Goldman Sachs Exploring Creation of a Bitcoin Trading Desk

Goldman Sachs Group, in the early stages of considering whether to start a trading operation for Bitcoin, could become the first blue-chip Wall Street company to deal directly in the virtual currency. If it does so, it will give Bitcoin more credibility among investors. Bitcoin and other virtual currencies were first used and are still perceived as commonly used for illegal activities. The currency is still controversial, banned by China and deemed a “fraud” by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. chief executive James Dimon. Continue reading Goldman Sachs Exploring Creation of a Bitcoin Trading Desk

Are Cryptocurrencies Next Big Bust or Revolution in Finance?

Jackson Palmer and his once-wildly successful cryptocurrency Dogecoin are a cautionary tale for those bedazzled by Bitcoin. Palmer was an early enthusiast of cryptocurrency, but sought a way to mock the hype around investing huge sums of money in it. He created his own cryptocurrency, Dogecoin, based on an Internet meme of a Shiba Inu dog. Instead of getting the joke, investors brought Dogecoin’s market value to $400 million, before scammers and hackers brought it down, selling fake products and defrauding investors. Continue reading Are Cryptocurrencies Next Big Bust or Revolution in Finance?

Tech Firm Is First to Offer Employees Implantable RFID Chips

A Wisconsin-based technology company, Three Square Market, is offering its employees the chance to have a microchip injected between their thumb and index finger. The grain-of-rice sized chip, once injected, will allow an employee to swipe her hand to pay for food in the cafeteria, enter the office building or accomplish any other task involving RFID technology. Though the implant might sound like overreach, more than 50 of the company’s 80 employees have signed up for the implant when it is first offered on August 1. Continue reading Tech Firm Is First to Offer Employees Implantable RFID Chips

IKEA to Launch an AR App Based on Apple’s ARKit Platform

This fall, IKEA will roll out an augmented reality application for iPhones and iPads, using Apple’s ARKit platform. The company currently has teams of interior designers, professors and others in the Netherlands, Sweden and the U.S. working on the app, which is timed to go live with Apple’s launch of iOS 11 software. IKEA is not alone in realizing its customers could benefit from an app that allows them to envision how a couch will look in their living room; online furniture company Wayfair has also released an AR app. Continue reading IKEA to Launch an AR App Based on Apple’s ARKit Platform

European Court Rules Against BitTorrent Site The Pirate Bay

After a seven year legal battle, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that popular BitTorrent site The Pirate Bay is directly infringing copyright. The site, which was founded in Sweden in 2003, has been previously blocked, its offices raided and its three founders fined and jailed. The Pirate Bay claimed it differed from Napster in that it didn’t host or link to copyright infringing files, but rather hosts so-called trackers, which are files that lead to individual BitTorrent apps to download large files. Continue reading European Court Rules Against BitTorrent Site The Pirate Bay

Twitter Live-Streaming eSports Competitions, Related Content

Twitter has added eSports to its growing list of live-streaming pursuits. The social-networking company plans to broadcast more than 1,500 hours of gaming competitions this year. Twitter is working with eSports organizer ESL (originally Electronic Sports League) and game festival organizer DreamHack, both owned by Sweden-based Modern Times Group. The live streams include coverage of globally popular games such as “StarCraft” and “League of Legends,” in addition to sponsored highlight packages and traditional advertising. Twitter is also broadcasting an exclusive weekly highlight program. Continue reading Twitter Live-Streaming eSports Competitions, Related Content

Apple in Early Talks to Acquire Tidal Streaming Music Service

Apple is in “exploratory talks” to purchase Jay Z’s streaming music service Tidal, according to insiders. Apple is said to be interested in augmenting its Apple Music service with top artists associated with Tidal including Madonna and Kanye West. Tidal landed a number of high profile exclusive releases this year from West, Rihanna and Beyoncé. It is also the only streaming service to feature the catalog of the late pop star Prince. Tidal says it presently has 4.2 million subscribers who pay $20 per month for the high-fidelity version of the service or $10 per month for the standard-quality version. Continue reading Apple in Early Talks to Acquire Tidal Streaming Music Service

