Giant tech companies including LinkedIn, Google, Facebook and others are banning together to create a “Reform Government Surveillance” group. “We strongly believe that current laws and practices need to be reformed,” they explained. [VentureBeat]
Bitcoin’s value plummeted over the weekend after China started cracking down on the use of the digital currency. [PC World]
Netflix is quietly transforming from a streaming company to a full-fledged network that could soon take on the biggies. [New Republic]
The NSA reportedly spied on video game platforms like Xbox Live and probably heard (or saw) a lot of things they wish they didn’t. [Guardian]
Some of the city’s new cabs include USB outlets, panoramic windows and customized climate control so you can drive like a freakin’ Rockefeller. [Gothamist]
If you’re closely tracking the wild swings in bitcoin’s value, it’s enough to make you crave a glass of wine–or several. The City Wine Cellar in Staten Island is now accepting the decentralized digital currency as a form of payment,presumably to help calm your nerves after hours of nerd mining.
Bitcoin has been in the news a lot lately. Is it a legit form of currency? Can the government regulate it? Why are banks trying to harsh its vibe so hard? We don’t know. But what we do know is that you can now use it to buy breast implants in–where else?–Miami.
Starting today, Uber passengers can now pay for their rides using PayPal. [GigaOM]
We’d love to be at the meeting between the RapGenius guys and the songwriters’ group accusing them of stealing their work. [The Wrap]
The usage of the word “selfie” shot up 17,000% since two years ago with the Instagram accounts of Betabeat’s staff accounting for half of that. [USA Today]
If you have all of your 401(k) invested in Bitcoins, yesterday was a worrying time since it lost nearly $300 of its value in a half hour. [GeekWire]
The founders of Myspace blame Rupert Murdoch for destroying the site and nothing else. [Huffington Post]
Bitcoin licenses for sellers might become a thing that exists in New York. The state is going to soon start holding hearings about regulating the digital currency. [The Verge]
Dan Porter said ominously that he “knew it was our time” to sell OMGPop to Zynga before it was taken out back and essentially shot. [New York Times]
Over the next six months, Google is improving the blockage of child porn using technology that tags pictures and keywords as illegal. [Telegraph]
Apple is close to snapping up Israeli company PrimeSense, which developed the technology behind Kinect. [Digital Trends]
OK: “Watch Airbnb’s Chef Rap About Food at a Hackthon.” [TechCrunch]
Goooood Morning Silicon Alley!
This is a guest post from Gary Sharma (aka “The Guy with the Red Tie”), founder and CEO of GarysGuide and proud owner of a whole bunch of black suits, white shirts and, at last count, over 40 red ties. You can reach him at gary [at] garysguide.com.
Congrats to NYC’s new mayor Bill de Blasio! Will he continue Bloomberg’s legacy as champion of Silicon Alley? A few proposed initiatives give cause for optimism … $150 million for STEM scholarships at CUNY, $100 million in seed money for startups, continued support of NYC tech campus projects, embracing Brooklyn Tech Triangle, and creating an office of talent acquisition and broadband for everyone.
Wanna get your feet wet in native iOS app development? Then you, my friend, wanna enroll in this free beginner workshop: DIY Build an iOS App in 3 hours.
In an effort to help your parents finally understand what the hell it is you’re talking about, Oxford Dictionaries Online–which prides itself on chronicling youth jargon–announced that it’s adding “twerk,” “selfie,” and “derp,” among others, to its archives.
When the Department of Homeland Security seized the funds from Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox’s Dwolla account, we were unsure just how much was taken; now, according to court documents, that number totaled $2.9 million. [Gigaom]
Yesterday Twitter added “related headlines” to tweets, and everyone momentarily freaked out. [PandoDaily]
If you’re building an app that connects to Instagram, better not put “Insta” or “gram” in the title or else you’re gonna have a bad time. [Techcrunch]
Internet citizens, typically reasoned and level-headed when it comes to these sorts of things, freaked the fuck out yesterday when Amazon temporarily went down. [Fast Company]
Elon Musk’s Tesla Model S achieved the highest safety rating of any car. Ever. We like to imagine Mr. Musk celebrating with a lavish party on Mars. [Tesla]
It's All About the Bitcoins
BitInstant, the New York-based Bitcoin startup that promises to make it easier and faster to transfer Bitcoin funds, has been hit with a class action suit, according to CoinDesk.
In the suit, three BitInstant customers allege that the startup makes false claims about its services, including advertisements that say customers can obtain coins “within an hour or two,” and that they will be refunded if their transfers experience “undue delays.” The customers call these representations “disingenuous,” and are suing the company for relief for the company’s false representations of the speed of its service.
It's All About the Bitcoins
Looks like the road to mainstream Bitcoin acceptance is paved with regulation.
The New York Department of Financial Services has issued subpoenas to a variety of New York-based Bitcoin enterprises, including Coinbase, Coinsetter and BitInstant, in an effort to collect more information about the booming virtual currency. This could lead to increased state regulation, as the department works to determine if Bitcoin companies should be regulated like other money-transmission companies, and/or be held to a separate set of standards.