BIS warns rolling back globalisation would be ‘detrimental’ | World news | The Guardian

“Attempts to roll back globalisation would be the wrong response to these challenges. Globalisation, like technological innovation, has been an integral part of economic development.”

Fuente: BIS warns rolling back globalisation would be ‘detrimental’ | World news | The Guardian

Amazon and Google fight crucial battle over voice recognition | Technology | The Guardian

The retail giant has a threatening lead over its rival with the Echo and Alexa, as questions remain over how the search engine can turn voice technology into revenue

Fuente: Amazon and Google fight crucial battle over voice recognition | Technology | The Guardian

Growing number of Venezuelans trade bolivars for bitcoins to buy necessities | World news | The Guardian

Bitcoin users still represent a tiny minority, but some believe that the currency will become more popular in Venezuela as economic uncertainty escalates

Fuente: Growing number of Venezuelans trade bolivars for bitcoins to buy necessities | World news | The Guardian

Payments networks battle new breed of criminals in cyber attacks –

Payments networks — whether Swift or the latest peer-to-peer money transfer app — are only as trustworthy as their weakest link. Even if data are encrypted in transit, each bank or individual on a network must be able to reliably prove who they are — and authentication in payments still has a way to go.

Fuente: Payments networks battle new breed of criminals in cyber attacks –

Facebook’s satellite went up in smoke, but its developing world land grab goes on | Emily Reynolds | Opinion | The Guardian

I’m sure Mark Zuckerberg has noble intentions in democratising the web, but we should still be wary of private companies controlling the internet’s infrastructure

Fuente: Facebook’s satellite went up in smoke, but its developing world land grab goes on | Emily Reynolds | Opinion | The Guardian

Big banks plan to coin new digital currency –

Four of the world’s biggest banks have teamed up to develop a new form of digital cash that they believe will become an industry standard to clear and settle financial trades over blockchain, the technology underpinning bitcoin.

Fuente: Big banks plan to coin new digital currency –

Silicon Valley was going to disrupt capitalism. Now it’s enhancing it | Opinion | The Guardian

The tech giants thought they would beat old businesses but the health and finance industries are using data troves to become more, not less, resilient

Fuente: Silicon Valley was going to disrupt capitalism. Now it’s enhancing it | Opinion | The Guardian

Yahoo was all too human for the internet —

Yahoo’s valuation grew to $128bn in spring 2000 because of investors’ faith that human curation could beat search engines — people browsing on slow dial-up lines needed a human interface. But technology triumphed over humanity. The internet was more powerful than they imagined and all that was left for Yahoo was likeability.

Fuente: Yahoo was all too human for the internet —

FBI’s Secret Surveillance Tech Budget Is ‘Hundreds of Millions’

The FBI has “hundreds of millions of dollars” to spend on developing technology for use in both national security and domestic law enforcement investigations — but it won’t reveal the exact amount.

Fuente: FBI’s Secret Surveillance Tech Budget Is ‘Hundreds of Millions’

Se acaba el monopolio de Transbank: Andrés Navarro y Javier Etcheberry entran con Multicaja a darle competencia – El Mostrador

Hace casi una década que el ex director del SII y presidente de Banco Estado, junto a Sonda, Consorcio y otros socios, quería entrar a competirles a los bancos. Multicaja se sumará a la red de medios de pago en Chile. En una primera etapa aceptará tarjetas de crédito y prepago (en comercio físico y online) emitidas tanto local como internacionalmente y, en el futuro, también las tarjetas de débito.

Fuente: Se acaba el monopolio de Transbank: Andrés Navarro y Javier Etcheberry entran con Multicaja a darle competencia – El Mostrador

Europe’s leap into the quantum computing arms race —

It is a dizzying gamble and there are billions of euros riding on the outcome. If the wager pays off, Europe will hold its own against mighty China and the US; if not, the entire project will be regarded in hindsight as a breathtakingly indulgent folly. I refer, of course, not to the forthcoming referendum on Britain’s EU membership but to the European Commission’s announcement last week that it would be launching a €1bn plan to explore “quantum technologies”. It is the third of the commission’s Future and Emerging Technologies Flagship projects — visionary megaprojects lasting a decade or more. These are challenges too grand — and bets too risky — for a single nation to square up to on its own.

