What Tom Wolfe Saw in Silicon Valley
By Aaron Pressman and Adam Lashinsky May 16, 2018
All kinds of money. Digital currency startup Circle raised $110 million from private investors led by Chinese currency mining powerhouse Bitmain. The deal terms valued Circle at almost $3 billion, more than six times its value in 2016. Bitmain will work with Circle on efforts to tie new coins to actual currencies and make digital wallets more interoperable. “I think in the future the markets are not only about cryptocurrencies and ICOs but about stable tokens and traditional verticals like bonds and stocks,” Bitmain co-founder Jihan Wu tells Fortune. Elsewhere in cryptocurrency startup land, Canaan, one of the largest makers of mining hardware setups, filed to go public in China and raise $1 billion. And phone maker HTC is trying to jump on the bandwagon with its new phone, called Exodus, that is chock full of features for digital currency traders.
All kinds of filters. Another day, another 2.5 million pieces of hate speech on Facebook. The social network said on Tuesday that it found that many bad posts in the first quarter, with 38% flagged by automated means and the rest caught by humans. The New York Times reports that the Justice Department is investigating Cambridge Analytica, the firm at the center of Facebook’s data oversharing scandal. Meanwhile, Twitter said it was incorporating many more variables into its algorithms to detect inappropriate or abusive tweets so such posts could be filtered out sooner.
Vow of silence. So just how dangerous is social media? So dangerous that a new set of guidelines from the Vatican is telling cloistered nuns not to overindulge. “These means must therefore be used with sobriety and discretion, not only with regard to the contents but also to the quantity of information and the type of communication,” the document states. Hopefully Pope Francis will still be able to tweet regularly to his 18 million followers.
Stripped down. With Apple’s iPad still dominating the tablet market, Microsoft is planning to release a line of cheaper Surface tablets of its own, Bloomberg reports. The new line, coming in the second half of the year, will start at $400 and have 10-inch screens.
Burning a hole in his pocket. Japanese billionaire and SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son isn’t done spending his $100 billion Vision Fund, but he’s still looking ahead. Son is trying to drum up interest to launch a new fund as early as 2019, Bloomberg reported.
Finally. The more than 1.5 million subscribers to AT&T’s DirecTV Now Internet video service finally are getting DVR capability, a year and half after launch. The upgrade, which includes 20 hours of stored recordings at no extra charge, arrives first on apps for Apple TV, iOS and the web, with Android, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku coming soon.
Zoom zoom zoom. Electric scooter scourge–I mean startup–Lime is raising another $500 million to spread its green and white rides to more cities. Some of the financing may come through debt, Axios reports.
Cheaper by the dozen. More discounts for Amazon Prime members are coming to Whole Foods. The company said Wednesday that members will get 10% off items already on sale, among other new perks. “What we’ve seen is when we do special deals for Prime members, we get a lot of traffic,” Whole Foods CEO John Mackey told Fortune.
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