Tag Archives: Money
Facebook knew children were spending money in games without getting parental consent and the company did nothing about it, according to newly unsealed court documents from a 2012 lawsuit.
More than 100 pages of private Facebook documents were released following a request by the Center for Investigative Reporting and shed light on Facebook’s tactics. For years, the company was aware that children were playing games on accounts tied to a credit card and were, in some cases, unknowingly racking up thousands of dollars in bills by simply clicking within a game to get new abilities or upgrades.
The company ignored a plan developed by an employee in 2011 that would curb children from spending money without a parent’s permission.
The more games children played, the more Facebook’s revenue grew. When angry parents saw their credit card bills and in some cases reported not even receiving a receipt, they found it difficult to get their money back from Facebook, so they turned to credit card companies, the Better Business Bureau and finally, a lawsuit.
While the documents are old, they shed light on Facebook’s past business practices as the company continues to be under immense scrutiny for its numerous privacy breaches. Facebook changed its refund policy around games in 2016 and now has a detailed site about how to handle payment disputes with developers. Additionally, a Parents Portal offers tips for parents about how their kids can stay safe online.
“Facebook works with parents and experts to offer tools for families navigating Facebook and the web. As part of that work, we routinely examine our own practices, and in 2016 agreed to update our terms and provide dedicated resources for refund requests related to purchases made by minors on Facebook,” the company said in a statement.
Fortnite is one of the most popular games available at the moment, so it comes as no surprise that the title is making a ton of money on iOS devices alone.
Fortnite brought in $ 300 million in its first 200 days on Apple’s iOS platform, according to market analyst Sensor Tower. The game is free to play, but players can purchase Fortnite skins and dances. It’s made the most of any game on iOS in the first 200 days of availability. Users can buy skins and dances separately or purchase a season pass to get a collection of new releases. In just the month of April, Fortnite made $ 300 million across all its available platforms, The Verge reported.
Fortnite is also available on Android, the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. It’s become a massive cultural phenomenon since its release in 2017. Celebrities like Drake have streamed themselves playing Fortnite, players streaming their games on platforms like Twitch have become a kind of celebrity of their own, and the premiere of Saturday Night Live’s 44th season even featured a Fortnite-themed sketch.
SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb said 35 billion won ($ 31.5 million) worth of virtual coins were stolen by hackers, the second local exchange targeted in just over a week as cyber thieves exposed the high risks of trading the digital asset.
Bithumb said in a notice on its website on Wednesday that it had stopped all trading after ascertaining “some cryptocurrencies worth about 35 billion won were seized between late yesterday and early morning today.”
The exchange, the sixth busiest in the world according to Coinmarketcap.com, said it had stored “all clients’ assets in safe cold wallets,” which operate on platforms not directly connected to the internet.
It added that the company would fully compensate customers.
The Bithumb theft highlights the security risks and the weak regulation of global cryptocurrency markets. Global policymakers have warned investors to be cautious in trading the digital currency given the lack of broad regulatory oversight.
In Ho, a professor at Korea University’s Blockchain Research Institute, said the stolen coins were most likely to be from the more insecure ‘hot wallets.’
“Since coins in the cold wallets are not at all wired to the internet, it would have been impossible for hackers to steal those in cold wallets unless they physically broke in,” said In, a blockchain expert at the research center.
Bithumb did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comments, and its statement did not say whether the stolen coins were stored in its ‘hot wallets’.
Mun Chong-hyun, chief analyst at ESTsecurity, said digital coins would continue to be juicy targets for hackers around the world.
“No security measures or regulations can 100 percent guarantee safety of virtual coins. It is held anonymously and in lightly-secured systems, which makes them an irresistible target,” Mun said.
On the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp, bitcoin BTC=BTSP was down 1.8 percent at $ 6,612.92 by 0351 GMT, extending losses as a series of intrusions on cryptocurrency exchanges in recent weeks sparked concerns over security.
It has fallen roughly 70 percent from its all-time peak hit around mid-December 2017.
