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Remittance company, Wise, set to go public with direct listing
by Paul Hill
The financial services and remittance company, Wise (formerly TransferWise) has announced that it will go public via a direct listing, according to a report from CNBC. Once the paperwork has gone through, the firm will be listed on the London Stock Exchange through a direct listing – rather than an initial public offering (IPO).
The reason given by the company for doing a direct listing rather than an IPO is that it doesn’t want to raise capital for its operations. Through a direct listing, Wise will not need to find underwriters nor will it need to issue new shares. According to CNBC, the fact that Wise will be listed on the London Stock Exchange rather than the New York Stock Exchange is good for Britain which is trying to get more tech firms listed on its exchange.
Speaking during a conference call, Kristo Kaarmann, CEO and co-founder of Wise, said:
In addition to the direct listing, Wise has been emailing customers to ask whether they’d like to join its OneWise shareholder programme. Those that participate would be able to receive bonus shares worth up to £100 after 12 months to further increase future returns.
Once the firm is listed, it should be quite popular among investors as it has been profitable since 2017. In the 2021 fiscal year, it reported profits of £30.9 million and revenues of £421 million. The year before, profits came in at £15 million and revenues were at £302.6 million which shows the company has been growing well.
Wise offers very low fees on its remittance services making it very competitive. While not yet achieving these levels, Wise’s low transfer fees are a step towards the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 10.c which states ‘By 2030, reduce to less than 3 per cent the transaction costs of migrant remittances and eliminate remittance corridors with costs higher than 5 per cent’.
UK government urged to subsidise broadband for those on low-incomes
by Paul Hill
The UK government has been urged to offer vouchers to low-income homes to encourage more people to begin using ultra-fast gigabit broadband, according to BBC News. The advice was delivered as part of a report compiled by the Gigabit Take-up Advisory Group (GigaTAG). The report also called on employers to offer staff discounts on the service, especially now that more people are working from home.
In the GigaTAG report, the authors said that a number of barriers prevent low-income households from connecting to gigabit internet. It said:
Responding to the report, Digital Infrastructure minister Matt Warman said that he would be considering the recommendations of the report. He said that the government wants to make sure everyone can benefit from these fast speeds, no matter their background.
As things stand, gigabit seems a little bit futuristic to most people given that in the UK it is only available in a quarter of UK homes and there’s currently not a lot of need for such high speeds. When we fast forward to 2025, however, when augmented and virtual reality will be more widespread, people will need higher speeds than are currently available so it’s important that the government establishes how it plans to ensure everyone has access.
The GigaTAG group was formed at the request of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Its membership includes Which?, Confederation of British Industry, Federation of Small Businesses, Ofcom, Broadband Stakeholder Group, Internet Service Providers’ Association, Be the Business, DCMS, and Good Things Foundation.
UK MPs ask Biden to drop Assange charges during G7 trip
by Paul Hill
Members of Parliament (MPs) from several UK parties have asked President Biden to drop the charges against Julian Assange which have caused him to be holed up in various locations over the last decade. The request was made in the form of a letter and signed by 24 MPs from the Conservative Party, Labour Party, Green Party, and the Scottish National Party. The official Wikileaks account on Twitter posted the letter in full.
In the letter, the MPs said that it was hypocritical of Western governments to call for greater press freedom around the world, while at the same time holding Julian Assange who worked with The Guardian and New York Times newspapers to publish leaked U.S. government documents that Wikileaks had been provided with.
In the letter, the MPs write:
In 2019, the U.S. government unsealed an indictment against Julian Assange which said he was charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. He is currently being held at Belmarsh Prison in London and last year was denied bail after citing the coronavirus as District Judge Vanessa Baraitser believed he could break the bail conditions.
By Jay Bonggolto
Google vows to let UK's competition regulators oversee its online tracking changes
by Jay Bonggolto
Google tried to assuage growing online privacy concerns in 2019 by introducing new web standards that would put limits to how advertisers access user data to target their ads as part of the Privacy Sandbox project. The goal was to control third-party cookies that allow unauthorized tracking on the web with new digital advertising tools. Earlier this year, though, the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched an investigation into the project.
Now, the CMA has announced that it has secured Google's commitments to limit how it uses data in order to address privacy and competition concerns. The competition watchdog is now seeking feedback from interested third parties before it accepts Google’s commitments.
Privacy Sandbox involves assigning users to a cohort based on their interests while keeping their identity private. This method lets a browser analyze the users' habits on-device without sending them to a server. The changes, however, have sparked concerns that Google's replacement for third-party cookies could hamper competition in the digital advertising space.
As part of its commitment, the search giant vows to not access synced Chrome browsing histories once third-party cookies are eliminated. This will presumably prevent Google from favoring its own advertising business or websites at the expense of its rivals.
In addition, the company promised to give regulators a say on the results of its testing of alternatives. The CMA can request a "standstill period" of two months if Google fails to address any of their outstanding concerns. During this period, they can reopen an investigation and implement interim measures.
The CMA and the Information Commissioner's Office will consult on Google's commitments until July 8 with input from third parties. The regulators also noted that these commitments will be legally binding if accepted.
Raspberry Pi publishes new book for computer history buffs
by Paul Hill
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced the launch of its latest book The Computers That Made Britain. In this book, author Tim Danton looks at the home computer boom that took place in the UK in the 1980s, covering 19 different computers including the ZX Spectrum, BBC Micro, and Commodore 64. In this book, Danton not only tells the stories of these computers but provides insights from the people behind them.
Discussing the book, Raspberry Pi’s Digital Content Manager, Alex Bate, said:
The computers covered in this 300-page book are the Acorn Archimedes, Acorn Electron, Apple II, Apple Macintosh, Amstrad CPC 464, Amstrad PCW 8256, Atari 520ST, BBC Micro, Commodore 64, Commodore Amiga, Commodore PET 2001, Commodore VIC-20, Dragon 32, IBM Personal Computer (5150), Research Machines 380Z, Sinclair QL, Sinclair ZX80 and ZX81, and the Sinclair ZX Spectrum.
The Computers That Made Britain is now available for purchase on the Raspberry Pi Press Store and can be bought in-person from the Raspberry Pi Store in Cambridge as well as Waterstones. As with all other Raspberry Pi-published books, a PDF version of the book is also available for free from the Wireframe website.