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Thursday, December 3, 2020
Ether, the digital token of the Ethereum blockchain, is the second-largest cryptocurrency in the world by market value. Jaap Arriens | NurPhoto via Getty Images While you've been watching the price of bitcoin soar to an all-time high, another cryptocurrency has been quietly staging a comeback of its own. Ether, the world's second-largest virtual currency by market value, is up about 350% since the start of the year. Last week, it briefly passed $600 for the first time since June 2018 before slumping sharply, and touched that level again this week. Now, ether investors are keeping an eye on a long-delayed upgrade to its underlying network known as Ethereum 2.0, which they say will make it faster and more secure. A key problem with the Ethereum blockchain today is scalability. In 2017, for example, the popularity of an Ethereum-based game called CryptoKitties caused the network to become heavily congested, significantly slowing trade. But proponents of Ethereum 2.0 say that the planned upgrade could allow thousands more transactions to take place every second. Meanwhile, investors believe it could also lead to further adoption of ether as well as
Scale AI CEO Alex Wang, left. Scale AI AI has been around for decades, but building an AI model that does what it's supposed to do isn't always fast or easy. Part of the drudgery is augmenting raw data so that a model can learn to make accurate predictions. Scale AI, founded in 2016, specializes in performing that work for its clients. Customers include Airbnb, General Motors, Nvidia, OpenAI, Pinterest and DoorDash. Now Scale is is breaking even, founder and CEO Alex Wang told CNBC on Monday, even as it more than doubled its annualized revenue run rate year-over-year in the third quarter. In a major validation for its business model, Scale announced Tuesday that it has raised $155 million, led by Tiger Global, at a valuation over $3.5 billion. The AI market isn't as large and easy to understand as the market for, say, social media. It amounts to an enabling technology, like database software, in the sense that AI can be embedded into existing products. Still, it's a real, and growing, market. In revealing its plan to go public last month, C3.ai, a company looking
Eric Yuan, CEO, Zoom Video Communications Source: CNBC Zoom shares fell nearly 14% on Tuesday, a day after the company beat third-quarter earnings expectations but signaled its tremendous growth rate may slow. The videoconferencing software company reported that its revenue grew 367% on an annualized basis during the third quarter. Revenue increased 355% in the second quarter. But Zoom called for fiscal fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of 77 cents to 79 cents per share on $806 million to $811 million in revenue, implying 329% revenue growth at the middle of the range Investors seem to be disappointed that Zoom may not gro as fast as it did earlier in the pandemic, as people were forced to work from home more and turned to Zoom for work and personal meetings. Zoom's gross margin also declined to 66.7% from 67.3% in the second quarter, partially because it has a larger number of free users, including students and teachers who have started to use the service more now that school has resumed. Shares of Zoom, one of the biggest winners from the pandemic, has soared over 500% this year. CNBC's Jordan Novet
Signs of Qualcomm and 5G are pictured at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Shanghai, China June 28, 2019. Aly Song | Reuters Qualcomm announced on Tuesday the Snapdragon 888, its new high-end chip with a 5G modem for Android phones. The new chip supports many types of 5G networks, improved graphics rendering and improved artificial intelligence capabilities for things like facial and image recognition. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 will be at the heart of most high-end Android devices that launch in 2021. Qualcomm said phone makers including Xiaomi, Oppo, and Motorola are planning to use the Snapdragon 888. Qualcomm is the dominant vendor of processors for Android devices, akin to Intel's previous dominance as the best processor for Windows PCs. Qualcomm is in competition with handset makers like Apple, Samsung, and Huawei that develop their own smartphone chips, as well as Asian chipmakers like MediaTek. Its high-end chips, like Snapdragon 888, or last year's Snapdragon 865, take three years to develop on average. The features and performance are critical in persuading electronics makers to use Qualcomm silicon instead of cheaper options or building in-house. Qualcomm's most advanced
Rubbish floating in Naifaru Harbour, Maldives, Indian Ocean. Rosemary Calvert | Getty Images LONDON — A Tesla executive has left the electric car company and joined a London start-up that's aiming to address the world's plastic problem with a new chemical additive. Steven Altmann-Richer, who led public policy for U.K., Ireland and new markets at Tesla, joined London start-up Polymateria in the last few weeks as head of public affairs and regulatory strategy, after spending three-and-a-half years at the U.S. car company. Polymateria, which has around 25 staff based out of Imperial College's start-up incubator, has developed a "biotransformation technology" that breaks down plastic into a wax-like substance that then gets digested by microbes. It has also created a new British standard for biodegradable plastic. "I want to help policymakers understand that this is a truly revolutionary solution which can improve the environment in their country and globally," said Altmann-Richer, who holds a master's degree in environmental policy from Oxford University, on a call with CNBC. The EU currently defines biodegradable plastics as those that can be composted at an industrial site. It doesn't, however, take into
David Marcus, Head of Calibra at Facebook, testifies about Facebook's proposed digital currency called Libra, during a Senate Banking, House and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, July 16, 2019. Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images Libra Association, a Facebook-backed digital payment group, said Tuesday it's transitioning to the name "Diem." Diem is an independent group organized by Facebook to manage digital currencies. Other association members include Andreessen Horowitz, Coinbase, Spotify, Lyft and Uber. The currency's name will also change from libra to Diem, according to Reuters. After the libra digital currency debuted, the project quickly drew concern from policymakers around the world who worried it could heavily disrupt the financial system, risk potential money laundering and compete with fiat currencies such as the U.S. dollar.  Diem said the new name, which is Latin for "day," "signals the project's growing maturity and independence," as it seeks regulatory approval for its launch. The Financial Times reported last month that it could launch as soon as January but in a limited format. The Diem currency was designed to make it easier for people and businesses to
