- Bitcoin Surges Past $4,000 on Speed Breakthrough
Bitcoin soared past $4,000 for the first time on growing optimism faster transaction times will hasten the spread of the cryptocurrency.
The largest digital tender jumped to a peak of $4,187 Monday, a gain of nearly 17 percent since Friday, after a plan to quicken trade execution by moving some data off the main network was activated last week. The solution — termed SegWit2x — had been so contentious that a new version of the asset called Bitcoin Cash was spun off earlier this month in opposition.
The split grew out of the tension between growing demand for the virtual currency and some of the design features that had fueled that popularity — the decentralized verification procedures that ensured against hacking and government oversight. While this month’s confrontation ended up as little more than a speed bump in bitcoin’s more than 300 percent rally in 2017, concerns remain around the capacity to increase transaction volumes.
“Up until now a lot of people didn’t really believe bitcoin could go any higher until the scaling issue is resolved,” said Arthur Hayes, Hong Kong-based founder of bitcoin exchange BitMEX. “With this actually being implemented on protocol, theoretically the amount of transactions that can be processed at a reasonable speed is going to be much higher, so a lot of people are very bullish about bitcoin now.”
Because of a cap on the amount of data processed by bitcoin’s blockchain, transactions started to slow as its popularity boomed. The community was then divided between the SegWit2x solution backed by a group of developers and another supported by miners that sought a larger increase in the block size. The latter then became Bitcoin Cash.
Bitcoin Cash, whose price has retreated since peaking right after its birth, has neither disrupted its progenitor’s operations nor undercut its appeal.
While SegWit2x has garnered enough support for activation, challenges remain. Its next stage involves doubling the block size to 2 megabytes some time in November, a possibility that’s still mired in debate. Reduced support could thwart this step, with some arguing that Bitcoin Cash — with a block size of 8 megabytes — has obviated the need for another “hard fork” to upgrade the bitcoin again, Hayes said.
The cryptocurrency’s staggering price surge has bolstered related businesses. Digital currency exchange Coinbase Inc. announced Thursday it’s received a $100 million investment. The supply of bitcoin is capped at 21 million, compared with 16.5 million that had been mined as of Saturday, according to blockchain.info.
“People are starting to price in the consumer demand from Coinbase’s $100 million fund-raising round,” said Justin Short, London-based founder of trading platform Nous. “That’s a lot of advertising budget. Every $1 million of marketing brings new demand, which increases the price as the supply is limited by design.”
Behind Closed Doors: Microsoft’s Bid to Make Bing Apple’s Default Search Engine
Insiders have disclosed that Microsoft Corp. engaged in discussions with Apple Inc. around 2020 about potentially selling its Bing search engine.
The proposed deal aimed to replace Google as the default search engine on Apple devices, particularly iPhones.
People familiar with the matter, who chose to remain anonymous, disclosed that high-level executives from Microsoft held exploratory talks with Eddy Cue, Apple’s services chief, responsible for the existing search engine partnership with Google.
Despite these discussions, the deal never progressed beyond preliminary stages. This revelation has gained renewed attention in light of the ongoing U.S. Department of Justice antitrust trial against Google, in which Apple and Microsoft are actively involved. The Justice Department is using Apple’s arrangement with Google as evidence of Google’s search market dominance.
Apple’s Eddy Cue defended the collaboration during his trial testimony, asserting that Google was the superior search option, emphasizing the quality of Google’s technology.
Apple’s partnership with Google, initiated in 2002, had grown to become highly lucrative, earning Apple between $4 billion to $7 billion annually by 2020.
This financial aspect, coupled with concerns about Bing’s competitiveness, played pivotal roles in Apple’s ultimate decision not to acquire Bing.
While Bing was briefly used as the default search engine in some Apple features between 2013 and 2017, including Siri and Spotlight, Google ultimately remained the preferred choice. In court, it was revealed that Microsoft had considered a multi-billion-dollar investment in its relationship with Apple in 2016, but this attempt was unsuccessful.
