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U2 Frontman Bono Directs Investment Fund into FinTech


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Bono’s investment startup, The Rise Fund, is diving into fintech, with its maiden investment in the segment going to a robo advisor. The Rise Fund, of which Bono is a co-founder alongside Bill McGlashan and Jeff Skoll, is backing micro investing app Acorns Grow Inc., taking a page out of the books of Ashton Kutcher (who incidentally said that the best investment he ever made was in relationships) and Kevin Durant, both of whom have equity positions in the fintech startup.

The Rise Fund may be a startup, but it has the backing of private equity shop TPG Growth, which oversees more than $8 billion. Rise, with Bono’s help, has raised a war chest of $2 billion to invest with a focus on projects that are designed to have a positive impact society and generate profits for the fund, all of which fits the persona of musician/activist/investor Bono. Kind of sounds like Vitalik Buterin’s blockchain. Meanwhile, in addition to the U2 frontman, the Rise board roster extends to the likes of Richard Branson.

Acorns’ chief Noah Kerner said of the Rise backing:

“I believe in the American Dream; in the idea that no matter where you start, anyone can grow wealth. This investment and support from TPG’s Rise Fund, which has brought together some of the world’s most influential thought leaders committed to driving social change, will help us further deliver the tools, knowledge and inspiration to champion that idea.”

Newport, Calif.-based Acorns is a digital wealth manager that appeals to millennials in particular, comparable to fintech Betterment but on the micro level, boasting AUM of $500 million across millions of accounts and account sizes as low as USD 175.

US-based Acorns likely appeals to millennials for its ease of use and low fees. Users connect their cards that they use for everyday payments onto the Acorns platform. From there, they go about their daily spending habits, and the spare change from those investments is automatically directed toward investments by Acorns across thousands of stocks and bonds. Considering that Bono transcends generations, his affiliation with Acorns should raise the micro wealth management app’s profile even higher.

It’s no wonder that Bono’s Rise is drawn to robo-advisory, with Cerulli Associates having predicted the size of the digital-advice market of $220 billion at year-end 2017, up almost threefold from the previous year’s levels.

NBA All-Star and MVP Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors has similarly been drawn to fintech and through his tech-focused investment firm counts Acorns as well as on-demand delivery service Postmates in the portfolio.

In addition to celebs, Acorns has the backing of other well-known backers including fellow fintech PayPal. The Acorns app is currently being integrated into PayPal, which stands to bolster the latter company’s profile among a field of growing payments companies. Acorns acquired Portland-based Vault, which allows app users to direct some of their paychecks into a retirement savings account.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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There is nothing worse than losing funds stored in your crypto wallet. It is pretty obvious that this situation has been a big problem for most users at some point in their lives. A new study shows that over 12,000 ether has been lost due to typing errors that sent money to non-existent addresses. Losing Ether due to Typos There are a lot of things that can go wrong when completing cryptocurrency transactions. For instance, one could enter a completely wrong address due to copying it incorrectly, a QR code could give an error when trying to send money, or one could simply type an address incorrectly. In the latter case, one’s money will be lost forever, as the transaction is often broadcast to an address that doesn’t even exist. Recovering such a transfer is pretty much impossible these days. Research by Alethio Analytics paints a very worrisome outlook in this regard. More specifically, the company claims a lot of ether has been lost due to sending money to nonexistent addresses. It is evident a lot of users have sent money to wrong addresses over the years, and it is possible that up to 12,622 ether has been lost because of typing errors. This is not a figure most people will feel comfortable with whatsoever. Although the exact amount of money lost is subject to interpretation, Alethio Analytics can make some sort of assumption in this regard. After thoroughly analyzing Ethereum’s external and contract accounts, it’s clear there have been quite a few wrong transactions up to network block 5 million. Although it is difficult to determine which addresses are perfectly fine and which are not, the team used an interesting technique to do so. Since no similar-looking Ethereum addresses can exist, they looked at Ethereum addresses which are almost identical. Assuming such addresses exist, the funds stored in one of two addresses were probably sent erroneously. It is not a foolproof technique by any means, but it is certainly one way to go about things. So far, the company’s research seems to indicate that over 2,600 erroneous addresses have been used as part of Ethereum transactions over the years. This means just over 12,622 ether are potentially lost forever, although this number is not exact. Considering that the value of ether has risen over the years, it is safe to say this money adds up to a nice chunk of change. Who this money belongs to exactly remains to be determined at this stage. The bigger question is whether or not more of these typos will occur in the future. Since there is no foolproof way to send cryptocurrency transactions in this day and age, we can only hope people become a lot more careful when it comes to moving funds. Otherwise, this may only be the tip of the iceberg in terms of money lost forever due to human error.

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