ASEAN summit, Cosby’s verdict, crypto discoveries

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today and over the weekend

South Asian leaders discuss the future at the ASEAN summit. Singapore’s prime minister Lee Hsien Loong is hosting the conference, where he’s expected to further his plan to create a network of smart cities. Other leaders will outline their own strategies for keeping the region resilient, innovative, and connected.

GDP first-quarter numbers released for the US. The numbers will most likely show a slowdown—analysts predict a 2% growth rate, down from 2.9% the previous quarter. However, the simultaneous release of the Employment Cost Index could, if the showing is strong, cause investors to push the market upwards.

The Bank of Japan announces a potential policy change. In March, the nation’s central bank didn’t alter its aggressive easing policy, but indicated a change could be in the works for April. The bank will also release its quarterly outlook (paywall).

While you were sleeping

Bill Cosby was declared guilty of sexual assault. The comedian’s retrial ended in a conviction on all three counts of aggravated indecent assault, which could add up to a potential 30 years in prison. Even if the three 10-year sentences are served concurrently, the 80-year-old Cosby could spend the remainder of his life behind bars.

Michael Cohen pleaded the Fifth. Donald Trump’s personal lawyer chose to invoke his constitutional right against self-incrimination, citing the lawsuit filed against him by adult-film actress Stormy Daniels. Meanwhile, Trump surprisingly confirmed that Cohen facilitated a $130,000 hush-money deal with Daniels on his behalf.

Ronny Jackson withdrew his nomination. The US president’s White House doctor excluded himself from consideration to run the highly complicated Department of Veteran Affairs amid allegations of unethical behavior, including pill-pushing and heavy drinking on the job.

Starbucks beat expectations… Despite positive numbers—the coffee chain’s revenue grew 14% to $6.03 billion—shares slipped in aftermarket trading by almost 3%. Less-popular new beverages and, speculators believe, an incident in which two black men were arrested for trespassing, have hurt sales in recent quarters.

… As did Amazon and Intel. Amazon’s Prime subscribers soared along with its cloud-computing services, and shares jumped 6% when the retail giant announced booming second-quarter forecasts. Intel’s data center group boosted its earnings, which the company projected would hit $65 billion this year. Its shares rose by 7.8% in extended trading.

Quartz obsession interlude

Rosie Spinks on how it’s getting harder to see where the hotel industry ends and Airbnb begins: “Since it announced its new multi-tiered offering in February, Airbnb’s era as a quirky sharing economy startup is quickly coming to a close….If you can book hotel rooms on Airbnb and book a home share via or a major hotel brand, is the accommodation industry just turning into one big mega-offering?” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Pie charts will never die. Serious data visualizers may prefer bar charts and line graphs, but it doesn’t change the simple fact that people love circles.

Journalists are losing to Trump. Media members have become locked out of a system in which the US president controls political narratives.

More tech companies should be cutting off Wall Street. Today’s economy is proving that big banks and bloated IPOs aren’t necessary (paywall) for industry success.

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Surprising discoveries, crypto edition

Big financial institutions are getting ready to trade crypto. Thomson Reuters found that 70% of those who plan to trade digital currency will get started in the next three to six months.

Tencent’s newest game merges CryptoKitties and Pokémon Go. Players of “Let’s Hunt Monsters” can catch virtual monsters, while rearing and trading millions of digital kittens stored on a blockchain.

What’s in a crypto name? Crypto-preneurs are racing to grab names from fantasy and sci-fi for their projects, with Lord of the Rings monikers high on the list.

Owning crypto is a conflict of interest for Wikipedia editors. The site notes that “any external relationship—personal, religious, political, academic, legal, or financial (including holding a cryptocurrency)—can trigger a COI.”

Nasdaq could become a digital-currency exchange. CEO Adena Friedman says once regulation is figured out, she’s open to it becoming a crypto-trading platform.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, kittens to trade, and hobbits to honor to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or download our apps for iPhone and Android. Today’s Daily Brief was written and edited by McKinley Noble and Susan Howson.