Ethereum Foundation Completes ‘Merge’ for Energy Efficiency

Ethereum completed its highly anticipated software upgrade known as The Merge last week, shifting to a more eco-friendly and sustainable framework. The upgrade is designed to reduce Ethereum’s energy consumption while making the platform cheaper and easier to use and laying the groundwork for future improvements. Ethereum developers prepared with diligence and attention to detail, but the industry was still on pins and needles as engineers scanned for snags and, though unlikely, braced for the possibility of systemwide collapse. Huge in scale, it was a high-wire act transitioning a live network. Continue reading Ethereum Foundation Completes ‘Merge’ for Energy Efficiency

Thirdweb Attracts Investors for Its Web3 Development Toolkit

Thirdweb — licensor of a development toolkit that simplifies creation of Web3 products including games, smart contracts, NFTs, marketplaces and more — has raised $24 million in a Series A funding round with buy-in from Shopify, Coinbase, Polygon and Haun Ventures. The new investment translates to a valuation of $160 million for the startup, which provides cost-effective turnkey solutions for non-coders (or coders that want to save time) to try Web3 while waiting for it to hit critical mass. The company currently has operations in London, San Francisco and Brooklyn. Continue reading Thirdweb Attracts Investors for Its Web3 Development Toolkit

U.S. Cities Are Luring Silicon Valley Firms and Tech Workers

Tech workers are adjusting to new hiring conditions, with the larger firms in traditional digital power corridors said to be cutting back while diverse cities step-up to attract new businesses that can boost the local economy. Hiring freezes and layoffs among larger tech firms such as Apple, Netflix and Twitter are meant to mitigate fear of a looming recession. Into the void comes an increasingly aggressive phalanx of cities and towns across the U.S. providing grants and other perks to attract companies. The idea is businesses bring a tax base and staff can work remotely or take advantage of cost savings by relocating to more affordable markets. Continue reading U.S. Cities Are Luring Silicon Valley Firms and Tech Workers

Funding for Startups Faces Downturn After 10-Year Bull Run

Following a decade-long boom, funding for startups is in decline, according to PitchBook, which says investments in fledgling U.S. tech firms has dropped by 23 percent in Q2 to $62.3 billion, the biggest fall since 2019. In another dire indicator, startup sales and IPOs have fallen to $49 billion the first six months of 2022, plunging 88 percent compared to the same period in 2021. The slump comes amidst an overall stock market downturn that has seen the technology sector take a particularly brutal hit that appears to have affected private startup valuations. Continue reading Funding for Startups Faces Downturn After 10-Year Bull Run

Senate Cryptocurrency Bill Could Be a Victory for Blockchain

A debate as to whether cryptocurrencies are more like commodities than securities is playing out in Washington, with Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) introducing legislation to regulate them like commodities. If passed, the bill would put digital currency under the regulatory purview of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) rather than the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), a win for the crypto sector, which prefers the smaller agency. SEC chair Gary Gensler takes the position that digital assets are akin to publicly traded stock and should be regulated by the SEC.
Continue reading Senate Cryptocurrency Bill Could Be a Victory for Blockchain

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

Wall Street Begins Dabbling in Crypto While Some Hang Back

Wall Street is warming up to cryptocurrencies. Large banks and other financial institutions have been staffing departments ready to serve clients’ blockchain needs. Hedge funds and professional investment outfits led the way, with many mutual funds and pension managers now following along, lest they be perceived as out of touch. Some say the involvement of traditional investment sectors could add some stability to the often-volatile crypto markets, whose ongoing viability is hardly assured. Although Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong thinks it is, predicting that at least one billion people will have tried crypto within a decade. Continue reading Wall Street Begins Dabbling in Crypto While Some Hang Back

Cryptocurrency Market Faces Challenges While Stocks Spiral

Although the cryptocurrency known as stablecoin has garnered mainstream attention recently, with the Biden administration’s call for federal guidelines, critics warn that a subset known as “algorithmic stablecoin” is a crisis in the making. Meanwhile, specific crypto brands like Bitcoin and Ethereum have seen prices drop — Bitcoin below the $40,000 per unit mark, while Ethereum shares dipped below $3,000. In fact, the entire cryptocurrency market is reported to have lost about $400 billion in April as part of what’s being described as “selloff mode.” Continue reading Cryptocurrency Market Faces Challenges While Stocks Spiral

