iVLG News Roundup Week 9 2014: Bitcoin Under Fire as Mt. Gox Implodes; Candy Trademark Abandoned; Personal Service Startups Take Center Stage
Bitcoin Processor Mt. Gox Implodes
The bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox imploded this week after the company failed to make it through the theft of approximately $473 million due to a security flaw in the company’s software. The bitcoin heist perpetrated by still unknown thieves sent shock waves through the bitcoin community; some regulators, including US Senator Joe Manchin, took a stance in response that seeks to ban the cryptocurrency. While it may be just the growing pains of a new bitcoin industry or that a rogue Mt. Gox acted without responsibility, or both, some nations, including Russia, China, Vietnam, and Thailand have taken steps to end bitcoin use. Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday, which means the extent to which the Mt. Gox implosion was simply the result of a security flaw, the result of an irresponsible company, or the result of flaw implicit within the bitcoin system may start to be shaped through the Japanese bankruptcy courts. But many bitcoin observers think that Mt. Gox’s spectacular implosion won’t be the end of bitcoin in the US.
“Candy” Trademark Abandoned
We reported in our Week 4 news roundup that game app maker King.com had filed for and had been granted a trademark on the word “candy” as it relates to games. This week, the company filed an express trademark abandonment with the USPTO seeking to abandon the trademark, perhaps in response to widespread criticism of the game maker and opposition to the filing. The company will still probably not let others use the word candy as it relates to games, since it acquired the “Candy Crusher” registered trademark that dates to 2004. Indeed, it has been using that trademark to pursue even the game makers it seems to have obviously copied.
Personal Service Startups Take Center Stage: Grubhub IPO; Uber, Lyft psuedo regulatory victory in Washington
Food delivery service startup GrubHub filed for a $100 million IPO this week. The company, sometimes described as the “Uber for food delivery,” had more than $1.3 billion in sales with more than 3 million users last year. The company also touted a 67% growth rate last year, though some have called that figure misleading. The terms of the deal revealed that Grubhub’s recent acquisition of rival Seamless was a more balanced transaction than some thought, with venture capital firms who invested in Seamless making out a bit better in the Grubhub IPO.
Meanwhile, the Uber for transportation services, that is, Uber, was in the news again this week with Seattle limiting the number of drivers the company and its rivals, including Lyft and Sidecar, can put on the road. This was better than a ban for Uber and Lyft supporters, but was bittersweet considering it severely limits growth potential and exposes the companies to uncertainty. Uber and Lyft planned to defy a Minneapolis ban. The companies have been on a collision course with taxi regulators and drivers, probably because at least Uber is generating so much cash they can operate at a loss to drive out competition. The basic argument is that Uber and similar services put unsafe drivers on the road, though anyone anywhere who has tried to hail a cab will probably agree the industry is due for disruption.
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