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By Michelai Graham
Boardroom's Tech Reporter
January 7, 2024
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Tech Talk is a weekly digest by Boardroom’s Michelai Graham that breaks down the latest news from the world’s biggest tech companies and the future of industry-shaping trends like AI.

Happy New Year, and welcome back to Tech Talk. TikTok started the year off strong with plans to grow the size of its US shopping business to as much as $17.5 billion in 2024.

A peek into today’s edition:

  • Bitcoin turns 15 and briefly surpasses $45K
  • OpenAI revenue, new lawsuit, and more
  • Indiana Pacers get QR code jersey patch

Bitcoin Celebrates 15 Years on the Blockchain by Briefly Surpassing $45K

Bitcoin celebrated 15 years in circulation this week. On Jan. 3, 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto launched the first blockchain network ever after mining the genesis block of Bitcoin. There are thousands of cryptocurrencies out there today, and recently, the digital assets market has been booming due to a steady uptick in Bitcoin value. This can be attributed to impending spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund approvals, and a decision from the SEC is rumored to come in the next week or so.

As Bitcoin blows out the candles on 15 years in the game, the token also reached another milestone this past week. Bitcoin briefly surpassed the $45,000 threshold on Tuesday for the first time since April 2022, and it’s been steadily holding above $40,000 for the past month.

I’ll continue explaining what this all means as new movements happen. For now, keep an eye out on asset managers like Grayscale, BlackRock, and VanEck, who are all vying to launch spot Bitcoin ETFs to expose retail investors to crypto without buying any on a crypto exchange.

OpenAI's Revenue Up 20% to $1.6B Thanks to ChatGPT

OpenAI surpassed $1.6 billion in annualized revenue, up from $1.3 billion in October 2023, according to The Information. That’s a 20% uptick in growth over two months, which can be attributed to more ChatGPT revenue flow. The generative AI leader expects its revenue to hit $5 billion by the end of 2024. OpenAI’s revenue news comes as it enters discussion to raise more funding at a valuation at or above $100 billion, Bloomberg News reports.

Aside from positive cash flow, OpenAI has been hit with another copyright infringement lawsuit, this time by the New York Times. The NYT is suing OpenAI and Microsoft, alleging that the companies are responsible for billions of dollars in damages for using its copyrighted works. It’ll be interesting to see how courts deal with these various copyright infringement lawsuits against OpenAI as the company continues to grow rapidly.

Disgraced FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried Won't Get Second Trial

Prosecutors announced this week that they won’t pursue a second trial against convicted FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried. In November, SBF was found guilty on all seven counts of fraud and conspiracy and is facing a maximum sentence of 115 years behind bars. The prosecution decided against a second trial because the majority of the evidence set to be presented was already unveiled in the widely covered first criminal trial. If there were going to be a second trial, it would have started in March.

SBF’s sentencing date is locked in for March 28 at 9:30 a.m. ET.

  • The Indiana Pacers announced tech startup Spokenote as its official jersey patch partner, making it the first professional sports franchise in the US to add a QR code on regular season and postseason jerseys. The QR code gives fans access to exclusive Pacers content.
  • AI and metaverse infrastructure tech company Futureverse launched a new venture called Readyverse Studios in partnership with “Ready Player One” author Ernest Cline and Warner Bros. Discovery. Futureverse will bring the “Ready Player One” franchise to the Web3 universe as part of the new deal.
  • SpaceX officially launched the first set of Starlink satellites into space on a rocket earlier this week. T-Mobile confirmed the news, directly bringing cell services from space to its customers’ smartphones.
  • Microsoft is doubling down on its generative AI efforts by adding a new button to keyboards of Windows PCs dedicated to its Copilot AI assistant, marking the first update to Windows keyboards in three decades. Microsoft will share more about its new tech and hardware devices at CES next week.
  • Peloton‘s shares surged as much as 15% on Thursday after the company announced a partnership with TikTok to attract a broader array of customers. Peloton will build a virtual fitness hub within the short-form video app’s platform dubbed “#TikTokFitness Powered by Peloton.”
  • Meta cut the price of its Quest 2 headset once again, knocking the 128GB price down from $299 to $249, and the 256GB dropped from $349 to $299. The Big Tech company has lowered the Quest 2 VR headset prices by nearly $250 in the last year.

MicroStrategy founder and executive chairman Michael Saylor is selling $216 million worth of shares in his company to buy more Bitcoin for his personal reserve. Saylor’s business intelligence company has been aggressively investing in Bitcoin with 189,150 tokens under its umbrella, so I’m going to bet that we’ll see another big Bitcoin purchase from MicroStrategy by the end of Q1.