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phytel.com

Founded Year

1997

Stage

Acquired | Acquired

Total Raised

$40.35M

About Phytel

Phytel provides health care organizations with proven population health technology to deliver timely, coordinated care to their patients. The company's registry uses evidence-based chronic and preventive care protocols to identify and notify patients due for care, while tracking compliance and measuring quality and financial results.

Phytel Headquarter Location

11511 Luna Road Suite 600

Farmers Branch, Texas, 75234,

United States

214-750-9922

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Research containing Phytel

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CB Insights Intelligence Analysts have mentioned Phytel in 1 CB Insights research brief, most recently on Jul 23, 2020.

Expert Collections containing Phytel

Expert Collections are analyst-curated lists that highlight the companies you need to know in the most important technology spaces.

Phytel is included in 2 Expert Collections, including Value-Based Care & Population Health.

V

Value-Based Care & Population Health

860 items

The VBC & Population Health collection includes companies that enable and deliver care models that address the health needs for defining populations along the continuum of care, including in the community setting, through participation, engagement, and targeted interventions.

D

Digital Health

12,788 items

Technologies, platforms, and systems that engage consumers for lifestyle, wellness, or health-related purposes; capture, store, or transmit health data; and/or support life science and clinical operations. (DiME, DTA, HealthXL, & NODE.Health)

