Major Advertisers Use Blockchain to Trim Digital Ad Spending

Anheuser-Busch, AT&T, Kellogg, Bayer and Nestle are a few of the advertisers using blockchain to dig deeper into the economics of online advertising. With blockchain, they can learn if real people or bots are viewing their ads and how much of their digital ad spending is going to middlemen. Blockchain, touted as a secure and transparent way to keep transaction records, is booming, and now the advertising world — rife with less-than-transparent dealings — hopes that blockchain can help cut down on wasted dollars. Continue reading Major Advertisers Use Blockchain to Trim Digital Ad Spending

The Rapid Expansion of Bitcoin Networks Called Off for Now

Bitcoin supporters that wanted to double the number of transactions that run through Bitcoin-supported networks have lost the fight, at least temporarily, to do so. They were opposed by another camp composed of many programmers working on Bitcoin who worried that too rapid expansion would make it easier for a government or company to exert influence over a system prized for being decentralized. Those who wanted to expand Bitcoin wanted to switch to a new software version that would have created a split in the network. Continue reading The Rapid Expansion of Bitcoin Networks Called Off for Now

Latest Cryptocurrency Cybertheft Could Shake Faith in Bitcoin

Hong Kong exchange Bitfinex was hacked and funds were stolen, marking a setback for digital currency Bitcoin. Bitfinex director of community and product development Zane Tackett posted on Reddit that 119,756 Bitcoins had been stolen. “Before the hacking was made public, that number of Bitcoins would have been worth about $72 million,” explains The New York Times. “Now that the currency has slumped, the figure is closer to $65 million.” During its investigation, Bitfinex has stopped all trading, deposits and withdrawals. The security breach is the latest in a series of events that could impact the viability of virtual currency. Continue reading Latest Cryptocurrency Cybertheft Could Shake Faith in Bitcoin

IBM to Debut Blockchain for Financial Unit Dispute Resolution

As soon as September, IBM will unveil a real-world use of blockchain, the online ledger that records peer-to-peer bitcoin transactions. Since IBM will be one of the largest organizations ever to apply bitcoin to actual business transactions, the move also goes far in validating the nascent cryptocurrency. Currently, IBM Global Financing has $100 million in capital tied up, and the move to blockchain is expected to free up some of it. Blockchain, by removing the middleman, is intended to make financial dealings more efficient. Continue reading IBM to Debut Blockchain for Financial Unit Dispute Resolution

Amazon Payments is Gaining Traction with Smaller Retailers

Since Amazon relaunched its online Payments business in 2013, more than 23 million customers have used their Amazon accounts to pay for purchases on other businesses’ websites. That’s a trade-off that Amazon is more than willing to make. Among those companies now accepting Amazon Payments are Southwest Airlines, Comcast’s GolfNow online tee-time booking site and online store Red Dress Boutique, which reports that within a week of adding Amazon Payments, 20 percent of its orders used it, surpassing PayPal. Continue reading Amazon Payments is Gaining Traction with Smaller Retailers

Bitcoin Rival Ethereum Offers Online Markets, Smart Contracts

Although other alternative currencies have tried to gain traction as Bitcoin struggles with internal divisions, none have succeeded in doing so — until now. A rival virtual currency, Ethereum, has gained the interest of a wide range of finance and technology behemoths, including JPMorgan, Chase, Microsoft and IBM. As a result, its value has shot up 1,000 percent over the last three months. Built on a blockchain in which every transaction is publicly recorded as is Bitcoin, Ethereum promises to do more. Continue reading Bitcoin Rival Ethereum Offers Online Markets, Smart Contracts

InMobi Launches Miip, a New Interactive Advertising Technology

India-based InMobi launched a new advertising technology this week called Miip (pronounced Meep), which features an animated monkey that follows users through apps and provides useful suggestions for products. The recommendations typically involve items that users may be interested in purchasing, and are suggested through a text bubble. Over time, InMobi hopes that users will become more inclined to click on a pop-up or even provide feedback if the monkey makes useful suggestions. Continue reading InMobi Launches Miip, a New Interactive Advertising Technology

