We've had a bunch of news around decentralization lately. Some highlights to keep you up to date:
- A report by The Block (paywall) has ratcheted up anticipation that Starbucks is close to implementing bitcoin payments for customers at its U.S. stores via the Bakkt platform. One tip-off: The giant coffee chain has received a major equity stake in Bakkt despite the fact it's not a cash investor, The Block reports.
- The Brave/Basic Attention Token community is continuing to hit all sorts of milestones around growth and new product features... Brave has begun enabling payments in BAT to users viewing ads that are native to the Brave web browser. So far, the feature is enabled in the developer release of the browser only, with plans to go into production for everyone soon... Separately, the company announced a partnership with the TAP Network to help users spend their hard-earned tokens with brands like Red Bull and Paramount Pictures... TheVerge's Vlad Savov has been using Brave and has now proclaimed it "the ideal Chrome alternative" in a post that I'm guessing had people doing backflips at Brave hq... Givebat, an independently curated directory of Brave-verified publishers, launched on Wednesday... And, oh yeah, BAT's price has risen 88 percent since the beginning of February. It recently traded above 21 cents, putting its total market cap at a cool $42 million.
- The journalism blockchain project Civil has officially launched its reboot after a busted initial coin offering late last year.
- Mark Zuckerberg's new plan to re-focus Facebook on private messaging was met with skepticism from pretty much everyone around both Silicon Valley and Washington last week. Veteran tech bloggers Om Malik and Dave Winer both weighed in to say they still view the company as a bad actor. On the political left, Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren was clearly unimpressed as she took to Medium to unveil her plan to break up Facebook, Google, and Amazon. On the right, conservative blogger Michelle Malkin tweeted about tools she's using to phase Big Tech out of her digital life... Yup. That covers just about everyone.
- CNBC's Carl Quntanilla shared some eye-popping charts from Cowen Research detailing the declines in the count of different types of retail stores in the U.S. during the e-commerce era. The number of book stores alone is down 49 percent since its peak in 2002, of course. But there have also been massive drops in stores that sell electronics (down 28 percent), clothing (12 percent), and furniture (27 percent) since their respective peaks.
- Writing for Barron's, Greg Satell says the biggest opportunities in blockchain are related to utility, not currency speculation in bitcoin. Specifically, Satell is bullish on applications that make data more accessible or useful.
- Twitter user @BamHanson tweeted a copy of a note that his daughter brought home from her teacher because the child opened Firefox on her laptop instead of Chrome. Not a great day for open source in education. On the bright side, several people on the Firefox team replied to @BamHanson's original tweet pledging to send his daughter Firefox stickers, a t-shirt, and other goodies. Awwww....
- Finally, an off-topic personal update: I've concluded that LeBron James > Michael Jordan. Disagree? Please leave your angry tweet here.
That's it for now! Thanks for spending some time with Indizr today. For more regular updates about Web 3.0, subscribe to our email newsletter.