Connect with us

Tech

Exclusive: The Winklevoss twins rock on

Published

on

The Winklevoss twins rock on

#Winklevoss #twins #rock

Welcome back to Chain Reaction.

Last week, we talked about an arrest in the crypto world that had investors sweating. This week, we’re talking about rocking through the general malaise of a crypto winter.

You can subscribe to this newsletter and get it in your inbox every Thursday on TechCrunch’s newsletter page.


blockstars

Crypto has had a brutal couple months and yet, the show goes on — metaphorically and literally for the Winklevoss twins who, despite announcing significant layoffs and suffering a federal lawsuit this week against their crypto exchange Gemini, have started the multi-city tour for their cover band “Mars Junction” which plays hits from Blink 182, The Killers and Rage Against The Machine.

The band’s billionaire frontmen (both immortalized by Armie Hammer in the film The Social Network) remade their image with a substantial bet on the bitcoin ecosystem years ago and while Gemini lags plenty of competitors, the exchange hit a $7.1 billion valuation last year, but lawsuits from investors and regulators teamed with layoffs could spell trouble ahead nonetheless.

High-flying valuations were a hallmark of the 2021 bull run for crypto during which unicorn startups were minted on a weekly basis as money dumped into the space even while consumer interest in web3 services seemed to grow more modestly. But as investors look at the public travails of Coinbase, startups that didn’t raise quite enough are about to see more hostile terms coming their way.

This week, The Block and Bloomberg reported that crypto lending platform BlockFi was taking a massive valuation haircut and was aiming to raise a round at a $1 billion valuation just over a year after raising cash at $3 billion.

Investors are getting more conservative with their capital but also growing a bit more skeptical of exit options.

Advertisement

For public behemoths like Coinbase, the hit to their stock price has left them scrambling, reversing a hiring spree on a dime and rescinding offers to prospective employees. Coinbase’s misfortunes are likely a leading signal of tough times ahead for private crypto startups who may not have raised as much runway as necessary. Companies that are in dire need for growth capital won’t be in a great spot, though venture capitalists like a16z will certainly try to keep the party going for seed stage startups with new funds devoted largely to new bets.

The broader tech industry hasn’t seen a prolonged recession in a couple decades, but crypto startups have dealt with plenty of brutal “winter” periods. As a result one would expect they’d be a bit better prepared for the good times to end… and yet plenty of top crypto companies are signaling that this latest crash caught them off guard.


the latest pod

It’s Anita here – on this week’s episode, Lucas and I sadly had to be the bearers of some bad news as the crypto market downturn begins impacting employees. Some of the biggest crypto companies are joining the recent wave of tech startups firing people en masse. We talked about Coinbase’s recent move to rescind job offers it had already extended to candidates who had committed to work there, Gemini’s decision to sack 10% of its staff, and how exactly things have gotten so ugly so quickly.

We also talked about the new bill Senators Cynthia Lummis and Kirsten Gillbrand introduced this week that could provide long-awaited regulatory clarity for crypto, getting into why we think this is a long-term win for companies building in the space and investors holding digital assets.  

Sriram Krishnan, a general partner on a16z’s crypto team (and co-host of “The Good Time Show,”) joined us to shed light on some of his recent Twitter beefs and how his experience as an exec at some of the largest social media companies informs his approach to web3 consumer investing. 

Subscribe to Chain Reaction on Apple, Spotify or your alternative podcast platform of choice to keep up with us every week.


follow the money

Where startup money is moving in the crypto world:

  1. Mobile investment platform Delphia raised a $60 million Series A led by Multicoin Capital.
  2. Calaxy, a web3 social marketplace, nabbed $26 million in strategic funding co-led by Animoca Brands and HBAR Foundation.
  3. Entropy, a decentralized crypto custodian, raised $25 million for its seed round led by a16z.
  4. “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” actor Rob McElhenney’s web3 entertainment startup, Adim, raised $5 million in seed funding in an a16z-led round.
  5. Decentralized exchange ApolloX secured an undisclosed amount in seed funding from investors including Binance Labs and Kronos Research.
  6. Euler Finance, a non-custodial crypto lending protocol, brought in $32 million with Haun Ventures as lead investor in its Series A. 
  7. Data infrastructure provider Vybe Network announced the close of a $10.5 million Series A investment led by FTX.
  8. Mash, a Lightning Network-enabled payments platform, secured $6 million in seed funding co-led by Castle Island Ventures and Whitecap Venture Partners.
  9. Cryptio, an institutional crypto accounting platform, snagged $10 million in a Series A led by Point Nine.
  10. NFT portfolio management startup Floor raised an $8 million seed round led by 6thMan Ventures.

the week in web3

As Anita heads to the Consensus crypto conference in Austin this week, we’ve been thinking about the aspects of web3 that still seem to excite and energize crowds, even during a tough period in the markets. 

