Bitcoin surges past $5,300 ‘as bulls returned to the market with a vengeance’

Screen Shot 2017 10 12 at 3.12.29 PM

Bitcoin soared past $5,000 for the first time early Thursday morning and it continued to hit to new heights throughout the trading day. 

The red-hot digital currency, which is up more than 400% this year, blew past $5,300 to $5,382 just after 12 p.m. ET. Sell-off pressure has since pushed the coin back down below $5,300. 

It is still up near 10% Thursday. 

The $5,000 mark has long been a threshold of high-anticipation in the bitcoin community. Traders got a taste of it in early September when bitcoin hit a high of $4,921, according to data from Bloomberg.

Soon after that, its price declined amid news of a crackdown in China and regulatory uncertainty around initial coin offerings, a cryptocurrency-based fundraising method. After bottoming out near $2,900 per coin on September 15, it has since rallied.

That has come as no surprise to folks in the bitcoin community, who say government regulations and crackdowns on the coin have little impact on its underpinning technology or its price. 

“Bitcoin was designed to operate outside of the influence of governments and central banks, and is doing exactly that,” said Iqbal V. Gandham, a managing director at eToro UK. “So to us, this bounce back in price is no surprise.”

Josh Olszwicz, a bitcoin trader, told Business Insider during an interview in mid-September that the markets ignored news out of China because it didn’t impact on the coin’s actual blockchain technology.

“If it doesn’t affect the protocol, then it’s not a real problem,” he told Business Insider.”The bitcoin cash shakeup was much more worrisome from my perspective, but even then the core bitcoin protocol remained unaffected.”

Bitcoin has seen its value increase by more than $1,000 per coin in the past week alone, with a rally that coincides with renewed interest in the currency from investment banks. The Wall Street Journal last week reported that Goldman Sachs was looking at setting up a bitcoin trading operation, and Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman said recently that the cryptocurrency was “certainly more than just a fad.”

The day’s rise comes “as bulls returned to the market with a vengeance,” according to Neil Wilson, a senior analyst at ETX Capital.

SEE ALSO: Jamie Dimon says he’s done talking about bitcoin

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    I’m addicted to ‘I Love Hue,’ the most soothing smartphone game I’ve ever played

    I Love Hue

    That’s something awfully satisfying about putting things in order by color. 

    This may not be the case for everyone. But when things are arranged by color, I feel organized and relaxed. My closet and even my smartphone apps are almost always arranged that way. 

    So when I stumbled upon “I Love Hue,” I knew I was about to be hooked. 

    The smartphone game — which is available for iOS and Android devices — has a super-simple premise: Choose a puzzle and arrange the blocks by color and shade. 

    I’ve been playing “I Love Hue” non-stop for the past 36 hours — I even have a game going on two separate devices at this point — and can safely say it’s my new favorite app.

    Here’s how to play:

    SEE ALSO: Here are all 69 emojis arriving on iPhones this fall

    There is only one rule you need to worry about in “I Love Hue:” Everything needs to be in color order.

    The game presents you with several different puzzles made up of blocks in a range of colors. When you start a puzzle, the blocks will be scrambled and your job is to put everything back in order in as few moves as possible. 

    The game has a distinct, New-Age tone to it: When you succeed, it will give you a compliment like, “You’re an iridescent moonbeam!” and the various levels are named Mystic, Prophet, Guru, and so on. While a little odd at first, I eventually found the magical language comforting. Plus, the name of the game itself is pretty cute. 

    One important thing to note: “I Love Hue” is entirely based on color, so if you have trouble discerning between two very similar colors or have color blindness, this is not the game for you. 

    When you first start a puzzle, everything will be in color order for a brief second before the game scrambles it. The squares with black dots in the center are immobile and help you figure out the order the blocks should go in.

