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Janis Rijnieks



Articles by Janis Rijnieks

Sony Beats Its Annual Profit Forecast by 5% but Warns on Coronavirus Impact

February 4, 2020

Sony managed to beat all analyst predictions by 5% for their annual profit outlook. The Japanese company went up to 880 billion yen in profit while 22 analysts from Refinitiv predicted 878 billion yen. Also, when looking at the October to December quarter, Sony profit mainly dropped, but it didn’t drop as much as the analysts predicted. The profit dropped 20% to 300.1 billion yen, while the analysts forecasted 271 billion yen.Sony controls almost half of the world’s smartphone image sensor market. They supply some of the world’s largest smartphone manufacturers like Apple and Huawei. This is Sony’s main income source as in the quarterly profit outlook it accounts for 62% of the profit. It is around 75 billion yen.To reduce the dependency on smartphone image sensors, Sony is working on

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Saudi Aramco Goes Blockchain by Investing $5 Million in Vakt

January 29, 2020

Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures invested $5 million into Vakt shares, and its trading subsidiary Aramco Trading Company will start using the Vakt platform, according to a press release.That way, Saudi Aramco joins the current Vakt shareholder base of 12 investors. Among them are some of the world’s largest energy and commodity trading players. This investment will help Vakt in platform development and possibly expand to new markets in Asia.This is particularly big for Vakt. Mostly because such a huge player like Aramco Trading is joining their platform. The Vakt platform is currently live in the North Sea BFOET crude oil market. The company looks to bring its own North Sea trading volumes, adding it to their already high market share. They say they are ready for expansion into new markets.“It

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Binance Invests in Open Data Framework Numbers Protocol

January 23, 2020

In their latest blog post, Binance calls itself a “global blockchain ecosystem”. It has recently invested in a blockchain protocol that focuses on data traceability and monetization. However, the amount of the investment currently stays undisclosed.Gin Chao, Binance’s Strategy Officer explained that the Numbers team “has strong technical backgrounds and expertise in building blockchain applications with practical use cases”.“Numbers app is integrated with Binance Chain through Zion, a hardware-based key management system and offers the developer community easy access to use the Binance Chain and for hardware wallet protection, digital signature and so on,” he said.#Binance Announces Investment in Open Data Framework @numbersprotocolThe Numbers team has developed a fully open-source

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Pornhub Adds Tether (USDT) to Its Payment Options via TRON Wallet after PayPal Pull-Out

January 23, 2020

Tether (USDT) now joins Pornhub payment options along with Cosmo Payments which is a global payment processing app. Plus all that, the popular porn site added a direct deposit option for Australia and Puerto Rico. Heads up Models! We just added USDT, @CosmoPayment & more to our Payment Method options! Click here for details: https://t.co/LgyZuMasd4#USDT #Cosmopayment pic.twitter.com/BcnzK5Z6RN— Pornhub Model Help & Updates ✈️ XBIZ LA + AVN 2020 (@PornhubHelp) January 22, 2020Pornhub is known as the company which likes to experiment in terms of payment options for their models. Of course, it’s not something out of thin air, mainly it’s because they have no other options. Pornhub had talked about accepting many cryptocurrencies in the past, with Zcash (ZEC) and Tron (TRX) being a couple of

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Ethereum Officially Launches 1 Million Developer Challenge

January 22, 2020

The Ethereum challenge is an open movement that is dedicated to growing the developer ecosystem. ConsenSys Jim Jagielski tweeted that they officially launched the 1 million developer effort.Join me as we "officially" kick off our #1milliondev effort, dedicated to growing the #Ethereum and #Web3 communities by 1 million developers and contributors. Let’s leverage #opensource in this endeavor! c @ConsenSys https://t.co/Rs2whnS8z1— Jim Jagielski (@jimjag) January 20, 2020However, the way how the team plans to reach 1 million developers is quite simple. They will put it into the community’s hands. They believe it will happen through a collaborative effort. Everybody will make some kind of contribution even if it is just a share on Twitter. Also, they don’t have an estimated time when they

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Binance Announces WazirX IEO on Its Launchpad

January 22, 2020

Tuesday, January 21, Binance announces their next project on Binance Launchpad, it’s WazirX. Yes, that is the same they acquired back in November 2019. WazirX is an Indian based cryptocurrency exchange with a native token – WRX. As usual, this IEO takes place in a lottery format where Binance record user Binance Coin (BNB) balances in a specific time period. The exchange will record their user BNB balances for 30 days. To be honest, the lottery is already happening in full swing because Binance started recording them on January 4th. The balance recording will continue till February 3. Binance explains that they determine the average BNB holding amount for each user from the 30-day average, which they previously announced in 2019. In short: “Total Daily Average BNB Balance = Daily Average

