SiliconANGLE http://siliconangle.com Extracting the signal from the noise. Sat, 24 Jan 2015 15:04:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Millions stolen: Inside the elaborate Bitcoin scams of Tadas Kasputis, EgoPay, Virtex.com & Paymentbase http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/01/23/millions-stolen-inside-the-elaborate-bitcoin-scams-of-tadas-kasputis-egopay-virtex-com-paymentbase/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/01/23/millions-stolen-inside-the-elaborate-bitcoin-scams-of-tadas-kasputis-egopay-virtex-com-paymentbase/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 01:00:26 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=215042 Continue reading ]]> tadasMt Gox has become the ongoing meme for any negative story in the Bitcoin space. It is, and remains to date the largest loss by any Bitcoin exchange, but unlike what we are about to describe to you, it was anything other than elaborate: it was either a case of hacking or insider theft. The tale of Tadas Kasputis and his related Bitcoin companies is far more complicated, spans multiple countries, and may quite possibly be the most elaborate Bitcoin scam in the history of Cryptocurrency. Strap yourself in, this is going to be a long and detailed ride.

Any story of intrigue has a mastermind, and in this case our central character is Lithuania born Tadas Kasputis (pictured right.)

Kasputis first entered the alternative currency and High Yield Investment Program (HYIP) space in November 2006 while still a student at the Kaunas University of Technology (KUT,) Kaunas, Lithuania. He became involved in the running  (the record is not clear whether he was a founder or employee) of a company called Regal Fund Diversified Inc. (Regal,) a HYIP that offered the typical returns you expect from a pyramid scheme: “6.5% weekly investment payout of total principle…total 100% return principle + 238% return profit after first year, then total 338% again for each following year for life.”

Regal also offered RegalPay, an Ecurrency that predated Bitcoin, among other services.

The only thing clear from the era is that Regal eventually followed the path of all ponzi schemes and had failed by September 2009. A user in a post on Talk Gold points the finger at Kasputis, and alleges that the site had been run from the beginning by “young kids from Pakistan and Lithuania.”

The Bitcoin Era

From what we’ve been able to ascertain, Kasputis had a short break following the collapse of Regal, although there are fleeting mentions of him on HYIP forums through the period. In around 2010 he established a company by the name of UABHappyness in Lithuania; at the time of writing (and due to a lack of Lithuanian language skills) we are unable to ascertain exactly what UABHappyness did; it may have been a legitimate company, although there is some suggestions it may have been involved in HYIP programs. The relevance though to what is to come is that it provides a direct link to his future co-conspirator Paulius Meskauskas, a fellow KUT student who was to go on to front one of Kasputis’ companies.

egopayDuring this period he established EgoPay, a Bitcoin exchange company that we reported last week ceased trading and possibly stole millions. At the time of writing through third party media reports and direct contact with EgoPay clients, we can ascertain that they have stolen at least $500,000, and that’s only from a small range of its larger clients. Most Bitcoin companies that dealt with EgoPay have either refused to respond to our requests, or have declined to say how much they have had stolen; those who won’t give us a figure all confirm that the company is no longer trading.

The dates for the establishment EgoPay are no more clear that its company structure. The domain name was registered in July 2009, but there are mentions of it on HYIP forums prior to that date.

In its early days EgoPay claimed to be registered first in Belize, then later (and at the time of writing) Seychelles. We have been unable to ascertain whether it was ever registered in Belize as company records are not available to the public, but they are in the Seychelles, where there is no record of the company existing.

In its privacy policy EgoPay is listed as a registered trademark of E-commerce World Wide Group LTD; again there are no records of such a company in Belize or Seychelles, but there is half way across the world.

The New Zealand connection

E-commerce World Wide Group LTD is a registered company in New Zealand with Kasputis as the sole director and a country of origin listed as Belize.

The addressed given is a SERVCORP virtual office in Auckland. While we note that we are suggesting nothing untoward here, also sharing a SERVCORP virtual office in Auckland (although not the same building) is Tony Lentino, the largest investor into Kim Dotcom’s Mega company, and more notably the registered owner (via its domain name) of Bitcoin exchange BTC-e, which currently claims to have lost $80,000 to EgoPay.

Despite attempting to contact Lentino via Mega.co.nz, he has not responded to our requests at the time of writing.

kaunusAll roads lead back to Lithuania though; and via the New Zealand registration we discover the world headquarters for Kasputis for the first time (the address appears repeatedly as we dig deeper:) a cold war era apartment at Vetrunges 14-25, Kaunas. 

