Commerce

If you predicted the bubble and bust in the Bitcoin market would kill off the nascent virtual currency, well, the very best you could say is that you’re early, writes Stephen Foley.

In fact, dating site OkCupid is going to start accepting payment in Bitcoin from tomorrow, the biggest brand name so far to join the Bitcoin economy. Since the site is part of Barry Diller’s IAC media empire, this gives the currency a toehold in a major corporation. Read more >>

Foursquare’s future is veering toward e-commerce, as the company’s social media roots have failed to yield revenues strong enough to excite investors.

What began as a virtual social competition for clocking the most “check-ins” at local restaurants and coffee shops is evolving into a play for a cut of local retail business.

“Twenty per cent of Foursquare check-ins are happening at retail locations, like clothing stores and shoe stores,” said Dennis Crowley, Foursquare’s chief executive and co-founder. Read more >>

The value of Bitcoins — which trade on what is best described as an OTC basis — has been soaring of late. And suddenly everyone is talking about bitcoins. Yadda yadda yadda.

Here’s the latest bubblicious chart, courtesy of Bitcoin charts:

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Apple has bought WifiSlam, an indoor mobile location service, as the Silicon Valley giant continues to compete with Google in mapping capabilities.

The deal closed recently for $20m, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal, citing an unnamed source.

WifiSlam’s technology uses ambient wireless signals that are already present in buildings to pinpoint the location of smartphones, as opposed to the space-based satellite signals relied upon for larger-scale GPS mapping and navigation systems. Read more >>

Publishers may take a cue from the software industry as they regroup from a decisive loss in the US Supreme Court over copyright rules.

After failing to persuade the justices to protect their foreign-made titles from resale in the US in the Kirtsaeng v Wiley case, publishers must instead rethink their international business practices.

While traditional publishers of books, music, and film have generally viewed the computer industry as a foe in various policy battles, it could find a saviour in borrowing its concept of software licensing agreements and applying them to physical goods. Read more >>

Pinterest, the fast-growing online scrapbooking site, has raised $200m, valuing the three year-old company at $2.5bn.

The San Francisco-based company is adding to its unconventional list of investors with this financing round, rather than turning to the Silicon Valley venture capital firms that typically lead investments for a company at this stage of growth.

The latest round was led by Valiant Capital Management, a hedge fund in San Francisco founded by Christopher Hansen, who is better known for his attempts to bring an NBA basketball team back to Seattle than his technology bets. Read more >>

Sailthru, a start up that is trying to make “smart data” out of “big data,” has raised $19m in a Series B investment round led by Benchmark Capital.

This is the second investment to close in as many days for Benchmark, which led a $13.5m Series A fundraising round for Snapchat, the ephemeral social networking service that lets people post photos or messages that self-delete after 10 seconds or less. That company is valued between $60m and $70m. Read more >>

As Silicon Valley has boomed, there has been a flurry of public scrutiny of Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook. But one company has stayed strangely out of the spotlight: Amazon.

In a new Financial Times ebook, on sale globally today, Barney Jopson and other FT writers lift the lid on a company which has grown from online book business into overlord of a corporate eco-system over which it wields extraordinary power. Read more >>

Chris Nuttall

Jonathan Kaplan, founder of the Flip video camera business and now a chain of toasted-cheese-sandwich restaurants, is putting his foot on the accelerator with his expansion plans this weekend – driving away the first of an intended fleet of more than 100 food trucks to supplement his store openings.

The move will bring The Melt, backed by top Silicon Valley VC firms Sequoia Capital and Benchmark Capital, closer to its goal of opening 500 outlets nationwide over five years. Read more >>

Apple’s $1bn win over Samsung in California should give inventors cautious optimism, writes James Dyson, founder and chief engineer of Dyson. It was an overwhelming victory in spite of a vacillating process that puts the onus on the patent’s owner to prove it has been copied, rather than the infringer to prove it has not.

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