Cameron Winklevoss, left, Mark Zuckerberg, centre, and Tyler Winklevoss © FT montage

FT subscribers can click here to receive #techFT every day by email.

Gemini and Libra “enjoy sharing ideas about everything, taking in cultural events and perhaps collaborating . . . Both are air signs and tend to meet the world through ideas, and even fall in love with them”. 

I looked up this star-sign relationship compatibility analysis after the FT exclusive that Facebook may be hooking up with the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange for its digital currency, possibly being developed by its new Swiss-registered Libra fintech offshoot.

The portents obviously seem good then, except that Gemini was founded by the Winklevoss twins, longtime arch enemies of Mark Zuckerberg, who they sued for allegedly stealing their idea for a social network.

A happier union, if the digital currency gets off the ground, would be between ecommerce and Facebook's advertising business. Users discover products from businesses advertising through Facebook and buy them using its dollar-linked stablecoin.

“Between advertising and commerce, it's really a continuous spectrum,” Mr Zuckerberg has said. “As those products that we build help businesses convert better . . . it will be more valuable to them and therefore that'll translate into higher bids for the advertising.” We've an explainer on all the implications.

However, Lex says deals with trading houses, crypto exchanges and existing payments providers will mean nothing if users do not trust the company. On that issue, Facebook does seem to be accelerating its efforts: it took down a record 2.2bn fake accounts in the first three months of this year, only slightly less than the total number of monthly active users on the social media network.

#techFT takeaway: Facebook continues to pivot towards the model of Tencent's WeChat — more private social channels where buyers and sellers can be matched and communicate with one another, paying for goods as they go. Close to 60 per cent of WeChat revenues come from payments. Less than a third is from advertising. 

The Internet of (Five) Things

1. Tesla's currency devalued by investors
Tesla’s share price sank below $200 this week and has fallen more than 40 per cent this year. When it was at its highs, it would have allowed Elon Musk to raise large amounts of money relatively cheaply, but he spurned the opportunity. Here's our analysis of the electric car company's current financial plight.

2. DoorDash's $600m cash delivery
One company raising money with ease is DoorDash, a US rival to UberEats in the food delivery business. It had already raised $400m in February, but has now closed a $600m round, almost doubling its valuation to more than $12bn in the process. It is DoorDash’s fourth huge fundraising in 14 months, bringing its total financing since its 2013 founding to $2bn. This comes just a week after London-based Deliveroo raised $575m. (ICYMI, the best tech read of the week is a look at another part of this food chain, Tim Bradshaw's exploration of “dark kitchens”) 

Daily newsletter

Track trends in tech, media and telecoms from around the world

Sign up here with one click

3. Babylon’s GP at Hand service runs up £22m deficit
You would assume that an app that allows patients video consultations with their doctors through their phones would save time and money and take pressure off the UK's National Health Service. But that's not the diagnosis in Antonia Cundy and Aliya Ram's story. The app’s popularity with people across London has pushed up the costs of the local health body that operates it, creating a £21.6m funding hole.

4. SpaceX's successful satellite internet launch 
Some good news for Elon Musk. SpaceX has successfully deployed 60 Starlink satellites into orbit, the first step in his company’s bid to create a space-based internet connectivity service that competes with traditional networks. 

5. Tardis materialises for tech workers
Phone boxes are disappearing, but perhaps these cubicles will take their place? Jonathan Margolis writes about Jabbrrbox, a modern-day phone booth that can be used for $30 an hour and is starting to appear in US airports.

Tech tools — Playdate handheld console

This idea may be a little cranky, literally. The Playdate handheld console features a crank that can be used to wind through games. Available in bright yellow, but with a black and white screen, it will cost $149 when released early next year. The price includes all 12 bespoke games being developed for its first season. It comes from Panic, which has mostly made Mac and iOS software, but wanted to try something new.

Get alerts on Technology sector when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window)

Follow the topics in this article