cryptocurrency

Opera adds a crypto wallet to its mobile browser

Posted by | Apps, computing, cryptocurrency, freeware, Mobile, online identity, online payments, Opera, Password, Software, TC, telenor, Wallet | No Comments

The Opera Android browser will soon be able to hold your cryptocurrencies. The system, now in beta, lets you store crypto and ERC20 tokens in your browser, send and receive crypto on the fly, and secures your wallet with your phone’s biometric security or passcode.

You can sign up to try the beta here.

The feature, called Crypto Wallet, “makes Opera the first major browser to introduce a built-in crypto wallet” according to the company. The feature could allow for micropayments in the browser and paves the way for similar features in other browsers.

From the release:

We believe the web of today will be the interface to the decentralized web of tomorrow. This is why we have chosen to use our browser to bridge the gap. We think that with a built-in crypto wallet, the browser has the potential to renew and extend its important role as a tool to access information, make transactions online and manage users’ online identity in a way that gives them more control.

In addition to being able to send money from wallet to wallet and interact with Dapps, Opera now supports online payments with cryptocurrency where merchants support exists. Users that choose to pay for their order using cryptocurrency on Coinbase Commerce-enabled merchants will be presented with a payment request dialog, asking them for their signature. The payment will then be signed and transmitted directly from the browser.

While it’s still early days for this sort of technology it’s interesting to see a mainstream browser entering the space. Don’t hold your breath on seeing crypto in Safari or Edge but Chrome and other “open source” browsers could easily add these features given enough demand.

Powered by WPeMatico

Safety app Watch Out acquires paywall startup BitWall

Posted by | Apps, bitwall, cryptocurrency, Media, Mobile, Nic Meliones, Startups, watch out | No Comments

BitWall, a Bitcoin-focused startup promising to help online publishers make money, has been acquired.

Its new owner is Watch Out, the company behind an app that sends alerts about things like product and food recalls and weather-related emergencies. It’s not the most obvious acquirer, but the companies say BitWall can help Watch Out improve its data, payments and loyalty systems.

“We are excited to bring BitWall into the Watch Out! ecosystem,” said Watch Out CEO Michael Lucas in the acquisition announcement. “Our mission is to provide a secure consumer-protection platform while delivering hyper-targeted content when and where it matters most, whether that be a safety alert or a digital reward. BitWall and its team help us do that.”

Apparently there’s a TechCrunch connection to the story, too — BitWall co-founder and CEO Nic Meliones told me he first got connected to Watch Out at our Disrupt SF Hackathon in 2014, and he said the company has already been “a great partner” to BitWall.

I first wrote about the startup before the current craze around Bitcoin and cryptocurrency — all the way back in 2013. The idea was to give visitors different ways to access paywalled content, whether that’s making a small payment, promoting the article on Twitter or viewing an ad.

The company’s biggest win was probably a partnership with the Chicago Sun-Times in 2014, where the Sun-Times tested out a paywall that readers could bypass using Bitcoin or tweets. (The Sun-Times’ current paywall plans don’t appear to include BitWall.)

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Meliones said the company’s paywall product will be shut down, with the technology diverted to a yet-to-be-announced product at WatchOut.

Bitwall’s investors include Boost VC, AngelPad, Tim Draper, the Boost Bitcoin Fund.

Powered by WPeMatico

20 takeaways from Meeker’s 294-slide Internet Trends report

Posted by | Advertising Tech, artificial intelligence, blockchain, cryptocurrency, eCommerce, Education, internet trends, Mary Meeker, Mobile, Social, Startups, TC | No Comments

This is a must-read for understanding the tech industry. We’ve distilled famous investor Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends report down from its massive 294 slides of stats and charts to just the most important insights. Click or scroll through to learn what’s up with internet growth, screen addiction, e-commerce, Amazon versus Alibaba, tech investment and artificial intelligence.

