Arek Wylegalski, who invests in technology for a living, doesnt know what version iPhone he owns. Hes not sure if it has FaceID, but he thinks it might. Hes a partner at the tech investment firm FirstMinute Capital. When we met in August in San Francisco at a startup pitch fest, it looked like an iPhone 7 or 8 to me. Its screen had cracked.
As the majority of the U.S. arrives at a smartphone-saturated future, Silicon Valley is neck-deep in a backlash against it. Perhaps more than anyone else, those who work in technology are doing their best to back off in their personal lives. Jack Dorsey tweeted in March that he uses his phone a bit more than 6 hours a day to simultaneously helm two companies worth nearly $30 billion each.
And yet Dorsey has also chronicled his affection for monastic, low-tech vacations like silent meditation retreats. Blackberry devotees have written long articles about why theyve switched back to their dumbphones from the more addictive alternatives. There is an entire device, the $350 Palm phone, that presupposes youll pay to use your big smartphone less (you wontthe Palm was widely reviewed as a failure). Silicon Valley parents are contractually obligating their nannies to police childrens phone habits.
Apple investors begged the company in January of last year to research what phones are doing to young brains. The Screen Time feature appeared six months later. The man who wrote the handbook on how to addict users to your products has a bestseller out titled Indistractable. In light of the modern dearth of face-to-face interaction, a column in The New York Times declared human contact a luxury good. Still, old gadgets are somehow cooler: the right kind of old computer equipment might be worth 10 times more than its newfangled counterparts to rich collectors.
The shift in attitude, according to multiple experts who spoke to The Daily Beast, starts with smartphones. They are the essential uber-gadget, a do-it-all device that made unitasking obsolete. A smartphone is a Sony Walkman, a Garmin GPS, a MacBook, a Nintendo Gameboy, a Nikon CoolPix, a Palm Pilot, and a credit card all in one. In 2015, Pew Research found that ownership of MP3 players and game consoles had declined since the late 2000s, and the survey firm seems to have stopped asking about those devices since. Pew found this year that desktop and laptop ownership has remained flat over the past 10 years.
Contrast those figures with smartphone ownership. The majority of people in the U.S.81 percent, according to Pew figures from June 2019have a smartphone, more than double the percentage the company found in its first survey on the topic eight years ago.
We use our phones for everything, so theyve become a utility were obligated to have rather than a luxury we can indulge in. The essential capabilities of most of them are the same.
As our phones stack up more and more uses, the paradox is that well take more and more of them for granted. That euphoria will fade into commonality, said Milton Pedraza, CEO of The Luxury Institute, which studies the spending habits of the wealthy.
The change has been a long time coming, and it arrived sooner for some than others. White collar workers told The New York Times 10 years ago that smartphones had already become necessities for job hunting. Even then a man in San Jose called his iPhone a part of me now, an appendage. But today, unlike in 2009, the iPhone isnt much of a rarefied object.
The iPhone doesnt mean what it did beforeIm creative, Im innovative, I belong to a tribe. Now there are so many, said Pedraza.
Smartphones are everywhere, and the surprise and delight of them has waned with each update. And nothing pushes the rich and powerful away from something faster than everyone having it.
Gadgets just are. Theyre pervasive across billions of lives now, Pedraza said. The innovation has slowed down, and that has an effect. We view them as commodities.
He said his clients are gravitating to experiencesthink travel and fine diningmore so than gadgets or designer clothes.
Its not as if weve stopped buying technology. Indeed, we may purchase more of it. But now that so many people have smartphones, detaching from the black mirror has become its own genre of self-help. Detoxing from devices has entered the mainstream and people we might not associate with the tech industryJoe Rogan, Mayim Bialikare producing videos on how to spend less time with your tech. Breaking your phone addiction has spawned at least half a dozen TED Talks. The New York Times series on its reporters personal technology often showcases how they dont use it. The advice to put your phone down is so accepted and uncontroversial its showing up in graduation speeches.
