Investing Port RSS Feed All the latest news from Investing Port Malaysian police clamp down on bitcoin miners, destroying 1,069 bitcoin mining rigs with a steamroller Malaysian authorities last week launched a crackdown on bitcoin miners, seizing 1,069 bitcoin mining rigs and destroying them with a steamroller at the police headquarters parking lot.The raid was part of a joint operation between the law enforcement in the city of Miri and electric utility company Sarawak Energy. A video posted by the electricity company’s news outlet, Dayak Daily, last week, has since gone viral on social media.Kakemal Hawari, the assistant commissioner of police told news outlets that the crackdown by the police came after miners allegedly stole $2 million worth of electricity from Sarawak power lines. Authorities on the island of Borneo then received a tip that bitcoin miners could be behind the theft. In six separate raids between February and April, $1.26 million worth of bitcoin mining rigs were confiscated.The Miri city police chief told CNBC that the action by the alleged bitcoin miners led to the burning down of three houses in the city. He added that there were currently no active mining operations underway.Following a court order, the police crushed the mining equipment rather than sell them to recover part of the money from the stolen electricity. Similar cases of confiscation of bitcoin mining rigs have been reported in other countries. For example, in China, the mining rigs were reportedly auctioned off rather than destroyed.This wouldn’t be the first time such a case is seen in Malaysia. In March, a bitcoin miner in the city of Melaka reportedly stole $2.2 million worth of energy from power company Tenaga Nasional Berdad. Crypto mining is the process of creating new bitcoin through the use of a highly specialized computer to solve complex math problems. Solving the math problem unlocks new tokens and verifies new transactions. Operating the machines at full capacity requires a great deal of electricity, which can tamper with local power grids if blown out of proportion.Mining for cryptocurrency is not illegal in Malaysia, however, there are strict laws around the use of electricity. Section 37 of the country’s Electricity Supply Act states that any tamper with power lines will attract a fine of up to 100,000 Malaysian ringgit ($23,700) and five-year imprisonment.Eight people have so far been arrested in connection to the Miri electricity theft, and six have been charged under Section 379 in the Penal Code for stealing energy supply, Hawari added. Those charged will face eight months of jail term and will be fined up to $1,900 per person.]]> Mon, 19 Jul 2021 15:17:37 EST Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin set to go to space with an 18-year-old aboard Barely over a week since Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson and his team flew to the edge of space in the VSS Unity, billionaire Jeff Bezos is set to fly to space in his own rocket.In an Instagram post announcing the spaceflight, Bezos mentioned how it has always been his dream to fly to space – a dream he has had since childhood. He explained how excited he was to go on the “greatest adventure” with his brother.“Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of traveling to space,” he wrote. “Only July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend.” The spaceflight, for months, was scheduled for July 20 in a rocket and capsule built by Blue Origin, Bezos’ privately founded space company. Tuesday’s flight will be the company’s first crewed spaceflight for Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket. If the flight is successful, Bezos and his team will make history as one of the first civilian crew to fly to the edge of space.The New Shepard rocket will launch from a station in the West Texas desert, southeast of El Paso. The flight is a suborbital flight which means the capsule will not launch into orbit around the earth but will reach only the edge of space at an altitude of 65 miles. The passengers will experience few minutes of weightlessness before the capsule descends under parachutes to land in the Texas desert. The whole journey, back-and-forth is expected to last about 10 minutes.Bezos will not be going to space alone. 82-year-old Wally Funk, a former test pilot who was one of the “Mercury 13” women will be on board; Bezos’s brother Mark Bezos; and 18-year-old Dutch teenager Oliver Daemen. This trip will set the record of flying the oldest person and youngest person to space.The 18-year-old will set the record as the youngest person to fly to space. Although he had secured a seat on the second flight, he was moved to the first flight after an opening came up. The mystery bidder who secured a seat on the first flight along Bezos who was reported to have put up $28 million wouldn’t be able to make the trip due to “scheduling conflicts”, a Blue Origin spokesperson told CNN Business.