Connect with us

Publications

Zoom Acknowledges It Suspended Activists’ Accounts At China’s Request

Published

on

Zoom acknowledged Thursday that it had suspended three accounts belonging to activists at China’s request. Two of the accounts belonged to U.S.-based activists and the third to a labor leader in Hong Kong. Mark Lennihan/AP hide caption

toggle caption

Mark Lennihan/AP

Zoom acknowledged Thursday that it had suspended three accounts belonging to activists at China’s request. Two of the accounts belonged to U.S.-based activists and the third to a labor leader in Hong Kong.

Mark Lennihan/AP

Teleconferencing company Zoom acknowledged it shut down the accounts of several activists and online commemorations of the Tiananmen Square massacre at China’s request. The revelation followed media reports, citing Hong Kong and U.S.-based activists, who found their accounts suspended.

Zoom confirmed the reports, in a blog post Thursday, saying China had notified it in late May and early June of four public gatherings hosted on the platform.

According to the post, China asserted the activities were illegal and requested the events and hosts’ accounts be terminated. Zoom said it determined a majority of participants in three of the events came from China and shut them down. The host accounts for the gatherings were then suspended.

“Zoom does not currently have the ability to remove specific participants from a meeting or block participants from a certain country from joining a meeting,” the company said.

None of the three accounts — two belonging to U.S.-based activists and the third to a Hong Kong activist — were based in mainland China. The company said it would no longer block accounts outside of mainland China at Beijing’s request, but did not say outright how it would handle such requests that affect users within mainland China. Instead, Zoom said, it would develop technology to block users based on geography.

“This will enable us to comply with requests from local authorities when they determine activity on our platform is illegal within their borders; however, we will also be able to protect these conversations for participants outside of those borders where the activity is allowed,” the company said.

Thursday’s acknowledgement also drew the attention of U.S. lawmakers, over Zoom’s cooperation with Chinese authorities. On Friday, a bipartisan group of senators, including Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Ed Markey, D-Mass., sent a letter to the company’s CEO Eric Yuan.

In the letter, lawmakers asked which Chinese laws mandated that the company suspend the accounts of U.S.-based activists Zhou Fengsuo and Wang Dan. The senators also wanted to know why the company terminated the account of labor leader Lee Cheuk Yan who is based in Hong Kong. Lawmakers called the suspensions deeply concerning.

“Your company has admitted that it did so at the request of the Chinese government to comply with the laws of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), because some of the participants resided inside the PRC. … Zoom’s millions of daily users across the world who support and demand basic freedoms deserve answers,” the senators wrote.

On Friday, Lee told NPR that his event was part of a series of weekly talks: “Is China’s autocratic regime a threat to the world?” He said he found his account was blocked just before the third session.

“If you said that, you know, you follow the law of [a] country, but that country [suppresses] free speech. …Which side are you on? Free speech or suppression of free speech?” Lee said.

NPR’s John Ruwitch contributed to this story.

Source: https://www.npr.org/2020/06/12/876351501/zoom-acknowledges-it-suspended-activists-accounts-at-china-s-request?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=news

Fintech

Accept.inc secures $90M in debt and equity to scale its digital mortgage lending platform

Published

on

A lot of startups were built to help people make all-cash offers on homes with the purpose of gaining an edge against other buyers, especially in ultra-competitive markets. 

Accepti.inc is a Denver-based company that is attempting to create a new category in real estate technology. To help scale its digital mortgage lending platform, the company announced today that it has secured $90 million in debt and equity – with $78 million in debt and $12 million in equity. Signal Fire led the equity portion of its financing, which also included participation from existing seed investors Y Combinator and DN Capital.

Accept.inc describes itself as an iLender, or a “technology-enabled lender” that gives people a way to submit all-cash offers on a home upon qualifying for a mortgage.

Using its platform, a buyer gets qualified first and then can start looking for homes that fall at or under the amount he or she is approved for. They can purchase a more expensive home, but any amount above what they are approved for would have to come out of pocket. Historically, most buyers don’t know that they will have to pay out of pocket until they’ve made an offer on a specific home and an appraisal comes under the amount of the price they are paying for a home. In those cases, the buyer has to cough up the difference out of pocket. With Accept.inc., its execs tout, buyers know upfront how much they are approved for and can spend on a new home “so there are no surprises later.”

SignalFire Founding Partner and CTO Ilya Kirnos describes Accept.inc as “the first and only iLender.”

He points out that since it is a lender, Accept.inc doesn’t make its money by charging buyers fees like some others in the all-cash offer space.

