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An explosion reportedly just rocked the area near Cairo International Airport, sending a column of smoke into the air

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

breaking news graphic

A massive explosion rocked the area near Cairo International Airport on Thursday evening. Reuters, citing Egyptian state television, reported that the blast took place at a pair of fuel-storage tanks outside the airport's perimeter. 

The cause of the explosion remains unknown. 

Despite initial reports that flight activity at Cairo's airport had been suspended, Egypt's civil aviation minister confirmed that flight operations remained unaffected, Reuters reported. 

The explosion reportedly took place sometime before 11 p.m. local time. 

Images posted to social media show a large funnel of smoke rising above the Cairo skyline. There is no information available on possible injuries or fatalities. 

This story is developing. 

 

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Abra Announces New Credit Card Payment Options for Bitcoin Purchases

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Abra Announces New Payment Options for Faster Bitcoin Purchases

Bitcoin payment startup Abra has announced the addition of Visa and Mastercard payment options for buying bitcoin on its platform. The new payment option is in partnership with fintech company Simplex, per the company’s blog post.

Up until today, users who wanted to purchase cryptocurrencies were limited to a few options that included bank deposits and wire transfers. In addition to these, the company also offers a means of buying altcoins using either bitcoin or litecoin for countries where bank wires and deposit options are unavailable.

The addition of Visa and Mastercard debit/credit card options makes it cheaper and faster to purchase cryptocurrencies on the platform. The new payment options are accessible via the website and the app.

Speaking with Bitcoin Magazine, Abra CEO Bill Barhydt stated, “Today we have users from over 70 countries, but the majority of these users who are outside the U.S. could only fund their Abra wallet using bitcoin. With this launch, we can now offer a simple way for customers globally to use Abra to buy their first bitcoin using any Visa or Mastercard and then start investing in any of the other 24 cryptocurrencies we support today.”

The new payment options come with increased buy limits, faster processing times and more accessibility. Users who purchase bitcoin with their Visa or Mastercard will now be allowed to buy up to $20,000 worth of bitcoin at a time — which is a step above the $2,000 limit placed on bank deposits.

Users will also be able to store purchased bitcoin into any supported wallet. The company says processing time would be shorter, as new bitcoins should be available in digital wallets 30 minutes after purchase.

Abra is one of the few cryptocurrency platforms that hasn't embraced KYC/AML regulations in their entirety. In an email sent to its customers last month, the company said users were not mandated to provide “any form of identification" to use its platform. Barhydt has said that Abra is able to avoid "all these complexities" because it doesn’t hold customers’ funds.

The company, however, requires American customers to submit their ID to increase funding limits via bank transfer options.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Abra Announces New Credit Card Payment Options for Bitcoin Purchases

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Abra Announces New Payment Options for Faster Bitcoin Purchases

Bitcoin payment startup Abra has announced the addition of Visa and Mastercard payment options for buying bitcoin on its platform. The new payment option is in partnership with fintech company Simplex, per the company’s blog post.

Up until today, users who wanted to purchase cryptocurrencies were limited to a few options that included bank deposits and wire transfers. In addition to these, the company also offers a means of buying altcoins using either bitcoin or litecoin for countries where bank wires and deposit options are unavailable.

The addition of Visa and Mastercard debit/credit card options makes it cheaper and faster to purchase cryptocurrencies on the platform. The new payment options are accessible via the website and the app.

Speaking with Bitcoin Magazine, Abra CEO Bill Barhydt stated, “Today we have users from over 70 countries, but the majority of these users who are outside the U.S. could only fund their Abra wallet using bitcoin. With this launch, we can now offer a simple way for customers globally to use Abra to buy their first bitcoin using any Visa or Mastercard and then start investing in any of the other 24 cryptocurrencies we support today.”

The new payment options come with increased buy limits, faster processing times and more accessibility. Users who purchase bitcoin with their Visa or Mastercard will now be allowed to buy up to $20,000 worth of bitcoin at a time — which is a step above the $2,000 limit placed on bank deposits.

Users will also be able to store purchased bitcoin into any supported wallet. The company says processing time would be shorter, as new bitcoins should be available in digital wallets 30 minutes after purchase.

Abra is one of the few cryptocurrency platforms that hasn't embraced KYC/AML regulations in their entirety. In an email sent to its customers last month, the company said users were not mandated to provide “any form of identification" to use its platform. Barhydt has said that Abra is able to avoid "all these complexities" because it doesn’t hold customers’ funds.

The company, however, requires American customers to submit their ID to increase funding limits via bank transfer options.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

How a 29-year-old went from dropping out of college to leading digital strategy for America's largest health insurer

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Grant Verstandig

  • Grant Verstandig is the chief digital officer of UnitedHealth Group, the largest health insurer in the US. 
  • Verstandig, 29, is also the CEO of Rally Health, a startup he founded after dropping out of college at 21. UnitedHealth has a majority stake in Rally, which led Verstandig to his role leading the digital strategy of the healthcare giant.
  • Between the reach UnitedHealth has and the consumer experience he's built at Rally, Verstandig is optimistic about what can be accomplished in healthcare. "I think you can have an Amazon-like effect for consumers," he said.

Grant Verstandig, the chief digital officer of UnitedHealth Group and CEO of Rally Health, doesn't look like your typical buttoned-up, gray-haired healthcare executive. 

Verstandig, 29, is a former Brown University lacrosse player who dropped out of college following his sophomore year after blowing out his knee.  

After surgery, he asked his doctor when he might be able to play again. The doctor, Verstandig recalled, did a double take and told him, "Grant, you can’t walk for six months, let alone play again." While the surgery had gone well, Verstandig and his doctor had different ideas about what a successful result looked like. 

That experience with the healthcare system led him to leave Brown at age 21 and start Rally Health.

"To me, that sounded like industry ripe for disruption," Verstandig said. 

Based in Washington, DC, Rally has two businesses to it. The first is a product that focuses on engaging people when they're not in the doctor's office to keep them on the right track toward goals like weight loss, stress management, or better eating and sleeping habits. As an incentive for the work the members are putting in, Rally lowers their healthcare premiums.  Rally is about to cross $1 billion in member-earned incentives, Verstandig said in June. 

The second component, called Rally Care, works with insurance companies to help their members better use their benefits. Say someone needs a knee replacement. Through Rally Care, that person can figure out which doctors are in their network and how much the procedure might cost at different hospitals. 

In 2014, Minnesota-based UnitedHealth acquired a majority stake in Rally.

Three years later, Verstandig stepped into the newly created role of chief digital officer at UnitedHealth, a position he holds in addition to his responsibilities as chief executive of Rally.

Verstandig is now helping to build the digital tools UnitedHealth can use with its nearly 50 million members. That includes a big push to getting members onto UnitedHealth's mobile app to help them manage their healthcare benefits. 

"We're now just beginning to unleash the data," Verstandig said. Between the reach UnitedHealth has and the consumer experience he's built at Rally, Verstandig is optimistic about what can be accomplished.

"I think you can have an Amazon-like effect for consumers," he said.

SEE ALSO: Meet the 30 healthcare leaders under 40 who are using technology to shape the future of medicine

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: An early investor in Uber, Airbnb, and bitcoin explains why it's actually a good sign that no one is spending their crypto

Ripple Wants to Beat Bitcoin in India, Initially Planned to Giveaway Billions

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Ripple (XRP), the largest bank-targeted blockchain protocol, is attempting to take over 50 percent of India’s finance sector by processing payments with low fees and efficient systems. At the Scaling and Digital Disruption in Fintech conference, Ripple Vice President Asheesh Birla, said that the company envisions surpassing the adoption rate of bitcoin to ensure XRP … Continued

The post Ripple Wants to Beat Bitcoin in India, Initially Planned to Giveaway Billions appeared first on CCN

Ripple Wants to Beat Bitcoin in India, Initially Planned to Giveaway Billions

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Ripple (XRP), the largest bank-targeted blockchain protocol, is attempting to take over 50 percent of India’s finance sector by processing payments with low fees and efficient systems. At the Scaling and Digital Disruption in Fintech conference, Ripple Vice President Asheesh Birla, said that the company envisions surpassing the adoption rate of bitcoin to ensure XRP … Continued

The post Ripple Wants to Beat Bitcoin in India, Initially Planned to Giveaway Billions appeared first on CCN

We asked 30 young healthcare technology leaders one of Jeff Bezos' favorite questions and they all had the same answer

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Heath tech leaders under 40 thumb 4x3

  • We spoke to 30 leaders under 40 who are using technology to contribute to the future of healthcare. 
  • While discussing all the ways healthcare might change, we asked them what they think will stay the same over the next 10 years. 
  • For the most part, the leaders all said they expected humans to remain an important part of healthcare even as the use of technology becomes more prevalent. 

Business Insider recently profiled 30 health-tech leaders under 40 who are trying to upend the healthcare system, from eliminating the hassle of going to a pharmacy to making healthcare easier to use and more affordable. 

But amid discussion about all that's going to change, we asked them to take a step back and think about what’s actually going to stay the same over the next decade. It's a question Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has said he likes to ask himself when thinking about the future of the e-commerce giant. 

The health-tech leaders we spoke with all agreed that the healthcare system as we know it isn't likely to go away entirely.

"All of us in some aspect of our lives are going to be patients and in some way may need to interact with the healthcare system," Dr. Veena Jones, a pediatric hospitalist at Sutter Health's Palo Alto Medical Foundation and medical director, told Business Insider. 

That is, people will always need care and medication. And a fair amount of healthcare, the leaders said, will still involve humans. At the same time, healthcare frustrations such as high costs aren't likely to go anywhere. 

Humans in healthcare

While technology is making healthcare cheaper and easier to use — from Alexa-like assistants for doctors to software that can warn doctors which patients are more likely to fall— health-tech leaders were adamant that the human element will continue to be integral to healthcare.

"Humans in healthcare should stay the same," Capsule co-founder and CEO Eric Kinariwala, said. "Humans are human, and having another human to interact with and explain what's going on and to help you navigate the complexities of the healthcare system when you're at your most vulnerable should stay the same. It's making that part even stronger."

When patients go to the hospital, that means they'll still see doctors and nurses. The difference might just be that those hospital-workers might be more empowered through technology. 

