Biden Orders Roadmap for Responsible Crypto Development

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies enjoyed an 8 percent jump in value Wednesday following President Joe Biden’s signing of a six-part executive order designed to protect U.S. consumers, investors and businesses, foster global financial stability and mitigate the national security risks presented by the illicit use of digital assets. The Executive Order also seeks to reinforce U.S. leadership in the global financial system, promote a more equitable financial system and encourage technological development and responsible use of digital assets. Perhaps most surprisingly, the order also prioritizes exploring a U.S. Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). Continue reading Biden Orders Roadmap for Responsible Crypto Development

ETC Examines Realities of Multiverse at Digital Town Square

“Preparing for the Multiverse” was the subject of ETC@USC’s latest virtual Digital Town Square event. As the culture, art and commerce spaces rebalance to incorporate blended physical and virtual options, it is clearly important that we understand early on how changes will impact our business and creative endeavors. Our speakers spend their days thinking about how the emerging metaverses will impact creativity, business development and the fabric of society. We chose the word “multiverse” because we expect many metaverses to develop and compete — some designed top-down by multinational corporations and others developed bottom-up by DAO communities. Continue reading ETC Examines Realities of Multiverse at Digital Town Square

Facebook Narrows Scope of Proposed Libra Cryptocurrency

Facebook and its partners pulled back their ambitious plans for the Libra cryptocurrency, which was unveiled last June as “a futuristic global money” that could be the foundation of a “new kind of financial system.” In the months since its June debut, the Libra project has encountered a range of obstacles and the scrutiny of regulators. The Swiss-backed Libra Association, citing global opposition to the project, now aims to create a payment network with coins tied to a local currency. Continue reading Facebook Narrows Scope of Proposed Libra Cryptocurrency

Google Assistant Wins Top Spot in Loup Ventures IQ Test

In Loup Ventures’ 2019 Digital Assistant IQ Test, comprised of 800 questions, Google Assistant came in first, understanding 100 percent of the questions and answering 92.9 percent of them accurately. Last year, Google Assistant, also top-ranked, answered 85.5 percent correctly. Apple’s Siri also improved, understanding 99.8 percent of the questions (versus 2018’s 99 percent) and correctly answering 83.1 percent of the time (versus 2018’s 78.5 percent). Amazon’s Alexa came in third. Continue reading Google Assistant Wins Top Spot in Loup Ventures IQ Test

Mark Zuckerberg States Intent to Upend Facebook’s Basics

Mark Zuckerberg, who runs Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger, stated his intent to focus on private and encrypted communications that can be deleted after a certain amount of time. This new goal is opposite the originally stated purpose of Facebook, which was built around public posts in what he said would resemble a digital town square. Zuckerberg said the first step towards this new goal for Facebook would be to integrate Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger, to enable cross-application messaging. Continue reading Mark Zuckerberg States Intent to Upend Facebook’s Basics

Elizabeth Warren Introducing Plan to Break Up Tech Giants

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) is proposing “a regulatory plan aimed at breaking up some of America’s largest tech companies, including Amazon, Google and Facebook,” according to The New York Times. “The proposal … calls for the appointment of regulators who would ‘unwind tech mergers that illegally undermine competition,’ as well as legislation that would prohibit platforms from both offering a marketplace for commerce and participating in that marketplace.” The plan would also call for the rollback of tech acquisitions, “including Facebook’s deals for WhatsApp and Instagram, Amazon’s addition of Whole Foods, and Google’s purchase of Waze.” Continue reading Elizabeth Warren Introducing Plan to Break Up Tech Giants

Department of Transportation Selects 10 Drone Test Projects

The U.S. Department of Transportation selected 10 local, state and tribal governments to test drone commerce in partnership with Intel, Uber, FedEx and Qualcomm, among others. The Integration Pilot Program, promoted by the Trump administration to speed up approvals of longer-range unmanned flights, has enthused drone companies, including startups such as Flirtey and AirMap. Notably missing from the list, however, is Amazon, which has a project in development to deliver packages to people’s homes. Continue reading Department of Transportation Selects 10 Drone Test Projects

