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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Coinbase and others invest $12.75M in project to create ‘digital security offerings’

Coinbase, the $8 billion crypto exchange giant, is one of a bevy of big name crypto investors backing a project aimed to revolutionize the U.S. securities industry using blockchain technology.

Brian Armstrong, Coinbase CEO, told the audience at TechCrunch’s Disrupt event in San Francisco this past September that his company intends to be the de facto marketplace for buying and trading crypto securities. Now Coinbase Ventures — its VC arm — has backed a startup that intends to help create demand in the market for such a security product.

Securitize offers a range of services to help companies create blockchain-based security tokens. Today, it said it has raised a $12.75 million Series A round led by Blockchain Capital with participation from investors that include Japan’s Global Brain, Ripple’s Xpring fund and Coinbase Ventures.

The investment is primarily fiat currency with “a small percentage” of tokens; the latter will be converted to fiat currency or held in stablecoin, the company confirmed.

A former CEO of Telefonica’s R&D division, Securitize CEO and founder Carlos Domingo got into the blockchain space when he co-founded ‘tokenized’ VC firm Spice. He later span out Securitize as a way to disrupt the U.S. securities industry, which he pegs at some $7 billion per year.

The goal of Securitize is to essentially tokenize shares to provide additional transparency, increased trading/liquidity, and more efficient processes, Domingo told TechCrunch. So, for example, investors are able to buy and sell equity more easily and transparently, while tracking cap tables — traditionally a messy business — can be more process driven and clear.

The startup doesn’t intend to involve itself in trading — that explains why it has taken a number of exchanges on as investors — but it will instead provide the framework to tokenize companies. That includes developing the token itself as well as processes like regulatory management, services for investors, smart contacts and more; all of which allows companies to launch security tokens through a process that it calls a ‘Digital Security Offering’ or DSO.

Pushing back on the idea of ‘decentralizing all the things,’ Domingo said that “blockchain just happens to be a better way to deal with securities.”

Domingo said that Securitize has worked with compliance lawyers across the U.S. to offer services in a range of states. He’s further buoyed by an SEC announcement this month seemed to endorse the idea of security tokens which are regulated like regular securities, although he optimistic that the use case goes beyond cryptocurrency that fail the Howey Test.

“The opportunity is not just to work with blockchain companies,” he explained in an interview. “These are first movers, but the big opportunity is in digitizing private and public shares.”

Domingo is also looking at overseas growth opportunities in the future, although a more pressing item is the launch of Securitize’s own security token next year once the business has stabilized further. That said, Domingo claims it is already profitable.

He believes the “pivotal moment” for digital securities will be when exchanges begin to offer them to the public. Coinbase has already taken steps to do that, but its timetable for launch is unclear. Domingo, the Securitize founder and CEO, believes that the first launches will come before the end of this year.

“2019 will be the year that you see 10-15 exchanges trading securities in a legal way,” he predicted.

Note: The author owns a small amount of cryptocurrency. Enough to gain an understanding, not enough to change a life.


Source: TechCrunch

2019 Fiat 500X to debut at LA Auto Show – Roadshow

The small Fiat crossover gets a new turbo engine and standard all-wheel drive.
Source: CNET

Cyber Monday projected to hit $7.8B in online sales

Cyber Monday 2018 is projected to be the highest selling day of the holiday season this year, with $7.8 billion in online sales. And it’s no wonder: after a weekend of people juggling shopping online with shopping in stores, and hassling with each other in stores, today many go back to work. And so, we see a significant swing to online shopping.

Adobe — which tracks trillions of transactions across the US among major retailers online – predicts that today will see $7.8 billion in sales online today, up nearly 18 percent on 2017’s figure of $6.6 billion.

As of 7 AM PST / 10 AM EST on Monday, that prediction appears to be on track. Adobe says that consumers have already spent over half a billion dollars – $0.531 billion, specifically – with online retailers. (It will continue to update this figure throughout the day, and we will update as well.)

The report also suggests that Cyber Monday will be the best day to buy toys online, with savings of 19 percent on that product category. Some apparel, however, may be out-of-stock, Adobe says.

Although holiday spending used to kick off on Black Friday, e-commerce and the trend of shopping whenever you want — and not just when a store is open — has led to sales and seasonal promotions — and shopping — earlier and earlier. There has been $44.2 billion spent this month online so far, already passing Adobe’s full-month projections of $43 billion.

So far, the biggest spending day of the year has been Black Friday, where online US sales hit $6.2 billion dollars, with more than one-third of sales coming from mobile devices. Thanksgiving this year had a record $3.7 billion in sales, while one of the newer “shopping holidays,” Small Business Saturday, rung up $3.02 billion in online sales, said Adobe, up 25.5 percent.

