Tech 5: Amazon to Deliver Prescriptions by Drone, OpenAI Rumors Swirl

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Technology is constantly evolving, making the sector a fascinating place for investors.

This week saw Amazon announced plans to begin dropping prescription medication from the sky, new revelations about Alameda Research and an optimistic prediction about the future of Bitcoin spot ETFs.

For all that and more, here’s what happened this week in tech.

1. Prime Air begins using drones to deliver prescriptions

Amazon Pharmacy (NASDAQ:AMZN) customers in College Station, Texas, will be the first to receive free delivery of select prescriptions as the company’s Prime Air division continues to test its delivery drone service.

Trials have been running in the Texas city as well as Lockeford, California, since December 2022. So far, deliveries have consisted mainly of household products, but on Wednesday the company announced that it would be adding a list of 500 prescription medications to the mix, guaranteeing the delivery of via drone in 60 minutes or less at no additional cost.

According to Amazon’s website, drones will fly from a secure pharmacy to the customer’s home, lower itself to a pre-determined delivery zone and drop the package containing the medication, using computer vision to avoid obstacles like pets and people. Customers will receive a delivery notification and can collect their packages without the need to interact with the drone.

The addition of medications to Prime Air service comes at the request of Amazon’s customer base. Calsee Hendrickson, the director of product and program management, said that “… medications were the first thing (Prime Air) customers said they want delivered … via drone.”

2. OpenAI valuation could reach US$86 billion thanks to new deal

Thrive Capital is reportedly in talks with OpenAI, the company behind the explosive ChatGPT, to lead a tender offer that would increase the company’s value to a staggering US$86 billion dollars. OpenAI has not issued a formal statement of the intent, despite multiple media outlets’ requests for comment. The news comes from an informant who wishes to remain anonymous, according to a report by the Information.

Thrive Capital was one of four venture capital firms, along with Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz and K2 Global, that bought OpenAI shares in a tender offer that valued the company at US$29 billion in February 2023. The new deal would involve OpenAI selling existing shares, bringing the company’s total valuation to around US$80 billion.

3. Signs point towards Bitcoin spot ETF approval in 2024

All eyes were on the Securities and Exchange Commission last week as the October 13 deadline to appeal the court’s decision regarding the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (OTCQX:GBTC) inched closer. Now that the SEC has chosen not to appeal, industry experts are optimistic that Bitcoin spot ETFs will be approved, possibly as soon as in a few months.

According to a research report released by analysts at JP Morgan (NYSE:JPM), the SEC is likely to approve them before the January 10 deadline of the ARK 21Shares application, which was delayed in August

Additionally, the bank stated that the SEC may approve multiple applications at the same time in order to balance out the advantages gained by one applicant if they are approved first. This would benefit investors as firms would have to offer competitive ETF fees.

4. Crypto groups sued by New York AG, accused of defrauding investors

New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit on October 19 against crypto firms Genesis Global Trading, its parent company Digital Currency Group (DCG), and Gemini, a crypto exchange created and run by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. The three groups stand accused of defrauding approximately 230,000 investors out of more than US$1 billion dollars. In the lawsuit, former Genesis CEO Soichiro Moro and DCG’s CEO Barry Silbert are also accused of trying to conceal losses from investors and the general public.

The Attorney General additionally asserts that the Winklevoss twins misled investors about the risks associated with their Gemini Earn Program, which was pitched as a secure way for investors to earn high interest rates on crypto holdings. Investments made by Gemini customers were transferred to Genesis, a crypto lender, who in turn loaned them to larger companies with the aim of returning the profits.

However, one of those companies was Alameda Research, Sam Bankman-Fried’s now-defunct cryptocurrency trading firm. The lawsuit goes on to state that many of Genesis’ loans — at one point as much as 60 percent — were concentrated with Alameda, a company that Genesis allegedly knew to be under-secured yet willingly chose to withhold this information from investors.

5. Foxconn and NVIDIA partner up to build AI factories in

Taiwan-based electronics company Foxconn (TPE:2354) has teamed up with the world’s leading AI chip manufacturer NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA) to build data centers all over the world. Dubbed “AI factories,” these giant data centers would collect data from self-driving electric vehicles and use it to learn ways to improve the software.

‘This car would of course go through life experience and collect more data. The data would go to the AI factory. The AI factory would improve the software and update the entire AI fleet,’ he said at Hon Hai Tech Day in Taipei.

This news comes on the heels of US President Joe Biden’s newest amendments to export restrictions on AI chips to China.

Securities Disclosure: I, Meagen Seatter, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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