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Bitcoin price hits record above $63K before Coinbase listing

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Bitcoin price hits record above $63K before Coinbase listing

The price of bitcoin climbed to a new record high above $63,000 Tuesday as the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase prepares to go public this week.

The world’s largest and oldest digital coin hit an all-time peak of $63,209.45 Tuesday morning, according to CoinDesk, surpassing the previous record of $61,742 it hit last month.

Bitcoin was recently trading at $63,171.14 as of 11:41 a.m., putting it up 5.5 percent from a day earlier and roughly 116 percent for the year so far, CoinDesk data show.

Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market value, also hit a new record high of $2,266.68 on Tuesday, CoinDesk says.

Bitcoin has been on a tear over the past six months, but the latest rally came a day before Coinbase — the US’ largest cryptocurrency exchange — was set to start trading on the Nasdaq.

The company’s direct listing slated for Wednesday — which could give it a valuation as high as $100 billion, according to CNBC — is viewed as a major milestone for cryptocurrency advocates and marks another sign of the mainstream financial world embracing the digital assets.

“The Coinbase IPO is a seminal moment for the digital assets industry,” said Pete Cheyne, founder of Bottleypay, a bitcoin-based payments app. “From tomorrow, there is an exchange tradeable instrument for [asset managers] to participate in this paradigm change, and this is having a big impact on Bitcoin’s price.”

The value of the entire cryptocurrency market recently topped $2 trillion for the first time amid other signals that big companies were embracing cryptocurrency.

Publicly traded firms such as Tesla and Twitter have added bitcoin to their corporate balance sheets, while Mastercard, Visa and PayPal have pledged to make it easier to use cryptocurrency as a form of payment.

And banking giants Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are reportedly planning to offer their wealthy clients investment exposure to bitcoin and other digital currencies.

With Post wires

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Christie’s says wine that went to space could sell for $1 million

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Christie’s says wine that went to space could sell for $1 million

The wine is out of this world. The price is appropriately stratospheric.

Christie’s said Tuesday it is selling a bottle of French wine that spent more than a year in orbit aboard the International Space Station. The auction house thinks a wine connoisseur might pay as much as $1 million to own it.

The Pétrus 2000 is one of 12 bottles sent into space in November 2019 by researchers exploring the potential for extraterrestrial agriculture. It returned 14 months later subtly altered, according to wine experts who sampled it at a tasting in France.

Tim Tiptree, international director of Christie’s wine and spirits department, said the space-aged wine was “matured in a unique environment” of near zero-gravity aboard the space station.

The trip turned a $10,000-a-bottle wine known for its complexity, silky, ripe tannins and flavors of black cherry, cigar box and leather into a scientific novelty — and still a fine bottle of wine, Tiptree said.

“It’s just a very harmonious wine that has the ability to age superbly, which is why it was chosen for this experiment,” he said. “It’s very encouraging that it was delicious on return to Earth.”

Private space startup Space Cargo Unlimited sent the wine into orbit in November 2019 as part of an effort to make plants on Earth more resilient to climate change and disease by exposing them to new stresses. Researchers also want to better understand the aging process, fermentation and bubbles in wine.

At a taste test in March at the Institute for Wine and Vine Research in Bordeaux, France, a dozen wine connoisseurs compared one of the space-traveled wines to a bottle from the same vintage that had stayed in a cellar.

They noted a difference that was hard to describe. Jane Anson, a writer with the wine publication Decanter, said the wine that remained on Earth tasted a bit younger, the space version slightly softer and more aromatic.

The wine, being offered by Christie’s in a private sale, comes with a bottle of terrestrial Pétrus of the same vintage, a decanter, glasses and a corkscrew crafted from a meteorite. It’s all held in a hand-crafted wooden trunk with decoration inspired by science fiction pioneer Jules Verne and the “Star Trek” universe.

Proceeds from the sale will fund future research by Space Cargo Unlimited. Several other bottles from the dozen that went to space remain unopened, but Christie’s says there are no plans to sell any of them.

