Home / Tag Archives: innovation

Tag Archives: innovation

Singapore is the crypto sandbox that Asia needs

Singapore Blockchain Week happened this past week. While there have been a few announcements from companies, some of the most interesting updates have come from regulators, and specifically, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). The financial regulator openly discussed its views on cryptocurrency and plans to develop blockchain technology locally. For those who are unfamiliar, Singapore historically has been a financial hub in Southeast Asia, but now has also gradually become the crypto hub of Asia. Compared to the rest of Asia and the rest of the world, the regulators in Singapore are well-informed and more transparent about their views on blockchain and cryptocurrency. While regulatory uncertainties still loom over Korea and Japan, in Southeast Asia, the MAS has already released its opinion “ A Guide to Digital Token Offering ” that illustrates the application of securities laws to digital token offerings and issuances. Singaporean regulators have arguably been pioneering economic and regulatory standards in Asia since the early days of the country’s founding by Lee Kuan Yew in 1965 . Singapore is the first stop for foreign companies in crypto In the past,  I’ve said that Thailand is one of the most interesting countries in crypto in Southeast Asia.  Nonetheless, for any Western or foreign company looking to establish a footing in Asia, or even for any local company in any Asian country looking to establish a presence outside of their own country, Singapore should be the first stop. It has become the go-to crypto sandbox of Asia. There are a number of companies all over Asia, as well as in the West, that have already made moves into the country. And the types of cryptocurrency projects and exchanges that go to Singapore vary widely. A few months ago, a Korean team called MVL introduced Tada, or the equivalent of  “Uber” on the blockchain, in Singapore . Tada is an on-demand car sharing service that utilizes MVL’s technology. The Tada app is built on MVL’s blockchain ecosystem, which is specifically designed to serve the automotive industry, adjacent service industries, and their customers. In this case, MVL was looking to test out its blockchain projects in a progressive, friendly jurisdiction outside of Korea, but still close enough to its headquarters. Singapore fulfilled most of these requirements. Relatedly, Didi, China’s ride-sharing company, has also looked to build out its own blockchain-based ride-sharing program , called VVgo. VVgo’s launch is pending, and its home is intended to be in Toronto, Singapore, Hong Kong or San Francisco. Given Singapore’s geographic proximity and the transparency of its regulators, it would likely be a good testing ground for Didi as well.

Read More »

Uber is investing $150M in Toronto to expand self-driving car efforts

Months after an Uber self -driving vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona, the ride-hailing giant has announced it’s adding a new engineering hub in Toronto and expanding its autonomous research team as it refocuses its self-driving car efforts. In his first visit to the Canadian tech hub since becoming CEO of Uber last year, Dara Khosrowshahi announced plans to invest $150 million in Toronto over the next five years. Uber will bring on 300 new employees, bringing the company’s total headcount in Toronto to 500. The new engineering hub is expected to open early next year. We’ve reached out to Uber for comment. “At Uber, we recognize Canada’s commitment to innovation and the vibrancy of Toronto’s tech ecosystem,” Khosrowshahi said in a statement provided to the Toronto Star . “We want to support the innovation coming out of this great, diverse region.” “Toronto is a place where we as a company innovate, and innovation is really what Uber is all about.” Our CEO @dkhos is in Canada today to announce the opening of @uber ’s newest engineering hub, and the expansion of the @UberATG self-driving R&D centre in Toronto. — Uber Canada (@Uber_Canada) September 13, 2018 Uber opened the Toronto Advanced Technologies Group office last May. It’s led by local AI researcher Raquel Urtasun, a University of Toronto professor and the Canada Research Chair in Machine Learning and Computer Vision. The company initially suspended all efforts to get self-driving cars on the road following the fatal crash and opted  not to renew its self-driving car permit in the state of California. Its vehicles have returned to public roads, but in manual mode . Uber has been testing self-driving cars in Toronto since last year and has said the company remains  “very committed” to beefing up its AV research in the region. Uber self-driving cars back on public roads, but in manual mode

Read More »

What would a blockchain patent war look like?

