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Vodafone quits Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency project

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San Francisco: Vodafone has become the latest big player who have decided to quit Facebook’s controversial Libra cryptocurrency project.

Vodafone joins PayPal, Mastercard, Visa, Mercado Pago, eBay, Stripe and Booking Holdings in withdrawing from the controversial project — and is the first company to exit after the Libra Association was formed in October last year, coindesk reported on Tuesday.

The companies left owing to concerns about heightened regulatory scrutiny.

“We can confirm that Vodafone is no longer a member of the Libra Association. Although the makeup of the Association members may change over time, the design of Libra’s governance and technology ensures the Libra payment system will remain resilient,” the Libra Association said in a statement.

“The Association is continuing the work to achieve a safe, transparent, and consumer-friendly implementation of the Libra payment system.”

Despite top-notch firms pulling out, Facebook and 20 partner organisations formally joined the digital currency Libra project in Geneva in October.

The Libra Association said that more than 1,500 entities have expressed an interest in joining the digital currency project.

Several US senators have opposed Facebook’s digital coin, arguing that the social networking giant has been irresponsible with user data privacy. They have even called the digital cryptocurrency Libra “delusional” and “dangerous”.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress in October about Libra, defending the idea, but acknowledging the struggles left to overcome.

Libra has failed in its current form, according to the President of Switzerland.

In a media interview, Swiss President and Finance Minister Ueli Maurer stated that Libra does not have a chance of being successful “because the basket of currencies that is deposited in this currency is not accepted by the national (central) banks”.

“The project in this form has actually failed,” Maurer was quoted as saying.

The Libra project, which is still in development, aims for the launch of its first version this year.

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Vodafone Idea plunges 16%, now less than Rs 3 a stock

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Mumbai, Feb 18 : Vodafone Idea scrips on Tuesday plunged over 16 per cent to trade below Rs 3 a stock after India Ratings downgraded its rating on non-convertible debentures of Rs 3,500 crore citing stress on the company’s near-term liquidity post the Supreme Court’s ruling.

From a 52 week high of Rs 35.30 a stock that Vodafone Idea logged on March 13, 2019, it has now fallen below Rs 3 a share on Tuesday as its survival has come under question after the apex court ruling on February 14 directing the telcos to pay the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) related liabilities to the government next month.

With the government mulling the possibilities of invoking bank guarantees of the telcos to recover the statutory dues, Vodafone Idea chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla on Tuesday met Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash on the AGR payment issue after paying Rs 2,500 crore on Monday.

The company had urged the court that the bank guarantee deposited with the government by Vodafone Idea should also not be encashed. Birla has maintained that without relief on the AGR payout, it may not be possible to continue as a going concern.

The company in a regulatory filing said that “India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra), has downgraded its rating on Non-Convertible Debentures of Rs 3,500 crore of erstwhile Vodafone Mobile Services Limited (since merged with the Company)”.

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Bill Gates Is Driving a Porsche Taycan. Here’s Why He Didn’t Get a Tesla

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San Francisco, Feb 18 : Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Tuesday took a jibe at Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates after the world’s second richest man declared he has bought his first EV — Porsche Taycan.

Gates told a noted YouTube tech reviewer Marques Brownlee in an interview that he purchased his first-ever EV Porsche Taycan, calling the vehicle “very, very cool”.

“My conversations with Gates have been underwhelming tbh (to be honest),” Musk tweeted to a user.

The initial EV Porsche Taycan Turbo S model starts at $185,000 while the entry-level Tesla Model 3 starts from $35,000.

In the interview, Brownlee asked Gates about his thoughts on Tesla’s dominance in the electric vehicle market.

Gates acknowledged that Tesla is the cream of the crop when it comes to electric cars, adding that lots of manufacturers are moving to produce electric vehicles because Tesla’s appeal has been increased over the past few years.

“Tesla, if you had to name one company, that’s helped drive that, it’s them,” said Gates.

You can watch the complete interview here:

Musk has been tweeting his thoughts about tech honchos.

He recently questioned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s understanding of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and called Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos a “copycat”.

Gates recently commissioned a $644 million hydrogen-powered superyacht. The plans of buying the superyacht were unveiled at the Monaco Yacht Show in December last year.

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Network18, TV18 stocks rise after consolidation announcement

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Mumbai, Feb 18 (IANS) Shares of Network18, TV18, Hathway and Den Networks surged on Tuesday after Reliance Industries’ announcement of consolidating the four entities into Network18.

Late on Monday evening, RIL announced a consolidation of its media and distribution businesses spread across multiple entities into Network18 and said that its stake in Network18 will reduce from 75 per cent to 64 per cent upon implementation of the scheme.

At 10.30 a.m., stocks of Network18 on the BSE were at Rs 30.05, higher by 4.89 from the previous close, and shares of TV18 were 14.12 per cent higher at Rs 28.70 per share.

Hathway Cable Datacom was at Rs 23.10 up 20 per cent, and stocks of Den Networks were up nearly 10 per cent at Rs 59.50 per share.

In its statement on Monday, RIL said: “The appointed date for the merger shall be February 1, 2020. The Board of Directors of the respective companies approved the scheme of amalgamation and arrangement at their meetings held today.”

The broadcasting business will be housed in Network18 and the cable and ISP businesses in two separate wholly owned subsidiaries of Network18. The company said that the restructuring would create value-chain integration, and render substantial economies of scale.

Post the consolidation, Network18 will be an integrated media and distribution company with a revenue of Rs 8,000 crore and will scale-up as one of the largest listed players in the sector, according to the company. Network18 will be net-debt free at consolidated level, providing a solid base for growth as well as improved shareholder returns, the statement said.

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