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Dudes. Blockchain. In a phone. It's gonna smash the 'commoditization of humanity' or something

Crypto lush HTC claims gizmo will be an 'agent of decentralization'


Strategy Boutique So it wasn't a joke. HTC today vowed to launch its "Blockchain Phone", which it calls an "agent of decentralization".

HTC confirmed overnight that the Exodus smartphone will ship in its third quarter – meaning some time before the end of September – without releasing specifications. Or even what advantages it promises for the owner.

It's the brainchild of VC Phil Chen, who as well as managing Li Ka-shing's money at Horizons Ventures*, has returned to mastermind the initiative at HTC, rejoicing in the job title "Decentralized Chief Officer". HTC is giddy about the possibilities of putting a crypto wallet in a mobe, and makes an impressive bid to walk off with the Strategy Boutique trophy 2018. The aspirational statements leap out at us like salmon trying to get home.

"This is just the start of HTC helping to combat the commoditization of humanity," the press release tells us. Like a teenage libertarian having his first few bottles of Thunderbird, HTC discovers that all thoughts collide.

"Context and meaning are being destroyed by copyright and privacy laws that were written for a bygone era," an assertion that sadly isn't supported, or returned to. Yet at the same time HTC purports to want to help creators, by staging "a platform and distribution channel for creatives who make unique digital goods".

"We understand the potential of digital scarcity and uniqueness. With Exodus, HTC aims to be a general blockchain asset marketplace," said Chen. "We believe there is a paradigm shift and the pendulum is swinging back to ownership and the value of content."

The phone includes a cold-storage wallet – a place to store Bitcoins – and distribute the non-fungible token game CryptoKitties. Animoca, an Intel Capital-backed game publisher, and blockchain property rights upstart Bitmark have been enlisted "to accelerate the building and distribution of unique digital goods from creatives on the Blockchain".

Click to enlarge

Chen said Exodus is "helping underlying protocols expand their base of dedicated nodes, thus expanding the total blockchain ecosystem".

It's likely to cost around £1,000, Chen told press.

He explains more in a blog post here and on the phone's website. ®

*Bootnote

"Phil Chen treats entrepreneurial and venture investing endeavors as liberal art pursuits," HTC tells us, which presumably means they don't have to work every time, much like the buttons on HTC's flagship smartphone, the U12+.

Chen's LinkedIn profile reveals he has a Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree in postmodern philosophy from Fuller Theological Seminary.

All in all, Chen and HTC have set a very high bar for Strategy Boutique entries – it is hard to imagine this combination being surpassed.

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Intel plans immersion lab to chill its power-hungry chips

AI chips are sucking down 600W+ and the solution could be to drown them.

Intel this week unveiled a $700 million sustainability initiative to try innovative liquid and immersion cooling technologies to the datacenter.

The project will see Intel construct a 200,000-square-foot "mega lab" approximately 20 miles west of Portland at its Hillsboro campus, where the chipmaker will qualify, test, and demo its expansive — and power hungry — datacenter portfolio using a variety of cooling tech.

Alongside the lab, the x86 giant unveiled an open reference design for immersion cooling systems for its chips that is being developed by Intel Taiwan. The chip giant is hoping to bring other Taiwanese manufacturers into the fold and it'll then be rolled out globally.

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US recovers a record $15m from the 3ve ad-fraud crew

Swiss banks cough up around half of the proceeds of crime

The US government has recovered over $15 million in proceeds from the 3ve digital advertising fraud operation that cost businesses more than $29 million for ads that were never viewed.

"This forfeiture is the largest international cybercrime recovery in the history of the Eastern District of New York," US Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement

The action, Peace added, "sends a powerful message to those involved in cyber fraud that there are no boundaries to prosecuting these bad actors and locating their ill-gotten assets wherever they are in the world."

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Lawmakers launch bill to break up tech giants' ad dominance

Running ad auctions while also buying and selling ads may be outlawed for large firms

A bipartisan group of US lawmakers has proposed legislation that would likely force Alphabet's Google, Meta's Facebook, and Amazon to divest portions of their ad businesses.

The bill, called the Competition and Transparency in Digital Advertising Act (CTDA), was introduced on Thursday by Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), with the participation of Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).

The bill would prevent large ad companies from participating on different sides of the ad transaction chain. Large ad firms could operate supply-side brokers selling publisher ad space, demand-side brokers selling ads, or ad exchanges connecting buyers and sellers – but not more than one of these.

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America bucks global smartphone decline with help from Apple

Cupertino's 51% control is why NA market grew while the world shrunk, says Canalys

Smartphone markets the world over are in decline, but that news doesn't appear to have reached North America, where the market grew by 4 percent in the first quarter of 2022.

Tech market analytics firm Canalys reported that smartphone manufacturers shipped a total of 39m units in North America in Q1 2022, and most of it was driven by Apple, which saw 19 percent growth in Q1 to reach 51 percent of the smartphone market in the US, Canada and Mexico.