“Daemen was a participant in the auction and had secured a seat on the second flight. We moved him up when this seat on the first flight became available,” the spokesperson said. “We’re not disclosing how much he paid.”Sources familiar with the matter said Daemen’s seat was purchased for him by his father Joes Daemen, founder and CEO of Somerset Capital Partners, an investment firm in the Netherlands. The success of Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic space travels will officially launch the commercial space travel industry. Tuesday’s flight is important for Blue Origin because it will be a step further into the market of high-priced commercial rides to space. The company is hoping to officially open its doors for business in the nearest future.]]> Mon, 19 Jul 2021 15:11:58 EST U.S., NATO, EU, says China is to blame for Cyberattack on Microsoft Exchange Servers The U.S., NATO, and EU have accused China of a cyberattack launched on Microsoft Servers. The new alliance made up of the NATO member states, the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, have come together against China to put a stop to its global-threat cyberattacks. The alliance blames China’s Ministry of State for the massive cyberattack launched on Microsoft Exchange servers earlier this year. A spokesperson said the attack was carried out by criminal hackers, who engage in cryptojacking, cyber-enabled extortion, and ransomware, contracted by the MSS.A senior Biden administration official said the alliance will share intelligence on cyber threats and work together on network defenses and security.The FBI, National Security Agency, and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency unveiled a new advisory with 50 tactics, techniques, and procedures that these China-backed hackers employ.The Microsoft Exchange server cyberattack which was made public in March could have affected at least 30,000 U.S.-based organizations and thousands more globally. Microsoft tracked down the hacking group, identifying them as an unpopular Chinese espionage network dubbed Hafnium. The United States, without second thoughts, suspected Beijing of the attack but delayed in naming China as the primary suspect. The delay was partly to allow investigators to properly look into the matter and confirm that the Hafnium hackers were sponsored by the Chinese state. The United States also had to get the support of its allies before publicly accusing China of the attacks.In response to U.S.’s allegations, Chinese officials accused the United States of “meddling” in its internal affairs. The White House raised the Microsoft attacks allegations with senior members of the Chinese government stating that China’s “actions threaten security, confidence, and stability in cyberspace.”“We’re not ruling out further actions to hold [China] accountable,” a senior Biden administration official said. “But we’re also aware that no one action can change the PRC’s behavior, and neither can one country acting on its own. So we really focused initially on bringing other countries along with us.”The cyber- and trade wars between China and the U.S. have been ongoing as both countries struggle for world power. At a time when technology plays a crucial role in national development, democratic and autocratic states struggle to achieve a monopoly in cybersecurity and related sectors.The new alliance was could set the pace for governments to attack transnational threats from countries like China. It comes amid President Joe Biden’s rally to get more support among NATO and EU allies to approach China, in addition to economic and diplomatic sanctions the Biden administration imposed on Beijing this year. The sanctions were related to alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Hong Kong.]]> Mon, 19 Jul 2021 15:04:30 EST U.K. lawmaker warns about companies selling to China over growing concerns of intellectual property theft UK lawmaker Iain Duncan Smith told the U.K. Parliament on Thursday China has ongoing plans to buy up chip companies to attain supremacy in the semiconductor industry. This is so important because chips are crucial in technological development from car sensors to making deadly weaponry. Chips are currently in short supply due to increasing demands and nations are ensuring as much as possible to have enough of them. Former leader of the conservative party, Duncan Smith believes that China is using unethical and questionable methods to get chips as it strives to become a world leader in the semiconductor industry. He told the UK parliament that China has identified this key area and is making moves to dominate it. The semiconductor industry is currently led by Taiwan, South Korea, and the United States – countries that are home to chipmaking giants, TSMC, Samsung, and Intel.The UK Lawmaker accuses China of “stealing technology, getting other people’s intellectual property rights, and buying up companies.” He is a vocal critic of China and has dedicated his part of his resources to gather facts on China trade.Beijing