SiliconANGLE Extracting the signal from the noise. Wed, 01 Oct 2014 19:12:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Bitcoin Weekly 2014 October 1: Circle exits beta, Square plans POS system for BTC, Reddit alt-coin IPO, OpenBazaar 2.0 Wed, 01 Oct 2014 19:12:54 +0000 Continue reading ]]> bitcoin-weekly-july-2014This week Circle gets the center ring after coming out of its lengthy closed beta to throw open its doors to the unwashed masses. The company hopes to provide another portal for consumers to enter into the bitcoin economy and does so with easy purchase of bitcoins via bank account or credit card. Last week, Square came out with news that its new cash registers will be able to accept bitcoins at point of sale—which will certainly add to the number of brick and mortar outlets able to take bitcoin.

Reddit appears to be dabbling in the idea producing its own alt-coin as part of offering shares in the social media site to users. This would be part of a $50 million outside funding round and may or may not happen, but the news should still be interesting to the Bitcoin community.

Finally OpenBazaar’s beta has reached 2.0 and has released numerous bug fixes and functionality changes. As a distributed marketplace proof-of-concept, projects such as OpenBazaar could be a powerful service combined with a distributed currency such as bitcoin.

Circle exits open beta and opens doors to a global audience

The hard-to-get-an-invite Bitcoin consumer-operation Circle has finally left closed beta and opened its doors to the public.

Circle’s mission is to create a resource for consumers to buy and store Bitcoin that is intuitive, seamless, and easy to use. To do this, Circle provides a web wallet (for the storage of bitcoins) as well as a method for buying bitcoin with bank account or credit card. Circle describes this approach to bitcoin availability as frictionless—allowing users to turn funds into bitcoin in minutes (instead of days).

By giving more people the opportunity to buy into the bitcoin economy, it will mean a larger audience of consumers for the growing number of merchants signing up for services such as Coinbase (which would compete with Circle as a wallet) and BitPay as well as retailers such as TigerDirect and Newegg.

Circle’s current friction-point is the lack of mobile apps that allow easy bitcoin payments when on-the-go. The company is on record

Square’s new cash register will accept Bitcoin at point of sale

Square is already well known in commerce circles for producing solutions that allow merchants to accept credit cards in person with mobile devices—and now, Square is producing a point of sale register that will enable sellers to accept bitcoin.

The story ran in Wired, outlining a path that would bring Square into line with bitcoin acceptance.

Square CEO Jack Dorsey made this known last week when speaking to the CBC about Square’s thoughts on ApplePay. “We’re building a register so that sellers can accept a credit card, so they can accept cash, so they can accept a cheque, so they can accept Bitcoin and so they can accept any form of payment that comes across the counter including future ones.”

Bloomberg profile of Coinbase, long but good read

Anthony Effinger at Bloomberg has written a lengthy, but fairly informative, profile of the Bitcoin wallet and financial service Coinbase. In the story, Effinger provides a description of Fred Ehrsam and Brian Armstrong, co-founders of Coinbase and the story of how Coinbase and Bitcoin got to where the company and technology are at today.

As one of the best-known Bitcoin financial companies, Coinbase is an inherent part of Bitcoin’s ecology and it gains more partners it continues to pull the currency towards mass adoption. Amid the latest coup, Coinbase is one of three Bitcoin finance companies partnered with PayPal to enable bitcoin transactions.

The profile is more than just a foray into the exploits of Coinbase, it’s almost a walk through the garden of Bitcoin history. It includes sections on the history of Bitcoin heists, the fear of double-spending, early scams and concerns about the technology. It even speaks a little bit about Satoshi Nakamoto, the enigmatic Batman of Bitcoin’s early development.

Reddit proposes cryptocurrency IPO to raise funds

After the success of Bitcoin numerous other cryptocurrencies have risen up to act as a fundraising medium. Blockchain-based cryptocoin have all the hallmarks of a stock: tradable, divisible, and acting as a store/exchange of value. Reddit intends to continue this fine tradition with its own cryptocurrency as part of a $50 million round of outside funding.

The blog post linked above, written by Yishan Wong is the CEO of Reddit (aka /u/yishan), who, when asked in a Reddit thread about the “crypto IPO” mentioned the cryptocurrency angle:

“We are thinking about creating a cryptocurrency and making it exchangeable (backed) by those shares of reddit, and then distributing the currency to the community,” writes Wong. “The investors have explicitly agreed to this in their investment terms.”

