Billions of Dollars Are Vaporized in Cryptocurrency Meltdown

The bottom fell out of the cryptocurrency market last week, wiping out more than $300 billion in a sell-off that underscored the risks of the unregulated digital currencies. Bitcoin fell below $27,000, its lowest point since 2020, as part of a larger trend that saw cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase lose half its value. The stablecoin TerraUSD “imploded.” The panic has been described as the biggest reset in cryptocurrencies since Bitcoin fell by 80 percent in 2018. But the current crash is more severe, since far more people and institutions are investing in digital currencies today. Continue reading Billions of Dollars Are Vaporized in Cryptocurrency Meltdown

Clearview to Limit Sales After Settling Illinois Privacy Lawsuit

Facial recognition software company Clearview AI has agreed to limit U.S. sales of its identity database to businesses and other private actors as part of a lawsuit settlement. The case, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other groups, was filed in state court in Illinois, where the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) is considered the nation’s strongest data privacy law. The lawsuit alleged that Clearview routinely scraped images of state residents from the Internet without obtaining their permission or making them aware of the practice. Continue reading Clearview to Limit Sales After Settling Illinois Privacy Lawsuit

Netflix Will Test Converting Password Sharers into Paid Subs

Netflix will test charging its subscribers an additional fee for account access for users outside the household in an effort to control unauthorized password sharing. The company has for many years ignored the practice of multiple users logging in to the same account from different locations, even though their terms of service say accounts “may not be shared with individuals beyond your household.” One analyst estimates Netflix leaves $6 billion a year on the table due to illicit password sharing. The result is “impacting our ability to invest in great new TV and films for our members,” the company explains. Continue reading Netflix Will Test Converting Password Sharers into Paid Subs

Square Will Purchase Afterpay Credit Company for $29 Billion

Square announced it will acquire Australia-based financial tech company Afterpay in an all-stock deal worth about $29 billion, with Square chief executive Jack Dorsey stating that the two companies “have a shared purpose.” Afterpay appeals to a younger demographic that mistrusts traditional credit companies; its technology lets a consumer pay for goods in four interest-free installments and receive the goods immediately. Customers only pay a fee if they miss an automated payment, which also locks their account until the balance is repaid. Continue reading Square Will Purchase Afterpay Credit Company for $29 Billion

Netflix Battles New Rivals, Cracks Down on Password Sharing

Netflix, with 207.6 million global subscribers, still dominates streaming video. But the growing number of rivals, including Disney+, HBO Max, Paramount+, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, is beginning to chip away at its position. Netflix reported four million new subscribers in Q1 2021, below the six million it predicted; it expects only one million new customers in the current quarter. It is also cracking down on password-sharing, but co-chief executive Reed Hastings said the process won’t be aggressive. Continue reading Netflix Battles New Rivals, Cracks Down on Password Sharing

CES: Identifying Consumer Trends Shaping the New Normal

The Harris Poll’s CEO John Gerzema and Mastercard’s EVP of North America marketing and communications Cheryl Guerin presented data from their recent joint market research study of COVID-19’s impact on digital commerce. They grouped their findings around four key trends: The Touchless Revolution, The Betterment Boom, The Rise of Revenge Spending and The Uncalendared Year. The presentation was followed by a 30-minute discussion with panelists Julia Hammond of MDC Partners, DyShaun Muhammad of Uber, Lou Paskalis of Bank of America and Katie Riccio Puris of TikTok. Continue reading CES: Identifying Consumer Trends Shaping the New Normal

Kuaishou, Rival to ByteDance’s Douyin, Plans Hong Kong IPO

Although the Ant Group suspended its high-profile IPO last week, Kuaishou Technology, a popular short-video and streaming media platform founded in 2011, is moving ahead. According to sources, the company, whose platform competes with ByteDance’s Douyin (TikTok in China), aims to raise about $5 billion and reach a valuation of about $50 billion by filing for an initial public offering in Hong Kong as soon as January 2021. The company was founded by engineers Su Hua, formerly at Google China, and Cheng Yixiao, a Hewlett Packard veteran. Continue reading Kuaishou, Rival to ByteDance’s Douyin, Plans Hong Kong IPO