"Doctors and nurses are going to continue to be an important part, and technology is only going to enhance," Tanvi Abbhi, co-founder of Veta Health, said. 

But the fear of artificial intelligence putting doctors out of work, they said, is overblown. 

"I think a lot of people are scared that physicians are going to be replaced by AI and by robots. I don't believe in that," Spring Health cofounder and CEO April Koh said. "I fundamentally believe that in the next 10 years, there will be specialists and clinicians doing their jobs very well. What is going to change dramatically is the amount of data that the clinicians use to make decisions."

Healthcare, the leaders said, is all about relationships between patients and the doctors and nurses who care for them. 

"At the core of everything in healthcare is humanity," Dr. Alexi Nazem, the cofounder and CEO of Nomad Health, said. "There is a patient, a real person who is suffering and they need help, and there are other people who want to help them — doctors, nurses, [physician assistants]."

But that relationship‚ influenced by technology, might change. 

"I think it’s going to change in the way it’s expressed," said Grant Verstandig, the chief digital officer of UnitedHealth. "But the value, the power, and the transformative effect of relationship is a core tenet."

Healthcare's biggest frustrations aren't going anywhere

At the same time, many healthcare leaders had their doubts that the cloud that hangs over the US healthcare system — the issue of high spending — will dissipate over the next 10 years. 

"The cost of care is going to continue to rise," Marta Bralic, vice president of business development at Flatiron Health, said. 

Other entrenched aspects of the healthcare system — such as the role of health insurers — won't be changing any time soon either, Michael Rea, founder and CEO of Rx Savings Solutions, said. "I don't think consumers can underwrite the risk associated with a catastrophic event," he said. 

So too with frustrations around the way healthcare information is shared. 

"I think it’s going to be really hard to change some of the back-end bureaucratic systems. I don’t see for instance a lot of the processes in the IT infrastructure changing," said Cornell engineering professor Andrea Ippolito, who spent time in her career working with Department of Veteran Affairs electronic medical record system. "What I do see changing is how we use the data changing to redesign to be more patient centric more doctor."

To be sure, the US healthcare system is a $3 trillion behemoth that's historically been slow to change. Concepts that have been much-discussed for a while, such as value-based care in which care is paid for based on patient outcomes, have taken a lot longer to materialize than expected. Even so, Manik Bhat, the CEO and founder of Healthify, said he expects it to stick around. 

"I think something that will stay the same is this trend towards value-based care. I think it's much slower than people expected, but I think it's here to stay," he said. 

SEE ALSO: Meet the 30 healthcare leaders under 40 who are using technology to shape the future of medicine

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: An early investor in Airbnb and Uber explains why he started buying bitcoin in 2009

Ransomware technique uses your real passwords to trick you

TechCrunch, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

A few folks have reported a new ransomware technique that preys upon corporate inability to keep passwords safe. The notes – which are usually aimed at instilling fear – are simple: the hacker says “I know that your password is X. Give me a bitcoin and I won’t blackmail you.” Programmer Can Duruk reported getting […]

Patent Application Eyes Bitcoin Blockchain for Artwork Provenance

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

A newly-published patent application seeks to use blockchain technology to establish and maintain a chain-of-ownership for artwork. The patent application, which was published by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) on Thursday, lists the framework’s inventor as Howard H. Sheerin, a patent attorney in Scottsdale, AZ. According to Sheerin’s LinkedIn page, he now works

The post Patent Application Eyes Bitcoin Blockchain for Artwork Provenance appeared first on CCN

Blockonomics Made Emailing Bitcoin as Easy as Adding Emojis

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

This is a sponsored story. CCN urges readers to conduct their own research with due diligence into the company, product or service mentioned in the content below. For those who’ve been around for a couple years now, you might be familiar with Blockonomics. If you’ve ever needed to double-check a Bitcoin transaction, chances are you used

The post Blockonomics Made Emailing Bitcoin as Easy as Adding Emojis appeared first on CCN

Token Ranking System ICO All-In Gives Backers Insight for a Sound Investment

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

This is a submitted sponsored story. CCN urges readers to conduct their own research with due diligence into the company, product or service mentioned in the content below. As bitcoin disrupted the financial industry, people have been quick to adopt the digital currency’s underlying technology, the blockchain, to suit for a variety of purposes. Like water,

The post Token Ranking System ICO All-In Gives Backers Insight for a Sound Investment appeared first on CCN

OTCBTC Launches EOS Project Tokens Listing Express Channel

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

This is a paid-for submitted press release. CCN does not endorse, nor is responsible for any material included below and isn’t responsible for any damages or losses connected with any products or services mentioned in the press release. CCN urges readers to conduct their own research with due diligence into the company, product or service mentioned

The post OTCBTC Launches EOS Project Tokens Listing Express Channel appeared first on CCN

Elon Musk said he slept on the floor at Tesla's factory because he wanted to suffer more than any other employee during Model 3 'production hell' (TSLA)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

elon musk

  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk slept on the floor of the company's vehicle assembly plant because he wanted to suffer more than any other employee during the troubled production ramp-up for the Model 3 sedan, Bloomberg reports.
  • Musk also told Bloomberg that, at one point, he wore the same clothes for five consecutive days.
  • Other media outlets have reported that Musk has slept under his desk and on a couch at the Fremont plant this year as the company faced what Musk called "production hell" for the Model 3.

 

Tesla CEO Elon Musk slept on the floor of the company's vehicle assembly plant in Fremont, California, because he wanted to suffer more than any other employee during the troubled production ramp-up for the Model 3 sedan, Bloomberg reports.

"I feel like I have a great debt to the people of Tesla," Musk told Bloomberg. "The reason I slept on the floor was not because I couldn’t go across the road and be at a hotel. It was because I wanted my circumstances to be worse than anyone else at the company. Whenever they felt pain, I wanted mine to be worse."

Musk also told Bloomberg that, at one point, he wore the same clothes for five consecutive days and compared his circumstances to those at General Motors, where he said executives used a designated elevator to avoid contact with other employees.

"Typical Elon, deflecting from the real issue, which is the ability to mass-produce at scale and with quality," a GM representative told Bloomberg.

Other media outlets have reported that Musk has slept under his desk and on a couch at the Fremont plant this year as the company faced what Musk called "production hell" for the Model 3.

Tesla struggled to ramp up production for the Model 3 since it was launched in July 2017, twice missing deadlines for its goal of producing 5,000 per week. In May 2016, Musk said he estimated the company would make between 100,000 and 200,000 Model 3s during the second half of 2017. However, Tesla only made 2,685 Model 3 vehicles in 2017.

On July 2, the company said it made 5,031 Model 3s during the final week of June and 28,578 during the second quarter, more than it had made in the prior three quarters combined.

You can read Bloomberg's full story here.

If you've worked for Tesla and have a story to share, you can contact this reporter at mmatousek@businessinsider.com.

SEE ALSO: Some Tesla employees reportedly develop a zombie-like 'Tesla stare' after working shifts that can last up to 16 hours

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: An early investor in Airbnb and Uber explains why he started buying bitcoin in 2009

You can now trade Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash on Robinhood Crypto

TechCrunch, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Fintech startup Robinhood is expanding its cryptocurrency trading product with two new token listings. Users in selected states can now trade Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash from the app. Robinhood is currently providing one of the easiest ways to get started with cryptocurrencies. You can download the app, upload some money and buy tokens in just […]

You can now trade Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash on Robinhood Crypto

TechCrunch, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Fintech startup Robinhood is expanding its cryptocurrency trading product with two new token listings. Users in selected states can now trade Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash from the app. Robinhood is currently providing one of the easiest ways to get started with cryptocurrencies. You can download the app, upload some money and buy tokens in just […]

Airlines warned fuel prices were a growing threat, but it just became clear how terrible the situation has become (DAL)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Delta Airbus A350 900 MSN115 take off 005

  • Delta Air Lines reported second-quarter 2018 profits of $1.025 billion on $11.775 billion in operating revenue.
  • Even though revenues are up, profits are actually $161 million lower than the same period in 2017.
  • Much of this can be attributed to the increase in fuel prices.
  • The increase in costs for airlines could be passed on to consumers. 

The price of crude oil has skyrocketed more than 50% over the last year and the effects on the airline industry are expected to be profound.

Now we have a better idea of just how profound.

On Thursday, Delta Air Lines reported a second-quarter 2018 profit of $1.025 billion on $11.775 billion in operating revenue.

Even though these numbers show Delta to be a very healthy airline, you don't have to dig very far to see underlying effects for fuel prices.

For example, Delta $11.775 billion is in Q2 revenue is a record for the company and 10% higher than the same period last year. 

However, profits for the quarter are actually down $161 million or 14% compared to Q2 in 2017. 

And much of that can be attributed to the fact that Delta spent $654 million more on fuel than it did during Q2 last year. That's a 39% jump. 

For the year, Delta says it expects to spend an extra $2 billion on fuel.  

American, United, and Southwest are expected to report their earnings in the coming weeks. 

For much of the year, airline CEOs have cautioned that escalating fuel costs will result in fewer flights and higher ticket prices. 

Delta wasn't immediately available to comment on ticket prices. But, CEO Ed Bastian said during Thursday's earnings call with media and Wall Street analyst that the airline plans "a reduction of 50 to 100 basis points of underperforming capacity" from its fall schedule. 

Translation. Delta is going cut down on certain flights that are less profitable as a way to compensate for higher fuel costs. 

SEE ALSO: Mysterious airline fees are costing passengers hundreds of dollars and no one knows what they go to pay for

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Bitcoin Ownership in Canada is Up 72 Percent Since 2016, Says Central Bank

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Bitcoin ownership in Canada increased by 72 percent from 2016 to 2017, a survey conducted by the country’s central bank has found. The newly-published update to the 2017 Bitcoin Omnibus Survey (BTCOS), conducted by the Bank of Canada last Dec. 12 to Dec. 15, indicates that five percent of Canadians own bitcoin, up from 2.9

The post Bitcoin Ownership in Canada is Up 72 Percent Since 2016, Says Central Bank appeared first on CCN

How to Build an Audience on Bitcointalk, the Online Forum and Nexus of the Crypto World

Entrepreneur, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

A Bitcointalk presence is mandatory for new blockchain companies -- but the forum's sheer size can be a problem

Tesla customers will start losing a $7,500 tax credit in 2019 (TSLA)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Elon Musk

  • Tesla has sold 200,000 electric vehicles in the US, Electrek first reported, which means its customers will start to lose access to a $7,500 tax credit.
  • Tesla confirmed to Business Insider that it had passed the 200,000-vehicle threshold.
  • The credit will begin to phase out for Tesla customers in January and will no longer be available in January 2020.

