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Analysis | Tech winners from Trump’s 2024 platform: crypto, AI and Elon Musk

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Analysis | Tech winners from Trump’s 2024 platform: crypto, AI and Elon Musk

Happy Wednesday! Did somebody order the London Symphony Orchestra? Send news tips to: will.oremus@washpost.com.

Below: Meta will take down more posts about “Zionists.” First:

The 2024 GOP platform looks to boost crypto, AI and Elon Musk.

For a party whose leaders, including former president Donald Trump, have often railed against Big Tech, the Republicans’ new platform has relatively little to say about tech regulation. And what it does say signals a laissez-faire if not outright cozy approach to emerging sectors that have drawn scrutiny from the Biden administration.

The 16-page platform, proposed by Trump and adopted by Republican delegates Monday ahead of next week’s Republican National Convention, calls for boosting rather than restricting cryptocurrency and artificial intelligence. “Republicans will pave the way for future Economic Greatness by leading the World in Emerging Industries,” it promises.

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Critics counter that the platform’s policies could lead to harm for consumers while abetting those emerging industries’ worst actors at the expense of real innovation.

The Republican Party’s top tech priority, per the document, appears to be promoting cryptocurrency.

“Republicans will end Democrats’ unlawful and unAmerican Crypto crackdown and oppose the creation of a Central Bank Digital Currency,” the platform asserts. “We will defend the right to mine bitcoin, and ensure every American has the right to self-custody of their Digital Assets, and transact free from Government Surveillance and Control.”

Trump’s pose as the pro-crypto candidate could be a savvy move, contended Chris MacKenzie, senior director of communications at the Chamber of Progress, a left-of-center trade group that receives funding from tech companies. In an open letter on Tuesday, his group called on President Biden to support bipartisan cryptocurrency legislation that is widely viewed as industry-friendly, noting that 18 million Americans hold or trade cryptocurrency.

“We see this as an opportunity for him to … take the mantle of being the crypto-positive candidate away from Trump, who has really worked to make that part of his campaign,” MacKenzie said.

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That would be misguided, some consumer advocates say.

Boosting cryptocurrency is an odd plank for a major party, given the relatively minor role it plays in the broader economy, said Robert Weissman, president of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen. He said its prominent place in the Republicans’ platform likely reflects the heavy lobbying effort by cryptocurrency interests, which he said is “obviously influencing politicians of both parties.”

“The enforcement standards currently being applied that Republicans propose to repeal or roll back are designed to protect Americans from scams, rip-offs and fraud, which has been prevalent in the crypto industry,” Weissman said. “Effectively this should be read as, ‘We aim to promote more fraud on everyday Americans.’”

The Republican platform also calls for repealing Biden’s executive order on AI.

“We will repeal Joe Biden’s dangerous Executive Order that hinders AI Innovation, and imposes Radical Leftwing ideas on the development of this technology,” the platform reads. “In its place, Republicans support AI Development rooted in Free Speech and Human Flourishing.”

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The sweeping order, which Biden signed in October 2023, placed new safety obligations on AI developers and called on federal agencies to mitigate the technology’s risks while spurring its responsible development. My colleagues Elizabeth Dwoskin, Drew Harwell and Cat Zakrzewski reported in May that an influential tech lobbying group had been laying the groundwork for a possible future Trump administration to dismantle those rules and funnel money into AI grants and contracts instead.

But it’s not clear how many AI companies actually want the order repealed.

“For American companies to continue to grow and lead in innovation domestically and around the world, U.S. policymakers need to help set the global norms for AI,” said Julia Massimino, executive vice president for government affairs at the Information Technology Industry Council, a global tech trade association, in an emailed statement. She said the group urges policymakers to prioritize policies that “build trust in the technology” while supporting its beneficial uses.

Suresh Venkatasubramanian, a Brown University computer science professor who helped craft the Biden administration’s thinking on AI, told Tech Brief that a hands-off approach to AI development “might have made sense” in the technology’s formative years. But he said “we are well past that point today.”

“We have mountains of evidence on why and how we need to govern AI systems that affect people’s rights, opportunities, and access to vital services,” Venkatasubramanian said.

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The GOP’s platform includes one more tech-adjacent priority: Bolstering commercial space exploration.

