Silicon Valley Tech News Roundup of the Week – June 20th

Sichuan province target of crypto mining crackdown 6/19

Yicai, a Chinese financial publication, reports Sichuan province is the latest target of crypto mining crackdown. According to the data gathered by the University of Cambridge, Sichuan is the second-biggest crypto mining province in China.

The Sichuan Energy Bureau and the Sichuan Provincial Development and Reform Commission issued a notice and ordered the closure of what they suspect to be 26 crypto mining projects by Sunday. Likewise, electrical companies in the province have to conduct inspections. If they come across a crypto mining project, they have to stop the supply of energy immediately.

This move comes after the Chinese government vowed to crack down on crypto mining and trading activities last month. The country is known as the global hub of crypto mining. The related activities attracted the attention of Chinese regulatory bodies. Based on the data from the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance, China was responsible for over 70% of global computing power for bitcoin from September 2019 to April 2020.

California sets up digital access for Covid-19 vaccine records 6/19

Vaccinated California residents can easily access their digital copy of Covid-19 vaccine information via a website created by the California state.

To access the digital copy of their Covid-19 vaccine record, Californian residents have to log onto the website and input their name, date of birth, and email or phone number they submitted when they got vaccinated. Likewise, for additional protection, they will have to create a 4-digit PIN code. It ensures they are the only ones able to open the digital record.
The website also issues a scannable QR code. That way, they can access events or establishments that require people to be vaccinated to gain entry.

However, do not dispense with your CDC card just yet. California Department of Public Health “recommends that vaccinated Californians keep their paper CDC card in a safe and secure place.”

Ransomware payments may be tax-deductible 6/18

According to tax experts, companies targeted by ransomware attacks may be able to claim the ransomware payments as tax-deductible.

Over recent years, ransomware attacks have become more common. In May, Colonial Pipeline was a victim of a ransomware attack that resulted in gas shortages on the East Coast. The company paid 75 bitcoin (estimated at $4.4 million) to the hackers.

The FBI’s advice is not to pay the ransom, while the IRS has not issued any formal guidance on ransomware payments. But according to the tax experts contacted by the Associated Press, these deductions can be processed under established guidance and law.

The deductions are a part of a bigger problem – the government does not want to encourage more attacks and payments to be used to fund criminal activities. But companies targeted by hackers might have no other option in order to avoid devastating consequences for their business activities.

ByteDance doubled its profits in 2020 6/18

In an internal memo to its staff, ByteDance, the owners of TikTok, shared that the company doubled its profits in 2020.

The total revenue went to $34.3bn (an increase of 111%), while their annual gross profit is $19bn (93% increase). As of December last year, across all ByteDances platforms, the company had 1.9bn active users.

This month, President Biden’s administration reversed the executive orders put in place by the Trump administration. Trump wanted to ban Chinese apps like TikTok and WeChat from the US market citing national security reasons. While the Biden administration reversed the orders, it issued a new one with the primary objective to protect Americans’ data against potential foreign adversaries. It tasked the Commerce Department to create a report on how to best protect personal user data.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government called on the 13 most popular online platforms in China to stick to more stringent regulations in their financial departments.

The company went through internal changes in May when Zhang Yiming, the co-founder and CEO, decided to step down. Rubo Liang, the co-founder, is supposed to take over his role. Meanwhile, Yiming will transition to a new role within the company.


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