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Back to the business side of things — this week Recode reported that Coinbase is looking for a new chief financial officer to help take the company public. We are hiring a bunch of different executives at the company. It's part of the scaling effort. We have a CFO right now. We may or may not be looking for a CFO.

But I think the broader story here is that we're trying to scale the company because we're looking to build a lasting company in the space. In the case that Coinbase does go public, how do you convince investors that this company has a future? I think our view is that this is similar to the beginning of the internet. So we're trying to build a Google-like company for the cryptocurrency space.

Things like SegWit are a good example, where we need to ensure that we have the latest and greatest in terms of cryptocurrency. That's how we're going to be the cryptocurrency company, that if we do go public at some point in the future, we'll have that narrative. So we will be focused on that as a business, rather than a feature. We think a lot of the developer interest we've seen grow in is validation of the fact that this is something that will have staying power, rather than a flash in the pan.

When it comes to new technology like SegWit — how do you perceive the role of Bitcoin Core and the open source foundations behind the cryptocurrencies on your platform? We are actually trying to increase the amount of contributions we're making at the core protocol level. We have a significant amount of talent that we're trying to hire for, for engineers that would only be working on protocols.

So no direct benefit to Coinbase, they would be doing open source development on protocols like bitcoin and ethereum. We have an engineer right now who's working on the Lightning Network. We view this as both beneficial to Coinbase in the long-term because it makes digital currencies more scalable and more accessible for more people.

But at the same time, it's us giving back. Because we're obviously a business that benefits from the open source protocols that exist. I think you'll see us continue to hire more people whose sole responsibility will be to work with core developers in multiple digital currency protocols and try to help accomplish roadmaps that those communities have set out. We're effectively doubling the numbers in terms of headcount, from roughly to Do you have to do a lot of training or are you mostly hiring people who have experience in crypto?

It's pretty hard to find people with experience in crypto specifically. We've found that a lot of engineers at more traditional software companies are getting pretty interested in cryptocurrency and that those folks are coming into Coinbase and learning on the job. If you're a senior software engineer and you've worked with distributed system or just hard computer science type problems, this is stuff that you can pick up pretty quickly once its your full-time job.

Is it the same when it comes to hiring executives? Tina's a great example. She was dealing with an order of magnitude larger scale support organization, and having her skill set come in — maybe she's earlier on the digital currency learning curve, but that's a sweet spot for us.

She's quickly picking it up on the job, and is clearly a talent person. But the nice thing is that she's seen the movie before, in terms of scaling a support organization, so she's able to hit the ground running.

In the last month and a half she's done more in some ways than we were able to do before. So it's really great to bring in experienced folks on a variety of different functions. Are there any more updates on the roadmap, in terms of major technical changes like SegWit? At a high level, we're focused on providing customers what they want and what customers continually tell us is that they want high reliability during peak times,.

So we're continuing to focus on the scaling of the core infrastructure. I think the other big area for customers is wanting to add new assets. We're going to be slow to do that. We're going to carefully evaluate any new assets we add to the platform, first and foremost from a security angle to make sure we're not adding assets that potentially have a security vulnerability.

We are never going to be the brand that adds every asset under the sun first. For us it's about being the most trusted. Coinbase announced this week that it's rolling out support for SegWit, a software upgrade for bitcoin. How did the update process go? I understand you were testing it for a while. If you look at social media over the last couple of months you have a lot of feedback saying, "Why hasn't Coinbase implemented SegWit?

It took this team two days to update this product. Why can't Coinbase, with all the money and engineers they have, do it in just as quick of a time?

We're holding billions of dollars in customer digital currency. Any change we make to that core business structure has to be thoroughly tested both from the implementation, to make sure it's working, standpoint, but also some serious security considerations. But the upgrade for SegWit was challenging for a couple of reasons. A primary reason is that we have our own proprietary implementation of bitcoin, in terms of the node software we run.

Because we operate at a pretty large scale, we need something that can run for all of the transactions and customers that we're dealing with, but separately that also provides additional security benefits to us. So when we have an upgrade like this, we have to actually take it and re-implement it ourselves in some capacity.

So I think that is going to inevitably makes it a little slower to make changes. But when we do, you'll know that we've been really thoughtful about doing that.

So I think at a high level, it's something we've been tracking. And it took us a while to get done but we're quite pleased that it's finally ready to go and it's going to be rolling out to customers in the next few days.

Besides the impact this will have on the greater bitcoin network, how will SegWit affect Coinbase customers? The fees aren't determined by Coinbase as much as the network. You can only have so many transactions in a given block and if there are a lot of transactions on the network at any given moment, then the fees will naturally increase.

