Monday, 19 December 2022


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Good morning!

It's Dennis here.

Elon Musk has continued to huff and puff and ban accounts of people who disagrees with him while he reinstates accounts of those that agree with him. Last week, Twitter banned the accounts of journalists who had covered Musk for news outlets including CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, among others.

His argument is that they violated Twitter's new “doxxing” policy by sharing his “exact real-time” location on the platform. At the time of this reporting, it wasn't clear how the journalists whose accounts were banned posted his real-time location.

It is rather ironic that Elon Musk claims to be the ultimate and unflinching defender of free speech, recently tweeting; “I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter because that is what free speech means.”

But his latest action of permanently banning the accounts of journalists for expressing free speech underscores the erratic catalyst that propelled him to the top of the tech food chain, ostensibly making him a star among the blitzscaling set.

By the way, he also banned the Twitter account of Mastodon, the social media platform that has emerged as Twitter's competitor in the wake of Musk taking over the company.

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Below are the tech stories and news you need to know to start your day, carefully curated by Technext.

Summary of the news

  • Donald Trump has launched an NFT collection
  • Sam Bankman-Fried swindled $8 billion in customer money, US federal prosecutors say
  • Elon Musk has banned several prominent journalists from Twitter
  • 9 African startups made Techstars Toronto 2022 Winter cohort

Donald Trump launches NFT collection

Former US President Donald Trump has unveiled a limited-edition collection of his non-fungible tokens, Technext reports.

The renowned businessman was famous for launching branded products before his sojourn to the White House. Donald Trump has now increased his product offerings by unveiling the Donald Trump Digital Trading Card Collection via Trump’s Truth Social account: he wrote.

The tokens are photos of Trump; one is a palpably leaner version of Trump. Another card depicts Trump as a laser-shooting-eye superhero, with his hands designed to be more prominent in an attempt at creativity. Then, there is a cowboy design filled with trails of military fatigues.

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Sam Bankman-Fried swindled $8 billion in customer money, US federal prosecutors say

According to CNBC, Federal prosecutors and regulators in America unsealed dozens of pages of filings and charges that accused Bankman-Fried of not just having perpetrated a fraud, but having done so “from the start,” according to a filing from the Securities Exchange Commission.

SEC and Commodity Futures Trading Commission regulators, alongside federal prosecutors from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, allege that Bankman-Fried was at the heart — indeed, the driver — of “one of the biggest financial frauds in American history,” in the words of U.S. Attorney Damian Williams. The allegations against Bankman-Fried were assembled with stunning speed, but offer insight into one of the highest-profile fraud prosecutions since Enron.

Federal regulators at the CFTC say that just a month after founding FTX.com, Bankman-Fried, “unbeknownst to all but a small circle of insiders,” was leveraging customer assets — specifically, customers’ personal cryptocurrency deposits — for Alameda’s own bets.

Rehypothecation is the term for when businesses legally use customer assets to speculate and invest. But Bankman-Fried didn’t have permission from customers to gamble with their funds. FTX’s own terms of use specifically forbade him, or Alameda, from using customer money for anything — unless the customer allowed it.

And from FTX’s inception, there was a lot of customer money. The CFTC cited 2019 reports from FTX which pegged the futures volume alone as often exceeding $100 million every day.

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All the latest Elon Musk fiasco

Last week, Twitter banned the accounts of several high-profile journalists from the nation’s top news organizations, marking a significant attempt by new owner and self-described free speech absolutist Elon Musk to wield his unilateral authority over the platform to censor the press, CNN reports.

The accounts belonging to CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, The New York Times’ Ryan Mac, The Washington Post’s Drew Harwell and other journalists who have covered Musk aggressively in recent weeks were all abruptly permanently suspended. The account of progressive independent journalist Aaron Rupar was also banned.

After backlash, he reinstated the accounts over the weekend.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in the US and Europe are already calling for fines and sanctions for Musk for the move, the New York Times reports. The silencing of prominent voices could raise the regulatory heat on Twitter, and possibly Mr. Musk’s other companies, including Tesla and SpaceX, which is a big recipient of government funding and projects. It could also hurt his push to get reluctant advertisers back onto the platform.

This comes as Elon Musk’s team began to reach out to investors to raise new funds for his struggling social media platform Twitter, Reuters reports.

Ross Gerber, president and CEO at Gerber Kawasaki Wealth & Investment Management, told Reuters that he was contacted by a Musk representative about offering more shares at the same price, $54.20, that Musk paid to take the company private in October.

9 African startups make Techstars Toronto 2022 Winter cohort

Suplyd Leadership Team
Techstars Toronto has announced that ten African companies have graduated from its program. The companies, which represent a variety of industries, including finance, logistics, and education, spent the past few months working with Techstars mentors to develop their businesses, Techpoint Africa reports.

Starting with Metro African Xpress (MAX) in 2015, the accelerator has invested $120,000 ($100,000 convertible note and $20,000 grant) in 29 African startups. Techstars Toronto has also provided direct mentorship and granted them access to its network of seasoned entrepreneurs.

The startups that made the cohort include: GIGXPAD, Glover Technologies, Klas, Raenest, Fez, Renda, Simpu, LaborHack and Mamy Eyewear.

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