Even the medias approach to devices has changed. Covering the new iPhones new features isnt something that demands an entire homepage as smartphones proliferate and become increasingly similar to one another. When was the last time a piece of technology captivated the nation in the way the iPhone did in 2007, when CNN wrote, iPhone mania hits flagship stores? The iPhone was, for many, the first smartphone, and rabid mobs camped out for the chance at the new Apple Thing for years after its release. By contrast, CNN in January reported The iPhone has lost its magic, noting Apples flaccid sales in China. Visiting the Apple Store feels like such drudgery that Apple Geniuses themselves are complaining to the press about the declining quality of service.
The popular economics radio show Marketplace recently asked, Can You Tell The Difference Between A $300 Phone And A $1,000 one? Participants in the shows testing rated a $300 Motorola phone higher than the $750 iPhone XR.
Part of the decline in phones social cachet is the convergence of their design, according to Nicole Nguyen, a personal technology reporter at BuzzFeed News (my former employer). From a distance, its not easy to tell what kind of smartphone someone has, whether theyre up with the latest or lagging behind.
If you go to any phone shop today and look at the wall, theyre slabs of glass with two or three buttons on the side, Nguyen said. Nguyen said she wishes she could live with a dumb phone, but she believes she would have difficulty communicating with her family members, all of whom use Apple phones and apps.
The differences between the form factors of our hardwarerecall when a phones fold determined its qualityare small compared to what they once were.
When I started writing about tech in 2012, gadgets were news, Nguyen said. Now phones are less different from each other than they used to be. Theyre like cars in our lives. You buy a car to get from point A to point B, and the differences among a certain class of car arent big.
Like Pedraza, Nguyen said luxury has moved away from technology towards lifestyle, which you might display via the software on your phone: The personal brand has replaced the phone as a luxury good. Your ability to go on vacation and show pictures of your apartment on Instagram, the clothes you wearthat whole aesthetic piece represents luxury more.
B.J. Fogg, a Stanford behavioral scientist who studies how people can change digital habits, summed up the relationship between digital devices and status more coarsely.
We will start to realize that being chained to your mobile phone is a low-status behavior, similar to smoking, Fogg said.
Retro Games, Meet the World of eSports
Videogames have come a long way from the days of Pong and Space Invaders. From as far back as 60 years ago, we’ve been running, jumping and dodging projectiles on everything from arcade machines to our mobile phones. eSports have become high-earning professional competitions, with some of the more popular esports competitions sporting prize pools of millions of dollars. With a combination of technological advancement and innovative game design, we’re a far cry from the pinball machines on darkened arcade floors.
Many of us have happily been along for the ride, as technological development has brought gaming to a scale of consumer engagement rivalling that of any other major entertainment sector. One could arguably go as far as saying that our gaming experiences form a part of our personal development now. A lot of us remember our first jump in Mario, or the hours of playtime we spent in arcades. While the latest and greatest games are always drawing people in, many older videogames are still juggernauts in their own right. Nostalgia is a strong motivator, and many older titles are still quite competitive these days. If you’re somebody who loves a classic whether it’s slots, fighting games or racing sims, here’s a couple of popular retro games that prove just how significant they are to the growth of the esports genre.
Street Fighter 2
Credit via Unsplash
At the time of its release, Street Fighter 2 was an instant hit. Going on to become developer Capcom’s most successful software title, Street Fighter 2 was the first arcade game that allowed players to compete directly. It was the first game to implement a working combo-system, and inspired groups of players to begin their own competitive tournaments. Street Fighter 2 is widely regarded as one of the most influential games of all time, sparking a resurgence of arcade gaming in the 1990s, and cementing the fighting game genre as a competitive gaming mainstay. One of the top three highest-grossing video games of all time, Street Fighter 2 also had a significant impact on popular culture.
With a roster full of memorable characters, Street Fighter 2 quickly became a cultural phenomenon. With their iconic moves and unique one-liners, most of us know who Ryu and Ken are, or even some of the lesser characters like Zangief or Blanka. There are a multitude of formal and informal Street Fighter tournaments around the world – some of the biggest being the Retro World Series and the EVO fighting game tournament. Old tournaments and current matches are available to watch for anyone who’s interested, and can be viewed on Twitch and Youtube. With the upcoming release of a Nintendo Switch version, Street Fighter 2 isn’t showing signs of slowing down any time soon.