  • Web3 entrepreneur Tux Pacific summed it up well: In fact, I’ve never felt I’ve been in a space where it’s been more acceptable for people to be so different. If you go to a [crypto] conference, it’s just filled with weird, weird people,” Pacific told Anita in an interview. Pacific, one of the rare trans, queer founders in crypto with big-name venture backing, also talked about how their unique background informs their fresh approach to building a crypto custody company.
  • Maybe it’s a bold time to raise capital to invest in web3, but Ledger, a hardware-focused crypto security startup, has teamed up with French venture firm Cathay Innovation to do exactly that. The pair raised $110 million to invest in early-stage crypto startups. Ledger’s founder and CEO, Pascal Gauthier, told Anita why he’s so confident that now is a good time to be deploying capital in crypto.
  • Solana Labs is doubling down in South Korea, where it’s seeing growing demand for gaming and NFTs. Solana Ventures and Solana Foundation have set up a $100 million fund to support startups in the country – Jacquie has the details.

TC+ analysis

Here’s some of this week’s crypto analysis you can read on our subscription service TC+ (written by TC’s Jacquelyn Melinek): 

Proposed bipartisan US crypto bill could be ‘sigh of relief’ for the industry
Earlier this week, U.S. Senators Cynthia Lummis, Republican of Wyoming, and Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, proposed a crypto bill that could provide guide rails around the digital asset space. The bill addressed many corners of the crypto world and has market players calling it a “step in the right direction” and not an “escape” to strong regulation, but a shift with clearer rules. 

DOJ case against ex-OpenSea exec could label NFTs as securities, former SEC lawyer says
A former executive at OpenSea, the biggest NFT marketplace, was arrested and charged last week “with wire fraud and money laundering in connection with a scheme to commit insider trading in [NFTs],” according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Now, this case might have the potential to determine whether or not NFTs are defined as securities.


Thanks for reading and listening. You can subscribe to this newsletter and get it in your inbox every Thursday on TechCrunch’s newsletter page.

Advertisement

Tech

Exclusive: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Opening Titles Still Somehow Rule as an N64 Game – TalkOfNews.com

Published

on

By

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Opening Titles Still Somehow Rule as an N64 Game

#Star #Trek #Deep #Space #Nine039s #Opening #Titles #Rule #N64 #Game

Star Trek has had an up-and-down history with video games, sometimes managing to succeed in gaming genres it arguably shouldn’t, while never managing to quite succeed in the ones it should. There’s been plenty of great ones, but now a very cool little animation imagines one of its finest entries getting a ‘90s tie-in that never was.

Twitter user SpinaSanctuary’s hypothetical title screen for a mid-’90s Deep Space Nine game on the Nintendo 64 imagines a sideways glance where the platform that gave us Star Wars: Shadow of the Empire instead took a visit to the Gamma Quadrant for some licensed gaming goodness, essentially riffing on the opening moments of Deep Space Nine’s own title sequence, but in a gloriously polygonal retro style.

What could’ve Star Trek 64: Deep Space Nine even been? An adventure game aboard the station? A starship strategy game set during the Dominion War? A retail management sim dedicated to the Promenade á la Roller Coaster Tycoon or Theme Park World? A first person shooter like Voyager got with the Elite Force games, that shouldn’t make sense, but totally does? Whatever it would’ve been, this cute little “demake” has me wishing we could’ve found out.


Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

Continue Reading

Tech

Exclusive: Amazon Prime subscribers now get GrubHub Plus free for a year – TalkOfNews.com

Published

on

By

Amazon Prime subscribers now get GrubHub Plus free for a year

#Amazon #Prime #subscribers #GrubHub #free #year

Amazon Prime subscribers in the US are getting a new benefit as part of their subscription, the company has announced. From today, they’ll be able to redeem a free year of Grubhub Plus, the monthly subscription service that offers free food delivery on orders over $12 from participating restaurants. Grubhub Plus normally costs $9.99 a month.