Powered by WPeMatico

Here’s Mary Meeker’s essential 2018 Internet Trends report

Posted by | Advertising Tech, Apps, automotive, Collaborative Consumption, cryptocurrency, eCommerce, Education, Enterprise, Finance, Government, Health, internet trends, Mary Meeker, Media, Mobile, Social, Startups, TC, Transportation, Venture Capital | No Comments

Want to understand all the most important tech stats and trends? Legendary venture capitalist Mary Meeker has just released the 2018 version of her famous Internet Trends report. It covers everything from mobile to commerce to the competition between tech giants. Check out the full report below, and we’ll add some highlights soon. Then come back for our slide-by-slide analysis of the most important parts of the 294 page report.

  • Internet adoption: As of 2018, half the world population, or about 3.6 billion people, will be on the internet. That’s thanks in large part to cheaper Android phones and Wifi becoming more available, though individual services will have a tougher time adding new users as the web hits saturation.
  • Mobile usage: While smartphone shipments are flat and internet user growth is slowing, U.S. adults are spending more time online thanks to mobile, clocking 5.9 hours per day in 2017 versus 5.6 hours in 2016.
  • Mobile ads: People are shifting their time to mobile faster than ad dollars are following, creating a $7 billion mobile ad opportunity, though platforms are increasingly responsible for providing safe content to host those ads.
  • Crypto: Interest in cryptocurrency is exploding as Coinbase’s user count has nearly quadrupled since January 2017
  • Voice: Voice technology is at an inflection point due to speech recognition hitting 95% accuracy and the sales explosion for Amazon Echo which went from over 10 million to over 30 million sold in total by the end of 2017.
  • Daily usage – Revenue gains for services like Facebook are tightly coupled with daily user growth, showing how profitable it is to become a regular habit.
  • Tech investment: We’re at an all-time high for public and private investment in technology, while the top six public R&D + capex spenders are all technology companies.

Mary Meeker, analyst with Morgan Stanley, speaks during the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010. This year’s conference, which runs through Nov. 17, is titled “Points of Control: The Battle for the Network Economy.” Photographer: Tony Avelar/Bloomberg via Getty Images

  • Ecommerce vs Brick & Mortar: Ecommerce growth quickens as now 13% of all retail purchases happen online and parcel shipments are rising swiftly, signaling big opportunities for new shopping apps.
  • Amazon: More people start product searches on Amazon than search engines now, but Jeff Bezos still relies on other surfaces like Facebook and YouTube to inspire people to want things.
  • Subscription services: They’re seeing massive adoption, with Netflix up 25%, The New York Times up 43%, and Spotify up 48% year-over-year in 2017. A free tier accelerates conversion rates.
  • Education: Employees seek retraining and education from YouTube and online courses to keep up with new job requirements and pay off skyrocketing student loan debt.
  • Freelancing: Employees crave scheduling and work-from-home flexibility, and internet discovery of freelance work led it to grow 3X faster than total workforce growth. The on-demand workforce grew 23% in 2017 driven by Uber, Airbnb, Etsy, Upwork, and Doordash.
  • Transportation: People are buying fewer cars, keeping them longer, and shifting transportation spend to rideshare, which saw rides double in 2017.
  • Enterprise: Consumerization of the enterprise through better interfaces is spurring growth for companies like Dropbox and Slack.
  • China: Alibaba is expanding beyond China with strong gross merchandise volume, though Amazon still rules in revenue.
  • Privacy: China has a big opportunity as users there are much more willing to trade their personal data for product benefits than U.S. users, and China is claiming more spots on the top 20 internet company list while making big investments in AI.
  • Immigration: It is critical to a strong economy, as 56% of top U.S. companies were founded by a first- or second-generation immigrant.

Powered by WPeMatico

Snips announces an ICO and its own voice assistant device

Posted by | AI, AIR, artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency, Europe, Gadgets, ICO, Snips | No Comments

French startup Snips has been working on voice assistant technology that respects your privacy. And the company is going to use its own voice assistant for a set of consumer devices. As part of this consumer push, the company is also announcing an initial coin offering.

