The Year of the Crypto

15 Jan 2024

Crypto bros, rejoice! 2024 might as well be renamed the year of the crypto now that the US Securities and Exchange Commission has opened the floodgates into crypto investment with the approval of a spot bitcoin exchange traded fund, causing the world's most popular cryptocurrency to hit the highest it has ever been since April 2022. And it's not even the end of January!

The approval of the ETF, which had been a hot topic for years and had recently picked up steam after the likes of Blackrock and Grayscale had knocked again on the US SEC's door seeking its nod, is now being described as a watershed moment for bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as a whole.

But the writing was on the wall though.

In fact, a recent poll conducted by betting platform Polymarket showed the odds in favor of a bitcoin ETF being approved by the US Securities and Exchange Commission by the 15th. According to a CoinDesk report, an overwhelming 85% of market participants believed the ETF could be approved later this month. Meanwhile, the good folks at Bloomberg, (yes, Bloomberg!), had pegged the chances at over 90%!

At HackerNoon, however, readers were a lot more pessimistic as only 46% thought such a thing would be possible while another 31% thought it might happen, just not this month.

HackerNoon Poll Results

HackerNoon CEO David Smooke was one of the beliebers believers (unlike *some*HackerNoon editors).

HackerNoon CEO David Smooke

Now that the ETF is approved, it does raise some questions about exactly how valuable bitcoins and/or cryptocurrencies actually are. Most will tell you that the magical $100,000 number is now in sight, and while that may or may not happen, there are the likes of data provider CryptoQuant which had previously warned that the ETF approval would trigger a sell off.

As of publication, it doesn't look like bitcoin has actually gone past the $50,000 mark, but that's no reason for the hodlers and diamond hands to worry as optimism surrounding cryptocurrencies persists, with more and more people pointing at a flurry of events to drive home the fact that maybe, just maybe, cryptocurrencies will finally live up to their promise (whatever they might be).

And so, it just might be: 2024, The Year of the Crypto™.

👋 You’re reading HackerNoon's Tech Company News Brief, a weekly collection of tech goodness that combines HackerNoon's proprietary data with internet trends to determine which companies are rising and falling in the public consciousness. Subscribe here to receive the complete newsletter in your inbox every Tuesday.

Microsoft, OpenAI Hit With Copyright Lawsuits

Ah. What edition of HackerNoon's Tech Company News Brief be complete without a mention of artificial intelligence? I mean, if it's not crypto, it's definitely AI.

Well, it looks like Microsoft and OpenAI are getting into trouble for profiteering off of other peoples' work by building AI products using content available on the internet. The big one, in case you missed it, was this lawsuit the New York Times filed against Microsoft and OpenAI for allegedly copying and using millions of its works to build generative artificial intelligence tools that rely on so-called large-language models.

But funnily, while the NYT is taking the lawsuit route now, it had been in negotiations with OpenAI on licensing its content. For one reason or the other (maybe it was the money?) negotiations fell through, and the NYT decided to file a lawsuit. But while that plays out in court, the NYT itself reported that other large US media organizations are already in talks with the companies to license their work.

We're talking about the likes of Gannett, News Corp and IAC, who are deciding the pricing and terms of licensing the work they produce to Microsoft and OpenAI to build or enhance their AI products, like ChatGPT. In fact, a new report now says CNN, Fox and Time are also discussing terms with the ChatGPT creator.

If news organizations licensing their content alarms you, it's important to note that The Associated Press already sells its content to OpenAI and so does Germany's Axel Springer, but that doesn't mean Sam Altman just wants to keep everyone that comes knocking to his offices. In fact, only recently the OpenAI CEO tried to make a case for continuing to use copyrighted work to train AI by arguing it fell under fair use. That is essentially the same argument that Mark Zuckerberg's Meta plans to make if any of Facebook or Instagram's users try to sue the company for using their posts to develop the company's own AI.

But think about it, though. If something like ChatGPT can learn how reporters write stories, could it then replicate seemingly believable stories to fool the masses into one action or the other? The future looks bleak if one were to believe so. It seems like jokes about AI manipulating people by controlling the media and the news are no longer going to remain jokes. 🤫

Microsoft ranked #14 on HackerNoon's Tech Company Rankings this week.

Microsoft Rank on HackerNoon

New Year, New Layoffs

Looks like we're experiencing a repeat of 2023.

While the extent of job cuts isn't as severe as the one we saw at the beginning of 2023, Google just announced that it would be laying off hundreds of its employees across multiple teams, and damn*!*

Last year was a tough time to be working in tech as almost every major tech giant announced job cuts affecting thousands of people. We're talking Meta, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Twitter/X - you name it, and they were there. The rationale was that these companies had hired way too many people during the COVID-19 pandemic and didn't really know what to do with them anymore now that demand for their products was tapering off (and like, why wouldn't it, now that people could go outside and touch grass!).

While things at Google might not be pleasant, they're downright nasty at videogame software provider Unity Software which is letting go of about a quarter of its workforce (roughly 1,800 people). The company recently courted some controversy after introducing a fee system for developers using its software to create games; the move was not popular, forcing the company to revert the changes.

To top things off, Amazon too is letting go of several hundred people at some of its divisions marking yet another tumultuous start to the year for tech works.

Google ranked #2 on HackerNoon's Tech Company Rankings this week. Amazon was on the #11 spot.

Google Rank on HackerNoon

Amazon Rank on HackerNoon

In Other News.. 📰

  • Apple shares the most popular podcasts of 2023 — via Apple
  • CES 2024: The weirdest tech, gadgets and AI claims from Las Vegas — via TechCrunch
  • Snapchat to let parents decide whether their teens can use the app’s AI chatbot — via CNN
  • Microsoft overtakes Apple as world's most valuable company — via Reuters
  • Exclusive: Even Bill Gates was surprised by ChatGPT — via Axios

And that's a wrap! Don't forget to share this newsletter with your family and friends! See y'all next week. PEACE! ☮️

— Sheharyar Khan, Editor, Business Tech @ HackerNoon