did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment but has strongly denied allegations of theft of intellectual property in past times. In November 2018, for example, China’s Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Gao Feng reportedly said that all accusations that China steals IP from the U.S. are false and hearsay. The following month, the country’s Foreign Ministry strongly opposed all allegations by the U.S. and other allies that criticize the Chinese government for economic espionage.Duncan Smith’s accusations came after Chinese-owned Nexperia announced plans to buy Newport Wafer Fab, the biggest chip manufacturer in the UK. Although Nexperia is headquartered in the Netherlands, it is owned by China-based Wingtech Technologies.The U.K. government initially said it wouldn’t intervene in the acquisition process, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday said the deal will be reviewed by national security adviser Stephen Lovegrove, after giving it another thought.“We have to judge whether the stuff that they are making is of real intellectual property value and interest to China, whether there are real security implications,” Johnson said.Amanda Solloway, UK’s Business Minister said despite the review that is set to be carried out, the government will not intervene at this stage as there are no current national security concerns.“It is right that commercial transactions are primarily a matter for the parties involved,” Solloway said. “The government has been in close contact with Newport Wafer Fab but it does not consider it appropriate to intervene in this case at the current time.”Reports carry that several other European chip companies – including Britain’s Imagination Technologies, Netherland’s Ampleon, have been sold to China-backed companies.]]> Sat, 17 Jul 2021 09:37:21 EST Allen Media Broadcasting Purchases ABC Affiliate WJRT-TV Byron Allen’s Allen Media Broadcasting (also known as Allen Media) recently purchased ABC affiliate WJRT-TV in a deal worth $70 million.Once the acquisition deal is closed, Allen Media will own and operate 24 local television stations in 20 locations, PR News reports. The company will also own and operate 12 television networks including The Weather Channel and Local Now, a free-streaming service. The deal is said to close in the third or fourth quarter of this year.“We are delighted to win the process to add this wonderful local television station and its great employees to the fast-growing Allen Media Group family,” said Byron Allen, Founder, CEO and Chairman of Allen Media in a release. “Over the past year-and-a-half, we’ve invested close to $1 billion to acquire best-in-class, top-tier, broadcast network affiliates and we plan to invest approximately ten billion dollars to acquire more ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX television stations over the next two years with the goal of being the largest broadcast television group in America.”The WJRT-TV leadership also expressed their joy in handing over the company to capable hands, adding that the company is excited to embark on a new journey. After seven years of ownership Gray’s Executive Chairman and CEO Hilton H. Howell is certain that the media company will continue to thrive under its new leadership.“The wonderful WJRT-TV staff has done an exemplary job serving the Flint-Saginaw community, and we are disappointed to lose them,” Howell said. “Nevertheless we are excited that Byron Allen and his team will follow us as the next dedicated stewards of this fine television station.”In May, Gray and Allen Media Group announced that Allen Media Group will acquire 10 television stations – currently owned by Quincy Media, Inc. – worth $380 million.About Allen Media Group/Entertainment StudiosAllen Media Group was founded in 1993 by Byron Allen, chairman and CEO of the media company. With headquarters in Los Angeles, Allen Media has offices in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and Raleigh. The company owns 24 broadcast TV stations in the U.S. affiliated to ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX. Its television networks serving nearly 180 million subscribers include The Weather Channel, Justice Central TV, Comedy TV, Cars TV, Recipe TV, TheGrio TV, Mydestination TV, among others.About Gray TelevisionGray Television is the largest owner of top-rated local TV stations and digital assets in the United States. It is headquartered in Atlanta and operates across major U.S. cities. The company is set to become the U.S.'s second-largest television broadcaster with TV stations serving 113 markets, reaching approximately 36 percent of US households. The media group also other businesses including video program production, marketing, and other digital businesses (Raycom Sports, RTM Studios, and Tupelo Honey).]]