“Unlike ‘iBuyers’ or ‘alternative iBuyers,’ Accept.inc fronts the cash to buy a house and then makes money off mortgage origination and title, meaning sellers, homebuyers and their agents pay no additional cost for the service,” he told TechCrunch.

IBuyers instead buy homes from sellers who signed up online, make a profit by often fixing up and selling those homes and then helping people purchase a different home with all cash. They also make money by charging transaction fees. A slew of companies operate in the space including established players such as Opendoor and Zillow and newer players such as Homelight.

Image credit: Accept.inc. Left to right: Co-founders Adam Pollack, Nick Friedman and Ian Perrex.

Since its 2016 inception, Accept.inc says it has helped thousands of buyers, agents and sellers close on “hundreds of millions of dollars” in homes. The company saw ”14x” growth in 2020 and from June 2020 to June 2021, it achieved “10x” growth in terms of the size of its team and number of transactions and revenue, according to CEO and co-founder Adam Pollack. Accept.inc wants to use its new capital to build on that momentum and meet demand.

Pollack and Nick Friedman met while in college and started building Accept.inc with the goal of “turning every offer into a cash offer.” The pair essentially “failed for two years,” half-jokes Pollack.

“We basically became an encyclopedia of 1,000 ways the idea of helping people make all-cash offers wouldn’t work,” he said.

The team went through Y Combinator in the winter of 2019 and that’s when they created the iLender concept. In the iLender model, the company uses its cash to buy a house for buyers. Once the loan with Accept.inc is ready to close, the company sells back the house to the buyer “at no additional cost or fees.”

“Basically what we learned through those two years is that you have to vertically integrate all of your core competencies, and you can’t rely on third parties to own or manage your special sauce for you,” Pollack told TechCrunch. “We also realized that if you’re going to build a cash offer for anyone who could afford a mortgage, you’ve got to make it a full bona fide cash offer that closes in three days as opposed to a better version of what existed. And you have to own that, and take the risk that comes with it and be comfortable with that.”

The benefits of their model, the pair say, is that buyers get to be cash buyers, sellers can close in as little as 32 hours, and agents “get a guaranteed commission check.” 

“Our mission is that everyone should have an equal chance at homeownership,” Friedman said. “We not only want to level the playing field, we want to create a new standard.”

Buyers using Accept.inc win 6-7 times more frequently, the company claims. With its new capital, It also plans to double its team of 90 and enter new markets outside of its home base of Denver.

SignalFire Partner Chris Scoggins believes that Accept.inc is different from other lenders in that its focus is on “winning the home, not just servicing the loan, with a business model that’s 10x more capital-efficient than other players in the market.

The team is driven…to level the playing field for homebuyers who today lose out against all-cash offers from home-flippers and wealthy individuals,” he added. “We see an enormous opportunity for Accept.inc to become the backbone of the future of mortgage lending.”

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/06/24/accept-inc-secures-90m-in-debt-equity/

Continue Reading

CNBC

Apple’s AirPods Max fall to a new all-time low of $489 at Amazon

Published

on

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

With good looks, quality construction and great natural sound, Apple’s AirPods Max headphones tick all the right boxes, but they’re mighty expensive at $550. However, you can now pick up a pair from Amazon at $490, the lowest price we’ve seen yet. That’s still not inexpensive by any means, but it’s a substantial savings on high-end headphones that only came out seven months ago. 

Buy Apple AirPods Max (pink) at Amazon – $490 Buy Apple AirPods Max (sky blue) at Amazon – $489 Buy Apple AirPods Max (space gray) at Amazon – $489

With an Engadget review score of 84, the AirPods Max earned a spot in our list of the best headphones you can buy. They look and feel great thanks to the aluminum and metal design, breathable mesh fabric and large earcups. A rotating crown and dedicated button let you switch between ANC and and regular modes, and it’s easy to switch seamlessly between iPhones, Macs and iPads. They offer hands-free capability with Siri, and you can go for up to 20 hours between charges with both ANC and spatial sound enabled.  

AirPods Max offer a more natural sound experience than other headphones, with bass that’s not overcooked. Active noise cancellation quality is right up there, though not quite on par with Sony’s WH-1000XM4 ANC headphones. And they support Apple’s Dolby Atmos-powered spatial audio on iPhones, iPads and Macs right now, and will come to Apple TV this fall. The main drawback is that they won’t stream Apple’s new lossless audio. 

Still, they deliver in nearly every other area and are especially useful for folks with Apple devices. $60 is a substantial discount for an Apple product this new, so if you’re interested, it would be best to act soon. 