Latest Phytel News

Boris Johnson is looking for US help to ban Russia from SWIFT

Jan 26, 2022

Boris Johnson is looking for US help to ban Russia from SWIFT The UK prime minister says that banning Russia from one of the top global payments system “would be a very potent weapon" as concern about Ukraine builds. During COP26 governments, automotive manufacturers and others committed to 100% zero emission vehicles Photo: Yuri Mikhailenko/TASS via Getty Images January 25, 2022 Boris Johnson said on Tuesday that he is talking to the U.S. about a possible Russian ban from the SWIFT system, which undergirds global payments. Amid increasing threats of a Ukraine invasion , Western governments are looking for deterrence measures. The British leader's threat could carry significant economic consequences: The SWIFT global payments system carries more than five billion financial messages each year covering payments, trade finance, foreign exchange and treasury, and securities. If Russia is banned from the system, that could mean cutting off access to banking and credit card systems from across the world. This specific economic sanction has only been used on two countries so far , North Korea and Iran. Iran launched an alternative called SEPAM in 2013 as a result. VTB Bank head Andrey Kostin said last month that the sanction “would be a very serious measure, 'unfriendly' doesn't do it justice." However, the Biden administration has made it abundantly clear that if Russia proceeds with military force in Ukraine, the U.S. is prepared to enact economic sanctions. In an effort to try to get ahead of sanctions, Russia experimented with blockchain-based solutions as an alternative in April last year. It has also developed its own banking messaging system known as SPFS. But the Russian government's apparent disagreement on how crypto should be regulated could hobble its attempt to use digital currencies as a workaround. Lindsey Choo is a San Francisco-based reporter covering fintech. She is a graduate of UC San Diego, where she double majored in communications and political science. She has previously covered healthcare issues for the Center for Healthy Aging and was a senior staff writer for The UCSD Guardian. She can be reached at lchoo@protocol.com. Russia’s Ministry of Finance is opposed to the Central Bank of Russia’s proposed crypto ban, calling for regulation instead of a complete ban. “Regulation is sufficient to protect our citizens,” Ivan Chebeskov, the head of the financial policy department at the ministry, said in a conference on cryptocurrencies on Tuesday. He added that the ministry has prepared a set of proposed crypto regulations awaiting government evaluation and approval. The Central Bank of Russia proposed a full ban on cryptocurrencies in a report released earlier this month , adding to an existing ban on using crypto in payments and prohibiting mutual funds from investing in crypto. The report cited crypto's effect on Russia’s financial stability, as well as concerns about crypto mining’s impact on the energy supply. Russia is the third-largest crypto-mining country in the world, with over $5 billion worth of crypto transactions conducted every year, according to a Central Bank report. The Ministry of Finance isn’t alone in its criticisms. Many within the tech and political spheres have voiced their concerns. “No developed country bans cryptocurrencies,” Telegram founder Pavel Durov wrote in a tweet . “These technologies improve the efficiency and security of many human activities, from finance to the arts.” The U.S. has found itself struggling to regulate crypto as well, with federal agencies like the SEC, CFTC and OCC competing to take the lead. The White House is reportedly poised to issue an executive order next month outlining a clearer approach to regulating crypto with a directive asking for agency reports later this year. Keep ReadingShow less The tweets gave Breslow’s account of Bolt’s rise to its current $11 billion valuation (it raised $355 million this month). The storyline was familiar to most starry-eyed entrepreneurs: a great product that VCs and peers didn’t initially see value in, but that rises to be a top competitor in the field. But in Breslow’s telling, VCs and customers ignored Bolt in the early days because it wasn’t part of Y Combinator, and Y Combinator formally and informally backed Stripe. As evidence, Breslow pointed to the fact that few well-known VC firms that invested in Stripe showed interest in Bolt. He didn’t help himself by falsely claiming that Lyft selected Stripe as its payments processor because both were Y Combinator companies — Lyft is not, which Breslow later acknowledged — or ignoring that Y Combinator backed payments startup WePay in the same batch as Stripe. Breslow continued to double down on his argument Tuesday as the discussion continued, with some observers claiming the pushback actually supported his point, as evidence of how Silicon Valley circles the wagons. Keep ReadingShow less Ripple has bought back shares it issued after securing $200 million in funding in 2019, an unusual move which CEO Brad Garlinghouse said underlined the crypto company’s momentum despite its ongoing legal battle with the SEC. Ripple secured series C funding led by Tetragon, with investments from SBI Holdings and Route 66 Ventures, at a $10 billion valuation in late 2019. Ripple is reacquiring the equity shares at a $15 billion valuation, which suggests the investors made a 50% profit in just over two years. The company did not confirm the details of the transaction beyond the company valuation. Tetragon and Route 66 Ventures could not immediately be reached for comment, and SBI Holdings declined to comment. Share buybacks are uncommon but not unheard of among venture-backed companies. "Typically, they are a very inefficient use of capital" for startups, Redpoint partner Tomasz Tunguz wrote in 2019. “Despite these crazy headwinds with the SEC and frankly losing some customers because of the SEC lawsuit, we grew very quickly,” Garlinghouse told Protocol. “Ripple’s business has materially grown. We have a strong balance sheet. Even after doing this repurchase, we have over a billion dollars in cash. We're starting 2022 in a great position of strength.” Ripple is engaged in a legal brawl with the SEC, which sued the company in December 2020. The regulatory agency accused Ripple of raising $1.3 billion in unregistered digital-asset securities by issuing XRP tokens. The SEC's key claim is that XRP is not a currency, but a security, and therefore subject to strict securities laws. The lawsuit caused the value of XRP to drop dramatically, although it is still the 8th largest cryptocurrency based on value with a market cap of $29 billion. XRP has fallen sharply along with other cryptocurrencies in the recent market rout which has wiped out more than $1 trillion in value. Keep ReadingShow less Nvidia's bold $40 billion bid for chip designer Arm has been in trouble for months, after regulatory impediments in Europe, the U.K. and the U.S. have threatened to disintegrate the deal. It might be