As we start the new week, we are looking at some of the most important tech headlines from the past week. As several countries are planning to introduce tighter regulations on cryptocurrencies, we take a look at several developments that occurred globally in the next week. We will discuss the different scenarios for India, China bitcoin crackdown, UK regulators’ concerns about AML standards not being met by the crypto companies and smaller nations such as El Salvador adopting cryptocurrencies. We will also take a look at the continuous demand in the NFT sector despite the recent slump, the cybersecurity efforts increasing, Apple antitrust case, and the UK trying to advance their effort in AI and quantum computing.
At the beginning of last week, the global security analytics and automation company raised $200 million in their Series F funding round, bumping their valuation to $2.4 billion.
The round was led by the Owl Rock division of Blue Owl Capital and supported by existing investors Acrew Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Norwest Venture Partners.
Additionally, Exabeam has appointed a new CEO and president, as the outgoing CEO and co-founder Nir Polak will step down and continue as an active member of the executive team and will now be the chairman of the board. Stepping into the CEO shoes is the cybersecurity expect Michal DeCesare.
With more than 25 years of experience in cybersecurity, DeCesare was previously leading McAfee, and ForeScout Technologies that went public under his leadership in 2017.
“Exabeam defined the user entity and behavior analytics (UEBA) security technology category and is a leader in the security information and event management (SIEM) market. Innovation is in our DNA. We are reimagining the threat detection, investigation and response (TDIR) problem with an open extended detection and response (XDR), offering automation and use case-specific content so security analysts can quickly defend against threats, which is a true game changer for security teams,” said DeCesare. “Nir has built an incredibly robust, diverse and inclusive culture at Exabeam, and I am committed to helping it flourish. I’m thrilled to join Nir, Adam and the whole leadership team to help drive the company through its next phase of growth.”
“This funding round gives us the operating capital required to continue executing on our vision to deliver the number one trusted cloud SecOps platform on the market,” said Polak. “It gives us the opportunity to triple down on our R&D efforts and continue engineering the most advanced UEBA, XDR and SIEM cloud security products available today. Now with Mike at the helm and Adam’s leadership over product and engineering, we have assembled a seasoned executive team ready to scale and take our business to the next level.”
In the past year, Exabeam has invested greatly in their partner program that has expanded to more than 400 resellers, distributors, system integrators, MSSPs, MDRs, and consulting partners globally.
To add, the startup now has more than 500 technology integrations with the biggest IT and security companies.
“Exabeam is poised to be the next-gen leader in the cloud security analytics, XDR, and SIEM markets. We led this round of funding to provide the company with the resources necessary to support its sustainable, long-term growth and value creation,” said Pravin Vazirani, managing director and co-head of tech investing Blue Owl Capital. “In today’s operating environment, cybersecurity is increasingly recognized as a mission-critical function across industries, and we’re proud to partner with Michael, Nir, and the Exabeam team as they seize the opportunity ahead of them, continue to innovate, and enable their clients to stay at the forefront in terms of identifying and addressing threats across their technology platforms.”
Nandan Nilekani, the chair of Infosys in India, has urged the Indian authorities to embrace cryptocurrencies as an asset class and facilitate the integration of the technology. At the same time, he points out that cryptocurrencies are volatile and energy-intensive enough to pose a challenge as a payment method. Nilekani points out that United Payments Interface digital structure developed in India is more effective. Despite not viewing cryptocurrencies as the most effective payment method, Nilekani calls for the government to encourage buying and selling it like a commodity.
“Just like you have some of your assets in gold or real estate, you can have some of your assets in crypto,” he told the Financial Times in an interview. “I think there’s a role for crypto as a stored value but certainly not in a transactional sense.”
Nilekani adds that allowing people and companies to tap the crypto market would allow “the crypto guys to put their wealth into India’s economy”.
India has a large potential as a crypto market, however, the policies remain unclear as the talks about a possible ban on crypto trading continue to circulate. If the ban would come in effect, it would make India one of the most rigid jurisdictions when it comes to digital currencies. Nilekani says that regulators should facilitate cryptocurrencies rather than banning them.
“I think, frankly, the opportunities today are better than ever before,” Nilekani said. “In the 40 years I’ve been in this industry, I’ve never seen so much change and acceleration happening.”
After Beijing has stepped up its game regarding the crackdown on bitcoin trading and mining, several cryptocurrency-related social media accounts were blocked during the weekend. The anti-crypto actions are likely to continue, according to the analysts observing the unfolding situation in the country.
Last month, we reported on China’s State Council voting on cracking down on bitcoin mining and trading that came among the anti-cryptocurrency campaigns. A few days prior to the crackdown, crypto-related financial and payment services were banned.