Wong mentions that the Reddit team has had a brief discussion with an ex-SEC lawyer about the project and nothing illegal could be found. However, Wong adds, there would still be dozens of things to do before this sort of plan could become viable for the social media outlet.

Wong emphasizes in his post that while this could become part of the funding plans it is still in its nascent stages and could totally fall through. He also notes that this contradicts something else he said in early August, when Wong said Reddit was only evaluating cryptocurrency and not interested in producing an altcoin. He explains that at the time this plan had not yet been conceived.

OpenBazaar launches beta version 2.0

OpenBazaar, an open source decentralized trading network that produces an Internet marketplace built upon nodes of every person participating, has completed its first beta version and now version 2.0 is available to the public. The project can be downloaded from GitHub and runs on MacOS, Windows, and Linux; but it is still highly technical and designed for expert users.

OpenBazaar functions by having a user install an application on their machine that connects them to the network. Once connected, the user can then post an advertisement for a trade, a la Craigslist or any other ecommerce site, with description, keywords, and price details. That ad is then distributed to the entire network of nodes via an index that all other users can search against using those keywords to find and offer to buy the product advertised.

When an agreement to purchase occurs, the OpenBazaar network produces a cryptographically signed contract between the two users and enlists a third party who acts as a notary. In the case of a dispute another third party can act as an arbiter, usually someone trusted by bother parties in the trade.

Once a contract is created, the system manages escrow by generating a miltisig address signed with the keys of the two participants. In the case of an ordinary transaction, the first key unlocks the address as proof that the item has shipped; and the second key unlocks the address as proof of receipt. The multisig system also allows an arbiter, mentioned above, to control a third key or a voting pool of trusted individuals to be formed around releasing or refunding the account.

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Analysts break down Oracle’s new cloud business model | #OOW14 Wed, 01 Oct 2014 18:36:30 +0000 Continue reading ]]> vellanteThere’s a new business model in town for technology stalwart Oracle Corp., now based on the three layers of cloud: infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, and the company’s enormous portfolio, led by applications. In this new model, applications are what drive infrastructure, explained Dave Vellante in a deep analysis discussion with Stu Miniman, broadcasting live from theCUBE’s QLogic studio at Oracle OpenWorld 2014.

“Most infrastructure companies start by building a platform, a solution. Oracle starts with an application,” Miniman stated, pointing out that Oracle was the first converged infrastructure company in the market and remains in a great position for this sector.

The company’s messaging at this week’s event is heavy on cloud messaging, analytics, and Hadoop. “Oracle’s messaging might be a couple years behind the bleeding edge,” Miniman said, going on to note that it’s the sweet spot for adoption for most companies, which is perfect for Oracle’s huge install base.

Commenting on Oracle founder and Chairman Larry Ellison’s past statements about the cloud being little more than vapor, Vellante explained that the point of that statement was the cloud is still in the datacenters — it’s storage, microprocessors and databases. “The cloud is really a business model,” Vellante emphasized, and Oracle is now starting to recognize it as revenue. “They’re running now at almost $2 billion a year in cloud revenue,” he added.

Looking comparitively at a cloud rival’s business model, Inc’s strategy to “bring your own software” is a way for the company to strong-arm software companies to be in the Amazon Marketplace. “Oracle does not want to sell software in the Amazon marketplace if they don’t have to,” explained Vellante, saying Oracle wants it purchased on top of their own platform.

Read more after the video.



Also contributing to Oracle’s cloud strategy is the open source play, where non-proprietary initiatives have disrupted the market and attracted investment from many of Oracle’s top rivals. Discussing Oracle’s launch of an OpenStack distribution, Miniman said that “Oracle is not the first company you think of when you think of open source.” However, OpenStack shows the promise of being the platform for the public cloud, he went on, saying that “if there’s a growing infrastructure around it, [Oracle] needs to get involved. “

Oracle’s angle with OpenStack has a two-pronged justification, according to Miniman. First, from a cloud standpoint, if Oracle builds a cloud, they want to be able to answer ‘yes’ when asked if the cloud is based on OpenStack. “It reduces customer concern on lock in,” Miniman explained, enabling Oracle to address the growing trend towards data center component agnosticism. Second, Miniman went on, Oracle are looking to extend ongoing projects around Oracle Linux and Oracle virtual machines.

