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MoneyGram and Coinme Partner to Improve Bitcoin Access

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MoneyGram, one of the leading money transfer services, is partnering with Coinme to improve people’s access to Bitcoin.

While cryptocurrencies are rising in popularity, being able to access holdings and make use of them continues to pose a challenge for some. MoneyGram hopes to change that, in partnership with Coinme, making it easier for people to access their Bitcoin.

“This innovative partnership opens our business to an entirely new customer segment as we are the first to pioneer a crypto-to-cash model by building a bridge with Coinme to connect bitcoin to local fiat currency,” said Alex Holmes, MoneyGram Chairman and CEO. “Our unique, global network is an incredibly valuable asset, and we’re excited to open our platform to Coinme as we increasingly look to capture new growth by monetizing our network to new use-cases.”

The companies especially see an opportunity to help people who are just dipping their feet in the crypto market, making it easy to buy Bitcoin with cash and get cash for their Bitcoin holdings.

“MoneyGram has spent more than 80 years building one of the world’s largest P2P payment networks,” said Neil Bergquist, Coinme CEO. “By integrating its global infrastructure with our licensed crypto exchange technology, we can enable the purchase and sale of cryptocurrencies across its system using cash. This is a major milestone for the bitcoin and cryptocurrency communities, and for the millions of people who will benefit from a trusted, easy and affordable onramp to digital currency.”

Tesla’s Bitcoin Reversal Wiped $365 Billion From Crypto Market

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Tesla’s decision to stop accepting Bitcoin for payment led to some $365 billion of value being wiped from the crypto market.

Tesla made the decision in March to accept Bitcoin as payment for vehicle purchases. The move was not surprising, given CEO Elon Musk’s love of crypto. Yesterday, however, the company reversed its plans, with Musk citing the environmental impact of Bitcoin mining.

The decision already appears to have had a major impact on the crypto market, according to CNBC, with some $365.85 billion wiped from the market after Tesla’s announcement.

In particular, Bitcoin, ether and XRP were all significantly lower than their pre-announcement levels.

Facebook’s Diem Abandons Swiss Plans, Will Move to US

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Diem, the Facebook-backed cryptocurrency formerly known as Libra, is abandoning its efforts to get licensed in Switzerland and will move to the US.

Diem is a widely anticipated crypto that has gained and lost support from major corporations during its planning and development stage. Some of the biggest names in tech and finance originally backed it before reversing course as a result of regulatory scrutiny.

Many jurisdictions were concerned about the prospect of Facebook — a company with a troubled reputation in the realm of data and privacy — being the primary backer of a cryptocurrency. To help address the issues, Facebook pivoted to making Diem a stable crypto, backed by a national currency.

The Diem Association had originally been trying to gain licensing approval with Switzerland’s FINMA watchdog. According to CNBC, however, the association has changed direction and will move to the US. The association has partnered with Silvergate, a California bank, to back Diem with the US dollar.

“While our plans take the project fully within the US regulatory perimeter and no longer require a license from FINMA, the project has benefited greatly from the intensive licensing process in Switzerland and the constructive feedback from FINMA and more than two dozen other regulatory authorities from around the world convened by FINMA to consider the project,” Stuart Levy, Diem’s CEO, said in a statement.

Apple TV+ Hits 40 Million Subscribers

Apple TV+ has crossed a major milestone, according to estimates, topping 40 million subscribers.

Apple TV+ is the company’s take on streaming TV, with a focus on original content. Ted Lasso, The Morning Show and Mythic Quest are some of the biggest TV shows on the platform. Meanwhile, Tom Hanks’ Greyhound was a critically-acclaimed movie that debuted on Apple TV+.

Despite being a relative newcomer to the streaming market, Apple’s entry is already making some impressive strides, according to Newsweek. Apple TV+ was estimated to have 33.6 million subscribers at the end of 2019 and 40 million by the end of 2020.