So what SegWit does is it allows more transactions to be in the network at any given time. And given how big Coinbase is relative to the network, it means that we aren't consuming any more of the network for customer transactions than we need to be. So we're technically making our infrastructure as efficient as we can. What about transaction batching? It's all about prioritization, and for us bitcoin is an area that we're continuing to invest in.

It's just another technique to efficiently process transactions. It's not an upgrade so much as a best practice when you're at scale. SegWit is a first step in terms of improving the efficiency of our bitcoin infrastructure, and we view it as a benefit for our customers as well as the bitcoin network and community at large that we're updated with the latest and greatest.

Critics of Coinbase have suggested that the company was against SegWit at some point because you were in support of a different upgrade to bitcoin altogether. That is unequivocally false. We always try to do right by our customers. What it is, is that ultimately we hold a lot of bitcoin on behalf of customers.

Those customers, in the case of a fork, want access to those coins, especially if the fork is going to have more of a legitimate developer community behind it. We need to make sure that we're keeping that bitcoin safe, and in the event that there are situations like forks where customers potentially have two different assets, we should let customers choose what to do with those assets.

There is a group of people in the world who think that Coinbase should have one very clear political stance, and I think that's just not where we are at this point. We're a neutral platform that is focused on bringing digital currencies to the world more broadly, and not picking favorites or following a political path.

Visa takes the blame for a glitch that hit Coinbase cryptocurrency investors with thousands of dollars in 'ghost' charges. Goldman Sachs is telling its multimillionaire clients not to worry about valuations or inflation. Last year, the market for initial public offerings among tech startups bounced back from a weak That's the word from Neil Kell, head of the tech, media, and telecom equity capital markets business at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

The number of tech IPOs will jump from about 38 last year to more than 50 in And next year could be just as good. The types of startups going public are likely to represent a wide range of technology sectors, from traditional internet services to mobility to cybersecurity to enterprise software as a service, he said.

Among the companies that has already filed the paperwork for a public offering is cloud storage company Dropbox. Additionally, some new types of technology companies could also hit the markets, such as those tapping into artificial intelligence or building AI-related applications, he said.

Several factors are driving the expected upsurge in offerings, Kell said. With the market on a long bull-run and the economy undergoing its second longest expansion since World War II, those firms may also want to have their startups go public before the good times come to an end.

But much of his optimism about the tech IPO market is due to the fact that the economy remains strong and investors have been generally bullish, despite the recent volatility in the stock markets. At the same time, many portfolio managers have more cash than typical in their holdings and need a way to invest that; tech stocks, which frequently promise fast-paced growth opportunities, offer an attractive option, Kell said. And the recent volatility might actually be beneficial for tech companies thinking about going public, he said.

When stocks are largely trading sideways, public offerings can offer some of the only promising avenues for growth, he said. That followed two down years, in which fewer than 30 tech startups went public each year. We built Nintendo's next big thing, Nintendo Labo. Walmart went through some big changes in the mids, and it's a huge lesson for any company that operates on a similar scale. It didn't pay attention to the positive press in the beginning, and it didn't pay attention when the tide started turning against it.

McMillon said that Walmart had been ignoring its critics, but then tried to combat the negative attention with facts. That led to a watershed moment for Walmart as it started its first large-scale humanitarian efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. McMillon said Walmart "unleashed" its entire staff, sending products, money, and people down to affected regions.

McMillon points to that moment in the company's history as the point when Walmart became a better corporate citizen. That was the first time Walmart realized its scale and the power it had to affect people's lives in a meaningful way.

Since then, Walmart has used its influence in different ways. Walmart has undertaken initiatives to become more sustainable by cutting waste and taking carbon out of its supply chain.

It started offering store employees better wages and expanded maternity leave, and began to give back to its communities. Walmart was the biggest bogeyman of the late 20th century.

According to critics, it was singlehandedly responsible for putting mom-and-pop shops out of business across the country, and for changing the retail landscape of America. But Walmart has now changed the narrative, and no one talks anymore about big-box stores ruining small towns' character. Instead, the newest bogeyman is e-commerce and online sales. Amazon is the largest player online by a large margin.

Fairly or not, Amazon is frequently blamed for what many have dubbed "the retail apocalypse," with thousands of stores closing their doors and local malls struggling.

Amazon's ubiquity in American life is now undeniable, and though the company has a progressive reputation due to its relatively liberal policies, well-compensated employees, and tech halo, it can't afford to lose that.

