Facebook Strategizing Cryptocurrency for WhatsApp in India

With an initial focus on the Indian market, Facebook is developing a cryptocurrency aimed for use on its WhatsApp messaging app. More specifically, sources said the company is developing a so-called stablecoin, which is pegged to the U.S. dollar to reduce volatility. The company is, however, still working on its strategy, meaning that debut of the coin is still some time off. In 2014, Facebook hired former PayPal president David Marcus to run Messenger, fueling belief the company was going to engage in financial services. Continue reading Facebook Strategizing Cryptocurrency for WhatsApp in India

Xiaomi Plans Hong Kong IPO, China Reins In Tech Companies

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi plans to launch its IPO in Hong Kong in what is anticipated to be the world’s biggest IPO in 2018. The filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange did not reveal the size or projected valuation of the offering, but sources say the company hopes to raise at least $10 billion. A source also reported that the listing will value the company at “less than the $100 billion figure previously suggested.” Xiaomi’s filing also uncovered some financial details for the first time. Continue reading Xiaomi Plans Hong Kong IPO, China Reins In Tech Companies

Artificial Intelligence at CES 2018: Expect More of the Same

If measured in press impressions, 2017 has most definitely been the “Year of AI,” But looking past the hype, a few things are clear: 1) progress in actual machine intelligence capability has been slow and fragmented; 2) applied AI is still the domain of less than 20 companies; and 3) still, machine learning (not AI) is being deployed across enterprise domains of numerous business sectors and creating big value. Similarly, and since it will take another year or two for current advances in machine learning to trickle down to the consumer sector, we’re not really expecting much breakthrough in AI or even machine learning at CES 2018. Continue reading Artificial Intelligence at CES 2018: Expect More of the Same

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

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

Alibaba Expands Alipay, Creates Media Entertainment Group

China’s Ant Financial Services Group, an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holdings, is building a global network of merchants that accept its payment services via the Alipay mobile payments app. Ant Financial just announced a partnership with the online-payments arm of Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group, meaning that Chinese tourists can use their familiar payment app there. Alibaba has also launched its new Digital Media and Entertainment Group as the company continues its push into movies, online video, music, gaming and more. Continue reading Alibaba Expands Alipay, Creates Media Entertainment Group

Wall Street Firms Gather to Discuss Blockchain, Digital Dollars

In a private meeting with no media in attendance, more than 100 executives from some of the world’s largest financial institutions met at NASDAQ’s New York City office. They gathered to delve deeper into the promise of blockchain, the technology behind Bitcoin, which became active in 2009. These financial institutions have been wary of Bitcoin, because users are anonymous and can engage in money-laundering and other banking violations. What they looked at was digital U.S. dollars, a “fiat currency” that avoids those risks. Continue reading Wall Street Firms Gather to Discuss Blockchain, Digital Dollars

Google Enters Budding On-Demand Supercomputing Business

Google is now offering Preemptible Virtual Machines (or VMs), a new class of computing resources that can be rented for a steep discount and shut down at any time. The only caveat is that customers must be willing to yield the computing resource on short notice. The solution is ideal for universities and companies that can’t or don’t want to buy their own expensive supercomputers. By offering this service, Google is entering an area dominated, up until now at least, by Amazon Web Services’ short-term use program, Spot Instances. Continue reading Google Enters Budding On-Demand Supercomputing Business

AmEx Debit Cards to Feature Images from Online Video Game

Executives at American Express are targeting millennials with a new sponsorship program that includes prepaid debit cards featuring images from the popular online video game “League of Legends” by Riot Games. Tomorrow, the company will announce a program through which users will receive 1,000 points when they sign up for the card and another 1,000 points when they load $20 onto the card. Additional points can be earned with purchases and when the card is linked to a direct deposit account. Continue reading AmEx Debit Cards to Feature Images from Online Video Game