Now, access to the most popular crypto-related Weibo accounts has been banned, citing the violation of laws and rules.
“It’s a Judgment Day for crypto KOL”, wrote a Weibo bitcoin commentator, or key opinion leader (KOL), who calls herself “Woman Dr. bitcoin mini.” Her main account was also blocked on Saturday.
“The government makes it clear that no Chinese version of Elon Musk can exist in the Chinese crypto market,” said NYU Law School adjunct professor Winston Ma, referring to the Tesla founder and cryptocurrency enthusiast.
More About Cryptocurrency Regulations :
On Wednesday, The European Commission’s antitrust case against Apple has been backed by the European Consumer Organization (BEUC) lobby group. According to the preliminary investigation by the commission, Apple distorts the competition in the music streaming market.
The first charges against Apple have been made in April, after an initial complaint by one of Apple’s largest rivals in the music market, Spotify. Apple has rejected all of the charges and claimed that if it was not for App Store, Spotify would not have become the largest music subscription service in the world.
BEUC has been allowed to join as a third party in a case that could result in a fine that reaches 10% of Apple’s global turnover, in addition to adjusting of the unfair business practices.
“We look forward to working with the Commission to ensure that Europe’s consumers have access to a full range of music streaming services without their choices being unfairly restricted or prices being artificially inflated,” BEUC Director General Monique Goyens said in a statement.
More On Antitrust Cases In The EU:
On Thursday, the UK’s financial watchdog share the concerns regarding the cryptocurrency firms not meeting Britain’s anti-money laundering financial rules. According to the watchdog, the up-and-coming sector of the digital assets struggles to meet Britain’s standard.
Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) joins other global regulators that have expressed their concerns over the illicit use of crypto and the lack of appropriate regulations. Since January of this year, crypto-related companies need to register with FCA that will oversee their compliance with the UK jurisdiction.
“The FCA will only register firms where it is confident that processes are in place to identify and prevent this activity,” the regulator said.
As of mid-may, only five firms are registered and another 90 have temporary registration that allows them to trade while the application is being reviewed. The next 51 companies have withdrawn their applications and cannot longer trade.
More On AML:
Nayib Bukele, El Salvador’s President announced on Saturday he will send a bill to Congress to make bitcoin legal tender, emphasizing its potential to help Salvadorans living abroad.
“In the short term this will generate jobs and help provide financial inclusion to thousands outside the formal economy,” Bukele said in a video shown at the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami.
Strike, a mobile payments app that launched in El Salvador this year, commented on the news saying it is working with the country’s officials to facilitate the use of cryptocurrencies.
“This is the shot heard ’round the world for bitcoin,” Strike founder and CEO Jack Mallers. “Adopting a natively digital currency as legal tender provides El Salvador the most secure, efficient and globally integrated open payments network in the world.”
Bukele pointed out that facilitating bitcoin will improve the lives of millions.
Today, the Vietnam-based RefFOX Labs announced their NFT IP Partnership with Marvelous NFT, showing the continuous potential and demand in the NFT sector, despite a slump following the cryptocurrency fall.
A division of the blockchain venture builder RedFOX labs, RFOX Games has a goal of advancing the gaming space with the flagship NFT product called KOGS.
Fadzly Yusof, GM of RFOX Games said, “We are thrilled to work with MarvelousNFTs to present the BAD DAYS KOGs Special Edition. As a company made up of comic fans and gamers, STAN LEE has been a huge part of our lives with his creations and to be able to immortalize him and his characters has been a dream come true for us. The humorous poses and designs we have presented for this edition really shows that even our favorite superheroes can indeed have BAD DAYS.”
The CEO of Marvelous NFTs has also commented on the news, saying:
“MarvelousNFTs is pleased to be working with RFOX Games to showcase the “BAD DAYS” limited edition KOGS superhero NFT collection. Our team has taken great pride in creating this collaboration series and believes humor is the best medicine, particularly during these tough times.
More On NFT:
A £210m center that can focus on AI and quantum computing was announced in the UK. The center will be based in Daresbury, Cheshire, and will aim at preparing the UK businesses for the future. The UK government will invest £172m over five years with a further £38m coming from computing giant IBM.
The center is going to create roughly 60 jobs and opportunities for students and will perform in cooperation between IBM and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).
A spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said the center is supposed to engage in “cutting-edge technologies like AI and quantum computing more accessible to businesses and public sector organizations”.
“As well as breaking down practical barriers to using new technologies, the [center’s] team of experts will also provide training and support to make sure the UK is at the forefront of the next generation of computing,” he added.
The new center is one of the several initiatives that are supposed to transform the AI and quantum computing sector in the UK.