The marijuana industry’s first unicorn is being added to an influential stock index (TSE:, WEED)

marijuana tweed canopy growth

Canopy Growth, a marijuana-growing company based in Ontario, is being added to the S&P/TSX composite index, The Globe and Mail reports.

The company will be added to the index’s healthcare sector and start trading on March 20. Shares were down 0.72%, at 11.05 Canadian dollars, on Tuesday afternoon.

Large institutional investors use the S&P/TSX composite index, so it may lead to more demand for the stock and a boost for Canada’s marijuana industry, according to The Globe and Mail. Companies must have a certain market capitalization and liquidity to be included in the index.

Canopy is the largest legal grower of medical marijuana in the world, and has been hailed as the marijuana industry’s first unicorn — it blew past a $2 billion valuation in November, though its total valuation has slipped since then.

Canopy’s growth is predicated on the company’s belief that more countries will legalize marijuana at the federal level, creating new markets for export, Business Insider’s Melia Robinson reported.

However, though Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised to enact federal legalization in 2017, the government isn’t rushing the process, potentially dampening investor optimism.

And US President Donald Trump’s administration, led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has vowed to crack down on the recreational marijuana industry in the US, spooking investors.

SEE ALSO: The Trump administration’s vow to crack down on marijuana has ‘unnerved’ investors and caused stocks to tumble

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LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman joins Microsoft’s board of directors (MSFT)

Jeff Weiner, Satya Nadella, Reid Hoffman

LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman has joined Microsoft’s board of directors, he announced in a blog post.

Microsoft bought LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in June 2016.

In his blog entry, Hoffman says his focus on the Microsoft board will be continuing to guide the development of LinkedIn, but also that he will “contribute more broadly as Microsoft deepens its presence in Silicon Valley and continues to weave social, AI, and other technologies into it products.”

Hoffman says the move to Microsoft’s board was the result of conversations he had with LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates about how he could stay involved after the acquisition closed in December 2016.

Notably, Gates and Hoffman had discussed the possibility of a Microsoft board seat as early as May 9, 2016, when the deal between Microsoft and LinkedIn was only just starting to come together. That conversation was apparently quickly abandoned, as they moved towards a more tactical discussion of how the two companies could fit together.

Hoffman co-founded LinkedIn in December 2002 and served as its first CEO until 2009, when he stepped back and took a role as executive chairman. Hoffman is currently a partner at famed Silicon Valley venture firm Greylock, and will stay on in that role.

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Samsung made a TV with wooden borders that looks like a picture frame

Innovation in TV design is moving away from the dark and sleek to something a little more home-y.

Samsung announced on Tuesday a new TV that convincingly looks like a picture frame complete with wooden borders.

It can display art in “Art Mode” when it’s not used for watching TV, which makes for a nicer look compared to your TV’s black rectangle when it’s off. 

samsung the frame

It’s primarily designed to be wall-mounted so it can mimic an actual picture frame hanging on your wall, but it’s also compatible with Samsung’s Studio Stand, too, which props it high up at about picture-frame height.

The wooden frame is also interchangeable with other designs to match your decor. 

Apart from Samsung’s announcement that “The Frame” will be available to buy this Spring, details about its pricing and the tech it uses to reproduce paintings and other forms of art are sparse. Presumably “The Frame” does something different than conventional TVs to make it better at displaying art.

Still, I’m staring at the black rectangle in my living room right now, and Samsung’s “The Frame” seems more and more like a good idea.

SEE ALSO: 19 rumors we’ve heard about Samsung’s Galaxy S8, one of the biggest smartphones of 2017

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Tinder gets a ‘blizzard bump’ when a big snowstorm hits

Winter Storm Snow

When the weather outside is frightful, residents of snow-stricken regions curl up with their tiny glowing screens and fire up Tinder, according to data from the popular dating app.

After hearing a few people talking about “Blizzard Tinder,” and hearing the hilarious phrase “blizzard buddy,” I decided to check in with Tinder to see if people actually do swipe more when there’s a storm out.

The answer is not only “yes,” but also that it happens in a pretty predictable fashion. So far, as Winter Storm Stella has descended on the northeast, Tinder has seen an 11% bump in usage in affected regions.

