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TikTok influencer starts $15m venture capital fund

McKenzie Elyse

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19-year-old Josh Richards has more than 34 million followers on TikTok and other platforms — and he has big plans for them. The Canadian social media star recently announced that he had teamed up with fellow influencers Griffin Johnson and Noah Beck along with former Goldman Sachs investment banker Marshall Sandman to launch their new venture capital fund Animal Capital

Positioned on its website as “The first venture firm with access to 100M+ engaged consumers across the world,” Animal Capital was created to use the networks of its influencer founders to promote and fund startups in the consumer, fintech, health, and media sectors. Richards told CNN Business that he hopes “to leverage the millions of followers [they] have and tap into a new generation of potential customers.”


Among those who have invested in the venture capital fund are high-profile names such as Sean Rad, who co-founded Tinder, along with former TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer. Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci has also been reported as an investor.

The teenage social media influencer already has a business portfolio that rivals that of most people twice his age. He co-founded TalentX, a social media monetization and talent development company, in 2019 and launched his energy drink company Ani Energy in 2020 in collaboration with influencer Bryce Hall. Richards is supposed to have a net worth of more than a million dollars as of April 2021.

And Richards says he is just getting started. 

“After this fund is done, we’re going to raise a second and a third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh.” 

I'm a copywriter, journalist, and web content creator with a strong passion for my work. Crafting narratives of the world around me brings me an incredible sense of joy — there's nothing I would rather be doing. Besides writing, I enjoy cooking, mixology, music, and my weird cat named Marceline.

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Cybersecurity

China Aggressively Intercepts Didi’s Rising Shares Days After Major IPO

Tara Ragone

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As a part of China’s efforts to improve monitoring of data controlled by tech giants in their vicinity, an investigation has been initiated against Didi Global Inc. (Didi). Exact details surrounding why Didi needed to be looked at in the first place remains unclear, but China did mention that it is being done to identify and prevent threats. National security, data security, and public interest were cited as the main concerns influencing the investigation. 

Didi was founded in 2012, but expanded tremendously  in 2018 on an international level, and now conducts business in numerous geographical locations throughout the world. Didi was only one out of 34 companies that China’s State Administration for Market Regulation had sent a warning to about anti-competitive behavior being prohibited.


The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has dictated that Didi is not permitted to enroll new users while the investigative review is active. However, operations are otherwise functioning normally in the 14 countries it serves. Numerous areas were noted by Didi as potentially being in review for violations, including monopoly, unfair and deceptive practices, quality, and legal compliance.

Didi’s shares dropped an astonishing 10% after the investigation against them was announced by China’s cyberspace agency. Didi only started trading in the New York Stock Exchange two days prior to the review becoming effective. A research analyst implied that whether investing in Didi is a good idea or not will depend on the length of the investigation, but that it is too soon to know for sure.

Didi, which is based out of Beijing, pledges to meticulously analyze cybersecurity risks that may apply to their enterprise and to fully cooperate with the governmental oversight currently examining them. This instance of an immediate review by governing authorities regarding technical data regulations is an example of how China is aggressively stepping up their data protection mechanisms. 

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Crypto

Capital gains tax hike, SEC announcement sends Bitcoin into period of volatility

McKenzie Elyse

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The historic stock market selloff last Friday following President Biden’s capital gains tax hike announcement left the cryptocurrency market in shambles with more than $200 billion in losses across the board. The popular blockchain-based coins Bitcoin and Ether both dropped by nearly 8 percent in value in a manner of hours after the announcement last Thursday, with rising-star coin XRP falling by more than 16 percent. The proposed tax rate of 43.3 percent — double the current rate — would apply to returns on assets held in taxable accounts and sold after more than a year. It would also be the highest income tax rate in the country.

Bitcoin experienced another hit in its market value when the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it was delaying its decision on whether or not to approve Bitcoin as an exchange-traded fund (ETF) per the request of VanEck Global, an investment management firm that has been in operation since 1955. 


“The Commission finds that it is appropriate to designate a longer period within which to take action on the proposed rule change so that it has sufficient time to consider the proposed rule change and the comments received,” said an assistant secretary at the SEC in a filing.

Despite the recent news stories, the largest digital asset in the world is still trading at more than five times its value one year ago to date. Major stock market players have recently entered the Bitcoin game with significant bets in the cryptocurrency — including Tesla, which has acquired more than $2.5 billion in Bitcoin. The coin’s value continues to pick back up, and many speculate that it could soon exceed its mid-April high of over $64,000.

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Crypto

Crypto hits record-breaking $2 trillion in market cap during “altcoin season”

McKenzie Elyse

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Market capitalization for the broad collective of cryptocurrencies, including the popular coins Bitcoin and Ethereum, reached a whopping $2 trillion on Monday.

Unsurprisingly, the Bitcoin market cap accounted for the majority of this figure, recording $1.1 trillion in value on Monday afternoon. The price of Bitcoin has held steadily over $50,000 since early March, hitting an all-time high of $61,283 on Saturday, March 13. The price of Bitcoin has increased by 100 percent, with the next-highest valued crypto Ether rising an impressive 190 percent this year alone.


Despite its majority share of the total crypto market cap, Bitcoin’s dominance is beginning to falter among the growing blockchain investment community. According to Coindesk, altcoins now account for 43 percent of the market, up from 27 percent at the beginning of the year. Altcoins are defined as any cryptocurrency besides Bitcoin; released in 2011, Litecoin was among the first of these altcoins, followed by a slew of others that have since exceeded it in value and popularity.

The increasing crypto market share of altcoins has led some to amply describe the phenomenon as “altcoin season.” Though the market dominance of Bitcoin has fallen over the past few months, the head of trading at digital asset firm CrossTower Chad Steinglass has suggested that altcoin season may benefit Bitcoin in the long run.

“These early adopters shifting to altcoins will both work to decrease volatility in bitcoin and also eventually help decide the winners from the losers in the alt space, which is kind of a necessary condition for any altcoin to emerge as a viable longer-term asset,” Steinglass said.

Other analysts have said that Bitcoin will be able to maintain its $1 trillion market cap as long as it stays above $53,000, spelling more stability for the cryptocurrency over a longer period.

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