Tesla has sold 200,000 electric vehicles in the US, Electrek first reported Thursday, which means its customers will start to lose access to a $7,500 tax credit.

Tesla confirmed to Business Insider that it had passed the 200,000-vehicle threshold.

The federal government gives people who buy electric vehicles a tax credit of $2,500 to $7,500, depending on the vehicle's size and battery capacity. As Tesla wrote in an annual report filed with the US Securities and Exchange Committee in February, its customers get the full $7,500. But two calendar quarters after a company sells its 200,000th electric vehicle in the US, the tax credit begins to phase out.

For the first six months of the phaseout, customers are eligible for 50% of the credit. That falls to 25% during the six months after that. After the full year, the company's customers are no longer eligible for that tax credit.

That means Tesla customers will be able to receive the full credit until January, when they will be eligible for half of the credit for six months. Starting next July, they will be able to get one-fourth the credit. The credit will expire for Tesla customers in January 2020.

Tesla is the first automaker to begin the credit phaseout, which is sure to affect at least some customers who have preordered the company’s Model 3 sedan. As of July 2, the company said it had about 420,000 preorders for the vehicle that had not been fulfilled, and customers are not entitled to the tax credit until their vehicle is delivered.

The Model 3, which starts at $35,000, was designed to broaden Tesla's customer base beyond the luxury segment and accelerate the pace of electric-vehicle adoption. The company made 41,029 Model 3s from the vehicle's July 2017 launch to the end of last month.

At the end of June, Tesla allowed those with Model 3 reservations to configure and order their vehicles, though the $35,000 base model is not yet available. A Tesla representative told Business Insider it would be available in six to nine months for those who had already made reservations. That's longer than a timeline given by CEO Elon Musk in May, when he said the $35,000 option could become available between September and December.

SEE ALSO: Some Tesla employees reportedly develop a zombie-like 'Tesla stare' after working shifts that can last up to 16 hours

Join the conversation about this story »

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What you need to know on Wall Street today

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Welcome to Finance Insider, Business Insider's summary of the top stories of the past 24 hours. Sign up here to get the best of Business Insider delivered direct to your inbox.

Here's where Goldman Sachs says to put your money as trade tensions heat up

Trade-related headlines put the stock market at risk of more volatility.

To help its clients navigate these swings, Goldman Sachs has reiterated four of its top strategies that should keep investors on track for strong returns this year.

The recommendations are not hedges against specific risks that trade disputes create for certain companies and industries. Instead, David Kostin, the chief US equity strategist, is reiterating some of his top ideas at a time when markets are vulnerable to swings based on trade-related headlines.

One of Tesla's largest shareholders is urging Elon Musk to simmer down 

One of Tesla's most influential shareholders is giving Elon Musk an earful about the turmoil surrounding him and the electric automaker in recent weeks.

James Anderson, partner and portfolio manager at the asset management firm, Baillie Gifford, pointed to the turmoil surrounding Musk — including the CEO's recent public rants.

Musk has lashed out at reporters and news outlets over troubling news about Tesla Model 3 production and internal struggles at the company. Those rants have prompted some fallout, causing both Musk's fans and his critics to get overheated.

Wall Street's equity derivatives hiring binge continues

Citigroup has hired a quant trading and derivatives exec from Credit Suisse, the latest in the rash of equity derivatives moves across Wall Street.

Jeff Berton, formerly the head of Quantitative Investment Solutions (QIS) in the Americas at Credit Suisse, is joining Citi to run a similarly focused unit on a global scale, according to people familiar with the matter.

Berton will lead Citi Investment Strategies (CIS), a global team within the bank's Markets & Securities Services division focused on quantitative index strategies, and he'll also be the head of exotics trading in North America, the people said.

Broadcom will acquire CA Technologies for $18.9 billion

Broadcom announced on Wednesday its intent to acquire CA Technologies, an American software company, for $18.9 billion in cash.

If the deal clears every hurdle and goes through, the $108 billion semiconductor company will pay $44.50 a share for CA in a deal that could go public on Wednesday, the companies say. The news represents Broadcom expanding beyond processors

News of this deal comes just four months after President Trump blocked Broadcom from acquiring Qualcomm in a $103 billion hostile takeover on national security ground

Citi is deploying robots to help the world's biggest companies collect cash from customers

Citigroup is deploying robots to help massive corporations collect payments from customers, the latest enhancement to the bank's bread-and-butter business of managing the nitty gritty tasks for companies' daily cash and transactions.

Citi on Thursday announced a partnership with Houston-based financial technology company HighRadius to roll out a new feature called Citi Smart Match that applies artificial intelligence and machine learning to the process of matching open invoices to received payments — automating and streamlining the otherwise painstaking and costly task.

It also further bolsters Citi's crucial and highly lucrative Treasury and Trade Solutions (TTS) business, which provides daily financing and cash management services to thousands of multinational corporations in nearly 100 countries and pulled in $8.5 billion in revenues in 2017.

In markets news

 

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Some Tesla employees reportedly develop a zombie-like 'Tesla stare' after working shifts that can last up to 16 hours (TSLA)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

tesla fremont factory

  • Some Tesla employees work such long hours they develop a zombie-like "Tesla stare," Bloomberg reports.
  • Current and former employees told the publication they drank large amounts of Red Bull, some of which the company gave them for free, to fight off the fatigue caused by 12-16 hour shifts.
  • "They come in vibrant, energized," one employee told Bloomberg. "And then a couple weeks go by, and you’ll see them walking out of the building just staring out into space like zombies."


Some Tesla employees work such long hours they develop a zombie-like "Tesla stare," Bloomberg reports.

Current and former employees told the publication they drank large amounts of Red Bull, some of which the company gave them for free, to fight off the fatigue caused by 12-16 hour shifts. Soon after starting at Tesla, some employees develop a zombie-like, "Tesla stare," Tesla production associate Mikey Catura told Bloomberg.

"They come in vibrant, energized," he said. "And then a couple weeks go by, and you’ll see them walking out of the building just staring out into space like zombies."

Employees also told Bloomberg they were ordered to walk through raw sewage to keep production moving.

A Tesla representative told Business Insider the company was not aware of any instances where managers told employees they had to walk through sewage to avoid production delays.

"Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our employees," the representative said.

"This is not to say that there aren’t real issues that need to be dealt with at Tesla or that we’ve made no mistakes with any of the 40,000 people who work at our company. However, there should be absolutely no question that we care deeply about the well-being of our employees and that we try our absolute hardest to do the right thing and to fail less often. With each passing month, we improve safety further and will keep doing so until we have the safest factory in the world by far."

According to a July 3 report from Reuters, Tesla employees faced long hours and a high-pressure environment as the company sought to hit its production goal for the Model 3 sedan at the end of June. Some employees were required to work mandatory weekend shifts, according to Reuters.

The publication reported that CEO Elon Musk yelled at engineers when the pace of Model 3 production was disrupted leading up to the July 1 deadline he set for the company to make 5,000 Model 3s in one week. The company said it hit its goal, producing 5,031 Model 3s during the final week of June.

You can read Bloomberg's full story here.

If you've worked for Tesla and have a story to share, you can contact this reporter at mmatousek@businessinsider.com.

SEE ALSO: Elon Musk says he will help pay to fix the water in any house in Flint, Michigan that exceeds the FDA's accepted contamination levels

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Citi is deploying robots to help the world's biggest companies collect cash from customers — boosting a key $8.5 billion business for the bank (C)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

An attendee looks at book reading robots called Luka at CES International Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018,

  • Citi is partnering with fintech company HighRadius to automate a key money-collection process for businesses.
  • The companies have launched Citi Smart Match, which applies artificial intelligence and machine learning to the process of matching open invoices to received payments — painstaking and costly task known as "cash application."
  • The new feature enhances Citi's crucial and highly lucrative Treasury and Trade Solutions (TTS) business, which provides daily financing and cash management services thousands of multinational corporations in nearly 100 countries.

Citigroup is deploying robots to help massive corporations collect payments from customers, the latest enhancement to the bank's bread-and-butter business of managing the nitty gritty tasks for companies' daily cash and transactions. 

Citi on Thursday announced a partnership with Houston-based financial technology company HighRadius to roll out a new feature called Citi Smart Match that applies artificial intelligence and machine learning to the process of matching open invoices to received payments — automating and streamlining the otherwise painstaking and costly task.  

It also further bolsters Citi's crucial and highly lucrative Treasury and Trade Solutions (TTS) business, which provides daily financing and cash management services to thousands of multinational corporations in nearly 100 countries and pulled in $8.5 billion in revenues in 2017. 

When businesses receive payments, they have to verify which customer the cash came came from and match the incoming cash to the correct invoice or account so they know that customer is all paid up, a process known as "cash application." It's perhaps obvious how important it is to get this right, as a businesses' operations could quickly grind to a halt if it doesn't know with high accuracy which customers are paying their bills. It would also waste a lot of time and energy trying to collect money from customers who already paid — potentially upsetting a loyal customer in the process. 

It's also gotten a lot more complicated with the proliferation of electronic payments, as money can come in from a variety of places over the Internet separate from the invoice — or a customer could send in a lump sum payment that covers multiple invoices. So cash application is often done manually by specialists within accounts receivable teams to ensure accuracy. 

This is where Citi and HighRadius come in.

Citi is the day-to-day banker for many the world's largest corporations across the globe, handling an array of recurring money and payment needs.

In February, Citi's venture-capital arm invested in HighRadius — an enterprise software firm focused on applying AI and machine learning to the payment receivables business — and over the past six months the companies collaborated to build Citi Smart Match, which promises to automate cash application for Citi's TTS customers. 

