The Strangest Tokens Of Affection Payments and Commerce

valentine's day hearts

Today is Valentine’s Day, and although the hours grow short, there is still time to get the special someone a special something.

We all know the classics, of course, flowers, chocolates and jewelry tend to make up the love trifecta on our national annual celebration of love, with stuffed animals and lingerie getting the annual honorable mention.

But here at PYMNTS we like to think outside of the box, and like to reward the players that follow suit.  Because anyone can get you a chocolate heart or something sparkly, but has your sweetie even thought about giving you the ability to become a bitcoin miner?

We thought not.

It’s okay, don’t be disappointed.  Salon, as it turns out, does love you enough to help you mine bitcoin.  Well, to help your computer mine bitcoin anyway.

And as it turns out, that may not even be the strangest gift floating around the ecosystem this Valentine’s Day.

Bill Gates Gift To Apple: Advice On Unbreakable Encryption 

Bill Gates does not share Apple’s enthusiasm for unbreakable encryption.

In fact, according to a recent chat with Axios about recent trends in tech that make him nervous, Gates specifically called such encryption, and although he did not call out Apple by name, it was pretty unmistakable whose encryption he was talking about

“The companies need to be careful,” said Gates, “that they’re not … advocating things that would prevent government from being able to, under appropriate review, perform the type of functions that we’ve come to count on.”

Gates went on to observe that while protection of privacy is high important and that consideration should not lead to an absolute, hardline position applied in every case and in any context, like for example, refusing  to unlock a phone on the “view that even a clear mass-murdering criminal’s communication should never be available to the government.”

When asked whether he was referring to Apple being able to unlock an iPhone, Gates disagreed with the interviewers characterization.

“There’s no question of ability; it’s the question of willingness.”

His over all advice? Humility

“The tech companies have to be … careful that they’re not trying to think their view is more important than the government’s view, or than the government being able to function in some key areas.”


Salon Want To Trade Bitcoin Mining For Ads

Ever wanted the chance to live the high octane life of a crypto-miner? Well, do we have some good news for you, Salon totally wants to help.

Sort of.

One of many media platforms feeling the pinch of readers who have switched on ad blockers, and ipso facto switched off their revenue stream. Salon is making a simple request of its readers.  They can keep looking at the site ad-free, but instead of using a pop-up blocker the media platform was kind of hoping it could borrow the user’s CPU to do a little crypto mining.

Visitors to the website with an ad blocker enabled now see a pop-up that asks them to either  disable the ad blocker or to try something new:

“Block ads by allowing Salon to use your unused computing power.”

How are they making money with that “unused power?”

By their own description:

“We intend to use a small percentage of your spare processing power to contribute to the advancement of technological discovery, evolution, and innovation. For our beta program, we’ll start by applying your processing power to help support the evolution and growth of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.”

So how small is that percentage?

Not so small according to expert reviews, as one writer noted that his power usage shot up staggeringly during his experiment with Salon mining, and that his smaller laptop heated up some.

“People with different computers will obviously get different results. While Salon’s mining might not lock your computer up entirely, I still wouldn’t want it running in the background, especially if I were away from a power outlet.”

Salon, however, does promise users that it will only mine during the site visit, and that it will not be installing anything on their computers.


Snapchat Shows Love With Numbers 

Creators, the pro and semi-pro content makers, on Snapchat got a gift today that is arguably a lot sweeter than chocolate, and probably better for them in the long run as well. According to reports, Snapchat creators are getting audience analytics, including story views, engagement, and demographics.

The update, notes most reviews, has been a while in the making as media creators have been requested this or something like it for some time and as there has been a greater push to monetize the creation experience (something that would come as a welcome change for both Snapchat’s content creators, and for Snapchat itself).

The overall goal  is to draw more creators to the service, in the hopes that their presence will draw more users and allow positive network effects to push the marketplace forward.

This may not be as sparkly as a diamond, but if it works right, it could bring more users to the platform and up Snaps ability to monetize its take on social media. This might just find a way to be the site’s best friend, anyway.



New PYMNTS Study: Subscription Commerce Conversion Index – July 2020 

Staying home 24/7 has consumers turning to subscription services for both entertainment and their day-to-day needs. While that’s a great opportunity for providers, it also presents a challenge — 27.4 million consumers are looking to cancel their subscriptions because of friction and cost concerns. In the latest Subscription Commerce Conversion Index, PYMNTS reveals the five key features that can help companies keep subscribers loyal despite today’s challenging economic times.