from Pradodesign Tencent becomes a Linux Foundation platinum member to increase its focus on open source
Tencent, the $500-billion Chinese internet giant, is increasing its focus on open source after it became a platinum member of the Linux Foundation.
The company has long been associated with the foundation and Linux generally, it is a founding member of the Linux Foundation’s deep learning program that launched earlier this year, and now as a platinum member (the highest tier) it will take a board of directors seat and work more closely with the organization. That works two ways, with Tencent pledging to offer “further support and resources” to foundation projects and communities, while the Chinese firm itself will also tap into the foundation’s expertise and experience.
Along those lines, the company said it will contribute its open source microservices project called TARS and an open source name service project (Tseer) to The Linux Foundation. It added that an open source AI project — Angel — will be contributed to the deep learning foundation.
“We are honored to be a Platinum member of The Linux Foundation. Open source is core Tencent’s technical strategy,” Liu Xin, general manager of Tencent’s Mobile Internet Group said in a statement.
Other platinum members include Cisco, Huawei, Microsoft, AT&T, Samsung and IBM.
Earlier this year, Tencent joined another open source industry body — the Open Compute Project (OCP) community — as part of a push for open source in the hardware space.
Tencent’s chief rival Alibaba also maintains a large presence in the open source community.
Alibaba is a gold member since last year, but more than that it has invested resources into projects directly as part of a push for its cloud computing service Alicloud. The Chinese firm led a $27 million investment in MariaDB, which became its first cloud investment outside of China. At home, its Alicloud-focused deals have included investments in cloud storage provider Qiniu and big data firm Dt Dream.
from Pradodesign oBike is closing its dock-less bike-sharing service in Singapore
Singapore’s upcoming licensing for dock-less bike-sharing services has claimed its first scalp after oBike — a Singapore-based company run by Chinese founders — announced that it would cease its service in the country ahead of the implementation of regulations.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) is introducing measures to protect Singapore’s streets from a glut of bicycles left all over the place, as photo essays from China and beyond have cautioned can happen.
oBike launched its service at the beginning of 2017, and it claims over one million registered users but still it will end its service today, June 25. oBike said it will continue to run operations in other markets, although it hasn’t said if/when it will refund Singapore-based users with the deposits that they paid upon registration.
“oBike strongly believes and is committed to provide [sic] dock-less bicycle sharing service that would benefit users’ commuting and Singapore’s transportation system, however it is with regret that the new regulation measures do not favour this belief of ours,” the company said in a statement that posted to Facebook.
This move comes weeks after oBike exited Melbourne in Australia following issues with regulation.
oBike has directed its customers to the newly-launched bike platform from ride-hailing giant Grab, which went live in March. Other alternatives in Singapore also include services from Chinese duo Ofo and Mobike.
Grab said today it has removed oBike from its list of service providers — its platform aggregates other services into a single place — and added new options.
“As of today, oBikes will no longer be available on our platform. We understand this may impact your GrabCycle experience. Therefore, we will be waiving your active subscription fee, and refunding your deposit,
if any by 26th June. We will also add a complimentary 4-week GrabCycle subscription to your account to try our newest partner, Anywheel,” it wrote in a blog post.
Grab is actually an investor in oBike, as TechCrunch reported last year, after taking part in its $45 million Series B round that was announced in August 2017.
from Pradodesign ‘Westworld’ Recap, Season 2 Episode 10: What *Is* Real? All of Season 2 has toyed with perceptions of reality—and the finale took that to the extreme. https://ift.tt/2luB4Si https://ift.tt/1P9I4xH
from Pradodesign Meituan, the Tencent-backed “one-stop super app,” files for IPO in Hong Kong
After months of speculation, Meituan, the largest service booking app in China, confirmed that it has filed for a public offering. The company’s IPO application was submitted to the Hong Kong stock exchange earlier today and is being sponsored by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. A spokesperson for Meituan said the company is currently not disclosing information about fundraising amount or valuation. Reuters reports that Meituan wants to raise more than $4 billion.