Here are some of nuts and bolts of how Citi Smart Match works and what it will be able to do:

  •  Use AI to capture data from checks: "The technology is able to learn where to look for information and how to identify it."
  • Identify and trove through emails and email attachments for key details: "The AI learns how to identify emails containing remittance information by examining keywords and attachments. Similar to paper processing, the system can identify and extract the data fields relevant to reconciling accounts. It can do this in situations where the remittance is provided in the body of the email as well as when it is in an attached file."
  • Organize the automated incoming stream of data: "The adoption of EDI, or Electronic Data Interchange, which can allow for full automation of account reconciliation from participating customers, specifies a number of formats for everything from invoices to debit authorizations. This will offer client a broad range of ways to organize incoming data."
  • Build custom rules for cleaning up and formatting data so invoices are recognized and matched automatically: "Once the data is extracted, it is necessary to cleanse it so that it is easily recognizable by Client’s accounting system and all the invoices are automatically matched and cleared without the analyst having to perform any manual activities. The formatting and cleansing of data can be done using a sequence of rules which transform the extracted raw data into a format that matches open invoices and can be automatically processed by the ERP."

After all this, the machine-learning technology "will learn from patterns and behaviors of payments received and continually improve the matching rates over time," according to the companies.

While this may not be happy news for cash application specialists who might find their services less prized, it's good news for large businesses, which could potentially save both time and millions in costs, which could be invested elsewhere. 

“By joining forces with fintechs like HighRadius, we can rapidly advance the use of new-age technologies across our global footprint and develop solutions such as Citi Smart Match, to provide tangible value to our clients’ business,” Manish Kohli, Global Head of Payments and Receivables in Citi’s Treasury and Trade Solutions division, said in a statement.

Citi and HighRadius are currently piloting Citi Smart Match with some early adopters and expect to roll out the service more broadly in the coming weeks. 

 

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Some Tesla employees were reportedly ordered to walk through raw sewage during Model 3 ramp up (TSLA)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

tesla fremont factory

  • Tesla employees said they walked through raw sewage due to their fear of causing production delays, Bloomberg reports. 
  • Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but the company told Bloomberg "it’s not aware of managers telling employees to walk through sewage and that plumbing issues have been handled promptly," according to the publication.
  • Concerns have been raised about worker safety at the Fremont, California, factory where Tesla assembles its vehicles.


Tesla employees said they walked through raw sewage due to their fear of causing production delays, Bloomberg reports. 

Paint shop worker Dennis Duran told the publication he and some of his colleagues were ordered to walk through sewage that spilled onto the floor at the Fremont, California, factory where Tesla assembles its vehicles to keep production moving, despite their hesitations.

"Four current employees say the pressure they felt to avoid delays forced them to walk through raw sewage when it spilled onto the floor. Dennis Duran, who works in the paint shop, says that one time when workers balked, he and his peers were told, 'Just walk through it. We have to keep the line going,'" Bloomberg wrote.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but the company told Bloomberg "it’s not aware of managers telling employees to walk through sewage and that plumbing issues have been handled promptly," according to the publication.

Concerns have been raised about worker safety at the Fremont factory. California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health has three open investigations into Tesla, though an agency representative told Business Insider it was not able to disclose the content of complaints that lead to investigations.

In April, the Center for Investigative Reporting published a report saying Tesla had misreported workplace injuries and failed to take some safety measures at the Fremont factory.

That report said Tesla failed to report injuries employees incurred while at work or mislabeled them, avoided some safety markings for aesthetic reasons, and insufficiently trained some employees for dangerous work. It added that California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health had logged over 40 violations from Tesla since 2013.

The investigative-journalism outlet said it interviewed more than three dozen current and former Tesla employees and reviewed hundreds of pages of documents, including internal records and correspondence related to injury reporting.

In a blog post, Tesla denied the allegations in the report, calling it "a completely false picture of Tesla and what it is actually like to work here" and "an ideologically motivated attack by an extremist organization working directly with union supporters to create a calculated disinformation campaign against Tesla."

You can read Bloomberg's full story here.

If you've worked for Tesla and have a story to share, you can contact this reporter at mmatousek@businessinsider.com.

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Some of the biggest names in dealmaking in New York and London are duking it out as part of the Comcast-Fox-Sky bidding war

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Blair Effron

  • Comcast has officially made a £26 billion (about $34 billion) bid for the European broadcasting company Sky.
  • 21st Century Fox, which owns 40% of Sky, has been trying to buy the remaining stake since the end of 2016 but faced numerous regulatory hurdles.
  • The deal pits some of the sharpest minds in global mergers and acquisitions against one another, with the three sides represented by some of the biggest names on Wall Street and in London.

Blair Effron. Jennifer Nason. John Waldron. Simon Robey. Roger Altman.

They're some of the biggest names in global mergers and acquisitions — people who've worked on trillions of dollars' worth of deals on both sides of the Atlantic.

And now, thanks to a bidding war for the European broadcast company Sky, they're working alongside and opposite one another.

The US entertainment giant Comcast increased its bid for Sky Wednesday evening, gate-crashing Rupert Murdoch's takeover attempt for the broadcaster. Comcast's newest offer came in at £14.75 per share, valuing Sky at £26 billion ($34 billion) up from it's previous offer of £22 billion.

Earlier on Wednesday, Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox bid £14 a share for Sky.

Fox's offer is pending UK government approval from culture secretary Jeremy Wright, while Comcast has already received approval. Comcast said its bid had the backing of Sky's independent directors.

The three companies each have a phalanx of investment bankers advising on the potential transaction. Here's what you need to know about them:

Sky

Sky's taking advice from Morgan Stanley, PJT Partners, and Barclays.

Morgan Stanley

The Morgan Stanley team is led by Simon Smith, a Morgan Stanley veteran who's the head of investment banking in Europe.

Laurence Hopkins, another longtime Morgan Stanley banker, is also on the team along with Anthony Zammit, a junior banker based in London who last year worked on a takeover bid for the European consumer giant Unilever.

Ben Grindley, who works in corporate broking, is also on the deal.

PJT Partners

When PJT Partners, an independent advisory firm launched by the former Morgan Stanley dealmaker Paul Taubman, launched in Europe, the former UBS banker Simon Lyons was one of the first hires through the door. He's advising Sky on the deal alongside Scott Matlock, a former Morgan Stanley banker who has long specialized in telecoms, media, and tech deals.

Jonathan Hall is the junior banker on the deal team.

Barclays

Barclays' advisory team is led by the veteran bankers Mark Astaire and Richard Taylor and includes Hugh Moran.

Astaire, one of the leading figures on the advisory scene in London, is now the chairman of corporate broking, while Taylor, the former head of European investment banking at Barclays, is now a chairman of investment banking.

21st Century Fox

Murdoch's media giant is taking advice from Deutsche Bank, Centerview Partners, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan.

Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank's team is led by Gavin Deane, a global cohead of telecoms, media, and technology investment banking at the German bank.

James Arculus, the head of UK M&A, is also on the team along with the junior bankers Jon Krissel and Mathew Mathew.

Centerview Partners

Effron, the cofounder of Centerview Partners, is advising 21st Century Fox along with his US-based partner David Cohen and the London-based former UBS banker James Hartop. Tim Hannan's also on the deal team.

Goldman Sachs

Waldron, a cohead of Goldman Sachs' vaunted investment-banking division, is on Goldman Sachs' deal team along with Mark Sorrell, a takeover specialist who now heads M&A for Goldman Sachs in Europe.

Owain Evans and Mike Smith, both managing directors, are also on the deal.

JPMorgan

Nason, the global chairman for telecoms, media, and tech banking at JPMorgan, is on the deal along with the European TMT specialist Hugo Baring.

The UK takeover expert Dwayne Lysaght, also advising Takeda in its deal talks with Shire, is also on the team along with Marco Caggiano.

Comcast

Comcast's taking advice from Robey Warshaw, Evercore, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and Wells Fargo.

Robey Warshaw

"The two Simons," as they're known in London, are on the deal team for Comcast.

Simon Robey and Simon Warshaw, the founders of the tiny London boutique firm, have an impressive reputation in European dealmaking, with Robey making his name at Morgan Stanley and Warshaw at UBS.

Evercore

Altman, the founder and senior chairman of Evercore, is advising Comcast along with Eduardo Mestre, a veteran Evercore banker who until recently sat on the board of Comcast.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Adrian Mee, a global cohead of mergers and acquisitions, is working with Comcast alongside the UK corporate advisory specialist Tim Waddell.

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A bitcoin billionaire is quietly building the world's very first decentralized bank on this tiny, idyllic island

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Valletta Malta

  • Plans for the world's first decentralized bank are taking root in Malta.
  • The project is backed by the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, which was founded by bitcoin billionaire Changpeng Zhao. 
  • Malta has been very receptive to cryptocurrency projects in the past.

Plans for the world's very first decentralized bank are taking root in Malta.

According to Bloomberg, the project is backed by bitcoin billionaire Changpeng Zhao's cryptocurrency exchange, Binance.

Binance, which uprooted its operations to the tiny European island of Malta earlier this year, has been warmly welcomed by the country's prime minister, Joseph Muscat. 

In March, Muscat tweeted that he had high hopes for his country's role within the blockchain industry:

"We aim to be the global trailblazers in the regulation of blockchain-based businesses and the jurisdiction of quality and choice for world class fintech companies," Muscat wrote.

The project for the decentralized, community-owned bank has already received backing from both Binance and the Malta government itself, which has invested a 5% stake, Bloomberg reports.

The bank, called Founders Bank, will be unique in that it won't belong to a single corporation, individual, or entity. Instead, it will be owned in part by anyone who purchases a portion of its token-based equity. 

Fundraising for the project will take place on the blockchain equity platform, Neufund.

There's still some regulatory issues which Malta, a country belonging to the European Union, will need to face, but prime minister Muscat seems largely optimistic about the project's viability. 

In a recent speech, Muscat said, "The concept sounds confusing right now, but I have no doubt that it will form the base of a new economy in the future. Just as we attribute value to pieces of paper, so too will future generations attribute value to electronic storage systems.”

