Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies plummet, Montreal could become the new hub for tech workers, and Amazon extends the ban on its facial recognition tool for police use indefinitely.

It’s all the tech news that’s got people buzzing right now. Welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Thursday, May 20 and I’m your host Alex Coop.

 

Bitcoin and several other cryptocurrencies experienced a drop in value yesterday. The price of bitcoin fell as much as 31 per cent after China’s banking association issued a warning to member banks over the risks associated with digital currencies. A statement on the website told members to refrain from participating in any businesses related to virtual currencies. Ethereum also saw a plummet of around 21 per cent yesterday. The bitcoin drop follows Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s statement last week when he took to Twitter to announce that Tesla would no longer be accepting bitcoin for car payments due to the environmental concerns surrounding the cryptocurrency. [Twitter]

Could Montreal be a new hub for tech workers? The city is now home to around 180,000 tech workers and has the highest number of tech graduates in Canada. Montreal is known to be a spot for the gaming industry, with over 200 development studios. The city also plans to branch out further and host a range of startups and international firms around the country. It is important to note that tech workers in Montreal are paid a much lower salary in comparison to other major Canadian and U.S cities. Montreal does however have a supportive ecosystem and ranks high for tech innovation. Venture funding in Montreal reached $1.15 billion last year. With global giants like Google setting up shop in Montreal, the city’s tech industry holds a promising future.  [LinkedIn]

And lastly, Amazon extends the ban on its facial recognition tool for police use indefinitely. The ban was set to expire in June of this year. It was put into place over a year ago after reports emerged that the facial recognition tool misidentified women and people with darker skin tones, incorrectly flagging them as suspects. Fears that the tool could increase police violence on minorities was also a concern. Several states have banned the use of the technology but no federal law has addressed the police use of facial recognition.

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