Mobile Commerce to Push App Economy Over $6T by 2021

According to a new report from App Annie, the app economy will be worth $6.3 trillion in five years, up from $1.3 trillion in 2016. The average consumer is not downloading more apps, but is spending more time and money in apps. The measurement firm predicts the number of worldwide app users will nearly double to 6.3 billion in 2021, and the time those individuals use apps will more than double. Ninety percent of last year’s total app economy was represented by the purchase of goods and services through mobile apps, a figure App Annie expects will increase to 95 percent by 2021. Continue reading Mobile Commerce to Push App Economy Over $6T by 2021

Nielsen and Foursquare Ink Partnership for In-Store Visit Info

Although Nielsen already offers tools to help track when consumers buy products in-store after seeing online ads, the measurements company has inked an agreement with Foursquare to create an improved product. Location data company Foursquare will offer information which, combined with Nielsen’s marketing tools, will offer a more complete picture of consumer activity. The new capabilities will come at a price. Nielsen digital measurement clients will be required to buy into the version with Foursquare data included. Continue reading Nielsen and Foursquare Ink Partnership for In-Store Visit Info

Best Buy Bets Big on Virtual Reality with First Mainstream Test

Best Buy is going all out to promote sales of the Oculus Rift and Sony PlayStation VR, with what’s regarded as the first mainstream test of VR products. The Oculus Rift demonstrations, which began their rollout in May, will be in 500 stores in time for the holiday season, with an added 200 demonstrations for PlayStation VR starting in October. The genesis of the push to VR began with chief executive Hubert Joly, who had a “mind-boggling” VR experience with a man-eating shark. He’s betting the U.S. public will be equally smitten. Continue reading Best Buy Bets Big on Virtual Reality with First Mainstream Test

Google Launches Pilot Program for Hands-Free Mobile Wallet

Google launched a pilot for Hands Free, a mobile wallet application that allows a buyer to use her phone for purchases without taking it out of her purse. The pilot, conducted in the southern San Francisco Bay area, is available in a few stores and designated McDonald’s and Papa John’s locations. The cashier’s system can detect the user’s phone; to close the transaction, the user asks to pay with Google and gives her initials to the cashier. The cashier can also detect if the user is the same person in the Google profile. Continue reading Google Launches Pilot Program for Hands-Free Mobile Wallet

EU and U.S. Agree to Data Privacy Pact, Now Awaits Approval

After three months of often-tense meetings, Europe and the U.S. agreed to a pact to enable digital data to move back and forth across the Atlantic. Negotiating beyond the January 31 deadline, European and U.S. officials hammered out details of the “EU-US Privacy Shield,” which will enable Google, Amazon and thousands of other businesses to continue operations. But the agreement isn’t out of the woods: it still faces official approval by the EU’s 28 member states, and EU privacy advocates have vowed to oppose it. Continue reading EU and U.S. Agree to Data Privacy Pact, Now Awaits Approval

Walmart Debuts Mobile Payment System, Wide Rollout in 2016

Walmart is debuting Walmart Pay, a mobile payment system integrated into its existing smartphone app, which has 22 million active users. The new system will roll out to the company’s 4,600 stores in early 2016. With Walmart Pay, the company is competing with Apple Pay and Google’s Android Pay, neither of which have gained widespread traction. Based on QR code technology and near-field communication (NFC) technology, Walmart Pay’s success — or lack thereof — rests on the consumer experience. Continue reading Walmart Debuts Mobile Payment System, Wide Rollout in 2016

Facebook Builds Pages into Digital Mall for Small Businesses

Forty-five million small business use Facebook Pages, and the Silicon Valley company is now upgrading the app to make it easier for them to make money with the feature by reaching mobile users. The upgrade includes a tabbed mobile layout, so businesses can display storefront sections and let visitors shop for products or look at a list of services. The new Pages also makes it much easier for a user to contact the small business in question, with Call Now, Send Message and Contact Us graphics bigger, more prominent and colorful. Continue reading Facebook Builds Pages into Digital Mall for Small Businesses

Facebook Steps Into Commerce, Building Shops Within Pages

Facebook has taken a leap into commerce by building out shops within Facebook Pages, allowing businesses with a Facebook Page a chance to sell directly to consumers. Although the new move into commerce is in its testing phase, some shops already sport a “buy” button, which keeps the consumer on the page from product browsing to purchase. The “buy” button was introduced last year, but Facebook’s new aim is to make the shopping experience more robust and integrated. Facebook currently does not take a percentage of sales. Continue reading Facebook Steps Into Commerce, Building Shops Within Pages