time for Plan B. Bloomberg News said Tuesday that both Nvidia and current Arm owner SoftBank have begun to quietly make preparations to put an end to the proposed transaction. Nvidia has told partners it doesn’t expect the deal to go through, and SoftBank is prepping to take Arm public via an initial public offering, the report said. Should the deal fall through, SoftBank would get to keep a nearly $1.3 billion breakup fee from Nvidia. Ever since Nvidia announced the deal in 2020, industry veterans and financial analysts alike have said that there was no path to successfully bringing the deal home . In addition to regulators around the world, the acquisition has faced opposition from some of the most important chipmakers in the world, such as Qualcomm and Intel, but also big tech companies: Amazon and Microsoft have both actively sought to torpedo the bet. Industry and tech opposition is no shock: Arm develops the designs other companies like Apple can license to make chips themselves, and is considered something of a neutral distributor as a result. Arm designs power thousands of products ranging from auto chips to smartphone processors. Putting Arm under Nvidia’s control would theoretically give it access to what its rivals are working on. If the deal does close, it would be the largest in Nvidia’s history. Having Arm’s designs under Nvidia’s roof would also give the company access to server processor designs that would further open the data center market. Combined with the manufacturing prowess of TSMC, it would also vault Nvidia into a more competitive position against Intel. A spokesperson for Nvidia said in a statement: “We continue to hold the views expressed in detail in our latest regulatory filings — that this transaction provides an opportunity to accelerate Arm and boost competition and innovation.” "We remain hopeful that the transaction will be approved," a Softbank spokesperson said in a statement. This story was updated with a comment from Softbank. Keep ReadingShow less In the last few years, Google tried out a new project for ad targeting, FLoC , in an effort to get rid of cookies. The system was supposed to group people by interests for advertising purposes, but received significant pushback from experts who believed it would exacerbate discriminatory and predatory ad targeting. Today, the plan is dead. In its place: Topics . The new API will track users’ interests as they surf the web, collecting data in three-week chunks. It will then categorize surfing history into 300 pre-designated “topics,” or interest areas, which do not include sensitive characteristics like race and gender. Then, when a user visits a site, three of their top five most-visited “topics” will be reflected in the ads. Users will be able to turn off specific topics in their settings. In theory, this should provide users with a more private ad experience than cookies do. Google says it will begin beta tests of the API at the end of the quarter. In the meantime, it’s published a technical explainer of the API, part of the company’s “Privacy Sandbox” of open-source tools for developers, on GitHub. Keep ReadingShow less Raven Software, the Activision-owned studio responsible for the hugely successful Call of Duty: Warzone, told employees on Monday it would begin embedding its quality assurance testers within different departments at the company, according to a staff email obtained by Polygon . The structural changes come amid an unprecedented union-organizing campaign at the company. Last week, a supermajority of Raven's QA testers, who had been on strike for more than a month following layoffs late last year, voted to unionize with the Communications Workers of America (CWA), a first for employees at a major video game studio. That news came just days after Microsoft announced its plans to acquire parent company Activision Blizzard. The QA workers agreed to end their strike and asked for voluntary recognition of their union. Now, however, it appears Raven management has announced it will begin a process of embedding the workers throughout the company. The move was apparently planned for months and is considered standard at major game studios, so QA workers are able to work more closely with various departments. But the timing has raised concern that the move is intended to weaken the union's prospects. "I'm excited to share that our QA colleagues will embed directly within various teams across the studio, including animation, art, design, audio, production, and engineering," wrote studio head Brian Raffel. "As we look ahead at the ongoing expansion of Call of Duty: Warzone, it's more important than ever that we foster tighter integration and coordination across the studio — embedding will allow for this." Raffel called embedding the "next logical step in the planned process that began several months ago," and said the shift will "create increased opportunities for our QA team members to further develop their skills and grow their careers at the studio." In a statement, Activision told Polygon that structural change "is the next step in a process that has been carefully considered and in the works for some time, and this structure brings Raven into alignment with the best practices of other prominent Activision studios." The CWA released a statement in response to the news, calling it "nothing more than a tactic to thwart Raven QA workers who are exercising their right to organize": Yesterday Activision Blizzard broadcasted their plans to restructure the Raven Software Quality Assurance department in order to bring the group ‘...into alignment with the best practices of other prominent Activision studios.’ This announcement, which came three days after Raven QA workers publicly requested recognition of their union – the Game Workers Alliance (CWA) – is nothing more than a tactic to thwart Raven QA workers who are exercising their right to organize. When Management uses meaningless buzzwords like ‘alignment, ‘synergy,’ and ‘reorganization,’ they are sending a message to workers: ‘we make all the decisions, we have all the power.’ Workers organize to have a voice at work to rectify these power imbalances. This is why big tech mergers that could increase and further concentrate corporate power, like Microsoft’s proposed Activision Blizzard acquisition, deserve real oversight. This scrutiny is even more important when a company like Activision Blizzard impedes its workers from exercising rights that are protected under U.S. law. Whether its covering up sexual harassment, employee surveillance, workplace abuse or violating workers rights, Activison Blizzard seems determined to take the low road. Regulators from the Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission, and states Attorneys General must take a serious look at the proposed merger with Microsoft and enforce our antitrust laws to ensure consumers and workers are not harmed as a result. Update Jan. 25, 2:34PM ET: Added statement from the CWA. Keep ReadingShow less YouTube’s Susan Wojcicki published the company’s 2022 priorities letter Tuesday, giving some insight into what the company sees as its greatest accomplishments in the last year and its goals for the next. Most notable: YouTube will devote resources to some implementation of NFTs and live shopping, framing both as opportunities for creators to make money on the platform. There are now 10 ways for creators to make money on YouTube, according to Wojcicki, and more to come. YouTube already experimented with live shopping in the fall of last year, first running pilots with selected creators and then, later, hosting a weeklong “ YouTube Holiday Stream and Shop ” in November. This year, the company plans to expand livestreamed shopping with creators as well as with known ecommerce companies like Shopify. Wojcicki's letter was more vague in regards to NFTs: The technology will “strengthen and enhance the experience creators and fans have on YouTube,” it says, offering few additional details. This comes on the heels of Twitter integrating NFT profile pictures and a Financial Times report that says Facebook and Instagram are also rolling out programs through which creators can use NFTs. YouTube also shared some viewership and user data. The company reached 5 trillion all-time views on Shorts, YouTube’s TikTok-like short-video format, with 40% more channels making at least $10,000 a year than the year previous. YouTube channel memberships and paid digital goods, two ways creators can directly charge their fans through the platform, were purchased or renewed more than 110 million times. And in the past year, Music and Premium subscribers reached 50 million. On regulation, the CEO offered a few predictable comments: Europe’s Digital Services Act, while well-intentioned, raises some concerns about free speech, she said. She also thanked the European Parliament for making Article 17 , the union’s copyright directive, “workable.” Keep ReadingShow less Fintech funding exploded in 2021 as private markets investors piled into hot names whose growth was fueled by the pandemic. Global fintech funding hit a record $132 billion, more than double the $49 billion the sector attracted in 2020, according to CB Insights' 2021 " State of Fintech " report released Tuesday. Meanwhile, U.S. fintech funding reached a record $63 billion, up 171% from $23.2 billion in 2020. The funding was chasing a hot M&A market, as the sector saw a record 906 exits. Online lending stood out with $20.5 billion in funding in 2021, up 220% from $6.4 billion in 2020, making it the highest-growth sector within fintech. Crypto also was a major factor in fintech funding; the largest Series A deals in the fourth quarter of 2021 included crypto-related startups such as MoonPay, Gemini and CoinList. It remains to be seen whether the funding and valuations will hold up in 2022 as the market faces new headwinds, from a general pullback in private-company valuations to looming inflation. The top fintech investors by deal volume were Tiger Global with 37 deals, followed by Global Founders Capital, Accel, Andreessen Horowitz and Jump Capital. In another sign of the massive growth of crypto, the top corporate venture investors were Coinbase Ventures with 13 deals, followed by Huobi Ventures. Keep ReadingShow less In May 2019, Ahaji Amos set up in a limited liability corporation to create a delivery company for Amazon packages in Durham, North Carolina. Nearly three years later, Amos is suing Amazon Logistics, alleging that the company misled her about the potential for success in the partnership and claiming that Amazon designed the program to make it nearly impossible for the LLC to be profitable or independent. The suit, filed on Jan. 24 in the Middle District of North Carolina against Amazon Logistics, claims that Amazon relies on the federal Paycheck Protection Program loans to keep DSPs, or delivery service partners, from financial collapse. Amos' lawsuit is not the first to allege that the DSP program misrepresents payment information and is designed to set unmeetable expectations; two DSPs in Oregon sued Amazon Logistics with similar allegations in October 2021. "Instead of paying DSPs fairly, Amazon relied on the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to keep DSPs operational, thereby using taxpayer’s money to pay for its operations. On information and belief, nearly all DSPs are currently operating at a loss due to Amazon’s control of the DSP program and rely on PPP funds to stay afloat. Amazon knows this because it performs an annual financial review of most DSPs’ accounting records," attorneys Danielle Barbour Wilson and Jesse H. Rigsby wrote for Amos in the complaint. Amazon had advertised that any individual — but no group — could apply to become a delivery partner and make as much as $300,000 per year, as long as they set up their own LLC or similar corporation, according to the suit. So Amos created Kirk Amos LLC, paid $10,000 to Amazon Logistics to officially join the Delivery Service Partner program, hired delivery drivers and tried to make money delivering packages. The attorneys alleged in the suit that Amazon made it nearly impossible for the company to achieve the "Fantastic Plus" delivery score that would make it profitable, refused to pay Amos when her workers worked overtime hours and refused to allow Amos to appeal when Amazon decided to discipline, retrain or fire her workers. The suit also alleges that Amos and her delivery drivers were treated as if they were Amazon employees, required to use Amazon-branded gear, monitored for driving and delivery performance using the Amazon Flex software and disciplined as if Amazon were their employer. Despite that relationship, Amazon required that Amos pay fees for "drivers’ health insurance, Amazon-branded van insurance, dispatcher salaries, manager salaries, driver overtime pay, human resource manager/recruiter, clock in and clock out clerk, payroll processing, driver pay in excess of ten hours per day, and pay for drivers that showed up for work when Amazon canceled a route during pre-route hours," Wilson and Rigsby wrote. In April 2021, Amazon terminated the DSP partnership with Kirk Amos LLC and claimed that the partnership was ended for three alleged breaches of contract, including "failure to pay employees timely, failure to maintain auto insurance, and failure to properly maintain vehicles," according to the suit. Barbour and Rigsby provided evidence in the suit that they claim proves that all three breaches were false, and they alleged that Amazon tried to fabricate breach of contract incidents in order to make it possible to terminate the DSP contract. The suit accuses Amazon of breach of contract, fraud, unjust enrichment and violations of labor laws and asks for more than $25,000 in damages. Amazon and attorneys for Amos did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Keep ReadingShow less Google tapped James Manyika, the head of McKinsey Global Institute, to be the company's first SVP of Technology and Society, the company told Protocol. The position will report to Sundar Pichai and focuses on how tech affects society. "I’m thrilled that James Manyika will be joining