MPs launch bitcoin inquiry, Kylie Jenner causes Snap’s stock to drop and more in The Week in Tech

Hello and welcome to the Week in Tech – your weekly roundup of the top technology news from across the globe.

It’s been a busy couple of months in terms of funding, with UK tech firms having gone on to raise more than £178m so far this year.


This week, we exclusively revealed that 3Radical, an engagement platform for brands, raised £3m from a host of UK tech investors. Just today, we broke the news that PropTech startup Vesta raised £2.1m in Seed funding at first close.

In other news, Scotland’s SHE Software attracted £3m in a bid to expand in the US and Re:infer, a London-based AI startup delivering cognitive automation, raised $3.5m (£2.5m) in a round led by Touchstone Innovations.

Good news for the PropTech space came in the form of Homie’s $4m Seed and LocalGlobe made headlines again after leading StatusToday’s $3.91m raise.

Finally, Cambridge-based GeoSpock, a data integration platform that provides analytics, scored an additional $6.6m in Series A funding.

UK MPs launch inquiry into cryptocurrencies

MPs in the UK have launched an inquiry into cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin as well as their underlying technology.

The Treasury Committee said it wants to fully understand the associated risks and benefits of digital currencies following increasing interest – and investment – in them.

The MPs will also look to decipher the digital currencies’ impact on both consumers and businesses.

Nicky Morgan, chair of the of the committee, said the MPs would look into how consumers and Britain’s financial infrastructure might be better protected, without, he added, stifling innovation.

Elon Musk quits AI ethics board

Tech billionaire Elon Musk has stepped down from the AI research group he helped set up to look into the ethics of the technology.

Announced via a blog post, OpenAI said the decision was taken to avoid any conflict of interest as Tesla became increasingly focused on artificial intelligence.

The news comes after Musk, who will continue to donate to and advise the group, openly criticised the technology on platforms such as Twitter.

A few years ago, Musk said AI posed the biggest existential threat for humanity. Just last year, he said that the United Nations needed to act to prevent a killer robot arms race.

Disney loses copyright case

Mass media and entertainment conglomerate Disney has lost its case to prevent rental company Redbox from reselling download codes for its films.

Redbox, purchased Disney movies on DVD to offer for rental, and these were typically rented with an accompanying code to download a copy of the movie.

Disney asked for an injunction, stating Redbox had no previous business agreement with it, but a California federal judge accused Disney of “copyright misuse”.

Kylie Jenner causes Snap’s stock to drop

And finally, Kylie Jenner, the youngest of the Kardashian/Jenner clan, caused Snap’s stock to drop this week – wiping $1.3bn of its market value.

Jenner’s nonchalant Tweet comes a week after 1 million Snapchat users signed an online petition asking the tech company to reverse its controversial re-design.

However, Jenner did subsequently profess her “love” for the platform.

That’s all for today, but stay tuned for next week’s roundup!