Tiptree says the price estimate, “in the region of $1 million,” reflects the sale’s likely appeal to a mix of wine connoisseurs, space buffs and the kind of wealthy people who collect “ultimate experiences.”

The lot includes the bottle of 2000 Pétrus that remained on Earth so the buyer can compare the two — should they decide to open the one that went into orbit.

“I would hope that they will decide to drink it, but maybe not immediately,” Tiptree said. “It’s at its peak drinking, but this wine will last probably another at least another two or three decades.

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Hyundai recalling 390,000 cars over fire risk

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Hyundai recalling 390,000 cars over fire risk

Hyundai is recalling more than 390,000 vehicles in the US and Canada for two problems that can cause engine fires. In one recall, owners are being told to park their vehicles outdoors until repairs are made.

The largest recall covers more than 203,000 Santa Fe Sport SUVs from 2013 through 2015. Some are being recalled a second time. Brake fluid can leak into the anti-lock brake computer, causing an electrical short that can lead to fires. Owners should park outdoors and away from structures until the problem is fixed, according to documents posted Tuesday by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Dealers will replace a fuse and replace the computer if necessary. Owners will be notified in June.

The brake computer problem has caused 18 fires in the US, but no injuries, according to documents.

Hyundai says the recall “enhances the remedy” from one issued in September of 2020. The company says it kept investigating after the September recall and found that replacing the fuse would reduce the safety risk. “Hyundai is conducting this new recall to ensure the safety of its customers,” the company said in a statement.

The other recall covers nearly 187,000 2019 and 2020 Elantras, and 2019 through 2021 Konas and Velosters. All have 2-liter engines.

The piston rings may not have been properly heat-treated, which can cause engine damage, oil leaks and possible fires. Hyundai says the rings can be too hard and can be chipped, scuffing the engine cylinder. The piston problem has caused five fires but no injuries, according to documents.

Dealers will inspect and replace the engine if necessary. They’ll also install piston noise sensing software. Owners will be notified in late June.

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Apple and Fortnite creator kick off antitrust trial

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Apple and Fortnite creator kick off antitrust trial

Attorneys for “Fortnite” creator Epic Games and Apple will make opening arguments Monday at an antitrust trial whose ultimate outcome could affect Apple’s fast-growing App Store business.

The lawsuit, which Epic brought last year in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, centers on two of Apple practices that have become cornerstones of its business: Apple’s requirement that virtually all third-party software for the world’s 1 billion iPhones be distributed through its App Store, and the requirement that developers use Apple’s in-app purchase system, which charges commissions of up to 30 percent.

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers will preside over the three-week trial in a courtroom in Oakland, Calif. Apple’s legal team from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher arrived at the courthouse Monday morning with about 20 boxes of documents, followed by Phil Schiller, Apple’s App Store chief.

Epic’s legal team from Cravath, Swaine & Moore arrived with a similar number of boxes and followed by Epic Games Chief Executive Tim Sweeney.

Both executives are expected to attend the entire trial, which will also feature in-person testimony from Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook and other senior executives at both firms.

Epic broke Apple’s rules last year when it introduced its own in-app payment system in “Fortnite” to circumnavigate Apple’s commissions.

In response, Apple kicked Epic off its App Store.

Epic sued Apple, alleging the iPhone maker is abusing its power of app developers with App Store review rules and payment requirements that hurt competition in the software market. Epic also launched an aggressive public relations campaign to call attention to its allegations just as Apple’s practices have come under scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators in the US and elsewhere.

Apple has countered Epic’s allegations by arguing that its App Store rules have made consumers feel safe and secure in opening their wallets up to unknown developers, helping create a massive market that all developers have benefited from.

The computer giant also argues that Epic intentionally broke its contracts with Apple because the game maker wanted a free ride on the iPhone maker’s platform.

Epic is not asking for money damages but is asking the court to hand down orders that would end many of Apple’s practices.

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