Fuente: Europe’s leap into the quantum computing arms race —

Hacker-fighting prowess on show at cyber security conference –

Hacker-fighting prowess on show at cyber security conference –

A man types on a laptop computer in an arranged photograph taken in Tiskilwa, Illinois, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015. U.S. officials are discussing whether new standards should be set for government action in response to hacks like the one suffered by Sony Pictures Entertainment, such as if a certain level of monetary damage is caused or if values such as free speech are trampled, National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers said in an interview with Bloomberg News. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg©Bloomberg

When cyber security start-ups set out their stalls at the industry‘s largest annual conference on Monday, they will be looking to show off their hacker-fighting prowess not just to buyers of security products, but also to Wall Street investors.

A new generation of cyber security companies is preparing to go public, as analysts predict a rise in security spending by boards desperate to protect themselves from becoming the next Sony Pictures, Home Depot or Target.

Dan Ives, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets, says investors will be flocking to the RSA Conference in San Francisco this week because cyber security is a $15bn-$20bn market opportunity in the next three years.

“Seven or eight years ago you could hear a pin drop at RSA,” he said. “Now it is going to be like a Bon Jovi rock concert.”

“It is the seminal event in cyber security: the new year’s eve, the wedding, the bar mitzvah,” he added.

VC funds have been flooding into cyber security, surpassing $1bn for the first time in the first quarter of 2015, according to data from private company research firm PrivCo. VC funding for security software start-ups hit $2.3bn in 2014, up more than a third from the year before. Just four years ago, less than $1bn was raised by cyber security companies for a whole year.


Middle managers who are a start-up’s unsung heroes –

Middle managers who are a start-up’s unsung heroes –


Hot start-ups poach savvy staff who become industry stars in their own right, writes Murad Ahmed
A man holds the new Fire smartphone by Inc. and demonstrates the phone's app's including icons for Spotify, Shazam, eBay, Skype, and Linkedin during a demonstration at a news conference in Berlin, Germany, on Monday, Sept. 8, 2014©Bloomberg/Krisztian Bocsi


n April 1, 2004, Eileen Burbidge stepped off the overnight flight from San Francisco to London. After years of working in various roles at Silicon Valley companies such as Apple, Yahoo and Sun Microsystems, she was taking up a job in the UK as Skype’s product development director.

The internet video calls company then employed about 20 people across offices in London and Tallinn, Estonia. Ms Burbidge’s plan was to go to her hotel for a shower, then head straight to work to show how keen she was. But before she could even wash, her eager colleagues sent a message asking when she would arrive.

Her arrival was a matter of urgency because of the speed at which Skype was expanding. She describes the next year as the “rocket ship” phase. Given her prior experience, she could advise how to steer it. “It helped that somebody had a playbook in mind, to map how we should grow.”

When Ms Burbidge arrived, tens of thousands had downloaded Skype. Within weeks that became hundreds of thousands. Soon it was millions. Over the next 12 months, the London office went from a staff of five to 50. In 2005, shortly after Ms Burbidge left Skype, it was sold to eBay for $2.6bn.

When the tale of a tech success such as Skype is told, much of the credit — rightly — goes to the boss. In start-up land, all hail the cult of the young founder. These origin stories follow a pattern. Twenty-something male, through inspiration and pluck, builds tech company that changes the world (through an app, available to download). But among these founder myths, few odes are sung to middle managers such as Ms Burbidge. Less is known about these sometimes older, often wiser heads. They are the product managers, sales executives and marketing heads who transform a start-up into a grown-up.


Kickstarter ingresa 850 euros por minuto en 2014 | Tecnología | EL PAÍS

Kickstarter ingresa 850 euros por minuto en 2014 | Tecnología | EL PAÍS.

La web de ‘crowdfunding’ alcanza sus máximos en este último año

La música y la tecnología son los campos más beneficiados

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850 euros por minuto durante todo un año. Más de 421 millones de euros recaudados. 22.215 proyectos de cine, música, videojuegos, tecnología. Esos son los números récord de Kickstarter durante el año 2014, el séptimo año de vida de la web que mejora en el montante total recaudado más de un 10% con respecto a 2013.

La gran beneficiada, la música. 4.009 proyectos que lograron el green light de Kickstarter, la meta económica que los creadores fijan para su proyecto, eran de este ámbito. La compañía razona este liderazgo en la gran cantidad de músicos independientes y en que “la música fue una de las primeras categorías en despegar en Kickstarter”, según afirma Justin Kazmark, portavoz de la compañía. El cine en el segundo puesto (3.846 películas), la literatura (2.064) y los videojuegos (1.980) siguieron a la música como lo más financiado de la web, confirmando que es la apuesta artística la que domina en la economía crowdfunding. Eso sí, en cuestión de dinero recaudado, la tecnología es reina. Uno de cada cuatro euros recaudados por Kickstarter en 2014 (un total de casi 106 millones de euros) han ido para este campo en el que se han fundado tecnologías como la realidad virtual de Oculus Rift, comprada por Facebook por más de 1690 millones de euros.

