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Time To Ban Crypto -IMF
Monday's Top Tech News
Why Stripe Is Cheaper Than Adyen
Stripe is currently raising $4bn in funding, marketed by Goldman Sachs, at a valuation of $55bn. However, the valuation is at a significant discount to Adyen's $44bn public trading valuation, even though Stripe has grown faster than Adyen over the years. Stripe serves smaller businesses, making it more lucrative than the European-centric Adyen. Nevertheless, Stripe is growing more slowly than Adyen due to the e-commerce slowdown. Stripe also spent more heavily on staff and new business initiatives, resulting in its 2022 expenses per employee being twice that of Adyen, even though Adyen's revenue per employee was higher. Stripe aims to generate 60% operating margins over the long term, while analysts expect Adyen to surpass 60% operating margins within three years from the current level of 55%. The difference in expenses and revenue per employee helped explain why Adyen earned $800m more in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization than Stripe did last year, even though Adyen's revenue was less than half of Stripe's.
Crypto’s Costly Payments Problems at Gemini
Gemini, the cryptocurrency exchange founded by the Winklevoss twins, has experienced difficulties such as fraud when it launched a crypto rewards credit card and losses from lax withdrawal policies on cryptocurrency. The crypto exchange has also experienced a decline in revenue, following the crypto market crash last year. Other crypto firms also struggle with fraud expenses, which can be costly to fix quickly, especially when firms are trying to sign up customers for a new product quickly. Gemini approved a surge of new customers who had signed up with stolen identities, and fraudulent transactions from those users cost the exchange millions of dollars.
ChatGPT is Coming to Snapchat
Snapchat has introduced a new chatbot called "My AI" powered by ChatGPT technology, which will be available to Snapchat Plus subscribers for now. The bot will provide users with personalized recommendations and suggestions for things like birthday gifts, hiking trips, and dinner recipes, among other things. Snapchat has customized the bot's responses to follow its own trust and safety policies, and all conversations will be saved and reviewed to improve the product experience. Snapchat hopes that My AI will help users become more comfortable talking to AI daily, following in the footsteps of other companies like Microsoft and Google.
It's Time to Ban Crypto - IMF
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has suggested that countries should consider outright cryptocurrency bans if effective crypto regulation is not agreed upon. Kristalina Georgieva, the Managing Director of the IMF, stated that if regulations are slow to come and if crypto assets become a high risk for consumers and potential for financial stability, the option of banning them should not be taken off the table. However, she also mentioned that if there were enough consumer protection, any bans wouldn’t be necessary. The IMF has regularly called crypto too risky and volatile for any country to adopt.
NFT Mania is Back
After a year of dormancy in 2022, the NFT market is again thriving. According to CryptoSlam, NFT sales rose from $546.9 million in December to $780.2 million in January 2023, with other blockchain networks such as Solana and Bitcoin also seeing growth. While it's not back to the heights of 2021, the market's rejuvenation is a positive sign for NFTs, which are used for art, gaming, branding, memorabilia, and memes. The resurgence is thanks to a combination of factors, including Donald Trump's Trump Cards NFTs, increased trading activity for collections like the Bored Ape Yacht Club, and more room for innovation, such as the Lolita Adventures NFT series. Furthermore, big brands are joining the NFT mania, such as Starbucks with their Starbucks Odyssey and Mugler collaborating with digital 3D artist Marc Tudisco.
Telecom Networks Making Their APIs Much Easier to Use
The GSMA has launched Open Gateway, a set of open network APIs that aims to provide developers with universal access to telecom networks. The initiative has initially launched with eight universal network APIs and plans to launch more in the future. The project has been made possible thanks to the collaboration with the Linux Foundation, with 21 network operators already signed up. Use cases for the APIs could extend beyond the typical consumer to include official bodies, such as financial crime prevention. Developers expect to hear more about early adopter programs over the next 12 months.
Microsoft Unveils New Azure Platform
Microsoft has announced a new Azure platform that aims to bring cloud and edge closer together through the power of 5G. The latest iteration of Azure for Operators will allow companies to modernize their networks, resulting in improved cost efficiency and the rollout of new services. Azure Operator Distributed Services combines the best of AT&T’s and Azure’s offerings, such as security, monitoring, analytics, AI, and machine learning. Microsoft has also announced the private preview of the Azure Operator 5G Core and public preview of the Azure Private 5G Core, designed with the secure deployment of private 4G and 5G networks with potential use cases, including smart cities and autonomous vehicles. Microsoft believes it's time to move away from legacy systems as 5G development continues to accelerate, citing improved bandwidth, reliability, and reduced latency as some of the key benefits of 5G connections. Microsoft is positioning itself as an ideal cloud provider to help operators with their digital transformation journey and enable them to deliver innovative services to their customers.
Twitter Employees To Receive Stock ‘Very Significant’ Stock Awards
Elon Musk has informed remaining Twitter employees that they will receive "very significant" performance-based stock awards on March 24th in an internal memo, following another round of sudden layoffs over the weekend. Musk wrote that those who remain are "highly regarded by those around them." The memo comes after Musk laid off hundreds of employees, including several senior loyalists and nearly all of the product team without warning over the weekend. Musk has not shared details about how he will make up for the stock awards that went away when he took Twitter private. Current and former employees estimate that Twitter’s total headcount is well below 2,000 now versus the roughly 7,500 people on the payroll when Musk took over.