Eddy Cue’s testimony underscored Apple’s belief that Google’s search technology was unmatched, signaling that Apple had no plans to develop its own search tool.
This differs from Apple’s approach in other areas, where it competes directly with Google in mapping software, voice assistants, and operating systems.
In retrospect, Apple’s dalliance with Bing serves as a fascinating chapter in the tech giants’ intricate web of partnerships and rivalries.
iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max Owners Complain of Overheating Issues
Some of the first owners of Apple Inc.’s latest offerings, the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, are feeling the heat – literally.
Reports are pouring in from frustrated customers who claim that their new devices are prone to overheating during usage and charging, casting a shadow over Apple’s flagship product.
Complaints have flooded Apple forums and social media platforms, with users expressing concern over the device becoming uncomfortably warm while gaming, making phone calls, or using FaceTime.
The issue appears to be exacerbated when the phone is plugged in for charging.
Apple’s technical support staff have been inundated with calls on the matter and have been directing customers to an older support article on managing hot or cold iPhones.
This notice suggests that overheating may occur during intensive app use, charging, or initial device setup.
Apple, headquartered in Cupertino, California, has remained tight-lipped regarding these complaints, leaving users speculating about the root cause of the issue.
As the iPhone accounts for a substantial portion of Apple’s revenue, any product flaws are scrutinized intensely. While some problems can be resolved through software updates, others may fade with time. Apple usually subjects its products to rigorous testing to catch potential pitfalls before mass production.
The overheating issue could be related to the iPhone setup process, which can be processor-intensive, particularly when re-downloading apps and data from iCloud.
Users have also suggested that certain background apps, such as Instagram or Uber, might exacerbate the problem.
Videos of users measuring the phone’s temperature with thermometers have surfaced online, with one user reporting, “iPhone 15 Pro Max gets really hot easily.”
However, it’s not a universal problem, as some users have reported no issues or found that using a protective case mitigated the heat.
This development follows recent complaints about the FineWoven material used in iPhone 15 cases, highlighting potential quality concerns with Apple’s latest product offerings.
TikTok Faces Regulatory Storm in Indonesia as Minister Calls for E-commerce Split
Teten Masduki, the Indonesian Minister of Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises, has emerged as a vocal critic of the Chinese-owned social media giant TikTok.
Masduki’s relentless complaints about TikTok’s dominance in the Indonesian e-commerce market have set the stage for a seismic regulatory shift that could have far-reaching consequences.
Masduki, a former activist who once took on government corruption, has been disrupting official meetings to raise concerns about TikTok’s impact on local players. This groundswell of criticism has culminated in sweeping regulations that force TikTok to split payments from shopping in Indonesia, a move seen as a significant blow to TikTok’s e-commerce aspirations.
Under these new rules, social media companies in Indonesia are barred from handling direct payments for online purchases, effectively requiring TikTok to either create a separate app for payments or risk being shuttered in Indonesia entirely.
The regulations, stricter than anticipated, have already had a chilling effect on the e-commerce market, benefiting local champions like GoTo and Sea.
While TikTok has pushed back, arguing that the separation of social media and e-commerce hampers innovation, the Indonesian government remains firm in its stance, aiming to protect smaller enterprises and voters as elections loom on the horizon.
This clash underscores the challenges TikTok faces in its pursuit of e-commerce dominance and sets a precedent for other countries in the region. As TikTok’s meteoric rise in regional e-commerce continues, governments are increasingly assessing whether the platform benefits or harms domestic merchants.
For TikTok, the challenge lies in finding a solution that appeases authorities while allowing it to continue its growth. The repercussions of this battle in Indonesia could reverberate throughout Southeast Asia and beyond, shaping the future of social media-driven e-commerce.
In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, Teten Masduki’s bold stance against TikTok may just be the opening salvo in a much larger struggle for control of the e-commerce arena.
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