On June 11, another South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Coinrail said it was hacked. The cyber attacks come after a high-profile theft of over half a billion dollars worth of digital currency at Japan’s exchange Coincheck earlier this year.
In January, South Korea banned the use of anonymous bank accounts for virtual coin trading to stop cryptocurrencies being used in money laundering and other crimes. But the government said it does not intend to go as far as shutting down domestic exchanges.
Bithumb trades more than 37 different virtual coins, according to Coinmarketcap.com
Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Jacqueline Wong
For those that are familiar with American football, you would likely understand the strategy that the team that controls the clock usually controls the game.
But, what happens if the clock is broken and the game just keeps going and going and going? Well, it is no different than when an analyst makes a claim that the stock market is going to crash, and makes this claim week after week after week, and does this for months or even years on end. Since there is no time limit to the game, eventually, this analyst can “win” the game.
This is what we call the “broken clock syndrome,” and we see this quite often in our financial markets. But, the problem is that one cannot make money in the market with a broken clock. Remember what Ben Franklin once said: “Lost time is never found again.” So, the opportunity cost of following a broken clock is truly immeasurable.
But, how do you know that you are using a broken clock?
This is where you must demand objective standards from any analyst you read. So, while I still see articles looking for the financial markets to blow up, and others pointing to various factors which will kill the bull market, and even others saying “bye-bye” to the bull market and hello to the bear market, this is no different than what we have been reading from many analysts for years now. Yet, have you ever noted that none of them will provide you with an objective standard through which you can determine if their analysis will be correct at any point before 5 years from when they make their claims?
Several years ago, when I was publishing my articles claiming that we will see a rally from the 1800 region in the SPX to 2600+ in the SPX, I would see many comments disagreeing with my perspective, as most market participants at the time could not fathom such a rally.
In fact, I remember one such commenter who spoke with a certain amount of authority and continually claimed (from 2013) that we are entering a major deflationary period which would cause our stock market to crash. He had many of those reading his comments completely convinced of his perspective.
The manner in which I challenged him was to simply ask him at what point would he know his analysis was wrong? Would it be if we rallied over 1900? Over 2000? Over 2100? Yet, he constantly refused to provide me with any objective standards to suggest he was wrong in his expectations. All he claimed was they there was no way that the market will rally up to my target.
Are you starting to see what I mean about needing objective standards? Yet, very few analysts utilize analysis methodologies that can provide such objective standards. That would classify their analysis as being akin to simply guessing without knowing when they are wrong.
Remember, markets are non-linear in nature, and will move up and down. As trees do not grow to the sky, markets do not continue up indefinitely. We will always have corrections. So, if an analyst makes a claim that the market is going to drop by 50%, it really is more important to know if the market will correct from where we currently reside or if it will correct after a 100% rally. If the analyst claims weekly that the market will correct 50% during the period of time in which the market rallies for 100%, then the analyst is not providing you with any guidance whatsoever. This is basically what we have seen from many analysts over the last 3-5 years.
I would suggest you begin to demand objective standards from the analysis you read, rather than simply seek confirmation of your own bearish tendencies.
So, allow me to provide you my analysis for the upcoming week, with objective standards, as I often do. As long as the market remains over our upper support of 2700SPX, I am looking for the market to rally up towards the 2760SPX region. But, the next rally I expect (should we see it in the coming week) will likely set us up for another larger degree decline, with an initial target in the 2650SPX region. Ultimately, I expect the market to test the 2600-2650SPX region again (and possibly even lower) before we begin the rally I expect over 3000.
For those of you that have been following me closely, you would know that I have been expecting the market to rally over 3000 after this correction runs its course. And, if the market should strongly move through the 2823SPX region before another larger degree downside structure takes hold, then this is my objective standard that suggests the market is likely already heading up over 3000 earlier than I had initially expected.