Yes, it sounds a bit like Snips is playing a game of buzzword bingo. Anyone can currently download the open source Snips SDK and play with it with a Raspberry Pi, a microphone and a speaker. It’s private by design, you can even make it work without any internet connection. Companies can partner with Snips to embed a voice assistant in their own devices too.

But Snips is adding a B2C element to its business. This time, the company is going to compete directly with Amazon Echo and Google Home speakers. You’ll be able to buy the Snips AIR Base and Snips AIR Satellites.

The base will be a good old smart speaker, while satellites will be tiny portable speakers that you can put in all your rooms. The company plans to launch those devices in 18 months.

By default, Snips devices will come with basic skills to control your smart home devices, get the weather, control music, timers, alarms, calendars and reminders. Unlike the Amazon Echo or Google Home, voice commands won’t be sent to Google’s or Amazon’s servers.

Developers will be able to create skills and publish them on a marketplace. That marketplace will run on a new blockchain — the AIR blockchain.

And that’s where the ICO comes along. The marketplace will accept AIR tokens to buy more skills. You’ll also be able to generate training data for voice commands using AIR tokens. To be honest, I’m not sure why good old credit card transactions weren’t enough. But I guess that’s a good way to raise money.

Powered by WPeMatico

Meet the speakers at The Europas, and get your ticket free (July 3, London)

Posted by | accelerator, Advertising Tech, Apps, artificial intelligence, Asia, augmented reality, automotive, Banking, biotech, blockchain, Book Review, brazil, Built In, cannabis, Cloud, Collaborative Consumption, Community, Crowdfunding, cryptocurrency, Developer, Distributed Ledger, Diversity, Earnings, eCommerce, Education, Enterprise, Entertainment, Europe, events, Finance, food, funding, Fundings & Exits, Gadgets, Gaming, Government, GreenTech, Hack, hardware, Health, Hiring, Mobile, Social, Startups, TC | No Comments

Excited to announce that this year’s The Europas Unconference & Awards is shaping up! Our half day Unconference kicks off on 3 July, 2018 at The Brewery in the heart of London’s “Tech City” area, followed by our startup awards dinner and fantastic party and celebration of European startups!

The event is run in partnership with TechCrunch, the official media partner. Attendees, nominees and winners will get deep discounts to TechCrunch Disrupt in Berlin, later this year.
The Europas Awards are based on voting by expert judges and the industry itself. But key to the daytime is all the speakers and invited guests. There’s no “off-limits speaker room” at The Europas, so attendees can mingle easily with VIPs and speakers.

What exactly is an Unconference? We’re dispensing with the lectures and going straight to the deep-dives, where you’ll get a front row seat with Europe’s leading investors, founders and thought leaders to discuss and debate the most urgent issues, challenges and opportunities. Up close and personal! And, crucially, a few feet away from handing over a business card. The Unconference is focused into zones including AI, Fintech, Mobility, Startups, Society, and Enterprise and Crypto / Blockchain.

We’ve confirmed 10 new speakers including:


Eileen Burbidge, Passion Capital


Carlos Eduardo Espinal, Seedcamp


Richard Muirhead, Fabric Ventures


Sitar Teli, Connect Ventures


Nancy Fechnay, Blockchain Technologist + Angel


George McDonaugh, KR1


Candice Lo, Blossom Capital


Scott Sage, Crane Venture Partners


Andrei Brasoveanu, Accel


Tina Baker, Jag Shaw Baker

How To Get Your Ticket For FREE

We’d love for you to ask your friends to join us at The Europas – and we’ve got a special way to thank you for sharing.

Your friend will enjoy a 15% discount off the price of their ticket with your code, and you’ll get 15% off the price of YOUR ticket.

That’s right, we will refund you 15% off the cost of your ticket automatically when your friend purchases a Europas ticket.