Credit via Pexels
Despite a highly-successful sequel, Starcraft: Brood War still has a healthy competitive scene in 2021. A decade after its release, it is still considered one of the most popular online competitive games, owed in large part to the evolution of esports in South Korea. After the growth of Starcraft’s professional tournaments, some of its best players in the world went on to become minor celebrities. The game influenced popular culture to such an extent that competitive matches were broadcast on their own dedicated television channels.
Starcraft, and real-time strategy games in general, require efficiency in a few key skills. Some of these skills include base-building, knowledge of unit combinations, production economy, and the overall speed at which you can perform all these tasks. With all of these dynamics working in realtime, there’s no pause button as you and your opponents take each other on in a game of wits and tactics. Starcraft was also one of the first games to introduce asymmetric factions, where each faction had distinct differences in playstyle and unit composition. This allowed for more variety in how matches would play out, increasing the likelihood of a surprising tactic or outcome.
Nowadays Starcraft 2 is the game you’ll find at most tournaments. However, with the Starcraft remaster that came out in 2017, the original has seen a resurgence in players and competitive matches. Turns out all you need for a popular esport is a dedicated fanbase, and a community that will support a worthy game. Despite an increase in global connectivity and communication, tournaments and classic games bring people together in a way that many modern games have difficulty achieving.
Modern esport games such as Fortnite, Apex Legends and Counterstrike have become household names. But there will always be those of us who love the games of yesteryear. As each generation goes through its own advancement of games development, we remember the games that we love – the ones that make an impression on us are the ones we enjoy coming back to.
The ongoing support and success of retro games clearly demonstrates the fact that graphics and processing power aren’t everything. Many of us enjoy the memories a game invokes, or the friends (and enemies) we find through competition. A well-earned victory is satisfying in any entertainment medium, and the added interactivity in games make them a unique environment for esports players and spectators alike. Healthy competition will never go out of style, and it’s nice to know that the classics won’t either.
Robinhood draws criticism from Wall Street as it braces for massive IPO
Since the Robinhood trading app has drawn attention to the stability of the US stock markets. As a strategy of high access to financial markets, the app has sparked interest in the stock market from a younger group of traders keen to take on Wall Street scammers. Despite a series of crises this year. The Robinhood app is growing faster than ever and is on track to achieve a multibillion dollar IPO in the coming months.
The disruption caused by the app’s success has drawn a lot of criticism from more established players, who claim that the app makes transactions too easy and makes the investment process much less secure. While this may be true in some cases, it also proves that the availability of the app has served to hamper the business models of major industry players, who were charging investors high enough fees to trade stocks and shares on theirs. platforms. However, the success of Robinhood has forced the major brokers to improve and lower their fees to be competitive. Freedom24 is an example of a brokerage firm: dynamic and reliable, it has experience and expertise in the US stock market. It provides robust trading platforms and technologies to the market. Thanks to their brokers, investors have direct access to the stock markets and are guaranteed to be able to participate in IPOs.
The company recently took steps to mitigate some of the criticism. After being a private company for eight years, Robinhood filed in March the necessary documents to go public. Sources told CNBC that she chose the Nasdaq as her exchange. She remains on the IPO path and has built her management teams with veterans from Wall Street and Silicon Valley.
Negative PR and Blackouts Affect Robinhood
The popularity and success of Robinhood presented the young financial technology firm with its own set of challenges, including interruptions or suspensions of transactions as its IT infrastructure struggled to cope with the huge volumes transmitted. In turn, those interruptions sparked a significant amount of negative public relations, which ultimately led to a congressional hearing into the events surrounding the rise and suspension of GameStop stock earlier this year.