Meituan was created after Meituan and Dianping, two competitors in the group deals space, merged in 2015 (it is still formally known was Meituan Dianping). Since then, the company has added more services to become China’s leader in O2O (online-to-offline), a catchphrase for goods and services that are purchased online, but bring people into brick and mortar businesses, like movie ticket bookings.
One interesting aspect of the merger is that it brought together two archrivals, Alibaba and Tencent. Alibaba was one of Meituan’s investors, while Tencent backed Dianping. Since then, Alibaba has sold off most of its Meituan Dianping stake to focus on Koubei, its own O2O app, while Tencent has maintained an investment relationship with the company. For example, it led Meituan’s $4 billion Series C last October.
Meituan initially focused on restaurant reservations and food delivery, before expanding into more local services to create what it describes as a “one-stop super app” that allows users to buy movie tickets, make spa and salon appointments, book transportation and hotel rooms, and even pay for bike-sharing program MoBike, which Meituan acquired for $2.7 billion in April. The company says one advantage of its business model is customer conversion between verticals. For example, it claims over 80% of its new hotel booking consumers first began using the app for food delivery or restaurant reservations.
In its announcement today, Meituan said it currently has 310 million transacting users and 4.4 million active merchants. Over the past three years, its revenue grew from 4 billion RMB in 2015, to 13 billion RMB in 2016, before hitting 33.9 billion RMB (about $5.2 billion) in 2017. Meanwhile, its gross transaction value went from 161 billion RMB in 2015 to 237 billion RMB in 2016, then 357 billion RMB (about $54.8 billion) in 2017. Meituan also said that it’s adjusted net loss dropped from 5.9 billion RMB in 2015 to 2.9 billion RMB (about $430 million) in 2017.
from Pradodesign Fintech friends: Monzo partners with TransferWise for international payments
“So what’s going on here then?” I ask. “Two good friends just got even better [friends],” replies TransferWise co-founder Kristo Käärmann laughing, while Monzo co-founder Tom Blomfield, who is also on the video call, smiles approvingly. “Sorry for spoiling your news,” I tell the pair, who I’m interviewing ahead of an announcement today that the two companies are working together.
The partnership, which TechCrunch outed nearly three weeks ago, will see TransferWise power international payments for the U.K. challenger bank’s 750,000 customers. It is the second new bank partnership that the fintech unicorn has unveiled this month, after announcing that it has begun working with France’s second largest bank BPCE Groupe.
TransferWise also powers international money transfer for Germany’s N26, and Estonia’s LHV. However, a previously announced partnership with the U.K.’s Starling Bank never materialised and has since been disbanded.
Asked why Monzo has chosen to work with TransferWise, Blomfield reiterates the challenger bank’s goal of becoming a “hub or control centre” for your money. This won’t necessarily all be done by Monzo, he says, “but with partner organisations who plug into this hub”. TransferWise is the first of these.
International payments has also been one of the most requested features by Monzo users since the challenger bank posted a roadmap of things it intends to “fix” over the next three months now that the switch from a pre-paid card to a full current account has been completed.
“I’ve personally been a TransferWise customer for five or six years and the service is amazing,” says Blomfield. “Compared to my old bank, it’s really, really transparent, the fees are really fair, and they’re continually working on bringing fees down and to make transfers more instantaneous. So I can’t think of a better a partner to do foreign transfers with than TransferWise”.
I ask Käärmann how different the conversation is with a challenger bank like Monzo — which arguably has nothing to lose by partnering with TransferWise and will generate affiliate revenue on each transfer — compared with larger incumbent banks who have historically generated fat margins on foreign exchange fees. He says it is similar, and usually centres on the fact that customers are already using TransferWise and that if a bank wants to put those customers first it makes sense to offer TransferWise functionality within its own app.
“When we announced the large French bank, which is clearly an incumbent — a massive incumbent — they were thinking about their customer,” he says. “That maybe does feel a little bit rare for banks to think this way, but they figured that ‘if we are going to do this, then why don’t we do it properly’. They were actually fully driven by their users and thinking about how to get the best user experience”.