“Under Republican Leadership, the United States will create a robust Manufacturing Industry in Near Earth Orbit, send American Astronauts back to the Moon, and onward to Mars, and enhance partnerships with the rapidly expanding Commercial Space sector to revolutionize our ability to access, live in, and develop assets in Space,” the document says.

A prime beneficiary of government investment in commercial space exploration would likely be Elon Musk, the billionaire who controls SpaceX, Tesla and X. In recent years, Musk has been increasingly vocal about his conservative views, and in 2022 he urged his massive following on X to vote Republican in the midterm elections. He has not endorsed a candidate for president, though he said after an impromptu March meeting with Trump that he’s “leaning away from Biden.”

The platform did not mention Section 230, the tech liability shield that Trump sought to repeal as president, or antitrust enforcement against tech giants, which ramped up under the Trump administration before the Biden administration adopted an even tougher line.

Meta to remove more posts about ‘Zionists’ in push to fight antisemitism

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Meta is more aggressively removing some social media posts containing the word “Zionist” when it appears to be a proxy for Jew — an effort to counter a wave of antisemitism online after the start of the Israel-Gaza war, our colleague Naomi Nix reports for Tech Brief.

Meta announced Tuesday that it’s expanding its existing hate speech policy to remove more content attacking “Zionists” when it is not critiquing the political movement but appears to be spreading antisemitic stereotypes or calling for harm against Jews or Israelis “under the guise of attacking Zionists,” the company said in a blog post.

The social media giant currently bans all attacks on people based on race, religion, nationality or sexual orientation, including posts that spread “harmful stereotypes” or dehumanize people. Under that policy, Meta has treated the word Zionist as a proxy for Jewish or Israeli in limited circumstances, such as comparing them to rats — a known antisemitic trope.

Now, Meta will remove more content that includes the word Zionist, such as posts that claim Zionists are running the world or controlling the news media, or posts that compare Zionists to pigs, filth or vermin.

Meta has been discussing the potential policy change with civil society groups for months. And while the shift has already earned the company support from some Jewish groups, it’s likely to bring criticism from some digital rights activists and pro-Palestinian groups, who have argued the new approach will stifle legitimate critiques of the Israeli government and Zionism during a catastrophic war.

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U.S. and allies take down Russian ‘bot farm’ powered by AI (Joseph Menn)

In first, federal regulators ban messaging app from hosting minors (Cristiano Lima)

U.S. plans up to $1.6 billion in funding for packaging computer chips (New York Times)

Microsoft is hiking the price of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and launching a new ‘Standard’ tier (The Verge)

Google is no longer claiming to be carbon-neutral (Bloomberg)

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Amazon says it reached a climate goal seven years early (New York Times)

Microsoft and Apple drop OpenAI seats amid antitrust scrutiny (Financial Times)

Google Maps’ speedometer finally comes to iOS and CarPlay (Engadget)

Kamala D. Harris’s awkward quotes are being turned into internet memes (Taylor Lorenz)

Your partner wants your online passwords. Say no. (Tatum Hunter)

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Tesla’s Secret: Elon Musk’s car gets VIP treatment for self-driving AI (Business Insider)

Victor Peng, president at the Santa Clara, Calif.-based semiconductor firm Advanced Micro Devices, has been selected to join the Steering Committee of the National Semiconductor Technology Center Consortium, where he will represent the private sector in a volunteer capacity.

  • The Federalist Society hosts a fireside chat with the FTC’s Melissa Holyoak on Wednesday at noon.
  • The Senate Commerce Committee holds a hearing, “The Need to Protect Americans’ Privacy and the AI Accelerant,” Thursday at 10 a.m.
  • The congressional internet Caucus Academy hosts an event, “Tech Platforms and the 1st Amendment: Impact of Supreme Court Rulings,” on Friday at noon.

That’s all for today — thank you so much for joining us! Make sure to tell others to subscribe to Tech Brief. Get in touch with Cristiano (via email or social media) and Will (via email or social media) for tips, feedback or greetings!

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Report: Coinbase Asset Management Creating Tokenized Money Market Fund

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Report: Coinbase Asset Management Creating Tokenized Money Market Fund

Coinbase Asset Management is reportedly creating a tokenized money market fund.

The company, which is an arm of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, is working on the project with Bermuda-based Apex Group, CoinDesk reported Wednesday (July 24).