With 40 million subscribers, Apple TV+ comes in ahead of Paramount+ (under 36 million), Peacock (33 million) and Hulu (39.4 million). Apple’s platform is still behind HBO Max and far behind Disney+, Amazon Prime and Netflix.

In addition, Apple TV+ has obviously benefited from Apple bundling it for free with new purchases of iPhones, iPads and Macs. It remains to be seen if the service maintains its popularity once people have to pay for it.

Tesla Suspends Purchases Using Bitcoin

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Tesla will no longer accept Bitcoin as payment for Teslas, reversing a policy only weeks after it went into effect.

Elon Musk is a big proponent of cryptocurrency, so it’s no surprise that both of his companies, Tesla and SpaceX, have taken an unconventional approach as well. SpaceX recently announced it had accepted Dogecoin as payment for carrying a satellite on its upcoming mission to the Moon and Tesla was accepting Bitcoin as payment for vehicle purchases.

Unfortunately, an often overlooked byproduct of cryptocurrency mining is the impact it has on the environment. In fact, as far back as 2018, it was estimated that every $1 of Bitcoin that was generated was responsible for $49 of health and climate damage in the US.

Musk cited the environmental impact as the primary reason for Tesla’s change of direction. He made the statement via Twitter.

Tesla has suspended vehicle purchases using Bitcoin. We are concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel.

Cryptocurrency is a good idea on many levels and we believe it has a promising future, but this cannot come at great cost to the environment.

Tesla will not be selling any Bitcoin and we intend to use it for transactions as soon as mining transitions to more sustainable energy. We are also looking at other cryptocurrencies that use <1% of Bitcoin’s energy/transaction.

Sony Warns of Ongoing PlayStation Supply Issues Through 2022

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Sony has warned the supply of the PlayStation 5 will remain tight through 2022 and possibly into 2023.

The pandemic has led to a global semiconductor shortage, one that is impacting manufacturing across industries. Automakers have experienced major slowdowns because they can’t gain access to enough of the chips they need to manufacture vehicles. Computer makers, chip makers and GPU manufacturers have struggled to keep up with demand.

Sony has warned analysts it is not immune, saying supply will remain tight through the year, according to Bloomberg.

“I don’t think demand is calming down this year and even if we secure a lot more devices and produce many more units of the PlayStation 5 next year, our supply wouldn’t be able to catch up with demand,” Chief Financial Officer Hiroki Totoki said.

The good news is that the PlayStation 5 is selling at a pace to rival the PlayStation 4. Especially during the pandemic, when people are spending more time at home, tablets and consoles are in greater demand than ever.

Apple’s App Store Stopped $1.5 Billion in Fraud in 2020

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Apple has released a report detailing its efforts to protect users, including that it stopped $1.5 billion in fraudulent App Store transactions.

The App Store is at the heart of Apple’s case against Epic, with the latter suing to force Apple to allow alternative payment methods and app stores. Not surprisingly, Apple is touting the benefits of the App Store, and working to demonstrate how integral it is to the overall security of the iOS platform.

In its latest report, Apple reveals some significant details regarding its efforts.

In 2020 alone, Apple’s combination of sophisticated technology and human expertise protected customers from more than $1.5 billion in potentially fraudulent transactions, preventing the attempted theft of their money, information, and time — and kept nearly a million risky and vulnerable new apps out of their hands.

Apple also says it blocked some 48,000 apps for having hidden or undocumented features; 150,000 apps for including spam, being copycats or misleading users; and 215,000 for privacy violations.

The company is also tackling fraudulent app ratings.

App Store ratings and reviews help many users make decisions about which apps to download, and developers rely on them to incorporate new features that respond to user feedback. Apple relies on a sophisticated system that combines machine learning, artificial intelligence, and human review by expert teams to moderate these ratings and reviews to help ensure accuracy and maintain trust. Since 2020, Apple has processed over 1 billion ratings and over 100 million reviews, and over 250 million ratings and reviews were removed for not meeting moderation standards.