Vellante mentioned that part of his research as the chief analyst at involved asking customers if they’re using OpenStack, and if they’ve even heard of it, finding very few actual users. What Oracle is doing with OpenStack is very similar to their shifting attitude towards VMware, Inc., where they once had a rather negative perspective of the virtualization company.

One remaining challenge is Oracle’s strategy revolves around shipping its applications, which could resurface customer perception of Oracle locking-in services. Miniman explained, “if I want to build my business, I have more than one application. That is a limiting factor for Oracle.”

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After a year of incubation, Apache welcomes Storm into the Hadoop family Wed, 01 Oct 2014 18:00:38 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Colorful Sonoran Desert StormReal-time analysis in Hadoop moved a step closer to enterprise reality on Monday after the Apache Software Foundation promoted Storm to a top-level project. The status upgrade charts a future for the continued development of the platform under the same community umbrella that governs the batch processing framework and its sprawling component ecosystem.

Like most of the other technologies in the extended Hadoop family, Apache Storm started as an internal project at a web company that encountered a challenge no existing solution could adequately address. In this particular case, the firm in question was a little-known social media marketing startup known as BackType Inc., which momentarily appeared on the industry radar after becoming part of Twitter Inc. in August 2011.

The company had already open-sourced much of its homegrown analytics technology by the time of the acquisition, namely the ElephantDB key-value store for exporting information from Hadoop and Cascalog, a library designed to simplify work in the data processing framework. A week after announcing the purchase, Twitter revealed that it would continue BackType’s community-giving tradition and release the source code for the last remaining ace up the startup’s sleeve under a free license. The rest is history.

Storm became an Apache Incubator process last September and garnered the support of several industry heavy hitters over the course of its 12-month induction process, including Cisco Systems Inc., engineering powerhouse PARC and Yahoo Inc., the birthplace of Hadoop. Along the way, the real-time event processor has been enhanced with features such as support for the YARN resource management and scheduling tool, which enables different types of workloads to run in the same deployment so as to make fast-paced stream analysis more practical from a cost standpoint.

Hadoop distributor Hortonworks Inc. – itself a supporter of Storm – only recently started working on integrating YARN with Spark, the other real-time data crunching engine that has been making waves in the ecosystem lately. Yet while there are significant technological overlaps between the projects, they’re built for two fundamentally different tasks.

The product of UC Berkley’s AMPLab, Spark is designed to reduce processing times for the traditional batch workloads Hadoop was built to handle. Storm, in contrast, operationalizes the framework to analyze fast-moving data streams such as tweets and sensory input. The technology, therefore, fills a much bigger functionality gap in the upstream component ecosystem that makes its graduation especially significant for the future development of Hadoop. Expect more and more vendors to start integrating their products with the project and contribute code now that it has reached stable ground.

photo credit: Striking Photography by Bo Insogna via photopin cc
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Oracle makes a splash in the all-flash party with its FS1-2 arrays Wed, 01 Oct 2014 17:20:57 +0000 Continue reading ]]> small__7973759688Oracle Corp. has burst back into the SAN storage scene with the launch of its new Oracle FS1-2 Flash Storage System, which is “like no other array on the market”, writes Wikibon analyst David Floyer in his latest professional alert.

According to Floyer, the FS1-2 provides oustanding performance in Oracle application environments thanks to number of technology advances. These include the array’s built-in tiering quality-of-service technology (QoS), derived from Oracle’s acquisition of Pillar Data Systems in 2013, which allows for IOs to be prioritized for business critical applications and for low-overhead migration of small blocks of data from up to four tiers.

Another excellent feature is the ability to define application profiles within the array, writes Floyer. Pre-defined application profiles facilitate “1-click” provisioning to boost the performance of Oracle Database and other apps by disaggregating database components such as index files, database tables, archive logs, redo logs, control files, and temp files.

Data integrity and data reduction are also very important components of Oracle’s new array. The T10 Protection Information (T10 PI) standard, formally known as Data Integrity Field (DIF), serves to prevent silent data corruption, while Oracle’s Hybrid Columnar Compression (HCC) standard allows for variable and high levels of data compression. Floyer says the latter is “very useful” for Oracle workloads, noting there’s a good business case for compression on flash storage in both AFAs and traditional storage arrays.