    Once things get scrambled, you have an unlimited amount of time to put the puzzle back in order. To move a block, just place your finger on it and drag it where you want it to go. Once the puzzle starts to come together, it gets easier.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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      Kaspersky antivirus software was reportedly used as a Google-like search tool for Russian hackers targeting the US

      FILE PHOTO - An employee works near screens in the virus lab at the headquarters of Russian cyber security company Kaspersky Labs in Moscow July 29, 2013.  REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin/File Photo

      Kaspersky, a popular Russian antivirus software used by several US agencies, was reportedly exploited by Russian hackers as a Google-like search tool to sniff out sensitive information, The New York Times reported on Tuesday night.

      Israeli intelligence agents discovered the exploit after they broke into Kaspersky’s systems in 2014, and later tipped off US intelligence agencies on the matter.

      The Israeli agents reportedly stole passwords, took screenshots, and collected emails and documents, ostensibly to learn about Russian cyberespionage activities, and in doing so, found that Russian-sponsored hackers were using the Kaspersky software to scan for classified US information that could be relayed back to intelligence agencies in Russia.

      The US government has vowed to stop using Kaspersky software.

      Kaspersky Lab issued a statement on Tuesday denying any involvement in the Russian hacks: “Kaspersky Lab reiterates its willingness to work alongside U.S. authorities to address any concerns they may have about its products,” the statement read. “Kaspersky Lab has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts.”

      On a broad scale, it is common for state-sponsored hackers to exploit antivirus software for surveillance purposes. Officials at the National Security Agency and the CIA have said they never used Kaspersky software for precisely that reason.

      Read the full story at The New York Times here »


      SEE ALSO: Trump bars US government from using Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky

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        Stocks are behaving in a way not seen since the tech bubble

        peter thiel elon musk early paypal

        Stocks are operating with a mind of their own to an extent not seen since the dotcom bubble.

        Normally tossed and turned by geopolitical events and macroeconomic developments, stocks are exhibiting a historically high degree of independence at a time when price swings remain locked near all-time lows.

        As of earlier this month, 65% of the risk associated with the average S&P 500 stock was inexplainable by a set of six macro risk factors maintained by Morgan Stanley over the past 63 days. That’s the highest since the financial crisis, the firm wrote in a client note.

        And if you extend the period of comparison to 252 days, the measure of stock-specific risk is the highest since 2001, the age of the dotcom bubble, Morgan Stanley data show.

        Screen Shot 2017 10 10 at 3.18.45 PM

        These types of market conditions are ideal for stock pickers, who make their living analyzing company fundamentals and betting on single stocks.

        About 54% of large-cap mutual-fund managers are beating their benchmarks in 2017, the highest-ever success rate at this time of year, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch data going back to 2009. If they keep up the pace through the end of the quarter, it would be the first year since 2007 — right around the time of the financial crisis — that more than half of them outperformed benchmarks, according to the data.

        At the root of the resilience has been the average pair-wise correlation of stocks in major indexes — which measures the degree to which they trade in tandem. For the benchmark S&P 500, the measure sits at its lowest since the tech bubble, while companies in the Russell 2000 gauge of small-cap stocks are trading the most independently since 2003, according to BAML data.

        Stocks won’t trade this independently of macro factors, nor other companies, forever. So, more than anything, it’s important for active managers to strike while the iron is hot.

        SEE ALSO: Investors once seen at risk of extinction are headed for their best year since the financial crisis

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          Google had to disable a feature on its new $50 smart speaker after the gadget listened in on some users (GOOG, GOOGL)

          google home mini

          Google rushed out a fix to a glitch in its latest smart speaker last week that caused the device to surreptitiously record the conversations of its early testers without their knowledge or consent.

          The bug affected a small number of the Google Home Mini devices that the company handed out to reporters at its press event last week, according to the Google. The company rolled out a software update over the weekend to address the issue on those devices and is exploring a long-term fix. 

          “We learned of an issue impacting a small number of Google Home Mini devices that could cause the touch mechanism to behave incorrectly,” the company said in a statement, adding, “If you’re still having issues, please feel free to contact Google support.” 

          Google unveiled the $50 Mini, which goes on sale on October 19, at its event on Wednesday. Soon after, Android Police’s Artem Russakovskii, who was one of the reporters who received a test unit, discovered that his device was turning on by itself, recording his conversations, and uploading them to Google. 

