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BitInstant CEO Charlie Shrem was recently arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, accused of funneling funds for the now defunct Silk Road website. Specifically, Shrem and his accused partner, Robert Faiella, allegedly sold more than $1 million in Bitcoin to Silk Road users, with the funds later used to purchase drugs and other illegal goods.
"The charges announced today depict law enforcement's commitment to identifying those who promote the sale of illegal drugs throughout the world," said James Hunt, DEA spokesperson, in a statement. "Hiding behind their computers, both defendants are charged with knowingly contributing to and facilitating anonymous drug sales, earning substantial profits along the way."
Shrem also used Silk Road to order marijuana brownie edibles, with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Internal Revenue Service lending a hand in the investigation, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
This is a major blow to the Bitcoin community, as Shrem has traveled the world to promote the use of Bitcoins for consumers and businesses alike. As federal investigators continue to look for financial backers and supporters of the Silk Road operation, additional high-profile arrests are possible later down the road.
Google has apparently been in a spending mood lately and has been buying up companies that could turn the search giant into one of the largest defense contractors in history. Just a few months ago, we saw Google purchase Boston Dynamics, a company that is responsible for developing the four-legged robotic hell hounds that can run at highway speeds while carrying automated weapons.
Today word is spreading around the internet of yet another Google acquisition involving intelligent technology. Google has reportedly purchased Deepmind, a company specializing in Artificial Intelligence based out of London, England. The purchase is worth a reported $400 million USD, although that figure has not officially been confirmed yet. Deepmind's website says that it works on developing "general purpose" learning algorithms, something that could be used to further Google's research into automated vehicles, Android, or even some of its robots at Boston Dynamics.
It seems like more and more retailers are jumping on the Bitcoin bandwagon every day with the TigerDirect being the latest to start accepting the cryptocurrency. TigerDirect now allows payment via Bitcoins through the payment processor, BitPay, and can be used to purchase more than 200,000 items that TigerDirect stocks.
TigerDirect says that both its desktop and mobile versions of the site accept the virtual currency, and has even listed a handy getting started guide to Bitcoin payments and even Bitcoin mining at the source link provided below. "With individuals building their own high-powered PCs with parts offered on our site to mine Bitcoins, it's a logical fit." Steven Leeds, TigerDirect's marketing chief said in the company's announcement.
This morning HP announced that it has sealed a deal in which Qualcomm will purchase an extensive mobile patent portfolio that includes patents associated with Palm, HP's iPAQ, and Bitfone. In total HP will sell more than 1,400 patents to Qualcomm for an undisclosed sum.
Qualcomm makes about 32-percent of its annual revenue from licensing patents it owns, and this portfolio acquisition from HP will certainly help boost those revenues to an even higher percentage in 2014. In a statement Qualcomm said that the patents include "technologies that include fundamental mobile operating system techniques" and will "enable the company to offer even more value to current and future licensees."
HP says that it will retain a license to all the patents it sold as part of the deal, and it will continue to develop new mobile devices. Unfortunately, no word was given on how this affects LG who purchased WebOS' source code last year, but did not pick up the patent that now belongs to Qualcomm. Qualcomm and HP have a good relationship so I expect things will continue on as normal.
What are Google's plans with digital currency, Bitcoin? Nothing it seems, with the Mountain View-based giant talking to The Next Web, confirming the news that it doesn't have any immediate plans to use Bitcoin.
A Google spokesperson told TNW: "As we continue to work on Google Wallet, we're grateful for a very wide range of suggestions. While we're keen to actively engage with Wallet users to help inform and shape the product, there's no change to our position: we have no current plans regarding Bitcoin".
Google was forced to come out and talk about it after a recent Reddit thread that tackled the digital currency issue, after a Reddit thread was titled "Google confirms their payments team is working to incorporate bitcoin". The user who posted the thread said he had e-mailed Google's Senior Vice President of Social, Vic Gundotra, asking him if the company was going to support Bitcoin.
