New vaccine trials, Wall Street whodunnit, Stonehenge acoustics

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

Major European drug companies are starting clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine. 440 Americans will be given the early-stage vaccine across the US, with the first results expected in December. GSK and Sanofi’s partnership uses the same protein-based technology as an existing flu vaccine.

Amazon is creating thousands of permanent jobs in the UK. In total, there’ll be around 10,000 new positions this year, bringing the headcount in Britain to 40,000. But they’re mostly in warehouses.

Joe Biden visits Kenosha. The Democrat US presidential candidate is meeting the parents of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot by police officers in the Wisconsin city last month. This follows president Donald Trump’s trip to Kenosha earlier this week, which focused more on support for law enforcement.

Another Black man died after being restrained by police in March, it emerged. Daniel Prude suffered asphyxiation in upstate New York earlier this year, after officers made him wear a “spit hood.” He also had the drug PCP in his system, and mental health issues. In a news conference yesterday, Prude’s brother said he’d been “lynched.”

A cargo ship went missing near Japan. Japanese coastguards are searching for the vessel, which was sailing from New Zealand to China carrying thousands of livestock and 43 crew members. The ship sent a distress signal amid poor weather caused by typhoon Maysak, which wreaked havoc in Korea.

Obsession interlude: Future of Finance

In 2013, India’s central bank issued its first warning about cryptocurrencies, which weren’t particularly popular at the time. By 2017, everything had changed: That year, bitcoin’s value rose from $900 to $20,000, and the possibility of making a quick buck attracted many Indians to crypto.

This rapid rise made the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the government jittery. After several warnings, the RBI cracked the whip in 2018, asking all financial institutions not to support trading of cryptocurrencies. The move completely crippled the crypto market; a few exchanges had to shut down, while others shifted out of India.

What followed was a two-year legal saga in India’s top court. The victor? Crypto. In March, India’s Supreme Court nixed the RBI’s directive. Uncertainty still looms (pdf), but for now, cryptocurrency is booming in India once again.

A chart of the price of bitcoin.

You can be certain, however, that we remained obsessed with the Future of Finance.

Charting VC investment in Africa

Investment in African startups could drop by as much as 40% by the end of the year due to the Covid-19 pandemic—but the bigger question for smaller startups is whether they will remain alive at all.

A chart showing past, present, and future of African VC investing

In an effort to help startups stay afloat, Ventures Platform, an Abuja, Nigeria-based early-stage fund, is creating a startup relief program to disburse emergency grants of up to $20,000 to early, high-growth stage startups that may require cash lifelines.

Sign up to keep up with the continent with the Quartz Africa Weekly Brief today:

Quiz: A Wall Street Whodunit

Image for article titled New vaccine trials, Wall Street whodunnit, Stonehenge acoustics
Image: Rodrigo Fortes for Quartz

This famous investor could be considered the godfather of today’s retail stock trading boom. Who is it?

  1. George Soros
  2. Larry Fink
  3. Bernie Madoff
  4. Bill Gross

We’ll give you the answer at the end of this email. If you’d like a cheat sheet, check out our field guide to the next bubble.

✦ Here’s a hint: There’s no scheme involved in this special offer. Land yourself a paywall-free experience by joining Quartz for 50% off using code “SUMMERSALE.”

We’re obsessed with climate migration

Image: Giphy

Oh the places we’ll (have to) go! Sea level rise, sweltering temperatures, parching drought, intense wildfires, catastrophic flooding, powerful hurricanes—the effects of climate change are widespread and varied across the globe. Threats to some of the most populous parts of the world could trigger the largest human migration to have ever occurred. In fact, it’s already begun. Will new destinations be ready when the migrants show up? Get a move on with the Quartz Weekly Obsession.

Surprising discoveries

Stonehenge was built to rock... An engineer built a scale model to reveal the structure’s unique acoustic properties.

… And this dog was born to walk. A network of volunteers helped Pipsqueak the dachshund on its 10,000 mile journey to rejoin its owners in Australia.

Banana slugs are fire-proof. The colorful mollusk avoided a wipeout during recent California wildfires by burying themselves up to 9 ft (3 m) underground.

NASA patented a new route to the moon. The novel lunar trajectory isn’t meant for astronauts but could help cut costs for scientific spacecrafts.

There’s a new black hole in town. By “new” we mean the “previously unknown intermediate-mass type” and by “in town” we mean deep space, so don’t fret too much.

Whodunit answer: Bernard L. Madoff ran the world’s largest Ponzi scheme. He was also a key pioneer of payment for order flow, a business model that helps underpin “commission-free” stock brokerage for everyday traders. It has become a critical money maker for brokerages like Robinhood and Charles Schwab (Schwab was an early Madoff customer). Read the story of how the Ponzi mastermind enabled the US retail trading boom in our guide to the next bubble.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, snug banana slugs, and wandering weiner dogs to Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our app on iOS and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Hasit Shah, Susan Howson, Yomi Kazeem, and Max Lockie.