Additionally, the FS1-2 can be configured with two performance tiers in order to compensate for the lack of DRe functionality and reduce the cost of using flash.

Floyer points out that the lack of DRe capabilities aren’t really a problem for those running Oracle-only workloads. Nevertheless, Floyer believes that adding this feature would make the FS1-2 much more attractive to those who wish to deploy it across multiple workloads and urges Oracle to make this possible.

In conclusion, Floyer recommends the Oralce FS1-2 Flash Storage system as a well-balanced array that offers outstanding performance within an Oracle application environment, and can help to facilitate automation and reduce the costs of storage.

As with all Wikibon published research, Floyer’s full report is available on the Wikibon Web site. IT professionals are invited to register for free membership in the Wikibon community. This allows them to influence the direction of and participate in Wikibon research and to post questions, comments, and their own research to share with the community.

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Smart park bench tells if you need to lose weight Wed, 01 Oct 2014 16:33:07 +0000 Continue reading ]]> This week’s Smart Health roundup features park benches that tell your weight, a skin patch that tells you when it’s time to moisturize, and a fitness tracker with a simple design that packs all the features you need to keep fit.

man sitting on park bench


Park benches in Moscow to help people get fit


Andrei Lapshin, the director of Moscow’s northern Sokolniki park, revealed that 20 or so smart benches will be installed in the park by the end of the year. What makes these park benches different from normal seating is their ability to measure a sitting person’s weight, display it on a screen, provide health tips and recommend the nearest fitness centers.

The park benches cost up to $1,300 apiece, and will be funded by unnamed investors. Other parks in Moscow, Fili and Taganka parks, have expressed interest in these smart park benches. The idea behind this came from an initiative at a Netherlands fitness club that installed special benches that weigh people at bus stops.

Smart skin patch


Researchers at the Northwestern University and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are looking into a smart skin patch that can quickly alert a person or medical professional if the person is having cardiovascular problems, or even if their skin is just a little dry.

The smart skin patch uses thousands of tiny liquid crystals on a flexible substrate that sense transient temperature changes at the skin’s surface. The patch changes color depending on whether the change is related to cardiovascular health or skin hydration.

Researchers working on this project believe that it could be the next big thing in wearable tech, as the skin patch can be worn for long periods without any discomfort. Cosmetic companies can greatly benefit from this technology as it can easily determine a consumer’s skin hydration without being too intrusive.

The device is very practical,” said Yihui Zhang, co-author and research assistant professor. “When your skin is stretched, compressed, or twisted, the device stretches, compresses or twists right along with it.”

Runtastic Orbit


Runtastic GmbH offers a fitness-tracking device that may resemble another popular fitness trackers, but packs a bigger punch. Called the Runtastic Orbit, it is able to track steps, active minutes, calories burned, sleep cycles, goals and ambient lighting. It is waterproof up to 300 feet, which allows for more versatility when it comes activities in which a user can engage. The device also features an OLED display, alarm and Bluetooth Smart Technology.

Another thing that makes Runtastic Orbit different is that its strap is easily interchangeable, which means you can choose to wear it on your wrist like a watch or use a clip somewhere more discreet. It charges using a USB cable, with a single charge lasting five to seven days.

It pairs seamlessly with the Runtastic Me app and the Runtastic Ecosystem, as data gathered by the Runtastic Orbit can be viewed using the mobile app or the web service. But because of the Orbit Connect feature, data available in the Runtastic Me app can also be accessed using the device. This allows wearers to check progress even when they’re in the middle of their workout routine. Runtastic Orbit is available for $120 and comes with two straps and a clip.

photo credit: Elvert Barnes via photopin cc
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4.4 Billion still without Internet access, Facebook report shows why Wed, 01 Oct 2014 15:56:40 +0000 Continue reading ]]> internet-connectFor many people, Internet access is now essential. It is as common as electricity or even access to water. But for 4.4 billion people in the world, the Internet does not exist. A new study by McKinsey & Company, Inc. in collaboration with Facebook, Inc. points to a number of barriers that prevent this large group of people from gaining Internet access and connecting with the rest of the world.