Gundotra then allegedly forward the email to Sridhar Ramaswamy, Google Wallet's Senior VP, who replied with: "We are working in the payments team to figure out how to incorporate bitcoin into our plans".
The co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, has made quite the prediction in the Gates Foundation's annual letter. Gates has said that there will be "almost no poor countries by 2035."
The Gates Foundation is expected to give away the entire Gates fortune of around $67 billion once the couple has been dead for over 20 years, has published a letter for each of the last dive years, detailing global philanthropic progress. Gates talked with Forbes Magazine's Editor, Randall Lane, where he said there will soon be a point where "you'll have to give a reason why a country is poor."
Gates wrote: "I am optimistic enough about this that I am willing to make a prediction. By 2035, there will be almost no poor countries left in the world. Almost all countries will be what we now call lower-middle income or richer. It will be a remarkable achievement. When I was born, most countries in the world were poor. In the next two decades, desperately poor countries will become the exception rather than the rule. Billions of people will have been lifted out of extreme poverty. The idea that this will happen within my lifetime is simply amazing to me."
The cash-strapped Jamaican bobsleigh team is in dire need of funds to reach the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, and it looks like they might get there thanks to the crypto-currency, dogecoin.
A fundraising campaign was put together following news over the weekend that Team Jamaica had qualified for the Winter Olympics for the first time since 2002. Winston Watt, who leads Team Jamaica, spent his own money transporting the team to training sessions, but didn't have enough funds to make it to Russia.
Watt then opened a PayPal account, hoping to raise the $40,000 or so required to attend. Dogecoin founders, Liam Butler, Jackson Palmer and Billy Markus, all happen to be fans of the Jamaican bobsleigh team, with Butler telling the Guardian: "As someone who grew up in the '90s, Cool Runnings was the ultimate feel-good movie about underdogs out of their element achieving their dreams. When I was about seven years old, my best friend and I had a billy-cart that his dad built. When we would start our run down his driveway, we would shout out the catchphrase from the movie: 'Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, get on up, it's bobsled time!"
New details have emerged on a deal that could see Verizon take ownership of Intel's Internet TV project. Today, two sources have opened up and said that Verizon has agreed to pay less than $200 million for the Internet-TV startup which include about 350 employees moving employment status from Intel to Verizon.
"We will have the opportunity to enhance, expand, accelerate and integrate our delivery of video products and services to better serve audiences on a wide array of devices," Verizon Chief Executive Officer Lowell McAdam said in the statement.
This deal could spell out big bucks for the nations largest mobile device and internet carrier, as it has been trying to dominate the streaming entertainment arena for quite some time now. While official news of the sale will remain silent until quarterly earning reports are released, today's news should have some effect on Intel and Verizon's market prices tomorrow morning.
So... the word "candy" has been trademarked, by the developer behind Candy Crush Saga, King.com. The US Patent and Trademark Office approved it on January 15, with King.com Limited's filing for it all the way back in February of last year.
King.com has been granted exclusive rights to use the word pretty much wherever it wants: apparel, video games, gambling services, amusement parks, computer hardware, and more if its application is approved by the assigned examining attorney. It does get worse, with GameZebo stating that developers even mentioning candy in their titles are being approached by King.com's legal department.
Its legal department makes them prove that their product doesn't infringe on the Candy trademark, or remove their apps for sale. their product doesn't infringe on the Candy trademark, or remove their apps for sale.
Amazon is getting a little scary as we shift into 2014, with a new patent for "anticipatory shipping". This patent will allow the US giant to sent items to shipping hubs in areas where it believes that particular item will sell well.
The new shipping scheme should slice delivery times down, as well as putting Amazon much higher up on the food chain than it already is. The company plans to box, and ship products it expects its consumers will buy preemptively, based on previous searches and purchases, wish lists, and how long the user's cursor hovers over an item online.
Amazon wants to go a step further, by having the products "speculatively shipped to a physical address" without knowing if the customer wants it. This would eventuate in returns of unwanted deliveries, but Amazon is willing to take that risk. Amazon stated in its patent: "Delivering the package to the given customer as a promotional gift may be used to build goodwill."