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WhatsApp Updates Privacy Policy Integrating More With Facebook

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WhatsApp has taken over the social media chatting sector globally. Over the years, the platform has managed to remain distinct from its parent company, Facebook, but all that might change soon.

Anyone using WhatsApp must have already discovered that the chat app is planning various changes. By February 8, every user will have seen a screen warning them that the app will be “updating its terms and privacy policy”.

The platform is open-minded about the changes, insisting that the critical updates affect how the firm processes user data. These updates also affect how companies and businesses can use new features to integrate with WhatsApp’s shopping features with Facebook’s general business.

However, the latest announcement also enhances a truth that many had always been reluctant to acknowledge that if you are a WhatsApp user, you are a Facebook customer; Also, while these two services have historically remained entirely distinct, the integration process seems to be heading into one direction.

In general, the latest change seems to spark inordinate concern. For now, the most critical data held by WhatsApp including the contents of user conversations remains sacrosanct. Notably, the end-to-end encryption used by the platform to entirely protect the contents of all the chats means that nobody, including WhatsApp, knows what the users are talking about, nor can they easily discover.

WhatsApp Encryption Under Attack

The encryption is always under attack, mainly by the law enforcement agencies that insist on the return to the heyday of the 2000s, when the criminal conspiracies may be easily uncovered by demanding the phone firms to hand over the contents of SMS messages.

However, it has held firm mainly due to Facebook’s long-term commercial vision which points to more encryption, not less. That is the view laid out in 2019 by Mark Zuckerberg when he published a long note on his Facebook page titled A Privacy-Focused Vision for Social Networking.

The same note also explained Facebook’s long-term plans for WhatsApp: integrating the messaging app with the firm’s general social network, in the name of interoperability. Zuckerberg wrote:

“With interoperability, you’d be able to use WhatsApp to receive messages sent to your Facebook account without sharing your phone number, and [in commercial transactions] the buyer wouldn’t have to worry about whether you prefer to be messaged on one network or the other.”

Two years later, these goals are almost achieved. Today, Facebook and Instagram users can send messages to each other directly without having to switch between the apps. The latest change from February will most likely enhance the link between WhatsApp and Facebook enabling the users to interact with shops that have storefronts on the latter without leaving the former.

The Policy Update

For all those that are comfortable with Facebook’s and Instagram’s use of data, they might not care about the current update. The social media giant was recently compelled by Apple to offer a privacy “nutritional label” on its iOS app. Apple needed Facebook to reveal how it works with user data.

The labels revealed over 100 different pieces of data that may be collected, with most of them directly connected to user profiles featuring health and fitness data, search histories, and ‘sensitive’ info. For the normal user who owns accounts on both services, including the small amount of info WhatsApp has is drop in the ocean by comparison.

But, this change now starts to eliminate the idea that a user can be on WhatsApp without leaving some footprints on Facebook. These two platforms have different histories whose intended uses have resulted in a division in demographics among users.

Notably, a significant segment of the WhatsApp users attracted by the encryption, no-frills interface, and ad-free nature, avoid Facebook while still using the chat app that it owns. For such users, the latest disclosure may act as a watershed moment; WhatsApp and Facebook are still two separate entities, but from now henceforth, every change made will move in one direction.

The chatting app collects fewer data. Therefore, there is no need to panic and cut ties rapidly with the platform. Nevertheless, a privacy-conscious user is advised to start thinking about alternative platforms that they can use to contact people only available via the Facebook app portfolio.

Other Messaging Alternatives

There are alternatives to WhatsApp for those who are conscious of privacy. The most popular among them is Signal which is a free app that is developed by the non-profit that created WhatsApp’s encryption system. With its integration in the security and privacy community, Signal’s technical fundamentals are yet to be rivaled by anyone.

The app has spent several years working on becoming a viable alternative to the slick user-focused services like Facebook Messenger. In the process, it does not compromise on the features that make it a must-have for its growing paranoid user base.

For now, it is not a surprise that Signal has become a viable alternative to WhatsApp. The non-profit organization that currently bankrolls the app was launched with a $50 million loan from Brian Acton. Acton is the co-founder of WhatsApp itself.

Also, users might consider listening to Elon Musk who recently tweeted the simple message “use Signal”. Currently, he is the richest person worldwide, therefor he might know something and is right about it, it appears. After Musk’s tweet, many users registered for Signal which caused verification code delay across the whole servers.