Given the figures involved in the scam we find it unlikely this is where Kasputis lives; it could perhaps be the place of residence of family or friends, but this is the registered address of a multi-million dollar business.

One aspect of the EgoPay setup was not only a Bitcoin exchange; the company offered its own EgoPay currency and offered certification to other Bitcoin exchanges in a similar way to a Better Business Bureau or Verisign stamp. As we dug deeper we found that both were used in other businesses Kasputis set up.

virtex

Virtex Systems Ltd

Not content with running EgoPay alone (which has been accused of scamming customers since 2012) Kasputis expanded his scam empire, launching Virtex.com to glowing endorsements by various outlets including Cryptocoins News in July 2014.

The company, not to be confused with the similarly named and unrelated Canadian exchange Cavirtex, (the choice of the Virtex.com name was probably not accidental) was billed as a “new Bitcoin and Litecoin exchange based in Lithuania.” Along with traditional cryptocurrencies, Virtex.com also offers transfers to and from EgoPay.

SiliconANGLE can confirm exclusively that Virtex.com ceased trading on or about January 8th at the same time as EgoPay. Along with reports on various forums, we have been in contact with 14 different customers of the site who all report the same thing: the company has ceased trading, they cannot withdraw funds and the company isn’t talking. The amounts are relatively small, and total nearly $100,000, but that’s from a very small sample base of the companies clients; potentially the amount stolen via Virtex.com could again be in the millions.

Paulius Meskauskas

Paulius Meskauskas

Kasputis is not listed in the media reports when the company launched, but his co-conspirator Paulius Meskauskas is listed as CEO, along with Tomas Andzelis as CMO, and Mantas Gustys as CRO. Of the latter two we can find no links to Kasputis and they may well be legitimate hires, but of Meskauskas there is no doubt; they worked together and went to University together.

The company trail for Virtex.com is just as colorful as EgoPay. Although operating in Kaunas, Lithuania, the registration of the domain take us back to Seychelles. The address given is the same as AAA International Services Ltd., a company that specializes in “corporate management services.” That company appears to be nothing more than an address provider in Seychelles for foreign firms wanting a Seychelles address for registration purposes.

However we can find no record of Virtex Systems Ltd. being registered with the Seychelles Government, despite a publicly searchable database.

The trail then takes us back to New Zeland.

The “banker”

When Virtex.com launched, Cryptocoin News noted that “their main partner for deposits and withdrawals from bank accounts is Arex Limited, who have their financial license in New Zealand.”

nzhouseArex Ltd. is both a registered company and financial services license holder in New Zeland, but it doesn’t hold a banking license. Its registered address is a residential house in Mount Eden, a suburb of Auckland (pictured.)

The sole registered director of Arex Ltd., and therefore the “banker” for Virtex.com is one Erik Schryvers of Oostmalle, Belgium.

We can’t place Schryvers and Kasputis directly together, but the two share involvement in HYIP scams.

Schryvers started his online career pushing multi-level marketing scams, until later graduating to HYIP programs; he’s also taken an interest in crytpocurrency exchange services, having registered names including ekopay.com.

What Schryvers is not is a legitimate banker or provider of financial services.

We contacted Schryvers last week for comment and he has not responded to our request.

paymentbase

Paymentbase.com

The next company with links to Kasputis takes us to Pakistan and another Bitcoin exchange the offers transfers through EgoPay: Paymentbase.com.

As we mentioned earlier Kasputis was named as running RegalPay with “Pakistanis” early in his career. The current registration record for Paymentbase.com takes us to Pakistan and is owned by a “Base Corporation,” which upfront doesn’t prove much, but the historic record for the domain and the ownership of the company does.

The previous registered owner of the domain was Tadas Kasputis and the Base Corporations headquarters: one cold war era apartment in Kaunas, Lithuania.

At the time of writing SiliconANGLE has evidence that Paymentbase.com ceased trading on or around January 8th (as with Virtex.com and EgoPay) although the exchange seems to be significantly smaller in its online presence than that the other two companies.

Too long, didn’t read

If you’ve gotten this far here’s the short version: Kasputis set up an elaborate network network of companies across the globe to ultimately scam millions of dollars.

