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News & Analysis

Your 90-second guide to the day in tech

- April 26, 2021 3 MIN READ
Photo: AdobeStock

Happy Monday. 

Don’t forget to tune in for the Startup Daily show on Ausbiz.com.au  every weekday, 2-2.40pm. Watch online, download the ausbiz app or via 7Plus.

Here’s the latest tech news from around the world. 

 

Uber founder’s kitchen play

Uber founder Travis Kalanick began to part ways with the business back in 2017 (leaving the board in 2019) amid multiple concerns about the culture he’d created, has since been working on a new startup project called CloudKitchens, which provides space for restaurants to cook delivery-only food.

It’s Uber for takeaway and its boss has predicted in will “bigger than Uber” (we not sure if that’s a reference to the losses his old venture still posts). But Business Insider has lifted the tablecloth over CloudKitchens and sees parallels in Kalanick’s previous approach.

“Since the start of the year, more than 300 corporate employees have left the company, some of whom say they quit over paltry bonuses and a contentious new leveling system,” Insider writes ($).

“People describe an alpha-male organization helmed by a ‘temple of bros,’ in which Kalanick and two pals reign supreme and where a “Fight Club”-like code of secrecy affects all aspects of the job.”

More here.

Clubhouse: the Myspace of chat

When Clubhouse was valued at US$4 billion last week, it seems we weren’t the only one raising an eyebrow about a platform that strikes us as Pokemon Go for startup fanbois.

So this analysis by Patrick Redford, titled Clubhouse is loud, incoherent, and packed with suckers’ on Defector caught our eye over the weekend.

“Six of the 14 most popular accounts on Clubhouse are either Clubhouse employees or investors in Clubhouse, and the rest of the top 50 is replete with various VCs and investors,” he wrote, which reminded us of the good old days of MySpace, where Tom became your first friend.

“The only distinction between Clubhouse and its competitors is that Clubhouse’s novelty lays bare the hollow incentive structure that exists across social media generally,” Redford argues.

More here.

 

Instagram Reels gets ads

Instagram’s TikTok clone, Reels, is getting ads, with Facebook rolling out testing in Australia, India (where TikTok is banned) and select countries before taking it global. It’s also trialing letting Reels – short videos – cross-post to Facebook.

And in a reminder that you’re the product on the free social media site, Facebook will let advertisers select the video categories they want to advertise in and roll out sticker ads on Facebook Stories in coming weeks. That means content creators can make money by putting ads on their material, so expect the influencers you follow to jump on that for extra cash flow.

 

 

Bitcoin inventor case

The UK’s High Court has granted Australian computer scientist Craig Wright leave to pursue a copyright infringement against an unknown person, known as Cobra on Twitter, who runs the bitcoin.org

Wright, a British resident, claims to be the creator of Bitcoin, saying he wrote the white paper on it under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008. Many hold a different view and at stake for Wright is whether Britain’s High Court finds he did author the Bitcoin paper.

The anonymous Cobra – it’s not even known where they’re based – was contacted via email by Reuters and said: “We’ve been threatened to take down the Bitcoin white paper by someone who obviously isn’t the inventor of Bitcoin (if he was, that would make him the 25th richest person in the world, which he obviously isn’t). Seems like he’s trying to abuse the UK courts to make them try to censor the white paper and harass small websites like us providing education content with his behaviour.”

The question now turns to whether whomever Cobra is will out themselves to defend the case by Wright, who wants the White Paper off the bitcoin.org site.

Blockchain law

Piper Alderman is the first legal firm in Australia to execute a blockchain-based payment guarantee in a commercial contract, using the Lygon platform.  

Lygon CEO Justin Amos said it was watershed moment for the legal services industry, which is heavily reliant on paper-based guarantees.  

“In February this year, Lygon created the first digital bank guarantee in the world, and it was also the first time blockchain had been used in the Australian banking sector in a live, real-world application,” he said.  

“Over the last few months, Lygon has rapidly expanded its reach and services to other sectors in Australia to meet the demand for our platform.”

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