Technology

Technology

Bitconnect, which has been accused of running a Ponzi scheme, shuts down

Bitconnect, the lending and exchange platform that was long suspected by many in the crypto community of being a Ponzi scheme, has announced it’s shutting down. In a release on its website the platform said the shutdown is attributed to “continuous bad press” surrounding the platform, two cease and desist letters from both Texas and North Carolina’s securities boards, and continuous DDoS attacks on the platform. While the platform says they’re refunding all outstanding loans at a rate of $363.62 USD (an average of the token’s price over the last 15 days), the Bitconnect token is currently trading down ~80% and worth less than $40, so while users may have been made whole on a BCC-equivlent, many are certainly suffering severe financial losses in terms of USD or Bitcoin (which is how they ma...

TWiT is suing Twitter, alleging breach of contract and copyright infringement

TWiT, officially known as This Week in Tech, is suing Twitter. The audio and video media platform alleges breach of written contract, breach of oral agreement, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage and trademark infringement. As the story goes, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams had previously told Laporte Twitter was simply a text-based microblogging service, the lawsuit states. “Williams also acknowledged that Twitter was aware of the conflict” between the TWITTER and TWiT mark, the lawsuit alleges. “At that time Williams, on behalf of Twitter, acknowledged the confusion which likely would arise from the use of TWITTER in the marketplace, as well as instances of actual confusion which already had arisen.” Because Twitter and TWiT were relatively different, Laporte an...

YouTube tightens the rules around creator monetization and partnerships

In an effort to regain advertisers’ trust, Google is announcing what it says are “tough but necessary” changes to YouTube monetization. For one thing, it’s setting a higher bar the YouTube Partner Program, which is what allows publishers to make money through advertising. Previously, they needed 10,000 total views to join the program. Starting today, channels also need to have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of view time in the past year. (For now, those are just requirements to join the program, but Google says it will also start applying them to current partners on February 20.) This might assure marketers that their ads are less likely to run on random, fly-by-night channels, but as Google’s Paul Muret writes, “Of course, size alone is not enough to determine whether a channel is suit...

DJI teases its latest device ahead of next week’s reveal

Seems DJI was keeping its powder dry last week at CES. The drone giant announced a pair of camera gimbals at the show, but the big news is still a couple of weeks away. The company has sent out invites for its next big announcement, set for January 23 in New York City. The location could be a hint as far as what to expect here. In recent years, the company has preferred Los Angeles as the backdrop for its film related announcements. New York, on the other hand, has been the setting for both the Mavic Pro and Spark consumer drone announcements. [embedded content] The company’s also giddily leaking out various tidbits through social media, teasing a “big” announcement in quotes, and titling the event, “Adventure Unfolds,” which could well be a reference to the backpack friendly nature of the...

Curve, the fintech that connects all your cards to a single card and app, gets full consumer launch

Curve, the London fintech startup that offers a platform that lets you consolidate all your bank cards into a single Curve card and app to make it easier to manage your spending, is finally launching to U.K. consumers. Up until now, the service remained in Beta and was only officially available to business users. In a call with Curve founder and CEO Shachar Bialick, he described the consumer launch as a major milestone for the company, noting that 50,000 people have signed up to its waitlist, in addition to the 100,000 or so users who joined Curve in its Beta phase. Users on the waiting list will begin being activated as of today, with the usual viral loop built in that means if you invite a friend, you can skip the queue. It’s free to join, although a Premium version of the Curve card is ...

Lyft Concierge, its ride-booking service for businesses, opens to all

Lyft today announced it’s expanding its Concierge program – the service that allows organizations to schedule rides for other people – to more business customers. First announced in 2016, the service was originally designed to help patients get to medical appointments, particularly in areas where they may not have a car of their own, like New York, where more than half of households are car-free. The 2016 partnership between Lyft and the National MedTrans Network aimed to change that by offering seniors in NYC a way to get rides to their non-emergency medical appointments by way of the then new third-party web application, Concierge. Lyft’s partners use Concierge to request rides on behalf of those who don’t have smartphones or, otherwise, aren’t able to book rides for themselves for other...