What we haven’t covered is that in our investigations EgoPay in particular was an extraordinary popular payment provider to HYIP scams (an angle we’ll be covering in future;) in ceasing business Kasputis has literally stolen from other scammers.

What we don’t know is whether a scam was Kasputis’ intention from the beginning. It seems that for several years EgoPay actually was above board to an extent, be it that it was providing effective services to scammers during this period; in and of itself depending on the jurisdiction an illegal act.

What ever the original intent behind the scam though is irrelevant: millions have been stolen in a shonky setup that for what ever reason nobody in the Bitcoin community bothered to investigate.

If you’re a victim in this scam your venue for recompense is limited; the best bet would be to contact Consumer Affairs New Zealand, New Zealand police, and possibly even your own local police force. In the United States this is potentially something the FBI would be interested in investigating.

To everyone else Kasptus and his Bitcoin scams are not representative of the entire Bitcoin marketplace, but it does teach an important lesson: do some basic due diligence on any company you’re giving money to. If the company isn’t registered in a well known jurisdiction (hint: Seychelles isn’t one) stay well away.

Image credits: Ateits/ Google/ owners

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Acquisition of Revolution Analytics is a double win for Microsoft http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/01/23/acquisition-of-revolution-analytics-is-a-double-win-for-microsoft/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/01/23/acquisition-of-revolution-analytics-is-a-double-win-for-microsoft/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 20:32:17 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=215705 Continue reading ]]> David Smith, Revolution Analytics

David Smith, Revolution Analytics interviewed on theCUBE

Microsoft followed up its hologram-studded Windows 10 launch event on Friday with the equally significant acquisition of Revolution Analytics Inc. for an undisclosed amount. The landmark deal addresses two of Redmond’s most important strategic priorities.

The eight-year-old Revolution Analytics commercalizes R, a programming language designed specifically to perform statistical analysis that has soared in popularity over recent years with the rise of data scientists. That’s an audience that Microsoft is actively trying to court with its infrastructure-as-a-service platform, which sports a store that allows users to freely exchange the kind of data crunching algorithms that the framework is used to create among one another.

The ML Marketplace is part of Azure Machine Learning, a managed analytics engine that is already compatible with R and over 350 third party libraries from the upstream ecosystem. The acquisition paves the way for Redmond to extend that support a step further to the development phase, potentially providing a much-needed boost for the service amid intensifying competition from rival cloud providers.

Google boasts an entire set of machine learning tools on its platform, while Amazon poses an even more formidable threat with Kinesis, a multi-purpose stream processing service introduced all the way back in November, 2013. But, neither supports R as extensively as Microsoft, an edge that the deal should further significantly.

The biggest asset that the software giant is gaining through the transaction is Revolution Analytics’ commercial R implementation, a major improvement over the original open-source version that removes the need to store all the data for a project in the memory of the machine on which it’s running. Instead, the engine keeps information on disk and only loads it as needed in chunks of up to 16 terbyates, which allows users to train their algorithms much more effectively and thereby enhance the accuracy of the results coming out of the other end.

Hooking up Revolution R to Azure, as Micoroft has done with its homegrown development platform, could help foster participation in ML Marketplace and create a bigger choice of pre-packaged analytic functions for customers. That would make Azure that much more attractive for machine learning workloads than the competition.

However, it’s worth noting that the acquisition is as much about data scientists themselves as their algorithms. The so-called “unicorns” of the IT workforce have become a powerful force in the industry whose ranks are swelling rapidly as vendors such as Cloudera Inc. continue collaborating with educational institutions to churn more and more analytics-savvy professionals.

With McKinsey & Company expecting hundreds of thousands of new data science jobs to open in the next few years, that audience represents a massive future market for development tools that Redmond is clearly eager to address. The acquisition of Revolution Analytics puts it in a prime position to do so, making the deal a double-win for Nadella’s Microsoft.

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Microsoft buys Revolution Analytics and popular R programming language http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/01/23/microsoft-buy-revolution-analytics-popular-r-programming-language/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/01/23/microsoft-buy-revolution-analytics-popular-r-programming-language/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 17:05:31 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=215682 Continue reading ]]> Microsoft has reached an agreement to acquire Revolution Analytics, the leading commdavidsmithercial provider of software and services for R, the world’s most widely used programming language for statistical computing and predictive analytics.