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Memorial Day Message
This weekend, I took the liberty of watching the movie “Ike: Countdown To D-day.” Watching this movie struck an emotional cord within me on this Memorial Day weekend, which we each should feel to the depths of our being living privileged to be free men and women today. We should each feel an immense and immeasurable sense of gratitude to the men and women of our military, along with their families who sacrifice so much alongside them.
The sacrifices made by the individuals on that day of June 6th 1944, and throughout the entire war, and throughout all of American history, have indebted each and every one of us to them and their families in a way we cannot and will not ever be able to repay. The sacrifice made by them, their mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and children is something we can never fully appreciate, especially during the time in history in which we are all now blessed to live due to their selflessness.
As I now am moved to write this heartfelt message, with tears streaming down my cheeks, I recognize that this is but only a small token of appreciation I may be showing. To all those within the reaches of my words who have served in our armed forces or who have lost loved ones who have served in our armed forces, please accept my and my family’s deepest and most earnest felt gratitude for your service to our country and, indeed, to all of mankind. It is due to your sacrifice that we proudly stand today and proclaim “let freedom ring.” G-d bless you, your families, and the United States of America.
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Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.
I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.
NAIROBI (Reuters) – Safaricom, Kenya’s biggest telecoms company, is piloting a social messaging app that will link to its mobile money platform in an attempt to move the company into the application business, the company said on Tuesday.
Bonga, meaning ‘chat’ in Kiswahili, will be integrated with the company’s popular financial services platform M-Pesa to enable the almost 28 million of its users to communicate beyond sending money to one another, transforming the platform into a type of social network.
The idea stems from the “hypothesis that there’s an intricate connection between conversations and transactions, payments especially,” Kamal Bhattacharya, chief innovation officer at Safaricom, said in a telephone interview.
“It’s one thing to share information with somebody it’s another thing to make a payment, to send money to somebody,” he said.
Bhattacharya said that M-Pesa users will be able to message each other on Bonga in three ways: user-to-user, user-to-business and fundraising through “social groups” much like the group function on WhatsApp.
The concept has similarities with China’s top social messaging app WeChat, where users can perform a variety of tasks, from payments to ride-hailing, without leaving the platform.
Bonga is the first product launched by Safaricom’s innovation incubator Alpha. Bhattacharya previously set up IBM’s research lab in Africa and joined the company in 2017.
Safaricom is piloting Bonga internally before planning to launch later this year.
Bhattacharya said the platform will be end-to-end encrypted. “We cannot read the messages, we cannot keep the messages,” he said.
Kenya does not have data privacy laws.
Safaricom is 35 percent owned by South African group Vodacom and 5 percent by Vodacom’s major shareholder Vodafone.
With nearly 30 million users, the company has 70 percent of Kenya’s total mobile phone subscribers.
The introduction of Bonga is part of Safaricom’s strategy to boost revenue and diversify from offerings of voice calls, mobile money and text messages. Last year it launched Masoko, an e-commerce platform.
Its first-half 2017 results showed revenue from mobile money rose 16 percent, while revenue from phone calls rose by far less – only 4 percent.
“Our future is to become a platform that enables business in Kenya as well as our consumers to do their work in a different way,” Bhattacharya said. “Messenger platforms are the most popular apps, the most popular approach on the internet today to bring people together.”
($ 1 = 100.3000 Kenyan shillings)
Reporting by Maggie Fick; Writing by Omar Mohammed, editing by David Evans and Sunil Nair
A version of the technology that’s meant to make cryptocurrency payments faster and cheaper went live Thursday.
The software, called Lightning Network, can now be used for Bitcoin payments after more than a year in which thousands of developers tested it. Lightning Labs, one of the firms developing the technology, released this initial version, which is compatible with networks being developed by other groups, such as Blockstream and Acinq.
Bitcoin has become digital gold — or a viable investment alternative — to many, but it has been harder for it to fulfill its original purpose of becoming digital money, as transaction fees have skyrocketed to as high as $ 50, while confirmation times took as long as a week at their peak. Enthusiasts say the Lightning Network will solve these problems with fees at a fraction of a cent and instantaneous transactions.
