Hashtag trending Nov. 25 – Stripe Looks at Crypto; Calls for EU to Ban Crypto Mining; Tesla Self Driving

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Stripe flirts with the idea of accepting crypto, climate experts call for European Bitcoin ban, and Tesla self-driving will require video collection.

It’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Thursday, November 25th, and I’m your host, Pragya Sehgal.

Online payment company Stripe has revealed that they won’t rule out accepting cryptocurrency as a payment, according to an article from CNBC. The comments from co-founder John Collison are particularly interesting given that the company ended bitcoin support back in 2018. At the time, Stripe cited volatility concerns as well as a “lack of efficiency in making everyday transactions”. While Collison would not make any concrete claims about reintroducing cryptocurrency, he did note that recent developments with the blockchain currencies have made them more scalable and acceptable as a payment method. Stripe, formed in 2009, is amongst the largest Fintech companies in the United States, and is valued at nearly $100 billion USD.

Swedish authorities are calling on the European Union to ban crypto mining, citing its energy-intensive nature and high carbon footprint. An article from EuroNews explained that the rise in cryptocurrency this year saw Swedish energy consumption rise “several hundred percent”, and is threatening the nation’s ability to meet its Paris Climate Agreement obligations. The biggest contributor to the high energy consumption of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ether is the blockchains “Proof of Work” system. This involves computers solving complex mathematical equations, which is designed to become increasingly more difficult as the number of blocks increases. As such, the longer the “arms race” continues, the more intensive the process, with energy demands subsequently rising in tow with the currencies growth. 

Finally, according to an article from Engadget, Tesla will be asking its drivers to consent to allowing the collection of video following the company’s release of their Full Self Driving capabilities. While Tesla had previously collected video to train its AI, Tesla will now be able to associate the video with certain vehicles via Vehicle Identification Numbers. According to a report from Electrek, the language used by Tesla could therefore mean that they want to ensure they have evidence in case of an FSD accident. Tesla’s FSD features have been somewhat maligned in the early stages of its release, with repeated issues including “unwarranted Forward Collision Warnings, unexpected autobraking”, among other alleged ongoing issues.

And now for something a little bit different. It seems that NASA is up to something interesting once more. After NASA announced earlier this week that they planned to put a nuclear reactor on the moon, the space agency has now said that they are launching their first-ever asteroid deflection mission. According to an article from Sky News, a spacecraft launched from California this morning for a mission dubbed DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) will see an attempt to intercept a target asteroid next September. DART launched in conjunction with SpaceX aboard the Falcon 9 rocket, and is reportedly roughly the size of a small car. While the asteroid to be intercepted will be of no threat to Earth, the mission nevertheless remains one worth keeping a particularly close eye on. Physicists such as the late Steven Hawking have called a potential asteroid impact with Earth “among the greatest threats facing humanity”.

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire Newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. If you have a suggestion or tip, please drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thanks for listening, I’m Pragya Sehgal.

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