Vancouver quantum computing startup D-Wave is going public on the New York Stock Exchange via a SPAC, which is anticipated to raise $431 million in gross proceeds. Meanwhile, Venture investment in Canada’s tech sector exploded in 2021, according to a new Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) report. Canadian tech startups saw over $16 billion in VC investment last year. This figure crushes the $6 billion the ecosystem saw in 2020, when venture funding sputtered due to the pandemic, and is more than double the country’s previous high of just under $8 billion in 2019. TerraZero Technologies announced a strategic ~$10 million investment from BIGG Digital Assets (BIGG-CSE). EMERGE (ECOM-TSXV) reported strong preliminary Q4 2021 results — Revenue is expected to be between $14.2 million and $14.8 million in Q4 2021, an increase of over 491%, compared to $2.4 million Q4 2020. Almost a decade after the term “unicorn” was coined to describe a rare breed of private company, about two new companies are joining the herd daily, as there now over 1,000 unicorns. Public markets continued to remain choppy with added geopolitical tensions going into the weekend, while there appears to be increased M&A chatter; not unsurprising in light of public markets dislocations. Affirm tumbled 10% after the Buy-Now-Pay-Later fintech’s Twitter blunder revealed details of it’s earnings early. Tesla logged a US$101 million impairment loss from Bitcoin in 2021 as the cryptocurrency’s value fluctuated. Nvidia expects to book US$1.36 billion charge in Q1 Fiscal 2023 due to termination of Arm deal with Softbank. Cisco made US$20 billion-plus takeover offer for Splunk. Binance, led by the world’s richest crypto billionaire, is taking a US$200 million stake in Forbes. OpenSea, the most dominant marketplace for non-fungible tokens (NFTs), launched a venture capital arm on Friday, becoming the latest privately held crypto startup to create a division backing other emerging Web3 startups. The biggest assembler of iPhones said component shortages that have plagued electronics production for more than a year are showing signs of easing, a potentially encouraging signal for manufacturers across industries.

Canadian Technology Capital Markets & Company News

D-Wave hopes to raise $431 million as it Prepares to go public via Spac.

Vancouver quantum computing startup D-Wave is going public on the New York Stock Exchange via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). The startup anticipates the transaction will result in up to $430.8 million in gross proceeds. DPCM Capital Inc. is the SPAC taking D-Wave public. The deal is anticipated to close in the second quarter of 2022, and is expected to give D-Wave a valuation of approximately $1.5 billion. https://bit.ly/3gCMX5m

SVB reports Canadian tech startups drew record $16 billion in investment in 2021.

Venture investment in Canada’s tech sector exploded in 2021, according to a new Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) report. SVB’s H1 2022 State of the Markets Report has found that Canadian tech startups saw over $16 billion in venture capital (VC) investment last year. This figure crushes the $6 billion the ecosystem saw in 2020, when venture funding sputtered due to the pandemic, and is more than double the country’s previous high of just under $8 billion  in 2019. https://bit.ly/3GNl3OC

TerraZero Technologies announces strategic investment from BIGG Digital Assets (BIGG-CSE).

TerraZero Technologies Inc, a vertically integrated Metaverse technology company, is pleased to announce it has received a $9.8 million strategic investment from BIGG Digital Assets Inc. BIGG is the owner of Netcoins (Netcoins.ca) the online cryptocurrency brokerage that makes it easy for Canadians to buy, sell, and understand cryptocurrency, and owner of Blockchain Intelligence Group (blockchaingroup.io) a leading developer of blockchain technology search, risk-scoring and data analytics solutions. In connection with the investment into TerraZero, BIGG has the right to appoint one person to TerraZero’s board of directors, expected to be Lance Morginn, President of BIGG. https://bit.ly/3GHJrB9

EMERGE (ECOM-TSXV) reports strong preliminary Q4 2021 results.

Gross Merchandise Sales (“GMS”) is expected to be approximately $26 million in Q4 2021, an increase of over 213%, compared to $8.3 million in Q4 2020. Revenue is expected to be between $14.2 million and $14.8 million in Q4 2021, an increase of over 491%, compared to $2.4 million Q4 2020. Gross profit is expected to be between $5.9 million and $6.3 million for the fourth quarter of 2021, an increase of over 200%, compared to $1.9 million in Q4 2020. Adjusted EBITDA is expected to be between $1.1 million and $1.4 million for Q4 2021, a significant increase of over 1,000%, compared to $0.1 million in Q4 2020. “Our preliminary Q4 results illustrate the power of our diversified portfolio, albeit a partial view, as both BattlBox Group and WholesalePet.com were acquired during the quarter. Ultimately, we are most proud about the quarterly Adjusted EBITDA figure, which is expected to significantly exceed 2020 results,” commented Ghassan Halazon, Founder and CEO, EMERGE. https://bit.ly/3gDHFqp

7shifts secures $101.6 million to increase staffing, product development.