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Swiss Franc May Be Used as Proxy for Gold, Says Goldman Sachs

January 20, 2020

Ever since the geopolitical tensions in the Middle East where top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani died, the incident is the main explainer for why gold reached six-year highs. Now when in the recent days the Swiss Franc is surging, Goldman Sachs Co-Head of Global Foreign Exchange Zach Pandl believes it could be because it may be being used as a proxy for gold. He says that CHF follows gold in terms of price swings. Pandl said that on Monday morning it was trading around $1,03. Ever since January 16 when CHF reached its 2 year low, it is on a constant rise.Back in history, around the 1900s, the Swiss Franc was outperforming all the other currencies. Pandl explains this by saying that CHF had close ties with gold back then.“The Swiss constitution required CHF to be backed by gold

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Amazon Wants You to Pay with Your Hand instead of Your Credit Card

January 20, 2020

Amazon, the company which once only focused on e-commerce, now is also a technology giant. But it just doesn’t stop there. Now the company has revealed its future plans to step into the financial game and wants you to pay with your hands not credit cards.Amazon is now working on a system with which customers might be able to pay for their items with their palms or hands. This system is specifically for physical stores so that people could purchase their items at checkouts much faster.This move by Amazon highlights the way the company is looking at our financial future. They want to transform the way people purchase things. In short – they just want to be even deeper into people’s financial lives. It is interesting that this financial transformation is led by such big industry

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Visa Is on FinTech Investing Spree: after Plaid It’s Time for VGS

January 18, 2020

It looks like Visa is on an investing spree. One of the world’s leading payment processors is heavily investing in fintech companies, which could indicate, that Visa is on the verge of some kind of change. Or that they simply want to support the expansion of fintech. Just recently Visa invested around $5.3 million in a fintech company Plaid. Now it’s turn for VGS.While the investment in Plaid was revealed, this investment in VGS (Very Good Security) currently is undisclosed.However, this is not the first time Visa has changed routes with VGS. In 2019, Visa and VGS partnered for the Fintech Fast Track program. It supports digital payment innovation by making it simple to collaborate with Visa and launch new fintech products.Currently, VGS is working with new startups to hide their sensitive

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U.S. Treasury Is to Start Issuing 20-Year Bonds in 2020 to Fund Growing Deficit

January 17, 2020

As the demands for longer-dated, risk-free securities among institutional investors have always been high, the Treasury will start issuing 20-year bonds. Securities that offer some nominal yield, amid $11 trillion of global debt with negative rates. While Japanese officials are thinking about a much longer 50-year security, the U.S. officials turned this idea down in their announcement.“The 20-year bond fits more easily into the existing market structure. This is a way of taking advantage of long-term interest rates that are low by historical standards without introducing a wild-card such as an ultra-long bond, which would have had more growing pains,” commented Lou Crandall, chief economist at Wrightson ICAP LLC.The idea is that these new 20-year bonds will draw in more domestic buyers

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Ripple Is One of the Best Workplaces According to Fortune

January 17, 2020

Fortune loves to make different kinds of lists for any kind of topic, but this list is a rather interesting statistic. From all the business industries in San Francisco, Fortune listed 35 best workplaces in the Bay Area and Ripple is one of them. Excited to be recognized as one of @FortuneMagazine’s #BestWorkplaces in the Bay Area 2020! https://t.co/ope8KXIRDc— Ripple (@Ripple) January 16, 2020Most of the 35 companies included in the Best workplace list are Information technology companies that develop online internet services or software. Ripple stands out from the crowd as it strives to provide a cross-border payment system and is listed under “Other”.“These companies provide growth, transparency, and diversity in the workplace,” writes Fortune.Fortune has partnered with Great Place to

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New Samsung Galaxy S20+ Leak Shows 120Hz Display and No Headphone Jack

January 16, 2020

Samsung and Apple love to fill the internet with leaks and “secret” footage of their new upcoming phones, just a shy weeks before the actual event. This helps to draw global attention and to highlight some of the groundbreaking features that everybody has been waiting for. This time, Samsung Galaxy S20+ will offer a more powerful display, a better battery, fast charging, huge amounts of RAM and possibly the most unexpected, but at the same time, the most expected – they’re getting rid of the headphone jack. Since last year Samsung removed the headphone jack on their Note 10, many speculations arose believing that this is also going to be the case of the upcoming S20. The supposed leaks of the new S20 reveal that it won’t have a headphone jack. Instead, it will offer a USB-C and Bluetooth

