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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, S10E, S10 5G: What's the difference? – CNET

Samsung Unpacked introduced a dizzying number of Galaxy phones. Here’s what makes each of the new phones different.
Source: CNET

Security token offerings aren’t looking much better in 2019

Pressed to explain who is using them, and why, 99 percent of cryptocurrencies let out all their air, go flying around the room making a raspberry sound, hit the wall and fall behind the couch forever.

The party is over. A few, however, can present a credible use case. “Tokenized securities” could be one of them: a more open and efficient way to transact shares and notes as well as distribute cash flows.

Proponents of “security token offerings” (STOs) have been telling that story now for a little more than a year. This data report canvases the market, finds few are buying it, interviews market participants for perspective and reveals gaps in the use case at the ground level that explain its failure to thrive.

In October 2017, the market for “initial coin offerings,” or ICOs, reached a peak, with more than 100 capital raises closing through the sale of crypto tokens, according to market data provider Token Data. Proponents thought these tokens were an innovation on par with the joint stock corporation: not a claim on cash flows, but a vessel to participate in and directly capture the value latent in network effects. “Tokenized” networks raising money that month ranged from the prosaic, like a no-fee crypto exchange called Cobinhood ($13.2 million), to the ludicrous, like Dentacoin, “the blockchain solution for the global dental industry” ($1.1 million).

At the time, it was nearly unheard-of for such a project to acknowledge its token might be a security like the mundane stock certificate. In the following months, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sent dozens of subpoenas to token issuers, indicating that they disagreed. By the following March, the number of SEC registrations for new token offerings equaled more than half the total ICO deal activity for the month.

As SEC moved in and ICOs cooled, a new enthusiasm for paperwork


The sudden popularity in 2018 of the so-called “security token” was undoubtedly a scramble to paper over cash grabs. However, there is a use case for “tokenized securities” that is worth considering. Bitcoin showed how ownership could be digitally secured and transferred without intermediaries. A tokenized security could do the same for investment contracts. “Smart contracts” are a value proposition that has been discussed in cryptocurrency since long before Bitcoin.

There is reason to be optimistic that this form of programmable ownership can bring efficiency, transparency, liquidity and access to the $1.7 trillion annual US private placement market. The value proposition is that smart contracts will reduce the cost of compliance in primary issuance and secondary trading. Issuers benefit by reduced liquidity premiums and more buyers to compete for their offering. Investors benefit by gaining more access to opportunities for growth-stage investment. This is a compelling story in US capital markets that have, for nearly two decades, starved retail investors of exposure to growth-stage investments.

Decline of the small-cap IPO reduced retail opportunities for risk & return

This value proposition, and a narrative of regulatory chill in the markets, have led some to believe that tokenized securities would bring back a bull market in crypto. The Wall Street hype machine has moved on from crypto; security tokens are one of the few areas in which the avid listener can detect faint echoes of its passing.

Media hype

  • “If it works you’re going to see tremors across Wall Street.” -CNBC commentator
  • “Apple and Tesla shares on the blockchain could be the next big thing” -CNBC headline
  • “2019: The Year Digital Securities Offerings Become the New ICOs” -CoinDesk
  • “Why security token offerings are replacing initial coin offerings” -Silicon Valley Business Journal

From 30,000 feet up, the use case for tokenized securities looks compelling. As with many blockchain-based projects, zoom down to the user level and misaligned incentives appear for key market participants.

  • Investors: Digital tokens carry technological risk, regulatory risk and market risk. Without a liquid market ready and waiting, private placement investors have little incentive to layer risk on top of the risk-return they already understand.
  • Brokers: Effective bankers and broker-dealers charge a premium for primary issuance; the more effective they are, the less incentive they have to adopt, especially given their investors are not clamoring for this product.
  • Issuers: With markets awash in private capital, there are very few quality issuers that cannot raise funds. The better the investment opportunity, the likelier its access to funds and investment banks in the top quartile, where investment decisions have kingmaker effects in the market. Interest in innovation that disrupts these relationships is therefore inversely related to suitability for capital, a repeat of the pattern in US issuers accessing new equity crowdfunding options under the JOBS Act of 2012.

If you build it, will they come?

To determine whether new tokenized security issuance is finding a fit in the market, Canary Data, an open crypto research initiative, undertook an exhaustive search of news wires and the SEC’s EDGAR database, beginning in 2017 and ending mid-January, looking for public statements and filings related to security token offerings. It’s an imperfect method; our database of offerings is constantly evolving as new information becomes available. But in an emerging segment of the financial markets it reflects the level of credible, mainstream activity.

We filtered out tokens that are in the mold of the ICO “utility token,” offering a financial instrument as a form of access to a valuable network effect. Many of these have registered as securities, but it is the value proposition of a tokenized tradtional security — a claim on cash flow, represented as a token — that we are interested in.


Source: TechCrunch

Can you guess which face is real, and which is computer generated?

Computers have recently gotten much, much better at a somewhat unsettling skill: generating fake human faces. As in, creating an image of a human who has never existed before.