So you can grab tickets here.

Vote for your Favourite Startups

Public Voting is still humming along. Please remember to vote for your favourite startups!

Awards by category:

Hottest Media/Entertainment Startup

Hottest E-commerce/Retail Startup

Hottest Education Startup

Hottest Startup Accelerator

Hottest Marketing/AdTech Startup

Hottest Games Startup

Hottest Mobile Startup

Hottest FinTech Startup

Hottest Enterprise, SaaS or B2B Startup

Hottest Hardware Startup

Hottest Platform Economy / Marketplace

Hottest Health Startup

Hottest Cyber Security Startup

Hottest Travel Startup

Hottest Internet of Things Startup

Hottest Technology Innovation

Hottest FashionTech Startup

Hottest Tech For Good

Hottest A.I. Startup

Fastest Rising Startup Of The Year

Hottest GreenTech Startup of The Year

Hottest Startup Founders

Hottest CEO of the Year

Best Angel/Seed Investor of the Year

Hottest VC Investor of the Year

Hottest Blockchain/Crypto Startup Founder(s)

Hottest Blockchain Protocol Project

Hottest Blockchain DApp

Hottest Corporate Blockchain Project

Hottest Blockchain Investor

Hottest Blockchain ICO (Europe)

Hottest Financial Crypto Project

Hottest Blockchain for Good Project

Hottest Blockchain Identity Project

Hall Of Fame Award – Awarded to a long-term player in Europe

The Europas Grand Prix Award (to be decided from winners)

The Awards celebrates the most forward thinking and innovative tech & blockchain startups across over some 30+ categories.

Startups can apply for an award or be nominated by anyone, including our judges. It is free to enter or be nominated.

What is The Europas?

Instead of thousands and thousands of people, think of a great summer event with 1,000 of the most interesting and useful people in the industry, including key investors and leading entrepreneurs.

• No secret VIP rooms, which means you get to interact with the Speakers

• Key Founders and investors speaking; featured attendees invited to just network

• Expert speeches, discussions, and Q&A directly from the main stage

• Intimate “breakout” sessions with key players on vertical topics

• The opportunity to meet almost everyone in those small groups, super-charging your networking

• Journalists from major tech titles, newspapers and business broadcasters

• A parallel Founders-only track geared towards fund-raising and hyper-networking

• A stunning awards dinner and party which honors both the hottest startups and the leading lights in the European startup scene

• All on one day to maximise your time in London. And it’s PROBABLY sunny!

europas8

That’s just the beginning. There’s more to come…

europas13

Interested in sponsoring the Europas or hosting a table at the awards? Or purchasing a table for 10 or 12 guest or a half table for 5 guests? Get in touch with:
Petra Johansson
Petra@theeuropas.com
Phone: +44 (0) 20 3239 9325

Powered by WPeMatico

Drink-a-day startup Hooch raises $5M as it plans blockchain initiative

Posted by | Apps, cryptocurrency, funding, Hooch, Mobile, Startups | No Comments

Right on the heels of launching its concierge service Hooch Black, Hooch announced today that it has raised $5 million in seed funding.

The company’s basic subscription of $9.99 gets you one free drink per day from a variety of partner bars and restaurants. Hooch Black (which you have to apply for, and which costs $295 per year) adds hotel deals, concierge service and other perks on top.

Even though Hooch had already raised $2.75 million in two pre-seed rounds, co-founder and CEO Lin Dai said it was more important to bring on strategic investors than it was to raise a lot of money: “We feel like the most important thing for our business is really the relationships.”

After all, he said the hospitality industry is controlled by “a few key companies,” so success is determined by working with those companies — it’s not a situation where someone can just beat you by outspending you.

The funding was led by Revelis Capital Group and Blue Scorpion Investments, with participation from Access Industries Holdings, Warner Music Group (Dai said that Hooch will be working with Warner Music on content, events and promotions), FJ Labs, Diesel CEO Stefano Rosso, former Comcast CTO Sree Kotay and others.