Google’s leadership team," Pichai said in a statement provided to Protocol. "He’s spent decades working at the intersection of technology and society and has advised a number of businesses, academic institutions and governments along the way.” Leaders for the intersection of tech and society aren't particularly common at large tech companies. There are philanthropic roles, such as Microsoft's global head of Tech for Social Impact or Twitter's head of Social Impact and Public Policy , but this position appears to be more broadly an examination of the impact of tech on people's daily lives. Manyika's work at McKinsey lines up with the new role; the McKinsey Global Institute works to understand the global economy through the economic impact of tech, productivity, labor markets and other topics. A Google spokesperson said Manyika's role works on "shaping and sharing" the company's view on the way tech affects society, the economy and the planet. His areas of focus include the future of work, sustainability and the impact of AI. Keep ReadingShow less Meta announced Monday that it has built a supercomputer to train AI and machine learning systems, which the company claims will be the fastest in the world later this year after a major expansion. Called the AI Research SuperCluster, Meta said it plans to use the machine to train the company’s content-moderation systems, develop new augmented reality tools, and help build the technology necessary to power the metaverse. “The experiences we’re building for the metaverse require enormous compute power (quintillions of operations / second!) and RSC will enable new AI models that can learn from trillions of examples, understand hundreds of languages, and more,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement . Meta technical program manager Kevin Lee and Shubho Sengupta, a software engineer, said in a blog post that AI models and infrastructure are important technical components in the “foundational technologies that will power the metaverse and advance the broader AI community as well.” With its current 760 Nvidia DGX A100 systems that contain a total of 6,080 GPUs, Meta said that the new system ranked among the fastest AI supercomputers in the world. And once it completes this year's expansion plan of attaching roughly 10,000 more graphics chips used for AI tasks, RSC will be be fastest supercomputer for AI. The expansion will more than double its AI training performance with the goal of generating enough computing power to train machine learning models with data sets as large as an exabyte, which is roughly equivalent to 36,000 years of high-quality video. The company declined to disclose the cost of RSC, or where it was built. But, with the 760 Nvidia DGX A100 systems costing a reported $200,000 each, the new supercomputer could not have been cheap — the Nvidia systems alone would cost more than $150 million. Years ago, researchers figured out that chips designed to render video-game graphics were well suited for AI-related computing too. Graphics processing units, or GPUs, have thousands of cores that work in parallel at crunching billions of repetitive low-level tasks that are common in AI and other kinds of research. Meta is already one of the largest data center operators in the U.S. But RSC’s technical requirements demanded Meta’s engineers develop new designs for data-center cooling, networking, and storage. Keep ReadingShow less The Bank of Korea concluded its first phase of testing a central bank digital currency in a simulated environment in December 2021, according to a report published Monday . The first phase, launched in April 2020, tested the basic functions of how a digital won would work in real life, looking at manufacturing, issuing and distribution. Last July, it named Ground X , a blockchain subsidiary of South Korea-based tech giant Kakao Corp., its preferred supplier for the CBDC program. BOK will now move on to phase two of the program, which will include testing offline payments and privacy data technologies . The projected date of completion for phase two is June 2022, after which it will do more testing in cooperation with existing financial institutions. The Bank of Korea has also made it clear in a separate report that much more testing in a real environment is required to move forward. While South Korea is moving slowly but surely, China is going full steam ahead with its digital yuan, or e-CNY. China’s CBDC efforts have been around since 2014, and it most recently launched a pilot wallet app for its digital yuan. Nigeria launched its digital currency , e-Naira, in October 2021, with 500 million e-Naira minted, an estimated worth of $1.2 billion. The UAE and Saudi Arabia launched a bilateral CBDC pilot program in 2019 and in February 2021, in conjunction with China, Hong Kong and Thailand, the two countries launched a “Multiple Central Bank Digital Currency” bridge to test foreign currency payments. According to findings by the Atlantic Council’s CBDC tracker , at least 87 countries are exploring the creation and use of a CBDC, with nine countries who have fully launched one. In a report published last week, the U.S. Federal Reserve is also considering launching a CBDC , but is holding off while waiting for public opinion. Keep ReadingShow less In many overseas countries like Pakistan and the Philippines , Meta has brokered deals with cell phone carriers so that low-income people can use a free version of Facebook without paying for data. But a software glitch the company has known about for months has made it so that many of these users unwittingly exceeded their prepaid plans on Facebook, according to a Wall Street Journal investigation. According to internal documents, Facebook knew about and did not fix the software problem, leading to an estimated total of $7.8 million that had been charged to Facebook’s free-data product users by July 2021. Many of these users do not know they were being charged until they ran out of data on their prepaid plans. Facebook’s free data plans are part of its strategy to acquire more users internationally. According to the documents, the free-data plan was set to bring another 10.6 million monthly users to the platform from July through December 2021. A company representative told the Journal that it is aware of the problem and has been investigating it for some time. The problem has been solved in most cases, he said, but the work is ongoing. He also said that without purchasing-power adjustments, the charges are closer to $3 million. Keep ReadingShow less Washington, D.C., sued Google on Monday, alleging the company had violated consumer protection laws with "bold misrepresentations" about its location tracking on Android phones and other privacy practices, according to an announcement from the district's Attorney General Karl Racine. The suit is the latest fallout from a 2018 report in the Associated Press that showed Google continued collecting sensitive information about users' locations even when they specifically opted out of a setting called "Location History." Arizona sued Google in 2020 