We saw the concept go a bit viral this week with ThisPersonDoesNotExist, a website hooked to a machine that generates a new face every few seconds. Or the feline version that dreams up (sometimes nightmare inducing) cats, ThisCatDoesNotExist.

Now its been turned into a game. Think you can tell which human is… well, human? (Spoiler: all of the images used as examples above are, according to the game, computer generated.)

Aptly called WhichFaceIsReal, the site throws two images side-by-side: one real, and one generated by a computer. It was put together by two professors at the University of Washington, building upon the same work as the sites mentioned above: StyleGAN, an algorithm recently open-sourced by a team at Nvidia. This algorithm pits two neural networks against each other — one attempting to generate fake face images, while another network attempts to flag the fake.

It’s not impossible to tell which is real, at this point. After you’ve been playing for a while, you might start to notice things the computer tends to get wrong. The authors of the site even outline some of the common issues here — things like weird water-splotch-like graphical artifacts, or smiling mouths featuring too many front teeth.

But even if you’re getting 90% of them right off the bat, you’ve gotta wonder: would you notice the fake if it weren’t so deliberately contrasted with a real one? If any of the fakes were just a random photo on a profile on the Internet, would you even take a second look?


Source: TechCrunch

Chris Hemsworth will flex his 24-inch pythons as Hulk Hogan in new biopic – CNET

Thor will need to eat his vitamins and say his prayers, brother.
Source: CNET

On-demand shuttle startup Via enters South American market

Via, the on-demand shuttle startup backed by Daimler, has expanded into South America.

The company launched a service in Goiânia, Brazil with HP Transportes Coletivos, one of the country’s largest public transportation operators. Via says the service called CityBus 2.0 is the first on-demand shuttle system operated by a public transit operator to launch in Latin America.

Users are able to use an app to request a ride in 11 districts around the city. Base fares are R$2.50, or $0.68. Via’s service is features a fleet of 14-seater Mercedes-Benz vans that are capable of handling up to 3,500 trips per day. The service is employs 30 drivers. 

So far, it appears there’s demand for this on-demand shuttle service. More than 15,000 people downloaded the CityBus 2.0 app in the first week of service, Via said.

When a rider places the request, the app calculates the distance and shows the fare. Payment can be made by credit card or cash. While on-demand ride-hailing services typically only process payments through an app, Via does allow cash transactions with some transit agency partners. Cash payments are also available in cities like Orange County where we launched OC Flex.

Via has 50 deployments in 15 countries. The company has consumer-facing shuttles in Chicago, Washington, D.C. and New York. The company also partners with cities and transportation authorities — like this latest one in Brazil — giving clients access to their platform to deploy their own shuttles.

Last month, Via announced it was partnering with Los Angeles as part of a pilot program that will give people rides to three busy public transit stations. The pilot program aims to solve the first- and last-mile problem that makes it challenging for people to get to and from public transit stations.


Source: TechCrunch

Samsung Galaxy Buds: How to preorder and buy – CNET

Samsung’s answer to the AirPods is official. Here’s how you can get a pair of your own.
Source: CNET

Lyft's IPO could reportedly come as soon as March – CNET

The ride-hailing company appears to be gunning to beat Uber in going public first.
Source: CNET

Not just the Samsung Galaxy S10 — here are other phones with ceramic backs – CNET

From the Essential Phone to rivals LG, phones with ceramic backs aren’t as rare as you may think.
Source: CNET

Amazon takes $200 off Apple’s latest 13-inch retina display MacBook Air

Amazon is taking $200 off Apple’s latest MacBook Air. This MacBook Air has 13-inch retina display, a built-in FaceTime HD camera, and that classic lightweight wedge shape the Air is loved and known for.

The post Amazon takes $200 off Apple’s latest 13-inch retina display MacBook Air appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

Trustpilot is revealing more data about how businesses flag reviews

Review site Trustpilot says it’s creating more transparency around how businesses respond to consumer reviews.

Founder and CEO Peter Mühlmann told me that while “the vast majority of companies” are using their ability to flag questionable reviews in “exactly the right way,” there’s a small minority that are potentially “ruining it for everyone” by aggressively flagging bad reviews.

So with the new Transparent Flagging feature, Trustpilot visitors can actually see how many reviews a company flagged (starting on January 1st of this year), and what the ultimate outcome was. That way, if you’re wondering if you’re only seeing positive reviews because a business challenged all the negative ones, you can find out for yourself by clicking on the “activities” button in a business profile.

Trustpilot screen shot

That will reveal how many reviews were taken down because they represented a real breach of Trustpilot’s policies, versus reviews where the poster simply didn’t respond to questions, versus legitimate reviews that were ultimately reinstated.

Mühlmann suggested that this is part of a broader effort to make sure consumers can actually trust the reviews they see online, and to fight back against what he described (in a follow-up email) as “an arms race to five stars.”

“If marketers are motivated to cheat on our platform, consumers are going to see them do it,” he said. “At that point, the benefits simply don’t outweigh the risks. I wish them good luck — they’re going to need it.”


Source: TechCrunch

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