Bitcoin on course for worst week since March as it dips under $30,000 – live updates

Bitcoin is on course to record one of its worst weeks since March after the cryptocurrency slipped below $30,000 (£22,000) in the early hours of the morning.

Bitcoin is down by more than 12pc this week, according to Coin Telegraph, having experienced a rapid rally last year. In 2020, its price jumped by more than 300pc, and in January it jumped to $42,000. 

However, some cautioned against being overly pessimistic over the cryptocurrency’s latest rout. Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at Oanda Asia Pacific Pte said: “Being Bitcoin, a 10pc range intraday is a mere flesh wound to the digital asset, in a world where tradable versus investible is seriously blurred.

He said it could “easily be $35,000 again tomorrow or could drop through $30,000 and test notional support at $27,000”. 

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Apple working on a ‘thinner, lighter MacBook Air’

MacBook Pro and Air

MacBook Pro and Air

Apple is reportedly planning to release a new thinner and lighter MacBook Air, to sit at the higher-end of its laptop line-up.

According to Bloomberg, the company is planning to re-introduce the magnetic charging system for the new laptop. This was removed from the MacBook Air in its 2018 redesign – something which led to fierce criticism from fans. 

The laptop, which may also feature a smaller border around the screen, could be released by the end of this year, although it may be 2022, the site said.

It would sit alongside Apple’s MacBook Air, its mass-market product which was last updated in November when Apple swapped out chips from Intel.

It is also reportedly looking at redesigning its MacBook Pro.


Bitcoin: How much would you have made?

The price of Bitcoin may be dipping this week, but those who had invested early would still be sitting on healthy returns. 


Musk to give $100m to best carbon capture technology

 The technology mogul, who is the chief executive of Tesla and SpaceX, said more details on the cash would be announced next week.

Carbon capture technology is seen as key to efforts to lower emissions, and works to take carbon out of the air and store it underground in a solid state.

Scientists have said almost half the carbon dioxide released burning fossil fuels is not absorbed in plants and the oceans.


Netflix pays £3.2m in corporation tax in Britain

Streaming service Netflixpaid £3.2m in corporation tax in its latest accounts, despite estimates suggesting it brought in almost £1bn in revenue from British subscribers over the year.

In the latest UK accounts, filed across three companies, Netflix logged around £120m in revenues with profits coming in at around £13m.

The company has, for years, funnelled most of its UK-generated revenues through its headquarters in the Netherlands. However, it has said it will change how it logs revenues from this year. 

The UK is home to one of Netflix’s biggest subscriber-bases, and is also the location for a growing number of its productions.

The company spent around £500m in 2019 on productions in the UK, around a third of the amount spent across Europe.

It is planning to spend more than $1bn on new series in the continent this year.

Netflix took the move to change how it logs UK revenues after having previously faced criticism over its low levels of tax in Britain.

Between Netflix entering the UK in 2014 and the end of 2018, the company was handed a rebate in three of those years. In 2018, it was given a €57,000 tax rebate, and a year earlier, a €199,000 rebate. This is because it benefits from UK tax relief for the creative industries. 

A spokesman for Netflix said: “We pay all taxes required and are committed to playing an active role in supporting British production and creative talent for the long term.

“Corporation tax is an important and much-debated issue. We support the OECD’s proposed reforms, but ultimately it’s for governments to decide the rules on tax – and in every country in which we operate, including the UK, Netflix complies with those rules.” 


ICYMI: Google threatens to pull search engine from Australia if forced to pay for news

Overnight, Google said it would disable its search function in Australia if the country puts in place planned new laws to force it to share a cut of its advertising revenue with publishers

Australia is in the process of putting in place a royalty-style system which will require Google and Facebook to to share the revenue they generate from advertising alongside news content. The move comes amid growing concerns for media organisations, which have seen advertising revenue plunge in recent years as more budget is allocated to tech firms.

If the tech companies cannot agree a price with local publishers, a government-appointed arbitrator will decide instead. 

Mel Silva, managing director for Google Australia and New Zealand, said: “The code’s arbitration model with bias criteria presents unmanageable financial and operational risk for Google.”

“If this version of the code were to become law, it would give us no real choice but to stop making Google Search available in Australia.”


Data stolen from Scottish environmental regulator published online

Files which were stolen from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency in what has been described as a “sophisticated” cyber attack have now been illegally published online.

