Facebook’s Libra announcement notwithstanding, a generational divide—attributed more to commercial interests than age—remains between Team Blockchain/Cryptocurrencies and Team Traditional Finance. Over and over at Fortune’s inaugural Brainstorm Finance conference in Montauk, N.Y., Wednesday the chasm was clear. One side believes nearly religiously in a future that is nifty but has demonstrated next to zero utility. The other side is happy to listen, thank you very much, but in the meantime intends to carry on with the business of lending, financing, facilitating payments and so on, all the better if digital tools can be cleverly applied to the task at hand.
Some examples, mostly from the don’t-fix-it-if-ain’t-broke crowd:
My quick observations merely skim the surface of everything we discussed Wednesday. Please see the rest of the coverage here.
And please take a moment to read the cover story for the July issue of Fortune, a highly readable account by Aric Jenkins about what has gone wrong—and what may yet go right—with virtual reality.
Let’s talk Libra. The U.S. Senate Banking Committee is planning a hearing on Facebook’s new Libra cryptocurrency on July 16 at which the social network’s blockchain chief David Marcus is expected to testify, according to Reuters. Among the topics of discussion: digital privacy.
Wall Street chatter. Workplace chat app company Slack will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported. The startup, with a $15.7 billion valuation, joins Spotify as the second major company to forgo an IPO in favor of a so-called direct listing.
YouTube under fire. YouTube is feeling the heat from a Federal Trade Commission investigation over the video service’s alleged violations over children’s privacy, The Washington Post reported. The investigation was spurred by complaints from privacy advocates and consumer advocacy groups who were upset that YouTube possibly violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act “that forbids the tracking and targeting of users younger than age 13.”
Light bright. Amazon unveiled a new version of its Kindle Oasis e-book reader that has a new adjustable lighting feature for day-or-night reading, reports CNET. An 8 GB version of the device will cost $250 while a 32 GB version will cost $280.
Oracle beats expectations. Database giant Oracle’s overall sales were up 1% year-over-year to $11.14 billion in its fiscal 2019 fourth quarter, which beat analyst expectations of $10.93 billion, CNBC reported. Oracle’s shares jumped nearly 7% as a result of the earnings beat.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
It keeps getting worse. The Verge published a harrowing account of the abysmal working conditions at a Facebook content-moderation site in Tampa, Fl. The report details how the content moderators, who worked for the IT outsourcing company Cognizant, dealt with a litany of problems like bed bugs, sexual harassment, and physical fights. One worker died on the job from a heart attack:
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Tala CEO: How Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency Can Help Companies Scale by Robert Hackett
BEFORE YOU GO
Microsoft’s antitrust “tips.” Bloomberg News examines the epic antitrust case against Microsoft two decades ago, and some of the technology giant’s missteps fighting the charges and attempting to control public perception. Today’s tech titans like Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple that are under fire from regulators, could learn what not to do by studying Microsoft’s blunders.