At the same time, the company is expanding its advisory board to include Bob Hurst (previously vice chairman of Goldman Sachs), Bonin Bough (former chief media and ecommerce officer at Mondelez) and Teymour Farman-Farmaian (previously CMO and CRO at Spotify and now managing director of Bitcoin wallet company Xapo).

Dai also said Hooch is preparing to launch its blockchain initiative this summer. What does blockchain have to do with free drinks? Well, Dai didn’t go into detail, but he suggested that by launching its own cryptocurrency token, Hooch could work with partners to create a “decentralized model for consumer rewards.”

Looking ahead, Dai said that Hooch might raise a “proper” Series A in 12 to 18 months, though he expects to reach profitability before then.

“At that point, we will have already built the moat around us with exclusive deals with all the top hospitality and experiential players,” he said. “That would be the appropriate time for us, if needed, to go back to a traditional round of funding.”

Powered by WPeMatico

Circle Invest lets you buy the cryptocurrency market

Posted by | Apps, Circle, cryptocurrency, Mobile | No Comments

Circle Invest is one of the easiest products when you want to get started with cryptocurrencies. When Circle first launched the app, I compared it to Coinbase. And Circle is making it even easier to get started as you can just “buy the market” now.

Circle Invest started with just a handful of cryptocurrencies — Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic and Litecoin. But now, the company has added Monero and Zcash. If you don’t know anything about cryptocurrencies, it’s hard to know where you should put your money.

That’s why Circle has created a button that lets you buy all coins available on Circle Invest, weighted depending on their respective market capitalization. The total market cap of Bitcoin is much higher than the total market cap of Zcash, so you’ll end up with more Bitcoin than Zcash.

Circle Invest is available on the App Store and Play Store in the U.S. except in except in MN, HI and WY. The company plans to launch in Europe at some point.

The app only supports market orders. ACH transfers are free and you can buy instantly for transfers below $10,000 before the money arrives on Circle’s bank account.

Circle says you can expect a bit of spread between the buy and sell price, just like on other exchanges. But the company doesn’t add any fee on top of that.

Correction: Circle Invest is now available to users who live in NY.

Disclosure: I own small amounts of various cryptocurrencies.

Powered by WPeMatico

Rare Bits launches a market for digital collectables

Posted by | cryptocurrencies, cryptocurrency, farmville, Gaming, Rare Bits, Startups, TC, Zynga | No Comments

As we plunge into our baffling future, it is believed that, at some point, we will be trading in cryptographically secure kittens, monsters, and playing cards. While it is unclear why this will happen, Rare Bits and their new service, Fan Bits, is ready for the oncoming rush.

Co-founded by Dave Pekar, Amitt Mahajan and Danny Lee (who met after selling their gaming startups to Zynga) and Payom Dousti (formerly of fintech VC fund 1/0 Capital), the company trades in digital goods and has built a blockchain-based solution for buying and selling digital collectables. Lee brought in a team of ex-Zynga and other digital platform creators to build a blockchain-based solution for buying and selling digital collectables. For example, on Rare Bits you can buy this monster and battle it against other monsters on the blockchain. Further, with their new platform called Fan Bits, you can buy actual collectables that are tied to the blockchain. For example, you can sell collectible cards and give some of the proceeds to charity. If the new owner resells those cards then some of the resell price also goes to charity, an interesting if slightly intrusive use of smart contracts.

The team has raised $6 million in Series A. Fan Bits launches on May 17.

“To date, collectible content has only been created by developers for their own dapps – which I suppose could be considered our competition,” said Lee. “Fan Bits is the first to let anyone, especially people who are not technical, to create collectibles. It will create an abundance of supply that didn’t exist before.”

“We started Rare Bits to let people buy, sell, and discover crypto assets. We believe that assets on the blockchain mark a fundamental shift in how we own and exchange property. Our overall mission is to enable the worldwide exchange of online and offline property on the blockchain,” he said.

