Protocol - Crypto's new casualty

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By Sarah Roach and the Source Code team
June 13, 2022


Good morning! Celsius is freezing accounts because of "extreme market conditions," and tech platforms are going to face some scrutiny as the Jan. 6 hearings resume this week. Thanks for joining us this Monday! Let’s jump in.

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Crypto's new casualty 

 

Crypto’s plunging to new lows, inflation is soaring, and Celsius is the new casualty.

The crypto lending firm froze withdrawals, swaps and transfers between accounts last night.

  • Celsius cited the need for “stabilizing liquidity.” “We are taking this action today to put Celsius in a better position to honor, over time, its withdrawal obligations,” the company wrote in a blog post.
  • Celsius also blamed market conditions as the reason for pausing withdrawals. Crypto overall is having a rough go: The MCIS CryptoCompare Digital Assets 100 Index, which measures 100 of the top tokens, fell about 14%. The Celsius token has also tanked.

Celsius has gotten some heat over the past couple months from regulators, prompting the firm to stop offering some accounts a short time ago.

  • In April, the company stopped offering interest-bearing accounts to nonaccredited investors in the U.S.
  • Some analysts think Celcius also had something to do with the Luna and terraUSD fallout last month, but the company disputes it.

So what’s next? Celsius is trying to start withdrawals, swaps and transfers again “as quickly as possible.” And Nexo says it wants to buy assets from Celsius. But that’s really beside the point: We’re in a crypto winter, and Celsius is in it too.

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Is it Big Tech's turn at the Jan. 6 hearings?

 

The House Select Committee on Jan. 6 has three hearings scheduled this week, and Big Tech can expect to take some heat.

The hearings will detail how social platforms were used to plan the insurrection. The committee has demanded documents from Facebook, YouTube and dozens of other tech and telecom companies.

  • Alex Howard, head of The Digital Democracy Project, says the committee is looking for three types of information: what was said in messages about the insurrection, which accounts were working together, and what tech employees knew about it.
  • We can expect details on whether the Trump administration engaged with far-right online communities like TheDonald.win.
  • But we won’t know everything: Twitter won’t hand over internal Slack messages related to how the company’s employees moderated tweets during the riot.

Tech platforms will probably get the most attention today. Rep. Liz Cheney says today’s hearing will cover what Donald Trump knew about the election and what Cheney called his "massive effort to spread false and fraudulent information.

Sarah Roach (email | twitter)

A MESSAGE FROM TRUSTED FUTURE

At the same time that the pandemic demonstrated all that is possible in an interconnected world, we saw in new and increasingly stark ways how certain communities continue to be marginalized and harmed by a persistent digital divide and how effectively that divide exacerbates our society’s other inequities.

Learn more

People are talking

 

Tim Cook is urging Congress to pass data privacy legislation:

  • “While Apple will continue to innovate and develop new ways to protect user data, only Congress can provide strong privacy protections for all Americans.”

Binance's Changpeng Zhao says now's a good time to hire:
  • "We have a very healthy war chest, we in fact are expanding hiring right now."

a16z’s Sriram Krishnan thinks Web3 will help the creator economy:

  • “People ask me, ‘What is the thing that you’re spending a lot of time on, that you’re really interested in?' I think the intersection of social media and Web3 is really fascinating.”

White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy says social platforms need to do more to combat misinformation:

  • “The fossil fuel companies are still basically trying their best to make sure that people don't understand the challenge of climate.”

Coming this week

 

Cisco Live 2022 started yesterday through Thursday.

London Tech Week begins today. Hillary Clinton is one of the featured speakers.

SOVO’s Climate Tech Meetup is happening today. Founders will network with teams from HAX and IndieBio.

The Future of SaaS Festival starts tomorrow. Industry leaders from Amazon, Google and Stripe will be speaking.

Viva Technology kicks off Wednesday in Paris and runs through Saturday.

In other news

 

Meta is reportedly investigating Sheryl Sandberg over her use of company resources for personal projects.

Tesla will ask shareholders to approve a 3-1 stock split. Tesla’s stock has skyrocketed by more than 40% since its last stock split in August 2020.

Google suspended a researcher who claimed the company's AI Bot had become lifelike. The company put him on paid leave for sharing confidential information with third parties.

Activision Blizzard will start negotiating with the CWA on a collective bargaining agreement for video game testers at its Raven Software subsidiary.

Amazon Prime Members are suing Amazon for ending free Whole Foods delivery. It's $9.95 per order now.

Apple is finally in compliance with Dutch regulators’ antitrust requirements. The company, which has to allow Dutch dating apps to enable third-party payment systems, has been racking up fines while it updated its rules.

Google will pay $118 million to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit over pay equity filed on behalf of 15,500 female employees.

Coinbase employees pushed the company to remove three leaders over actions “that have led to questionable results.” CEO Brian Armstrong called the demands “really dumb on multiple levels.”

Streaming devices play ads even when a television is off, a new study found, meaning that a large chunk of ads are never actually seen by viewers. The issue is costing brands an estimated $1 billion per year.

Screw everything, we’re doing Web5

 

Jack Dorsey is predicting Web3’s demise before it even gets off the ground. He just announced Web5, an “extra decentralized web platform” built by TBD, a bitcoin-focused Block subsidiary. The “extra” decentralized part means that Web5 won’t allow people to invest in tokens — a key difference from Web3. “RIP Web3 VCs,” Dorsey tweeted. You might be wondering: What happened to Web4? Well, Web5 is a combination of Web2 and Web3 (2+3=5). Or maybe Dorsey was simply thinking of this classic headline from The Onion.

A MESSAGE FROM TRUSTED FUTURE

There is so much more we need to do to make sure our future is more equitable and inclusive and maximizes America’s potential. It is not enough just to ensure everyone is connected. We also need to extend the full scope of digital opportunity to the people, the communities, and the institutions.

Learn more

 

Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to sourcecode@protocol.com, or our tips line, tips@protocol.com. Enjoy your day, see you tomorrow.

 

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