The Morning After: Russia created a major test for the future of crypto

At a time when assets are being frozen elsewhere.

Darrin Zammit Lupi / reuters

As countries and territories put the financial squeeze on Russia, it’s turned into a major test of cryptocurrencies and their exchanges. Many of the biggest cryptocoins, like bitcoin and Ethereum, have rallied in the past few days. Is this due to an influx of Russian money as the ruble tumbled in value? Or is this due to crypto investors and owners pushing that narrative to bump up values and reignite interest? I don’t know. I’m not an economist.

At the same time, Ukraine had raised over $13 million in cryptocurrency contributions as of February 28th. Reuters reported last week Binance had restricted crypto accounts affected by sanctions against Russia, while Kraken is warning Russians their accounts might be frozen if there's a "legal requirement" to do so.

Despite requests from Ukraine to go further, major crypto exchanges, including Coinbase and Binance, are saying that doing so would harm civilians and be counter to their ideals. "To unilaterally decide to ban people’s access to their crypto would fly in the face of the reason why crypto exists,” a Binance spokesperson told CNBC.

For now, cryptocurrency continues to exist on the fringes of governmental influence.

— Mat Smith

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Google wants devices to know when you're paying attention

All in the name of more intuitive experiences.


Google has been working on a "new interaction language" for years, and today it's sharing a peek at what it's developed so far. This new "interaction language" could help machines around us become more intuitive and perceptive of our desire to interact with them. This means reading our body language and movement so devices better know when to remain in the background instead of bombarding us with information. The team used the company's Soli radar sensor — first seen in Google’s Pixel 4 — to detect the proximity, direction and pathways of people around it. Read on for a breakdown of Approach, Pass, Turn and Glance — four of the new interaction terms Google is tackling.

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Jeep's first all-electric SUV arrives in 2023

An electric Ram 1500 is due in 2024.

As part of its new Dare Forward 2030 strategic plan, the automaker has unveiled the first all-electric Jeep SUV. Stellantis, the owner of Jeep, didn't provide a name, but its Jeep EV will launch in early 2023 and appears to be relatively compact. Autoblog reports that Jeep might be using the STLA Small platform that supports up to an 82kWh battery and 300 miles of range — but nothing’s confirmed yet. For now, it’s a cautious rollout that leaves Stellantis behind Ford, GM and other car brands that already have multiple EVs either on the road or coming this year.

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What we bought: Echelon's Connect Sport bike

It pairs well with an Apple Fitness+ subscription.


Late last year, Engadget’s Jon Fingas resolved to get back in shape and bought a $397 Echelon Connect Sport exercise bike, using it alongside an $80-per-year Apple Fitness+ membership. Yes, that makes it much cheaper than Peloton, whose Bike ($1,495) and full subscription ($39 per month) demand a fair chunk of cash. Using Apple’s fitness platform to program workouts means it doesn't matter if Echelon’s own connected bike isn’t as smart as Peloton’s. And the end result is the same: a sweaty workout in the privacy of your home.

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Sonos' Roam SL is a mic-free version of its portable speaker

It costs $20 less than the original Roam.

It’s been about a year since Sonos released the Roam, its smallest and least expensive speaker yet. As with most modern Sonos speakers, the Roam has a built-in mic, so you can interact with voice assistants. The new Roam SL ditches that mic, meaning no more Alexa or Google Assistant. You also lose the Auto Trueplay feature, which uses the microphone to tune the speaker to sound better wherever you place it.

The $159 SL is otherwise identical to the original Roam. It's a small speaker that can connect to your WiFi network and be part of a Sonos multi-room audio system.

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This smart mosquito repellent system obeys voice commands

And you can control it with an app.

Thermacell has released a smart mosquito repellent system called Liv, which connects multiple repeller units to a smart hub. You can switch the system on and off using the hub or bark voice commands through Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. You also have control of the repellers through the Liv+ mobile app. Just in time for sunnier months, it's available to order now. Liv starts at $699 for a pack of three repellers (which the company says will cover up to 945 square feet).

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