R has been popularized by the growing data science community, for whom it has become the defacto standard. The deal is important not just for Microsoft but for the language itself, cccording to Dave Vellante, chief researcher at Wikibon.

According to Revolution Analytics Chief Community Officer David Smith, Microsoft used R to develop the match-making capabilities of the Xbox online gaming service. Microsoft data scientists apply machine learning to data from Bing, Azure, Office, and the sales, marketing and finance departments. Microsoft supports R extensively within the Azure ML framework, including the ability to experiment and operationalize workflows consisting of R scripts in MLStudio.”

Jeff Kelly at Wikibon weights in on the deal with his breaking analysis.

“With the proposed acquisition of Revolution Analytics, Wikibon believes Microsoft has an opportunity to take significant strides in courting Data Scientists and other enterprise Big Data practitioners. It must continue to invest resources in Revolution Analytics’ core products, tightly integrate R with Microsoft’s existing and future Big Data portfolio of products, and, importantly, increase its activity with the open source community to ensure R continues to develop as an open source project in and of itself.”

 

Here is a video of David Smith at last year #BigDataSV event.  This year #BigDataSV will be in force in San Jose during #hadoopworld.  Join us at #BigDataSV – registration here

If you’re interested in the business of big data, join SiliconANGLE and Wikibon teams with live @theCUBE broadcasts throughout the week of #Hadoopworld in San Jose. Sign up here.

Register for #BigDataSV – Special @theCUBE Presentation

The Big Data market is moving into an exciting new phase. The early Big Data meme was all about data storage and processing technologies such as Hadoop and NoSQL. With Big Data moving into the enterprise, attention is turning to how to make Big Data initiatives more real-time and accessible to the business users to drive tangible business value.

If there is any question about this changing focus, just follow the money trail. Venture capitalists in the valley are increasingly placing their bets on start-ups that focus on these areas, including those that innovate around data visualization, machine learning, predictive analytics and operational applications. Big Data practitioners, who leverage these new technologies to upend existing markets and invent new business models, are also on the receiving end of more and more venture funding.

Join theCUBE, SiliconANGLE and Wikibon at #BigDataSV 2015 for a night of lively discussion and analysis of this new and exciting phase of the Big Data market. While our New York City agenda focused on public capital markets, our Silicon Valley emphasis will be on startups, innovation and venture/private capital. The agenda for the evening is as follows:

5:00pm-5:30pm: Arrival and registration

5:30pm-6:00pm: Wikibon Chief Research Officer David Vellante and Principal Analyst Jeff Kelly will present their research findings regarding the next phase of Big Data innovation, including identifying the hot technologies and start-ups that are helping Big Data practitioners turn data into insights and actions.

6:00pm-7:00pm: SiliconANGLE Executive Editor John Furrier will host a panel discussion with influential venture capitalists who will share their view of the Big Data market and where they are placing their bets in this fast-moving market. Panelists include Accel Partners’ Ping Li, Ignition Partners’ Frank Artale and Vertex Ventures’ Jonathan Heiliger.

7:00pm-9:00pm: Relax and enjoy stimulating conversation with other attendees at theCUBE Party at #BigDataSV 2015. Drinks and light hors-d’oeuvres will be served.

If you’re interested in the Big Data market and the new digital economy, you can’t afford to miss #BigDataSV 2015: Following the Big Data Money Trail. We look forward to seeing you in San Jose!

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These familiar brands are geekifying your cities http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/01/23/these-familiar-brands-are-geekifying-your-cities/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/01/23/these-familiar-brands-are-geekifying-your-cities/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 15:58:49 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=215613 Continue reading ]]> This week’s Smart City roundup features a list of smart city big players and a partnership between countries to countries further smart city efforts.

smart city mirror town industrial split buildings urban old

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Top smart city suppliers

 

Navigant Research predicts that global smart city technology market is expected to be worth more than $27.5 billion annually by 2023. Question now is, which of these vendors will be able to help cities transform into smart metropolises?

Examining 16 leading smart city suppliers, Navigant has ranked according to the following criteria: vision, go-to-market strategy, partners, product strategy, geographic reach, market share, sales & marketing, product performance & features, product integration, and staying power. The result is a list of top vendors for the Smart City market, topped by none other than IBM, a company that has invested $1 billion in cloud computing and analytics services to enable cities to improve information infrastructure and connectivity.