According to Amazon, free deliveries associated with Grubhub Plus are available from hundreds of thousands of restaurants across over 4,000 cities in the US. After the year is up, Grubhub will automatically start charging $9.99 a month for continued access. Existing Grubhub Plus subscribers can still make use of the promotion, which will be applied from the start of their next billing cycle. Canceling Prime automatically cancels Grubhub Plus.

The deal comes just a few short years after Amazon shut down Amazon Restaurants, its own attempt to compete in the takeout delivery market. The service was live between 2015 and 2019 but faced stiff competition from the likes of Uber Eats and DoorDash.

Since then, the e-commerce giant has mainly focused on grocery deliveries, but has kept a toe in the takeout delivery market through partnerships with other firms. It announced an investment in Europe-focused Deliveroo in 2019, and started offering access to its Deliveroo Plus subscription service as an additional perk for Prime members in the UK last year.

“Amazon has redefined convenience with Prime and we’re confident this offering will expose many new diners to the value of Grubhub Plus while driving more business to our restaurant partners and drivers,” Grubhub CEO Adam DeWitt said in a statement. The company, which is owned by Just Eat Takeaway.com, says it expects Grubhub Plus subscriptions to rise as a result of the deal.

GrubHub Plus isn’t the only additional benefit Amazon is announcing for Prime members today. The e-commerce giant is also making a short teaser trailer for its upcoming Lord of the Rings TV show, Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power available exclusively to Prime subscribers for 48 hours. Members can watch the teaser over on the show’s Amazon page. The trailer ends by promising yet another teaser is coming on July 14th ahead of the release of the series on September 2nd.

Continue Reading

Tech

Exclusive: Explained: What is the Toll Fraud malware, how it attacks digital wallets and how to protect yourself – TalkOfNews.com

Published

on

By

Explained: What is the Toll Fraud malware, how it attacks digital wallets and how to protect yourself

#Explained #Toll #Fraud #malware #attacks #digital #wallets #protect

Microsoft recently published a blog post that warned Android users of a new malicious malware that is going around, called the Toll Fraud malware. The concern that Microsoft raises about this malware, is the fact that it can drain the payment wallets in infected devices, and, can also empty your bank accounts.

Microsoft researchers Dimitrios Valsamaras and Sang Shin Jung detailed the continuing evolution of “toll fraud malware” and the ways in which it attacks Android devices.

The malware falls under the subcategory of billing fraud “in which malicious applications subscribe users to premium services without their knowledge or consent” and “is one of the most prevalent types of Android malware.”

According to a Google transparency report, most of the installations of this malware are in India, Russia, Mexico, Indonesia, and Turkey.

How does the Toll Fraud Malware work?
What this malware does, is that it disconnects your device from WiFi, and allows the device to only operate on the cellular network. It then takes over the WAP or the Wireless Application Protocol.

WAPs, normally allow consumers to subscribe to paid content and add the charge to their phone bill. Once it hijacks the WAP, the malware starts subscribing to premium services while also intercepting one-time passwords (OTP) that a legit service provider may have sent you to verify your identity.

Advertisement

These SMSs are then forwarded to a database, which malicious hackers and actors can use to hack into various accounts that you own, even your bank accounts.

The Toll Fraud malware is one of the oldest malware in existence and has been going around since the time of dial-up internet. However, over the decades, it has evolved into something very sophisticated.

The current version of the malware is able to evade detection and can achieve a high number of installations before a single variant can be removed. It uses dynamic code loading, which makes it difficult for genuine mobile security solutions and antiviruses to detect threats.

It also suppresses SMS notifications and app notifications from wallets and dedicated banks. This way, by the time a user gets to know that their device has been infected, it is very late.

How do Android devices get infected by the Toll Fraud malware?
Not all apps on the Play Store are legit. Most of the free antiviruses, file managers, beauty filters and wallpaper apps have some sort of malware embedded in them.

The biggest red flag that such apps throw up is asking for bizarre permissions. For example, a camera app, asking permission to send or read SMSs make no sense. Or, a wallpaper app, asking for permissions to read notifications and monitor them again makes no sense. People often ignore what sort of permissions certain apps ask for. 

How to protect yourself from Toll Fraud malware?
Users need to be very careful of the apps they download, even if they are doing it through the Play Store. Also, avoid sideloading apps.

Avoid installing apps that ask for excessive permissions for programs that don’t require such privileges. Also, avoid apps which have similar UIs or icons to that of legitimate proper apps.

Keep an eye on the developer profiles that look fake or have poor grammar, and if the app has a slew of bad reviews.


Continue Reading

Exclusive

Copyright © 2022 Talk Of News.