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G7 countries to sign charter on tech regulation in August

Posted by on May 15, 2019 in G7, Government, Policy, regulation | 0 comments

Digital ministers of the Group of 7 nations are meeting today to discuss an upcoming charter on toxic content and tech regulation at large. Those countries plan to sign a charter during the annual G7 meeting in Biarritz, France in August.

“Everyone has to deal with hateful content,” France Digital Minister Cédric O said in a meeting with a few journalists. “This industry needs to reach maturity and, in order to do that, we need to rethink the accountability of those companies and the role of governments.”

You may have noticed that G7 countries also announced the Christchurch Call today. It is a nonbinding pledge asking tech companies to improve their moderation processes to prevent terrorist content from going viral.

Those two things are separate. The French government views the Christchurch Call as a way to start a discussion with tech platforms and put the spotlight on a particular issue. But the charter should be broader than the Christchurch Call and mention other issues.

And yet, it’s going to be hard to sign a common agreement between such a diverse group of countries. “There are Nordic countries that are very concerned about free speech and there are Latin countries that are pushing for more regulation,” Cédric O said.

In addition to the Group of 7 nations (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S.), officials from Australia, India and New Zealand are participating in today’s discussions.

The charter won’t define hateful speech too precisely so that countries can interpret that phrase in their own way. But the negotiations should lead to a set of principles that each country can turn into laws.

In particular, officials want to encourage transparency when it comes to moderation processes through audits, as well as increased cooperation between tech companies, governments and civil society.

In December 2018, the Group of 7 nations announced plans to create a global panel to study the effects of AI. Ministers are discussing the implementation of this panel during today’s meeting, as well.

Sources working for the French Economy Ministry say that the U.S. might not sign the charter in August. “We won’t compromise too much — either all countries can agree on a strong stance, or some countries don’t sign the charter,” a source said.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Coinbase launches in 11 countries with crypto-to-crypto conversions only

Posted by on Apr 17, 2019 in blockchain, coinbase, cryptocurrency, Distributed Ledger | 0 comments

Coinbase has been available in 42 countries around the world before today — mostly in North America, Europe, Australia and Singapore. Today, the company is aggressively expanding by opening 11 countries at once in Latin America and South East Asia. But there’s a trick — there’s no crypto-to-fiat conversions.

Coinbase competitor Binance has taken the crypto world by storm by focusing on crypto-to-crypto conversions. You can only fund and withdraw cryptocurrencies from your Binance account. And if you want to buy some crypto assets, you need to convert crypto assets you already own. For instance, if you want to buy Litecoin, you need to convert Ethereum into Litecoin.

That strategy has paid off as it is much easier to start accepting customers in new countries if you don’t need to connect the exchange with the traditional banking infrastructure.

So Coinbase is doing the same thing and opening crypto-to-crypto conversions and trading in Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Chile, India, Hong Kong, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines and New Zealand.

Eventually, the company could add crypto-to-fiat conversions in some of those new markets. “We may add fiat to crypto support depending on the different demands and requirements of each of the countries,” a Coinbase spokesperson told me.

Both Coinbase and Coinbase Pro are now available in those new countries. Coinbase also says that crypto-to-crypto transactions now represent the majority of trades on Coinbase.

This is also a great way to get started with cryptocurrencies. If somebody wants to send you some Bitcoin, you can start accepting payments on your Coinbase account. This could be interesting for cross-border payments in particular.

Coinbase supports a stablecoin called USDC. This crypto asset is directly indexed on the value of USD. So if you think the cryptocurrency market is going down, you can convert your assets into USDC to make sure the value of your assets won’t fluctuate too much. But USDC might not be available from day one in today’s new markets.

“USDC is available in most of the recently supported countries through Coinbase Pro. As we continue to receive feedback from our customers, we’ll support USDC in more markets and platforms based on what will offer them the best trading experience,” a Coinbase spokesperson told me.

Disclosure: I own small amounts of various cryptocurrencies.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Amazon Prime members get a free year of Nintendo Switch Online through Twitch Prime

Posted by on Mar 28, 2019 in Amazon, Gaming, Nintendo, nintendo switch, nintendo switch online, twitch | 0 comments

You may have forgotten about Twitch Prime, but the company is adding an interesting new perk for Nintendo Switch owners. The company is giving out up to one year of Nintendo Switch Online, the subscription service that lets you play online multiplayer games and access NES games.

If you’re an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscriber, you automatically become a Twitch Prime member once you link your accounts together — Amazon owns Twitch. Twitch Prime gives you access to free loot, such as in-game skins for Apex Legends or Call of Duty Black Ops 4, as well as free (mostly indie) games.

As part of Twitch Prime, you can also subscribe to a Twitch channel for free — the streamer still gets compensated. Twitch Prime also gives your more options to customize your chat experience.

Nintendo and Twitch are partnering to offer a complimentary Nintendo Switch Online subscription — it usually costs $20. But you won’t get 12 months at once. You can go to this website to redeem three months right now.

In two months, you’ll be able to redeem another nine months. Twitch and Nintendo probably hope that you’ll forget about the second part of the perk, so don’t forget to set up a reminder.

