Technology

Technology

Where do we go now?

The crypto crash is reverberating through the Internet while the “rest” of the economy – namely the stock market – enters free fall. Commentary on the very human and thus flawed stock market is still well within the realm of pundits and guys who press funny buttons on TV, whither crypto? First, the die hards are chiming in noting that they are retaining their investments – HODLing, as it were. Still others are buying. My favorite crypto-pundit, Jameson Lopp, chimed in today: The more loudly folks proclaim that Bitcoin is dying, the more dollars I dump for BTC. I’m not a professional trader, but this strategy has worked well for me over the years. — Jameson Lopp (@lopp) February 5, 2018 And the mysterious “Bitcoin content creator” Vortex brings up a very important point: 1/3 Yes it ap...

Amazon settles tax optimization dispute with French authorities

Amazon has signed an undisclosed deal with the French tax authorities, Amazon told the AFP. From 2006 to 2010, Amazon operated in France using its subsidiary in Luxembourg. This way, the company could pay less taxes. But French authorities think French sales should be taxed in France. That’s why they were asking for $252 million in unpaid taxes (€203 million). Both Amazon and the French government didn’t comment on the amount of the fine. It’s possible that Amazon eventually paid less than $252 million. According to the company, Amazon has created a subsidiary in France since then so that French revenue is taxed in France. So the Luxembourg issue shouldn’t come up again. The company also told the AFP that it has spent quite a bit of money in France. 5,500 people work for Amazon in France. ...

Get smart about smart glasses: here are 15 companies building futuristic AR eyewear

Today, Intel showed off a pretty awesome-looking pair of smart glasses that look better than pretty much anything we’ve seen to date. It’s unclear what the development future will be for the glasses as the company is reportedly exploring a partial sale of the division and it has already shut down work on its “merged reality” headset program. While there are a lot of questions up-in-the-air, there are also a lot of other startups working on similar solutions that do things differently than the HoloLens or Meta or Magic Leap, focusing on smart glasses that do a few useful things. All of these startups are looking to get products out in the near-term, largely for the sake or pre-empting Apple’s rumored foray into the space. It’s the earliest days for this technology so there’s still a fair am...

Behind the scenes of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy launch day prep

SpaceX is launching its Falcon Heavy rocket tomorrow, and if it’s successful, it’ll be twice as powerful in terms of cargo capacity as its next closest active rival. That will help give SpaceX an edge in the growing private space race, and open up new opportunities in terms of potential clients, as well as set the stage for traveling to Mars. The launch itself is happening on Tuesday, February 6 at 1:30 PM EST, weather permitting. The window lasts until 4 PM EST, however, so if conditions are good within that time the launch should go off as planned. There’s a backup window on February 7, which also starts at 1:30 PM EST, and we’ll be there live to watch it happen and report back all the news right here on TechCrunch.

Twitter’s director of AR/VR leaves the company

The head of Twitter’s AR/VR team announced today via a tweet that he is leaving the social media site after 18 months. After three and a half years I’m moving on from Twitter (actual elapsed time 18 months). It’s been an incredible ride and I’ve had the great pleasure to work alongside some amazing people! Together we managed to ship product while having fun. Thanks everyone #👊 pic.twitter.com/i0v9P9clrK — Alessandro Sabatelli (@s4l4x) February 6, 2018 Twitter hasn’t always been the quickest in its product development and the AR/VR scene (which is very much in its infancy still) hasn’t seen the company make too many daring moves. While Apple, Facebook, Snap and Google have shown off AR or VR developer platforms, there’s been little movement from Twitter in the are...

Watch how SpaceX’s first Falcon Heavy launch should go

[embedded content] SpaceX is launching its Falcon Heavy rocket for the first time on Tuesday, and preparations are well underway. Now, we also know how the launch would go down in ideal circumstances, thanks to the new animation above detailing the mission’s planned progression. Elon Musk shared the short clip via Twitter, and it’s the first real look we’ve had yet at every step in the process and what the launch will look like in a perfect world. As you can see, it includes not only the Falcon Heavy launch, but also the controlled landing of the three booster cores that make up the rocket’s first stage. Also, we get a good look at the planned payload deployment – which is basically SpaceX sending the original Tesla Roadster into a course for a wide, looping Mars orbit. Playing “Space Oddi...

