Why Bitcoin is a Bad Investment

Today, some asshole posted a fake list of private keys attached to digital wallets. This deceipt caused the value of the currency to swing wildly (see above tweet).

Regardless, this belies the most important fact about Bitcoin, something many seem to forget in the hype surrounding the crypto-currency.

You see, Bitcoin is for payments; Not for speculators.

Already, the network supporting the currency is larger than Discover and fifth behind Amex, China UnionPay, Mastercard and Visa.

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Prologue: Doug Bergeron’s VeriFone Departure

Doug Bergeron, VeriFone CEO

I recently received an email from a source who claims he works at a hedge fund that shorted $PAY based on what he found strange and difficult to explain about the former CEO’s behavior.

Here’s the conversation:

Sean,

Here’s the article. FYI I work at a hedge fund and we were short PAY. Part of the qualitative aspect of my research involved a newsrun of Doug Bergeron and it stood out as particularly bad, this being the biggest example. Other quotes throughout the years didn’t seem based in reality either, esp some things in their presentations not squaring with sec filings either. No smoking gun, just a lot of things that were odd at best.

Doug has a long history of badmouthing competitors that goes way past the Hypercom acquisition, and his personal battle with Square.

Indeed, he has a reputation for being cutthroat.

When I profiled him last year, he boasted of how he ruthlessly cut the headcount at VeriFone just as soon as he got in the door.

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Doug Bergeron’s Parting Email

A source forwarded me this link in the wake of Doug Bergeron’s recent departure from VeriFone. I’m assured that it’s legitimate.

Doug Bergeron’s departure as CEO of VeriFone comes at a time when the point of sale terminal manufacturer disclosed that it has engaged in business dealings with Iran that may have been prohibited by recently enacted sanctions against the Middle Eastern country, as well as a recently filed shareholder lawsuit alleging securities fraud.
VeriFone made the disclosures in a 10-Q filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission for its fiscal first quarter 2013, less than two hours after the company announced Monday that Bergeron will step down on March 12. Its fiscal quarter ended Jan. 31.

I thought I would re-post this note here in order to incite some conversation.

From Jottit.com, (An anonymous website  builder):

{Doug Bergeron’s parting message to employees}

From: Doug Bergeron. Sent: Monday, March 11, 2013 04:20 PM Subject: To All of You

Dear friends,

I write to you today with thoughts that are full of emotion and filled with love for you and our company.

Late last week, the VeriFone board met, and together with my agreement decided that the time is right for new leadership of the Company. We have had our victories together as well as our stumbles. Recently, we disappointed our investors with some terrible results that I have largely blamed on our own issues. This was my responsibility and I accept the consequences.

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Taiwan: A Single Easycard Tap

It’s called the Easycard; And the Taiwanese are using it for everything.

From, the BBC:

Beep, and a smart card gets you on a bus.

Beep, and the same card opens your office door. Beep, and you buy your coffee at a corner shop. Beep, you pay for parking, open the exit gate. Beep, check out a library book.

Beep. Beep. Beep. At school or university, the card becomes your ID.

The country’s mass adoption of tap and go, RFID technology has created a utility for the single piece of plastic. But there are security concerns, as well as reasons that the smart card hasn’t spread past Asia.

No doubt, the Easycard is ripe for hacking.

Once somebody hacked one of the cards and loaded it with more – fake – money. As soon as the card was used, the company spotted the fraud and alerted police.

The second-generation card, launched in 2012, has a chip similar to modern credit cards.

It protects all data with a long encryption key and is much harder to hack, says Mr Chang.

Security is more of an issue when the Easycard is also used as an ID card. Then it shows the owner’s name and picture – and it could allow an intruder into your office.

Does that mean that Americans could start seeing such a smart card being used?

Why not.

Just like new payment technologies here, in the U.S., the card was first piloted on mass transit systems (read: ISIS partnerships with transportation authorities in Austin and Salt Lake City).

Indeed, the technology is already readily available, domestically.

American Express’ digital wallet Serve certainly encorporates this idea using a prepaid mag stripe card. PayPal has also promoted the thought with its push into the real world — users can now fund their virtual wallets using any number of payment methods. Square, too, is a proponent of this method.

Facebook Tests ‘Buy Tickets’ Feature, Reports Say

Commerce is the aim of any platform that brings together a massive number of buyers and sellers.

Facebook (FB) is a prime-example. The social networking giant recently announced a multi-purse gift card.

Facebook (FB) is further dipping its toe into physical payments and launching a new, branded gift card for its users. The piece of closed-loop plastic is redeemable at several national retailers.

The social networking giant made the cards, which are redeemable at Jamba Juice, Olive Garden, Sephora, and Target, available to its users last week. The Facebook Card is reloadable and one card can be at all four merchants. Users set up different buckets of money to use at any of those chains.

Now, there is news that the Menlo Park, Calif. company is launching a tickets button for events.

From AllFacebook.com:

Facebook is testing different buttons allowing users to buy tickets to events, but the actual transactions take place off the social network, as clicking on the buttons take users to third-party websites.

Blink Vice President of Media Eti Suruzon shared the screen grabs below, but the buy tickets buttons were not available when we accessed the same events.

Users: Have you seen any similar buy tickets buttons on Facebook?

For Salty Pimp, It’s Square On The Counter

20091008-saltypimp.jpg

There are few things that can dull the taste of chocolate soft serve, dripping with dulce de leche, dipped in chocolate and coated with sea salt and served on a cone. At Big Gay Ice Cream, It’s called a Salty Pimp.

And for the owners, perhaps the only cost that could sour the taste might be how much they’re paying for their point of sale system — sometimes as much as $9,000 a machine (you know, the ones that sit on the counter and are attached to a card swiper).

That’s perhaps why this brick and mortar store in the East Village is using Square to accept card and manage cash.

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The iPhone: An Unexpected Mobile Payments Device

It’s the law of unintended consequences — whatever you create, expect it to be used in ways you’ve never imagined.

That’s especially true for the iPhone.

Long before Apple updated its mobile platform to facilitate voice-activated payments through the ticket buying service Fandango, Chris Teso was making purchases using the device’s Siri software.

Apple’s (AAPL) latest update to its mobile platform iOS 6 now allows iPhone users to purchase big screen tickets with the sound of their voices.

That’s because the chief executive of mobile payments start-up Chirpify, Teso, was using the smartphone’s voice recognition software, Siri, to tweet cash through his company’s platform.

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