With all 49 Democrats on board, Senate leaders sound off on plan to restore net neutrality

Democrats in the Senate have achieved unanimous party support of the plan to undo the FCC’s recently passed order gutting net neutrality. All 49 Democratic Senators and one Republican are ready and willing to officially disapprove the Restoring Internet Freedom rule, requiring only one more vote to send this bill to… its inevitable death on the floor of the House or at best the desk of the president. But don’t worry, there’s more to this plan. First, though, let’s hear the leaders of this bill speak winged words in recommendation and admonition. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), who leads the bill: There is a tsunami of Congressional and grassroots support to overturn the FCC’s partisan and misguided decision on net neutrality. Republicans now have a clear choice — be on the right side of history and...

‘Everything Sucks!’ 90s kid nostalgia-fest arrives on Netflix February 16

[embedded content] I know this trailer is meant to evoke a connection with all the dumb shit I remember from elementary and high school, and it does. But it’s also just depressing. The show could be good though (we’ll find out when all episodes arrive streaming on February 16), and maybe you’re happier to indulge than I am so ymmv.

Lawsuit filed by 22 state attorneys general seeks to block net neutrality repeal

A lawsuit filed today by the attorneys general of 22 states seeks to block the Federal Communications Commission’s recent controversial vote to repeal Obama era Net Neutrality regulations. The filing is led by New York State Attorney General Schneiderman, who called rollback a potential “disaster for New York consumers and businesses, and for everyone who cares about a free and open internet.” The letter, which was filed in the United States District Court of Appeals in Washington, is cosigned by AGs from California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missisippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Washington DC “An open internet – and the free exchange of ideas it...

Expanding into new markets, Namely adds former Box exec, Graham Younger, as President

Graham Younger, a former executive vice president of Box and longtime enterprise software executive, is joining the human resources services provider Namely as its new President. The New York-based company which provides human resources management software for mid-sized companies is growing and has plans to expand its geographic footprint with offices in Los Angeles and Atlanta. And Younger is seen as key to that effort, and the company’s march toward an eventual public offering. Younger’s addition to the Namely organization, where he will handle operations from Los Angeles, indicates the city’s growing strength in a traditionally under-represented aspect of its startup technology landscape — enterprise software. Graham Younger, the new President of Namely Younger held roles at SAP Success...

Marijuana-friendly states ask Congress to make banking legal for the weed industry

Recreational marijuana might be having its moment, but that doesn’t mean that all the kinks are worked out. Due to laws that still classify it as an illicit substance on the federal level, the banking industry has yet to warm up to the burgeoning weed business for fear of criminal liability. To alleviate those fears, a bipartisan group of 18 attorneys general from states with recreational and medical marijuana wants to bring the industry’s financial side out of the shadows and they’re asking Congress for help in a new letter: “The grey market makes it more difficult to track revenues for taxation purposes, contributes to a public safety threat as cash intensive businesses are often targets for criminal activity, and prevents proper tracking of large swaths of finances across the nation. “T...

China’s Chery will use Nvidia-powered ZF ProAI for Level 3 autonomous cars

Chinese automaker Chery will be building cars with Level 3 autonomous features powered by supplier ZF’s ProAI platform, which itself uses Nvidia GPUs for its driving intelligence. The partnership was announced at the North American International Auto Show today in Detroit, and follows announcements from CES where Nvidia announced further collaboration with ZF and with Baidu. Baidu is also a key contributor to ZF’s ProAI. Chery is one of China’s largest automakers, and having it on board as a partner is a way to ensure not only that Level 3 features will indeed make it to market, but also that it should be available at a relatively affordable price point. Chery’s cars typically pack tech into lower-priced vehicles, and based on the press release announcing this news, it sounds like that’s t...