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

Companies Return to Tape As Protection From Cyberattacks

The federal government, financial service companies, and other regulated industries store their most important data on tape, an old-fashioned and inconvenient format that is, nonetheless, impervious to hackers. As cyberattacks become more skillful and persistent, other companies are now following suit. Starting in the 1950s, digital tape, stored in on-site libraries, was the only means of reliable storage for massive amounts of data. Eventually, companies moved to digital records and, in recent years, the cloud. Continue reading Companies Return to Tape As Protection From Cyberattacks

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?

SenseTime Facial Recognition Firm Is Valued at $1.5 Billion

SenseTime Co., a Beijing-based startup founded in 2014 that sells its facial recognition systems to the Chinese police, just scored $410 million in new venture capital funding that values the company at more than $1.5 billion. The valuation, which makes the company a unicorn, underscores how such surveillance technologies are increasing in importance. Facial recognition breaks down a face into measurements that create a template, and SenseTime uses artificial intelligence to match faces against those in an image database. Continue reading SenseTime Facial Recognition Firm Is Valued at $1.5 Billion

Milestone: Apple Is First Company to Top $800 Billion Value

Apple became the first U.S. company to cross the $800 billion barrier in market capitalization when it reached $802.72 billion yesterday (on Monday it reached $801.37 billion but dropped below $800 billion by the close). The company reached $600 billion in 2012 and $700 billion in 2015. “Google parent Alphabet Inc. is currently in second place at $658.60 billion, according to FactSet,” reports MarketWatch. “Microsoft Corp. is third, nearly $270 billion behind Apple at $533.02 billion.” Amazon.com is presently holding at $455.42 billion. Investors are optimistic about Apple’s plans to launch three new iPhones later this year to celebrate the product’s 10-year anniversary. Continue reading Milestone: Apple Is First Company to Top $800 Billion Value

Third-Party Sellers on Amazon Become Latest Hacking Target

Hackers are reportedly targeting third-party sellers on Amazon by using stolen email and password credentials (available for purchase from previous hacks via the “Dark Web”) in a scam to post fake product deals online and pocket cash. Thieves have changed the bank info of active sellers on Amazon to steal amounts up to tens of thousands from each and have hacked less active sellers to post merchandise that does not exist, offering products at steep discounts. While PayPal and eBay have been targeted by hackers in the past, cybersecurity experts indicate that Amazon is becoming a new target. Continue reading Third-Party Sellers on Amazon Become Latest Hacking Target

Amazon Cash for Those Without Credit Cards, Bank Accounts

To succeed in countries where large percentages of the population do not have bank accounts, Amazon is launching Amazon Cash, a new service that allows users to add cash to their Amazon accounts without incurring fees. Otherwise, to make cash purchases, such customers would have to buy an Amazon Gift Card or purchase a prepaid card. To access Amazon Cash between $15 and $500, the user requests a barcode, accessed through Amazon’s website mobile app or via text message, which is presented to a participating retailer. Continue reading Amazon Cash for Those Without Credit Cards, Bank Accounts

Verizon to Integrate AOL, Yahoo Into New Unit Dubbed Oath

AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong tweeted that Verizon is combining AOL and Yahoo into a new unit called Oath. Sources say that Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer will not be part of the new company, which will be helmed by Armstrong. Given Yahoo’s hacking disasters and slumping business, Mayer’s departure was anticipated, but it is not clear whether she’ll receive her full payout, reportedly worth tens of millions. Sources also say Armstrong is now choosing which top Yahoo executives to retain. Continue reading Verizon to Integrate AOL, Yahoo Into New Unit Dubbed Oath

Internet Privacy Legislation Is Overturned in Win for Telecoms

In a 215-to-205 vote that largely followed party lines, House Republicans successfully dismantled the new FCC Internet privacy protections for individuals, which was landmark legislation of the Obama administration. Overturning the legislation marks a victory for telecoms that are now free to collect and sell data on users’ online activities without permission, although some have expressed plans to honor voluntary privacy policies. The protections were originally slated to go into effect later this year. Continue reading Internet Privacy Legislation Is Overturned in Win for Telecoms