At least 4,000 files were stolen in the attack, with the attackers believed to be international serious and organised cyber-crime groups. The ransomware attack had taken place on Christmas Eve, and blocked staff from being able to access systems, including their emails.

The chief executive of the regulator Terry A’Hearn said the organisation had been “clear that we won’t use public finance to pay serious and organised criminals intent on disrupting public services and extorting public funds”.

“We have made our legal obligations and duty of care on the sensitive handling of data a high priority and, following Police Scotland advice, are confirming that data stolen has been illegally published online.”

Sepa is working to recover and analyse the data and, as identifications are confirmed, contact and support affected organisations and individuals.

Police Scotland has warned organisations and individuals against looking for stolen information as this could result in their own computers being at risk.


Computacenter hikes profit guidance 

London-listed IT reseller Computacenter said profits are expected to have topped £195m last year, and momentum showed “no signs of abating”.

In a trading update, the company said revenues jumped by 8pc in the year after experiencing “strong growth” in demand from the public sector. 

Computacenter is one of three suppliers sourcing laptops and devices for school children, as part of the government pledge to try to help disadvantaged children.

In total, it was now expecting to report adjusted pre-tax profit of in excess of £195m for the year.

“While it is impossible to predict when or how our customers will react as the pandemic reduces its impact on our day to day lives, given the momentum we have in the business which is obviously further aided by our acquisition in the US, we are as confident as we can be at this stage that 2021 will be a year of progress for the group,” Computacenter said.


Alphabet shutters Loon internet balloon company

A Project Loon high altitude balloon sails over Tekapo in Southern New Zealand in 2013

A Project Loon high altitude balloon sails over Tekapo in Southern New Zealand in 2013


Google’s parent company Alphabet has said it will be winding down its internet balloon company, after having failed “to get the costs low enough to build a long-term, sustainable business”.

Loon was created in 2012 in Google’s “moonshot” factory to create what were basically floating routers. The devices performed a so-called “balloon dance” to help form a network over larger areas of land by floating on stratospheric winds and working together to provide coverage to the areas below. 

Alastair Westgarth, chief executive of Loon, said the company had “been chasing the hardest problem of all in connectivity — the last billion users”.

These were people whose communities were in  “areas too difficult or remote to reach, or the areas where delivering service with existing technologies is just too expensive for everyday people”.

Loon said the road to commerciability had, however, been “much longer and riskier than hoped”. As Loon winds down, Alphabet said it would be creating a $10m fund to help those businesses working on connectivity, the internet and education in Kenya, where it had launched some of its devices last year. 


Bitcoin set for worst week since March

Bitcoin is on track to record its worst week since the pandemic hit in March, as the cryptocurrency dipped to under $30,000.

Earlier this month, Bitcoin surged to as high as $42,000, but has since seen its price tumble, and this week was down by just over 12pc. It was trading at just over $31,000 this morning, having slipped under $30,000 overnight. 

It comes amid growing scrutiny from regulators, with Janet Yellen, President Joe Biden’s nomination for treasury secretary, voicing concerns over their use in illegal activities.

Both the EU regulator and the Financial Services Authority have expressed similar reservations, and suggested more oversight is needed.  

CMC Markets strategist Michael McCarthy said it was a “highly volatile piece”. “It made extraordinary gains and it’s doing what Bitcoin does and swinging around.”  

Over 2020, Bitcoin’s price jumped by more than 300pc. It did, however, slip by around a third last March, as the pandemic ripped through financial markets.


Five things to start your day

1) Donald Trump’s Facebook ban could be lifted by Oversight Board Nick Clegg says former President’s ban will remain in place until the independent board makes its decision, which could take up to 90 days

2) Parler loses legal bid to force Amazon to keep social network online A judge has denied Parler’s attempt to force Amazon Web Services to bring the social network back online.

3) Gadget-obsessed shoppers are feeding a catastrophic chip shortage Carmakers have suspended production and electronics are seeing shortages amid a boom in semiconductor demand

4) Schools find Russia-linked viruses on laptops given out by Government Department for Education confirms incident and says it is ‘aware of an issue with a small number of devices’

5) Thousands of London cabbies to sue Uber The group legal action claims the ride-hailing giant did not follow private hire laws for a six-year period between 2012 and 2018

Coming up today

Computacenter is issuing a trading update

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