          Normally, there are two ways to interact with Google’s smart speakers, including the Mini. You can say the words “OK Google,” followed by a command such as “play ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.'” Alternatively, you can press the button located on the top of the devices instead of saying “OK Google.” 

          But Russakovskii discovered that his Mini was listening in on him even when he hadn’t pressed the device’s button or said, “OK Google.” When he checked his personal activity page on Google, the site that shows users’ interactions with the search giant’s services and the data it collects on users, he found sound files that had been uploaded to Google’s servers from the Mini without his consent.

          Google blamed the glitch on a faulty button in some of the units. The buttons on those Minis were detecting touches even when there was no touch to detect. Russakovskii apparently got one of the defective devices.  

          On October 7th, three days after it handed out the Mini review units, Google rolled out a software update that disables the button. The change affects every Mini it’s handed out, even those that weren’t malfunctioning. Meanwhile, the company says it’s deleted all the data recorded from alleged button pushes on the Mini review units — whether they were actual button pushes or not — from the time it handed out the devices to reviewers until it issued the update. 

          Ultimately, the problem appears to be a simple error, not a malicious act of spying. And the company is looking for a long-term solution.

          But the glitch is one that Google would certainly have liked to have avoided for multiple reasons, as The Verge notes.

          The bug could not only help undermine sales of the Mini but hamper Google’s broader effort to turn itself into a top-tier hardware maker. Smart speakers like the Mini rely on customers’ trust; it’s an act of faith for consumers to let Amazon or Google place a microphone in their houses. They generally expect the companies to only record them when they’re aware of it.

          Worse, the nature of the glitch is likely to play into consumers’ worst fears about the search giant. Lots of people are already sensitive to the fact that Google is collecting tons of data on its customers. And the company has previously been taken to task for collecting data without consumers’ consent. Back in 2010, Google admitted its Google Maps Street View cars had been sucking up e-mails and passwords from unencrypted WiFi networks as the cars mapped neighborhoods around the country and world.

          SEE ALSO: Google’s new $50 speaker is a smarter alternative to the Amazon Echo Dot with better sound

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            THE INTERNET OF THINGS 2017 REPORT: How the IoT is improving lives to transform the world


            This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

            The Internet of Things (IoT) is disrupting businesses, governments, and consumers and transforming how they interact with the world. Companies are going to spend almost $5 trillion on the IoT in the next five years — and the proliferation of connected devices and massive increase in data has started an analytical revolution.

            To gain insight into this emerging trend, BI Intelligence conducted an exclusive Global IoT Executive Survey on the impact of the IoT on companies around the world. The study included over 500 respondents from a wide array of industries, including manufacturing, technology, and finance, with significant numbers of C-suite and director-level respondents. 

            Through this exclusive study and in-depth research into the field, BI Intelligence details the components that make up IoT ecosystem. We size the IoT market in terms of device installations and investment through 2021. And we examine the importance of IoT providers, the challenges they face, and what they do with the data they collect. Finally, we take a look at the opportunities, challenges, and barriers related to mass adoption of IoT devices among consumers, governments, and enterprises.

            Here are some key takeaways from the report:

            • We project that there will be a total of 22.5 billion IoT devices in 2021, up from 6.6 billion in 2016.
            • We forecast there will be $4.8 trillion in aggregate IoT investment between 2016 and 2021.
            • It highlights the opinions and experiences of IoT decision-makers on topics that include: drivers for adoption; major challenges and pain points; stages of adoption, deployment, and maturity of IoT implementations; investment in and utilization of devices, platforms, and services; the decision-making process; and forward- looking plans.

            In full, the report:

            • Provides a primer on the basics of the IoT ecosystem
            • Offers forecasts for the IoT moving forward and highlights areas of interest in the coming years
            • Looks at who is and is not adopting the IoT, and why
            • Highlights drivers and challenges facing companies implementing IoT solutions

            To get your copy of this invaluable guide to the IoT, choose one of these options:

            1. Subscribe to an ALL-ACCESS Membership with BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report AND over 100 other expertly researched deep-dive reports, subscriptions to all of our daily newsletters, and much more. >> START A MEMBERSHIP
            2. Purchase the report and download it immediately from our research store. >> BUY THE REPORT

            The choice is yours. But however you decide to acquire this report, you’ve given yourself a powerful advantage in your understanding of the IoT.

