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Samsung confirms it is making ASIC chips for cryptocurrency mining

Fresh from toppling Intel as the planet’s biggest seller of chipsets, Samsung has confirmed that it has begun manufacturing ASIC chips which are used to mine bitcoin, ether and other cryptocurrencies. “Samsung’s foundry business is currently engaged in the manufacturing of cryptocurrency mining chips. However we are unable to disclose further details regarding our customers,” a company spokesperson told TechCrunch. Samsung declined to provide more details when we asked. The statement follows reports in Korea media which claimed that the tech giant had made the move in collaboration with an unnamed Chinese…

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Asana raises $75M Series D led by Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management

Asana, the productivity and collaboration service, is getting a major infusion of cash after Generation Investment Management, a London-based firm backed by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, led a $75 million investment. Investment Management was joined in this Series D round by existing backers 8VC, Founders Fund, Y Combinator President Sam Altman who also participated in the round. Asana co-founder and CEO Dustin Moskovitz, who co-founded Facebook, was also in. The deal will see Colin le Duc, a co-founder and partner at Generation, join the six-year-old startup’s board. Asana said in a blog post…

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Speedinvest x is a new micro VC fund that will invest in European early-stage marketplace startups

A new vertical fund from pan-European VC firm Speedinvest is officially outing today. Dubbed “Speedinvest x” and targeting a final closing of €25 million, of which €20.5 million has already been committed, the micro VC fund will target early-stage marketplace startups exclusively. Specifically, I’m told Speedinvest x will make pre-seed, seed and early Series A investments. This will range from €200,000 to €1 million in European entrepreneurs who are building the platforms and marketplace businesses of tomorrow and/or technologies that enable them. Aside from a marketplace vertical or technology requirement,…

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SoftBank buys into Line’s mobile service in Japan

SoftBank is partnering up with messaging app Line to help develop its Line Mobile telecom service. Line announced that it has agreed to allow SoftBank to take a 51 percent in the business via an issuance of new shares. The deal is expected to close by March. From the documents, its mobile business is valued at around $15 million (1.7 billion JPY) but a company spokesperson told TechCrunch that discussions remain ongoing around the valuation for SoftBank’s investment — in other words: it could be higher. The firm will, however,…

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Amazon is experimenting with its own QR code style ‘SmileCodes’

QR code style markers — those lil’ barcode-looking boxes you’ll see on ads from time to time, meant to be scanned with your phone to launch some website or app — have yet to really find their footing in the U.S. But that’s not going to keep Amazon from taking a stab at it. Amazon is rolling out its own take on the concept and calling them “SmileCodes.” If you’ve scanned a QR code before, the idea will seem similar: see a code in, say, a magazine, open a scanner…

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Samsung topples Intel to become the world’s largest chipmaker

Samsung has ended Intel’s 25-year run as the world’s biggest seller of chipsets after it posted its 2017 end of year financials. The Korean tech giant’s chipset division — which has long been its biggest hitter — grossed total revenue of $69 billion in 2017, eclipsing the $62.8 billion Intel reported for last year. That was a record year for Intel — and an annual increase of six percent — but it wasn’t enough to stop Samsung from knocking it from the top spot, which Bloomberg reports it had occupied…

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Red Hat acquires CoreOS for $250 million in Kubernetes expansion

Red Hat, a company best known for its enterprise Linux products, has been making a big play for Kubernetes and containerization in recent years with its OpenShift Kubernetes product. Today the company decided to expand on that by acquiring CoreOS, a container management startup, for $250 million. The company’s core products include CoreOS, a Linux distribution and Tectonic, a container management solution based on the open source Kubernetes container orchestration platform, originally developed by Google. (For more information on containers, see this article.) CoreOs and Red Hat have been among…

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Spotify is testing a new playlist-based music app that’s a lot like Pandora

Spotify is testing an app that sees it move firmly into Pandora’s territory. ‘Stations’ is a new Android-only app that is being piloted by the company in Australia — it was first noticed by app analytics firm Sensor Tower on Tuesday. This app offers a ‘lean-back’ option to listen to music based on genres and managed playlists. In the description, Spotify explains that it plays music instantly when opened with stations easily changed by scrolling inside the app. Like Spotify’s core service, there’s a personalization element with user-based playlists created…

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At the State of the Union, Trump touts tax cuts and immigration deal

With a president as mercurial as Trump, it was anyone’s guess what would happen during his first State of the Union address. The appearance is the president’s most high profile public speaking moment of the year and Trump was expected to touch on some of the issues of the moment, including funding for a border wall, infrastructure and an immigration deal. While less likely if things went according to plan though totally possible if he veered off script, it wasn’t clear if Trump would dig into the white-hot topic of…

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