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Powermat Releasing Updated, Stronger Wireless Charging Pad

December 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Powermat plans to roll out an upgrade to its wireless charging technology in January  that will enable 15-watt power transfers through a 1.5-in. thick solid surface and provide support for new Apple iPhones and other Qi-enabled devices.

The wireless charging company also plans to release an under-tabletop product that allows users to simply place enabled mobile devices atop a desk, for example, to begin receiving a charge.

By moving from 5 watts to 15 watts with the upcoming software upgrade, Powermat chargers will transfer power to a mobile device at the same rate as a traditional charging cable, according to Powermat CTO Itay Sherman.

The upgrade, to be formally unveiled at CES in January, will also open the door for future software improvements, including power transfer rates of up to 65 watts; that would cover everything from tablets to laptops, Sherman said.

Currently, only Dell’s Latitude 7285 2-in-1 laptop features wireless charging based on technology from WiTricity.

The software upgrade is particularly significant in that it natively supports charging for Qi-enabled devices, such as the iPhone 8 and X series, Apple’s first smartphones to get wireless charging. A software upgrade earlier this year did enable compatibility with the Qi specification, but it only offered 5W power transfer.

Powermat’s upcoming software upgrade will support 7.5W so called “fast charging” for the new iPhone line as well as most Android smart phones.

Powermat’s inductive wireless charging is widely used today and has been adopted by Duracell, General Motors, Starbucks and AT&T. Among airports, coffee shops, malls, restaurants and arenas, Powermat claims to have 12,000 charging spots in the U.S. and Europe, and is being embedded in millions of cars and smartphones.

While the technology is inductive as opposed to resonant, which allows for greater distances between a charger and enabled device, Powermat added a larger charging coil and a booster to its newest chargers. That allows for power transfers of up to 1.5 inches in distance.

“With this charging technology there are no more wires on top of the desk or table,” Sherman said. “In the past, there has been a reluctance on the part of enterprise customers to use wireless charging because of all the wires on the top side of a desk, but with this technology they no longer need to do that.”

The new charger can attach to the bottom of a desk or conference table with just two screws; a sticker atop the surface then directs users were to place their smart phones for charging. The charger’s firmware also contains an algorithm that detects how far power needs to be projected to an enabled device.

Pricing for the new charger has yet to be released.

Powermat is part of the Airfuel Alliance consortium, which was founded when two of the three major wireless charging standard bodies — the Power Matters Alliance (PMA) and the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP)­ — merged in 2015. The Airfuel Alliance competes against the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), a standards groups backing the Qi specification.

Because the WPC’s specification is open, Powermat’s latest upgrade will offer compatibility, Sherman said.

“Charging devices we have today are upgradable to support the WPC’s [Qi] specification, but the new design will be compatible day one,” Sherman said. “To be very honest, the difference between these two technologies have been minute. The whole market is consolidating now.”

Facebook May Have To Deal With Age-of-Consent Rule For Users

December 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

All French minors under the age of 16 will have to gain parental approval to open an account on Facebook or any other social network under draft legislation presented on Wednesday.

The requirement is part of a French bill that seeks to adapt data privacy regulations and improve access to the information internet companies gather, store and in many cases sell to other firms about people’s online activity.

 “Joining Facebook will involve parental authorization for minors aged under 16,” Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet told reporters.

The bill aims to ensure easier access for users to all the data companies collect so they can more easily seek to have certain details amended or deleted.

The minister said signing up to join a social network would involve ticking a box to confirm that approval from parents or rightful guardians had been obtained, and that the box-tick amounted to a declaration governed by law.

It was not clear how enforceable such a process would be.

Separately, Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said this week that mobile phones would be banned in schools from the start of the next school year.

 Use of mobile phones is already forbidden in classrooms, so the ban would likely cover their use during breaks and at lunchtime.

Blanquer said on RTL radio on Sunday that his ministry was working out the details, but some schools already had a full ban, proving that it could be done though some exceptions had to be made for teaching or emergency purposes.

Can Qulacomm’s Snapdragon 845 Play Games At 1080p 60 FPS

December 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Gaming

A Snapdragon 845 prototype phone factor design was running Lineage 2 revolution 1080p 60 FPS, in so-called console like gaming.

Lineage 2 Revolution is a mobile MMORPG game licensed by NCSoft and developed by Netmarble and it traditionally runs in 720p resolution on nearly all of the phones available today. This includes Snapdragon 835 phones and the rest of the competition. The Lineage 2 Revolution is an Unreal Engine based game.

In early 2018, you can expect to see Snapdragon 845 phones running it. We had a few minutes to play this graphically impressive MMORPG and we saw with the device is that the reference phone didn’t get hot, nor throttled.

The game supports advanced effects including physically based rendering, bloom, dynamic reflection and shadows. Of course, this is all running on the latest lower level API, the well known Vulkan. If you want a few more details, we are talking about 160,000 triangles per frame at 60 frames per second and 10 surfaces per frame.

This is a big deal, as Qualcomm claims a 25 percent higher performance in games with 30 percent better efficiency. Back in early 2017, when we had a chance to see the first Snapdragon 820 reference phones, we were surprised that they would not throttle or get hot either.

This will play a big role in the slot in VR designs as no one really likes a hot phone close to your brain.

When we say console like graphics, bear in mind that most games on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 run at 720, but with some higher polygons and better looking games. Still, in the phone form factor, the game looks quite amazing, considering that the consoles have much bigger GPUs and a lot of space to place a bigger cooler, compared to an Adreno 630 GPU inside the few mm thick phone.

Courtesy-Fud

Facebook Beefs Up Augmented Reality In Messenger App

December 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Facebook is moving forward to add more augmented reality to its services.