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.engadget.com/apple-airpods-max-good-deal-amazon-124026253.html?src=rss_b2c

Continue Reading

Ventureburn

SA agritech releases AI-enabled OmnioFarm to modernise African poultry farming

Published

on

The founders of South African cryptocurrency investment platform Africrypt have disappeared along with $3.6 billion (R51.4 billion) worth of Bitcoin, according to a report….

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/06/sa-agritech-releases-ai-enabled-omniofarm-to-modernise-african-poultry-farming/

Continue Reading

Fintech

Visa to acquire open banking platform Tink for more than $2 billion

Published

on

Visa has announced plans to acquire Tink for €1.8 billion, or $2.15 billion at today’s exchange rate. Tink has been a leading fintech startup in Europe focused on open banking application programming interface (API).

Today’s move comes a few months after Visa abandoned its acquisition of Plaid, another popular open banking startup. Originally, Visa planned to spend $5.3 billion to acquire the American startup. But the company had to call off the acquisition after running into a regulatory wall.

Tink offers a single API so that customers can connect to bank accounts from their own apps and services. For instance, you can leverage Tink’s API to access account statements, initiate payments, fetch banking information and refresh this data regularly.

While banks and financial institutions now all have to offer open banking interfaces due to EU’s Payment Services Directive PSD2, there’s no single standard. Tink integrates with 3,400 banks and financial institutions.

App developers can use the same API call to interact with bank accounts across various financial institutions. As you may have guessed, it greatly simplifies the adoption of open banking features.

300 banks and fintech startups use Tink’s API to access third-party bank information — clients include PayPal, BNP Paribas, American Express and Lydia. Overall, Tink covers 250 million bank customers across Europe.

Based in Stockholm, Sweden, Tink operations should continue as usual after the acquisition. Visa plans to retain the brand and management team.

According to Crunchbase data, Tink has raised over $300 million from Dawn Capital, Eurazeo, HMI Capital, Insight Partners, PayPal Ventures, Creades, Heartcore Capital and others.

“For the past ten years we have worked relentlessly to build Tink into a leading open banking platform in Europe, and we are incredibly proud of what the whole team at Tink has created together,” Tink co-founder and CEO Daniel Kjellén said in a statement. “We have built something incredible and at the same time we have only scratched the surface.”

“Joining Visa, we will be able to move faster and reach further than ever before. Visa is the perfect partner for the next stage of Tink’s journey, and we are incredibly excited about what this will bring to our employees, customers and for the future of financial services.”

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/06/24/visa-to-acquire-open-banking-platform-tink-for-more-than-2-billion/

Continue Reading
Esports2 days ago

Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance Voice Actors: Who Voices Utaar?

Blockchain5 days ago

Bitmain Released New Mining Machines For DOGE And LTC

Blockchain2 days ago

Is Margex A Scam?

Esports4 days ago

Genshin Impact Grand Line Conch Locations

Energy3 days ago

Inna Braverman, Founder and CEO of Eco Wave Power Will be Speaking at the 2021 Qatar Economic Forum, Powered by Bloomberg

Esports2 days ago

Valorant Patch 3.00 Agent Tier List

Blockchain2 days ago

Yearn Finance (YFI) and Synthetix (SNX) Technical Analysis: What to Expect?

HRTech1 day ago

TCS bats for satellite offices, more women in the workforce

Esports5 days ago

Chivalry 2 Crossplay Not Working: Is There a Fix?

Esports2 days ago

Is Dungeons and Dragons: Dark Alliance Crossplay?

Esports5 days ago

5 Things to Do Before Shadowlands 9.1

AI3 days ago

New Modular SaaS Platform for Financial Services Sector Launched by Ezbob, a Customer Acquisition Tech Provider

Aviation3 days ago

SAS Was The First Airline To Operate A Polar Route

Blockchain3 days ago

Cardano, Chainlink, Filecoin Price Analysis: 21 June

Esports2 days ago

Ruined Pantheon Prestige Edition Splash Art, Price, Release, How to Get

Aviation4 days ago

The Antonov An-124 Vs An-225: What Are The Differences?

Blockchain4 days ago

Amplifying Her Voice June 22, 10:45AM to June 24, 4:00PM EST BERMUDA

Esports16 hours ago

Valve releases 2021 Dota 2 Battle Pass, includes Spectre Arcana, Davion Dragon Knight Persona, and Nemestice event

Blockchain4 days ago

Texas supermarket will now accept crypto payments

Energy4 days ago

Cresol Market: APAC to Offer Maximum Regional Opportunities for Vendors

Trending