On the heels of what it called a significant year of growth, 7shifts has secured $101.6 million in Series C funding. SoftBank Vision led the round with participation from existing investors Ten Coves Capital and Enlightened Hospitality Investments. 7shifts will use the latest round of funding to double the size of its team and continue to build products for the employee lifecycle, to help restaurant operators connect all aspects of their HR processes − from hiring, onboarding, training, scheduling, and paying, to retaining. The startup did not disclose when the round closed. https://bit.ly/3HJuQqn

Elastic Path secures $60 million to scale “composable commerce movement”.

Vancouver-headquartered Elastic Path has raised a $60 million financing round. It was led by Sageview Capital with participation from existing investors, as well as funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, an investment management company based in New York. The new capital brings Elastic Path’s total funding to over $120 million, positioning the e-commerce tech firm to build on what it describes as a “strong 2021” that saw an over 400 percent year-over-year growth. Founded over two decades ago, Elastic Path was initially launched as a custom development shop building open source business applications and websites. The global startup operates out of Boston, Newcastle, Reading, Toronto, and Vancouver. https://bit.ly/3Lv2hiP

Dozr Raises $27.5 million in Series B funding to support US expansion plans.

Kitchener-Waterloo-based startup Dozr, which offers an online marketplace for heavy equipment rentals, has raised $27.5 million in Series B funding. The company’s all-equity round, which closed last month, was co-led by Silicon Valley’s Builders VC, and BDC Capital’s Growth Venture Co-Investment Fund, with participation from BaseCamp Equity Partners, which led Dozr’s $14 million Series A round in 2019. https://bit.ly/35VhQ2L

Newton Crypto now valued at $253 million following $25 million Series B round.

Toronto-based Newton Crypto has closed a $25 million Series B funding round led by DV Chain. Other investors include Singh Capital Partners, Anthony Pompliano, Tiny Capital, and Shopify co-founder Tobias Lütke’s Snowdevil Capital. Asset and wealth management firm CI Financial. The new round brings the company’s valuation to approximately $253 million. https://bit.ly/3HKEHwd

Odaia secures $17.5 million to help pharma firms focus their sales and marketing with AI.

Odaia aims to solve “a really key problem in a very big industry” — how to derive actionable, real-time commercial insights from pharmaceutical sector data. To tackle this problem, the Toronto-based software startup has secured approximately $17.5 million in Series A funding. https://bit.ly/3HO9MyQ

Nord Quantique Closes $9.5 million seed round co-led by BDC.

Capital’s Deep Tech Fund. Quantum computing tech startup Nord Quantique has raised $9.5 million in seed funding. Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) Capital’s Deep Tech Venture Fund and Quantonation VC co-led the all-equity round, with participation from existing stakeholder Real Ventures. Nord also previously received $100,000 from Sustainable Development Technology Canada in December 2020. Based in Sherbrooke, Québec, and part of the Sherbrooke Quantum Innovation Zone, Nord was co-founded in 2020 by physicists Philippe St-Jean and Julien Camirand Lemyre as a spinoff from the Institut Quantique. https://bit.ly/3JrGUgx

Potential Motors closes $4 million to improve off-road electric vehicle performance.

The EV tech firm has secured about $4 million in convertible debt seed extension funding to further develop its solution, grow its team, and begin showcasing its vehicle control software, which is built for electric side-by-sides. Founded in 2018 by Poirier, COO Nick Dowling, and former CTO Isaac Barkhouse, Potential Motors is currently developing artificial intelligence (AI)-powered vehicle control software for electric side-by-side vehicles designed to offer drivers optimal performance through shifting terrain while also simplifying vehicle architecture for manufacturers. https://bit.ly/3gWJlvn

Wyvern secures $4 million from SDTC to use satellite tech for farming.

