MAX.ng raises $7M round backed by Yamaha and pilots EVs in Nigeria
- Nigerian motorcycle transit startup MAX.ng has raised a $7 million funding round led by Novastar Ventures, with participation of Japanese manufacturer Yamaha.
- Motorcycle transit ventures are vying to digitize a share of Africa’s boda boda and okada markets (the name for motorcycle taxis in East and West Africa)—representing a collective revenue pool of $4 billion (now) that’s expected to double by 2021, per a TechSci study.
- Uber began offering a two-wheel transit option in East Africa in 2018, around the same time Bolt (previously Taxify) started motorcycle taxi service in Kenya.
- Uganda-based motorcycle ride-hail company SafeBoda expanded into Kenya in 2018 and recently raised a Series B round, co-led by the venture arms of Germany’s Allianz and Indonesia’s Go-Jek. On the question of how MAX (a 2018 TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Africa participant) will compete in a market with more players, co-founder Chinedu Azodoh named diversification and satisfying drivers.
Facebook’s Calibra logo looks very familiar
- Current is a startup bank that first launched in 2017 with an app-controlled debit card designed for kids, and at the end of last year it launched a regular checking account.
- As well as being able to manage your account using an app, Current also advertises that it can be used as a way for users to pay their friends, not unlike the functionality that will be offered by Calibra when it launches next year.
- Unlike some cases of plagiarism (cough, Xiaomi, cough), it’s entirely possible this was a complete accident.
- Neither tildes nor circles are uncommon shapes, and it makes sense for Calibra to use a tilde in its logo given that the cryptocurrency it’s designed to use, Libra, uses three tildes stacked vertically (≋) as its currency symbol.
- Nevertheless, the resemblance is striking, and since both companies provide financial services there’s potential for confusion.
Report: QuadrigaCX CEO used fake trades to misappropriate users’ cryptocurrency
- The Canadian cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX appears to have been playing with fire long before it collapsed – and took $134 million with it – earlier this year.
- According to the latest report from administrators, EY, QuadrigaCX had been operating a fraudulent cryptocurrency exchange.
- It failed to follow basic business processes, maintain financial accounts, and manage user and company funds appropriately.
- This resulted in “inflated revenue figures, artificial trades with [real] users,” and let Cotten withdraw users’ cryptocurrency to personal accounts.
- Instead, it transferred “significant volumes” off platform to accounts on competitor exchanges controlled by Cotten.
- The monitor is also in control of CAD$1 million (USD$756,000) worth of cryptocurrency.
- While this might sound like administrators are making good headway to recovering user funds, they still have a long way to go.
- QuadrigaCX collapsed, earlier this year, after its CEO was reported to have passed away.
Bitcoin Price Storms 151% YTD as Facebook’s Libra Boosts 2019 Rally
- By CCN Markets: Bitcoin is up more than 151 percent against the U.S. dollar year-to-date at $9,300, surpassing most assets and stock indices in the likes of Nasdaq 100 and S&P 500 with ease in six-month performance.
- Some analysts have suggested that the release of Libra, planned for 2020, may lead to the decline in demand for existing crypto assets such as bitcoin and ether, the native cryptocurrency of Ethereum.
- A crypto trader and real estate developer known as Satoshi Flipper noted that Libra, which will operate as a stablecoin backed by the Libra Reserve according to its whitepaper, will not replace bitcoin nor compete against it in the same market.
- Rather, it would operate in a centralized ecosystem with regulations and oversight, bringing more awareness to bitcoin and the rest of the crypto market.
US wants to extradite Swede over $11M Bitcoin investment scam
- In a complaint submitted on March 4, 2019, and unsealed yesterday, Roger Nils-Jonas Karlsson and his company, Eastern Metal Securities (EMS), were charged with engaging in a scheme that defrauded more than 3,500 victims of over $11 million.
- According to the complaint, Karlsson allegedly used websites to communicate false representations to victims since September 2006.
- Karlsson reportedly used the website to invite potential investors to buy shares of the plan for $98 per share in exchange for an eventual payout of 1.15 kilograms of gold per share.