An Amazon fulfillment center in Frankenthal, Germany. Thorsten Wagner | Bloomberg | Getty Images Amazon said Tuesday that this year's holiday shopping season has been the biggest in its history, as the coronavirus pandemic forced more people than ever to do their shopping online. The e-commerce giant said in a blog post that customers have been shopping early for gifts and seasonal items for their loved ones. While Amazon has been piling up sales, many retailers reliant on physical stores have been struggling to survive. Amazon said popular purchases include the new Echo Dot, former President Barack Obama's book "A Promised Land," and the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer Brush. Self-care, "nesting at home" and "cozy comfort" were among the most popular trends during the period. "In a holiday season unlike any other, it's clear that customers still want great deals on gifts for their loved ones or a little something extra for themselves, and we're glad to help deliver smiles throughout the season," said Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer. "Thank you to our customers, employees, and selling partners around the world for making
Airbnb plans to price at $44 to $50 per share in its IPO, giving it a valuation of up to $35 billion on a fully diluted basis, according to a new filing the company submitted to the SEC Tuesday. The company seeks to raise about $2.5 billion in the IPO. Existing investors seek to sell $96 million worth of stock in the IPO. Airbnb's last private valuation was $18 billion, after it raised $2 billion in debt earlier this year as the company struggled in the early months of the pandemic. That was nearly half its peak private valuation ($31 billion) from 2017. The company will list on the Nasdaq under the ticker "ABNB." It's expected to hold its IPO later this month. Airbnb's roadshow, where it makes its pitch to investors, will start Tuesday. Airbnb released its first S-1 last month, reporting net income of $219 million on $1.34 billion in revenue in the third quarter of this year, down about 19% from the year before. Like most travel companies, Airbnb has seen a drop in business due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But after cutting about 25% of its staff, or about 1,900 employees, in May, Airbnb
Andy Jassy, chief executive officer of web services at Amazon.com Inc., speaks during the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Summit in San Francisco on April 19, 2017. David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images Amazon's cloud division on early Tuesday announced the availability of new virtual computing instances for software developers that run Apple's MacOS operating system, representing an alternative to Microsoft Windows and open-source Linux. Amazon Web Services controls the cloud infrastructure market, and it has sought to keep its lead against the likes of Google and Microsoft in part by regularly adding to its wide assortment of tools. No major cloud provider to date has brought about a means to rent a remote computing infrastructure with MacOS from their clouds. As a result, at least initially, Amazon has an advantage that can attract customers to AWS, which is the main source of Amazon's operating income. Rather than run MacOS on its standard computer servers, AWS is drawing on Apple's Mac Mini computers, featuring Intel Core i7 chips, to deliver EC2 virtual-computing instances with MacOS, according to a statement. The instances run on bare metal, meaning
The founders of GitLab, Dmitriy Zaporozhets and Sid Sijbrandij GitLab GitLab, a site that helps developers share and manage code, is letting some employees sell a portion of their equity in an offering that values the company at over $6 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. That's more than double GitLab's $2.7 billion valuation from September 2019, when it raised almost $270 million in a round led by Goldman Sachs and Iconiq Capital. The share sale allows employees to get some liquidity ahead of an expected public market debut next year, said the people, who asked not to be named because the transaction is confidential. A company spokesperson declined to comment. GitLab competes most directly with GitHub, which Microsoft acquired for $7.5 billion in 2018, and Atlassian. All three companies have been propelled by the broader software and app economy boom that's led to massive growth in the tech industry and forced companies across all sectors, including retail, finance and health care, to hire programmers to modernize and digitize their offerings. Developers at companies including Ticketmaster, Siemens, and Nvidia, use GitLab's technology to collaborate on
Facebook co-founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill April 11, 2018 in Washington, DC. Yasin Ozturk | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday said the social media company plans to provide users with authoritative information about the Covid-19 vaccines that are in development. Facebook has already reached out to the incoming Biden administration to help with the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Zuckerberg said. "There'll be a few important things that we can do together," he said. "We're already planning a push around authoritative information about the vaccines." Zuckerberg did not provide any additional information about how the company plans to distribute this information to users. The company also did not add anything when reached for comment. Although Zuckerberg in May said social media companies should not be the arbiters of truth, Facebook has in fact taken many steps to provide accurate information and debunk myths and falsehoods throughout 2020. In March, the company launched a Covid-19 information hub. In August, the company did the same
Close-up of sign for gig economy meal delivery app Doordash in a restaurant in Lafayette, California. Smith Collection | Gado | Archive Photos | Getty Images Leading food delivery app DoorDash is looking to raise up to $2.8 billion in its IPO, giving it a valuation of up to $32 billion on a fully diluted basis, the company revealed in a new filing Monday. Its last private valuation was $16 billion as of June. DoorDash plans to list 33 million shares at a price between $75 and $85 per share. The company will list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DASH. DoorDash released its first filing to go public with the Securities and Exchange Commission about two weeks ago. DoorDash will offer three classes of stock with different voting and conversion shares. Class A common stock will grant owners one vote per share. Class B shares will come with 20 votes per share, while Class C shares will have no voting rights. DoorDash reported $1.9 billion in revenue for the nine months ended Sept. 30. That's up from $587 million