IBM is followed by a string of familiar technology companies, including Cisco Systems Inc., Schneider Electric, Siemens AG, Microsoft, Hitachi Ltd., Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., Ericsson, Toshiba Corp. and Oracle Corp.

Using Navigant Research’s proprietary Leaderboard methodology, vendors are profiled, rated, and ranked with the goal of providing industry participants with an objective assessment of these companies’ relative strengths and weaknesses in the growing global smart city market.

U.S. teams with India for smart city projects

 

President Barack Obama will soon be visiting India with the main agenda of strengthening the relationship between U.S. and India. According to reports, the two countries will be signing a landmark agreement to build smart cities in Allahabad, Ajmer and Vishakhapatnam as part of the U.S.-India Infrastructure Collaboration Platform. The initiative was first put into motion when India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the U.S. back in September, 2014. Sources stated that over the past three months, the teaming countries have been fine-tuning elements of the deal to be finalized during President Obama’s upcoming visit.

“The consortium has been set up to collectively look at business opportunities in various sectors including smart cities and aims at identifying and bidding for projects across the country. Large projects require strong Indian partners along with financing solutions to realistically move forward,” said American Chamber of Commerce in India (Amcham) executive director Ajay Singha. “The consortium will jointly interface with governments at the state and central levels and operate as a cohesive group offering multiple solutions to suit a diverse bunch of re requirements.”

photo credit: euzesio (seldom here) via photopin cc
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Goldman Sachs bets $56 million on Antuit to tap Asia’s appetite for analytics http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/01/23/goldman-sachs-bets-56-million-on-antuit-to-tap-asias-appetite-for-analytics/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/01/23/goldman-sachs-bets-56-million-on-antuit-to-tap-asias-appetite-for-analytics/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 14:00:33 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=215590 Continue reading ]]> Singapore skylineThe analytics craze is under way in Asia, with help from one of the most powerful names in Wall Street. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. led a hefty $56 million funding round in a low-key number crunching company from Singapore on Wednesday that seeks to address the exploding demand for data insights on the world’s largest continent.

Antuit Holdings Pte. Ltd is at least the sixth analytics startup to have raised funding from the financial powerhouse in as many months, but it stands out as the only professional services provider. The outfit develops custom analytics software for large enterprises that don’t possess the necessary talent to fullfill their requirements internally. That constitute a rapidly growing market thanks to the severe lack of knowledge workers with the skills to handle unstructured data.

The size of the opportunity is reflected in Antuit’s meteoric rise since hitting the scene barely two years ago. Although a newcomer compared to most other analytics providers with similar funding records, the firm has nonetheless managed to rack up numerous big-name clients in Asia and beyond, including no fewer than eight Global 500 companies.

Antuit owes that success to the fact that it addresses a major gap in the market few others target, especially outside North America and Europe.

International companies have access to the same analytics solutions as their Western peers, often with a local partner or even a branch office of the vendor itself willing to lend a hand. But there aren’t as many firms that can work with an organization to create a custom data-crunching solution.

The fact that Anuit operates out of Singapore and maintains a presence in nearby Bangalore also affords it an understanding of the local culture, which adds to its regional value proposition.

But the firm can’t take its growth for granted. Antuit concentrates primarily on marketing and supply chain optimization, two of the most common use cases for analytics. There is no shortage of software vendors providing pre-packaged alternatives, which pose a direct threat to its custom development business.

The new investments from Goldman and earlier investor Zodius Capital, where Antuit CEO Neeraj Bhargava is a managing editor, should go a long way toward helping the outfit remain competitive on the long-term. Although no speciifcs have been dicslosed, it’s safe to assume that the firm will use the funds to expand beyond its current niche.

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Metamarkets aims to ease marketing analytics with visualization engine http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/01/23/metamarket-aims-to-make-marketing-analysis-easier-with-visualization-engine/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/01/23/metamarket-aims-to-make-marketing-analysis-easier-with-visualization-engine/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 12:54:19 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=215611 Continue reading ]]> Facet screen shotMetamarkets Inc. is attempting to solve one of the biggest challenges facing marketers who are actively incorporating data into their work with a new visualization engine for dissecting multi-dimensional information.

The company, which specializes in building real-time analytics platforms for digital advertising, is targeting a frustration that is familiar to any marketer who has run an ad campaign: High-level metrics such as clicks-per-ad are easy to get, but looking at additional dimensions such as clicks by campaign by location or time of day require custom queries, which can take days to get back from the IT department.