Tech Spots Are the Talk of Super Bowl, from Crypto to Quest

One team was crowned champion at Super Bowl 56, but all the advertisers were winners, with an average of 112.3 million total viewers tuning in across TV and streaming. Typically the most-watched television event in the U.S., the Super Bowl is an opportunity for deep-pocketed advertisers to make an impression on consumers. This year, the post-game spot talk was all about tech. Returning sponsors Amazon, E-Trade, T-Mobile and Verizon were joined by big game debutantes, including four crypto firms, Japanese e-commerce site Rakuten, Meta Platforms’ first national commercial for Meta Quest 2, and several electric vehicle ads. Continue reading Tech Spots Are the Talk of Super Bowl, from Crypto to Quest

Big Tech Concerned About Crypto Startups Poaching Talent

There are reports of a migratory wave of executives and engineers moving from Big Tech firms such as Google, Amazon, Apple and others to chase what is being described as “a once-in-a-generation opportunity” with startups whose business models rely on blockchain and involve everything from cryptocurrencies to non-fungible tokens. Google is said to be so worried about employee retention they’ve increased stock grants in categories vulnerable to poaching following the exit of Surojit Chatterjee to join Coinbase where he saw his stake in the company grow to more than $600 million in 14 months. Continue reading Big Tech Concerned About Crypto Startups Poaching Talent

Lawmakers Grapple with Crypto Regulation at Finance Hearing

Congress continues to grapple with ways to provide government oversight for the cryptocurrency industry, which has exploded from $500 billion in 2020 to nearly $3 trillion today, according to CoinMarketCap. House Financial Services Committee chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-California) called out crypto’s lack of accountability, saying its markets have no “centralized regulatory framework, leaving investments in the digital-asset space vulnerable to fraud, manipulation and abuse.” Those testifying on behalf of virtual currency argued it speeds financial transactions, can save money, and makes a new asset class accessible to people around the world. Continue reading Lawmakers Grapple with Crypto Regulation at Finance Hearing

Federal Infrastructure Plan Includes $65 Billion for Broadband

The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that made it to President Biden’s desk Friday for upgrades to the nation’s roads, bridges, pipes and ports also includes $65 billion to “ensure every American has access to reliable high-speed Internet.” Building high-speed networks in unserved areas and making broadband affordable for low-income families are priorities for an administration in pursuit of digital equity. The White House estimates 30 million U.S. households don’t have access to reliable Internet, a problem heightened by the need to learn and work at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Continue reading Federal Infrastructure Plan Includes $65 Billion for Broadband

Bitcoin Experts & Advocates Lobby Congress Over Tax Rules

Faced with new tax rules for cryptocurrencies, Ashton Kutcher, Elon Musk and Square chief executive Jack Dorsey were among those who brought the fight to Washington. They and others in the industry including lobbyists, executives and trade group officials reached out to Congress over a provision in the massive new infrastructure bill that would “expand and strengthen tax enforcement of crypto transactions.” Dorsey “brought the Twitter heat” over the issue, igniting a grass roots reaction among thousands of crypto enthusiasts. Continue reading Bitcoin Experts & Advocates Lobby Congress Over Tax Rules

Andreessen Horowitz Debuts $2.2 Billion Cryptocurrency Fund

Andreessen Horowitz launched a $2.2 billion cryptocurrency fund focused on blockchain and digital asset startups. The venture capital firm’s first crypto-focused fund was introduced three years ago, during the last bear market dubbed “crypto winter,” when cryptocurrency’s value plummeted 80 percent from a 2017 high. Andreessen Horowitz partners Katie Haun and Chris Dixon, who run the company’s cryptocurrency group, stated that they “believe that the next wave of computing innovation will be driven by crypto.” Continue reading Andreessen Horowitz Debuts $2.2 Billion Cryptocurrency Fund

Coinbase Becomes First Cryptocurrency Startup to Go Public

Startup Coinbase, a secure exchange platform that helps people purchase, sell and store cryptocurrencies, has become the first such startup to go public. Shares traded at $381 each, up 52 percent from a reference price of $250, and eventually closed at $328.28, for a company valuation of $85.7 billion, ten times higher than its last private valuation. The San Francisco-based company’s IPO is a landmark for long-time crypto advocates. In its wake, Bitcoin’s value soared to $64,829 and Ether traded at a record-high of $2,487 (which also followed news about upgrades to the Ethereum network). Continue reading Coinbase Becomes First Cryptocurrency Startup to Go Public