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

Money Management Firms Surpass VCs in Funding Startups

In Q2 of this year, large money-management companies including hedge funds, mutual funds, pensions and sovereign-wealth groups became bigger players in Silicon Valley than venture capitalists with regard to startups. According to PitchBook Data, these nontraditional funders took part in 42 percent of startup financing deals, forming more than 75 percent of the invested capital. PitchBook added that, in the first half of 2021, investment in U.S. startups reached $150 billion, more than funding in every year prior to 2020. Continue reading Money Management Firms Surpass VCs in Funding Startups

ByteDance Revenue, Profit Leap in 2020 But No IPO in Sight

Privately-held startup ByteDance, owner of TikTok, reported that its revenue more than doubled to $34.3 billion last year, rising 111 percent from a year ago while gross profit rose 93 percent to $19 billion. As of December 2020, ByteDance — which also runs Douyin, the domestic Chinese version of TikTok, and Jinri Toutiao, a news aggregation app — had about 1.9 billion monthly active users on all its platforms. Due to share-based compensation to workers, the company had a $2.1 billion operating loss last year. Continue reading ByteDance Revenue, Profit Leap in 2020 But No IPO in Sight

Fidelity Reveals It Will Launch Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Fund

Fidelity Investments plans to launch the Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust, an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that tracks the price of Bitcoin via the Fidelity Bitcoin Index. Fidelity Digital Assets will store Wise Origin’s holdings. The Securities and Exchange Commission, which blocked nine applications for Bitcoin ETFs in 2018, must approve the plan. Fidelity Investments chief executive Abigail Johnson has long advocated the market potential of cryptocurrencies, and Fidelity was one of the first big financial firms to embrace them as an asset class. Continue reading Fidelity Reveals It Will Launch Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Fund

Government Monitoring Trade Activity of AMC and GameStop

Individual investors are savoring their win over hedge-fund investors of GameStop, AMC Entertainment, BlackBerry and other companies perceived to be failing. As stocks go through the roof, individual investors gather on Reddit, Discord, Facebook and Twitter to encourage each other and brag, while investors lose the money they bet on short-selling stocks of troubled companies. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and her economic team are monitoring the situation. The SEC revealed it was “evaluating the extreme price volatility of certain stocks’ trading prices over the past several days” and would “review actions taken by regulated entities that may disadvantage investors or otherwise unduly inhibit their ability to trade certain securities.” Continue reading Government Monitoring Trade Activity of AMC and GameStop

Thalmic Labs Changes Name to North, Unveils Smart Glasses

Canadian wearables startup Thalmic Labs, which has rebranded itself as North, unveiled its second product — holographic smart glasses dubbed Focals. The wearable features lenses with a built-in display that shows the user messages, weather forecasts, directions and more information from the smartphone, and allows the user to call on Alexa to order an Uber and get calendar notifications among other tasks. Two years ago, North raised $120 million from Amazon’s Alexa Fund, Intel Capital and Fidelity Investments Canada. Continue reading Thalmic Labs Changes Name to North, Unveils Smart Glasses

OTT Service Cheddar Now On the Cable Dial with New Deals

Cheddar, which debuted as a streaming service focused on financial news, just went live on Denver-based cable/broadband provider WOW. The company originally launched as a cable TV disruptor, but now is available to half of WOW’s 800,000 subscribers, in Alabama, Florida and Michigan. Cheddar also inked a deal with the National Cable Television Cooperative, which represents 840 small U.S. cable operators with 8 million households. This deal allows those smaller cable operators to include Cheddar in their packages. Continue reading OTT Service Cheddar Now On the Cable Dial with New Deals

Bitcoin Market Trending Upwards, But Ethereum On the Rise

The Bitcoin market, almost a decade old, is now skyrocketing in value. Behind Bitcoin’s rising price are investments by Japanese investors and a heightened perception of global perils. Over the weekend, according to the website CoinDesk, the price of Bitcoin reacted to a sudden spell of speculative investment, trading above $2,200 on Monday, which represents more than 15 percent from the closing price of $1,913 on Friday. Bitcoin is up 397 percent from a year ago and 130 percent this year. Continue reading Bitcoin Market Trending Upwards, But Ethereum On the Rise

Thalmic Labs Aims to Change How We Interact with Computers

Since Thalmic Labs debuted the Myo muscle-sensing armband, which lets users control a computer with a wave, the Y-Combinator startup received a $120 million investment from Intel Capital, the Amazon Alexa Fund, and Fidelity Investments Canada; and hired Samsung veteran Tara Kriese as its CMO and former Under Armour wearable devices head Abhi Bhatt as VP of Product Experience. The 100-employee company also opened a 50,000 square-foot manufacturing facility in Waterloo, where it’s working on its next, still-unannounced product. Continue reading Thalmic Labs Aims to Change How We Interact with Computers

Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Technology Not Just About Gaming

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg imagined that the Oculus virtual reality technology his company acquired would eventually go beyond gaming — and it looks like that trend is already taking shape. Developers from a wide variety of industries are working on new apps for the Oculus Rift that could be used by stock traders, educators, psychiatrists, astronauts, filmmakers and others. The Oculus Rift is making VR more accessible because of its relatively low cost and growing variety of content. Continue reading Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Technology Not Just About Gaming