            Join the conversation about this story »

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              Google is going to use experimental high-altitude balloons to provide internet in Puerto Rico (GOOG)

              Project Loon

              Google is planning to use experimental high-altitude balloons to provide cell and internet coverage in Puerto Rico.

              On Friday, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said it had approved Google parent company Alphabet application to provide emergency cellular service to the Caribbean island.

              In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico has struggled to regain communications services. 83% of cell sites remain out of service, the FCC says, while wireless communications company are deploying temporary sites.

              Alphabet, which announced its Project Loon in 2013 to use solar-powered, high-altitude balloons to provide internet service in remote regions, said in an FCC filing it was working to “support licensed mobile carriers’ restoration of limited communications capability” in Puerto Rico.

              Earlier on Friday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced he was forming a Hurricane Recovery Task Force with an emphasis on addressing challenges facing Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

              “It is critical that we adopt a coordinated and comprehensive approach to support the rebuilding of communications infrastructure and restoration of communications services,” Pai said in statement.

              puerto rico hurricane maria

              Separately, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello said in a Twitter posting late on Friday that he had a “great initial conversation with @elonmusk tonight. Teams are now talking; exploring opportunities. Next steps soon to follow.”

              Musk, the chief executive of Tesla, said on Friday the company would send more battery installers to Puerto Rico to help restore power after Hurricane Maria knocked out all power on the island over two weeks ago.

              Musk said he was diverting resources from a semi-truck project to fix Model 3 bottlenecks and “increase battery production for Puerto Rico & other affected areas.”

              In late September, Tesla said it was sending hundreds of batteries that can store power generated by solar panels to Puerto Rico to provide emergency help in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

              Join the conversation about this story »

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                Traders betting against Tesla are finally making millions

                Elon Musk

                Betting against Tesla this year has been an exercise in futility, as short sellers have repeatedly been burned by one of the market’s hottest stocks.

                Their patience is finally paying off.

                Through Monday, investors had made $72 million over a two-week period as Tesla’s stock plunged 11%, putting a dent in a massive year-to-date gain that totaled 80% at its peak, according to data compiled by the financial-analytics firm S3 Partners. Their mark-to-market profit is even bigger over the past month, totaling $160 million, according to the data.

                And that short-seller windfall is likely to grow Tuesday, with Tesla’s stock down as much as 3% after the company missed its production goal for the Model 3 sedan in September.

                As a result of the recent share weakness, the amount of Tesla stock being held short has fallen by roughly $1.8 billion. The decline isn’t surprising, considering many short sellers most likely jumped at the chance to close positions and pocket some profits after a long, arduous streak of losses.

                Interestingly, the paring of bets against Tesla has come at a time when short interest is climbing throughout the rest of the automotive sector — and costing bearish speculators money. That increase has mirrored gains in the industry, which stemmed from strong August auto sales and speculation around a government-backed shift toward electric cars, according to S3.

                In fact, the divergence in returns over the past month has made Tesla the sector’s most profitable short over the period, as bets against other major auto manufacturers have lost $1.5 billion, according to S3 data. But that’s not to say bearish Tesla wagers have been profitable on a year-to-date basis. Traders shorting the stock all year have still lost $4.1 billion, even after the recent turnaround.

                But those Tesla skeptics refuse to be deterred. They’re still holding a whopping $9.6 billion of Tesla stock short, showing that while bearish sentiment is waning slightly, it’s not going away.

                “Tesla shorts have proven that they have an iron will and are standing by their short thesis,” Ihor Dusaniwsky, the managing director of predictive analytics at S3, wrote in a client note.

                Another explanation is that investors are no longer shorting Tesla as a proxy for a hedge against declines in the broader stock market — a practice that was in full swing as of late July.