The TransferWise functionality will start rolling out to Monzo users as of today and will let them send money from their current accounts to 18 of the most popular currencies, with “more being added in the near future”. The user experience will be near-identical to TransferWise’s own app, and will see transfers happen at claimed ‘mid-market’ rates in addition to TransferWise’s low and transparent fee. This means you’re told upfront exactly how much you’ll pay in fees and the amount you’ll receive in the exchanged currency.
The integration is pretty deep, too. Monzo customers who don’t have an existing TransferWise account will have an account automatically created for them when they first initiate an international money transfer. If they already have a TransferWise account, they can use their existing details to authenticate with and link their account to Monzo. This means that any international money transfers made from within Monzo will also show up in your TransferWise account and the TransferWise app.
“One of the coolest things for us, other than just working with cool people, is there’s another bank in the U.K. who is transparent with their international fees,” says Käärmann. “We’re kind of getting to the place where once there is enough banks who are as transparent in their foreign fees as Monzo is then it becomes quite untenable for everyone else to keep hiding their fees and that’s very interesting. Not just for us as companies, but more generally in terms of how banking works”.
One notable dynamic to TransferWise adding another bank partner is that the fintech giant recently launched a banking product of its own. Positioned as a companion to your existing bank account, the TransferWise “Borderless” account and debit card lets you deposit, send and spend money in multiple currencies. Acting like a local country bank account, it is primarily designed to solve the specific problem of earning, receiving and spending money abroad and TransferWise says it is not intended to be a fully fledged bank replacement — at least not yet.
“We’re pretty chilled about it,” says Blomfield when I ask him if TransferWise’s tentative entry into the bank account space was in any way a concern. “Honestly, we are not competing with TransferWise. Both of us are looking at the big high street banks, as either partners or competitors. Our customers come from Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and RBS. I think anything that increases both of our brand awareness is a really positive thing. We have 750,000 customers, which is something like 2 percent of the adult population, we’re targeting the other 98 percent who are still using the big banks. I just think there is so much headroom in this space that it would be crazy to think that we are competing with each other”.
“If we take a step back, what is the problem we are solving?” says Käärmann rhetorically. “The problem we are solving is that moving money across borders is expensive”. He then reiterates a point that TransferWise co-founder and Chairman Taavet Hinrikus has made often, which is that the company is entirely agnostic on how customers access the service. The more money moving via its infrastructure, the better, with economies of scale also meaning it has been able to lower fees on an increasing number of routes.
“For us, it doesn’t really matter if the money is in a bank account that is connected directly to TransferWise or if it is in the Borderless account,” he says. “There’s really no difference, and I know the user experience is better today if you’re banking in the U.K. with Monzo, so that’s what users should do”.
At this point I can’t resist mentioning Revolut, the digital bank startup and newly crowned unicorn that, on paper at least, competes with both TransferWise and Monzo. Revolut’s original “attack vector” (to borrow Blomfield’s phrase) was cheap foreign currency exchange coupled with a debit card for traveling. And although not yet a licensed bank, it has rolled out bank account features at a shockingly fast pace, putting it on feature parity with Monzo in a number of instances.
Rightly or wrongly, I put it to Käärmann that there is a market perception that Revolut is often the cheapest option when spending or sending money abroad, even if questions remain about how it determines prices, especially at weekends, or if the startup actually makes money on foreign exchange at all.
“When you talk about other people getting into that space, we should be happy if someone figures out how to do parts of it, some routes, better than us or faster than us or cheaper than us,” he says, somewhat diplomatically.
“I wish these things were sustainable as well. We’re super anti-subsidising, just because we think that over the long-term it doesn’t make sense to get some users paying for other users’ transfers or for some routes to pay for other routes. Progress is going to be faster if it’s clean. But, at the end of the day, if there’s a better solution, we actually endeavour to recommend that better solution. It would be nice if that better solution was also transparent and we can confidently say that they’re not just better in the next 5 minutes but that they are going to be better for the next 5 hours when you can put in your transfer. It’s only fair to the consumers — they’re not stupid — that they should go wherever is cheapest, if they need that, or somewhere that is more convenient”.