Pinterest, Targeting $500 in Revenue, Could Be Prepping IPO

Pinterest, now in its third full year earning selling ads, is targeting more than $500 million in revenue this year. The company earned $100 million in revenue in 2015 and $300 million last year. Some close to Pinterest say the company is gearing up for an eventual IPO. “The company hired its first CFO, Todd Morgenfeld, from Twitter back in October, and has Facebook’s former monetization director, Tim Kendall, overseeing all of Pinterest’s revenue efforts, among other things,” reports Recode. Those close to the company suggest that if Snap “can fetch a valuation north of $20 billion on the public markets, Pinterest is in good shape to do something similar.” Continue reading Pinterest, Targeting $500 in Revenue, Could Be Prepping IPO

U.S. Claims That Russian Hackers Were Behind Yahoo Attack

The Department of Justice officially charged four people yesterday in connection with Yahoo’s 2014 data breach that reportedly resulted in the theft of data from 500 million Yahoo accounts. According to the indictment, the Russian government used the data obtained by two intelligence officers (Dmitry Dokuchaev, Igor Sushchin) and two hackers (Alexsey Belan, Karim Baratov) to spy on White House and military officials, bank executives, cloud computing companies, a senior level airline official, a Nevada gaming regulator, as well as Russian journalists, business execs and government officials. Continue reading U.S. Claims That Russian Hackers Were Behind Yahoo Attack

IBM and Salesforce to Link AI Technologies for Data Analytics

Chief execs Marc Benioff of Salesforce.com and Ginni Rometty of IBM announced a new partnership yesterday that will combine the two companies’ artificial intelligence technologies to create new data analytics offerings for helping others target products and services. Available in the second half of 2017, the offerings will introduce “integrated AI services that weave the broad human-like conversation and learning capabilities of IBM’s Watson with Salesforce’s more sales-oriented Einstein,” reports The Wall Street Journal. In an “effort to reinvent itself for the cloud-computing era,” IBM has been tailoring Watson “for a variety of industries including health care, financial services and automobiles.” Continue reading IBM and Salesforce to Link AI Technologies for Data Analytics

Google Offers Up its Global Cloud-Based Database Technology

Google’s Spanner, developed a decade ago, created a way to store information across millions of machines in a multitude of data centers around the world. Despite its global reach, Spanner behaves as if it operates in a single location, meaning it can reliably replicate and change data without contradicting actions taken at a different location, and retrieve copies if one of the centers goes down. Since its creation, Spanner has become the foundation for 2,000 Google services including Gmail and AdWords. Now, Google plans to unveil Spanner to everyone as a cloud computing service. Continue reading Google Offers Up its Global Cloud-Based Database Technology

Amazon: Prime, Other Subscription Services Earn $6.4 Billion

For the first time, Amazon is revealing earnings from its Prime membership program as well as other subscription services, in a 77-page document. Up until now, the company has been tight-lipped on such numbers, leaving investors to wonder how these important services are faring. The last time Amazon revealed numbers, in April 2015, it detailed the profitability of its Amazon Web Services, resulting in analysts and investors bumping the company’s value upwards. Since then, shares in Amazon have more than doubled. Continue reading Amazon: Prime, Other Subscription Services Earn $6.4 Billion

Chinese Company Looks to Buy U.S. Money-Transfer Provider

Ant Financial Services Group, China’s largest online-payments company, has announced an $880 million deal to acquire Dallas-based money-transfer provider MoneyGram International. Ant Financial split off from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in 2011 and is controlled by Alibaba founder Jack Ma. “With the deal, Ant Financial would gain a large footprint and a brand name in the U.S. and expand its global money-transfer business, ultimately bringing it into closer competition with PayPal” and others, reports The Wall Street Journal. However, the deal could be scrutinized by the new presidential administration as global competition is being called into question, despite Donald Trump’s recent discussions with Ma to help create jobs. Continue reading Chinese Company Looks to Buy U.S. Money-Transfer Provider

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