(Source: Intelligent Trend Follower)
Yet Robinhood is one of the fastest growing fintech startups and has become one of Silicon Valley’s most valuable private unicorns – and is the first company on this year’s CNBC Disruptor 50 list. Robinhood is valued at $ 11.7 billion, with its main backers being Sequoia Capital and Andreessen Horowitz, NEA, Kleiner Perkins and GV, the venture capital arm of Alphabet, the parent company of Google. Its IPO should allow a valuation of at least three times this amount. To prepare for its IPO, the company recruited executives with experience from Google, Facebook, Amazon, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
In the run-up to Robinhood’s IPO, the tech unicorn has managed to tap into a previously untapped user base of new investors, who during the lock-in appear to have used their US stimulus payments to generate renewed interest in the functioning of financial markets. Maxim Manturov, head of investment research at Freedom Finance Europe, says: “One of Robinhood’s main problems is the lack of liquidity in the face of strong demand on GameStop (GME) stock. is not only that of Robinhood however, as many other brokers have also come across it when offering GME. Indeed, Robinhood had to put some limits and traders rushed to other platforms like Square, SoFi, etc. It is because of these limitations that many investors have been unhappy and have filed complaints and claims against Robinhood; the company however denies any involvement in helping third parties, as no one outside the company did not influence the decision on the limits.
During this crisis, Robinhood has seen tremendous growth in its users
It rose to the top of the iOS app store for several days during the gaming frenzy and led the industry in downloads, with 600,000 people downloading the free trading app in one. day, according to JMP Securities. In January, JMP estimated that Robinhood has gained 3 million users. As a result, venture capitalists rushed to fund Robinhood, which had to raise billions of dollars to meet its capital needs. Robinhood raised over $ 3 billion in a matter of days.
The biggest challenge Robinhood will face when it emerges on the other side of the pandemic will be keeping large numbers of these new users on board without them blowing their accounts up. They got a glimpse of the scale of this challenge earlier this year in the wake of GameStop’s volatility, which has had tragic consequences.
This is where future regulation may well act as a headwind. Product innovation is good, but leveraged investing and fractional exposure to various asset classes pose challenges when it comes to managing risk adequately and reasonably. Too often, novice traders are not sufficiently aware of the huge risks they take when trading with leverage. The rewards are important, but the risks can be even more so.
7th Global Blockchain Congress by Agora Group & TDeFi on June 21st and 22nd, 2021, Dubai.
The 7th edition of the world-renowned flagship Global Blockchain Congress by Agora Group is taking place on June 21st and 22nd, 2021 in Dubai & co-hosted by TDeFi. We are also happy to have Woonkly as a Title Sponsor for this event.
This edition’s theme is “Celebrating DeFi and NFTs” and will boast an amazing line up of speakers including Keynote Addresses by His Excellency Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman & CEO of Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, Hubertus Thonhauser, Chairman of the Board of Tezos Foundation, Fiorenzo Manganiello, Partner at Lian Group and many others.
The event is a closed door, exclusive congress that can be attended by invitation only. Agora will be hosting more than 100 investors and 30 Sponsors (Global Blockchain, DeFi and NFTs projects looking to raise funds).
The ﬁrst six editions of the Global Blockchain congress were a tremendous success and we were able to host more than 450 investors and more than 90 blockchain startups and were able to raise Millions in funds for our participating projects.
This is an exclusive, closed-door Congress to connect startups with investors and secure funds.
Startup founders from all over the world need financial advocates on their side. Raising funds and receiving funding is vital to the growth and success of startups. NOW is the right time for international startups to tap into a pool of highly engaged investors from the MENA region who are actively looking to invest in exciting and promising companies.
“Pitches are good and all, but have you ever sat on a table for 8 hours with 30 minutes one-on-one meetings with 50 rotating investors? Agora is next level. I went to this conference last year, and it was like speed dating with investors. THIS IS EXACTLY HOW IT SHOULD BE. If you’re in Dubai or can get there, and are looking to raise funds for your project, this is your jam.”
Nikita Sachdev, Co-Founder, LunaPR.io
Previous Notable Speakers:
H.E. Naokazu Takemoto – Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy, Japan.
Dr. Obaid Al Zaabi – CEO, Securities & Commodities Authority, UAE.
Baiba Broka – Member of the General Council, International Institute for the Unification of Private Law, Working Group Member on Cryptocurrency Regulation, Ministry of Finance, Latvia, and Former Minister of Justice, Latvia.