Metamarkets offers to help customers clear that bottleneck with its new Facet tool, which essentially exposes common query commands as interface elements that can be mixed and matched as needed. Facet is built to be a highly flexible front-end to the company’s Druid database, enabling a customer to filter data from a campaign by the location of viewers, narrow down that subset further based on some other metric and repeat the process with different operations until they find what they’re looking for.

Facet is currently limited to tabular data displays and only supports a maximum “depth” of up to five actions, but Metamarkets intends to add support for more advanced visualizations with future releases, presumably in the form of pre-built templates. The engine is available as part of Druid, the homegrown database that powers the startup’s ad optimization platform, and is apparently already seeing use with a number of customers including LinkedIn Inc. and the Financial Times.

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Dota banned in a district in the Philippines due to violent fans http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/01/23/dota-banned-in-a-district-in-the-philippines-due-to-violent-fans/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/01/23/dota-banned-in-a-district-in-the-philippines-due-to-violent-fans/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 12:35:31 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=215652 Continue reading ]]> Philippines internet cafeOf all the games that people might expect be banned for inciting violent behavior in players, Defense of the Ancients (Dota) would be pretty far down the list, but that is exactly what has happened in a small district in the Philippines.

Salawag, located about 20 miles south of the Philippine capital of Manila, has passed a law banning Dota from all internet cafes in the area, following a series of violent incidents between players.

“Dear countrymen,” a statement from one of the district officials says (translated by When In Manila), “We will be pushing on with this town resolution because we believe this is the right thing to do for the children who are often seen causing trouble, cussing, cutting classes, gambling, staying up late, fighting, and ignoring their studies. We love the children and we will not allow their future to be ruined. Thank you for your support and understanding.”

Dota itself is not a particularly violent game, especially compared to more recent titles like Grand Theft Auto V. The original Dota began as a mod for Blizzard Entertainment’s Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, but it later became a popular game in its own right. Dota stripped away most of the real-time strategy elements of Warcraft III, instead focusing on individually controlled characters called “heroes.”

Dota players are known for being extremely competitive, and many are quite young. This, combined with the close quarters of an internet cafe, can lead to physical confrontations between players.

“Dota’s a really big game here in the Philippines, partly because of the presence of Internet cafes around almost every city and provincial district,” a Filipino reader told Kotaku. “Unfortunately, based on my personal observations, it seems that a lot of players here can be intense (really, to say the least).”

But this phenomenon is not restricted to Dota alone, and it is interesting to note that the district’s decree bans Dota but makes no mention of its sequel, Dota 2, or other similar games like League of Legends, which is also known for its sometimes toxic player base.

Internet cafes that do not uphold the new ban could face suspension, losing their license, or even being forced to shut down permanently.

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Winklevoss twins to launch NASDAQ for Bitcoin http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/01/23/winklevoss-twins-to-launch-nasdaq-for-bitcoin/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/01/23/winklevoss-twins-to-launch-nasdaq-for-bitcoin/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 12:19:48 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=215643 Continue reading ]]> small__10938112263Winklevoss twins Tyler and Camero, are looking to launch the first regulated Bitcoin exchange for American customers.

Reports state the twins have hired engineers from top hedge funds, enlisted a bank and engaged regulators to aid them in opening the exchange, called Gemini, which means “twins” in Latin for. The Winklevoss twins say they see Gemini one day becoming the ‘Nasdaq’ for Bitcoin, though whether or not investors will share their enthusiasm remains to be seen.

The Winklevoss twins have much to gain and much to lose when it comes to Bitcoin, thus they’re aggresively pushing for it to become more valuable and more widespread among consumers. The two have amassed a small fortune in Bitcoin since 2012, and with the decline in its value, they’re doing what they can to help the cryptocurrency get back on its feet.

Some are now wary about Bitcoin exchanges, especially in light of what happened toMt.Gox and the recent hack of Bitstamp, but the two are going about Gemini with a whole new approach, and that involves playing ball with regulators. Because of this strategy, Gemini has managed to get a bank account with an American bank.

According to the New York Times, under the condition that only the general outline will be discussed regarding the involvement of the American bank, “the Winklevosses have an agreement with a bank chartered in New York to handle the dollars moving in and out of customer accounts.”

