If you can’t get through a football game or Twitter scroll without seeing an in-your-face promo for online sports betting lately, well, you’re not alone.

Offers such as “Bet $20, win $125 if Aaron Rodgers throws for one passing yard” or “Place your first bet up to $500 risk free” have become ubiquitous, as sportsbooks continue to dangle the prospect of essentially free money in hopes of acquiring a customer base that will bet and—more often than not—lose money over the long haul.

These offers have exploded as a pandemic-weary public has proved the perfect target for betting startups, many of which are rushing to exploit ever-loosening state rules on betting. “Throughout the pandemic, there’s definitely been a sharp increase in mental-health issues and addiction,” says Eric Fields, a psychologist who specializes in addiction therapy. “This time has been extremely vulnerable for people who’ve already had an addiction or mental … Read the rest

Even with positive developments on the vaccine front, the pandemic is far from over: On Thursday, new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States hit a daily record of over 150,000.

But on the economic front, we’re continuing to see improvement. As states eased lockdown restrictions in the spring and summer, the economy switched from the worst contraction in history to one of the fastest recoveries. Indeed, the unemployment rate that hit a peak of 14.7% in April has since come down to 6.9% as of October.

That said, we aren’t out of the woods yet. More business failures are on the way as companies hardest hit by the pandemic run out of cash. Not to mention the weak labor market makes it hard for the employed to get raises and the millions of unemployed Americans to find a paycheck. We’re in recovery, but not all of … Read the rest

Hundreds of thousands of Americans were glued to their televisions last week as results from a particularly contentious election began rolling in. And while the nation waited with bated breath to find out who would become the 46th President of the U.S., a mental wellness app was capitalizing on an opportunity to relay a calming message to viewers.

Calm, the meditation and relaxation app, purchased a sponsorship with CNN, giving it prime placing on the screen throughout the network’s election coverage. The app’s logo appeared in the corner of CNN’s Key Race Alerts, which was basically any segment during which the network had updates on votes in a particular state. The juxtaposition couldn’t have been more jarring: Calm’s logo in the corner of the screen while CNN anchors Wolf Blitzer and John King were anything but, well, calm. 

Courtesy of Calm

“We understand the uncertainty of this election cycle can … Read the rest

Anxieties that the pandemic would shutter vulnerable startups haven’t quite seemed to materialize at scale: Funding in the third quarter surged to a seven-quarter high.

Still, under the covers, the story has not been so simple. Some startups have hit warp-speed, while others are struggling even as they raise new funding. In the last quarter, law firm Cooley found that funding rounds that resulted in an uptick in valuations fell to their lowest level since the first quarter of 2017, when fears of a tech bubble soared but never quite found a cliff.

In other words: A total of 20% of startups in the third quarter either lowered or kept the same valuation despite raising new funding. The figure has risen steadily since the start of the pandemic, according to Cooley’s findings, which are based on 303 deals representing $13.1 billion in capital. Down rounds represented about 12% … Read the rest

Central banks have shown remarkable openness to creating state-backed digital currencies over the past year or so. Dozens of them have begun to explore the technology, which shares some DNA with blockchain currencies like Bitcoin, and broadly promises to accelerate and simplify the settlement of transactions. The Bank for International Settlements has laid out tentative standards, and even U.S. Fed chair Jay Powell has talked about the roadmap for a U.S. CBDC.

“The main driver of the current interest in CBDCs is the need for national sovereignty around those technologies,” says Ken Timsit. He cites the twin threats of Facebook’s now-struggling Libra project and China’s major moves towards a CBDC as the primary motivators. “Central banks are realizing that if they don’t stay on top of these technologies, they could let other organizations, commercial or sovereign, have complete dominance.”

Timsit leads CBDC development at Consensys, the blockchain software … Read the rest

If artificial intelligence researchers and companies were disappointed with President Donald Trump’s A.I. policies, they might be more hopeful about the future of A.I. now that Joe Biden was elected U.S. president.

One of the major sore points with current federal A.I. policy was the amount of funding that the Trump Administration’s allocated for non-military A.I.-related research. In February, the White House said it would bump non-defense related A.I. investment to $2 billion annually by 2022, which was seen by some analysts as paltry considering the staggering amount of money that’s needed to produce cutting-edge A.I. research.  

Although the Biden Administration has not detailed its exact plans for A.I. research, the Democrat’s campaign indicated that it takes general scientific research and development crucial for the nation. Biden has proposed to increase the amount of federal R&D spending to $300 billion over four years. Meanwhile, the White House planned to … Read the rest

The SoftBank Vision Fund is most certainly back in the black, according to the Japanese telecom giant during its Monday earnings call.

After missteps last year such as WeWork, SoftBank said its 83 Vision Fund 1 investments are now valued at $1.4 billion more than their cost.

And while Vision Fund 2 struggled last year to raise outside funding, SoftBank emphasized that the smaller second fund has had a substantial gain, in part after a single IPO. Riding on the back of Ke Holdings, a Chinese online property platform that listed in the U.S. in August, Vision Fund 2 was valued at $7.6 billion compared to a cost of $2.6 billion.

That’s significant: The second Vision Fund is held up only by SoftBank’s own capital. And should new investors want to put their capital into the fund and its new strategy as it seeks more modest bets, CEO Masayoshi … Read the rest

After four days of waiting, when the networks announced on air and news organizations sent push notifications calling that Joe Biden was elected the 46th President of the United States, many Americans celebrated with dance parties in the streets, cheering while they watched their children at playgrounds, and honking as they drove by joyous crowds. More than 75 million Americans voted for the Biden-Harris ticket, more than any other candidate in history.

While President Trump has yet to concede and continues to make claims of fraud without evidence, the world moved forward, noting the historic event on front pages across the world.

Read the rest

Not everyone has time to shop around (not to mention most people have no desire to shop in stores at all right now) and look for the newest items on the market that could appeal to the loved ones and colleagues on their gift-giving lists. (Or for themselves, because let’s be honest, we look at holiday gift guides and deals for ourselves just as much as for others.)

With that in mind, here is a helpful list of suggestions on what to get for the pet owners (and pet lovers) in your life, assisting them on stocking up on necessities for their furry best friends as well as a few treats mixed in as well.

Courtesy of Jinx, Public Goods, Mackenzie-Childs, Max-Bone, and Whistle

Jinx: Jinx is a new superfood brand that caters to the nutritional needs of dogs with recipes that are touted to be healthier. Collections of kibble … Read the rest

These are trying occasions for all businesses. Ron Paul will give the monetary cartel deregulation however is not going to get the failure of all of the banks all of sudden. The cartel will continue gambling as that is what the libertarians wished in the first place with the rise of Thatcherism. One consensus definition of bootstrapping sees it as “a group of methods used to reduce the amount of outside debt and fairness financing needed from banks and investors”. 161 Nearly all of businesses require less than $10,000 to launch, quotation wanted which means that private financial savings are most frequently used to start out. In addition, bootstrapping entrepreneurs typically incur personal credit-card debt, however they also can utilize all kinds of strategies. While bootstrapping entails elevated personal financial risk for entrepreneurs, the absence of some other stakeholder offers the entrepreneur more freedom to develop the corporate. Restricted partnership … Read the rest