Strava appears to have disabled a key tracking feature over privacy concerns

This will come as no surprise to those who’ve been following the news of the past couple of weeks, but it appears that Strava’s disabled at least one top feature as it works to get to the bottom of recent privacy concerns over its mapping features. The app’s Segments feature looks to be at least temporarily offline, as first noted by The Verge by way of Reddit. We reached out to the company company to determine whether that specific feature was a casualty of the company’s recent privacy woes. Without confirming the shuttering of any specific features, a spokesperson for Strava confirmed that certain functionality was, indeed, under review. “We are reviewing features that were originally designed for athlete motivation and inspiration to ensure they cannot be compromised by people with bad ...

VISA and Mastercard make it harder to buy Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies

Justin Mauldin Contributor Justin Mauldin is the founder of Salient PR and an investor in cryptocurrency. More posts by this contributor: Sometime in the last week Bitcoin investors started noticing additional fees on their bank statements. It turns out that VISA and Mastercard both decided (how convenient!) to reclassify the way Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency purchases are processed on their networks. Incidents like this pose several challenges for the cryptocurrency industry short-term, but also show just how scared the incumbents really are. Currently, if you want to buy bitcoin, ethereum or any other alt-coin instantly, the only option is to use your debit or credit card. Transferring funds from your bank has lower fees, but takes several days. Coinbase has long accepted debit and cr...

Africa Roundup: Partech Ventures launches $70M fund, TPG Growth acquires TRACE, Rensource raises $3.5M

Jake Bright Contributor Jake Bright is a writer and author in New York City. He is co-author of The Next Africa. More posts by this contributor: Last month we characterized 2017 as the year Sub-Saharan Africa’s startup scene found its stride. 2018 looks to be the year of numerous VC investments. TPG acquires TRACE January got the funding party started. U.S.-based private equity firm TPG Growth acquired a majority stake (of an undisclosed value) in entertainment company TRACE. TRACE is a global multimedia giant for African music and film content with 200 million viewers and listeners in 160 countries, 30 mobile services, 21 pay TV channels and 7 FM radio stations. TPG Growth will “partner with TRACE’s co-founder and management to build a global leader for Afro-urban music and entertainment,...

SpaceX could launch another Falcon Heavy in a few months (if the first one doesn’t blow up the launch pad)

Tomorrow is a huge day for SpaceX: It’s the first-ever flight of the company’s massive, reusable rocket, Falcon Heavy. (It’s also the day, if all goes as planned, that Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster will go to space.) But will it go as planned? This one is just a test flight, so no one — even Musk himself — is truly certain how it’ll go. Elon said as much in a media call this afternoon: It’d be a huge downer if its blows up, but hopefully we’ll have learned. This is a test mission; there’s so much that CAN go wrong. We don’t want to set expectations of perfection, by any means… I’d just be happy if it clears the pad and doesn’t blow the pad to smithereens… If the launch is a success tomorrow, Elon noted that they should be able to turn around and prepare for another mission within 3-6 months (...

This company will tell you which vitamins and supplements to take based on your DNA

Nutrigene believes your genes may hold the secret to what you might be missing in your diet. The company will send you tailor-made liquid vitamin supplements based on a lifestyle quiz and your DNA. You fill out an assessment on the startup’s website, choose a recommended package, such as essentials, improve performance or optimize gut health, and Nutrigene will send you liquid supplements built just for you. Founder Min FitzGerald launched the startup out of Singularity and later accepted a Google fellowship for the idea. Nutrigene is now going through the current YC class. Her co-founder and CTO Van Duesterberg comes from a biotech and epigenetics background and holds a PhD from Stanford. The idea sounds a bit far-fetched at first — simply take a quiz, import your DNA and you magically ha...

Mixpanel analytics accidentally slurped up passwords

The passwords of some people using sites monitored by popular analytics provider Mixpanel were mistakenly pulled into its software. Until TechCrunch’s inquiry, Mixpanel had made no public announcement about the embarrassing error beyond quietly emailing clients about the problem. Yet some need to update to a fixed Mixpanel SDK to prevent an ongoing privacy breach. It’s unclear which clients were impacted due to confidentiality agreements, but Mixpanel lists Samsung, BMW, Intuit, US Bank and Fitbit as some of the companies it works with. “We can tell you that less than 25 percent of our customers were impacted,” the company’s spokesperson told me, but they noted approximately 4 percent of all Mixpanel Projects suffered from the privacy gap. Mixpanel has raised $77 million in rounds led by p...