Edmonton-based satellite technology startup Wyvern has secured a $4 million investment from the federal government’s Sustainable Development Technology Canada. Launched in 2018, Wyvern is developing unfolding camera technology to make high-resolution hyperspectral imagery from satellites accessible and affordable. Hyperspectral imaging has the ability to detect details that are invisible to conventional imaging standards, and can be leveraged for agriculture, forestry, energy, defence, as well as environmental and emissions monitoring. https://bit.ly/3gFP1tn

Wafra Capital Partners acquires Toronto FinTech startup Financeit from Goldman Sachs.

Goldman Sachs Asset Management has sold FinTech startup Financeit to New York-based investment advisory firm Wafra Capital Partners (WCP) for an undisclosed amount. While the deal and its closing date are not being disclosed, The Globe and Mail reported that a source told the newspaper that the sale was valued between $350 million to $500 million. WCP is owned by the Public Institution for Social Security of Kuwait of Kuwait, an autonomous agency controlled by the State of Kuwait. WCP is a New York-based investment advisory firm, claiming over $7 billion in fund assets and commitments under management. Goldman Sachs first invested in Financeit in 2015, closing a round of equity financing led by its merchant banking division. While Financeit CEO Michael Garrity did not disclose the amount at the time, he indicated that it was larger than its $13 million Series A round in 2013. Goldman Sachs increased its investment in Financeit in 2017, becoming a majority owner for an undisclosed amount. WCP said its purchase will support Financeit in its projected growth towards $1 billion in annual loan originations, which will allow the startup to expand its strategic partnerships, and advance product innovation. https://bit.ly/3JsfLdj

Canada’s TMX Group plans cryptocurrency futures product for institutional investors.

Canada’s largest stock market operator, TMX Group , plans to launch its first cryptocurrency futures product in response to institutional investors’ desire to offset the risks of trading in the relatively new asset class, the company’s chief executive told Reuters on Tuesday. The group, which had 17 cryptocurrency exchange-traded funds (ETFs) listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange as of Dec. 31, aims to release the product on the Montreal Exchange this year, John McKenzie said in an interview after TMX posted fourth-quarter results on Monday. TMX, the operator of the Toronto stock and Montreal derivatives exchanges, listed the world’s first bitcoin ETF almost a year ago. https://reut.rs/3gHk1Jv

Global Markets: IPOs, Venture Capital, M&A

There are now 1,000 Unicorn startups worth US$1 billion or more.

Almost a decade after the term “unicorn” was coined to describe a rare breed of private company, about two new companies are joining the herd daily. https://bloom.bg/3LoYweC

Unruly Reddit prepares for stock market debut with ads deals.

Reddit, the home of the anarchic r/WallStreetBets trade-tipping forum, is preparing for its own stock market debut by stepping up its push to build an advertising business around the social media platform. The San Francisco-based group, led by 38-year-old chief executive Steve Huffman, has been approaching big ad agencies such as global giant WPP in the search for new marketing deals that can underpin its future business, according to several people familiar with the situation. Reddit is making a tricky pitch. The company is inviting brands to target its highly engaged and loyal communities, even if their edgy discussions are not traditionally the sort that risk-averse companies want to be associated with. https://on.ft.com/3JcHT3Y

SoftBank begins to pitch Arm IPO as Nvidia gives up on deal.

SoftBank Group Corp. founder Masayoshi Son said he plans an initial public offering in the U.S. for Arm Ltd. after Nvidia Corp. bowed to regulatory opposition and gave up on its proposed acquisition of the British chip designer. While the Japanese billionaire announced the deal’s termination as his conglomerate announced earnings for the quarter ended in December, he spent much of the 90-plus minute conference call with investors and analysts pitching the potential for Arm. https://bloom.bg/3gWv7KZ

Valkyrie’s Bitcoin Miners ETF starts trading on the Nasdaq with the ticker symbol WGMI.

With the SEC reluctant to approve a spot bitcoin ETF to invest in the cryptocurrency’s price, a handful of firms have listed funds that track companies in the mining industry. The bitcoin mining industry has faced headwinds over the last year, ranging from a Chinese crypto crackdown that prompted an exodus of miners to US lawmakers’ proposals to impose stringent tax-reporting requirements on operators. But it is concerns about the environmental impact of bitcoin mining, its power consumption in particular, that have dogged the sector. https://bit.ly/3sseDiU

Binance, led by the world’s richest crypto billionaire, is taking a US$200 million stake in Forbes.

