EU Advances Crypto Regulation in Face of Small Investor Pain

The decentralization that promised to make cryptocurrencies accessible, transparent, and an everyman’s investment dream has turned into a nightmare for many. While professional investors have largely done well shorting blockchain stock, other individuals haven’t been as successful. Fortune wrote of “crypto carnage” in a market that has so far lost $1 trillion in this year’s market selloffs. Bitcoin has lost about 50 percent of its market value this year, while Ethereum has fallen by 56 percent since January. Last week, the European Union advanced a framework for crypto-assets that includes consumer protection and safeguards against cybercrime. Continue reading EU Advances Crypto Regulation in Face of Small Investor Pain

Meta Plans Hiring Cuts as It Gears Up for ‘Fierce Headwinds’

Meta Platforms is preparing for a steep economic downturn that CEO Mark Zuckerberg is trying to get in front of by cutting costs and refocusing priorities. Engineering hires will be cut by 30 percent this year, with fewer than 7,000 additions as opposed to the original target of 10,000. The pivot comes at a time when Meta is seeking to expand on several fronts. The company reportedly needs to increase by fivefold the computing power of its data centers in order to accommodate the artificial intelligence technology that will be necessary to support its new “discovery” push.  Continue reading Meta Plans Hiring Cuts as It Gears Up for ‘Fierce Headwinds’

HTC Desire 22 Pro Phone Integrates Cypto, NFTs, Metaverse

HTC is launching its Desire 22 Pro smartphone, which emphasizes VR and AR integration centering around HTC’s own Vive ecosystem and the open-source metaverse platform it calls the Viverse. The Desire 22 Pro’s preloaded Viverse app lets users access and manage NFTs and cryptocurrencies and other metaverse content. In February HTC announced the Viverse, where people can attend meetings or concerts, build avatars and play games. Optimized for HTC’s 5G products and Vive VR devices, users can join the Viverse from any phone, tablet, PC or VR headset. Continue reading HTC Desire 22 Pro Phone Integrates Cypto, NFTs, Metaverse

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

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

Are DAOs About to Revolutionize the Film and TV Industries?

Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) are riding the crypto wave, with some asking if their notion of distributed decision-making marks an evolution from crowdfunding through platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to crowdsourced creativity on a blockchain. It’s already been demonstrated that tokens can be used for smart contracts and to designate property ownership. The film and television industries are just becoming aware of the potential impact of NFTs, which have already disrupted the worlds of art and gaming, driving creator economies. The wisdom of the crowd might be tapped to find fresh stories, too. Continue reading Are DAOs About to Revolutionize the Film and TV Industries?

NFTs Are Poised to Move Beyond Arts into Academia, Health

As NFTs work their way into the social fabric via digital art and collectibles, there is speculation that their usefulness is only beginning to be understood. While non-fungible tokens have gained popularity due to their use in illustration, music, entertainment, gaming and sports, as a medium they’re still in their infancy. As units of data saved onto a blockchain, the provenance of every NFT is trackable, substantiating ownership and authenticity. As such, there is interest in using them for everything from educational credentialing and documenting medical treatment to automotive applications and philanthropic fundraising. Continue reading NFTs Are Poised to Move Beyond Arts into Academia, Health

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

Cybercriminals Target NFTs on OpenSea, Other Marketplaces

Nearly $30 billion was spent on NFTs last year, according to analytics firm Chainalysis, and one of the companies that’s benefitted from the boom is OpenSea. The firm has a $13 billion valuation thanks to its well-timed entry into the hot new sector, becoming one of the biggest NFT marketplaces in the world. With success has come headaches, as scam artists began to target NFTs and the people who buy and sell them. Now the four-year-old New York firm and other marketplaces are struggling to find a balance between boomtown and lockdown. Continue reading Cybercriminals Target NFTs on OpenSea, Other Marketplaces

FTC Says Social Media Has Become Goldmine for Scammers

Consumers were cheated out of $770 million by social media scams last year, according to the Federal Trade Commission, which said the number accounts for roughly one-fourth of fraud losses for the year. New scams involving e-commerce and cryptocurrency helped boost the haul, which was 18 times greater than the $42 million in social media fraud the FTC tracked for 2017. As a result, incidences of younger victims grew, with adults 18-to-39 reporting fraud losses 2.4 times more than adults 40 and over. Investment and romance scams were also high on the list.  Continue reading FTC Says Social Media Has Become Goldmine for Scammers

YouTube Exploring Commerce and NFTs, Says CEO Wojcicki

YouTube plans to test new monetization features for creators of its YouTube Shorts videos, which have passed more than 5 trillion views since debuting in September 2020, according to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, who also said the company is exploring adding NFTs to its toolkit for video creators. In addition, YouTube is testing new shopping features tied to its video content. The number of global creator channels making more than $10,000 a year “is up 40 percent year over year,” Wojcicki wrote as part of an annual letter to creators that outlined 2022 priorities focusing on helping creators generate income. Continue reading YouTube Exploring Commerce and NFTs, Says CEO Wojcicki

CES: The ABCs of NFTs & Blockchain with Industry Pioneers

CES held its first-ever panel discussion on NFTs – non-fungible tokens for the uninitiated – with two experts who have grown up with the nascent industry sector. United Talent Agency head of digital assets Lesley Silverman noted that her company established the new division in March 2021. Her guest was Art Blocks founder and CEO Erick Calderon, who first got involved with NFTs in 2017 by following a thread on Reddit. Both had advice for newbies: Don’t let the jargon intimidate you and store your seed phrase in a cold storage device. Continue reading CES: The ABCs of NFTs & Blockchain with Industry Pioneers

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

The Web3 Debate: Impending Revolution or Marketing Hype?

Nearly 37 percent of the world’s population has never used the Internet, according to the United Nations. That’s about 2.9 billion people yet to experience the technology most of the other 63 percent now take for granted. But many feel the Internet is ready for its third act, Web3 (also known as Web 3.0). Companies trying to figure out what Web3 means for their business models are not helped by the fact that there is dissent as to what it will be. Decentralized, relying on blockchain, connected to the metaverse are among the themes being discussed. Although there’s a lot being written, it’s all rather fuzzy at this time. Continue reading The Web3 Debate: Impending Revolution or Marketing Hype?

Kickstarter Gets Backlash Over News of Moving to Blockchain

Kickstarter is launching a new company that will mirror its crowdfunding system, but using cryptocurrencies and built on blockchain. The as yet unnamed entity generated backlash among the company’s existing community due to the environmental hazards presented by energy-guzzling crypto, despite Kickstarter’s choice of what it calls a “carbon negative” partner in Celo, a mobile-first platform that is open-source. “We’re supporting the development of an open-source protocol that will essentially create a decentralized version of Kickstarter’s core functionality” that will live on a public blockchain for use by global entrepreneurs, Kickstarter said in an announcement. Continue reading Kickstarter Gets Backlash Over News of Moving to Blockchain