The offer expires on September 24, 2019 for the initial three months, and on January 22, 2020 for the additional nine months. The good news is that it also works if you’re already a Nintendo Switch Online subscriber. You’ll just get additional subscription time.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Meet eFounders’ next batch of startups that want to redefine the future of work

Posted by on Mar 18, 2019 in bonjour, Chili, Chilli, Europe, France Newsletter, Startups, swan | 0 comments

European startup studio eFounders has been relentlessly building new startups over the past few years. In 2019, the company plans to launch Bonjour, a demo tool for sales teams, Chilli, a recommandation service to help small and medium companies leverage modern software-as-a-service products, and Swan, a banking API to generate banking services on demand.

If you’re not familiar with eFounders, the team regularly comes up with ideas for new software-as-a-service companies and hires founding teams. In exchange for financial and human resources, eFounders keeps a significant stake in its startups. After a year or so, startups take off on their own, raise their own rounds of funding and leave the eFounders nest.

Many SaaS companies you’ve heard about first started as an eFounders projects, such as Front, Aircall, Forest and a dozen more. eFounders says that it wants to “build the future of work”, which means building the tools and services that companies use every day.

According to eFounders, the value of the portfolio is growing quite rapidly. Companies have raised $187 million in total and have a post-money valuation of $541 million. They generate $67 million in annual recurring revenue combined.

But let’s go back to this new batch of startups. I’m sure some of them will pivot and I’m not yet familiar with their visions, but here’s what I understand they plan on doing based on public information.

Bonjour

Bonjour is all about empowering sales teams with an all-in-one service to close a deal. Instead of scheduling a video call in Google Calendar, sharing your screen for a demo in Skype, get information from your CRM and losing a lead while juggling with all those services, you can do all your work in Bonjour.

It starts with a video call service that works in your browser. Your future client can just click to join a call. Sales reps can see CRM information right from their Bonjour interface. They can also start a screensharing session to show some slides or demo an app.

But Bonjour wants to go further and take care of everything that happens before and after the demo. For instance, I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of websites with a button that says “request a demo”. At best, you can fill out a form with your contact information so that the company can contact you later. At worst, you just get a phone number or an email address. Many of your potential leads may give up.

Some companies use services like Calendly so that you can pick the right day and time in a calendar view. Bonjour lets you do the same thing and customize your forms. After the demo, you can track conversion rates and improve your sales pitch.

Chilli

Many SaaS companies sell their products to startups, big enterprise clients and everything in between. But the vast majority of companies are still small and medium businesses operating in countless of industries. Some of them have been in business for a while and are still using outdated tools.

If you’re reading TechCrunch every day and working for a startup, you might not realize what it’s like to work for an independent movie production company, a small law firm or a traditional knife making company.

Many companies still rely on an old PC tower hiding in a corner of the office with a shared hard drive. They send Excel documents back and forth, store their todo lists on a post-it note and write expense reports on paper forms.

Chilli wants to help small companies change the tools and services they’re using to run their businesses. You can’t give those companies the same sales pitch. And many SaaS companies don’t even try to sell to SMBs because it’s too costly.

That’s why Chilli isn’t just selling one product, but many different SaaS products. They can spend some time with you to understand your needs and recommend some products to increase the productivity of your company. It’s still unclear how Chilli plans to generate revenue, but it’s an interesting idea.

Swan

Details are still thin with Swan. It’s a fintech company that will let you add a banking layer to your service. The company says that you’ll be able to generate accounts, cards and IBANs on the fly.

I’m not sure how they plan to sell the product, but I think it could be particularly useful for marketplace companies and the gig economy in general. If you’re generating revenue because you’re renting your car on Drivy, delivering goods on Glovo or freelancing on Fiverr, you might want to cash out as quickly as possible. You could generate a card and spend your earnings straight from those platforms.

The ability to generate IBANs and accounts is also a great way to collect money and provide an alternative payment method in addition to card payments. But let’s see how the Swan team plans to position the product.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Scaleway updates its high-performance instances

Posted by on Mar 12, 2019 in Cloud, Developer, Europe, Scaleway | 0 comments

Cloud-hosting company Scaleway refreshed its lineup of high-performance instances today. These instances are now all equipped with AMD EPYC CPUs, DDR4 RAM and NVMe SSD storage. The more you pay, the more computing power, RAM, storage and bandwidth you get.

High-performance plans start at €0.078 per hour or €39 per month ($44.20), whichever is lower at the end of the month. For this price you get 4 cores, 16GB of RAM, 150GB of storage and 400Mbps of bandwidth.

If you double the price, you get twice as many cores, RAM and storage. Higher plans get a tiny discount on performance bumps. And the fastest instance comes with 48 cores, 256GB of RAM, 600GB of storage and 2Gbps of bandwidth. That beast can cost as much as €569 per month ($645).

Here’s the full lineup:

Scaleway had high-performance instances in the past, called “X64” instances. They were relatively cheaper. Despite that price bump, Scaleway manages to stay competitive against Linode, DigitalOcean and others.

A server with 6 CPU cores and 16GB of RAM costs $80 per month on Linode. After that, you have to choose between high memory plans and dedicated CPU plans, so it’s harder to compare.

On DigitalOcean, an instance with 16GB of RAM and 4 CPU cores costs $120 per month. The most expensive instance costs $1,200 per month, and it doesn’t match the specifications of Scaleway’s most expensive instance.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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