- The complaint also says that Karlsson allegedly told investors that, in the unlikely event that the gold payout failed, they would receive a 97 percent return of the amount they invested.
- Karlsson used a second website (www.hci25.com) to make more communication with potential investors.
- Karlsson also allegedly said that EMS was working with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to get the payout ready.
Studying naked mole-rats could be the key to breakthroughs in treating pain and cancer
- Naked mole-rats can also move their lower incisors to manipulate objects, and have a large sensory area of their brains dedicated to their teeth in the same way that hands have dedicated brain space in humans.
- Not content with just being immune to cancer, naked mole-rats are also impervious to some normally agonising chemical stimuli, such as capsaicin (the substance that makes chilli peppers taste hot) and acid (what gives lemon juice and vinegar their kick).
- Scientists are now further studying the naked mole-rat to see whether we might be able to make the human pain system similarly impervious to acid pain.
- The molecule responsible for insensitivity to acid in mole-rats also plays a role in human genetic conditions that drastically alter pain perception, and as a result of this convergent research, potential painkillers targeting this molecule have made it into clinical trials in humans.
Google's cryptographic solution to keep sensitive data sets private
- The internet giant has said it’s open sourcing Private Join and Compute, a new secure multi-party computation (MPC) tool designed to help organizations work together with confidential data sets.
- The tool is conceived with privacy in mind, and thus allows organizations to trade data sets and glean aggregate insights about other parties’ confidential data without actually disclosing anything about individuals represented in the data set.
- By processing the city’s rider data set and the point-of-sale data set from merchants using Private Join and Compute, it allows the city to determine the total number of train riders who made a purchase at a local store without revealing any identifying information about the riders or their purchases.
- Once the intersecting data set has been identified, calculations — like count, summation, or average — can be performed on it to reveal aggregate statistics.
‘A Clear Threat’: Big Four Australian Bank Fears Facebook’s Crypto Libra
- By CCN Markets: Facebook’s foray into cryptocurrencies with Libra has met with a ton of mixed reactions.
- Governments across the globe are calling for strict scrutiny and regulation of Libra, but there’s one category of people who are really afraid of what Facebook’s cryptocurrency can do.
- The inclusion of payment processors and other tech upstarts – crypto exchanges included – clearly indicates that the company is looking to bypass the banking network in a bid to knock down the barriers and get straight to the consumer.
- For instance, you wouldn’t need a bank account to fund your Uber ride, as you can simply use Libra to do the same using a payment processor such as Visa or PayU.
- This effectively tells us that Facebook Libra is on track to replace bitcoin as the global banking industry’s biggest threat.
RHA releases wireless edition of the excellent T20 earphones
- The T20 Wireless matches the price of the former T20i Made for iPhone model at $249.95, promising to deliver the same exciting sound signature and quality, but with fewer wires and a 12-hour battery life.
- Alongside it, there’s a wide selection of really good ear tips and two pairs of additional sound filters you can install inside the earphones.
- Personally, I find the T20 Wireless a little too forward in the high frequencies, which is something of an RHA signature sound, and so I favor the bass filter.
- If only this part of the design was a little nicer, I’d be recommending the T20 Wireless on the strength of their rock-solid construction, stable connection, good battery life, and fast recharging.
Vivo’s Super FlashCharge tech fills a 4,000mAh phone in 13 minutes
- A new entrant joined the ultra-fast-charging Chinese phone wars today as Vivo announced its Super FlashCharge 120W technology.
- There aren’t any details yet on how it works, but the claim is that it’s capable of fully charging a 4,000mAh phone battery in just 13 minutes, which would make it the fastest solution on the market if it were actually to ship in a phone.
- In March, Xiaomi announced a 100W charging system that supposedly charges a 4,000mAh battery in 17 minutes, though the tech hasn’t yet shipped on a commercial device.
- The fastest-charging phone that people can actually buy remains the Oppo Find X Lamborghini Edition, which comes with a Super VOOC charger that fills up its 3,400mAh battery in 35 minutes.
- Vivo is likely to demonstrate Super FlashCharge 120W at next week’s MWC Shanghai, along with its first 5G device.