Cue Monzo’s Blomfield to caution me not to get too caught up in the London fintech echo chamber. “Most people in the U.K. have never heard of Monzo or Revolut or TransferWise,” he says, “and so our mission over the next five years is to take market share off all of the big banks, who I think are gouging their customers on things like foreign exchange. There’s so much open space in front of us because big banks just aren’t able to keep up”.
from Pradodesign 23 Fresh Free Fonts for Graphic Designers
Free collection of fresh handwritten script fonts, brush fonts and sans serif style fonts for graphic designers. Fonts are perfect for branding, logos, web, printing on flyers, posters, brochures, quotes, blog, advertisements, fashion, e-commerce brands, trend blogs, or any business that wants to appear classy and chic. The following typefaces and fonts are ideal to make an attractive design and fit for any artwork. Take a look at beautiful commercial fonts for professional design, based upon suggestions from designers all over the world.
You may be interested in the following articles as well.
40 Best Free Brush Fonts for Designers
20 Free Vintage Fonts for Graphic Designers
Modern Business Card PSD Templates (30 Print Ready Design)
Flyer Templates: Corporate Business Flyer Templates
25 Fresh Creative Brochure / Catalog Templates
Please join us & follow on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for updates.
Subscribe to our RSS via email, simply enter your email address & click subscribe.
Latest Free Fonts for Graphic Designers
Free fonts are available for Windows and MAC in truetype and opentype format. Check out more high quality commercial fonts and update your font library as per new trends.
Here is the list of Fresh Free Fonts for Graphic Designers. Enjoy
Kamikaze Free Font
The 1998 Vintage Free Font
Palmtree Retro Free Font
Light Olifia Script Free Font
Alpha Free Font
Jomohand Free Font
Nature Spirit Free Font
Dolbak Brush Free Font
Kidcool Dragon Free Font
Luchador Free Font
Ivory Heart Free Font
Potra Free Font
Morganite Free Font
NightWork Free Font
518 Free Font
Stoneburg Condense Free Font
YANG Free Font
Razan Script Free Font
Naycila Script Free Font
Lulu Monospace Free Font
Lac Chu (Lost Type) Free Font
JS Sans Free Font
from Pradodesign Zcash: life on the crypto roller coaster
Suppressed in Japan. Championed in New York. Accused of betraying the billion-dollar community he created with an arcane and byzantine ritual, while accidentally solving — maybe — a transnational clandestine mining mystery. All this while leading the rollout of some of the world’s most cutting-edge cryptographic technology into production.
It’s been an interesting six months for Zooko Wilcox, cryptographer, engineer, and CEO / driving force behind Zcash, one of the world’s most valuable, technically interesting, and politically fraught cryptocurrencies. Thoughtful, soft-spoken, quick to laugh, and eager to see all sides of every issue, he doesn’t seem like a man to inspire bans and rancor. But that’s the crypto world for you, these days.
When it comes to Zcash, “crypto” means both “cryptocurrency” and “cryptography,” for once. It is essentially a fork of Bitcoin which uses a mindbending branch of mathematics known as “zero-knowledge proofs” (which I’ve been writing about for years…) implemented in a form known as “zk-SNARKs,” to allow users to preserve their privacy by concealing both the participants and the amount of any given transaction, even though it is recorded on and guaranteed by Zcash’s public blockchain.
This privacy makes it a knee-jerk target of thoughtless governments and regulators, in the same way that cryptographic protection of your phone’s messages and data has become a knee-jerk target of law enforcement agencies who protest that they are “going dark.” Recently, in the wake of a $500 million hack of Japanese exchange Coincheck, which has been linked with North Korea, Japan’s financial regulator cracked down on privacy-preserving cryptocurrencies … even though they were not what had been stolen.
Zcash is not the only privacy-preserving cryptocurrency, of course; others include Monero and Dash. But it is the most cutting-edge. To an extent this has hampered it, as the first version of its zk-SNARK transactions were quite costly to process. Zcash has recently rolled out a new alpha version with remarkable improvements, though — you don’t often see a 98% improvement in anything in engineering — and we can expect a steady rise in zk-SNARK transactions once this hits its mainnet.