While the Apple vs Epic court case will continue for some time, Apple is certainly trying to make a compelling case for how the App Store works and why it’s so important to the iOS ecosystem.

SpaceX Accepts Dogecoin for Upcoming Mission

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In its continuing journey from meme to legitimate cryptocurrency, dogecoin will be used to pay for an upcoming SpaceX mission.

Although it was originally started as a joke, dogecoin is gaining acceptance as a legitimate cryptocurrency. In early May it surged to a $70 billion market cap, making it the fourth most valuable crypto. Meanwhile, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban announced the NBA team would accept it as payment.

Elon Musk has arguably been the biggest support of dogecoin, and his SpaceX company has now accepted it as payment for an upcoming mission to the Moon, called “DOGE-1 Mission to the Moon.” Canadian company Geometric Energy Corporation has paid SpaceX to transport a 40kg satellite. The transaction was made exclusively with dogecoin.

“Having officially transacted with DOGE for a deal of this magnitude, Geometric Energy Corporation and SpaceX have solidified DOGE as a unit of account for lunar business in the space sector,” said Geometric Energy’s Chief Executive Officer Samuel Reid.

“This mission will demonstrate the application of cryptocurrency beyond Earth orbit and set the foundation for interplanetary commerce,” said SpaceX Vice President of Commercial Sales Tom Ochinero. “We’re excited to launch DOGE-1 to the Moon!”

How To Download Videos From YouTube

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Youtube has been making moves for years to restrict the ability for 3rd parties to download video from their service. However, there are still methods available that work. Additionally, many of these options will allow you to download from several different sites including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube alternatives like Bitchute or Odysee, etc.

Official Way To Download YouTube Videos

Youtube Premium offers the capability to download most videos via mobile but unfortunately that doesn’t extend to the desktop version.

Websites To Download YouTube Videos

9convert – Multiple video and audio only download options available.

Video Solo – MP4 and WebM downloads available in multiple resolutions as well as audio only downloads in MP3 and the ability to include subtitles.

YMate – Not as many features as Video Solo but has a simple interface that works as intended

Plugins For Downloading Youtube Videos

AddonCrop – Feature rich plugin with many different format and resolution options. However, it’s limited to converting videos less than 180 minutes.

DownloadYoutubeChrome – Google blocks this extension by default but you can follow the instructions on their website to bypass the restrictions.

Desktop App For Downloading Youtube Videos

jDownloader – This application is the cream of the crop when it comes to downloading videos online. It will allow you to download videos on almost any website. You’ll also be able to select any resolution available for the particular video you’re attempting to download.

Vivo Commits to Three Years of Updates to Flagship Phones

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Vivo has announced it will provide Android and security updates for its flagship devices for at least three years.

Vivo is a company that makes a brand of smartphones popular in Asia, Australia and Europe. Like most smartphone makers, Vivo phones run the Android operating system (OS). Unlike iOS, which is controlled exclusively by Apple, there is a great deal of variance in the levels of support the various Android vendors provide.

Vivo is working to differentiate itself from rivals with the announcement that its upcoming Vivo X flagship line will receive OS and security updates for three years — with some caveats. The policy will only apply to users in Europe, Australia and India, and only includes the X line of smartphones.

“Featuring top of the line hardware, the X series flagship phones are built to last — and we want to make sure that our customers get software support that lives up to their expectations,” said Vivo senior vice president and CTO Yujian Shi, via ZDNet.

“We always innovate with the user in mind. With this pledge, we are making a promise to our customers that they will be able to enjoy a premium smartphone experience for an extended period and continue to benefit from the latest software features.”

The announcement puts Vivo in greater competition with Samsung, which recently announced its own extended support plans. While Vivo’s announcement will likely help it in its core markets against other competitors, Samsung is still more widely available, and now offers four years of support, instead of Vivo’s three.