 

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Robinhood Adds Bitcoin Cash & Litecoin Trading, Will Support Crypto Transfers

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Rapidly-expanding fintech unicorn Robinhood has added bitcoin cash and litecoin to the growing stable of cryptocurrencies that users can trade on the popular stock trading app. The commission-free stock trading app on Thursday announced that it had onboarded its five millionth user, marking yet another milestone for the firm which achieved a $5.6 billion valuation

The post Robinhood Adds Bitcoin Cash & Litecoin Trading, Will Support Crypto Transfers appeared first on CCN

Robinhood Adds Bitcoin Cash & Litecoin Trading, Will Support Crypto Transfers

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Rapidly-expanding fintech unicorn Robinhood has added bitcoin cash and litecoin to the growing stable of cryptocurrencies that users can trade on the popular stock trading app. The commission-free stock trading app on Thursday announced that it had onboarded its five millionth user, marking yet another milestone for the firm which achieved a $5.6 billion valuation

The post Robinhood Adds Bitcoin Cash & Litecoin Trading, Will Support Crypto Transfers appeared first on CCN

The Genesis Files: With Bit Gold, Szabo Was Inches Away From Inventing Bitcoin

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

The Genesis Files: With Bit Gold, Szabo Came Within Inches of Inventing Bitcoin

As his Hungarian parents had fled post-war Soviet regime to settle in the United States, Nick Szabo came to call the Californian Bay area of the 1990s his home. Here, he was among the first to frequent the in-person “Cypherpunk” meetings organized by Timothy May, Eric Hughes and other founding members of the collective of cryptographers, programmers and privacy activists centered around the ’90s mailing list of the same name.

Like the other Cypherpunks, Szabo was concerned with the receding guarantees of privacy in an upcoming digital age and took action to stem the tide where he could. For example, on the Cypherpunks mailing list, Szabo led opposition to the “Clipper chip,” a proposed chip that would have been embedded in phones, allowing the NSA to listen into calls. Szabo had a particular knack for explaining the risks of such privacy infringements in a way that resonated with non-technical people, sometimes giving talks on the topic or even handing out flyers. (The chip would eventually be rejected by manufacturers and consumers.)

But like the more libertarian-oriented Cypherpunks, Szabo’s interest in digital privacy was part of a bigger picture — it was not just about privacy alone. Inspired by Timothy May’s vision as laid out in The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto, Szabo saw the potential to create a “Galt’s Gulch” in cyberspace: a domain where individuals could trade freely, as described libertarian author Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged. The pseudo-physics force field of the story, May and Szabo believed, could be substituted with the recently invented magic of public key cryptography.

“If we step back and look at what many cypherpunks are trying to achieve, a major idealistic theme is a Ghandian cyberspace where violence can only be make-believe, whether in Mortal Komat [sic] or ‘flame wars,’” Szabo wrote on the Cypherpunks mailing list.

Yet, Szabo also realized that free enterprise needs more than just encryption as a security layer. Inspired by another libertarian author — economist Friedrich Hayek — he found that the basis of human society is, to a large extent, based on building blocks, like property and contracts, which are typically enforced by the state. To create a stateless, non-violent cyber alternative, Szabo knew that these building blocks had to be transferred to the online domain.

This is how Szabo, by the mid 1990s, came to propose what he is perhaps best known for today: smart contracts. These (then-hypothetical) computer protocols could digitally facilitate, verify and enforce the negotiation or performance of a contract, ideally without the need of any third party. As Szabo had famously argued: “Trusted third parties are security holes.” These security holes would be targets for hackers or criminals — as well as nation states during times of political instability or oppression.

But smart contracts were only part of the puzzle. The second tool Szabo needed in order to realize his “Galt’s Gulch” was possibly even more important. Money.

Electronic Cash

Digital currency, a cash for the internet, was always a central goal for the Cypherpunks. But few dived into the subject matter like Szabo did.

In his essay “Shelling Out: The Origins of Money,” Szabo described how — as first hypothesized by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins — using money has been embedded in the very DNA of humans. Having analyzed pre-civilized societies, Szabo found that people across cultures tended to collect scarce, easy-to-carry objects, often to make jewellery out of them. It was these objects that served as money, which in turn allowed humans to cooperate: game theoretical “reciprocal altruism” through trade, at scale and across time.

Szabo also took a keen interest in free banking, a monetary arrangement advocated by Hayek, where private banks issue their own currency not bound to any particular state. Under such a system, it’s completely up to the free market to choose which money to use. While a novel idea today (and even more so in the years before Bitcoin), free banking was a reality in the United States of the 1800s, as well as in several other countries.

Szabo also went on to put his interest into practice and sold his expertise as an internet commerce consultant by the mid 1990s, long before most saw the potential of online commerce. Most notably, he spent some time working at David Chaum’s DigiCash startup, headquartered in Amsterdam. Chaum’s company introduced the first digital cash the world had ever seen in the form of eCash: a means to make payments online as private as cash in real life was.

But it was also at DigiCash where Szabo learned about the risks of Chaum’s solution. DigiCash was a centralized company, and Szabo found it was far too easy for him and others to mess with people’s balances if they’d wanted to. Trusted parties are security holes, after all, and this risk is perhaps nowhere bigger than with money.

“The problem, in a nutshell, is that our money currently depends on trust in a third party for its value,” Szabo argued in 2005. “As many inflationary and hyperinflationary episodes during the 20th century demonstrated, this is not an ideal state of affairs.”

In fact, he considered this trust problem such an obstacle that even a typical free banking solution could suffer from it: “[P]rivate bank note issue, while it had various advantages as well as disadvantages, similarly depended on a trusted third party.”

Szabo knew he wanted to create a new form of money that did not depend on trust in any third party.

Based on his analysis of prehistoric money, Szabo had come a long way in figuring out what his ideal money would look like. First, it had to be “secure from accidental loss and theft.” Second, its value must be “unforgeably costly, and therefore considered valuable.” And third: “This value [had to be] accurately approximated by simple observations or measurements.”

Best compared to precious metals like gold, Szabo wanted to create something that was both digital and scarce, where this scarcity did not depend on any third party trust. He wanted to create a digital gold.

Precious metals and collectibles have an unforgeable scarcity due to the costliness of their creation. This once provided money the value of which was largely independent of any trusted third party. Precious metals have problems, however. […] Thus, it would be very nice if there were a protocol whereby unforgeably costly bits could be created online with minimal dependence on trusted third parties, and then securely stored, transferred, and assayed with similar minimal trust. Bit gold.

Bit Gold

Szabo first came up with Bit Gold in 1998, though he only fully described it in public in 2005. His proposed digital money scheme consisted of a combination of solutions, some of which were inspired by (or resembled) previous electronic cash concepts.

The first central property of Bit Gold was proof of work, the cryptographic trick utilized by Dr. Adam Back in his “anti-spam currency” Hashcash. Proof of work represented the unforgeable costliness Szabo was looking for, as it required real-world resources — computing power — to produce these proofs.

Bit Gold’s proof-of-work system started with a “candidate string”: basically a random number. Anyone could take this string and mathematically combine — “hash” — it with another, newly generated random number. By the nature of hashing, the result would be a new, seemingly random string of numbers: the hash. The only way to find out what this hash looks like is to actually create it — it cannot otherwise be computed or predicted.

The trick, also utilized in Hashcash, is that not all hashes are considered valid within the Bit Gold protocol. Instead, a valid hash must, for example, start with a predetermined number of zeros. Because of the unpredictable nature of hashing, the only way to find such a valid hash is trial and error. A valid hash, therefore, proves that its creator expended computing power.

This valid hash would, in turn, be the next Bit Gold candidate string. The Bit Gold system would, therefore, grow into a chain of proof-of-work hashes, and there’d always be a next candidate string to work with.

Whoever would find a valid hash would quite literally own that hash, similar to how the person that finds a bit of gold ore owns it. To establish this ownership digitally, Bit Gold used a digital ownership registry: another Hayek-inspired building block proposed by Szabo. In this registry, the hashes were to be linked to the public keys of their respective creators.

It was also through this digital ownership registry that a hash could be transferred to a new owner: The original owner would literally sign off on a transaction with a cryptographic signature.

The ownership registry was to be maintained by a Bit Gold “property club.” This property club consists of “club members” (servers) that would keep track of which public keys own which hashes. This solution somewhat resembled Wei Dai’s proposed replicated database solution for b-money; both Szabo and Dai were not only active on the Cypherpunks’ mailing list, but also on a closed email list discussing these topics.

But instead of Dai’s proof-of-stake system to keep the system up to date, Szabo proposed a “Byzantine Quorum System.” Similar to security-critical systems like airplane board computers, if only one (or a minority) of these computers should fall out of line, the system as a whole would continue to operate fine. Only if a majority of computers were to fail at the same time would the system be in trouble. Importantly, none of these checks required courts or judges or police, backed by the state monopoly on violence: It would all be voluntary.

While this system was not in itself 100 percent watertight — it could for example be Sybil attacked (the “sock puppet problem”) — Szabo believed it could work itself out. Even in the scenario where a majority of club members would attempt to cheat, the honest minority could branch off into a competing ownership registry. Users could then choose which ownership registry to use, which Szabo thought would probably be the honest one.

“If the rules are violated by the winning voters, the correct losers can exit the group and reform a new group, inheriting the old titles,” he explained. “Users of the titles (relying parties) who wish to maintain correct titles can securely verify for themselves which splinter group has correctly followed the rules and switch to the correct group.”

(As a modern-day example, this can perhaps be compared with Ethereum Classic, which maintains a version of the original Ethereum ledger that did not undo The DAO smart contract.)

Inflation

The next problem that Szabo had to solve was inflation. As computers improve over time, it would become easier and easier to generate valid hashes. This means that the hashes themselves can’t function as money very well: they would become increasingly less scarce every year, to the point where abundance would dilute all value.

Szabo figured out a solution. Once a valid hash was found, it had to be timestamped, ideally with different timestamp servers to minimize trust in any particular one. This timestamp would give an idea of how hard it was to produce the hash: an older hash would have been harder to produce than a newer hash. Markets would then determine how much any particular hash is worth relative to one another, presumably adjusting its value for the date it was found. A valid “2018 hash” should be worth much less than a valid “2008 hash.”

