Top tech stories today: February 19, 2024

Get your day off to a flying start with the latest top tech news: Bitcoin mining difficulty sees a significant surge, while major social tech platforms are rolling out exciting new features for users to test.

1. Google Gemini: Everything you need to know about the new generative AI platform

Google’s Gemini, a suite of generative AI models, apps, and services, appears promising in some aspects but falls short in others. Its flagship model, Gemini Ultra, aims to handle various multimodal tasks, though its image generation capability is not yet available. (Tech Crunch)

2. VC blockchain and crypto funding rises in Q4 2023

The PitchBook report noted a surge in venture funding for cryptocurrency-related businesses, with a $1.9 billion total for Q4 2023, up 2.5% from the previous quarter. This growth was driven by investments in companies like Swan Bitcoin and Blockchain.com. (Cointelegraph)

3. FixedFloat confirms $26M exploit in Bitcoin, Ether

On February 18, the team at FixedFloat confirmed a significant cyberattack, affecting thousands of users and resulting in the loss of millions of dollars worth of Bitcoin and Ether. Investigations are ongoing, and the exchange is focused on improving security and restoring services. (Cointelegraph)

4. Bitcoin mining difficulty surpasses 80 trillion ahead of halving

Bitcoin’s mining difficulty was expected to increase by an estimated 6%, reaching a record 81.73 trillion. The difficulty has steadily risen and is anticipated to reach 100 trillion soon. Bitcoin’s reward will be halved in April, a phenomenon known as the Bitcoin Halving. (Cointelegraph)

5. Coin Metrics research shows BTC and ETH are immune to 51% attacks

New research from Coin Metrics asserts that the possibility of a 51% or 34% attack on Bitcoin or Ethereum by nation-states to dismantle the blockchains is now unrealistic due to prohibitive costs. (Cointelegraph)

6. Google tests a feature that calls businesses on your behalf and holds until an agent is available

Google is currently piloting a new feature called “Talk to a Live Rep,” which will make a call to a business on your behalf, wait on hold, and then notify you when a representative is available. (Tech Crunch)

7. Epic Games CEO suggests Apple broke iPhone web apps in the EU for anticompetitive reasons

Apple’s decision to limit the functionality of web apps on iPhones in the EU due to compliance with the Digital Markets Act has raised questions about the tech giant’s motives. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney suggests that the move could be more about protecting Apple’s revenue stream than addressing security concerns. (Tech Crunch)

8. Apple to be fined over $500 million under EU antitrust law

Apple is set to face an approximately $539 million fine, for allegedly stifling competition against its Apple Music service on the iPhone. This comes after Brussels regulators investigated a complaint from Spotify about Apple’s policies restricting the promotion of cheaper alternatives to Apple Music. (The Verge)

9. Apple Pay was down for Chase customers for quite a while

According to Apple spokesperson Heather Norton, the Apple Pay issues with Chase cards were resolved, possibly due to Chase, during ongoing maintenance. However, the problem persists, and Chase customer service attributes it to an unexpected upgrade. (The Verge)

10. Reddit has a new AI training deal to sell user content

According to Bloomberg, Reddit will allow “an unnamed large AI company” access to its user-generated content platform in a new licensing deal, reportedly valued at about $60 million annually. This deal is part of Reddit’s efforts to fortify data access for AI training, a practice that was once legally uncertain. (The Verge)

11. Meta says it will pass on the Apple tax to advertisers paying to boost posts on Facebook and Instagram

Meta intends to pass on Apple’s 30% service charge to advertisers paying to boost posts on Facebook or Instagram iOS apps, effectively raising the cost. This move aligns with Meta’s broader efforts to advocate for changes in how Apple conducts its business, particularly regarding in-app purchases. (Tech Crunch)

12. YouTube now lets you integrate music videos into your Shorts

YouTube’s new feature “Remix” allows users to include music videos in their Shorts, providing an advantage over TikTok. The feature, which comes after Universal Music Group withdrew its catalog from TikTok, offers four tools for integrating music videos into Shorts, making it easier for creators to generate content. (Tech Crunch)

Sylvia-Shen

Sylvia Shen

Sylvia Shen, a news reporter at BTW media dedicated in Fintech and Blockchain. She graduated from University of California, Davis. Send tips to s.shen@btw.media.

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