Josef Holm – Founding Partner, Draper Goren Holm
Kristina Lucrezia Corner – Managing Editor, Cointelegraph.
Ralf Glabischnig – Founder & Board Member, Crypto Valley Venture Capital.
H.E. Zulfiquar Ghadiyali – Executive Director Of DIHC under chairmanship of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Sultan bin Hamdan Al Nahyan
Zachary Cefaratti – CEO & Principal Founder, Dalma Capital
Wai Lum Kwok – Senior Executive Director & Financial Services Regulatory Authority, Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM)
For participation apply here: http://bit.ly/The7thGBC
4 Common Cryptocurrency Scams
4 Common Cryptocurrency Scams
Wherever there is a new financial product or industry trend, you can be sure that there are scammers out there waiting to try and take advantage. Cryptocurrency has exploded in recent years, and for this reason, you need to be really careful when you are involved in the industry and buying and selling crypto. There are a few common scams that you should be aware of. This will greatly reduce your chances of getting conned.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, there are certainly more crypto scams out there than on this list, but by knowing the most common ways in which you can get scammed, you’re more likely to prevent it from happening. Combine this with tools like reverse email lookup to ensure you know who to trust.
Exchange and Wallet Hacks
Your data is at risk when you use a crypto wallet service. There have been high-profile hacks where hackers manage to steal thousands of email addresses and other personal details. These can be published or sold on the dark web and you could even find yourself susceptible to an account takeover. When you use a crypto exchange or wallet, you must make sure that you know the company is trustworthy. Even then, some aspects are out of your hands.
ZDnet reports that there were billions stolen last year, including attacks on Exchanges to the value of $300 million in losses. Even if the cryptocurrency itself is secure, hackers may have a way around it; targeting the wallets.
This government bulletin even warns people about the fact that crypto can be susceptible to hacking.
It’s always a possibility that you will get caught out by a scam email. Many scammers send out phishing emails posing as a crypto marketplace or wallet you might be signed up to. This can make it incredibly difficult to differentiate what is real from what is a scam. If you get caught out you might end up accidentally giving your data to a scammer.
Always use a reverse email search tool so that you can check if the source of an email looks legit. It could be that it has come from a domain that is a spoof or has a history of scams.
Social Media Scams
Social media account takeovers and hacks can be dangerous. In some cases, Twitter accounts have been taken over, and people have asked for funds to be sent to their blockchain address. This is usually in return for a promise of the money being sent back double, or some other reward that is never going to come. Even Elon Musk has had his account hacked and ended up a part of one of these crypto social media scams. Twitter’s share price dropped 5% as a result.
Initial coin offerings give scammers the opportunity to scam people. This could be through a fake website, for example. It appears like any other ICO but when the user deposits their coins into the wallet, money may be stolen.
ICOs can be fully fraudulent, as people use fake advertising to try and scam people out of their hard-earned cash. The SEC has even had to step in with some examples, such as Plexcoin, which turned out to be nothing more than a Ponzi scheme.
There was a huge boom in these types of scams in 2017, largely triggered by the publicity of Ethereum, but ICO scams are becoming less frequent as the industry is now regulated far more heavily, but there are some scary examples of people losing a lot of money.
How to Report Cryptocurrency Scams
When you get scammed, quick reporting might help you to try and regain the money or to stop others from experiencing the same thing.
You don’t even have to have been the subject of a scam to report it. For example, if you see something on Twitter that looks like a scam, you may want to let the authorities know.
The Federal Trade Commission is responsible for this and they have published some intriguing figures. Did you know that according to the Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, crypto has overtaken checkbook and money order scams in frequency, and the value now exceeds that of debit card scams?
The FTC may be able to help. Go straight to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint where you can fill in a form providing details or even contact them directly. The FTC is working hard to prevent these types of financial scams.
Like virtually any big, growing industry, there are teething problems. For crypto, scams are one of the biggest issues people face. This doesn’t mean that you should avoid the industry altogether, but it makes a lot of sense to be vigilant and try to ensure that you don’t lose money by being too trusting. Treat all emails and social media communication with a lot of caution when they are discussing Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, and ensure that you stay safe whenever giving out your details or handing over money.
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