But this solution, of course, introduced a new problem, Szabo knew: “the bits (the puzzle solutions) from one period (anywhere from seconds to weeks, let's say a week) to the next are not fungible.” Fungibility — the idea that any currency unit is equal to any other unit — is critical for money. A shopkeeper wants to accept a payment without having to worry about the date the money was created.

Szabo came up with a solution to this problem as well. He envisioned a sort of “second layer” solution on top of the Bit Gold base layer. This layer would consist of a type of bank, though a securely auditable bank, since the Bit Gold registry was public. These banks would collect different hashes from different time periods and, based on the value of these hashes, bundle them into packets of a combined standard value. A “2018 pack” would include more hashes than a “2008 pack,” but both packs would be worth the same.

These packs, then, were to be cut up in a specific number of units. Finally, these units could be issued by the “banks” as a private and anonymous Chaumian eCash.

“[C]ompeting banks issue digital banknotes redeemable in solution bits whose market values add up to the face value of the bank note (i.e. they create bundles of standard value),” Szabo explained.

Thus, Bit Gold was designed as a gold standard-like base layer for a free banking system of the digital age.

Bitcoin

In the 2000s, Szabo went on to earn a law degree to understand the law and contract reality he wished to replace or replicate online even better. He also started to collect and publish his ideas on a well-respected blog, “Unenumerated,” which covers topics ranging from computer science to law and politics, but also history and biology. “The list of topics for this blog […] is so vast and varied that it cannot be enumerated,” Szabo explained the title.

By 2008 — 10 years after first proposing it in private — Szabo brought up Bit Gold on his blog once again, only this time he wanted to realize a first implementation of his proposal.

“Bit Gold would greatly benefit from a demonstration, an experimental market (with e.g. a trusted third party substituted for the complex security that would be needed for a real system). Anybody want to help me code one up?” he asked in the comment section his blog.

If someone responded, it wasn’t in public. Bit Gold, in Szabo’s proposed form, was never implemented.

However, Bit Gold did serve as a key inspiration for Satoshi Nakamoto, who published the Bitcoin white paper later than same year.

“Bitcoin is an implementation of Wei Dai's b-money proposal [...] on Cypherpunks [...] in 1998 and Nick Szabo's Bitgold proposal,” Bitcoin’s pseudonymous inventor wrote on the Bitcointalk forum in 2010.

Indeed, it’s not difficult to see Bit Gold as an early draft of Bitcoin. Apart from the shared database of ownership records based on public key cryptography, the chain of proof-of-work hashes has an eerie resemblance to Bitcoin’s blockchain. And, of course, the names Bit Gold and Bitcoin are not too far apart either.

Yet, unlike systems like Hashcash and b-money, Bit Gold was conspicuously absent from the Bitcoin white paper. Some have even considered this absence so notable they took it as one of several hints that Szabo must be the man behind the Satoshi Nakamoto monicker: Who else would try to hide Bitcoin’s origins like this?

Still, while similar to Bit Gold in several ways, Bitcoin did include some improvements over Szabo’s design. In particular, where Bit Gold still relies on trusted parties to an extent — servers and the timestamp services must be trusted to some degree not to collude — Bitcoin was the first system to solve this problem entirely. It solves it very elegantly, by having the required proof-of-work system serve as both an award system and a consensus mechanism in one: The hash chain with the most proof of work is considered the valid version of history.

“Nakamoto improved a significant security shortcoming that my design had,” Szabo acknowledged in 2011, “namely by requiring a proof-of-work to be a node in the Byzantine-resilient peer-to-peer system to lessen the threat of an untrustworthy party controlling the majority of nodes and thus corrupting a number of important security features.”

Further, Bitcoin has a very different monetary model than Szabo proposed, with a fixed inflation schedule that remains unaffected by hash power increases altogether. As computing power on the Bitcoin network increases, it just means that it’s harder to find new coins.

“Instead of my automated market to account for the fact that the difficulty of puzzles can often radically change based on hardware improvements and cryptographic breakthroughs (i.e. discovering algorithms that can solve proofs-of-work faster), and the unpredictability of demand, Nakamoto designed a Byzantine-agreed algorithm adjusting the difficulty of puzzles,” Szabo explained.

“I can't decide whether this aspect of Bitcoin is more feature or more bug,” he added, “but it does make it simpler.”


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

An early investor in Uber, Airbnb, and bitcoin explains why its actually good sign that no one is spending their crypto

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Jeffrey Wernick is a hard money advocate and an independent investor. His angel investment portfolio includes early holdings in Uber and Airbnb. Wernick serves on the advisory boards of DataWallet and Qtum.

Wernick started buying bitcoin in 2009, the year it was created. He says the fact that people aren't actively spending their bitcoin is not a sign of weakness or due to the cryptocurrency's limitations. He believes people aren't spending their bitcoin because it is "good money" that they value more than the dollars it can be traded for. Following is a transcript of the video.

Sara Silverstein: You've been buying since 2009, have you been spending any of it?

Jeffrey Wernick: I’ve never spent one. I've never — I've converted fiat into crypto. I've never converted — I’ve converted crypto into fiat.

Silverstein: And what's your argument for people that say that that's proof that you can't spend it? That people aren't spending it?

Wernick: Well, I think there's something called Gresham's law that says, "Bad money forces good money out of circulation." So as long as there's bad money circulating, you want to hold onto good money and you spend bad money. So eventually there might be less bad money eventually bad money might become useless money, and when it becomes useless money, then people will begin circulating alternative forms of value, independent of how it's taxed.

So, I mean that's what happened in — whenever we had hyperinflations, people bartered goods. So those goods were not officially designed as currency, and basically you'd have said every time somebody barter goods, that created taxable event, but at the end of the day, people didn't care, it was the only way they could have exchange in something that they had with some value.

As you see in Venezuela right now people don't value the national currency very much, and the government has to discourage use of crypto by how most governments typically do thingsis force. They have to threaten to kill you, put you in jail, all the things governments do when you don't behave the way government wants you to behave.

Join the conversation about this story »

Gamers’ Relief: Bitcoin Bear Period is Bringing Down High-End GPU Prices

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Bitcoin isn’t the only one going down. As the cryptocurrency keeps losing its value, other areas of the industry are starting to take its toll. As Bitcoin, and cryptocurrencies all over the world, skyrocketed in value last year, a new market was born — crypto mining. I’m sure you know at least one person who

The post Gamers’ Relief: Bitcoin Bear Period is Bringing Down High-End GPU Prices appeared first on CCN

Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash Are Latest Crypto Additions to Robinhood Investing App

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

U.S.-based mobile stock trading app Robinhood has added two new cryptocurrencies to its trading service.

Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash Are Latest Crypto Additions to Robinhood Investing App

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

U.S.-based mobile stock trading app Robinhood has added two new cryptocurrencies to its trading service.

Robinhood is adding more coins to its crypto platform as it boasts reaching 5 million users

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Vlad Tenev, Baiju Bhatt, robinhood, sv100 2015

  • Litecoin and bitcoin cash are being added to Robinhood Crypto, the California broker announced on Thursday. 
  • The company has been rapidly expanding its crypto offering since it launched earlier this year

Robinhood, the California-based brokerage known for pioneering free stock trading, is diving deeper into the world of cryptocurrencies. 

The firm first announced it was gatecrashing crypto trading with a new brokerage offering earlier this year. Now, the company said on Thursday it is expanding Robinhood Crypto, enabling trading of two new cryptos: bitcoin cash and litecoin. 

As Business Insider first reported in June, Robinhood had been hiring developers to support trading of new coins. It was a move experts in the crypto space said would better position the firm against more established crypto exchanges such as Coinbase, which is best known for its retail unit but also sells services to Wall Street through its institutional divisions. 

Currently, Robinhood Crypto is available in 17 states. Since it first started offering crypto trading, Robinhood's founders described its entry into the market as a customer acquisition play, not a money-maker. 

The company also said that its platform now spans 5 million customers, a 2 million person increase from December 2017. That makes it much larger than E*Trade, which serves 3.7 million clients. 

Still, it is not clear how much money those users hold with Robinhood.

SEE ALSO: Big changes may be coming to Robinhood's crypto platform, and market experts say Coinbase should be worried

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: An early investor in Airbnb and Uber explains why he started buying bitcoin in 2009

Robinhood is adding more coins to its crypto platform as it boasts reaching 5 million users

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Vlad Tenev, Baiju Bhatt, robinhood, sv100 2015

  • Litecoin and bitcoin cash are being added to Robinhood Crypto, the California broker announced on Thursday. 
  • The company has been rapidly expanding its crypto offering since it launched earlier this year

Robinhood, the California-based brokerage known for pioneering free stock trading, is diving deeper into the world of cryptocurrencies. 

The firm first announced it was gatecrashing crypto trading with a new brokerage offering earlier this year. Now, the company said on Thursday it is expanding Robinhood Crypto, enabling trading of two new cryptos: bitcoin cash and litecoin. 

As Business Insider first reported in June, Robinhood had been hiring developers to support trading of new coins. It was a move experts in the crypto space said would better position the firm against more established crypto exchanges such as Coinbase, which is best known for its retail unit but also sells services to Wall Street through its institutional divisions. 

Currently, Robinhood Crypto is available in 17 states. Since it first started offering crypto trading, Robinhood's founders described its entry into the market as a customer acquisition play, not a money-maker. 

The company also said that its platform now spans 5 million customers, a 2 million person increase from December 2017. That makes it much larger than E*Trade, which serves 3.7 million clients. 

Still, it is not clear how much money those users hold with Robinhood.

SEE ALSO: Big changes may be coming to Robinhood's crypto platform, and market experts say Coinbase should be worried

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: An early investor in Airbnb and Uber explains why he started buying bitcoin in 2009

Nick Spanos’s Zap Jolts Real Estate With Blockchain-Based Smart Contracts

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Nick Spanos’s Zap Jolts Real Estate With Blockchain-Based Smart Contracts

New York realtors looking to avoid hiccups in their commission payouts can now turn to blockchain-based smart contracts. The first real estate commission split was brokered earlier this summer in Manhattan’s ritzy SoHo neighborhood by New York-based Bapple Realty.

