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1. Highlights from Facebook’s Libra Senate hearing
David Marcus, the head of Facebook’s blockchain subsidiary Calibra, testified before the Senate Banking Committee today. He said Calibra will be interoperable, so users can send money back and forth with other wallets, and he committed to data portability, so users can switch entirely to a competitor.
At the same time, Marcus said Facebook will embed only its own wallet into its messaging apps Messenger and WhatsApp, which could give the company a sizable advantage.
2. Twitter.com launches its big redesign with simpler navigation and more features
The company has been testing a new version of its desktop website since the beginning of the year, and yesterday, the final product started rolling out to the public.
3. Blackstone is acquiring mobile ad company Vungle
Multiple sources with knowledge of the deal said that the acquisition price was north of $750 million. As part of the transaction, Vungle has also reached a settlement with founder Zain Jaffer, who filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the company earlier this year.
4. Curve, the ‘over-the-top’ banking platform, raises $55M at a $250M valuation
The startup lets you consolidate all of your bank cards into a single Curve card and app to make it easier to manage your spending and access other benefits.
5. Meredith Whittaker, AI researcher and an organizer of last year’s Google walkout, is leaving the company
Whittaker and another one of the walkout’s organizers, Claire Stapleton, previously said they had faced retaliation from Google after the protest. Other employees also claimed they had experienced fallout as a result of their participation, which Google denied.
6. Newsletter platform Substack raises $15.3M round led by a16z
Although Substack started out two years ago as a way to turn newsletters into a paid subscription business, it’s since added support for podcasts and discussion threads. As CEO Chris Best put it, the goal is to allow writers and creators to run their own “personal media empire.”
7. Why commerce companies are the advertising players to watch in a privacy-centric world
We’re witnessing the beginning of a sweeping upheaval in how companies are allowed to obtain, process, manage, use and sell consumer data, and the implications for the digital ad competitive landscape are massive. (Extra Crunch membership required.)