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OneGold Partners with BitPay, Users Can Now Buy Gold with Crypto

January 14, 2020

With OneGold users can buy, sell and redeem precious metals like gold and silver. Now with the help of the BitPay payment service, the company can integrate cryptocurrency payments in their new mobile app and website. They will accept payments in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and a few stablecoins. The application is available for Android and iOS users. However, BitPay customers who will choose to use OneGold services on its website will save 2%.“Cryptocurrency holders are a natural fit as precious metals investors and can utilize OneGold to balance their investment portfolio. Using BitPay, cryptocurrency holders can quickly buy gold or silver at institutional pricing, save 2%, and create a nice balanced mix of gold, silver, and cryptocurrencies,” explained OneGold CEO Kenneth Lewis.He

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Saudi Aramco Raises Its IPO to Record $29.4B by Selling 450M Additional Shares

January 13, 2020

Saudi Aramco is a Saudi Arabian national petroleum and natural gas company. In December 2019, the company in its IPO initially raised $25.6 billion which already then was a record-setting number. They sold 3 billion shares worth $8.53 (or 32 riyals) a share. Already at the beginning of the IPO, the company stated that they might sell additional shares through the greenshoe option. It’s also called over-allotment of shares, which means that companies are allowed to issue more shares in the case of a great demand from the IPO participants. Aramco says that the additional shares have been allocated to investors during the book-building process.“No additional shares are being offered into the market today and the stabilizing manager will not hold any shares in the company as a result of the

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Thailand’s Oldest Bank Partners with Ripple to Create App Called SCB Easy

January 9, 2020

Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) wants to develop a mobile application that runs on Ripple. The 112-year-old bank has around 16 million customers and they want to deliver “happiness and smiles” to their customers. Not really sure how a banking app can cause smiling and happiness, but SCB’s SVP of Commercial Banking, Arthit Sriumporn believes that it can be achieved by partnering with Ripple.Alright, putting jokes aside, let’s look at the results of a recent survey by PwC. They have found out that 86% of China’s population uses mobile banking apps. In Thailand, it’s near 67% of the total population. Overall, eight of the top ten countries using mobile banking apps in the world, come from Asia. This is a clear sign of the digitalization that we are witnessing right now. People in Asia are starting

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Court Rejects SEC’s Attempt to Obtain Telegram’s Full Gram Token Sale Bank Records

January 8, 2020

It has become known that Judge P. Kevin Castel taken a decision to deny without prejudice SEC’s letter which was aimed at revealing the full bank records of Telegram. To deal with this issue the court chose a variant of having a phone call with the participation of all the parties of this dispute.The dispute has arisen as the SEC tries to insist that the Gram token sale that was held by Telegram and that brought the company approximately $1,7 billion from investors was an unregistered offering of securities.The Securities and Exchange Commission argues that the defendants refused to disclose all the bank records. They are concerned about how Telegram has spent the money raised from investors. Also, the SEC says that Telegram refused to answer questions about the disposition of investors’

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Gold and Oil Jump amid Ongoing Geopolitical Tensions in Iran: Will Others Follow?

January 6, 2020

The geopolitical tensions are high as Iran said that it will no longer abide by uranium enrichment limits and Donald Trump has claimed to attack them like “they’ve never been before”.While this is happening, WTI oil prices increased by as much as 2% overnight (and it is quite impressive, right?) as Brent Crude topped $70 per barrel. Since September this is the first time that such a situation has happened. Also, it’s worth mentioning that gold managed to almost reach $1,600/ounce which is the highest mark where it has been in seven years. But is only gold and oil worth being viewed as a variant for an investment?The U.S. has just recently spent $2 trillion on military equipment. That means that defense stocks could be a winning trade in 2020. The iShares U.S. Aerospace & Defense ETF has

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Uber Plans to Increase Its Investments into Bikes and Scooters in 2020

December 16, 2019

Uber wants to increase its investments in the micro-mobility industry, especially in Europe. Apparently they believe that the demand for this kind of service will only increase. “We want to double down on micro-mobility. We have seen how beautifully it works with our core business and ride-sharing, and want to invest more and deeper, especially in Europe,” commented Christian Freese, the head of EMEA at Jump.In 2018, Uber bought Jump – a bike-sharing service based in the U.S. Ever since then they have rolled out the company’s services internationally, but mostly in European cities.Why in Europe? Uber claims that Europe has significantly outpaced the U.S. in the last eight months. The company says that, in the previously mentioned time frame alone, more than 500 000 Europeans rode the