Of the 4.4 billion people without Internet access, 3.4 billion of them live in 20 countries where low income and rural existence is a way of life. A disproportionate number of them are also illiterate and female, with women 25 percent less likely to have access than men. Between 1.1 and 2.8 billion people are not even able to access the Internet via mobile devices because they live in areas without mobile network coverage. If the current trend continues, 3.8 to 4.2 billion people will still be without access by 2017, while 500 to 900 million will join the “online population” during that same period.

The report cites a number of barriers to Internet adoption, including:

  • Lack of incentives – This includes lack of general awareness of the Internet, lack of local or relevant content and lack of cultural acceptance.
  • Low income vs. high cost – Many of the places that do offer Internet services, particularly through mobile data plans, are simply too expensive for low income residents
  • User capability – Many lack the skills and digital literacy or language literacy to use the Internet effectively.
  • Infrastructure – Numerous people truly live “off the grid”, out of mobile coverage or even without electricity.

The full 127-page report provides details on barriers in specific countries as well as more in-depth analyses of trends that may increase Internet adoption in those areas. The report is available for free download at Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to give a keynote at the Summit in New Dehli, India next week to address this issue of barriers to Internet access.

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7 Nest apps for luxury smart homes Wed, 01 Oct 2014 15:21:13 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Nest thermostatIt was just last year at CEDIA Expo 2013, Nest Labs Inc. finally let developers in with an open API and developer program “Works with Nest,” and at this year’s CEDIA Expo, Nest unveiled even more fresh updates to its developer program.

When the developer program was first announced, Control4 Corp. was the first to sign up, but has yet to release an official support for the learning thermostat, until now.

Nest recently announced that it now works with Control4, Crestron Electronics Inc., Remote Technologies Incorporated (RTI) and Universal Remote Control, Inc. (URC). What this means for consumers using these high-end, pricey home automation platforms is that they can now purchase a Nest learning thermostat or its smart smoke detector and have it seamlessly blend with their existing systems.

Nest is serious in its hopes of becoming the unifying factor in home automation systems, and throughout its journey the company has made strategic partnerships with other industry players to create a more meaningful connected world.

Top 7 Nest collaborations for high end homes



RTI announced earlier this month the availability of a new two-way driver for Nest products. The two-way driver is available at no cost to RTI dealers, and seamlessly integrates with Nest products allowing users to easily adjust the target temperature directly from their RTI devices.

Other integrated features include temperature-based ceiling fan control, the ability to alert Nest when the user is home so the thermostat can come out of Away mode without the user having to walk past the thermostat, and monitor some functions of the Nest Protect: Smoke + Carbon Monoxide alarm, including multiple alarm statuses, battery power, and power levels.


URC announced at CEDIA Expo 2014 the development of new two-way control modules for smart home products that includes Nest products. The new two-way modules will allow the seamless integration between Nest products and URC’s Total Control products and ccGEN2 home automation system. URC’s collaboration with Nest is part of its “steadfast pledge to keep our automation systems fresh and compatible with what our dealers and the market demand,” according to a released statement from the company.

Nest + Hue integration


Last June, the Nest Thermostat and Nest Protect channels were launched on IFTTT Inc., which allows users to automate actions of the Nest products or other connected devices connected to Nest’s network. Some of the popular recipes include turning Philips Hue light bulbs on or off when you set Nest to “away” mode, setting your Nest to home will automatically turn on your WeMo switch, or automatically change the temperature when the sun sets or rises.


Back in July, Revolv Inc. released its Android app, updated its iOS app, and announced its integration with Nest’s learning thermostat. This integration allows Revolv users to setup automated actions for Nest based on their location and daily activities. When the Revolv hub detects that you’re on your way home, it can tell the thermostat to set the temperature to a specific level.


Whirlpool Corp. introduced its Nest integration back in June via the company’s Works with Nest program. The collaboration leverages Nest’s API to create a connected home experience that looks to be more purposeful and thoughtful, starting with Whirlpool’s line of laundry appliances. Whirlpool washers and dryers with Nest integration can keep the user’s clothes fresh if a cycle ends while the user is away by switching to a longer but energy efficient cycle based on the activation of Nest’s “away” mode. This way, you still get to was your laundry while running errands outside the house, but still get home to freshly laundered clothes.


