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October Wrap-Up: US AI Chip Restrictions, Meta’s Rise, and Bitcoin’s ETF-fueled Rally

Navigating through a host of turbulent economic currents, October unfolded a melange of promise, innovation, and adversities across various tech and financial domains. Here’s a succinct run-through of some of the key narratives that happened last month.

US Tightens Grip on AI Chip Exports to China

The US government has imposed new restrictions on the export of certain artificial intelligence (AI) chips to China with the aim of preventing them from being used as part of China’s military operations. The updated export rules now require American chipmakers to obtain a license before selling specific semiconductor designs to Chinese entities, particularly when they could be used in military applications.

Crypto’s Role in Terrorist Financing Emerges as Israel-Palestine Conflict Escalates

The role of cryptocurrencies in facilitating terrorist financing came into sharp focus following the deadly attack in Israel. It was reported that the militant group Hamas and its allies received hundreds of millions of pounds worth of cryptocurrencies in the months leading up to the attacks on Israel​. Following the incident, both the US and Israel intensified their efforts to curb cryptocurrency transfers to Hamas​​.

Nobel Committee Recognizes Quantum Dot Pioneers

Scientists Moungi Bawendi, Louis Brus, and Aleksey Ekimov were awarded the Nobel Prize for their groundbreaking work in nanotechnology and quantum dots. These tiny clusters of atoms are capable of emitting very bright colored light and find applications in a variety of fields, including electronics and medical imaging.

Quantum dots have become a crucial component in advancing technology owing to their unique properties, which are determined by their size. Their discovery has paved the way for more vibrant color displays, enhanced medical imaging techniques, and even has applications in solar cells and quantum computing.

Meta’s Profit Margins Continue to Rise

American multinational technology conglomerate Meta recorded $95 billion in revenue and $30 billion in profits as of Q3 2023. These profits are largely fueled by Meta’s suite of apps, including Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

Bitcoin’s Price Rally Amid ETF Speculations

Bitcoin’s price experienced a significant rally, nearing an 18-month high. The surge was fueled by speculations around the pending approval of Blackrock’s Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Fund (ETFs), which is expected to bring more investors into the cryptocurrency market. The potential for ETFs opens a new avenue for investors to get exposure to Bitcoin in a regulated and traditional investment framework.

Lenovo Unveils Its ‘AI for All’ Vision

As part of its annual event held in Austin, Texas, tech giant Lenovo unveiled its ‘AI for All’ initiative, which reflects Lenovo’s most comprehensive AI capabilities yet. AI for All has a particular focus on hybrid AI solutions and was developed in partnership with NVIDIA. The company also announced a $1 billion investment into various AI-centric technologies over the course of the next three years.

Legislative Prospects for Crypto Market on the Rise?

Tom Emmer’s candidacy as a potential House Speaker has been seen as a positive development among cryptocurrency enthusiasts. Emmer, a Republican from Minnesota, is known for being a strong advocate for the crypto industry, has previously served as the co-chair of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, and even introduced several digital currency bills.

UN’s Advisory Group on AI

The United Nations, acknowledging the growing influence and implications of AI, has convened an advisory group on artificial intelligence. Spearheaded by UN tech-policy chief Amandeep Gill, this initiative aims to foster a global dialogue concerning the potential and challenges of AI. The discussions focus on the concerns and questions surrounding AI and how the UN can contribute to the narrative surrounding this technology.

Binance’s US Affiliate Halts Dollar Withdrawals

Binance’s US affiliate has suspended direct dollar withdrawals as per its updated terms. This move follows a previous halt on dollar deposits back in June after the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sought to freeze the exchange’s assets. As things stand, customers wishing to withdraw US dollars from their accounts must first convert their funds to stablecoins or other digital assets.

OpenAI’s New Developer-centric Updates

OpenAI has announced plans to attract developers by reducing costs and accelerating the development of software applications based on its artificial intelligence models. These transformative updates will make AI more affordable and versatile for developers and businesses. The overhaul includes a stateful API that allows applications created with GPT-4 to remember the conversation history of an inquiry, facilitating more interactive and dynamic applications.

This initiative is part of OpenAI’s broader goal of boosting AI development efficiency and driving the adoption of its AI models, aligning with its ambition to achieve a revenue of $1 billion by the end of the following year​.

Ether’s Potential Rise Outlined by British Banking Giant

Standard Chartered has forecasted a significant appreciation in the value of Ether, predicting that its price could reach $8,000 by the end of 2026. This prediction suggests a more than five-fold increase from its current price level​. The bullish outlook is being attributed to Ethereum’s strong presence across domains like smart contracts, gaming, tokenization, and Layer 2 networks.

Mark Zuckerberg’s Colossal Metaverse Losses

Mark Zuckerberg’s venture into the metaverse through Meta’s Reality Labs division has reportedly accrued a loss of around $46.5 billion, a figure surpassing the entire revenue of some Fortune 100 companies like Best Buy. Despite this significant financial dip, Zuckerberg’s net worth surged by $59 billion to $105 billion year-to-date, thanks to a 136.8% gain in Meta stock. He is currently the world’s 10th-richest person.

Waning Demand for IT Services in India

Major Indian IT service providers like Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, and HCLTech scaled back on hiring due to decreased client spending amid rising macroeconomic challenges. The decision marks a reversal from the aggressive onboarding strategies they had pursued in recent years.

Google’s Hefty Investment in Anthropic

Google has invested $500 million in Anthropic — one of OpenAI’s biggest rivals — with an additional $1.5 billion over time. This move signifies a competitive pivot in the AI landscape, highlighting the race of Big Tech companies to fortify their AI capabilities, particularly against Microsoft’s backing of OpenAI​​.