Enabled through data uploaded onto the Zap platform, the seller divvied up a $3,400 commission — paid in Ethereum tokens — to pay the brokerage and the agents involved in the transaction.

Bapple itself is no stranger to blockchain technology and the use of cryptocurrencies. In 2014, the firm agreed to an $18,000 rent and commissions payment with bitcoin. With the current deal, the infusion of blockchain technology within the real estate industry becomes more solidified.

A primary requirement in implementing the blockchain-based transaction included the input of oracles: real world information uploaded into a decentralized application. This is where Zap, founded by Nick Spanos, comes into the picture.

Zap.org, a product of the Synapse Foundation, uses an Ethereum-based ERC 20 token (ZAP) to power its oracle marketplace for smart contracts.  

The opportunity to expand blockchain technology further into the real estate industry this summer came about as a Zap client and a Nordic Blockchain Association board member was looking to find a Manhattan-area apartment. At the time, Zap was conducting beta testing of its Android app for smart contracts.

“We thought this would be a good use case,” Spanos told Bitcoin Magazine in an interview.

Spanos, who also founded Bitcoin Center NYC and Blockchain Technologies Corp., explained that implementing smart contracts guarantees agents receive their agreed-upon commissions at the same time as their broker-fee payment.

“The industry needs smart contracts,” Spanos said. “In a real estate office, many people have disagreements because of informal oral agreements that are subject to people's sometimes-selective memory. However, if their wallet is in the smart contract tied to the deal, it is fixed and immutable. You're either in or you're not. Trust is automated.”

Spanos added that Zap is currently testing an app that will allow real estate professionals to build and customize all types of contracts.

“It will compile them and put them on the blockchain,” Spanos said to Bitcoin Magazine. “It’s a small step in the vast potential for smart contracts, but a huge leap for the entire real estate industry.”

Real Estate: Just “One Small Use Case”

While Spanos describes Zap’s progress in the real estate industry as just “one small use case,” the organization itself continues work on expanding its marketplace to incorporate smart contract-compatible data.

“We have vendors preparing to sell every type of data feed, from political data to meteorological data, that will allow smart contracts to execute trades on futures based on anticipated crop yield.”

Spanos added, “ Zap.org recently partnered with Stox prediction markets to be a provider of consensus-verified data.”

A long-time advocate of Bitcoin and blockchains, Spanos’s enthusiasm for the technology continues to grow.

“When was the last time you heard of a technology that, when you think of any given problem, there's a way that a single technology could be part of the solution? That's how blockchain is the internet, reinvented,” Spanos said.

“The world has a trust protocol, where financial events can be triggered without depending on an intermediary. The trust revolution is the next revolution. The crypto economy will set the internet free from legacy holdovers in banking and government, and now, any form of exchange can be decentralized.”

In May 2018, Zap announced that it had developed a secure supply management and smart contracts DApp specifically for the oil and gas industry called EnergyLedger.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Crypto Market Drops Another $10 Billion as Bitcoin Price Retreats to $6,150

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Over the past 24 hours, the valuation of the crypto market has dropped by $10 billion, as bitcoin fell to $6,150 and ether dropped below $440. Even after recording a steep 5 percent fall from $6,700 to $6,400 and demonstrating an oversold condition with low Relative Strength Index (RSI), bitcoin struggled to rebound and attempt

The post Crypto Market Drops Another $10 Billion as Bitcoin Price Retreats to $6,150 appeared first on CCN

Trump just claimed a win in cutting back prescription drug prices, but the reality of high drug prices is a lot more complicated

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

pharma trump reed pfizer 4x3

  • President Donald Trump has been making a stink about drug prices, claiming a win Tuesday night when Pfizer deferred its plan to increase the prices of 10% of its medications. 
  • But it remains to be seen how Pfizer's move will impact patients still facing high prescription drug costs. 
  • Here's all that goes into the price patients are paying when they get to the pharmacy counter. 

President Donald Trump is on a crusade to lower prescription drug prices. 

In May, the Trump administration laid out a 44-page drug-pricing blueprint, calling out middlemen in the pharmaceutical industry and "freeloading" by other countries that pay less than the US for prescription drugs.

That came to a head on Tuesday when New York-based pharmaceutical giant Pfizer said that it's deferring the price increases it planned to take on some of its prescription drugs following a conversation between its CEO Ian Read and Trump.

Trump had singled out the pharmaceutical giant earlier in the week over its recent price hikes. Pfizer had increased the price of about 40 of its 400 products, including Viagra, as of July 1. Pfizer wasn't the only drugmaker to raise the price of its drugs, though it was one of only a handful to raise prices on drugs for a second time in 2018. 

"Pfizer & others should be ashamed that they have raised drug prices for no reason," Trump said in an initial tweet.

Pfizer will now return its drugs to their initial price before July 1. Trump broadcast the move in a tweet, in which he characterized it as "rolling back price hikes, so American patients don't pay more."

But it begs the question: how will American patients benefit from this? 

To start, Pfizer's move on Tuesday was to defer its planned price increases, not cancel them altogether. Should the Trump administration fail to get its drug-pricing plan off the ground by the end of the year, Pfizer will go ahead and increase the prices of the drugs.

"The company will return these prices to their pre-July 1 levels as soon as technically possible, and the prices will remain in effect until the earlier of when the president's blueprint goes into effect or the end of the year - whichever is sooner," Pfizer said in a statement.

Analysts, for their part, didn't see this decision as having much of an impact on Pfizer's overall business, especially because the increases weren't very big — though analysts at Morgan Stanley did call the decision to defer the price hike as "surprising."

And, as Wells Fargo analyst David Maris noted, Pfizer's move could impact what happens to other drugmakers' price increases.

"For example, will Merck’s Keytruda price increase from March or AbbVie’s Humira’s 19% price increase over the past two years be next? And what did Pharma get in exchange for this Trump win?" Maris wrote Wednesday. "To us, we believe the administration’s and other key legislators’ focus is not only on drug pricing, but on the overall supply chain and delivery system, including drug rebating, co-pay coupons, etc."

But as a whole — especially for patients who might need reprieve from high prices — there's skepticism about the impact Pfizer's decision to defer will have. 

"It's all sizzle and no steak," Craig Garthwaite a professor of strategy at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University told Business Insider.

Americans are facing high prescription drug prices, and the list price a drugmaker sets is just one component of a complicated system in which a handful of companies are involved. 

In fact, as many as five different companies influence the price of a medication from start to finish.

Who pays for your medication pharma graphic

It begins with the drugmaker who sets the initial price of the medication. From there, a wholesaler responsible for distributing the drug to hospitals and pharmacies gets a cut of the price for its services.

The pharmacy provides the drug to patients for a certain amount based on factors such as what insurance the patient has or how far along that person is towards hitting their deductible, the amount of money paid out of pocket before insurance kicks in.

Afterward, a pharmacy benefit manager, which is responsible for negotiating lower drug prices and managing the pharmacy networks, pays back the rest of the medication's cost, ultimately getting reimbursed by an insurer. 

Does it have to be this way?

Unless a patient isn't insured or hasn't hit their deductible, they won't face the full list price. In response to pricing criticism, drug companies have started breaking out how much their prices have increased at a list and net level, after factoring in rebates and discounts. For example, the list prices of diabetes medication insulin have been increasing, but at a net level — the amount drugmakers actually take home — prices have fallen

It's led to drug companies and pharmaceutical benefit managers pointing fingers at one another to assign blame for why Americans are experiencing high drug prices.

In a March speech, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in a speech to health insurers pointed out how "everybody wins" in the healthcare system, except patients.

"We're living in a world where financial toxicity is a real concern for patients. And every member of the drug supply chain needs to take responsibility for addressing it," he said.

One of the solutions: passing rebates along straight to patients. 

In March, the biggest health insurer in the US, UnitedHealthcare, said that starting in 2019, some of its members on high deductible plans would be eligible to get rebates for their medications. So, for example, if a patient went to the pharmacy for a medication that under their high deductible cost $600, that might get lowered to $300 after factoring in the rebate the insurer receives. Gottlieb on Wednesday called the move a "potentially disruptive step."

Trump also singled out the middlemen in the pharmaceutical industry, including pharmacy benefit mangers that negotiate lower prices from drugmakers in the form of discounts and health plans that receive those discounts.

"We're very much eliminating the middlemen," Trump said. "They became very, very rich. They won't be so rich anymore."

Ultimately, Pfizer's decision to defer its price increases could end up have little impact on ordinary Americans. January 1, 2019 could roll around, and if Trump's blueprint is in place, those prices could keep going up, leaving consumers in the same spot they are right now. And so far, seeing others be singled out in a tweet hasn't stopped drugmakers from increasing the prices of their own medications.

SEE ALSO: Pfizer is holding off on price increases to some of its drugs after being singled out by Trump

DON'T MISS: The days of the 'pharma bro' have come to an end — but we haven't made much progress on drug pricing

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: An early investor in Airbnb and Uber explains why he started buying bitcoin in 2009

Bitcoin Bull Move on Hold as Downside Risks Grow

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Bitcoin risks falling below $6,000, the bearish continuation pattern seen no the hourly chart indicates.

World Cup: Chinese Police Crack Down on $1.5 Billion Bitcoin Gambling Ring

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Chinese police in the city of Guangdong have arrested hundreds of individuals involved in online gambling platforms that facilitated betting with $1.5 billion in cryptocurrencies including bitcoin. A sweeping law enforcement operation involving 21 public security authorities in Guangdong has cracked down on organized football gambling during the ongoing football World Cup, resulting in the

The post World Cup: Chinese Police Crack Down on $1.5 Billion Bitcoin Gambling Ring appeared first on CCN

One of Tesla's largest shareholders is urging Elon Musk to simmer down and focus after a tumultuous few weeks (TSLA)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

elon musk

  • Baillie Gifford, Tesla's fourth-largest shareholder, says it wants Elon Musk to put away the distractions and focus.
  • James Anderson, a partner and portfolio manager at the asset management firm, pointed to the turmoil surrounding the Tesla CEO, including his public rants in recent weeks. Musk has targeted reporters and news outlets over troubling news about Tesla Model 3 production and internal struggles at the company. Those rants have prompted some fallout.
  • Anderson says the Baillie Gifford firm still supports Musk, "but would like peace and execution at this stage," Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.
  • Tesla has either missed or postponed Model 3 production goals since the company started building its newest car in late 2017.