Airbnb Inc. is a service that matches accommodating homeowners with adventurous vacationers. Nest and Airbnb have something in common, and that’s their achievement of “reinventing things that most people hadn’t realized needed reinventing.” So it was only a matter of time before the two collaborated. Nest recently launched an initiative of providing some select Airbnb hosts Nest thermostats so they can provide a more comfortable living space for guests without having to worry about skyrocketing electricity bills. The project is starting with a small group of Airbnb hosts in the US but aims to expand its collaboration globally.

Big Ass Fans

Keeping homes comfortably cool doesn’t necessarily equate to higher electric bill, especially when you use the Haiku smart fan from Big Ass Fans Co. The Haiku smart fan is a residential fan fitted with the company’s SenseMe technology that determines when to turn the fan on or off based on the user’s presence in the room, or when to turn the blades faster or slower, even learning user preferences. Integrated with Nest’s learning thermostat, Haiku can keep the room cool even when the thermostat is turned a few degrees up. According to Big Ass Fans, each degree you raise your Nest Thermostat you save five percent on energy costs. Now, you can give your A/C unit a rest without having to suffer.


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Oracle OpenWorld day 2: Mobile and verticals take center stage | #OOW14 Wed, 01 Oct 2014 14:42:56 +0000 Continue reading ]]> After unloading the bulk of the updates to its core portfolio during the opening day of OpenWorld 2014, Oracle Corp. is shifting gears with a second batch of product reveals that moves the focus beyond traditional corporate apps to mobile workers, developers and vertical industries.

Oracle cloud




The poster child for the new direction is the new Oracle Alta User Interface, a sleek design system that takes aim at the challenge of providing not only consistent but also compelling services for all the different devices that have infiltrated the corporate network. The database giant boasts that the platform has already been proven internally, having helped its engineers implement the layouts for the latest releases of the Oracle Fusion enterprise resource management suite and dozens of other products.

The company says that the service is aimed at empowering enterprise developers to embrace a more modern approach to visual design, which has traditionally been an afterthought in mission-critical software. Oracle also wants to put that power directly into the hands of the business users with a graphic development environment that takes the self-service model to a whole new level.

Currently in preview, the Mobile Application Accelerator promises to enable everyday knowledge workers without any coding experience to put together simple mobile apps for filling specific needs that their IT organizations lack the resources to address. Software produced in the editor is compatible with both iOS and Android as well as the dozens of solutions in the company’s dramatically expanded portfolio of back-end services

Tearing down technical boundaries


In case a user requires a feature that they can’t add on their own, developers can inject custom code into their application using Oracle’s existing development framework for smartphones and tablets, which also received a major upgrade at the event. Standing out from the many improvements is enhanced integration with the database maker’s Mobile Security Suite.

The update allows developers to take full advantage of the capabilities in the toolkit, which Oracle says include encryption, authentication, single sign on and other standard administrative functions as well as more advanced features like automatic protection against data leaks. Yet while it may be convenient for mobile development, the traditional bolt-on approach to security no longer cuts it for the backend applications powering corporate operations. That fact has not escaped the vendor’s attention.

To help customers better address the new reality of the threat landscape, Oracle is rolling out an emulation service that provides a set of capabilities that secure software from the ground up.

A specific solution to a specific problem


Oracle Software in Silicon Cloud provides a virtual machine configured to display the characteristics of a Solaris environment running its forthcoming M7 processors. The simulation makes it possible to test applications for security bugs and other kinds of vulnerabilities at the hardware level without having to pay an arm and a leg for the physical infrastructure that would be needed to support the same functionality.

Larry Ellison’s firm is touting a similar value proposition for the latest version of its cloud-based PeopleSoft Human Capital Management platform, another vertical solution geared towards a narrow but vital aspect of business operations. Falling into step with Oracle’s newly found passion for user experience design, the latest release of the suite packs a mobile-optimized look that sports more than 50 new features ranging from minor tweaks such as tiled home pages to much-needed centralization and customization options.

Extending its vertical focus beyond specific areas of business to entire industries, Oracle is also introducing an updated version of its FLEXCUBE kit for the financial sector with personal financial management capabilities that banks can ship as-is to their customers. The release is joined by an upgrade to the company’s s Diameter Signaling Router that allows telecoms to integrate 2G and 3G network equipment with LTE gear and an expanded government cloud lineup.