No todo son oráculos de prosperidad, sin embargo, para el sector que abandera esta web situada entre las 500 más poderosas del mundo según elranking de Alexa, portal propiedad de Amazon que evalúa la relevancia en Internet. NESTA —organización benéfica dedicada a fomentar la innovación en Reino Unido y que ha desarrollado estudios sobre la tasa de crecimiento del crowdfunding junto a la universidad de Cambridge— incluye entre sus predicciones sobre el sector de la innovación para 2015una “catástrofe” en la economía del crowdfunding.

Cómo es el soporte que PayPal dará a Bitcoin

Cómo es el soporte que PayPal dará a Bitcoin.

El acuerdo que Paypal ha alcanzado con tres procesadores de Bitcoin dará un impulso a la moneda virtual descentralizada

No significa que PayPal acepte transacciones con Bitcoin en su plataforma, es algo más complejo

Hablamos con Estanis Martín de Nicolás, director general de PayPal para España y Portugal, sobre las implicaciones que tiene el acuerdo para Bitcoin y sobre los planes de la compañía para profundizar en la integración de esta divisa

Esta isla caribeña dará bitcoines a todos sus habitantes

PayPal ha anunciado oficialmente en su blog que ha llegado a un acuerdo con tres procesadores de Bitcoin, como son BitPay, Coinbase y GoCoin, para que la moneda virtual pueda acceder a su sistema de pagos, utilizado por millones de sitios en todo el mundo. Se trata de un paso al frente en la aceptación de Bitcoin, algo que ya han hecho antes algunos competidores de PayPal, como o

El anuncio no quiere decir que PayPal acepte transacciones con Bitcoin en su plataforma ni que sus usuarios puedan almacenar esta divisa en sus monederos digitales. Es un proceso algo más complejo y menos directo. Los tres procesadores seleccionados son los encargados de hacer el cambio de divisas. Ellos tratan con el usuario y con PayPal, que recibe la cantidad en una de las monedas comunes.

Estanis Martín de Nicolás, director general de PayPal para España y Portugal, aclara las razones por las que BitPay, Coinbase y GoCoin han sido las entidades seleccionadas. “Los hemos escogido porque son los más establecidos en el mercado para procesar Bitcoin. Han aceptado hacer controles anti blanqueo de dinero y conocer a sus consumidores”, apunta. PayPal acude a términos como innovación y flexibilidad para explicar este acercamiento a Bitcoin, precisando que se trata de dar cuantas más opciones mejor tanto a los usuarios para pagar, como a los comercios para cobrar.

La confianza, sin embargo, es un aspecto imprescindible para el uso de PayPal y la compañía ha hecho hincapié en ello a raíz del anuncio. “La seguridad es absolutamente esencial para PayPal. Lo que necesitábamos para poder empezar a trabajar con Bitcoin es un compromiso de estos procesadores de Bitcoin de que llevan a cabo las medidas necesarias para saber quiénes son las personas detrás de las transacciones”, señala Martín de Nicolás. Pero además se ha reducido el riesgo que se asume limitando las operaciones a la compra de bienes digitales, tales como música, tonos para el teléfono o recursos dentro de videojuegos.

Lo habitual es que las transacciones que tienen por objeto bienes digitales no sean de cuantías elevadas, con lo que PayPal da pasos con pies de plomo para la entrada de Bitcoin en su sistema. Por el momento el acuerdo con estos tres procesadores solo es válido para Estados Unidos. “Si esto funciona bien veremos a qué otro tipo de productos y de mercados podríamos extenderlo”, confirma el director general de Paypal para España y Portugal. Esta extensión incluiría también a otros procesadores de Bitcoin, pero la idea es que los avances vayan produciéndose gradualmente, según el post oficial de la compañía.