Sales may be flowing now, but customers — even ones with a Prime membership — are fickle. People want to feel good about where they are buying from, now more than ever, and headlines about struggling warehouse workers don't help Amazon's reputation. Amazon has achieved scale in much the same way Walmart did, and it can't afford to ignore its critics. It needs a moment much like Walmart's with Hurricane Katrina to restore goodwill among its consumers.

Walmart's online struggles show how far it has to go in its war with Amazon. Diet Coke has released four new flavors — here's what our resident Diet Coke fans have to say.

Postman , an API development environment provider, has released Postman 6. Individual developers can organize their work in personal workspaces and teams of developers can collaborate in team workspaces. The ProgrammableWeb directory passed the 19,API mark in January of so we're taking a look at what the data tells us since we published our last overall growth chart a year ago.

One of the things we can see is that the number of APIs submitted to our directory continues to grow. This is hardly a surprise. Pair this with optimism about corporate earnings, tax reform liquidity and confidence in credit availability, and you have an environment that is highly conducive to dealmaking.

New entrants on the buy side of potential deals are likely to drive greater activity levels in the coming months. Heightened competition comes, in large part, from increasing interest from nontraditional tech acquirers, sovereign wealth funds and private equity firms converging on the tech market.

Private equity firms, in particular, have shown an increased interest in technology assets. In fact, private equity players have more than tripled their tech investments over the past seven years see chart below, from Research.

While unicorn tech companies are attracting traditional players looking for both the technology and talent upgrades, private equity firms are more likely to bid on companies that have matured past the hype phase to a steady growth — profitable businesses, with a stable management team.

Cash-rich tech incumbents also are looking to build or buy into new technologies through joint ventures or venture arms. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and augmented reality — which, despite their growing hype are still very early in their innovation cycle and lack a defined business model — will serve as strategic investments for buyers looking to augment their existing product lines, or hit the next S curve growth cycle. As with new technology, increased investments in security will likely spur deal activity in a similar way.

Hacks and vulnerabilities are growing, and companies within the technology sphere and beyond are looking to build solutions that improve trust and reliability. There are over 1, security vendors, and many companies employ two to three vendors per security vertical. We can expect to see further consolidation and deals in this subsector. Heightened competition from private equity firms and strategic buyers will likely incite a jump in hostile and competitive bids. Tech companies should prepare to compete against these market participants by leveraging advanced analytics, evaluating synergy opportunities and carefully crafting deal narratives and integration strategies.

Carve-outs, the sale of business units or segments from larger entities, are also on the rise. These assets may be very attractive, but they carry a lot of risk and uncertainty, in particular around stand-alone costs. The sellers typically look for a speedy transaction, which may leave potential buyers nervous.

Companies looking for acquisitions should not shy away from these opportunities. Instead, they should implement the same rigorous evaluation process. In sum, companies looking to buy assets this year need to have their ducks in a row. Most companies need help in doing that — both from technology tools and a trained business advisor who understands the competitive landscape.

Businesses that do not do their proper due diligence ahead of the transaction often lose out on attractive assets. Excluding the possibility of geopolitical deterrents, little stands in the way for tech acquisitions this year. In fact, decreased valuations would likely drive further activity, because it would spur buyers to chase an attractive purchase price.

Trump's call for more gun regulation boosts firearm stocks. Here's what might happen if North Korea launched a nuclear weapon. This week, investors got an email explaining that Telegram is doing another private presale, four sources with knowledge of the deal told The Verge.

The exact amount to be raised is still being determined, according to one source, but two other sources said Telegram is estimating it will be around The line, called " Basic Care, " is essentially store-brand versions of medications you might pick up at a grocery or convenience store, like allergy medications or pain relievers.

The Basic Care line is sold alongside other brands of over-the-counter medications — generic and branded. CNBC reports that Amazon launched the line back in August , and the line now has about 60 products. On the prescription side of the industry, speculation that Amazon could be getting into the prescription drug business has been popping up for months. Of course, the decision to launch a private-label over-the-counter brand doesn't necessarily mean Amazon will get into the prescription business as well.

In addition to over-the-counter products, Amazon also sells medical supplies to medical practices. Verizon and Sprint announced their commitments earlier this year. They also boast longer battery life than Intel-powered PCs, though they do have some limitations with what they are capable of.

The results triggered a number of downgrades across Wall Street, as analysts grappled with the slowdown and lowered guidance for Company executives downplayed the e-commerce slowdown, pointing instead to unplanned expenditures.