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PayPal’s independence will bring the fight to competitors Wed, 01 Oct 2014 13:58:25 +0000 Continue reading ]]> photo credit: <a href="">Jason A. Howie</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>eBay Inc.’s announcement yesterday that it will spin off PayPal into a separate business in 2015 may position PayPal to more effectively respond to growing competition in the online payments market. PayPal faces rivals from the likes of Google Inc.’s Google Wallet, Square Inc. and Skrill Ltd. to name few of the more established players.

Meanwhile new players are entering the market with Apple Inc. scheduled to launch its recently announced service, Apple Pay, next month. PayPal was in negotiations with Apple, but was ultimately excluded after it partnered with Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. during the negotiations, said Ian Kar from Bank Innovation.

And while the world was focused on the eBay announcement, Dwolla quietly announced that it has raised a further $9.7 million in funding, led by the CME Group, to further build out its payment platform.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Keith Robois, former PayPal VP said “…in the United States there has been an incredible innovation in payments over the last decade and PayPal hasn’t participated in any of it whether it’s Square or Stripe, Braintree, which they had to acquire, Bitcoin and the derivative consequences of Bitcoin.  PayPal has completely been irrelevant in all of those conversations…”

So what comes next for an independent PayPal?


As a unit of a rival e-commerce company, PayPal has been limited in its expansion with the likes of and brick-and-mortar shops. As a standalone entity, PayPal will be better positioned as a strategic and pertinent player in the fast-changing online payment industry. Untethered from eBay, PayPal may be a viable partner for the likes of and the newly IPO’d Alibaba who would not have considered it an option while PayPal was part of rival eBay.

Carl Icahn, eBay’s sixth largest shareholder with a 2.8 percent stake, does not believe PayPal should stay on its own for too long. He believes that the online payments market should be consolidated, either by PayPal buying up smaller rivals or by merging with another major player. “In light of the development of strong competition such as the advent of Apple Pay, the sooner these consolidations take place, the better,” he wrote on his website.

In its statement eBay says that PayPal services $1 out of every $6 dollars spent online. It has over 150 million fee paying users who use the online service to send money to other users and pay for goods and services in more than 200 markets. The last quarter saw it post a 20 percent revenue increase to $1.95 billion. When it IPO’s next year, it is likely to be in a cash strong position that will allow it to aggressively take on the market.

eBay investors welcomed the news as eBay shares soared nearly 8 percent to close at $56.63 on Tuesday.

Image credit: Jason Howie
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Reddit gets $50m funding, plans new cryptocurrency to share the wealth Wed, 01 Oct 2014 12:17:53 +0000 Continue reading ]]> 11230072415_97b64eaa05Self-styled ‘front page of the Internet’ site is flush with case all of a sudden, after confirimg a new $50 million funding round. It’s a bucket-load of cash to be sure, but what’s more interesting is that the site is promising as much as 10 percent of the amount will be shared with community members through the creation of a new cryptocurrency.

Reddit users do deserve a share of the spoils, for they’ve helped make the site the huge success it is today. One thing it’s particularly good at is spotting Internet trends and news long before the mainstream media does, and of course it’s a great place to find things like stolen nude celebrity photos or hunt for terrorists.

Reddit CEO Yishan Wong wrote in a blog post that the investors have agreed to hand over 10 percent of their shares to community members, as part of the terms of the deal. However, it seems Reddit doesn’t know exactly how its proposed cryptocurrency will work just yet. It could be that the cryptocurrency is used as a kind of ownership token of shares in the site – a concept that’s been proposed by several crypto 2.0 projects in the past.

Nor is Reddit the only company to announce a plan like this – made a similar announcement last July.

Wong attempted to clarify things on the r/blog subreddit, saying that the idea is to create a “special-purpose cryptocurrency” backed by the values of shared created by this funding round. “We are thinking about creating a cryptocurrency and making it exchangeable (backed) by those shares of reddit, and then distributing the currency to the community,” wrote Wong. “The investors have explicitly agreed to this in their investment terms.”

Given the potential benefits for site users, Wong feels the idea is worth trying, although he warns that Reddit is currently just exploring the idea. “CAVEAT: KEEP IN MIND THAT THIS PLAN COULD TOTALLY FAIL,” he added in a later post.

As for the rest of the money, Reddit plans on using it to bolster its production development staff and community management teams, and to increase its mobile presence. Just this month, Reddit launched an official mobile app for its popular Ask Me Anything sessions, so we can expect to see more developments in this area.

photo credit: World Poker Tour via photopin cc
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