> Sat, 17 Jul 2021 09:34:33 EST Facebook to pay content creators $1B through 2022 In a time when content creation has become quite popular among creators and their audience, hosting platforms like YouTube have rewarded creators with cash. After years of calling out Facebook to do the same, the social media giant has finally responded to the calls.The social media giant CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday said the company will pay out $1 billion through 2022 to content creators on its Facebook and Instagram platforms. The company hopes to attract more influencers on its social media networks through this strategy as it ups its competition with similar services.“We want to build the best platforms for millions of creators to make a living, so we’re creating new programs to invest over $1 billion to reward creators for great content they create on Facebook and Instagram through 2022,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post. “Investing in creators isn’t new for us, but I’m excited to expand this work over time.”The company also plans to launch new programs between now and the end of the year as part of the initiative. The bonus programs will pay out content creators if they hit specific milestones. Among the new bonus programs is the Reels Summer Bonus set to launch in the coming weeks. U.S. creators who create Reels content for Instagram will get paid. Reels is a short-length video creator and editor that was launched on Instagram in 2020 to compete with short-video platform TikTok.Facebook added that it will launch dedicated spaces within its Facebook and Instagram apps where creators can enter to learn more about the bonus programs and the rewards. It plans to provide creators with seed funding to help cover the cost for content production across Facebook’s platforms. The bonus programs will start on an invitation-only basis, the company said, without providing complete details on the timing or eligibility. The social media giant has launched many initiatives over the past few months to financially reward its creators as a strategy to attract more social media influencers to its networks. In June, Facebook announced that it would not take a cut of creators’ generated revenue on paid online events, badges, fan subscriptions, and the company’s upcoming independent news product until at least 2023. Talented creatives have turned the online space into their personal studios. These days, it takes lesser efforts to become popular overnight thanks to content creation and growing trends. These creators have become a crucial part of the social networking ecosystem in recent years, helping social networking platforms grow in popularity.“Our goal is to help as many creators as possible find sustainable, long-term success on our apps,” Facebook said in a statement. It added that the goal in all of this is to make its platforms the best place for millions of content creators to make a living. ]]> Sat, 17 Jul 2021 09:31:51 EST At least 120 people have been confirmed dead and hundreds injured in European Flood The past few days have been ghastly for Europe as at least 120 people have been confirmed dead and hundreds of people left injured in the recent flood.The continent has experienced one of the worst floodings in decades after record rainfall caused rivers to overflow into regions causing havoc across major European towns and cities. At least 100 people have died in Germany, and 20 in Belgium. The Netherlands, Switzerland, and Luxembourg have also been affected.Belgium Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has declared July 20 a national mourning day as the country awaits the final toll. He described the flood as the “most catastrophic flooding” the country has ever witnessed.Although many factors contribute to flooding, a warming atmosphere (global warming) caused by climate change is the major factor. Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for a more determined fight against climate change as the rains get heavier. Studies have shown that industrial activities have contributed to global warming and the world has so far warmed nearly 1.2C since the advent of the industrial era. Unless world governments make bigger steps to curbing emissions, the temperature levels will keep rising.Hannah Cloke, Professor of Hydrology at the University of Reading said the deaths and destruction across Europe caused by the flood could have been avoided. She said that early warnings were issued by forecasters, “yet the warnings were not taken seriously enough and preparations were inadequate.”She added that the record-breaking heatwaves and fire the northern hemisphere is currently experiencing should be a reminder of “just how much more dangerous our weather could become in an ever-warmer world.”Authorities are uncertain about how many people are missing as phone signal in much of the region is down, making communication quite impossible, according to BBC reports. The death toll rises every day and the magnitude of the disaster keeps getting clearer with each passing day. “We have had two or three days of constant rain. Or maybe four, I lost track,” said Schuld resident Klaus Radermacher who has