TECH WEEKLY

November 18, 2022

Crypto lender BlockFi prepares for bankruptcy filing as FTX contagion spreads

According to a Wall Street Journal report, cryptocurrency lender BlockFi is preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from its creditors due to its heavy investments in FTX, which itself filed for bankruptcy on November 11 citing $8 billion in liabilities.

The cryptocurrency lender had already halted withdrawals of customer deposits and admitted that it has “significant exposure” to the now-bankrupt crypto exchange FTX and its sister trading house, Alameda Research.

This summer, BlockFi was among a handful of crypto projects that agreed to a rescue from FTX as the market was rattled by the steep drop in the price of crypto assets. FTX furnished a $400 million revolving credit facility for BlockFi, which also included an option to acquire the company, the Journal reported.

Amid the current drama the cryptocurrency market is bleeding out, with bitcoin (BTC-USD) falling nearly 10% in value over the past seven days, to a subdued $16,867. Ethereum (ETH-USD) fell nearly 6.5% in the past week to a low of $1,233. The FTT (FTT-USD) token, which is the native cryptocurrency of the FTX exchange, has also plummeted in value from around $25 each before the crash, to $1.68 as of the time of writing.
Source: WSJ

Amazon starts cutting jobs, reportedly plans to lay off about 10,000 employees

Two days after multiple outlets reported the e-commerce giant planned to cut around 10,000 staff in corporate and technology jobs this week, Amazon confirmed on Wednesday that layoffs had begun at the company.

The cuts will focus on Amazon’s devices organization, including the voice assistant Alexa, as well as at its retail division and human resources, said some who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

The job cuts represent a stark reversal for Amazon, which less than a year ago couldn’t find enough workers to keep its warehouses staffed in a hot labor market and was still in the midst of a pandemic-fueled hiring spree. It nearly doubled its workforce between the end of 2019 and the end of 2021 from 798,000 employees globally to 1.6 million.

America’s second-largest private employer’s announcement heralded a dramatic shift for a company known for its job creation and added shape to the latest layoffs in the technology sector, which in recent weeks have included similar announcements by Microsoft, Meta, Twitter, Lyft and Stripe.
Source:The Washington Post

Report reveals Apple’s metaverse-like world and 3D video service

Rumors regarding Apple’s plans to enter the AR / VR / XR / MR technology realm have been bubbling up for at least half a decade. Earlier this week, Bloomberg’s resident Apple Insider Mark Gurman helped put some flesh on the bones of what we think we already know. Probably the biggest news revealed by Gurman is that Apple’s mixed reality (MR) headset will be the firm’s next big product launch, and is due in 2023. Moreover, some fascinating insights into the debut device have been gleaned from recent job listings.

Recent job listings posted by Apple suggest that the company is seeking to fill content creation roles for the device, suggesting that the core technology is set enough that developers, producers, artists, and the like work confidently with it. That’s in contrast to the product’s state not that long ago, when differing opinions about the product’s feature set, specs, and design led to shifting goalposts that would have been a headache for content creators.

Gurman says Apple wants to build a video service with 3D content for the headset. Additionally, the company seems to be looking for someone to aid the development of a 3D mixed-reality world.

The headset is expected to have 12 cameras to show the wearer real-time video of the outside world, and could cost $3,000, The Information previously reported.

While a 3D mixed-reality world sounds a lot like what Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta is seeking to build out in coming years, don’t expect Apple to use the word “metaverse” to describe their version.
Source: Bloomberg