This vanguard position has not gone unnoticed. Ethereum made zk-SNARK primitives available to developers as part of its Byzantium release last year, though they have not yet been widely used. JPMorgan Chase has partnered with Zcash to implement privacy technology in its own corporate blockchain research. Perhaps as a result of this, and/or a deeper understanding that privacy is in fact important to the financial industry, New York State’s Department of Financial Services recently named Zcash as one of the six approved cryptocurrencies on the heavily regulated Gemini exchange. Yes, even as it was being suppressed in Japan. We live in interesting times.
Meanwhile, Zooko is being accused by his own community of turning turncoat. The reason? ASICs.
To oversimpify: (Almost) every cryptocurrency is secured by “miners” who prove they have solved computationally intensive problems, in order to show it would be impossible for anyone to have overwritten the consensus record of transactions unless they control more than half of the network’s computing power. In exchange for this service they get shiny new cryptocoins.
Bitcoin mining has long been taken over by mining companies / consortiums who use custom-built “application-specific integrated circuit,” chips to mine with hardware specifically dedicated to solving these problems, known as “hash functions,” with speed and energy efficiency that general-purpose processors cannot match.
In an attempt to democratize mining, many third-wave cryptocurrencies chose hash functions which were thought to be ASIC-resistant. Zcash was among them. However, ASIC designers are smart people too, and have announced ASICs for essentially all cryptocurrencies. Interestingly, when an ASIC was announced for Monero, its developers promptly changed their hash function to foil the would-be miners … and their “hash rate” dropped by nearly 50%, indicating that someone had likely secretly been mining Monero with ASICs for some time.
This is big business. Across all cryptocurrencies tens of millions of dollars a day are at stake, not even counting the costs of a so-called “51% attack” which have victimized a few smaller currencies of late. So when ASICs for Zcash were announced, and Zooko did not immediately move to change the hash algorithm as Monero did, he was accused of betrayal, and of being in the pocket of Jihan Wu, CEO of the miner manufacturer Bitmain and, if you believe the frothier corners of some cryptocurrency subreddits, all-around evil crypto boogeyman.
Every tradeoff in a billion-dollar market is going to hurt someone. In this case, on the one hand, you’d want the stereotypical “Venezuelan with a GPU miner,” who’s providing for their family with Zcash, the opportunity to keep doing so; on the other, ASIC mining means more dedicated hardware keeping the entire Zcash network more secure. Onn the gripping hand, drastic changes in mining capacity raise the spectre of a 51% attack. Zooko’s current notion is to try to support both GPU and ASIC miners, by dividing the mining rewards between them.
In passing he may have accidentally solved the secret Monero mining mystery. A fascinating thing about the cryptocurrency world, a way in which it’s increasingly a synecdoche for global geopolitics, is that it’s divided between a Chinese sphere and a Western sphere, and the two seem to be mostly tethered by bonds of mistrust, miscommunication, and misinterpretation.
Zooko was less inclined to believe that Jihan Wu was a Bond villain, because, as he puts it, “I’ve met him, at a conference in Buenos Aires, and he just seemed like a nerd like the rest of us. And I like nerds!” So he decided to communicate; he called up Wu and asked him if he was responsible for the stealth mining, and found Wu’s denials convincing. Then he called up Innosilicon, the other main mining company, asked if they had a Monero mining farm going back to last year, and received the hilariously casual answer “Yeah, I think so?” None of this is at all dispositive, of course — but it speaks to how the crypto world often seems to run on rumor and rancor more than open communication.
While we’re on the subject of conspiracy theories: perhaps the single most colorful thing about Zcash is that in order for its zk-SNARKs to work, they have to be initiated by a group of participants who must construct and then discard secret information. If they don’t, and if they subsequently collaborated, they’d then have the ability to create free Zcash out of thin air. Zcash was initiated with a complex six-person ritual, and if any one of those people was honest then the Zcash network is free of this so-called “toxic waste” taint … but obviously this still isn’t optimal, and is a breeding ground for beliefs of betrayal.