This lines up well with the past few storms. Here were the corresponding bumps in a few recent winter storms, according to Tinder: 

  • Winter Storm Stella 2017: 11% increase (so far).
  • Winter Storm Niko 2017: 12% increase.
  • Winter Storm Jonas 2016: 10% increase.

So if you are bored at home swiping on this snowy day, you aren’t alone. The only problem will be making your way through the snow if you really do want to meet up.

But word to the wise, don’t be like this guy:

Blizzard Tinder update: a man just sent me a gif of JFK’s assassination and then tried to take it back pic.twitter.com/qBZWDFhjdZ

— Kari Paul (@kari_paul) March 14, 2017

SEE ALSO: Netflix has a new movie boss, and will pump out 30 original films this year

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NOW WATCH: Watch winter storm Stella hit Manhattan in just 60 seconds

Netflix has a new movie boss, and will pump out 30 original films this year

scott stuber

Netflix is going to release a whopping 30 original films this year, and it just hired superstar producer and former Universal executive Scott Stuber to run its movie business.

Stuber has produced movies like “Ted,” “The Breakup,” and “Identity Thief,” and his eye for commercial appeal is no doubt a plus for Netflix, which wants movies to resonate with its worldwide audience of nearly 100 million subscribers. 

“Scott is well known and respected in the film industry. His innovative work and strong talent relationships should help accelerate the Netflix original film initiative as we enter into a new phase of big global productions with some of the greatest directors, actors and writers in the film business,” Netflix head Ted Sarandos said in a statement.

The ‘Flix’ in Netflix

Netflix’s experience with movies has been a mixed bag of late.

In December, Sarandos was asked about the perceived sparseness of Netflix’s movie offerings. “No matter what, we end up with about 1/3 of our watching being movies,” he said.

If you take a film that does well at the box office, and get it 7-10 months later on your streaming service, that’s not going to create a ton of value, he explained. “If you were passionate [about the movie], you’ve already seen it,” he said. Netflix is “happy to have” some of those movies, but the audience isn’t particularly passionate (hence the “1/3 no matter” what pattern).

He said he wanted Netflix to put out original movies people would go to see in theaters, and pointed to the new Will Smith vehicle “Bright,” which Netflix paid a reported $90 million for, as a big test. The movie is a cop thriller set in a world that’s similar to ours in time period but contains fantasy creatures like orcs and elves.

screen shot 2017 02 27 at 84325 am

“Bright” is Netflix’s biggest push yet into blockbuster films. This purchase would significantly outstrip the $60 million Netflix paid for Brad Pitt’s “War Machine,” which has not yet been released.

With Stuber at the helm, expect Netflix’s movie ambitions to spread way beyond scooping up a roster of indies at Sundance.

But what remains to be seen is whether Netflix will resolve its ongoing standoff with the movie theater industry, or whether that will matter to its longterm success.

Netflix’s commitment to “day-and-date releases,” meaning movies are available to stream on Netflix the same day they arrive in theaters, will likely limit how many big screens show “Bright.” Theater giants like Regal have publicly denounced this release policy, and Netflix’s previous films have seen very limited theatrical releases.

In October, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said that movie theaters were “strangling the movie business.” 

SEE ALSO: What your favorite streaming service says about you — from Netflix to HBO to Hulu

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NOW WATCH: Winter Storm Stella could turn into a ‘weather bomb’ — here’s what that means

The Chevy SS is a dinosaur of a car — but that doesn’t mean it should go extinct (GM)

Chevy SS

Technology is changing the way we drive.

This is a story we’re told seemingly every day. The main characters are Tesla, Uber, Lyft, and lately, even the major automakers, who are pushing the envelope on electric cars and autonomous vehicles. The plot goes like this: In a few decades, driving a car will be to the 21st century what riding a horse was the 20th.

It’s a compelling narrative. But then again, there are still some people who want to ride horses.

And there will probably always be some people who want to drive a car.