BitPay, Coinbase y GoCoin, los tres operadores, han aceptado hacer controles anti blanqueo de dinero y conocer a sus consumidores

Bitcoin sale fortalecida con este acuerdo –de hecho el valor de la divisa dio un salto tras hacerse público el anuncio– y sus usuarios también obtienen ventajas. “Los usuarios de Bitcoin tendrán más sitios para poder utilizar sus Bitcoin para comprar. Hay millones de comercios que aceptan pagos a través de PayPal en el mundo, muchos de ellos en Estados Unidos”, indica Martín de Nicolás.

Silicon Valley busca novedades | Economía | EL PAÍS

Silicon Valley busca novedades | Economía | EL PAÍS.

La movilidad y las nuevas tecnologías de consumo personal son la clave

Desarrolladores informáticos en San Francisco. / R. GALBRAITH (REUTERS)

Sandhill Road, el Wall Street de la tecnología, tiene una extensión en Soma, el barrio de las startups de San Francisco. No hay un tren de alta velocidad, sino un viejo Caltrain, la línea que cada hora une el valle con la zona de mayor ebullición en la ciudad, Soma, llena de naves industriales reconvertidas en talleres donde se juega a adivinar el futuro. Los inversores, desde los años setenta, mantienen despacho en la calle que cruza con el Camino Real creado por los misioneros españoles; oficialmente, en los mapas es la carretera 101. Ahí tienen su despacho los socios de los grandes fondos de inversión. En San Francisco suelen quedarse los que visitan, escuchan, analizan y preparan informes antes de tomar decisiones, los asociados, la primera línea de frente, los que tratan con jóvenes que pretenden cambiar la mecánica de casi cualquier actividad.

Muy cerca del cuartel general de Facebook se encuentra la oficina de Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, conocidos por sus iniciales, KPCB. En estas oficinas, cuyo alquiler no tiene nada que envidiar a los de Manhattan o la City londinense, se rastrean los siguientes negocios que despuntarán en el futuro para apostar por ellos. Randy Komisar, autor de un conocido libro de negocios con toque de autoayuda, El monje y el acertijo, dio uno de los golpes más sonados al invertir en Nest, una empresa fundada por exempleados de Apple en su mayoría y que terminó en manos de Google por 3.200 millones de dólares. Decidió depositar 20 millones con solo el primer power point de un termostato que se controla con el móvil. La plantilla de Nest llegó a 400 personas al pasar a manos de Google. Aun así, Komisar ve difícil que haya novedades en aparatos en Silicon Valley: “Los que entienden de cacharros son los pioneros del valle y esos ya casi se han jubilado”, dice.

Fuente: CB Insights / EL PAÍS

David Golden es socio gestor en Revolution Ventures, una empresa fundada por Steve Case, creador de AOL. Es el último en llegar de los grandes fondos. Surgió en 2008 y ganó gran parte de su prestigio al vender Zipcar, dedicada al alquiler de coches por horas, a Avis por 500 millones de dólares. Golden da un toque de atención con respecto al hardware: “Mucho cuidado. Hay que estudiar bien los productos. Pensar lo que una persona estaría dispuesta a pagar por algo”. Es una clara referencia a Kickstarter e Indie Gogo, las dos plataformas de financiación colectiva más populares. Komisar está en sintonía: “Miden la demanda de un grupo de entusiastas concreto, pero no son fiables. Solo me parece bueno para aprender”. Únicamente muestra interés por las impresoras 3D. “No sé si habrá una en cada casa, como ha pasado con el teléfono o el PC, pero los usos son cada vez más interesantes”, asegura.

Cae una red de fraude cibernético infiltrada en ordenadores de 12 países | Internacional | EL PAÍS

Cae una red de fraude cibernético infiltrada en ordenadores de 12 países | Internacional | EL PAÍS.

El departamento de Justicia de EE UU anunció este lunes la operación. / REUTERS

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Una investigación internacional liderada por el FBI ha permitido desmantelar una red de fraude cibernético en 12 países que había robado más de 100 millones de dólares. Las autoridades estadounidenses anunciaron este lunes que se trata del “más sofisticado¨ sistema de infiltración remota de piratas informáticos que el FBI ha desarticulado e identificaron a un ciudadano ruso como el líder de la trama.

Tras esta operación, Evgeniy Bogachev, de 30 años, fue incorporado a la lista del FBI de cibercriminales más buscados. Dado que Rusia no extradita a otros países a sus ciudadanos acusados, es posible que Bogachev nunca llegue a ser detenido. Y con la tensión actual entre Washington y Moscú, a raíz de la crisis ucrania, parece muy improbable cualquier gesto conciliador de Rusia. Consciente de estas limitaciones, el anuncio de su identidad responde a la nueva estrategia de Washington de revelar abiertamente a sus piratas informáticos más buscados, como ya hizo hace dos semanas al acusar a cinco militares chinos de ciberespionaje industrial.