lived there for 60 years. “I saw the Pizza store getting flooded half an hour later the bakery was flooded. There is a camping ground up there, so caravans and campervans came floating past, gas tanks.” He told Reuters that they were utterly “powerless” against the flooding and it was unlike anything he has ever seen.About 15,000 police, soldiers, and emergency service workers have been deployed to Germany on search and rescue missions. The flooding wrecked a lot of havoc leaving entire villages and towns destroyed. Thousands of people remain unaccounted for as the towns have been rendered desolate by the flooding. “Once the river started overflowing and the water came down from the hillside, it was a matter of two minutes before the courtyard was flooded with waist-high water,” a Rheinbach, North Rhine-Westphalia resident told Reuters. “We had to get out through the window and uphill in order to save ourselves.” ]]> Sat, 17 Jul 2021 09:29:32 EST Digital Bank Revolut closes $800 million in new funding round, now valued at $33B Digital bank and fintech firm Revolut disclosed on Thursday that it successfully raised $800 million in a funding round led by SoftBank and Tiger Global.The funding round was endorsed by Britain’s finance minister Rishi Sunak, who encourages such events and wants to see the UK fintech industry grow which would also help sustain the financial sector since the country’s departure from the European Union.“We want to see even more great British Fintech success stories like Revolut,” Sunak said.The digital banking and trading service is now valued at $33 billion, six times its worth a year ago at $5.5 billion. The round was led by Japanese SoftBank and U.S. Tiger Global which hold less than 5% stake in the company, collectively. The latest funding round places Revolut as the second-largest fintech private startup in Europe, after fintech giant Klarna, according to CB Insights. Revolut now ranks as the biggest fintech firm in the U.K., beating said it would invest the newly raised fund in marketing, product development, and international expansion, the company’s CFO Mikko Salovaara told reporters on Thursday. Adding that the firm is very focused on expanding its reach in the United States and India.In 2020, Revolut reported annual losses of £167.8 million ($231.9 million), about £106 million higher than what the company lost in the previous year. The company’s revenue was £222.1 million last year. With its current valuation, Revolut is worth more than five times its market value and 100 times its last year’s sales.Revolut’s boost came towards the end of 2020 and was “strongly profitable” in the first quarter of this year, Solvaara said. As such, the company is hoping to become even more profitable in the coming quarters. It is banking on its expansion into new services such as stock trading, business accounts, and crypto, CEO and co-founder Nik Storonsky told CNBC.According to data from CB Insights, fintechs have received the most investments this year, raising $33.7 billion only in the second quarter of 2021.Salovaara said the firm doesn’t plan for an initial public offering immediately, considering it just raised a sizeable amount in the round. He suggested a possible IPO was in view but was unlikely this year. Questions of whether Revolut will go public come amid other fintechs’ plans to go public. Last week, money transfer firm Wise, went public on the London Stock Exchange, becoming the biggest tech listing by market cap.“We think eventually we will be a public company but have no immediate plans to list,” Salovaara said.Since its founding in 2015, Revolut has offered more than 16 million customers products including foreign exchange, stock trading, cryptocurrencies, at lower rates compared to mainstream bank’s rates.]]> Fri, 16 Jul 2021 05:43:35 EST Dogecoin co-creator says he doesn’t plan to return to crypto Dogecoin co-creator Jackson Palmer says he wants nothing to do with cryptocurrency as it is “controlled by a powerful cartel of wealthy figures.”The meme-inspired cryptocurrency co-creator made a shocking return to Twitter on Wednesday, tweeting despicable things against cryptocurrency in general. He explained why he thinks digital currency is such a bad idea.“I am often asked if I will ‘return to cryptocurrency’ or begin regularly sharing my thoughts on the topic again. My answer is a wholehearted ‘np’”, Palmer said in a tweet.Palmer and co-creator Billy Markus created dogecoin in 2013 as a joke inspired by the “Doge” meme which features a Shiba Inu dog. Both creators never intended for dogecoin to be taken as a serious cryptocurrency. Fast forward years later, big names like Elon Musk are putting dogecoin on the news headlines.Dogecoin is currently one of the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market value. Despite its market potentials dogecoin only hit an all-time high of nearly 74 cents and both creators are yet to profit from it. Palmer and Markus both sold out on the cryptocurrency before its