The streaming wars just got a bit more interesting, as Paramount Studios, the longest operating studio in Hollywood, announced Paramount+ as a streaming service. Paramount+ is the rebranding and reconstructing of CBS All Access, which only had about 8-9M subscribers at the end of 2020. Disney’s entry into the streaming world already altered the ecosystem in 2020, as an established player joining in with the disruptors to catch up and stay relevant. Paramount, like Disney, owns many channels that previously were synonymous with cable TV. Soon, it seems there will be little to no distinction between Pay TV and streaming, as traditional TV giants migrate towards streaming ventures. Are the streaming wars just replicating traditional Pay TV, unbundling and rebundling channels and studios into new packages?
PayPal has been on the hunt for a cryptocurrency acquisition for some time. Now, it seems to have finally found its prize as it announced a ~$200M acquisition of Curv, a cloud-based infrastructure for digital asset security. This isn’t PayPal’s first crypto-rodeo, however, as PayPal began implement cryptocurrency back in October by partnering with Paxos to allow U.S. users to pay with cryptocurrencies starting in 2021. This acquisition will build upon PayPal’s nascent cryptocurrency team in order to “accelerate and expand its initiatives to support cryptocurrencies and digital assets.” It is also an interesting acquisition in a potential expansion out of the US, as Curv is an Israel-based startup with partners like eToro and FalconX in Europe. Is this the first of many crypto acquisitions in 2021 for institutional players like PayPal?
Wefarm, a social network, knowledge exchange platform, and marketplace for small-scale farmers, raised $11M in funding to expand its operations, led by Octopus Ventures. Wefarm currently has 2.5 million users, freely accessing its knowledge exchange platform and marketplace. Some of its greatest success has been in East Africa, primarily due to the company’s SMS interface that doesn’t require constant internet connection. The recent funding will go towards developing a digital, app-based service that can help the startup grow its userbase. As there are over 1 billion people involved in small-scale agriculture, producing 70% of global food output, Wefarm seeks to empower farmers in order to rewrite global supply chains. Digitising and connecting agriculture with the tech world has vast implications for the future, especially with rising populations and a looming food crisis. In light of this, Wefarm is taking a critical step by empowering small farmers with a knowledge exchange platform that will encourage growth and resiliency.