La red conocida como Gameover Zeus logró infectar a entre medio millón y un millón de ordenadores en distintas partes del mundo mediante dos programas con los que robaban credenciales bancarias para posteriormente “vaciar las cuentas” de sus usuarios, y después chantajear a sus propietarios para que pagaran una fianza a cambio de devolverles los datos sustraídos.

El sistema era de tal sofisticación que permitía a los hackers “infiltrarse, espiar e incluso controlar” los ordenadores infectados “desde cualquier lugar”, según la investigación del FBI. “Implementaron el tipo de cibercrímenes que no te creerías si los vieras en una película de ciencia ficción”, dijo el vicefiscal general, Leslie Caldwell, en una rueda de prensa en la sede del departamento de Justicia en Washington.

Peer-to-peer lending: The wisdom of crowds –

Peer-to-peer lending: The wisdom of crowds –

Online loan services have expanded as an alternative to banks
A mass group of anti capitalist and climate change activists converge on the Bank of England©Getty

People power: anti-capitalism protesters in London. Peer-to-peer lending took off as fury at the banks was at its peak

Julie Robinson does not consider herself to be a financial innovator. But when the 44-year-old secretary from Hertfordshire left her bank and began borrowing money from an online peer-to-peer lender she became part of an industry intent on disrupting the future of global banking.

After she ran up debt renovating her house in 2009, Ms Robinson took out a £7,500 personal loan at Lloyds Banking Group with a repayment rate of 12.9 per cent. The rate was high, but she was told she could renegotiate later. The renegotiation never happened.

So Ms Robinson went online to look for a new lender. The best deal – at a rate of 10 per cent – came not from a bank, but from Zopa, the UK’s first peer-to-peer lender.“Anything I can do to make a stand and move my money away from my bank is a good thing,” says Ms Robinson. “I can’t understand why bankers haven’t received prison sentences for what they did in the financial crisis.”

The global credit meltdown may have shattered public faith in mainstream financial institutions by those like her in need of funding, yet it could not have come at a better time for the fledgling and fast-growing P2P loan industry.

In less than a decade a handful of crowdfunding websites around the world have provided billions of dollars’ worth of small loans to individuals and businesses by matching investors with needy borrowers and offering better rates than banks.

Yet as the sector grows, it is attracting the interest of the mainstream financial industry that it professes to undermine. First in the US and now in Europe, P2P is being co-opted by professional investors and even banks themselves.

Ashees Jain and Joseph Marra, two former Lehman Brothers bond traders based in New York, have created a fund to invest in what they see as a new booming asset class. “This year it’s going to be a $3bn origination market. In five years’ time this will be a $25bn-plus market and there will be a large institutional component,” says Mr Marra.

Global regulators are also beginning to scrutinise P2P lending as they explore its potential. Last week, for instance, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York hosted a meeting to discuss the role crowdfunding can play in jump-starting the US economy.

But other organisations are questioning whether the phenomenon is the next evolution of responsible banking or a financial wild west in need of tougher oversight.

The recent surge in interest is a far cry from the early days of the industry. In 2005 a group of British internet bank employees dreamt up Zopa, one of the first examples of P2P lending, as a way for strangers to lend one another small sums of cash.

“In the late 90s there was a lot of innovation about in tech and financial services,” says Dave Nicholson, one of Zopa’s co-founders. “We started to ask the question: why is it that financial services for individuals are so limited compared to corporates? Why can they only go to banks for a loan? Where are the personal bond markets?”

Just like a bank, P2P loan sites check the credit history of borrowers, charging more to those who have a history of defaulting on loans. But unlike banks they use new technology to keep their overheads low, and rates are largely determined by the people who lend the money.

With the permission of a potential borrower, the sites can sweep social media profiles and dive into online bank accounts to approve or reject loans within seconds.

The approach is a canny way to perform the necessary due diligence on loan applicants, and contrasts with the often outdated and creaky information technology systems used by traditional banks.

The use of technology also nets lower rates for borrowers and higher returns for lenders. At a time when average personal loan rates in the UK are hovering at about 6.3 per cent, Zopa advertises a borrowing rate of 4.9 per cent. Lending Club, the world’s largest P2P, offers its most creditworthy borrowers repayment rates of less than 6 per cent.