Lee sees this as a Trojan horse of sorts, allowing non tech-savvy creators sell digital art and designs online without having to understand the vagaries of blockchain.

“For creators, it’s a DIY platform to turn their content into unique collectibles and earn Ethereum on every sale,” he said. “For the first time, a creator can go from idea to published cryptocollectible on a live marketplace without having to have any technical knowledge.”

Given the popularity of other digital collectables – including in-game gear for many multi-player games – things look like they’re going to get pretty interesting in the next few years.

Powered by WPeMatico

Goldman Sachs CFO Martin Chavez and Roblox CEO David Baszucki to hit up Disrupt SF

Posted by | blockchain, cryptocurrency, Disrupt, disrupt sf 2018, Entertainment, Finance, Gaming, Goldman Sachs, Roblox, TC | No Comments

We’ve already got a star-studded lineup prepped to speak at Disrupt SF, running September 5 to September 7. So far, we’ve announced appearances by Sophia Amoruso, Carbon’s Dr. Joseph DeSimone, Adidas’ Eric Liedtke, Ripple’s Brad Garlinghouse, Michael Arrington, and Drew Houston.

But given that today is the last day to purchase early bird tickets, we thought we’d let slip a couple more stellar speakers joining the agenda.

We’re thrilled to announce that Roblox CEO and cofounder David Baszucki and Goldman Sachs CFO Martin Chavez will be joining us on the Disrupt SF stage. (Not together, to be clear.)

David Baszucki – Roblox

Back in 2006, Roblox started out as an interactive physics program, giving people the opportunity to test out their own physics experiments in a virtual setting, from testing out pulley systems to simulating a car crash.

In the time since, Roblox has managed to turn physics into a gaming sensation for young people.

The massively multiplayer online game has overtaken Minecraft and is wildly popular with the pre-teen crowd. In fact, the company recently announced that it has hit 60 million monthly users, spending more than 780 million hours on the platform.

Roblox lets users build their avatars and almost anything else using their imagination, sort of replacing the LEGO of older generations. But because those users tend to skew young, Roblox has made safety a priority, implementing a number of parental controls, with moderators scanning all communication between users, ensuring that a young person doesn’t give out any personal identifying information.

The company has raised nearly $100 million from investors like Index Venture Partners, First Round Capital, Altos Ventures, and Meritech Capital Partners. Roblox also recently signed a deal with HarperCollins to grant them the publishing rights for Roblox, marking the beginning of Roblox’s existence in the physical world.

Plus, Roblox has established itself on YouTube as well as with merchandise, which is an increasingly important part of successfully running a game studio.

We’re absolutely psyched to have David Baszucki join us on stage to talk about the company’s meteoric rise.

Martin Chavez – Goldman Sachs

Many don’t think of Goldman Sachs as a technology company. But those people would be wrong.

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein has said many a time that the firm is a technology company, and has gone on to state that Goldman Sachs employs more engineers than companies like Facebook and Twitter.

But Goldman Sachs is also a huge investor, with more than 600 investments according to CrunchBase. Some of those investments include WeWork China, Cadre, Dropbox, Uber, and Ring, which recently sold to Amazon for more than $1 billion, according to reports.

Trust us, keeping a finger on the bleeding pulse of technology is exhausting. But Goldman Sachs CFO Martin Chavez, who has a long history in the technology sector, is keeping up with the Joneses.

Before serving as the CFO, Chavez was the Chief Information Officer at Goldman Sachs and led the technology division. He’s also a serial founder, cofounding and serving as CTO of Quorum Software Systems from 1989 to 1993, as well as cofounding Kiodex, where he served as Chairman and CEO until 2004.

We’re excited to pick Chavez’s brain on how fintech might evolve over the next five years and what role Goldman Sachs might play in that evolution, especially given the rise of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain.

Powered by WPeMatico