Successful entrepreneurs need to keep their fingers on the pulse of their chosen industries, but that can be difficult with the rapid-fire shifts in business and tech. Here are the top stories from the past week to get you up to speed on emerging trends, hot developments, and more from all over the web.
The Growing Bitcoin Bubble?
Jaws are dropping all over the web as bitcoin continues its unprecedented surge. Business Insider reports that the digital currency has hit $15,000 as of 10:50 AM GMT on December 7. That marks a meteoric $3,000 increase in value over just 36 hours, putting the whole cryptocurrency market at over $400 billion. Unsurprisingly, top firms like Coinbase saw user counts surging into the tens of millions in less than two days.
However, the future isn’t looking all rosy for the bitcoin. In a statement on Bloomberg TV, the chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland, Sir Howard Davies, cautioned investors against going all-in on the cryptocurrency bull run. Davies described bitcoin as “a frothy investment bubble” fraught with risks that central banks ought to be warning investors about.
Some more quick hits:
- The bitcoin buzz has recently been undercut by news of a massive hack at NiceHash, a bitcoin mining marketplace based in Slovenia. Reports peg losses at 4,700 stolen bitcoins, or about $63.92M at current prices.
- Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the biggest exchange group in the world, is set to launch bitcoin futures. Its rival and the US’ largest options exchange, CBOE, is starting bitcoin futures trading on December 10.
- Coinsource, the world’s largest bitcoin ATM provider, has expanded its Georgia network by installing 18 more machines in Atlanta, igniting more optimism about bitcoin’s support infrastructure.
- In less serious news, CryptoKitties—described by TechCrunch as Pokemon cards on the Ethereum blockchain—has taken off in a big way, with people now having spent more than $1.3M to buy virtual kittens.
The Pivot to Video Continues
More and more web media is shifting to video, and Amazon is responding in a big way. The company ended November with an announced expansion of Amazon Web Services to better support cloud-based video encoding and delivery across the internet. The announcement follows Amazon’s 2015 acquisition of Elemental, a startup that focused on video services.
Amazon’s expanded services will include:
- Media Convert, a transcoding service
- Media Live, a live video encoder for streaming
- Media Protect, for digital rights management
- Media Store, cloud storage for video-optimized files
Meanwhile, YouTube announced that it’s extending its Community feature to all users with 10K+ subscribers. The announcement also marks YouTube’s jump onto the “Stories” format train with its own take, called “Reels.”