MasterCard to Test Using Facial Scans for Purchase Approvals

MasterCard plans to test a new program this fall that will experiment with using facial scans to approve online purchases. Consumers will photograph themselves with their smartphones at checkout, an approach MasterCard believes will be easier than remembering passwords. The company also believes it will help combat fraud. While SecureCode was used in 3 billion transactions last year, passwords can still be forgotten, intercepted or stolen. As a result, a number of companies have been turning to biometrics as a solution. Continue reading MasterCard to Test Using Facial Scans for Purchase Approvals

Google Buy Buttons Could Offer Alternative to Amazon and eBay

As Internet browsing via mobile devices continues to become the norm, tech companies are scrambling to add new functionality to the scaled-down mobile versions of their sites. In the coming weeks, Google plans to introduce buy buttons to its mobile search-result pages. The buttons will direct users to other Google product pages where purchases can be made (products will be sold by retailers). The move is seen by many as an effort by Google to create an online marketplace to take on leaders such as Amazon and eBay. Continue reading Google Buy Buttons Could Offer Alternative to Amazon and eBay

Facebook Unveils Peer-to-Peer Payments on Messenger App

Facebook is adding a new feature that allows its users to send each other money through Facebook messages. Users link their debit cards in order to send their friends money. Unlike PayPal or Venmo, users do not have to “cash out” the funds. The payments transfer directly between debit cards. The new service, which is free to Facebook Messenger users, will roll out in the U.S. in the next few months. It will show up in the Messenger app as a dollar sign, next to the icons for text, photos and thumbs up. Continue reading Facebook Unveils Peer-to-Peer Payments on Messenger App

Facebook May Introduce Payments Through its Messenger App

Facebook is reportedly ready to allow money transactions between friends on Messenger, according to hacked screenshots and video from Cycript. The feature will allow users to send money using a debit card, similar to how one would send a picture. In order to enhance security, an in-app pincode has been added. The reasoning behind former PayPal President David Marcus’ move to head of Messenger is now clear. The app could compete with Venmo, PayPal, and Square Cash. Continue reading Facebook May Introduce Payments Through its Messenger App

Startups Are Paying Consumers for Permission to Track Data

Instead of tracking consumers’ personal data without their consent, a few companies are beginning to experiement with a new model of paying people directly for permission to track activity on their social media accounts and their credit cards. Datacoup, for example, pays consumers $8 a month for access to their personal data. For $100 a month, participants in ZQ Intelligence’s program agree to be tracked on their devices and answer questions about their consumer behavior. Continue reading Startups Are Paying Consumers for Permission to Track Data

Mobile Payments: Amazon Debuts New Credit Card Reader

Amazon Local Register, the company’s new card reader, is a black rectangular device that plugs into a merchant’s smartphone or tablet. For $10, it works with an app that tracks business transactions for merchants. Amazon offers lower processing fees with the device if a merchant signs up before the end of October, while the standard deal will remain a 2.5 percent charge, which is less than other card reader offers. The lower charge means that Amazon is likely making little profit. Continue reading Mobile Payments: Amazon Debuts New Credit Card Reader

Alibaba Growing, But Not a Threat to Top Cloud Services Yet

In May, Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba filed for a public stock offering in the United States. However, this fast growing company still has a way to go before it will be able to compete with the American tech giants that currently control the multibillion-dollar cloud computing business. For now, Alibaba appears to be focusing on expanding in China, where it already has four data centers and handles up to $5.8 billion in commerce per day at its peak. Continue reading Alibaba Growing, But Not a Threat to Top Cloud Services Yet

Chinese E-Commerce Company Alibaba Files IPO in the U.S.

Alibaba, China’s largest and fastest growing e-commerce company, filed for a $1 billion IPO, which could make it one of the most valuable tech companies in the world. The company made $6.5 billion and saw a 57 percent increase in revenue in the last nine months of 2013. Alibaba handles more business than any other e-commerce company, with transactions on its three online sites — Taobao, Tmall and Alibaba.com — totaling $248 billion, which is more than eBay and Amazon combined. Continue reading Chinese E-Commerce Company Alibaba Files IPO in the U.S.