Binance, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, is making a US$200 million strategic investment in Forbes, the 104-year-old magazine and digital publisher, CNBC has learned. The funds will help Forbes execute on its plan to merge with a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, in the first quarter, according to people with knowledge of the deal. Investors have grown skeptical of SPAC deals generally, and media deals in particular, in recent months amid the broader stock market retrenchment. Binance will replace half of the US$400 million in commitments from institutional investors announced by Forbes in August, said the people, who declined to be identified before the transaction is announced. That would make Binance one of the top two biggest owners of Forbes, which will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker FRBS, the people said. The crypto company will also get two directors out of nine total board seats, they said. https://cnb.cx/3LqCSqm

OpenSea launches venture capital arm.

OpenSea, the most dominant marketplace for non-fungible tokens (NFTs), launched a venture capital arm on Friday, becoming the latest privately held crypto startup to create a division backing other emerging Web3 startups. The New York-based company did not say how much money it would be investing. The group will be led by OpenSea co-founder and CTO Alex Atallah. OpenSea will invest in projects that build the NFT ecosystem, including gaming projects, analytics ventures and core blockchain protocols, the company said in a blog post. In addition to capital, it will also offer startups access to company leadership and to its own venture partners, which include Andreessen Horowitz, Katie Haun, and Electric Capital, among others. Venture capital investing, once an activity that companies explored when they were larger, publicly traded corporations, is increasingly an activity embraced by private, well-funded startups. That’s particularly the case for crypto companies. Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, has funded more than 100 projects with its division Binance Labs, and Coinbase has funded more than 200 projects and startups with Coinbase Ventures. FTX Ventures said this year it would launch a US$2 billion venture fund. OpenSea, which was valued at US$13.3 billion last month, is much smaller than crypto exchanges that have launched venture arms. But it has quickly amassed funding and business in the past year. If the company sustains the US$4.9 billion in monthly trading volume it handled in January, according to Dune Analytics, the company could hit US$1.47 billion in revenue this year after applying its 2.5% transaction fee. As of July, the company was profitable, CEO Devin Finzer told Fortune. https://bit.ly/3HOtA59

Affirm tumbles 10% after the Buy-Now-Pay-Later fintech’s Twitter blunder revealed details of it’s earnings early.

Affirm shares fell 10% in premarket trading Friday after the fintech tweeted Q2 earnings details early. The tweet, which said “a great quarter is in the books,” was later deleted, and Affirm said it was posted in error. Affirm brought its report release forward, and the stock sank 21% as the full financial performance was seen. https://bit.ly/3uI4i57

Tesla logged a US$101 million impairment loss from Bitcoin in 2021 as the cryptocurrency’s value fluctuated.

Tesla recorded impairment losses of about US$101 million last year to reflect value changes in its holdings of bitcoin, according to a regulatory filing by the electric vehicle maker on Monday. The company outlined its dealings with the world’s most-traded cryptocurrency in a 10-K annual financial performance report with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In 2021, “we recorded approximately US$101 million of impairment losses resulting from changes to the carrying value of our bitcoin and gains of $128 million on certain sales of bitcoin by us,” Tesla said. https://bit.ly/369oWRx

Peloton stock falls after confirming CEO change, cost cuts that will reduce workforce by about one-third.

Shares of Peloton Interactive Inc. PTON, slumped 8.0% in premarket trading Tuesday, after the at-home fitness company confirmed that co-Founder John Foley will step down as chief executive and that it will implement a cost-cutting plan that will lead to 2,800 job cuts. The Wall Street Journal had previously reported the CEO change and cost-cutting plan. The company named Barry McCarthy, who was formerly chief financial officer of Spotify Technology SA SPOT, as CEO, effective Feb. 9. https://on.mktw.net/3HMHHrF

Nvidia expects to book US$1.36 billion charge in Q1 Fiscal 2023 due to termination of Arm deal with Softbank.

Nvidia Corp  said Tuesday it expects to book a charge of US$1.36 billion in the first quarter of fiscal 2023 due to the termination of its agreement to acquire Arm Ltd. from Softbank Group Corp. The parties agreed to terminate the deal due to “significant regulatory challenges” the company said in a regulatory filing. “In accordance with the terms of the Purchase Agreement, the Sellers will retain the US$1.25 billion prepaid by the Company, and the Company will retain its 20-year Arm license,” said the filing. agreed to acquire Arm for US$40 billion in cash and stock in 2020, in what would have been the biggest semiconductor merger in history. The deal faced immediate opposition from other chip companies and regulators in the U.K., where Arm is located, and U.S. regulators had also stepped in the way. Softbank said Monday it will now take Arm public in an initial public offering that it aims to complete within fiscal 2023. https://on.mktw.net/3HFIR8q

Twitter announces agreements with Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo for US$2 billion in accelerated share repurchases.