One of Tesla's most influential shareholders is giving Elon Musk an earful about the turmoil surrounding him and the electric automaker in recent weeks.

James Anderson, partner and portfolio manager at the asset management firm, Baillie Gifford, pointed to the turmoil surrounding Musk — including the CEO's recent public rants.

Musk has lashed out at reporters and news outlets over troubling news about Tesla Model 3 production and internal struggles at the company. Those rants have prompted some fallout, causing both Musk's fans and his critics to get overheated.

Anderson offered some muted criticism of Musk in an interview with Bloomberg on Wednesday: "We are very supportive, but we would like peace and execution at this stage," Anderson said. "It would be good to just concentrate on the core task."

Baillie Gifford held 12.8 million shares of Tesla at the end of Q1, which would be worth a little more than $4 billion at Wednesday's $318.96-per-share closing price.

The hand-wringing comes as the saga around Tesla Model 3 production wears on. Tesla has either missed or delayed production goals since the company started building its newest car in late 2017.

Despite this, Musk has split his time between his multiple other business ventures — and the occasional foray into entirely new interests, like his visit to Thailand during a dramatic rescue mission this week and, more recently, his focus on the Flint, Michigan, water crisis, which has been ongoing since 2015.

SEE ALSO: Elon Musk says he will help pay to fix the water in any house in Flint, Michigan that exceeds the FDA's accepted contamination levels

DON'T MISS: Tesla fans and critics both need a reality check

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: An early investor in Airbnb and Uber explains why he started buying bitcoin in 2009

Code Is Speech: Amir Taaki on Crypto's Debt to Phil Zimmerman

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Fresh from meeting legendary cryptographer Phil Zimmermann, hacktivist and early bitcoin adopter Amir Taaki reflects on the PGP inventor's legacy.

Coinbase App Loses Popularity During Bitcoin Bear Cycle

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

The largest cryptocurrency brokerage and wallet has been freefalling in popularity ever since Bitcoin became old news. Not too long ago, everyone’s favorite question was, “Do you have a Coinbase account?” It was as popular as being on Facebook, back then. That one single detail separated those of us who knew what was going on

The post Coinbase App Loses Popularity During Bitcoin Bear Cycle appeared first on CCN

10 things you need to know in markets today

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Harry Kane

Good morning! Here's what you need to know.

1. Colombian President-elect Ivan Duque on Wednesday named Alberto Carrasquilla as his finance minister when he takes office in August. He said he and the central bank agreed on the need to bolster economic growth and strengthen the middle class.

2. Washington repeated a warning to Western firms invested in Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany that they were at risk of sanctions, and said Moscow was using the project to divide Europe. "We have been clear that firms working in the Russian energy export pipeline sector are engaging in a line of business that carries sanctions risk," a spokesman for the U.S. State Department told Reuters.

3. Broadcom Ltd is nearing a roughly $19 billion deal to acquire business software company CA Inc. The deal would come just four months after U.S. President Donald Trump blocked Broadcom's $117 billion hostile bid for semiconductor peer Qualcomm Inc, on the grounds that it posed a threat to U.S. national security.

4. General Electric's chief executive for Latin America took part in a medical equipment price-fixing scheme while at the conglomerate, making it a member of an international health-care cartel, according to allegations in a document filed by federal prosecutors. The executive, Daurio Speranzini Jr., was one of 20 people jailed last week in what prosecutors say was an arrangement among multinational companies Philips, Johnson & Johnson, and several others. 

5. The European Union must set mandatory rules to tackle child labor and deforestation in the cocoa and coffee sectors, stakeholders and policymakers said on Wednesday. As a top importer of cocoa and coffee, the bloc must take firmer action to tackle child labor and forest degradation in these supply chains, speakers told a European Parliament hearing on the issue.

6. It is not coming home. Only four years until the next one.

7. The U.S. is on pace to leapfrog both Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world's biggest oil producer. The latest data released by the Energy Information Administration shows U.S. output growing again next year to 11.8 million barrels a day.

8. The European Central Bank said Wednesday it is taking further steps to address the problem of bad loans burdening bank finances and clogging the flow of credit to the economy. The ECB said it would set expectations for each financial institution on putting aside adequate cash reserves to cover business loans that aren't likely to be repaid on time or in full.

9. The European Union's top banking watchdog has found "general and systematic shortcomings" in Malta's application of EU anti-money-laundering rules. The European Banking Authority's criticism came as it concluded an enquiry into the way Malta's anti-money laundering watchdog the Maltese Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU), investigated alleged wrongdoings at Pilatus Bank, a lender on the island.

10. Hedge fund Tiger Global has built a stake worth more than $1 billion in Japan's Softbank Group which it considers to be under-valued. Tiger, which runs around $22 billion in assets, told investors in a letter that tech and telecoms conglomerate Softbank's stock price had not increased over the last five years, even though its holding in Chinese online giant Alibaba had added more than $90 billion in value.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: An early investor in Airbnb and Uber explains why he started buying bitcoin in 2009

85% Of Canadians Are 'Aware' Of Bitcoin, Says Bank of Canada

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

The results of a nationwide bitcoin survey conducted December by the Bank of Canada are now in.

Susquehanna’s Crypto Chief Touts Bitcoin as the Best Cryptocurrency Investment

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

The existing use cases of bitcoin give it an edge over other cryptocurrencies, the head of digital assets at Pennsylvania-based trading firm Susquehanna International Group, Bart Smith, told CNBC’s Fast Money on Tuesday. According to Smith, with these established functions of bitcoin which are already applicable today, the flagship cryptocurrency presents the best opportunities for investors

The post Susquehanna’s Crypto Chief Touts Bitcoin as the Best Cryptocurrency Investment appeared first on CCN

Ripple Hires Former Facebook Exec. as SVP after ‘Big Leadership Changes’

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Ripple just announced two major changes to its leadership team — one was a “Rippler” already, while the other came straight from Facebook. As Ripple continues its crusade for world domination — as do most cryptocurrencies — a few changes are bound to happen if the company hopes to thrive. Over the past year, the

The post Ripple Hires Former Facebook Exec. as SVP after ‘Big Leadership Changes’ appeared first on CCN

Uber is hiring dozens of 'mission specialists' to help relaunch its autonomous vehicle program after deadly Arizona crash

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Uber volvo xc90

  • Uber says it will replace a host of operators who had been monitoring the company's fleet of self-driving vehicles on the road, after one of those vehicles fatally struck a pedestrian in Arizona in March.
  • The ride-hailing company is hiring 55 "mission specialists" who will report technical data and feedback to developers.
  • Uber has made sweeping changes to its autonomous-vehicle program since that fatal collision in Arizona. Since then, the company has paused its autonomous vehicle program in several states and laid off hundreds of people.

Uber is replacing the drivers who had been monitoring the company's self-driving vehicles during road testing, and replacing them with dozens of specialized technicians.

The move follows a March incident in which an Uber vehicle equipped with the company's autonomous-driving hardware fatally struck a pedestrian in Arizona. The ride-hailing company has paused the program in several states, including Arizona, California, and Pennsylvania since then. Hundreds of those drivers were laid off.

Uber says it hasn't given up on autonomous-vehicle development, and plans to hit the road again in Pittsburgh soon. An Uber spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Business Insider: "Our team remains committed to building safe self-driving technology, and we look forward to returning to public roads in the coming months."

The ride-hailing company said it will hire 55 "mission specialists" with experience in on-road and track operations. They will report technical data and feedback to Uber developers.

Uber's autonomous-vehicle program had been troubled since its December 2016 launch in San Francisco. Back then, the company was at odds with city and state officials. One vehicle fitted with its autonomous-driving hardware was spotted running a red light on the day of launch.

According to a New York Times report, Uber employees were hustling to show the autonomous car to their new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, sans glitches, just before that fatal crash in Arizona.

For its part, Uber insists it has taken seriously the safety recommendations that have emerged from internal reviews of its autonomous vehicle program.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: An early investor in Airbnb and Uber explains why he started buying bitcoin in 2009

Tesla 'whistleblower' files tip with the SEC (TSLA)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Tesla Model 3

  • Former Tesla employee Martin Tripp has filed a whistleblower tip with the Securities and Exchange Commission in which he alleges the company lied about Model 3 production numbers and put unsafe batteries in its cars, The Washington Post reports.
  • Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but the company has previously denied Tripp's allegations about its production process and communications with investors.
  • Tripp has previously said he is motivated to share company information because of safety concerns.

Former Tesla employee Martin Tripp has filed a whistleblower tip with the Securities and Exchange Commission in which he alleges the company lied about Model 3 production numbers and put unsafe batteries in its cars, The Washington Post reports.

According to the Post, which spoke with Tripp's attorney Stuart Meissner, the complaint repeats claims Tripp had previously made to Business Insider, including that Tesla used batteries with puncture holes in vehicles meant for consumers. Tesla has previously denied this claim. 

Tripp also now claims the company overreported Model 3 production by up to 44%, according to the Post.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but the company told Fortune in June that production numbers couldn’t be faked because the figures are "updated in real-time on screens in the factory, plainly visible to anyone passing by."

The SEC declined a request for comment.

In June, Tesla filed a lawsuit against Tripp, alleging that he hacked confidential company information and gave it to parties outside the company. 

The lawsuit claims Tripp installed hacking software on the computers of three colleagues that would continue to export company data after he left the company while making it appear as if his colleagues had chosen to send the data to third parties.

In an email exchange with Tripp, Tesla CEO Elon Musk called him "a horrible human being."

Tripp refuted Tesla's claims in response to Musk, saying, "I NEVER 'framed' anyone else or even insinuated anyone else as being involved in my production of documents of your MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF WASTE, Safety concerns, lying to investors/the WORLD."

In an interview with The Guardian, Tripp said he leaked information about the company because his supervisors and other senior employees were not responsive to his concerns. He also told The Guardian he did not intend to commit sabotage against the company, but was instead concerned about safety.

SEE ALSO: Tesla fans and critics both need a reality check

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: An early investor in Airbnb and Uber explains why he started buying bitcoin in 2009

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