Spotify Now Producing Original Music-Focused Video Content

Music streaming service Spotify, which boasts 75 million users, plans to debut 12 new original video programs around music themes. The new programs, which will feature performances, pop culture, musical storytelling, animation and videos about music culture, will be produced and streamed beginning this summer. Spotify had announced a year ago that it planned to move into video. The content will initially be available in four regions — the U.S., U.K., Germany and its home market Sweden — out of the company’s 59 markets. Continue reading Spotify Now Producing Original Music-Focused Video Content

Adblock Plus Partners with Flattr for Online Payment System

Adblock Plus, via a partnership with Flattr, will soon launch Flattr Plus, which lets users pay websites for content, a move seen by some as an olive branch to the companies whose revenues have been impacted by ad-blocking software. Adblock Plus has been downloaded over 500 million times, according to parent company Eyeo. Flattr Plus users will be able to specify how much they wish to contribute monthly to the websites they visit. Adblock and Flattr will split 10 percent of the revenue, and the rest will go to publishers. Continue reading Adblock Plus Partners with Flattr for Online Payment System

Spotify Introducing Video Content to Music Streaming Service

Spotify will debut video content on its Android app this week, and the iOS app by end of next week, in the U.S., the U.K., Germany and Sweden. Originally, the music streaming service planned to offer video in May, but has focused on testing videos on its apps with less than 10 percent of its users in the four launch markets. The content is mostly comprised of short clips from ESPN, Comedy Central, the BBC, Vice Media and Maker Studios, among others. Some companies, like Tastemade, are creating original, music-themed series. Continue reading Spotify Introducing Video Content to Music Streaming Service

Netflix Cracking Down on VPNs, in a Push for Global Rights

Netflix recently announced it would begin to block VPNs (virtual private networks), which consumers use to get around geographic-based content licensing restrictions. The company has turned a blind eye to VPN usage, but that was before it distributed its content globally, now live in 190 countries. Netflix has a reason to protect its content (especially its originals) and infrastructure investments, and it can’t offer all content to every country. But there’s another, just as potent reason for the move. Continue reading Netflix Cracking Down on VPNs, in a Push for Global Rights

PC Accessory Turns Your Laptop into a Touchscreen Device

Sweden-based Neonode recently unveiled AirBar, a $49 laptop accessory that attaches its magnetic sensor bar to a Chromebook or Windows laptop PC and connects via an available USB port. It then beams a light over the display to create a sort of touchscreen. AirBar’s use of light rather than a traditional, physical touchscreen allows users to interact with their displays in a variety of new ways, such as while wearing gloves or using small objects like a stylus or even chopsticks. Neonode is expected to debut its new accessory at CES in Las Vegas this week. Continue reading PC Accessory Turns Your Laptop into a Touchscreen Device

Spotify and SFX Announce Music and Video Distribution Deal

Spotify signed a music and video distribution deal with SFX Entertainment to bring new videos and curated playlists to the world’s largest on-demand music service. Spotify’s 75 million active users and 20 million paying subscribers will have access to exclusive content from SFX’s Beatport, an online music store that focuses on electronic dance music. In addition, Beatport will deliver programming from various music festivals produced by parent company SFX. The collaboration will focus on integrating video content as well as music. Continue reading Spotify and SFX Announce Music and Video Distribution Deal

FOVE, a VR Headset with Eye-Tracking, Thrives on Kickstarter

FOVE, which claims to be the only virtual reality headset with built-in eye-tracking, has surpassed its Kickstarter goal by nearly $100,000 with 37 days left to go in the campaign. A $399 donation awards backers with a headset and development kit, and FOVE plans to deliver both by May 2016. Eye-tracking not only enables users to play games by aiming their eyes, it opens the door to foveated rendering, which reduces the computational demands on real-time processing and provides contextual feedback, avatar eye-mapping, and more. Continue reading FOVE, a VR Headset with Eye-Tracking, Thrives on Kickstarter

Audi Teams with Amazon and DHL for Point of Trunk Delivery

Audi will soon begin testing a new service in Germany that will allow consumers to order Amazon goods and have them delivered to the trunk of their cars through DHL’s messenger service. For the service to work, messengers will need to track a customer’s vehicle via GPS and have access to the trunk using a temporary authorization pass. This new model offers a solution to a common issue that arises with most delivery services — attempting to make home deliveries when there is no one present. Continue reading Audi Teams with Amazon and DHL for Point of Trunk Delivery

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