Twitter Inc. said Friday morning that it has entered into agreements with Morgan Stanley & Co. and Wells Fargo Bank to conduct US$2 billion in accelerated share repurchases. The company previously announced a day earlier that it would launch a US$2 billion accelerated repurchase program as part of a new US$4 billion overall buyback program. Through the accelerated share repurchase component, Twitter will prepay the US$2 billion purchase price and initially receive about 37.8 shares of its common stock. The company expects that any remaining shares would be delivered by the end of its third quarter. https://bit.ly/3GJhRDM

Zillow to cut workforce 25% in 2022, after growing by more than 45% last year.

Zillow Group Inc. said it expects to cut its workforce by 25% this year, as a result of the previously announced wind down of Zillow Offers operations, but that followed a more than 45% jump in its workforce in 2021. In the real estate information company’s 10-K annual report filed late Thursday, Zillow said the job cuts will primarily go into effect during the first half of 2022. The company said it had 8,005 full-time employees as of Dec. 31, up 2,501, or 45.4%, from 5,504 employees at the end of 2020. A 25% reduction would put the workforce at about 6,004, which is still 9.1% above the 2020 level. Zillow’s stock shot up 13.8% in premarket trading, after the company reported late Thursday record fourth-quarter revenue that soared above expectations. It has dropped 24.6% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 has eased 3.1%. https://bit.ly/369qElR

Cisco made US$20 billion-plus takeover offer for Splunk.

Cisco Systems Inc. has made a takeover offer worth more than US$20 billion for software maker Splunk Inc., according to people familiar with the matter, in what would be the networking giant’s biggest acquisition ever. The offer was made recently and the companies aren’t currently in active talks, some of the people said. Should there be a deal, it would eclipse the roughly US$7 billion acquisition of Scientific Atlanta in 2005. Its most recent deal of size was its nearly US$5 billion purchase of Acacia Communications Inc. in 2021. Splunk shares rose sharply early in the pandemic as did those of a number of other technology companies with strong growth potential, but have almost fallen in half since then. The shares rose as much as 17% in after-hours trading after The Wall Street Journal reported on the potential deal. It isn’t clear whether other potential suitors are circling Splunk. https://on.wsj.com/3gDvQ3s

Nvidia’s Arm takeover collapses.

Nvidia’s controversial takeover of semiconductor designer Arm has collapsed  following more than a year of fierce industry opposition and regulatory scrutiny, the two companies confirmed late Monday. As part of the deal’s failure, first reported by the Financial Times, Arm’s current CEO Simon Segars is being replaced by Rene Haas, who heads up the company’s intellectual property business. The mostly stock deal was announced in September 2020 and valued at US$40 billion. That skyrocketed to more than US$80 billion in recent months based on Nvidia’s rising share price. The collapse is a major blow to Arm’s owner SoftBank, which has been offloading wholly owned subsidiaries as it transitions to an investment conglomerate. Late last year, the Federal Trade Commission in the U.S. sued to block the deal, which had also been under heavy scrutiny in Europe, China and Arm’s homebase in the U.K., the latter which was reviewing the deal on both antitrust and national security grounds. Companies including Qualcomm, Microsoft, and Amazon were opposed to the deal, and the collapse Monday likely came as a surprise to no one. https://bit.ly/3oIlgwm

Apple acquires startup behind Infinite Music Engine that adapts music to your heartbeat.

Apple on Monday acquired AI Music, a startup that has developed a platform capable of creating songs using artificial intelligence. The acquisition, according to sources familiar with the matter, was completed in recent weeks. As reported by Bloomberg, AI Music’s technology can create royalty-free soundtracks using AI.The soundtracks are dynamic and can change based on user interaction in real time. As an example, a song can have a different tone during more intense parts of a workout. As described by the startup’s website, which has now been taken down (but you can still view it via a cached version), AI Music can even create songs that “adapt to your heartbeats.” https://bit.ly/3uFa8nX

Emerging Technologies

Amazon rolls out it’s Telehealth service nationwide.

