Kevin’s Week in Tech: Crypto Tokin’

Maybe it was the wafting weed fragrance, or the Lambos, or just the sight of lots of rich men talking about margin trading while awkwardly dancing to rap music, but I picked up a strong Wall-Street-party-circa-2006 vibe from Blockchain Week.

I’m not an expert on the cryptocurrency markets, and wouldn’t venture to guess what will happen to currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum in the coming months. But it’s clear that the cryptocurrency community hasn’t been cowed by the price swings in recent months, and that elements of Wall Street’s pre-crash culture of celebratory excess are everywhere you look.

Some other tech stories of note this week:

• In a surprising reversal, Uber eliminated forced arbitration agreements for employees, riders and drivers who bring sexual assault or harassment claims. Now, instead of being required to negotiate these cases in arbitration, people with sexual assault and harassment claims will be able to sue the company. It’s an olive branch to the company’s critics, including Susan Fowler, the ex-engineer who had pushed for the changes, and further proof that Uber’s chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, is trying to put the ride-hailing company’s troubled past behind it.

• Facebook did some spring cleaning this week, announcing in a “transparency report” that it removed 865 million posts in the first quarter for violations of its community standards. The deleted posts were mostly spam, but posts containing nudity, graphic violence, hate speech and terrorism were also taken down.

• I loved this story about Clear My Record, an automated app that helps people in California with marijuana-related convictions get those convictions expunged from their records. The program, which was a dual effort by San Francisco’s district attorney, George Gascón, and the nonprofit Code for America, will collect information from users and generate a digital file that the district attorney can submit to courts, eliminating the need for lots of messy and confusing paperwork. Eventually, the tool could help as many as 250,000 Californians by making it easier for them to get jobs, loans, and housing.


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