But these are estimates, and so you are bound to get a lot of variation.

MasterCard provides a slightly more conservative figure: its SpendingPulse analytics predict that total sales “could exceed” $3 billion. It also estimated that last year’s Cyber Monday sale day brought in no more than $2.4 billion.

While Adobe says that it builds its estimates by tracking transactions at 80 of the biggest retailers online in the US, Mastercard tells us that SpendingPulse uses “national retail sales across all payments types in select markets around the world. The findings are based on aggregate sales activity in the Mastercard payments network, coupled with survey-based estimates for certain other payment forms, such as cash and check.”

The real numbers may lie somewhere in the middle.

Additional reporting: Sarah Perez

 


Source: TechCrunch

Google's mobile search hides full results for some unit conversions, calculations – CNET

The quest to speed up page-load times and declutter the small screen continues.
Source: CNET

Cyber Monday 2018 Target sale: The best stuff to get with that extra 15 percent off – CNET

Some prices are even better than Amazon’s. Here are a few of the best picks for Target’s online-only sale.
Source: CNET

Cyber Monday 2018 smart home deals: Google and Echo devices starting at $24, Nest, Ring, Philips Hue and more – CNET

Here are the best smart home bargains from Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Fry’s, Target and more, updating frequently.
Source: CNET

Amazon exec Dave Stephenson tapped to lead Airbnb to the public markets

Airbnb has completed a much-needed hire ahead of its rumored 2019 initial public offering.

The hospitality giant has brought on Dave Stephenson, a long-time Amazon vice president and former president of Big Fish Games, as its chief financial officer. Stephenson replaces the company’s head of global financial planning and analysis, Ellie Mertz, who served as interim head of finance as Airbnb searched for its former CFO Laurence Tosi’s replacement.

Tosi, who had previously led finance at The Blackstone Group, left Airbnb in February to focus on his investment firm, Weston Capital Partners, amid a report from The Information that he and Airbnb co-founder and chief executive officer Brian Chesky had disagreed over “how to balance the financial stability needed to go public.” The Wall Street veteran was focused on financial discipline, while Chesky wanted to invest in innovation and “areas that might not yield profits for a while.”

Tosi was credited with leading the company to profitability quicker than many of its fellow technology ‘unicorns.’ Airbnb says it’s profitable on an EBITDA basis and cash flow positive with a $5.5 billion balance sheet. It reportedly recorded upwards of $3 billion in revenue in 2017.

Stephenson joined Amazon in 1999 and ended his tenure at the e-commerce powerhouse as the vice president and CFO of its worldwide consumer business. He left Amazon for a brief stint between 2011 and 2013 to head up the Seattle-based game developer Big Fish Games.

“In the years ahead, [Stephenson] will be Airbnb’s quarterback for long-term growth, driving us to be even more efficient and leverage what makes Airbnb unique to create new businesses and continue to expand,” Chesky wrote in a blog post this morning.

Stephenson is the second Amazon executive to jump ship to San Francisco-based Airbnb this year. He follows Amazon’s former VP of prime & delivery experience Greg Greeley, who was hired as the home-sharing company’s president of homes in March. Greeley similarly spent nearly two decades under Jeff Bezos and was credited with helping build Amazon Prime, as well as Amazon’s European business.

The well-funded company now employs more than 4,000 and boasts a $31 billion valuation — making it one of the most valuable private companies in the world. Since it was founded by Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk in 2008, it’s raised $4.4 billion in venture capital funding, most recently securing a $1 billion Series F from Capital G, TCV, Temasek, Bracket Capital and others.

Airbnb is expected to bring liquidity to its investors via a highly-anticipated IPO as soon as June 30, 2019. It will likely chase Uber to the public markets, giving 2019 two of the largest IPOs of the decade.

Uber, in a similar fashion, recently hired a CFO, too — a role crucial for any company eyeing an IPO. The ride-hailing businesses’ choice was Nelson J. Chai, the former CEO of insurance and warranty provider Warranty Group.


Source: TechCrunch

Inside the Lab Training Genome Surgeons to Fight Disease

At the Gladstone Institutes, Crispr pioneer Jennifer Doudna is trying to make genome editing a routine procedure.
Source: Wired

Bentley’s Continental GT Convertible Offers a Tweed Roof

Along with excessive engineering and swank interiors, the new convertible has an endless list of options.
Source: Wired

Grab a MacBook for under $800 during the Jet Cyber Monday sale

Jet is offering some great discounts on MacBooks, MacBook Airs, and MacBook Pros right now for their Cyber Monday sale. If you’re looking to snag a new Apple laptop during the November deals madness, now is the time.

The post Grab a MacBook for under $800 during the Jet Cyber Monday sale appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

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