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Bitcoin Halving Ignites Global Shift of Outdated Mining Rigs

TECH BRIEF

Ahead of Bitcoin's upcoming "halving", outdated US mining machines are being resold overseas to profit from lower energy costs. The 'halving' event, set for late April, will reduce miners' main revenue stream, prompting a move to more efficient technology. As such, old mining computers are expected to generate profit in countries with cheaper power. Locations like Ethiopia, Paraguay, and Uruguay are becoming key players in this trend due to low-cost electricity and lax regulations in cryptocurrency mining.

Tencent Holdings Ltd.'s Q4 revenue rose by just 7% to 155.2 billion yuan ($21.6 billion), missing estimates, a symptom of China's staggered economic revival affecting its gaming and social media arms. In response, the company is doubling its share buyback program to over HK$100 billion ($12.8 billion) in 2024. This slowdown comes amid myriad structural issues plaguing China's economy, including a prolonged property crisis and stubborn inflation.

The Justice Department plans to sue Apple for antitrust violations, alleging that the tech giant has been blocking rivals' access to iPhone's hardware and software features. The suit aligns with the Biden administration's increasing aggression towards monopoly behaviors amongst major US technology firms. This is amid an ongoing scrutiny of Apple in Europe over possible anticompetitive conduct.

In a robust investment into AI technology, AWS announced cooperation with Nvidia and Anthropic, introduced Anthropic's Haiku and Sonnet models on its AI platform, Amazon Bedrock, and generated $24.2 billion in revenue in Q4 2023. Aiming to seize more GenAI market opportunities, they've launched a generative AI competency for partners and formed an alliance with Accenture to promote AI adoption.

Prominent tech industry leaders, including Peter Thiel, Jeff Bezos, and Mark Zuckerberg, have reportedly sold hundreds of millions of dollars of their companies' shares this quarter. This sell-off, happening as markets hit record highs, is considered a sign that the recent tech stock market boom could be reaching its peak. Such significant insider share sales are viewed as a negative indicator by market analysts.

The Financial Times is testing Ask FT, an AI chatbot that provides natural language answers to users' queries, sourced from the outlet's decades of published content. The bot, available to a select group of paid subscribers, uses Anthropic's Large Language Model, Claude. It can answer questions on current events and broader topics, citing related articles from FT's archives.

Food delivery startup Wonder topped this week's funding rounds with a massive $700M raise. Other major rounds included biotech firms Mirador Therapeutics ($400M), Capstan Therapeutics ($175M), Engrail Therapeutics ($157M), and Clasp Therapeutics ($150M). Cloud company Foundry secured $80M, while cybersecurity firm BigID and fintech platform Figure Markets each raised $60M.

Apple is in early discussions with Baidu to introduce the Chinese company's generative AI technology for its devices in China. With Google and OpenAI models unavailable in China, Apple needs a local provider to meet the country's cyberspace administration policy guidelines. This move follows Samsung's path, which utilizes Baidu's AI in China.

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