Uno de los grandes operadores de bitcoin echa el cierre y atrapa a los usuarios | Tecnología | EL PAÍS

Uno de los grandes operadores de bitcoin echa el cierre y atrapa a los usuarios | Tecnología | EL PAÍS.

Kolin Burges lleva una semana ante la sede de Mt. Gox en Tokio exigiendo la recuperación del dinero que tenía depositado en la plataforma desaparecida. / KIYOSHI OTA (BLOOMBERG)

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La plataforma online de intercambio de bitcoins Mt.Gox, la que fuera la mayor bolsa de la moneda virtual del mundo, ha dejado este martes de estar disponible sin previo aviso. El cierre ha dejado atrapados a los usarios del intermediario, quienes ya no podrán acceder a sus monederos. La empresa había suspendido recientemente los reembolsos de forma indefinida ante lo que calificó como “actividades inusuales” y que, en realidad, ocultaban robos de bitcoin por un valor equivalente a cientos de millones de euros. A diferencia de los usuarios de los servicios financieros tradicionales, los usuarios de bitcoin no cuentan con ningún tipo de protección por parte de los reguladores, tal y como acaban de recordar las autoridades de EE UU. También está por ver si MT. Gox entra en bancarrota, tal y como se tema, la ley japonesa ofrece algún tipo de cobertura.

Tras una mañana de rumores e informaciones cruzadas, la empresa colgó en su web un texto en el inglés en el que se podía leer: “Se ha tomado la decisión de cerrar todas las transacciones de forma indefinida para proteger la web y a nuestros usuarios”. “Seguiremos supervisando de cerca la situación y actuaremos en consecuencia”, añade el brevísimo comunicado.

La operadora, que no dejaba retirar dinero desde el pasado 7 de febrero, justificó la suspensión de los reembolsos en que había identificado una vulnerabilidad que permitía retirar varias veces el mismo bitcoin. Según la empresa casi 750.000 bitcoins(unos 120 millones de euros), han “desaparecido” debido a roboque durante varios años habían pasado inadvertidos. Esta cifra equivale al 6% del valor total de bitcoin. En el documento en el que se indicaba esta cantidad también se aseguraba que la compañía tenía unas deudas por 126 millones de euros y unos activos de 23,8 millones, aunque las cifras no son oficiales y, tras la desaparición de Mt. Gox, no se pueden confirmar. En este mismo documento se afirma que Mt Gox tenía medio millón de usuarios con más de un millón de cuentas.

Antes del cierre, seis de las principales casas de intercambios de bitcoins habían firmado un comunicado conjunto en el que criticaban a la operadora Mt.Gox en un intento por distanciarse de sus problemas, lo que de hecho ha desatado los temores a un corralito sobre la moneda virtual.

En el comunicado, los sitios Circle, Blockchain, BTC China, Bitstamp, Kraker, Coinbase criticaban a Mt.Gox, que llegó a hacer el 80% de todas las transacciones de esta moneda virtual, por la pérdida de confianza de la clientela tras las avería sufridas, y aseguran que ellos trabajan por que las operaciones con  la moneda sean seguras y transparentes. Actualmente, Mt.Gox apenas realizaba ya el 20% de las transacciones totales con la moneda.

Días complicados para ‘bitcoin’ | Economía | EL PAÍS

Días complicados para ‘bitcoin’ | Economía | EL PAÍS.

‘Bitcoins’ acuñados por Mike Caldwell, un entusiasta de esta moneda virtual en Sandy (Utah), y fotografiados el 31 de enero. / JIM URQUHART (REUTERS)

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Un conocido inversor de Silicon Valley y un prestigioso bloguero de las finanzas se han enzarzado en una particular apuesta que recorre blogs y foros de los apasionados del bitcoin, moneda electrónica que no ha hecho otra cosa que generar debate desde su nacimiento en 2009. Ben Horowitz, que invirtió en plataformas como Facebook y Twitter cuando estas estaban naciendo, y Felix Salmon, conocido bloguero financiero de Reuters, se han jugado un par de calcetines de alpaca en torno al futuro de esta moneda cifrada y no regulada que se genera en Internet y que permite realizar pagos instantáneos en cualquier parte del mundo. Si dentro de cinco años un 10% de los norteamericanos han comprado algo con bitcoins, Horowitz habrá ganado. De lo contrario, lo habrá hecho Salmon.

Lo de los calcetines de alpaca obedece a que una firma que los vende en Estados Unidos fue la primera en aceptar esta criptomoneda (moneda codificada) como medio de pago en su web.