Amazon is rolling out its telehealth service, known as Amazon Care, nationwide, the company announced Tuesday. Amazon Care launched in 2019 as a pilot program for employees in and around the company’s Seattle headquarters. The program provides virtual-care visits, as well as free telehealth consultations and in-home visits for a fee from nurses for testing and vaccinations. It has since expanded into more of a primary care service. https://cnb.cx/3BcJaVW

Fewer robot cars are driving more miles in California.

California, you may have noticed more robot cars on your roads than usual over the past year. That’s because autonomous vehicle testing is booming in the state, with AV companies having driven more than 4 million miles in 2021, according to data released by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. This represents a sharp increase over the previous two years, a sign that the AV industry has come roaring back after the pandemic-influenced lockdowns of 2020. There were also fewer companies testing vehicles overall, a reflection of the increased pace of mergers and acquisitions that have taken place in recent years. Of the 50 companies registered with the DMV, only 22 reported testing during the year. Despite skepticism about the longer-than-expected timeline to mass adoption of AV technology, the companies say they expect to begin to roll out their first commercial services starting this year. https://bit.ly/3JpbgAi

The former President of Elon Musk’s Neuralink has invested in the rival company that beat it to human trial.

Max Hodak, cofounder and former president of Elon Musk’s biotech company Neuralink, wrote in a blog post Friday that he’s invested in a direct rival. Neuralink is working on a device that it wants to embed in people’s brains to monitor and potentially stimulate brain activity. The device comprises a microchip and wires that would be threaded through a patient’s skull into the outer layer of the brain. The company has yet to begin human testing. https://bit.ly/33icfTm

Adtech, Privacy & Regulatory

I.R.S. to end use of facial recognition for identity verification.

The Internal Revenue Service plans to stop using facial recognition software to identify taxpayers seeking access to their accounts on the agency’s website amid concerns over privacy and data security. The I.R.S. was already coping with a daunting tax season, faced with backlogs of old tax returns, staffing shortages and the additional complexity of paying stimulus and child tax credits. Now the agency must also change how it verifies the identity of taxpayers. https://nyti.ms/3HJyL6l

Fintech, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency

U.S. Government seizes US$3.6 billion Bitcoin from couple accused of 2016 Bitfinex hack.

The U.S. Justice Department said it seized US$3.6 billion in bitcoin from a couple accused of laundering the proceeds of the 2016 hack of cryptocurrency trading platform Bitfinex. The value of the stolen bitcoin, which was US$70 million in 2016, has since ballooned to US$4.5 billion. The government wasn’t able to recover all the proceeds. It’s the largest-ever financial seizure by the Justice Department. According to the Wall Street Journal, Ilya Lichtenstein and his wife Heather Morgan, who said on social media they were entrepreneurs who liked tech and travel, were arrested Tuesday in Manhattan. The couple aren’t accused of the actual hack. https://bit.ly/3LucxHZ

Crypto exchanges make their Super Bowl debut at critical time.

It’s a testing time for crypto exchanges to be making their Super Bowl ad debuts. Recruiting new users can be simple when prices are skyrocketing. It’s a bit harder after tokens like Bitcoin and Ethereum have lost some steam, now down 35% from all-time highs. https://bloom.bg/3oH43U9

Block’s CashApp turns on bitcoin transfers via The Lightning Network for US customers.

People using Cash App can now use the Lightning Network to transfer bitcoin, the Block-owned payments platform provider has said. This integration will enable customers to make bitcoin transfers faster than before, and at no cost, it said in a post to Twitter late Monday. “Lightning Network is now available on Cash App. It’s the fastest, free way to pay anyone in bitcoin,” it tweeted. To use the feature, Cash App customers need to scan a Lightning QR code using the camera on their phone, then confirm the payment details and hit “Pay.” That will send bitcoin to a Lightning or on-chain address. https://bit.ly/33dItPs

National Football League teams up with Roblox to expand Metaverse presence with NFL Tycoon Experience.

The National Football League and Roblox, announced the launch of NFL Tycoon to engage the next generation of NFL football fans in the Metaverse. The NFL will be the first official major sports league to offer a persistent experience on Roblox, a global platform bringing millions of people together through shared experiences. “We are beyond thrilled to partner with Roblox as we journey deeper into the Metaverse and continue to learn the value of interactive shared experiences for the NFL,” said Joe Ruggiero, SVP, Consumer Products at the NFL. https://bit.ly/34smo0t

Salesforce tells employees it’s working on NFT cloud service.