Apple may lead the quarter in terms of shipments and market share, but Google was the growth leader: It added 380 percent to its North American market share from Q1 2021 to Q1 2022. Still, that only brought it to 3 percent of the market, putting it in fifth place. 

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Export bans prompt Russia to use Chinese x86 CPU replacement

With few options, Russia will look to half-fast chips from Chinese maker

With Russia cut off from foreign processor makers Intel and AMD, the country has been scrambling to switch to more local CPUs and components.

Russia's latest step in securing supply chains for new computers comes in the form of a newly released desktop motherboard designed to support x86-compatible CPUs made by Chinese chip designer Zhaoxin, which is a joint venture between Taiwan's Via Technologies and the Shanghai municipal government.

The new motherboard, called MBX-Z60A, is made by electronics manufacturer Dannie, which has headquarters in Russia and China, according to a machine translation of an article published last week by Russian-language news aggregator Habr.

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Acer's TravelMate laptops arrive – complete with Microsoft Pluton chips

MS's TPM tip finally gets a grip – but shh – don't mention the Chromebooks

You can imagine the sighs of relief all round in Redmond, Washington this week as Acer launched its new TravelMate range, which has Microsoft's Pluton silicon built-in.

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Ryzen shines with remote management on Qualcomm Wi-Fi kit

Working to compete with Intel as FastConnect comes to AMD-processor-powered PCs

AMD and Qualcomm have rolled out a joint effort that brings remote management capabilities over Wi-Fi for AMD business systems, potentially boosting their appeal for corporate IT departments.

The two companies said they were working together to improve Qualcomm's FastConnect wireless kit for AMD compute platforms based on the Ryzen chips for desktops and laptops. The starting point for this is AMD Ryzen-powered business laptops using Qualcomm's FastConnect 6900 system that delivers Wi-Fi 6 and 6E plus Bluetooth 5.3, supporting Wi-Fi connection speeds up to 3.6Gbps.

Remote management is enabled by the combination of the AMD Manageability Processor now embedded in Ryzen PRO 6000 systems and the FastConnect 6900 system, AMD and Qualcomm said, with support for the DASH client management standard developed by the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF).

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Fastly buys dev platform and web IDE Glitch

CDN biz hopes merger will add a new way to use its edge services

Updated Content delivery network Fastly is purchasing Glitch, the company behind the web-based IDE of the same name.

Glitch is a full-stack platform that officially supports JavaScript, but allows coding in CSS, HTML, and other languages as well. It's designed to operate much like other cloud platforms and is able to run full-stack apps on demand, with Glitch handling all of the hardware and devs allowed to focus on coding.

By being absorbed into Fastly, Glitch vowed that the service will remain unchanged for users. "You're good, we got you. Nothing changes about your apps or your Glitch account," the company said in its announcement. It also said no employees would be lost in the merger.

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Start your engines: Windows 11 ready for broad deployment

If you're on Windows 10, and meet requirements, it's ready to rumble... and 22H2 is waiting in the wings

Microsoft has quietly updated its release health dashboard and declared Windows 11 "designated for broad deployment."

Adoption of Microsoft's latest OS stalled in recent months as enthusiasts that could upgrade did, and those who didn't meet Microsoft's draconian list of hardware requirements mostly remained on Windows 10.

A wave of enterprise upgrades is yet to materialize, with many organisations opting to stick with what they know, although the designation of being "broad deployment" ready will make it easier to add the upgrade to the corporate roadmap.

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Corporate investments are a massive hidden source of carbon emissions

Just because companies are publicly decreasing carbon footprints doesn't mean their cash isn't doing the opposite

Many large corporations are taking measures to reduce their carbon footprints, but a new report claims that for some, the greatest source of emissions is actually from investments being made with their wealth, and this is undermining their own environmental efforts.

The Carbon Bankroll report highlights the documented carbon dioxide emissions of a number of large corporations and contrasts these with pollutants being generated as a result of the cash and investments held by those companies, comprising cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities.

In some instances, this figure is greater than the emissions generated by their own business, demonstrating, in the words of the report, that "climate accomplishments are being undermined by a misaligned financial system that is channeling hundreds of billions of corporate US dollars into the carbon-intensive sectors driving the climate crisis."

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Iran, China-linked gangs join Putin's disinformation war online

They're using the invasion 'to take aim at the usual adversaries,' Mandiant told The Reg

Pro-Beijing and Iran miscreants are using the war in Ukraine to spread disinformation that supports these countries' political interests — namely, advancing anti-Western narratives – according to threat-intel experts at Mandiant.

Additionally, Iranian cyber-campaigns are using Russia's invasion of its neighbor to take aim at Saudi Arabia and Israel, the researchers found.

In a new report published today, Mandiant's Alden Wahlstrom, Alice Revelli, Sam Riddell, David Mainor and Ryan Serabian analyze several information operations that the team has observed in its response to the conflict in Ukraine. It also attributes these campaigns to actors that the threat researchers say are operating in support of nation-states including Russia, Belarus, China and Iran.

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