CHATTERLEY: You know, hearing your personal story, this is so important, because financial inclusion means so many different things, and empowers so
many people in different ways, which I think is very important.
Final point, how do you see this growing? I mean, I mentioned you've seen 5.9 million people access it already, just give us a sense of the
transactions that you're already seeing and how quickly you think you can scale this up.
CHEA: So, in terms of digital payment alone, within this pandemic, from the end of 2019 to end of 2020, we've seen an increase of 350 percent in
terms of volume. And in terms of value, we see an increase of 200 percent, and it reached about $68 billion flowing through this electronic payment.
This is a big amount given you know with a country with a GDP of $25 billion.
In terms of Bakong itself, as the transaction starts growing, at the moment, we have about 1.5 million transaction in the Bakong ecosystem with
a value of about $500 billion. So, it is growing quite rapidly given that, you know, last quarter, we only had about 100,000 of wallet users and as of
quarter two, which is three months ago -- within three months, we've seen it double the number, and now we reach about 200,000 users.
So we have to wait to increase that. And most importantly, we also hope that we could cooperate with other countries as well to promote this cross
border transaction to our tourists and migrant workers.
CHATTERLEY: This is pioneering innovation. Come back soon because there's a whole another conversation about diversification in the U.S. dollar. And
I know you and I've talked offline about this. And I know you have fascinating thoughts. So, we shall reconvene on this conversation.
Thank you for joining us today. Serey Chea there from National Bank of Cambodia. Thank you.
We are back after this.
CHATTERLEY: JetBlue greenlighting its first ever transatlantic route between New York and London despite pandemic travel restrictions. The
United States has not yet opened its borders to U.K. and European travelers and the CEO Robin Hayes says it's time for the United States to change that
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBIN HAYES, CEO, JETBLUE: I'm frustrated about that because I think the U.S. government should take a risk-based approach to travel. I mean, COVID
infection rates in Europe are lower than many countries in the world where you can fly from today.
But look, as a U.S. airline, we always knew most of our sales were going to be out in the U.S. So, the opening of the U.K. by the U.K. government is
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHATTERLEY: And you can see Richard Quest's entire report on JetBlue's new transatlantic service later today on "Quest Means Business" with me,
because I'll be hosting, so I'll see you later.
That's it for the show. Stay safe. "Connect the World" with Becky Anderson is next.