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Bill Gates Couldn’t Stop Reading This Book and Now Recommends It to Everybody

December 16, 2019

Bill Gates is known as the co-founder of Microsoft and one of the richest people in the world. But he doesn’t have a reputation of the genius/billionaire who reads a lot of fiction (though he admits that loves reading). The book that has greatly impressed him is called “The Rosie Project” by Graeme Simsion, and Bill absolutely loves it. He says that it has it all – it makes readers laugh, cry, think, and the main character is so vivid that, in Gates’s thoughts, anyone can relate to. He noted:“We all have powerful fears, and seeing them in Don makes you feel like you’re not the only one.”Initially, Bill Gates’ wife Melinda introduced this book to him. Once he said that she “kept stopping to recite parts of it out loud”. That lead to Bill eventually “taking a look” at the book. Once he

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Vinted Raises $141M and Becomes the Second Baltic Unicorn

November 28, 2019

Vinted has recently finished its funding round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, previous backers Sprints Capital, Inside Venture Partners, Accel and Burda Principal Investments. The startup raised a total of $141 million and reached a total valuation of $1 billion. Since the startup is from Lithuania, it is now the second unicorn startup coming out from the Baltics. Previously, an Estonian startup Taxify, which now has rebranded to Bolt had reached a valuation of $1 billion.The company will use the funds for its further expansion in Europe. Also, it will build new features to its platform in order to improve the buying and selling process for users’ used clothes.“We want to make sure we don’t have new products. All our sellers are regular people,” commented Vinted CEO Thomas

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Binance Launchpad Platform Announces Troy Trade IEO

November 26, 2019

Binance yet again greets us as “Binancians” and announces a new project called Troy (TROY) on its Binance Launchpad platform. If you have ever participated in a lottery format token sales, then you already know how it is, but if not, let us explain. Binance already started recording user balances on November 3, 2019. Generally, Binance will record user BNB balances until December 3, 2019 (for a whole month), and the final BNB balance will determine the average BNB amount in the user account, and that will affect how many tickets a user will get.Then users will have to sign a Token Purchase Agreement at the same time while claiming tickets. Binance notes that users will only be able to claim the tickets once.After the tickets will have been claimed, the next day on December 4, the lottery

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Opera’s Fintech Startup OPay Raises $120 Million From Chinese Investors

November 18, 2019

In recent news, OPay has raised $120 million on a series B round backed by Chinese investors. Their primary initiative for the fundraise is to scale in Nigeria and expand its payments service to Kenya, Ghana and South Africa. The series B round investors, as mentioned above, were mainly from China. The companies include Meituan-Dianping, GaoRong, Source Code Capital, Softbank Asia, BAI, Redpoint, IDG Capital, Sequoia China, and GSR Ventures. In June 2019, OPay also raised $50 million.Opera, for the past four years, has been the second most used web browser behind Chrome. In general, Opera along with its other products has taken over Nigeria. They offer a ride-hailing app – ORide, a food delivery service – OFood, and an SME marketing and advertising platform – OLeads.“OPay will facilitate

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Will Bakkt’s Bitcoin Options Change the Cryptocurrency Industry?

October 30, 2019

To refresh our memory, Bakkt, which is backed by New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), recently in late September launched its long-awaited Bitcoin Futures platform, where investors and traders can physically exchange Bitcoin. Now, after the exchange has hit new record volumes, Bakkt announced that they will be offering Bitcoin options by December 9, 2019. “Options allow investors and traders to do different things, and will facilitate new and important approaches to investing,” commented Matt Hougan, director of research at Bitwise Asset Management.These Bakkt Bitcoin options contracts are going to be similar to European style contracts which means that they can only be executed on the date of expiration. Matt Hougan believes that Bakkt has done this in

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Bakkt Hits All-Time High Volume as Bitcoin Price Explodes

October 28, 2019

Recently Bakkt announced that they had set a new daily record. They traded 1,183 contracts, respectively. One contract equals one Bitcoin, which means that the total volume was around $11 million. Also, this aligned with the recent Bitcoin price surge of 40%. This set people running back to the exchanges to grab a piece of the pie.Also, China news was a big factor in the recent surge in volume and Bitcoin price. China recently announced that they officially will embrace blockchain technology. They have lessons about Bitcoin and Ethereum on their “Get to know China Better” app.The statistics are interesting as Bakkt’s Twitter Volume Bot, on Wednesday, October 24, reported that they have reached a new all-time high of 640 traded contracts only 85 days after the launch of the platform. Back