Walmart tumbles after online sales growth slows. Venezuela's government will launch the first sale of its commodity-linked cryptocurrency, the petro, on Tuesday. The cryptocurrency, first mooted in December, will be backed by oil, gas, gold and diamond reserves in the economically stricken Latin American nation. Tuesday's launch comes in the form of a pre-sale, where potential buyers can sign up to get the petro when it officially launches. The token will attract investment from Turkey, Qatar, the United States and Europe, the country's cryptocurrency regulator, Carlos Vargas, told reporters last week.

When the currency was first announced, Venezuela's president, Nicolas Maduro said that it will help Venezuela to "advance in issues of monetary sovereignty, to make financial transactions and overcome the financial blockade. The cryptocurrency is effectively being launched to help Venezuela circumvent financial sanctions enforced by the USA and EU against the country as a punishment for its increasingly authoritarian regime. Other sanctioned nations will be watching closely as petro could set a precedent.

Initially, buyers will be able to use existing cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, as well as fiat currencies like the US dollar, to buy the petro. They will not, however, be able to use Venezuela's currency, the bolivar. The bolivar is famously weak after hyperinflation in recent years has left it virtually worthless. Jim Chanos on the return of choppy markets, Tesla, and the 'rent-seeking behavior' that's hurting our economy. When Amazon came online in selling books, Microsoft already had two decades of computer-selling experience under its belt.

For the next 20 years, despite Amazon's skyrocketing growth, Microsoft maintained it's lead. But Amazon's web services division, called AWS, was quietly sneaking up. And last week it finally paid off. On Wednesday, Amazon officially surpassed Microsoft's market value, making it the third-largest publicly-traded company in the United States.

And when it comes to clients who are actively using cloud services, Amazon's lead becomes even more clear:. As the chart from Credit Suisse shows, Amazon's on-ramps — or number of clients tapping into AWS data centers to do business — far outpaces any competitor, and are more than double Microsoft Azure's. And while the two companies jockey for position, both in cloud-computing and in the race for market cap, they may be able to grow their businesses together.

Their current revenues combined are just one-sixth of what the market is expected to reach. Amazon is famous for its low prices, but not even it could compete with dollar and discount stores. The merchandise is offered by Amazon's third-party merchant partners and in most cases does not ship directly from the company.

Though it launched quietly, the initiative is a clear move in on dollar and discount stores' turf. It's mostly decorative pillows, phone cases, and logo T-shirts.

The recent success of dollar stores and discount stores proves that there's a market for these goods when marketed appropriately. It makes sense that Amazon would attempt to move in this direction, even just slightly. Dollar General is planning on opening thousands of more stores, while Dollar Tree has beat earnings consistently.

Ross — famous for its "dress for less" slogan — has been hailed as a "retail treasure. Walmart, the biggest discount retailer in the country, has also posted 13 consecutive quarters of sales growth in the US. Amazon is reportedly making a huge change to its fresh grocery business — and it could be a huge win for customers. Forget about "Pong" — Atari's next big move is into an entirely new industry: Atari SA, the French holding company that now oversees all "Atari" properties, announced earlier this month that it's working on a cryptocurrency named "Atari Token.

Atari itself isn't creating either. Instead, a company named Infinity Networks is collaborating with Atari on the project. In exchange for a "long-term license" to use Atari's name, Infinity Networks is creating a blockchain-based platform — a storefront, essentially — for various forms of digital entertainment, "ranging from video games to movies and music.

Additionally, Atari is taking a minority stake in Infinity Networks in exchange for use of Atari's brand name in addition to potential future royalties and earnings from the platform. If all of this sounds a little strange to you, that's because it's all pretty strange. Atari's history is long and storied, and it's directly intertwined with the rise of the video game industry.

The company is largely credited with having created the game industry — first with games like "Pong" and "Breakout" in arcades, and then with home game consoles like the Atari It's also notorious for having helped bring about the crash of the game industry in the early '80s. The current incarnation of "Atari" is a re-branding of a French company previously named Infogrames.

There are actually several different business entities named some derivation of "Atari" at this point — Atari SA is the parent company that's responsible for the Atari Token and this upcoming blockchain-based digital storefront. That parent company is currently attempting a big turnaround for Atari, and it looks like the latest efforts are working.

It's unclear when the new platform will launch, or when Atari Token will become available for purchase. The legendary founder of Atari had a lifetime achievement award revoked over his sordid past — and he applauds the decision. So much so, in fact, that executives at the company have an inside joke about moving old products onto a new revenue model.

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