The Lightning Network rolls out, another technology meant to speed up transactions, Segregated Witness, gains traction, with the number of transactions using it doubling to more than 30 percent of total Bitcoin transactions in the past month. Bitcoin transaction fees have plummeted in part thanks to this, but the total number of transactions has also declined. Lightning Network is also meant to help lower fees on the main Bitcoin network.
The Lightning Network allows Bitcoin users to open payment channels between each other. The parties can than conduct transactions without having to post them to the Bitcoin blockchain, avoiding delays and costs that result from recording those transactions each time. Once the channel is closed, only the resulting balances are recorded on the blockchain, not the full transaction history of the channel, and only then are Bitcoin fees paid. There is no required time or transaction limit required to close a payment channel, so they can potentially remain open for months of years.
Elizabeth Stark, Lightning Labs founder and chief executive officer, says merchants and especially online businesses will be the most likely users as it facilitates a high volume of payments and its near-zero fees allow for micropayments. Cryptocurrency exchanges could also use the software to accelerate deposit and withdrawal of funds, she said.
The network is currently able to process transactions in the low thousands per second, according to Stark, which is still far from Visa Inc.’s maximum of 56,000, but an improvement on Bitcoin’s five transactions per second. More than 4,000 payment channels have been opened since the technology was released in January 2017, and even though it was in testing, some merchants already started using it. Block & Jerry’s, an online ice-cream store playing on American ice-cream brand Ben & Jerry’s, is one.
“Bitcoin enthusiasts have gotten excited about this, merchants are excited about this,” Stark said. “It feels like we’re right on the edge of mass cryptocurrency adoption.”
The hottest game of 2009 is hoping to be just as big in 2018 by adding a cash component for players.
Angry Birds Champions will let players toss birds at pigs and structures, as all the other games in the series have done, but this time, they’ll do so in a tournament mode, by wagering and winning real money.
Developer and publisher Rovio is working with WorldWinner.com on the game (which is played via the WorldWinner app, not a standalone one).
Players can compete in either a best-of-three or progression-style game, with their highest or combined score being recorded. The game then finds a similarly skilled person to play the same levels. Whoever has the highest score takes the cash.
Games typically cost under $ 1 to play and winners usually walk away with a $ 3 to $ 4 in their pocket for a victory. Players who just wish to compete against others for fun can also play without paying.
Because WorldWinner walks a thin line between amusement and gambling, it doesn’t offer cash tournaments in 10 states—Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Montana, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Tennessee.
Rovio launched the original Angry Birds game in 2009, and has since released at least 25 variations of the game, including Star Wars, Transformers, and Rio-themed versions. In 2016, it co-produced The Angry Birds Movie for $ 100 million, bringing in nearly $ 350 million in ticket sales. A 2017 IPO, though, was disappointing for investors.
The founder and CEO of Facebook owns over 400 million shares of the company, meaning stock fluctuations hit him the hardest. The trick is figuring out exactly how hard — and that’s where things get a little difficult.
As of April 14, 2017, the company’s last proxy statement, Zuckerberg owned over 2.6 million shares of Class A stock and nearly 411 million Class B shares. In September, though, he announced plans to sell as many as 75 million shares over the following 18 months “to fund the philanthropic initiatives of [he] and his wife, Priscilla Chan,” according to a filing.
So, for argument’s sake, let’s say he’s halfway through that sales goal (unlikely, but it doesn’t hurt to be conservative) — bringing his total holdings to approximately 377 million shares.
Given the company’s 4.5% drop on Friday, that would mean Zuckerberg lost more than $ 3.1 billion, on paper at least. (If he hasn’t sold any of the 75 million shares he’s planning to, the loss escalates to nearly $ 3.5 billion.)
Of course, Facebook shares will almost certainly rebound. And analysts say they expect the changes will drive higher ad prices and could result in more money for Facebook, something that always cheers investors.
Ultimately, though, Zuckerberg’s likely not concerned. He’s already pledged to give away 99% of his net worth in his lifetime.