over the practices. Now, the attorneys general in Texas, Indiana and Washington state will also sue Google in their state courts, according to Racine's office. Texas is also leading a multistate antitrust lawsuit in federal court against Google that focuses on the company's position in the online ads market. Racine, who is seeking a court order that would stop Google's practices and force the company to disgorge the profits from its actions, focuses on Google's habit of collecting location information from users' phones through Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other apps, even when consumers turned off the location setting. The lawsuit also alleges that "Google manipulates its users through deceptive design choices that alter user decision-making." Google has previously argued Arizona "mischaracterized" the company's data collection practices. Keep ReadingShow less The crash in cryptocurrency prices, which accelerated Friday into a rout, has wiped out more than $1 trillion in market value since early November. More than $200 billion was lost in just the last 24 hours, according to CoinMarketCap. The total market value of all cryptocurrencies has slipped to around $1.7 trillion, down from nearly $3 trillion in early November. Bitcoin prices plunged from around $41,000 Thursday afternoon Pacific time to below $36,000 by Friday, shedding nearly half its value since early November when it topped more than $67,000. Shares of companies with heavy exposure to crypto also tanked on Friday. Coinbase fell about 13% in regular trading, and continued to drop after-hours. Robinhood sank more than 5%. Keep ReadingShow less China plans to build enough charging stations for 20 million electric vehicles by 2025, according to a new document by the National Development and Reform Commission and nine other ministries. The government will offer direct financial subsidies and encourage favorable banking policies for companies to build charging facilities. The plan calls for China’s EV charging capacity to be built “moderately ahead of the curve” to accommodate the potential growth of EV ownership in China. Specifically, it demands all newly built residential complexes to offer charging stations and all existing complexes to convert their parking spaces if possible. It also asks 60% of highway service stations nationwide to be equipped with fast charging stations and 80% in regions with high air pollution. In 2021, about 3 million "new energy vehicles" were sold in China, accounting for 14.8% of global EV shipments. Keep ReadingShow less Developers at Raven Software, a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, have formed a union with a supermajority of quality assurance workers after five weeks of striking, just days after Microsoft announced it would be acquiring Activision Blizzard for nearly $70 billion. The QA workers have asked for voluntary recognition for the formation of their union with the Communications Workers of America — called the Game Workers Alliance — from Blizzard management, according to a Friday announcement. QA workers at Raven have been striking since 12 people on fixed-term contracts were laid off when Activision Blizzard decided not to renew their contracts at the last moment in December. "Activision Blizzard is carefully reviewing the request for voluntary recognition from the CWA, which seeks to organize around three dozen of the company’s nearly 10,000 employees," a spokesperson said in a statement to Protocol. "While we believe that a direct relationship between the company and its team members delivers the strongest workforce opportunities, we deeply respect the rights of all employees under the law to make their own decisions about whether or not to join a union." The strikers, more than 60 of whom walked out in December, have demanded that all workers at Raven be offered full-time, salaried contracts, including the 12 laid-off workers. (The Raven QA department is primarily responsible for testing the Call of Duty game series, Activision Blizzard's most important franchise). "For the 12 temporary workers at Raven whose agreements were not extended, we provided an extended notice period, included payment for the two-week holiday break, and will be working directly with those that need relocation assistance," an Activision Blizzard spokesperson said in a statement in early January about the ongoing strike. The Raven layoffs came months after Activision Blizzard was first publicly mired in scandal over both state and federal investigations into a workplace culture that permitted gender-based discrimination and harassment. The new union is the first to officially form within Activision Blizzard, though workers across the company have engaged in several walkouts and protests through an alliance calling itself "A Better ABK." Though "A Better ABK" is not a formal union, the group has worked with CWA to challenge the company's response to worker demands with the National Labor Relations Board, which protects federally mandated worker rights to organize and discuss salary. The workplace crisis at the company reportedly instigated the company's decision to sell to Microsoft. It is not clear how or if Microsoft's planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard would shape unionization efforts, though it is unlikely there would be any real impact on the current process given that the acquisition could take more than a year. CWA is also the first national union to push heavily for unionization across both the tech and games sector. In addition to the nine tech companies unionized in the last year with the national organization, the U.S.-based department of Vodeo Games became the first formal game developer union in the United States in December 2021. Last week, the Game Developer's Conference annual State of the Industry Report also found that a majority of developers support unionizing game studios. "The goal of the Game Workers Alliance (CWA) is to represent what we as workers in the industry want as well as set a new standard for workers across the industry moving forward,” said Erin Hall, a QA functional tester II at Raven, in a press release. Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Vodeo Games. Keep ReadingShow less By establishing an opaque corporate structure and avoding detailed questions from partners, regulators and law enforcement, Binance is dodging many of the rules other financial firms are forced to follow. That’s according to a new Reuters investigation , which reviewed dozens of private documents including copies of encrypted Telegram messages, internal regulatory reports and letters sent by law enforcement. Binance has long struggled with regulation, having publicly left China in 2017 and being banned from the U.S. in 2019. In 2018, founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao said Binance would operate its exchange from Malta, declaring to a group of the island’s elite that “Malta came at a time when regulatory clarity was very much needed.” But according to Reuters, Binance got cold feet as early as 2019, telling the authorities that it would not proceed with the licensing application. It also terminated an agreement to donate to a Maltese charity for cancer patients in 2020. Simultaneously, Binance was still telling users the exchange was "governed by the law of Malta." The Reuters investigation fit those findings within a larger trend of Binance hiding information about its finances and licensing to avoid regulation. The investigation also found that the company regularly ignored warnings from its own compliance department about money laundering and fraud risks, and in at least some cases denied requests for information by German authorities who were looking into incidents of fraud. Reuters also found that an Islamist gunman who killed four people in Vienna had made transactions on Binance, and the German police had requested more information. A Binance spokesperson said that much of Reuters' information was outdated or incorrect, but declined to answer detailed questions. “As the leading cryptocurrency and blockchain ecosystem, we are both leading and investing in the future of technologies and legislation that will set the crypto industry on the road to becoming a well-regulated, secure industry,” the company said. Keep ReadingShow less Hank Green doesn’t think creators on TikTok are getting paid well enough, and he doesn’t think the majority of the people on TikTok even realize it, the vlogger explained in a YouTube video on Thursday. “Along with the many innovations of TikTok, there have been some creator monetization innovations that I think are really worrying and bad for creators,” he said in the video. “It’s a bit of a giant hole in the creator economy.” Green has a huge presence on the video-sharing platform: He’s racked up over 6 million followers and has been making TikToks since 2019. He’s been creating videos for far longer than that; in 2007, Green and his brother started a video blog, and he’s branched out to several platforms like YouTube since then. The creator said there’s a flaw in the way people make money on TikTok: As the platform continues to grow, creators will start to make less money. That’s because creators who get enough views to be paid make money through TikTok’s Creator Fund, which is a set amount of money the platform reserves each year, is static, whereas TikTok is growing. As TikTok gets bigger and the pool of money for the fund stays the same, those who can get paid won’t make as much. “When TikTok becomes more successful, TikTokers become less successful … What?” Green pointed out. He said he experienced this issue himself. At one point, he was making 5 cents per 1,000 views on TikTok. Now, he said he makes about 2.5 cents per 1,000 views on the platform. The platform has grown the amount allocated for its Creator Fund over the past few years. In 2020, TikTok set aside $200 million for the fund, and the platform had planned for it to grow to $1 billion in the U.S. over the following three years. At the same time, the number of users exploded from 700 million in 2020 to 1 billion monthly active users last year. A TikTok spokesperson said the Creator Fund is one of many ways creators can make money off the platform; users can connect with brands through the Creator Marketplace, give tips and more "We continue to listen to and seek feedback from our creator community and evolve our features to improve the experience for those in the program," the spokesperson told Protocol. But Green argued that creators will always make less than, say, YouTube, because they’re paid from a static pool of cash instead of the platform’s revenue. On YouTube, creators take about half of the money from an ad posted to their video, and YouTube takes the other half. TikTok doesn’t pay creators from ads, which Green said could be because ads are posted as individual, separate clips rather than a leading segment at the beginning of a creator’s video. Green asked his 6 million followers how many ads they see per TikTok on average, and found that most people were getting one ad per 10 or so TikToks. He said the platform could take the money made from those ads and give paid creators some of the cut, similar to the partnership YouTube has with its creators. “Every creator who thinks to themselves, ‘Wow, $1,000 a month, that’s $12,000 a year,'” he said. “That person could be a full-time creator. They could be thinking about expanding, about hiring, about creating a business in their community for their audience. This is the economic engine that drove YouTube forward, and TikTok is just letting it leak out of the tub, into their bottom line.” Green said creators need to work together and speak out about the issue. He said competing platforms for creators, like YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels, could prompt some action from TikTok, adding that he currently makes more from Instagram Reels than he does on TikTok even though he gets more views on TikTok. “So what are we going to do? I don’t know,” he said. “That depends on what the three populations here do: the creators, the audience and the platform. If I learned anything from 15 years, doing this, when those three groups get aligned, really amazing things happen. So I want those three groups to be aligned.” This story was updated with a comment from TikTok. Keep ReadingShow less IBM announced today that it has sold its Watson Health data and analytics assets to private equity firm Francisco Partners. The highly anticipated sell-off includes data sets and analytics products such as Health Insights, MarketScan, Clinical Development, Social Program Management, Micromedex and imaging software offerings. IBM Software SVP Tom Rosamilia called the sale a move to align the company with its “hybrid cloud and AI strategy,” rather than a signal that the company has given up on its massive AI platform Watson, or its health care IT business more broadly. But it’s difficult not to see the sale as a failure of IBM’s big bet on Watson to usher health care into the AI age. From the start over a decade ago, IBM touted the health care analytics capabilities of Watson, its massive AI platform. In 2015, when the company launched its Watson Health division, it did so with gusto — snapping up other health data and analytics providers and partnering with hospitals and big names like Apple, Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic. Then, just a few years later in 2018, reports emerged of layoffs at IBM’s acquired health units including data analytics company Truven, medical imaging company Merge and patient management company Phytel. Phytel engineers told IEEE Spectrum at the time that Phytel’s customer base was split nearly in half from 150 clients to 80 after IBM acquired the company. “Smaller companies are eating us alive,” said one staff member. “They’re better, faster, cheaper. They’re winning our contracts, taking our customers, doing better at AI,” the engineer told the publication. The IBM sale stands in stark contrast to Oracle’s recent $28.3 billion acquisition of health data and technology company Cerner, a deal that in many ways revolves around