Bitcoin plunges on Japan exchange halt –

Bitcoin plunges on Japan exchange halt –


A twenty-five bitcoin is arranged for a photograph in Tokyo, Japan©Bloomberg

Bitcoin prices yo-yoed after one of the world’s biggest Bitcoin exchanges, Japan’s Mt Gox, said it had suspended withdrawals because of a software flaw that would allow people trading the virtual currency to defraud exchanges.

The price of Bitcoin tumbled as much as 16 per cent on Monday after the Tokyo-based company posted a statement saying the suspension was due to a “bug” in the bitcoin software that was “not limited to Mt Gox and affects all transactions where bitcoins are being sent to a third party”.The explanation was rejected, however, by the Bitcoin Foundation, which promotes the virtual currency, and by some of its core developers, and it prompted a backlash against Mt Gox in the Bitcoin community.


Yahoo malware turned European computers into bitcoin slaves | Technology |

Yahoo malware turned European computers into bitcoin slaves | Technology |

Search firm remains silent on how its ad servers infected Windows PCs of visitors to homepage

Yahoo! President and CEO Marissa Mayer delivers a keynote address at the 2014 International CES at The Las Vegas Hotel & Casino on January 7, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Yahoo! President and CEO Marissa Mayer delivers a keynote address at the 2014 International CES at The Las Vegas Hotel & Casino on January 7, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photograph: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

As many as two million European users of Yahoo may have received PC malware from virus-laden ads served by its homepage over a four-day period last week.

Some of the malware would turn PCs into bitcoin miners – a huge drain on its computing resources – without users’ knowledge. Yahoo has been criticised for not saying how many people could be affected or doing anything to help those with the malware, which attacked flaws in Java modules on systems.

In a statement, Yahoo said: “From December 31 to January 3 on our European sites, we served some advertisements that did not meet our editorial guidelines – specifically, they spread malware.” Users in North America, Asia Pacific and Latin America weren’t affected, Yahoo said. Nor were users of Apple Macs or mobile devices.

“We will continue to monitor and block any advertisements being used for this activity,” the company added. “We will post more information for our users shortly.”

According to Light Cyber, a security research firm which warned Yahoo of the attacks in late December, one of the malware programs delivered in the attack turned the victim’s computer into a bitcoin miner. The computer is set to work performing the calculations required to make the bitcoin network run, but the rewards for doing so accrue to the malware writer.

Yahoo has been criticised for not doing more to aid users infected by the faulty adverts. Dan Farber of technology site CNET says that: “At this point, Yahoo hasn’t addressed any of the details, such as how the malware exploit got into its Web pages, how many users are impacted, and what victims of the attack should do. The company may still be gathering data.”

Bitcoin me: How to make your own digital currency | Technology |

Bitcoin me: How to make your own digital currency | Technology |

Move over Dogecoin: the Herncoin is here. But what can making your own currency teach you about the world of bitcoin?



A physical bitcoin.
A physical bitcoin. Photograph: Alamy


Bitcoin may have become a thing of fascination for the media very recently, but the digital currency actually celebrated its fifth birthday this month as its value hovered at around $1,000 per coin.


Bitcoin was never intended to be the one cryptocurrency to rule them all, because anyone can make their own version of it. The code which underpins the currency is released under what’s known as an open-source licence. Anyone can use it themselves, and alter any aspect they want, in order to create a whole new currency.


A whole class of alternative crypto-currencies, based on the fundamental aspects of bitcoin, have been created over the past couple of years. The first and biggest of the “altcoins”, called Litecoin, was created in 2011 to address some perceived flaws in the Bitcoin protocol.


Litecoin is much harder to build specialised “mining” machines for, which, according to its founders, prevents it from being dominated by a few rich miners. Additionally, it clears payments faster and has a much higher cap of 84m coins.


Since November 2011, Litecoin has tracked the value of Bitcoin fairly closely, but in December last year it spiked in value. Overnight, a Litecoin was worth 10 times what it had been before, and its total market cap now stands at $623m, around 16% of that of its parent.

Lunch with the FT: Peter Thiel –

Lunch with the FT: Peter Thiel –


The billionaire investor and libertarian thinker believes that in a world of government surveillance, more technology is the answer
Illustration of Peter Thiel by James Ferguson©James Ferguson

Peter Thiel has only just sat down at a corner table in Palo Alto’s Evvia restaurant and he is already into a disquisition on the history of financial bubbles.