For those folks, Chevrolet has produced a smashingly good machine, the Chevy SS. Sadly, because the market for a stonking, ill-mannered rear-wheel-drive sedan is limited — and because GM is shuttering production at its Holden division in Australia, where the SS originates, Chevy is discontinuing the model. The SS will now join its predecessor, the Pontiac G8 GXP, on that great open road in the sky.

But not right away. We got our hands on a 2017 Chevy SS and piloted it around New York and New Jersey for a few days. To say that we were in automotive Elysium for the whole time would be an understatement. 

Here’s why we feel in love with this rude beast:

SEE ALSO: The Jaguar XE 35T is something special — but it’s up against some tough competition

The beast landed at our suburban New Jersey test complex in the waning days of winter. Phantom Black Metallic was the exterior, and the interior got Jet Black leather. It’s basically impossible to get the SS to cost you $50,000. All optioned up, ours came in at about $48,000.

The styling is epically subdued. Yes, the SS has a burly presentation, but any of number of BMW M-Sport cars are far more in-your-face.

To be honest, you could be easily forgiven for calling the SS boring. It looks like a basic GM sedan that’s been slightly bulked up, with some added touches here and there to identify is as a member of the SS family, which once included Pontiacs, back before GM killed the brand. “SS,” by the way, stands for “Super Sport.”

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

THE PAYMENTS INDUSTRY EXPLAINED: The Trends Creating New Winners And Losers In The Card-Processing Ecosystem

bii payments ecosystem-- USETHIS

The way we pay is changing dramatically. For example, people are beginning to use their smartphones for every kind of formal and informal transaction — to shop at stores, buy songs online, and even split their rent.

At the heart of these changes in how we pay are thousands of companies competing and collaborating to facilitate transactions.

To understand why the payments industry has faced so much disruption in such a short time, there’s just one key thing to understand: Payments is about transferring information from one party to another, and nearly every stakeholder in the industry benefits when that process runs on digital rails.

But payments is also an extremely complex industry that few fully understand.

In BI Intelligence’s 2016 Payments Ecosystem report, we make it simple, explaining how it works, who the key players are, and where it’s headed.

In this latest edition of the report, BI Intelligence drills even further into the industry to explain how a broad range of transactions are processed, including prepaid and store cards, as well as revealing which types of companies are in the best and worst position to capitalize on the latest industry trends.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • 2016 will be a watershed year for the payments industry. Payments companies are improving security, expanding their mobile offerings, and building commerce capabilities that will give consumers a more compelling reason to make purchases using digital devices.
  • Payments is an extremely complex industry. To understand the next big digital opportunity lies, it’s critical to understand how the traditional credit- and debit-processing chain works and what roles acquirers, processors, issuing banks, card networks, independent sales organizations, gateways, and software and hardware providers play.
  • Alternative technologies could disrupt the processing ecosystem. Devices ranging from refrigerators to smartwatches now feature payment capabilities, which will spur changes in consumer payment behaviors. Likewise, blockchain technology, the protocol that underlies Bitcoin, could one day change how consumer card payments are verified.

In full, the report:

  • Uncovers the key themes and trends affecting the payments industry in 2016 and beyond.
  • Gives a detailed description of the stakeholders involved in a payment transaction, along with hardware and software providers.
  • Offers diagrams and infographics explaining how card transactions are processed and which players are involved in each step.
  • Provides charts on our latest forecasts, key company growth, survey results, and more.
  • Analyzes the alternative technologies, including blockchain, which could further disrupt the ecosystem.

To get your copy of this invaluable guide, choose one of these options:

  1. Subscribe to an ALL-ACCESS Membership with BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report AND over 100 other expertly researched deep-dive reports, subscriptions to all of our daily newsletters, and much more. >> START A MEMBERSHIP
  2. Purchase the report and download it immediately from our research store. >> BUY THE REPORT

The choice is yours. But however you decide to acquire this report, you’ve given yourself a powerful advantage in your understanding of the payments ecosystem.

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Apple hired the guy who helped it fight the FBI’s order to hack the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone

Jonathan Zdziarski

Apple has hired Jonathan Zdziarski, a veteran security researcher who helped the company fight the FBI’s request to hack an iPhone used by a shooter from the 2015 San Bernardino attack.