Intel Sells NAND Memory Business to SK Hynix for $9 Billion

Intel agreed to sell its memory unit to SK Hynix — which makes flash memory components in South Korea — for 10.3 trillion won (about $9 billion). The sale, which includes Intel’s solid-state drive, NAND flash and wafer business and a production facility in the Chinese city of Dalian, will occur in stages through 2025. The deal is expected to improve Hynix’s position in the chip industry, which has boomed after COVID-19, and rids it of one competitor. SK Hynix’s primary rivals are Samsung Electronics and Micron Technology. Continue reading Intel Sells NAND Memory Business to SK Hynix for $9 Billion

IBM Advocates for Confidential Computing Security Standard

IBM and others are advocating the adoption of Confidential Computing, a standard that they state will provide deeper levels of security and privacy in the cloud. With encryption that can only be unlocked by keys held by the client, Confidential Computing guarantees that the company hosting data and applications can’t access the underlying data, regardless of whether it is stored in a database or passing through an application. That prevents hackers from accessing encrypted data when it moves to the application layer. Continue reading IBM Advocates for Confidential Computing Security Standard

Microsoft Will Offer Free Digital Training for 25 Million People

To help fight the unemployment created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft and LinkedIn (which Microsoft acquired in 2016) plan to offer free online classes and job-hunting resources to 25 million people around the world by the end of 2020. The two companies have identified 10 booming occupations — including data analyst, digital marketer and help-desk technician — that require digital skills they aim to teach. These professionals also pay relatively well, even for those without a college degree. Continue reading Microsoft Will Offer Free Digital Training for 25 Million People

Amazon and Facebook to Lease More Space in Manhattan

Less than a year after Amazon pulled out of a deal to build its second headquarters (HQ2) in Manhattan, it inked a lease for 335,000 square feet in the neighborhood to house more than 1,500 employees. Facebook is also reportedly in talks to lease 700,000 square feet in a nearby neighborhood. If that plan goes through, the social media platform, which has other real estate holdings in the city, would become one of its largest corporate tenants, which include JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America. Continue reading Amazon and Facebook to Lease More Space in Manhattan

PayPal Monetizing Venmo, Which Now Has 40 Million Users

PayPal Holdings’ Q1 earnings report revealed that 40 million people used its digital money transfer service Venmo in the last year, making it one of the most popular financial apps in the United States. Venmo is also growing dramatically in overall volume with the total number of payments made on its platform skyrocketing 73 percent to $21.3 billion in Q1 2019. Most Venmo transactions are between two people, with the company swallowing the processing fee. But PayPal prizes the app since a younger, more active cohort favors it. Continue reading PayPal Monetizing Venmo, Which Now Has 40 Million Users

Accounting, Finance Industries Demand Explainable AI Tools

As artificial intelligence-based tools become more widespread in the business industry, cloud service companies are debuting tools that explain the artificial intelligence algorithms they use to provide more transparency and assure users of their ethical behavior. That’s because regulated industries are demanding it. Capital One and Bank of America are just two such companies interested in using AI to improve detection of fraud, but want to know how the algorithms work before they implement such tools. Continue reading Accounting, Finance Industries Demand Explainable AI Tools

Amazon in Talks on Bank Product with JPMorgan, Capital One

According to sources, Amazon is currently in discussions with JPMorgan Chase and other banks about creating a product similar to a checking account aimed at a younger demographic. These early stage talks may not result in anything tangible, and are not intended to turn Amazon into a bank. What the product would do is further integrate Amazon into its customers’ lives, from Whole Foods, Kindle, Alexa and its website. The new product would also potentially cut fees Amazon currently pays to banks and provide more customer data. Continue reading Amazon in Talks on Bank Product with JPMorgan, Capital One

Twitter Pursues Advertising Revenue With Sponsored Moments

Get ready for more ads to appear on Twitter. The social platform is introducing sponsored Moments, which will bring brand sponsorship to its Moments publisher feature. Sponsored Moments are collections of tweets that are purposely packaged around an event or theme, such as an awards show or sports championship. Brands can run promoted tweets inside the collection and add branding to the cover image. For example, Bank of America recently sponsored a collection of tweets from Bloomberg about the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Continue reading Twitter Pursues Advertising Revenue With Sponsored Moments