The Bank of Korea wants to follow in Iceland's footsteps and achieve a cashless society by 2020, replacing paper entirely with credit cards and other means of payment like Samsung Pay.
It's well on its way as more Koreans than ever are choosing non-cash options for purchases than ever: 40 percent say they use credit cards more than anything else, up from last year's 30 percent; Koreans carry an average 74,000 ₩ this year versus last year's 77,000, and the central bank is issuing 12.3 percent fewer 10,000 ₩ banknotes, 5.9 percent fewer 5,000 ₩ notes, and 3.7 percent fewer 1,000 ₩ notes this year.
Lee Hyo-chan, the head of the research center at the Credit Finance Institute believes ditching paper will cut costs by somewhere between 0.1 and 1.1 percent of GDP (1.305 trillion USD in 2013). Lee notes the value of transparency, too: having a greater understanding of the underground economy gives the government and banks much better economic data to work with. Additionally, he touts decreased cash-related crime and the adoption of monetary policies like a minus interest rate to stimulate the economy, forcing citizens to spend more if they want to avoid interest.
Microsoft was one of the first major companies to accept a digital cryptocurrency as a valid payment method for their wares on the Windows app store. Though it wasn't a mainstream currency, they saw the growth potential, and wanted to give customers a wealth of choices. But they've recently decided to remove Bitcoin from their list of payment methods that are accepted.
If you happen to have a balance of Bitcoin in your wallet already, you can use those at the Microsoft Store or App store, though you can't refill the internal wallet with more Bitcoin nor can you get a refund if you wanted to get those out. That seems to indicate that the infrastructure used to process Bitcoin no longer happen to be in place. You were able to use them for any Microsoft branded store.
This is another bold move considering they were advocates of choice in 2014, and this escape from the market is quite the shock. Though there are probably practical reasons as to why they did so. Microsoft hasn't announced why they made the decision though we've reached out for comment.
I don't know why I'm writing about Kim Kardashian of all things, but her latest mobile game 'Kim Kardashian: Hollywood' has made so much money, I had to write about it.
Glu Mobile's Kim Kardashian: Hollywood made an insane $80 million, a figure that Mrs Kardashian West took to Twitter to brag about. In a tweet, Kardashian said: "sorry I'm late to the party guys I was busy cashing my 80 million video game check & transferring 53 million into our joint account". We can only guess that Kim Kardashian: Hollywood made that money throughout 2015, as the mobile game earned $13.4 million in Q4, or 24% of Glu Mobile's total revenue for the quarter.
Throughout the entire of 2015, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood made $71.8 million, or 30% of Glu Mobile's total revenue. The game is of huge importance to the company, but the earning power of the game has declined since its launch in 2014, where it made $43.4 million in revenue in Q3 alone. In the same quarter of 2015, this revenue dropped to $18.8 million. Not too bad for a game... about Kim Kardashian.
Now remember Kanye is struggling with money, begging Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for a loan. I'm sure this $80 million injection into their joint account will help, won't it Yeezy?
There's been a lot of talk in sports media in recent times about giving the viewer control over what they're watching, such as changing angles at will. It was finally put to work at the NBA All-Star Weekend, where Israeli startup Replay Technologies allowed fans to view replays and highlight reels from virtually every angle with its "freeD" tech.
FreeD works by rendering a 3D simulation of the court based on captures from 28 ultra HD cameras positioned around the arena, which is then uploaded to Intel servers for fans to play with.
Intel has been working with Replay Technologies since 2013 on this project (referred to as "immersive sports"), which has culminated in the former acquiring the latter for $130 million today. Intel says the acquisition means Replay will be better able to speed up freeD processing and add more customization for users.
Including an interesting $9.90 (AU) monthly 'Plan Freeze Fee' that Vaya enforced on consumers in addition to regular access fees even when their contract was over, this mobile company has been under Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) investigation due to some creative charges.
Another one slammed on end users was sent via email in February 2015 and depicted that users will need to pay a "once-off, refundable $20 (AU) Security Deposit" for the use of a Vaya mobile, with this company telling users to refer to its Terms and Conditions for more information. While the ACCC believed that the freeze fee and security deposit emails were misleading and failed to inform users of rights of termination, Vaya has responded with its side of the story.
Vaya's response to the investigation was to refund all customers incorrectly recruited into the freeze fee campaign, further outlining contract termination rights in what Gizmodo claims as an attempt to be more transparent with its users and the ACCC.
We all use email like it's oxygen, but do you know who invented electronic mail? That would be Ray Tomlinson, who has sadly passed away from a suspected heart attack, at age 74.
Tomlinson established the first networked email system on ARPANET in 1971 using the user@host format, something we still use today. 6 years later in 1977, his approach became a standard, and it eventually dominated. Tomlinson was also credited with using the @ symbol for email, but it also became synonymous with everything related to the Internet.
Social networks jumped on board, with Twitter using @ in a big way - can you begin to imagine Twitter without the @ - yeah, it just wouldn't be the same.
As once predicted by Wikileaks, former Google CEO and current Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt has been appointed to the Defense Innovation Advisory Board. The goal: keep the Pentagon up on Silicon Valley happenings and inform them on how they can be applied at the Department of Defense.
Secretary of Defense Ashton Carton, who appointed Schmidt, says he has a "unique perspective on the latest practices in harnessing and encouraging innovation."
He's certainly no stranger to the Obama administration, appearing at technology leader summits with the nation's leader as well as in circles with Hillary Clinton. The relationships aren't always amicable, though: the FTC almost sued Google for antitrust violations just three years ago, and Google is expected to joint file an amicus brief today with other tech giants in defense of Apple's smartphone encryption stance.
As promised last week, tech giants -- and some smaller folk -- have just now jointly filed an amicus brief in support of Apple's stance on smartphone encryption. (An amicus brief is a filing that allows those not directly involved in a case to have their say in it.)
Apple has been battling for the right to encryption publicly and in court for some time now; with Twitter, eBay, LinkedIn, Reddit and others giving its legal backing today with this brief, its position is strengthened significantly. Curiously, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft are not in in the filing as was expected. We've put in inquiries as to why with each and will update this story should we hear back.
Kanye West was recently considering legal action against those pirating his new Life of Pablo album, which makes it all the more amusing to learn yesterday he too was pirating.
West accidentally outed himself on Twitter when he posted a screenshot of his browser to promote a Sufjan Steven song he was listening to; background tabs showed he had been searching Piratebay for a popular $200 music production program plugin called Serum. Even better, the plugin was developed by XferRecords, a company co-founded by fellow artist deadmau5.
Described in a recently issued press release as a record winning experience, LG Electronics has cleaned up the recent iF Design 2016 ceremony with 28 awards in total, spread across the Gold Award and Design Award categories.
The prestigious iF Gold awards were given to the LG Signature fridge, LG Signature Washing Machine, and Gram 15 laptop - a product that weighs in at 980g, measures at only 16.8mm thick and features a 15.6-inch screen.
The lower-level iF Design awards were where LG really dominated its competitors, being given to various products including the Signature OLED TV, portable speaker strap, Mini Beam LED projector, 24MP88 Monitor, LG G4 smartphone and more.