“This,” he declares, after listing the frequent market eruptions of the past three decades, “is historically very anomalous. There was one bubble in the 1920s and one in the 1720s.”

It is the sort of sweeping statement, delivered with flat finality, that Thiel thrives on. Since he has made billion-dollar fortunes twice over, in very different corners of the investment world (though one of the billions was promptly lost again), you’re inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

But you also can’t help thinking: really? What of the railroad bubble of the 1870s or the periodic booms and busts of capitalism’s gilded age? As with many of the eclectic assertions Thiel (pronounced “teal”) uses to pepper his conversation – allusions to Dickens and Shakespeare as well as the broad swaths of economic, technological and political history – you wish you could secretly Google under the table to fact-check.

Now the 46-year-old Facebook billionaire, former hedge fund star and self-styled libertarian Big Thinker is ready to declare one final bubble. This time it is the result of excessive government borrowing to refloat a world struggling to get beyond the financial crisis. With this, he argues, we have arrived at the Last Bubble. There will be no more. Period.


Apps market: From chat to finance, soon your gadget will run your life –

Apps market: From chat to finance, soon your gadget will run your life –

By Paul Solman


Minecraft game screenshot

Blockbuster: the building and adventuring game Minecraft is among the most popular paid-for downloads

Apps have become the core feature of every smartphone. Work or leisure, finance or fitness, apps are available for anything you could dream up – and probably some you could not.

Mobile app stores recorded 64bn downloads last year, according to Gartner, the research group, with that figure expected to reach 102bn for 2013. Revenues are forecast to soar to $26bn this year, from $18bn in 2012.

And it is not just smartphones. The increasing popularity of tablets has opened up even more possibilities for app designers.


FBI struggles to seize 600,000 Bitcoins from alleged Silk Road founder | Technology |

FBI struggles to seize 600,000 Bitcoins from alleged Silk Road founder | Technology |

Having seized 26,000 Bitcoins belonging to site users, authorities battle to control Ross Ulbricht’s personal wallet

This artist rendering shows Ross William Ulbricht appearing in Federal Court in San Francisco on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013.
This artist rendering shows alleged Silk Road mastermind Ross Ulbricht appearing in federal court in San Francisco on 4 October. Photograph: Vicki Behringer/AP

The FBI has found that seizing an anonymous decentralised peer-to-peer currency was trickier than it seemed, following the Bureau’s bust of the international drugs marketplace, Silk Road.

When Ross Ulbricht, known as Dread Pirate Roberts to users of the site, was arrested last week, the FBI seized 26,000 Bitcoins belonging to Silk Road customers. But it also attempted, unsuccessfully, to claim the nearly 600,000 – thought to be worth around $80m – which Ulbricht himself is thought to be holding.

Bitcoin is a digital currency based on a methods of cryptography similar to those used to protect confidential emails. Due to its decentralised nature – the currency does not rely on any centralised agency to process payments, instead relying on work done by users’ computers – it is popular for a number of fringe-legal and illegal uses. One of those uses was Silk Road, where Bitcoin was required for all transactions.

Cable Across Atlantic Aims to Save Traders Milliseconds – Bloomberg

Cable Across Atlantic Aims to Save Traders Milliseconds – Bloomberg.

Mar 29, 2012 6:00 PM GMT-0300

In April, the Canadian research ship Coriolis II will set out from Halifax to survey parts of the continental shelf stretching 1,000 miles off the east coast of Nova Scotia.

The ship has been hired by Hibernia Atlantic, a Summit, New Jersey-based company that operates undersea telecom cables, to map out a new $300 million trans-Atlantic fiber-optic line called Project Express. The cable will stretch 3,000 miles beneath the North Atlantic, connecting financial markets in London and New York at record transmission speeds. A small group of U.S. and European high-speed trading firms will pay steep fees to use the cable.

When it opens in 2013, Project Express will be the fastest cable across the Atlantic, reducing the time it takes data to travel round-trip between New York and London to 59.6 milliseconds from the current top speed of 64.8 milliseconds, according to Hibernia Atlantic, Bloomberg Businessweek reports in its April 2 edition.

Those five milliseconds might not seem like a big deal, but to the handful of electronic trading firms that will have exclusive access to the cable, it will be a huge advantage.

“That extra five milliseconds could be worth millions every time they hit the button,” says Joseph Hilt, senior vice president of financial services at Hibernia Atlantic.