This month’s roundup of news from the technology sector includes European regulation backlash; Facebook pairing blockchain and loyalty; and more.
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Building blockchain into loyalty
Tech giant Facebook is building its own cryptocurrency, and Wired reports that currency is going to look an awful lot like loyalty points.
“The company is reportedly seeking dozens of business partners, including online merchants and financial firms, in an effort to extend the reach of its blockchain-based marketplace,” the news outlet reports. “Facebook’s would-be partners are being asked to pitch into an investment fund, valued at $1 billion or more, that would serve as backing for Facebook’s coin and mitigate the wild speculative swings that make cryptocurrencies like bitcoin hard to spend.”
It remains to be seen whether any of the hotel industry’s various loyalty platforms will follow suit.
Some worry about European tech regulations
With relatively new rules again data privacy, hate speech and copyright online, the European Union is viewed as the trend setter and vanguard on internet regulation, but The New York Times notes some are worried the collection of nations is going too far and could be tipping into heavy-handed censorship.
“Europe has clamped down on violent content, hate speech and misinformation online through a thicket of new laws and regulations over the past five years,” the newspaper reports. “Now there are questions about whether the region is going too far, with the rules leading to accusations of censorship and potentially providing cover to some governments to stifle dissent.”
Even tech giants struggle in tight labor environment
Hotels are far from the only businesses grappling with the historically tight labor environment, and even tech companies built around the promise of on-demand labor are having a hard time getting enough people in place, The Wall Street Journal reports.
While many of these companies, like Uber, grew up in the shadow of The Great Recession, with high unemployment fueling the need for the so-called “gig economy,” they can no longer count on that tailwind.
“A decade after the founding of Uber, these companies find themselves in a very different position with respect to both the willingness of their investors to tolerate losses, and the availability of workers,” the newspaper reports. “In a season of IPOs, the biggest of these companies find themselves between the rock of ongoing losses and the hard place of a tight labor market, with U.S. unemployment at its lowest level in 50 years.”