Zdziarski announced on Tuesday that he had accepted a position within Apple’s security engineering and architecture team.

“This decision marks the conclusion of what I feel has been a matter of conscience for me over time,” he wrote on his personal blog. “Privacy is sacred; our digital lives can reveal so much about us – our interests, our deepest thoughts, and even who we love. I am thrilled to be working with such an exceptional group of people who share a passion to protect that.”

A vocal expert in the security research community, Zdziarski first made headlines in 2014 for alleging that Apple had created a “backdoor” into its software that could be used to get private information.

When the FBI tried to force Apple to break the encryption on an iPhone owned by a shooter involved in the San Bernardino attack, Zdziarski helped file an amicus brief in support of Apple.

Now that Zdziarski has joined secretive Apple as an employee, he’ll likely maintain a much lower public profile. His Twitter account has already been shut down.

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Venezuela is cracking down on ‘bitcoin fever’

Opposition supporters take part in a rally against President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, Venezuela, October 26, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Venezuela’s economy has seen its  currency, the bolivar, plummet as inflation has spiraled into the triple digits, causing people there to struggle to meet their daily needs.

In response, some Venezuelans have chosen to cross international borders to stock up on needed supplies, as others turn to a black market where goods are often sold in US dollars.

Another alternative that has gained traction is bitcoin, a cryptocurrency whose value wobbles frequently and which can be used for clandestine purchases, both licit and illicit.

Bitcoin has been embraced in Venezuela as the economy has faltered over the last few years, providing both a way of buying essential goods and resisting the unpopular government of President Nicolas Maduro.

The number of users has surged from 450 in 2014 to 85,000 in 2016, according to Venezuelan bitcoin trading exchange Surbitcoin.

“Bitcoin is a way of rebelling against the system,” Caracas-based software developer John Villar told Reuters in October 2014, not long after he started using the cryptocurrency for online purchases.

Bitcoin had dropped 70% between November 2013 and October 2014, but Venezuela’s own currency had dropped 60% against the US dollar on the black market in the country over roughly the same period.

“Even though bitcoin is volatile, it’s still safer than the national currency,” Kevin Charles, then a recent economics graduate, told Reuters. (Many Venezuelans still converted their bitcoin immediately into dollars, however.)

“In Venezuela, we have a gold fever: a bitcoin fever!” a bitcoin miner — someone who uses a complex computer setup to create bitcoins using elaborate algorithms — said to Reuters in October 2014.

Venezuela bitcoin cryptocurrency currency bolivar money Surbitcoin

Now the Venezuelan government, long caught up in battles with the political opposition and in bloody struggles with rampant crime, has turned its attention to bitcoin users and producers.

A recent post on a related subreddit by someone claiming to be a Venezuelan bitcoin miner, cited by The Washington Post, said the government was jailing miners and accusing them of terrorism, money laundering, and computer crimes.

Two brothers in Caracas, who spoke to The Post anonymously, said police had raided their home in November, demanding $1,000 bribes for each of their more than 90 mining terminals. They paid up, they said.

Despite its other turmoil, Venezuela, which has no laws against bitcoin, had been amenable to bitcoin miners, for whom electricity can be their biggest expense.

Electricity is heavily subsidized in the Caribbean nation, where the longstanding socialist government has provided many services and goods to the population at low cost. (Those subsidies have also inspired profligate use by residents.)

Caracas Venezuela blackout

The intense power demands of mining terminals may be the undoing of some miners, however. State power authorities can reportedly detect outsize power usage, and some miners who have been arrested were charged with electricity theft.

The chief of the federal police agency said recently that bitcoin miners were imperiling the electrical service in a town south of Caracas, which is not implausible, considering that the country’s electrical service, plagued by underinvestment and graft, has often been overwhelmed in times of high demand. (Thieves have also started pilfering electrical and communications gear for valuable components.)

Despite enthusiasm for bitcoin in Venezuela, its spread may be hindered by the seemingly wide net of the authorities’ crackdown and by the one-third of Venezuelans who don’t have bank accounts.

SEE ALSO: Venezuela’s vice president took out a full-page New York Times ad to criticize sanctions leveled against him

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