Though this is a milestone for a Bitcoin exchange, Gemini may not please all Bitcoin afficionados, as it goes against the unregulated nature of digital currencies. Some Bitcoin enthusiasts believe that governments and banking institutions shouldn’t have a say in the way Bitcoin works, but others believe the only way for it go mainstream is if it becomes regulated.

You can’t really blame the twins for wanting Bitcoin to be better regulated, as they’ve been burned on their investment with BitInstant, a startup launched by Charlie Shrem, who was later arrested and convicted of money laundering charges.

Aside from Gemini, the Winklevoss twins are also busy with the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust exchange traded fund (ETF) which is in the final stages of getting listed on Nasdaq.

photo credit: xlowmiller via photopin cc

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2.5 hours. That’s how long the Apple Watch battery will last with ‘heavy’ use http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/01/23/2-5-hours-thats-how-long-the-apple-watch-battery-will-last-with-heavy-use/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/01/23/2-5-hours-thats-how-long-the-apple-watch-battery-will-last-with-heavy-use/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 12:15:23 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=215622 Continue reading ]]> apple-iwatchWith Apple Inc. still on track to ship their watch by the end of March, questions and rumors continue to crop up. The latest rumor about the Apple Watch to emerge is regarding the battery life. The Apple team was hoping for higher figures when it comes to the Watch’s battery life; however, this doesn’t seem to be the case.

The latest report from 9to5Mac suggests that with continuous use for processor-intensive applications like games the battery will last 2.5 hours; this is according to sources that have knowledge of the Watch’s development.  With standard app use the Apple Watch’s battery is reported to last 3.5 hours. When it comes to using the Watch’s fitness tracking, the sources say the battery “is targeted for nearly 4 hours of straight exercise tracking on a single charge.”  According to the sources, when the Watch is in standby or low-power mode the battery will likely last 2 – 3 days.

The reduced battery life is likely because the Apple Watch will be packing a rather powerful processor and high-quality screen.

Battery life of the Apple Watch has continued to be a concern for the company and was reportedly a contributing factor for the delayed release. However, Apple have been working frantically and released an astounding 3,000 test units in order to calculate real-life performance. The company has been aiming for 19-hour battery life for mixed use; however, the first generation of the Apple Watch may not hit this mark, according to 9to5Mac’s sources.

The team at Apple has also been working on MagSafe-based inductive charging mechanism and has developed a plastic and stainless steel version of the circular charger. However, according to the sources there has been some negative impact on recharging times, which will hopefully be sorted by the March release date.

Even though these figures may fall short of what Apple and its consumers were expecting it’s unlikely to have a huge impact on sales, if any.

Image via Apple
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What we know about Office for Windows 10, and what we don’t know about Office 2016 http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/01/23/what-we-know-about-office-for-windows-10-and-what-we-dont-know-about-office-2016/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/01/23/what-we-know-about-office-for-windows-10-and-what-we-dont-know-about-office-2016/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 11:28:20 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=215649 Continue reading ]]> PowerPoint_UI_900x525Following Microsoft’s Windows preview event for consumers Julia White, general manager for the Office Product Management team, gave a little bit more away in an Office blog post on Thursday as to what we can expect from the new Office for Windows.

While Microsoft seems to be keeping quiet about the new desktop version of Office, named Office 2016, rumors have already suggested that we will see a more eye-friendly dark theme and also a search assistant that will help with all Office queries.

We do know a fair bit more about Microsoft’s touch-optimized Office for mobile devices however, and that we should see a preview of the “universal” Office apps in the coming weeks. We also know that Office apps will come installed for free on all devices running Windows 10.

White wrote briefly on what we can expect from the new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook for mobile. With Word collaboration is the main focus, and so we will see documents that are available to edit in real time and shared between users. Word will also feature the Bing powered Insights for Office which will allow users to access web references and images when reading documents.

PowerPoint will have an Ink Tools feature which will enable users to annotate presentations in real time, while Excel documents should be made less finicky with touch-first controls. On OneNote White wrote that sharing notes will be made easier with the Office ribbon experience, and as for Outlook we are told that Inbox management will be unproblematic with touch-controlled flagging, sorting reading and archiving capabilities.

The new version of the ubiquitous Office for desktop is still a bit of mystery, but we are hoping Microsoft has some more tricks up its sleeve. Microsoft does say that we can look forward to some “compelling new experiences” which will be revealed in the coming months. The release date for Office 2016 is the second half of this year.

Photo credit: Microsoft

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