Whether you switch or not, or just want a back-up chat app if you feel the need to change, later on, the crucial thing is to make an active choice. People who are keen on privacy are advised to not allow many small changes to add up to a state of affairs that they should have otherwise not agreed to actively. Try to read all terms and conditions before clicking ‘Agree’.

WhatsApp Insists Updated Privacy Policy Targets Business Accounts Only

The messaging platform revamped its privacy policy and terms of service to integrate it with Facebook. Based on the updated policies, the app will share data with Facebook and it has made that mandatory. The firm went on to issue an official statement explaining that data-sharing with Facebook will not change.

Furthermore, the statement highlighted that these new changes will come into effect from February 8, 2021, and their data-sharing policies will target Facebook and WhatsApp business accounts. But, nothing changes in the consumer chats since they will remain end-to-end encrypted.

All users must agree with the new terms and conditions to continue using the platform. The official statement reads:

“As we announced in October, WhatsApp wants to make it easier for people to both make a purchase and get help from a business directly on WhatsApp. While most people use WhatsApp to chat with friends and family, increasingly people are reaching out to businesses as well. To further increase transparency, we updated the privacy policy to describe that going forward businesses can choose to receive secure hosting services from our parent company Facebook to help manage their communications with their customers on WhatsApp. Though of course, it remains up to the user whether or not they want to message with a business on WhatsApp.”

The updates do not affect how people communicate privately with their family and friends. WhatsApp insists that it remains deeply committed to protecting people’s privacy. The company is communicating with users via their accounts to enable them to review the new updates in the coming month.

Source: https://e-cryptonews.com/whatsapp-updates-privacy-policy-integrating-more-with-facebook/

Blockchain

Tim Draper Handpicks Netflix as the Next Company to Purchase Bitcoin

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Popular venture capitalist and Bitcoin bull Timothy “Tim” Draper predicted that major online streaming platform Netflix could be the next company to join the bitcoin buying bandwagon.

Next Bitcoin Investor Could Be Netflix

Speaking in a recent episode of the Unstoppable Podcast, Tim Draper stated that Netflix could be the next in line to add bitcoin to its balance sheet. According to him, the company’s co-founder and co-CEO, Reed Hastings, makes Netflix a likely bitcoin investor. Draper buttressed his point, saying:

“I think Reed Hastings is a very innovative guy and has a lot of creative thinking and I think he still controls the reins at Netflix. And so I think that might be the next big one to fall.”

Meanwhile, the venture capitalist mentioned social media giant Facebook, as well as other major companies like Apple, and Google, as likely candidates to invest in bitcoin. However, Draper noted that the companies were instead trying to create a centralized currency of their own.

Draper also stated that if he was the chief financial officer (CFO) of any major organization, he would advise the company to allocate a portion of their portfolio to bitcoin. According to the BTC proponent, bitcoin served as a hedge against inflation.

Since Tesla’s billion-dollar bitcoin investment, there have been speculations about which company would emulate Tesla’s move. Increased institutional interest in bitcoin is largely responsible for BTC’s bullish momentum. Meanwhile, Firms like Microstrategy and Square recently added to their bitcoin holdings.

Amazon Likely to Accept Bitcoin as a Payment Method?

Apart from pitching Netflix as the next possible bitcoin investor, the venture capitalist stated that the retail giant Amazon could start accepting bitcoin. Adding that, people could use the flagship cryptocurrency to purchase products on Amazon.

Back in February, there were reports that Amazon was looking to introduce a new project that would enable customers to convert cash into digital currency. While the project would launch in Mexico, the company did not state what digital assets it would support, although there were speculations that the company may not use popular crypto-assets like BTC or ether.

While also speaking on bitcoin’s price target, Draper said:

“The current currency holdings around the world in dollars is about $100 trillion and bitcoin’s market cap is just reaching a trillion now. So there’s no reason it can’t go up a 100 fold. It’s not like it is going to completely replace the dollar. Although I think people are going to laugh when they are trying to buy things with dollars in the future.”

The venture capitalist made a prediction earlier in 2020 that the price of bitcoin would reach $250,000 by the end of 2022 or early in 2023.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/tim-draper-handpicks-netflix-as-the-next-company-to-purchase-bitcoin/

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Ripple is committed to San Francisco, says co-founder Chris Larsen

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In October last year, Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen said that the firm may consider relocating to other countries citing the lack of regulatory clarity in the United States. Since then, many have speculated where the firm’s new headquarters will be located. However, amid a lawsuit with SEC regarding an alleged illegal securities offering, and XRP’s dwindling price, Larsen made a new announcement recently that stated that the firm was here to stay. 