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Microsoft Wins the Pentagon $10 billion JEDI Contract in Battle with Amazon

October 28, 2019

Recently, on Friday, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) made it clear that they had chosen Microsoft over Amazon in their $10 billion cloud computing contract, also known as JEDI. With this contract, the Department of Defense will move its database to the cloud. However, this has left Amazon Web Services wondering as they were considered as leaders in the field, and the most likely winner of this contract.“We’re surprised about this conclusion. AWS is the clear leader in cloud computing, and a detailed assessment purely on the comparative offerings clearly leads to a different conclusion. We remain deeply committed to continuing to innovate for the new digital battlefield where security, efficiency, resiliency, and scalability of resources can be the difference between success and

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Ripple Opens Up a New Office in Washington D.C.

October 23, 2019

Recently, Ripple announced a new office in Washington, D.C. which will be lead by Michelle Bond. As they describe the new premises, they chose this location deliberately in order to be closer to the White House and the U.S. government, in general. They want to educate the policymakers on the massive benefits that cryptocurrencies and blockchain offers to the world of finance and technology. Ripple has previously set a plan for a global expansion in order to “spread the word” about their new technology and payment systems. Also, just recently, a former assistant to the U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Craig Phillips has joined Ripple’s board of directors. The company believes that he will bring depth to its policy leadership team and advise on “strategic regulatory opportunities” as

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Porsche Presents Cheaper Version of the All-Electric Taycan to Compete Tesla

October 14, 2019

In recent news, Porsche has presented another version of their new all-electric Taycan. The new model is called Taycan 4S and comes with the same chassis, suspension, and permanent magnet synchronous motors. Just a few weeks ago in September, the company introduced the electric Taycan in general, Taycan Turbo S and Taycan Turbo in particular. This “cheap” version is a little bit slower, lighter, and much cheaper. By saying cheap, we mean around $100,000. While the fast and powerful versions of the Taycan costs $185,000 for the Turbo S and $150,900 for the Turbo version, the Taycan 4S standard version cost $103,800 and has a 79.2 kWh battery pack and two electric motors that produce 429 horsepower. Additionally, the owner can boost the total number of horsepower by engaging launch control.

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Binance Will Support WeChat And Alipay For Bitcoin Purchases

October 10, 2019

Photo: CoinspeakerRecently, Binance has announced that they will add two more fiat-to-crypto gateways, hence WeChat and Alipay. With this move, citizens of China now will be able to purchase Bitcoin, with these two payment options. Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance, confirmed this news on his Twitter account:YES https://t.co/dnHKQSLvS4— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) October 9, 2019Currently, this initiative is only in the testing phase for Android users, but will eventually come out on iOS as well.By doing this, Binance is entering the P2P (peer-to-peer) trading space in China and becomes one of the few options for people in China to purchase the three most popular cryptocurrencies.“Technically, Binance as a P2P platform itself is NOT integrated with WeChat/Alipay payment, but the vendors or

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Cardano and Ethereum Might Finally Switch to PoS in 2020

October 7, 2019

2020 is looking to be a year of PoS blockchains. While Tim Ogilive, the founder and CEO of multi-blockchain staking service Staked argues that 2019 has already been a big year for PoS, we have a lot to expect from the upcoming year. First and foremost, Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, is expected to finally switch to PoS. They have been wanting the switch from 2014, when Vitalik Buterin said that he viewed PoS as a way for Ethereum to mature.“Ethereum 1.0 is a couple of people’s scrappy attempt to build the world computer; Ethereum 2.0 will actually be the world computer,” shared he.With Proof Of Stake blockchains, there is no mining, thus no electricity is being used to solve the math problems needed. The validators must own the coins that they are

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Overstock along with Its Former CEO and CFO Sued for Securities Fraud

September 30, 2019

Recently Overstock and its former CEO Patrick Byrne have recently made a lot of headlines. The main reason for that is that Patrick Byrne left the company with a big bang, sold all his equities and didn’t keep it a secret that he had invested in Bitcoin and gold.Now, an investor from Canada – Benjamin Ha, has filed a complaint with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) alleging that between May 9 and September 23, 2019, Overstock published “materially false and misleading statements” about the financial state of the company.Benjamin claimed that Overstock along with its CEO and CFO had artificially inflated the price of the company’s stock. This allowed Patrick Byrne to sell all his equity at a higher stock price. Also, the increased price helped Overstock to sell off

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