However, this underpinning can be replaced. Zooko is looking into new cryptographic developments such as “STARKs” and “bulletproofs” which provide even stronger guarantees. He envisions a world of “non-custodial exchanges,” where people can trade cryptocurrencies without ever giving up control of them. He’s plotting to implement Ittay Eyal and Emin Gun Sirer’s “Bitcoin-NG” protocol to scale Zcash up by an order or two of magnitude.
Meanwhile, the Secret Service has called for action on privacy-preserving cryptocurrencies like Monero and Zcash — after citing numerous cryptocurrency thefts which, er, were not of those currencies — and they’ve felt compelled to respond. All this a week before the Zcon0 developer conference he’s organized this week in Montreal … which will doubtless be attended by some people who consider him a sellout in the pocket of the evil Jihan Wu. I’ll say this for the cryptocurrency world: it’s rarely boring, and for better or worse, Zcash may well be its least boring front.
from Pradodesign Banksy Emerges in Paris with Sharp Political Criticism and Several Mischievous Rats
All photos courtesy @WhereTheresWalls, used with permission.
Against the backdrop of Paris Fashion Week which introduced several collaborative projects between high fashion brands and big names from the art world (Dior partnered with KAWS and Takashi Murakami continued collaborating with Virgil Abloh, the new artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear collection), the French capital was for the first time hit by the world’s most elusive street artist—Banksy.
Without previous announcement or warning—and to this moment without official confirmation—Parisans began to discover several new street pieces that materialized in the urban/street art galaxy of the social media universe.
The first piece was found near the Porte de la Chapelle metro station, where Paris’ official refugee centre “La Bulle,” was located until August 2017. A city within a city, it was home to a makeshift camp of some 2,700 refugees, and was dismantled an estimated 35 times before 2,000 migrants were bussed to temporary shelters. This was done as part of Emmanuel Macron’s wish to remove the refugees “off the streets, out of the woods,” as stated during his campaign.
With this in mind, Banksy revisited his “Go Flock Yourself” piece from 2008, and created a new version as commentary on the current political situation in France and throughout Europe. Depicting a black girl painting a Victorian wallpaper pattern over a swastika, the artist is commenting on the way politicians are concealing wrongdoing and potentially fascist policies.
The second and third pieces appeared soon thereafter. One depicts a suited man luring a three-legged dog with a bone while hiding a saw behind his back, a metaphor for politicians tricking people with promises that often have a masked, devastating agenda. The other is Banksy’s take on the iconic painting “Napoleon Crossing the Alps” by Jacques-Louis David, a symbol of French power and influence. By covering the rider with his own cape, the artist is commenting on the current misguided way the government is leading the country, blinding people with propaganda and false promises.
The last three pieces introduce Bansky’s signature rats to their genesis—Parisian artist Blek Le Rat and his rat stencils were a great influence on the Bristol-born artist. Placing them around the city in ways that interact with local graffiti and building facades, it may appear as though they’re having fun blowing things up. But in reality, they are a reminder of a volatile period of civil unrest that took place in May 1968 when the government temporarily ceased to function.
In one piece a rat is propelled by a popping champagne bottle cork. Using this symbol of affluence as their vehicle to overtake obstacles, the rodents are once again Banksy’s metaphor for working class people making significant change when they join together and fight for similar cause.
All photos courtesy WhereTheresWalls.
from Pradodesign Melania Trump’s ‘I Really Don’t Care’ Jacket Tops This Week’s Internet News Roundup The First Lady wore a “I really don’t care. Do U?” jacket on her visit to the southern border. https://ift.tt/2Imx3se https://ift.tt/1P9I4xH
from Pradodesign Ford’s Train Station, Elon’s Angry Emails, and More Car News Plus, VW builds an electric racer for a mountain climb, and Colorado sticks it to the EPA. https://ift.tt/2K6SnYz https://ift.tt/1P9I4xH