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Insider report: FTX founder wants to plead “not guilty”.

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The founder of the insolvent crypto exchange is accused of fraud. Also: Elon Musk is $200 billion poorer and Fidelity Investments lowers the value of its own Twitter stake.

Sam Bankman-Fried is accused of the largest fraud in US financial history.
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Good morning! Even during the weekend, work in the digital scene continued in many places.

The top topics:

The former FTX-CEO Sam Bankman Fried is scheduled to plead not guilty at a hearing this week. This is reported by the Wall Street Street Journal, citing a person familiar with the matter. Bankman-Fried was charged with fraud and money laundering in early December. Caroline Ellison, former CEO of FTX trading firm Alameda Research, and Gary Wang, former chief technology officer of FTX, have already pleaded guilty to fraud and are cooperating with federal prosecutors.

Bankman-Fried spent more than a week in jail after his December 12 arrest in the Bahamas before being extradited to the United States. Meanwhile, the one-time crypto industry “prodigy” is under house arrest in his parents’ home in California after posting $250 million bail. Bankman-Fried is likely to appear in person in New York on January 3 to defend himself against the allegations against him. At the same time, the Bahamian Securities and Exchange Commission announced it had seized $3.5 billion worth of cryptocurrency from FTX. [Mehr bei Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg und CNBC]

on Founder scene: the mobility industry will not come out of its crisis mode completely in 2023 either. As in the last two years, the situation on the market is likely to remain tense. At the same time, the future is not bad, because metropolises in particular are driving the mobility revolution and are making sure that things change. There is no lack of good ideas and will, but there is a lack of money and the question of how best to use the available funds. Between the big topics of China, e-scooters and e-cars, our columnist Don Dahlmann once wrote down what will be important in 2023. [Mehr bei Gründerszene]

And here are the other headlines of the night and the past few days:

Tesla– and TwitterAccording to a media report, boss Elon Musk has become significantly poorer in the past year. Though he’s said to have been the first person to own $200 billion, he’s also said to be the first to lose that much money. According to “Bloomberg” he owned around 340 billion dollars in November 2021, meanwhile this wealth is said to have shrunk to 137 billion dollars. [Mehr bei Bloomberg und Spiegel]

Fidelity Investments has the value of his stake in Elon Musks at the end of November Twitter down 56 percent to $23.5 million. This emerges from a recent publication to which the US medium “Axios” referred in a report. Fidelity was among the private investors who participated in Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of Twitter in late October. Twitter is also being sued in San Francisco for outstanding rent payments. [Mehr bei Axios, Bloomberg und Techcrunch]

Still during Meta because of the takeover of the VR fitness developer Within is subjected to an antitrust scrutiny, the tech company goes on a shopping spree again: The Facebook parent takes over the company Luxexcel, a smart glasses company headquartered in the Netherlands. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Founded in 2009, Luxexcel uses 3D printing to produce prescription lenses for eyeglasses. [Mehr bei Techcrunch]

Huawei has announced that it is no longer in “crisis mode”. US sanctions are now “normal” and the company would resume business as usual, Huawei chairman Eric Xu said in a New Year’s message to employees. The Chinese telecommunications company is now reporting renewed growth in its telecom infrastructure business. Total revenue for 2022 has also remained at a similar level year-on-year. [Mehr bei Bloomberg und Wall Street Journal]

Apple is catching up in iPhone production in China. Production of the new iPhone 14 Pro Max had come to a standstill due to the Covid-19 restrictions and sick leave. However, the product is a key part of Apple’s strategy to increase the company’s revenue. By the end of the year, however, the situation is said to have improved again. [Mehr bei Wall Street Journal]

Googles new performance appraisal system has caused irritation among employees in Switzerland, according to a media report. Employees are concerned that the company could use it as an excuse for layoffs. In the meantime, Google is cutting further spending, including savings on an employee incubator and the Stadia and Pixelbook projects. A decision on possible layoffs is to be made in 2023. [Mehr bei New York Times und The Information]

Our reading tip on Gründerszene: Naggers and brakemen annoyed her and she would have liked to have known about the Cheex porn platform much earlier – that was it Tijen Onarans Year. [Mehr bei Gründerszene]

Don’t want to miss anything? Then subscribe to our Gründerszene newsletter! It appears every morning at 8:30 a.m. and brings you all the important news straight to your inbox.

Have a good start into the week and into the new year 2023!

Your Gründerszene editors

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Free alternative to ChatGPT: AI tool shows it to Google search

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The AI ​​tool ChatGPT inspires. But there are already preparations to make the offer at least partially chargeable. YouChat is a free ChatGPT alternative that looks today the way Google wants its search to look tomorrow.

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Deutsche Bahn: Lounge access will be drastically restricted

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A warm spot, free Wi-Fi and free drinks: The Deutsche Bahn lounges are designed to sweeten waiting times with a lot of comfort. However, only certain customers have access – for example, those who are traveling in first class with a Flexticket. Customers who have reached a Bahn Bonus status level (silver, gold or platinum) or have a Bahncard 100 are also allowed to enter. In addition, a “normal mortal” may accompany you – even in the premium area of ​​the lounges. That makes sense, after all nobody wants to have to look down on their companion who is standing shivering on the platform while consuming their free drink. However, there is bad news for loungers and mere mortals alike. Because Deutsche Bahn is further restricting lounge access.

Access only with ticket

This emerges from the current terms of use of the mobility and transport group, which will apply from March 1, 2023. According to this, travelers with a rail bonus status level will only be able to access the DB lounge if they have a DB long-distance ticket that is updated daily. So far, it was sufficient to prove a rail bonus status level. This should particularly annoy frequent drivers who mainly use local transport, such as commuters. The short free coffee break in the lounge with longer transfer times falls into the water. This change does not apply to customers with a BahnCard 100.

Passenger transport cancelled

In addition, Deutsche Bahn is canceling the option of taking a person traveling with you to the premium area of ​​the DB Lounge. Taking one person with you is then only permitted for the comfort area. This change affects multitudes in particular. Because only those who have a flex ticket for first class or the “Platinum” rail bonus status level have regular access to the premium area of ​​the DB Lounge. Platinum status, in particular, is hard-earned: users who have a BahnCard 100 for first class (7,356 euros) or who have collected 6,000 Bahn Bonus status points within twelve months can achieve it. Since customers receive one status point for every euro ticket price when purchasing a ticket, 6,000 status points correspond to a total expenditure of 6,000 euros.

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Rent should be increased? What you as a tenant should know now

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The upper rent limit according to the local comparative rent is based on two provisions. On the one hand, the increased fee must not exceed the local rent for comparable apartments (§ 558 BGB).

This comparative rent varies from municipality to municipality. Landlords and tenants can usually find information on this in the rent index. It is issued either by the municipalities themselves or by organizations such as tenants’ associations and owners’ associations and publishes it on the Internet.

On the other hand, the rental price brake must be observed. Accordingly, the rent may not be increased by more than 20 percent within three years.

Housing is scarce in many regions. The municipalities there have therefore declared the housing market to be tight. The so-called capping limit often applies with the rental price brake. It caps rent surcharges at 15 percent.

It can happen that landlords remain below the local comparative rent with the planned increase, but come up against the capping limit. “Then the landlord has to limit his request for an increase to this limit,” explains Beate Heilmann. Means: Then 15 percent is the end instead of 20 percent. Conversely, for example, there could only be a three percent increase in rent because the comparable rent that is customary in the area has been reached.

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