Salesforce told employees at a sales kickoff on Wednesday that the company plans to release an NFT Cloud, according to people with knowledge of the matter. NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are unique digital assets stored using blockchain technology. They’ve taken off in the world of art and collectibles, and Salesforce sees an opportunity to bring the technology into enterprise software. Salesforce co-CEOs Marc Benioff and Bret Taylor both talked about the strategy at the online event, said one person who attended. The person asked not to be named because the event was private. Executives at the meeting referenced NFT-related work that Pepsi has done as an example, another person said. Salesforce, which provides cloud-based software for sales reps, marketing departments and e-commerce vendors, wants to offer a service for artists to create content and release it on a marketplace like OpenSea, one person said. https://cnb.cx/34AkISs

Seemingly ubiquitous NFTs make up only 1% of crypto universe.

NFTs seem to be everywhere as of late, whether being touted by celebrities ranging from Justin Bieber to Heidi Klum, but data show they account for just 1% of the overall cryptocurrency market. Nonfungible tokens have a combined value of about US$16 billion, a sliver of the roughly US$2 trillion ecosystem of thousands of digital assets, according to an analysis of NFTGo data by crypto information and research firm Messari. That’s even with some selling for millions of dollars. https://bloom.bg/3rHtWVE


World’s largest iPhone assembler says parts shortages are easing.

The biggest assembler of iPhones said component shortages that have plagued electronics production for more than a year are showing signs of easing, a potentially encouraging signal for manufacturers across industries. There will be a major improvement in parts shortages in the first quarter, with “overall supply constraints” set to ease in the second half, James Wu, a spokesman for Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., said during a company event in Taipei on Thursday. A shortage of components, in particular computer chips, has hurt production of everything from cars to smartphones as demand rose during the pandemic. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and its peers have indicated chip supply will remain tight throughout 2022, and carmakers including Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. recently warned about an ongoing impact from the semiconductor crunch. Power management chips are still in short supply, Hon Hai’s Wu said. The Taiwanese company, which buys about US$55 billion of chips a year, is striving to minimize the impact from supply-chain challenges, he said. The company expects first-quarter revenue to be little changed compared with a year earlier, Wu said. https://bloom.bg/3rKdbJr

Intel’s first blockchain chip will ship later this year, with Block as a customer.

Intel Corp said it plans to ship its first chip designed to speed up blockchain computing later this year. Among the first customers for the chip will be Bitcoin miner Griid Infrastructure, Argo Blockchain and Block, the company formerly known as Square. The move could help Intel Corp gain a foothold in the emerging market for custom chips dedicated to crypto and compete against Nvidia Corp, a top Intel rival in the data center market that has its own line of crypto chips. The Intel chip could also help crypto miners get a handle on electricty usage and costs, Intel claims. Raja Koduri, head of Intel’s accelerated comptuing group, said in a blog post that Intel expects the chip to get 1,000 times better performance per watt than “mainstream” GPUs for certain types of crypto mining. He said Intel will share more data on those claims at a technical conference later this month. “We are mindful that some blockchains require an enormous amount of computing power, which unfortunately translates to an immense amount of energy,” Koduri said the post. https://bit.ly/3Jsk0pf


Biden launches US$5 billion plan to shore up national EV charging network.

The Biden administration announced a five-year US$5 billion plan to shore up the nation’s patchy electric vehicle charging network, tapping into funds that were approved as part of the bipartisan infrastructure law signed last year. The funds represent a broader effort by President Biden’s administration to reduce carbon emissions and fight human-caused climate change. Despite a rise in EV sales over the last few years, at least 25 percent of all carbon emissions come from the transportation sector, most of which is represented by tailpipe emissions. https://bit.ly/361rgd3

Volvo will build electric cars using Tesla’s signature megacasting process.

Volvo, like practically every carmaker on the planet, is diving headfirst into electric cars. It’s taking a page out of Tesla’s playbook as it prepares an onslaught of new battery-powered models.  As part of the electric transition, the company said Tuesday that it plans to spend $1.1 billion upgrading its Swedish auto plant. Volvo is introducing new manufacturing processes, including megacasting, a technique pioneered by Tesla. https://bit.ly/3syjKhE


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