This effort follows another move in the tokenization space by Coinbase Asset Management, according to the report. The company received in-principle approval from an Abu Dhabi regulator in December 2023 to tokenize traditional assets on its ethereum scaling network called Base.

It also comes after asset manager BlackRock introduced a tokenization of real-world assets: a fund called BUIDL that holds U.S. Treasurys and gained $500 million of assets following its launch in March, per the report.

Tokenization of real-world assets has become a big trend in crypto, the report said.

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It was reported in May that Coinbase has been diversifying its revenue sources and generated about a third of its sales in the first quarter from sources other than trading fees.

These sources include revenue share on USDC stablecoin and revenue from its Base blockchain. Coinbase also serves as the custodian for most U.S. spot bitcoin ETFs and is listed as a custodian for spot ether ETFs that are expected to be OKed by regulators.

In another move in the tokenization space, Ripple and Archax said in June that they extended their existing collaboration in an effort to bring hundreds of millions of dollars of tokenized real-world assets (RWAs) onto the XRP Ledger (XRPL) over the coming year.

“We have hit the tipping point for mainstream adoption of digital assets for real-world use cases,” Graham Rodford, CEO at Archax, said in a press release. “There is clear real-world utility in use cases like RWA tokenization for the operational efficiency, access to liquid markets and transparency inherent to crypto, and Archax has already tokenized assets such as equities, debt instruments and money market funds.”

The tokenization of real-world assets is a function of the blockchain landscape that has captured the imagination of various players across payments, finance and commerce, PYMNTS reported in April.

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Tokenized RWAs have the potential to make assets more liquid, accessible and efficient while enhancing transparency, security and global reach.


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In 5 Yrs, NCB Registered 92 Drug Trafficking Cases Involving Darknet, Cryptocurrency: Govt

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In 5 Yrs, NCB Registered 92 Drug Trafficking Cases Involving Darknet, Cryptocurrency: Govt

New Delhi: The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has registered 92 cases related to the use of darknet and cryptocurrency in drug trafficking in the last five years, Rajya Sabha was informed on Wednesday. In response to a written question, Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai said, “Use of darknet, cryptocurrencies and parcel and couriers for drug trafficking have been noticed.”

Data provided by the ministry in the response showed that between 2020 and 2024 (till April), the NCB has registered 92 cases in connection with the use of darknet and cryptocurrencies in drug trafficking.

According to it, the bureau registered three such cases in 2020, 49 in 2021, eight in 2022, 21 in 2023 and 11 till April this year.

In addition, 1,025 cases involving parcel and couriers in narcotics trafficking have been reported by all drug law enforcement agencies during the period, it said.

To tackle the trend, a special task force on darknet and cryptocurrency has been constituted to monitor suspicious transactions related to drugs on the darknet, Rai said.

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“The Narcotics Control Bureau in association with Interoperable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) has created a portal called National Integrated Database About Arrested NDPS Offenders (NIDAAN),” he said.

Rai added that an NCORD portal has been developed as an all-in-one portal for information related to drug law enforcement.

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Ferrari Expands Cryptocurrency Payment To Europe After US Success

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Ferrari Expands Cryptocurrency Payment To Europe After US Success

European customers can now buy a Ferrari with crypto.

Less than a year ago, Ferrari launched the ability for its United States customers to pay for their cars with cryptocurrency. Since then, adopting the new and rather futuristic payment form has proven successful for Ferrari and its US-based customers, as the Prancing Horse has announced today that because of said success, the same service has now expanded, launching in Europe, as well.

Ferrari will extend its cryptocurrency payment system to European dealers from the end of July. However, the historic supercar manufacturer won’t stop there. By the end of 2024, other countries in Ferrari’s international dealer network, where cryptocurrencies are legally accepted, will adopt cryptocurrency payment.

To address security concerns, Ferrari is leaning on the expertise of various companies in the crypto field. In addition, dealers can accept payments without needing to manage cryptocurrency directly, converting it immediately into traditional currency. Ferrari’s partners will be able to verify the sources of crypto transactions and prevent them from being affected by price fluctuations from exchange rates. By now accepting crypto payment in Europe and soon worldwide, Ferrari is leaning into futuristic technology throughout the scope of its brand.

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