Speaking to The San Francisco Chronicle, co-founder said that Ripple’s global headquarter will remain in San Francisco. He added: 

We’re committed to the city. It’s got the most diversity, creativity…it’s got the critical mass.

Earlier, CEO of Ripple, Brad Garlinghouse, hinted at a possibility that Ripple could move out of the US, given its “lack” of a regulatory framework. He stressed that the country was “out of sync” and needed to implement a clear regulatory framework regarding crypto.

At the time, the CEO said that he was considering whether Ripple would benefit from relocating to a country where regulations were more clear. He admitted to being impressed by how the UK and other G20 nations including Singapore, Japan, and the UAE had “clear regulatory frameworks” that allowed for “healthy markets to develop.”

Meanwhile, another leading crypto firm in the neighborhood has decided to do away with its headquarters altogether. Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said that amid the firm’s work from home policies they choose not to have a base in San Francisco, but will continue to keep their offices open. Stating that the company is “decentralized” the CEO added:

As we’ve moved to a remote first environment, we realized that we no longer have a headquarters located in any one city.


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Source: https://ambcrypto.com/ripple-is-committed-to-san-francisco-says-co-founder-chris-larsen

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3 key Ethereum price metrics show pro traders are aiming for $2K ETH

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On Feb. 20, Ether (ETH) price rallied to a new high at $2,015 and this caused multiple indicators to display signs of excessive optimism. While the excitement could be easily justified by Ether’s  year-to-date 176% gain, these warning signs should not be ignored.

On of the primary driving factors of the current bullish sentiment is the launch of CME ETH futures and Grayscale Investments ETH Trust reaching $6.3 billion assets under management. The DeFi phenomenon also continues as there is currently more than $21 billion worth of Ether locked in DeFi.

Crypto Fear & Greed Index. Source: alternative.me

Currently, the Crypto Fear & Greed Index is at 93, indicating “Extreme Greed” according to its methodology. Many traders use the metric as a counter trading signal, meaning, the extreme fear level can be a sign that investors are bullish and a buying opportunity is present. In contrast, when investors are getting too greedy, it could be a sign that the market is due for a correction.

Unlike the excessively leveraged retail traders, the more experienced market makers and whales hs been skeptical of the never-ending rally in Ether. Regardless of the rationale for the price peak, the 36% price correction that followed was accelerated by large liquidations.

Ether futures contracts aggregate liquidations. Source: Bybt.com

The liquidation of $2 billion in long futures contracts from Feb. 19 to Feb. 23 represented 28% of the total open interest. Thus, one should expect significant deterioration in market sentiment, as depicted on the previous Fear & Greed indicator.

Surprisingly, none of that happened on the Ether derivatives markets, as both futures contracts premium (contango) and the options skew remained bullish.

The futures premium held very healthy levels

By measuring the expense gap between futures and the regular spot market, a trader can gauge the level of bullishness in the market.

The 3-month futures should usually trade with a 10% or higher premium versus regular spot exchanges. Whenever this indicator fades or turns negative, this is an alarming red flag. This situation is known as backwardation and indicates that the market is turning bearish.

OKEx 3-month ETH futures basis. Source: Skew.com

The above chart shows that the indicator peaked at 39% on Feb. 20 as Ether touched its all-time high. Nevertheless, it has kept above 16% during the entire correction down to $1,300. This data shows that professional traders remained confident in Ether’s price potential.

The options skew remained neutral-to-bullish

When analyzing options, the 25% delta skew is the single-most relevant gauge. This indicator compares similar call (buy) and put (sell) options side-by-side.

It will turn negative when the put options premium is higher than similar-risk call options. A negative skew translates to a higher cost of downside protection and indicating bullishness.

The opposite holds when market makers are bearish, causing the 25% delta skew indicator to gain positive ground.

ETH options 25% delta skew. Source: laevitas.ch

Over the past month, there hasn’t been a single incident of a sustainable positive delta skew. Therefore, there is no evidence that option traders demanded more significant premiums for downside protection.

This data is very encouraging, considering that Ethereum faced a heavy sell-off but the futures and options metrics discussed above held bullish levels during the downturn.

As Ether managed to recover quickly from its recent $1,300 dip, investors gained further confidence that the uptrend had not been broken.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/3-key-ethereum-price-metrics-show-pro-traders-are-aiming-for-2k-eth

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