Jed Grant Contributor Jed Grant has more than 25 years of experience in technology, finance and security. He is the founder and CEO of Peer Mountain , a decentralized P2P ecosystem of trust, and the founder of KYC3 , one of the original regtech companies in Luxembourg. Blockchain is perhaps the most hyped technology of the past five years. The technology that allows us to create trustless immutable shared ledgers promises to bring transparency and honesty to commerce by disintermediating and decentralizing functions that rely on trusted third parties today. The promise and the potential are almost as big as the hype. While still the early days, there are several applications that have already launched on blockchains — the first being the Bitcoin cryptocurrency payment protocol. Bitcoin is just a unit of account on blockchain. And more recently, with the implementation of smart contracts, code that is shared across the whole blockchain to execute conditionally with irrefutable results, we have the possibility to tokenize many new financial constructs on blockchains. This has given rise to the ICO , a token-generation event whereby tokens are sold in order to raise financing for a blockchain project in which the tokens will serve some purpose. This innovation in finance changed the way startups raised funds in 2016, 2017 and 2018, with more than $18 billion dollars of funds pouring into blockchain startups in 2018 alone.

Read More »

Hoodline raises $10M for its hyper-local, automated data newswire

While many lament the death of local news, a small army of tech startups have been developing a new set of tools to figure out how to save it. In one of the latest developments, Hoodline — which has built a platform to ingest and analyse hundreds of terabytes of data to find and then write local news stories — has raised $10 million in a Series A round to help take its effort nationwide. “We want to cover the news deserts that no one else is covering,” said Hoodline’s founder and CEO  Razmig Hovaghimian. “It’s filling a gap. It’s filling a need.” The San Francisco startup had once been called Ripple News (in reference to the news that “ripples out” from one event) but then took the name of a hyperlocal news blog network that it acquired in 2016  after another Ripple began to make waves. It is currently generating stories in 20 cities, with ABC, MSN, Yahoo, Hearst and CBS among the publishers that are partnering with it to use its content. This latest Series A round was led by Neoteny, a seed and early stage investment firm out of Boston whose founder and lead partner, MIT Media Lab director Joichi Ito, is also joining Hoodline’s board. Sound Ventures, Dentsu Ventures and Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors also participated, among other investors who asked not to be named. Hoodline had been a part of Disney’s accelerator in 2017, so it too has backed the company, as has Rakuten, the Japanese e-commerce behemoth that acquired Hovaghimian’s previous startup , the crowdsourced online video subtitling startup Viki. Hoodline is not disclosing its valuation, but from what we understand, it’s around $75 million and a bump up from its previous valuation.

Read More »

How Adidas and Carbon are changing the sneaker supply chain

While the Adidas Futurecraft 4D shoes are cool looking sneakers, the story behind those shoes is even more interesting. The sportswear company has partnered with Carbon to design a new kind of sneakers. Behind the Futurecraft 4D, you can find a process that is not that new — 3D printing. Many companies promised an industrial revolution by bringing back factories to service-driven countries, such as the U.S. and European countries. But this partnership between Adidas and Carbon could turn that wild dream into a reality. “What you saw there was basically this integration of hardware, software and chemistry all coming together to take a digital model, print it very fast, but do it out of the materials that have the properties to be final parts,” Carbon co-founder and CEO Joseph DeSimone told TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino. And the secret sauce behind Carbon’s process is its cloud-based software tool. You use a primitive CAD, define some mechanical properties and it gets manufactured in front of your eyes. It’s quite hard to buy Futurecraft 4D shoes right now because production is still extremely limited. Adidas CMO Eric Liedtke is hopeful that it’s going to change over the coming years. “Ultimately, we're still ramping up the innovation. It will be faster, more limited material.

Read More »