what Watson Health promised: spinning massive amounts of unstructured health data into algorithmic models and insights to advance medicine and help improve day-to-day health care and hospital operations — all in the cloud. That deal could create its own set of challenges for Oracle . The IBM transaction is expected to close in Q2 of this year, subject to regulatory clearances. Financial terms were not disclosed. Keep ReadingShow less Intel plans to invest $20 billion in building out a 1,000-acre chip manufacturing mega site outside of Columbus, Ohio, the company said Friday, a project it said would create 3,000 permanent jobs in the region. “The only way to address this economic and security risk is to increase our domestic semiconductor manufacturing capacity,” Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said at a Friday press conference with President Joe Biden and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. The White House touted the announcement as part of its ongoing efforts to increase chip manufacturing in the U.S. in response to the ongoing shortage and supply chain crisis exacerbated by the pandemic. "Experts estimate that the global chip shortage knocked off a full percentage point from U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) last year," the White House wrote in a fact sheet. "U.S. autoworkers faced furloughs and production shut downs due to pandemic-driven disruptions in Asian semiconductor factories, contributing to large increases in the price of cars for U.S. consumers." For Intel, the new factory is a strategic maneuver. After years of dysfunction in its manufacturing operations under Gelsinger’s leadership, the company has vowed to return to its former self. Part of the plan includes a bet of hundreds of billions of dollars that it can again produce the world’s most advanced chips, and that it can sell its manufacturing capacity to fabless chip makers such as Nvidia and Qualcomm. For the Biden administration, Intel’s ambition to regain its chipmaking throne fits neatly into its economic and national security plans. And at the press conference, Biden reiterated the U.S. commitment to regaining its former ability to manufacture chips that are vital to a growing part of the economy. “[Chips power] your phone, your car, your refrigerator, your washing machine, hospital equipment, the internet, the electric grid and so much more,” Biden said. “And here's the deal: America invented these chips. America invented these chips and federal research and development led to the creation of these chips.” Gelsinger described the new factory as the “catalyst for a Silicon Heartland” in Ohio; it will be the first new domestic fab site for Intel in 40 years. Construction on the first two fabs will start late this year, and chip production will begin in 2025. The first two fabs account for $20 billion, and Gelsinger said the company could spend as much as $100 billion on the entire site, for eight plants in total. “A semiconductor factory is not like other factories,” Gelsinger said Friday. “It's more like a small city supporting a vibrant community of services suppliers and ancillary businesses. You can think about this as a magnet for the entire tech industry.” Biden urged Congress to act on its plans to invest in the industry through the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, which includes the $52 billion in subsidies for factory construction and research and development. The funding has already made it through the Senate, but has been stalled in the House for months. This story was updated to include remarks by Biden, Gelsinger and Raimondo at a press conference Friday. Keep ReadingShow less Twitter's new CEO has continued to shake up company leadership, announcing Wednesday that both Rinki Sethi and Peiter Zatko — better known as Mudge — would leave their roles as chief information security officer and head of Security, respectively. Zatko has already left the company and Sethi will leave in the coming weeks, a Twitter spokesperson confirmed to Protocol. According to the staff-wide memo reviewed by the New York Times , their departure is due to "an assessment of how the organization was being led and the impact on top priority work." Twitter declined to comment further on their departure, citing company policy on employment and privacy. Almost immediately after becoming CEO in December, Agrawal decided to restructure the leadership team, resulting in the departure of Dantley Davis, the former head of Design, and Michael Montano, the former head of Engineering. Both Sethi and Zatko were hired to help revamp Twitter's security procedures in the fall of 2020, after a group of young hackers managed to get access to prominent public-facing accounts like Bill Gates' and Joe Biden's, as well as many others. The federal government is also investigating two former Twitter employees for spying for the Saudi Arabian government inside the company. Sethi and Zatko did not immediately respond to requests for comment. This story was updated with comments from Twitter. Keep ReadingShow less Twitter announced Thursday that some Twitter Blue subscribers can now use one of their NFTs as their profile photo , as long as they're willing to connect their crypto wallet to their Twitter account. Twitter will differentiate NFT and non-NFT profiles through the shape of their profile pictures — those who are displaying NFTs will have a soft hexagon, rather than a circle. Users can tap the profile image to find out more about the NFT. Meanwhile, Meta has "early-stage" plans in the works to let users utilize NFTs on their platforms, people familiar with the matter told the Financial Times . The feature will allow users to mint NFTs as well as display them on their Instagram and Facebook profiles. Meta is also reportedly discussing the launch of a marketplace to buy and sell NFTs. Twitter and Meta's moves are the latest sign that social media giants want in on the $40 billion NFT industry. Adam Mosseri, head of Meta-owned Instagram, said in December that the company is "actively exploring NFTs." TikTok announced plans for creator NFTs in late September, but has yet to deliver on those promises. Would you rather not see anyone's profile apes? PCGamer kindly points out that you can use BetterTweetDeck to mass mute all NFT profiles. Keep ReadingShow less A Tesla employee at the company's Fremont factory died on Wednesday while working on its production line. The employee collapsed while working on the factory's powertrain production line, Cal/OSHA told KTVU . Tesla notified the agency of the death, and Cal/OSHA is now investigating to determine whether or not it is related to work and if it should conduct an inspection of the factory. Crew from the Fremont Fire Department responded to an emergency at the factory early Wednesday. The first firefighter to arrive on the scene said there there was no machinery involved, FFD spokesperson Aisha Knowles told the East Bay Times. The employee was pronounced dead at the scene. Keep ReadingShow less

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