global rise. They claimed that cryptocurrency wasn’t in line with their values.In his Wednesday Twitter thread, Palmer criticized unknown cryptocurrency powers saying that space is controlled by a “powerful cartel” of wealthy people who have “evolved to incorporate any of the same institutions tied to the existing centralized financial system they supposedly set out to replace.”He blasted criticized the use of cryptocurrency as a tool to make “profiteering more efficient for those at the top” a system he said is designed to make the rich richer through “tax avoidance, diminished regulatory oversight, and artificially enforced scarcity.”Palmer also accused the crypto market of encouraging a network of “shady business connections.” He suggested that most cryptocurrency influencers are bought at a price and the industry is filled with “pay-for-play media outlets to perpetuate a cult-like ‘get rich quick’ funnel designed to extract new money from the financially desperate and naïve.”He describes crypto investment as a type of “financial exploitation” and admitted that others existed before cryptocurrency. Palmer added that he still believes that the “average” investor will be hurt by the crypto industry which is susceptible to fraud, as other crypto critics have stated.Dogecoin co-creator Markus responded to Palmer’s tweet, agreeing with his current stance about cryptocurrency.“There’s a lot of terrible people who are involved in the crypto space, and I completely understand why he would feel negative about it,” Markus said. In another tweet, he added that he could relate with Palmer because they both experienced the negative side of the cryptocurrency saga.Concerning the main motivation behind the creation of dogecoin, Markus told CNBC that the idea was to get the “elitist” cryptocurrency community to become more “inclusive” and they wanted a community that was “more fun, lighthearted and inclusive.”Cryptocurrency supporters think otherwise. For example, bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market value was created to be a decentralized peer-to-peer financial system and has succeeded as such. It is also considered to be a hedge against inflation and has many other benefits.]]> Fri, 16 Jul 2021 05:28:11 EST FAA says SpaceX Texas Starship launch tower is unapproved The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration issued a warning in a letter two months ago to Elon Musk’s SpaceX that its massive launch tower in Texas is unapproved.The agency said that before the Starship launch tower will receive approval it must be included in an ongoing environmental review of the company’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas. An FAA spokesperson told CNBC on Wednesday that SpaceX is building the launch tower at its own risk, noting that a negative environmental review could require the tower to be taken down.“It is possible that changes would have to be made at the launch site, including the integration towers to mitigate significant impacts,” the FAA said, citing video footage of the tower’s construction “publicly available.”The FAA letter was issued to SpaceX on May 6 after the company said in a prior letter that the launch tower in Boca Chica should not be included in the environmental review because the company only “intends to use the integration tower for production, research, and development purposes and not for FAA-licenses or –permitted launches.”Daniel Murray, FAA safety authorization division manager wrote in response to the letter that SpaceX’s project description in the “administrative Programmatic Environmental Assessment provided to the FAA on May 5, 2021, indicates otherwise.” He added that the “480-foot-tall integration tower is substantially taller than the water tower and lighting towers assessed in 2014” environmental assessment. The FAA began an environmental review of SpaceX’s Starship development facility last year. This followed the company’s plan to apply for licenses to launch the next-generation rocket prototypes from Boca Chica. An earlier environmental assessment was done in 2014. It was specific to SpaceX’s much-smaller Falcon rocket series.Starship prototypes are about 160 feet tall, about the size of a 16-story building. They are built of stainless steel and initially launch on a “Super Heavy” booster which makes up half of the bottom of the rocket and stands 230 feet tall. Together, the Starship and the Super Heavy stand nearly 400 feet tall.Over the past year, SpaceX has conducted multiple short flight tests with the prototypes. However, to get issued a license to proceed to the next step in rocket testing, the company needs to pass the FAA environmental screening. The company is set to launch the first orbital spaceflight of its Starship rocket this month, said President Gwyne Shotwell.In May, SpaceX revealed its plans for the July orbital spaceflight which is scheduled to launch from its Texas facility and will splash down off the coast of Hawaii.]]> Fri, 16 Jul 2021 05:23:09 EST