The bizarre tale of Google’s takeover of Provo’s fiber network is getting even weirder. The search giant billed the Utah city $500,000 to locate where the wires are hidden since the company that installed them didn’t keep proper records of where they were buried. [Ars Technica]
Matthew Keys, the beleaguered former Reuters deputy social media editor, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges that he conspired with Anonymous to break-in and attack websites of his former employer, Tribune. His next court date is June 12. [Huffington Post]
“Anytime I’m at a dinner or an event, social or business, people are buzzing about Tinder.” And with those words spoken, a Times profile of the dating app was born. [New York Times]
Google houses more than 1,300 colorful bikes in a warehouse near its Mountain View headquarters for employees to use because there’s no perk not offered there. Were you expecting anything less? [Wired]
PayPal said that it’s “kinda thinking about” introducing Bitcoin as a form of payment in its system. [Silicon Angle]
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton is officially on Twitter. No word if he’s #TeamFollowback. [TNW]
Several big tech companies like Apple, Facebook and Intel have publicly declared their support for gay marriage. They’re part of a corporate group that’s reportedly planning to file an amicus brief in support of overturning California’s Prop 8. [Bloomberg]
Yahoo would like you to know that its new, anti-work-from-home police has absolutely nothing to do with you (unless you work at Yahoo). [Mercury News]
“While hanging with my 12 year old cousin the other day, I unknowingly entered into the world of Tweenstagram, a vastly different space than the Instagram I have grown to know and love (and refresh too often).” Do go on. [Wisdom of Pearls]
Max Levchin, one of the cofounders of PayPal, is launching a new mobile payments startup with the chipper name of Affirm. “You will essentially be putting a purchase on a digital tab, and we are going to make it work for us by looking at all available data to determine if you are someone who will pay it back.” [AllThingsD]
Former Square COO Keith Rabois, who left in the wake of sexual harassment accusations, has landed at Khlosa Ventures as a VC. [AllThingsD]
However broke the state of California may be, it’s also sitting on a treasure trove of unclaimed property that’s valued at over $6 billion. Holders like “corporations, business associations, financial institutions, and insurance companies” are required to report any unclaimed property annually to the state comptroller’s office. That means if you’ve forgotten about bank account contents or uncashed money orders, they’re sitting around with the comptroller.
If Singularity lover and PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel can’t have Mars, he will instead control earth. Business Insider reports that the early Facebook investor has bestowed a $300,000 investment upon Canadian inventor Louis Michaud so that he can create man-made tornadoes.
Hack Hack Hack Hack It Apart
A British student named Christopher Weatherhead was convicted today for his part in a series of cyber-attacks against companies that froze payments to WikiLeaks following its release of classified documents in 2010.
Law and Order
Anyone searching for cheap, counterfeit sports memorabilia, media, clothing and jewelry today may be disappointed. In conjunction with other law enforcement agencies around the world, U.S. authorities have taken down 132 domain names as part of their Project Cyber Monday. This marks the third year for the project, which goes after sites identified as sources for fake, illegal goods.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a statement about the take-downs, which noted authorities targeted sites meant to fool unwitting consumers “into unknowingly buying counterfeit goods as part of the holiday shopping season.”
It's All About the Bitcoins
WordPress.com, which hosts close to 58 million blogs across the world, announced last night that it will now accept payments for upgrades via Bitcoin, the peer-to-peer digital currency. The blog hosting platform says its mission is to “make publishing democratic,” and because PayPal and other payment companies block access in a fair amount of countries, the company has decided to accept Bitcoin, enabling users without access to PayPal to still purchase WordPress upgrades.
The Credit Card Killers
With an ever-crowded financial tech market and companies like PayPal and Google Wallet elbowing for industry dominance, the race to kill the credit card is heating up. But among the standouts is Iowa-based mobile payment startup Dwolla, thanks to an innovative pricing structure and a growing New York presence helmed by Michael Schonfeld and Alex Taub. Dwolla has raised money from two New York venture capital firms, Union Square Ventures and Thrive Capital. (Josh Kushner, a Thrive principal, is also part-owner of Observer Media Group.)
Brain Boost This morning, Braintree, a Chicago-based online payments company announced, a $35 million series B round of funding. The round was led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA). By investing in Braintree, new investors join Accel Partners and others and the company’s total funding is now set at $70 million.
Braintree acquired the beloved bill splitting app, Venmo, back in August and has kept it independent so far. Braintree allows businesses to accept payments from costumers, but Venmo allows consumers to make payments to anyone. It’s a natural fit for both parties.
Braintree’s client list includes fast-growing startups like Uber, Fab.com, Airbnb, who use it, “through periods of rapid growth without disruption to their ability to accept payments,” the company said in an email to Betabeat. They also name-checked competitors like Stripe and PayPal, noting that one “big difference is that merchants receive their funds typically in two days with Braintree, vs. seven days with Stripe.”
Violentacrez, a notorious Reddit user who moderated controversial subreddits like Creepshots and Jailbait, was revealed by Gawker on Friday to be a Texas-based IT worker named Michael Brusch. Adrian Chen’s post, “Unmasking Reddit’s Violentacrez, The Biggest Troll on the Web,” painstakingly detailed Mr. Brusch’s dark online history–including the fact that he has created subreddits for submission of racist, sexist and borderline pedophiliac content–and served as the apex of a brewing inter-website war.
Now, Violentacrez has returned to Reddit under his “clean” handle–mbrutsch–in an attempt to explain his side of the story. In a subreddit for point and click adventure games, Mr. Brutsch surfaced, publishing an innocuous link entitled “Tea Break Escape.” But comments on this link quickly turned to Mr. Brutsch and how he is dealing with the fallout from the Gawker article.