                Now that US equities have proved that they can hit record highs without mega-cap tech stocks leading the way, it’s possible that the trading playbook is being changed on the fly, with Tesla no longer bearing as much of the brunt of investor uncertainty.

                Screen Shot 2017 10 02 at 4.27.58 PM

                SEE ALSO: The retail apocalypse is torpedoing Nordstrom’s attempt to go private — and the whole industry is paying for it

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                  BuzzFeed reveals the scale of its UK investment as revenues hit £20.5 million


                  LONDON — The scale of BuzzFeed’s investment in the UK has been revealed in the company’s most detailed set of earnings since it launched in London more than four years ago.

                  BuzzFeed UK just published accounts for the 12 months to 31 December 2016 on Companies House. Here are the headlines from the 33-page document:

                  • BuzzFeed UK ‘s revenue doubled to £20.5 million (£26.8 million) last year, up from £9.8 million in 2015.
                  • Some £18 million of this income was generated in Britain, while the remaining £2.6 million was from the “rest of the world.”
                  • Despite revenue rocketing, BuzzFeed UK made a pre-tax loss of £3.3 million.
                  • Its “administrative expenses” more than doubled to £23.8 million. They stood at £9.8 million in 2015.
                  • The website paid £255,444 in corporation tax last year.

                  Perhaps most interesting, however, was the detail BuzzFeed UK’s 2016 earnings provided on its investment in people.

                  It had 204 staff last year, up nearly 50% on 2015’s workforce of 137. Some 138 of its staff worked in editorial, while the rest were spread across sales and marketing, technology, admin, and “motion pictures.”

                  BuzzFeed UK’s wage bill nearly doubled to nearly £10 million, rising to £12.2 million when social security and pension costs are included.

                  Since launching in the UK in March 2013, the website has become one of the country’s highest-profile news brands. Led by editor-in-chief Janine Gibson, BuzzFeed is now the 11th most consumed news website in Britain, according to media regulator Ofcom, and has become known for scoops, such as its 2016 exposé on RBS’s systematic mistreatment of small businesses.

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                    Tech billionaire Vinod Khosla has finally opened the gates to this California beach following a years-long court battle — and locals are thrilled

                    martins beach

                    Nine years after he bought an 89-acre parcel near Martins Beach in San Mateo County, California, Silicon Valley venture capitalist Vinod Khosla appears to have given up on his battle to block public access to the shore.

                    Khosla was found to be in violation of the California Coastal Act when, in 2009, he began locking a gate to a road that leads down to a parking lot on the beach. Khosla reportedly paid $37.5 million for a beach-adjacent property in 2008, and the path that provides access to Martins Beach passes through land he owns. Khosla, who runs his own firm, Khosla Ventures, and is a cofounder of Sun Microsystems, has an estimated net worth of $2.1 billion.  

                    By ruling that Khosla must open Martins Beach to the public in August, California’s First District Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld a 2014 ruling by the San Mateo County Superior Court. The Surfrider Foundation had originally filed suit against Khosla in March 2013.

                    According to The Mercury News, Khosla’s attorneys told the California Coastal Commission that the gate would be open for limited hours, or “certain days from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.,” in the words of commission spokesperson Noaki Schwartz. The commission had threatened to fine Khosla more than $11,000 a day if he did not comply.

                    Access to the beachfront parking lot has been blocked sporadically for years, but visitors have still been able to get onto the beach by walking around the locked gate. Now that you can drive down there — albeit during limited hours — beachgoers will get quite a treat. Here’s what it looks like: 

                    SEE ALSO: Tech billionaire must open gates to California beach next to property he bought for $37 million, courts say

                    Beach access is a hot topic in a culture as tied to the ocean as California, and Martins Beach is a particularly beloved spot.

                    The beach has long been a well-known fishing spot and family picnic destination.

                    It’s also popular within the surfing community. The surf team from a local high school once held their practices here, and Jeff Clark, the surfing pioneer known for discovering the giant waves now known as Mavericks, used to come here as a child.

                    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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