For the uninitiated, augmented reality, or AR, lets people superimpose virtual graphics on top of real-world images. It’s what gives you digital sunglasses or dog ears in Snapchat and Instagram.

The social network on Tuesday said it’s bringing a new feature, called World Effects, to its Messenger chat app. The feature lets you add 3D objects you can interact with to your pictures or videos — like putting a heart over someone’s head or adding a robot that plays music to an image.

Separately, Facebook also said that it’s expanding its AR Studios platform, first announced in April during Facebook’s F8 developer conference, to the general pubic. The set of tools allows users to create AR content for Facebook. Initially, AR Studios was only open to around 2,000 brands, publishers and artists.

The expansion comes as rivals Google and Apple invest more heavily in AR. Apple earlier this year announced a platform called ARKit that lets software developers build AR apps for iPhones. Google followed suit in August with its own platform for Android-powered phones, called ARCore.

This isn’t the only investment Facebook has made in AR. The company developed an augmented reality art installation on its corporate campus in Menlo Park, California. The company worked with San Francisco artist Heather Day to create a digital mural you can only see by looking at it through a special app on your phone.

AT&T Testing High-Speed Broadband Over Power Lines

December 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

AT&T Inc began trials in Georgia state and a non-U.S. location to deliver high-speed internet over power lines, the No. 2 wireless carrier confirmed, marking its latest push to offer faster broadband service to more customers.

AT&T aims to eventually deliver speeds faster than the 1 gigabit per second consumers can currently get through fiber internet service using high-frequency airwaves that travel along power lines. While the Georgia trial is in a rural area, the service could potentially be deployed in suburbs and cities, the company said in a statement.

“We think this product is eventually one that could actually serve anywhere near a power line,” said Marachel Knight, AT&T’s senior vice president of wireless network architecture and design, in an interview. She added that AT&T chose an international trial location in part because the market opportunity extends beyond the United States.

AT&T said it had no timeline for commercial deployment and that it would look to expand trials as it develops the technology.

“Potentially, it can be a really big deal,” said Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics. “You need the power company to play ball with you. That’s the downside.”

AT&T and Verizon Communications Inc, the largest U.S. wireless carrier, have also been testing 5G internet services in which the last leg of the connection is delivered via a radio signal to homes using high-frequency airwaves known as millimeter wave spectrum.

Verizon said in November it would launch the faster broadband service in three to five U.S. markets in 2018.

Will Off-Branded iPhone Chargers Put You At Risk

December 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Many of the fake or look-alike iPhone chargers put consumers at risk of lethal electric shock. 

So says experts at Electrical Safety First who, in a study carried out with Apple, found that 49 out of 50 ‘lookalike’ chargers purchased in the UK failed safety tests.

One in three chargers tested failed every part of the safety screening, while almost half failed an electric strength test, which means they post a “severe risk” of electric shock.

What’s more, internal examination of the knock-off cables revealed that almost half ailed basic safety requirements and contained sub-standard internal components or inadequate spacing.

“We tested a range of fake iPhone chargers and found that 98 per cent of them had the potential to cause a lethal electric shock or start a fire,” Electrical Safety First said in a blog post.

“It’s a scary thought, especially when you think about how often we continue to use our phones while they’re charging. And if you leave yours to charge overnight, you have even more reason to be concerned.”

The outfit has offered up some advice on how to spot a fake Apple charger. For example, a look-a-like cable could take twice as long to charge your iPhone’s battery, will likely be missing markings or contain spelling errors, and the USB port could be upside down or in a different place.

This latest warning comes just weeks after Trading Standards has warned consumers to bite the bullet and pay for official Apple charges after discovering that fake alternatives are just as dangerous as they are cheap. 

The consumer advice outfit earlier this year bought up 400 fake Apple chargers, likely costing it approximately £396, and found that 397 of them failed to pack enough insulation to protect users’ against electric shocks.

Courtesy-TheInq

Is AMD’s RX 560 A Re-branded Card

December 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

AMD has admitted that the Radeon RX 560 which is in the shops now is essentially a rebranded older model.

Yesterday we revealed that AMD had changed the Radeon RX 560 so that it had a similar spec to older cards. Unfortunately, it had mixed the downgraded cards with the older ones which meant you had to be a real geek to spot the difference.

What made the whole thing worse was that it had carried out the change after all the reviews were out and it failed to tell anyone about it.

Now AMD has released a statement which confirmed that there were hobbled versions of the Radeon RX 560 with 14 Compute Unit (896 stream processors) and 16 Compute Units (1024 stream processors) released onto the market.

“We introduced the 14CU version this summer to provide AIBs and the market with more RX 500 series options”, AMD said.

However, now AMD said that it had “come to our attention that on certain AIB and etail websites there’s no clear delineation between the two variants.

“We’re taking immediate steps to remedy this: we’re working with all AIB and channel partners to make sure the product descriptions and names clarify the CU count so that gamers and consumers know exactly what they’re buying. We apologize for the confusion this may have caused.”

So basically, it is saying that there is a Radeon RX 560 which got all the reviews and a Radeon RX 560 which is a rebranded earlier model and it is difficult to tell them apart. It is having a word with its partners to make sure that they are branded correctly. No mention of giving people their money back if they bought the wrong card.

Courtesy-Fud

Toshiba AND Western Digital Settle

December 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Toshiba and Western Digital have agreed in principle to settle a dispute over the Japanese firm’s plans to sell its $18 billion chip unit and aim to have a final agreement in place next week.

Word on the street is that the Toshiba board has approved a framework for a settlement.

Western Digital had been able to block a deal to selling the unit to a Bain Capital-led consortium.

The settlement under discussion calls for Western Digital to drop arbitration claims seeking to stop the sale in exchange for Toshiba allowing it to invest in a new production line for advanced flash memory chips that will start next year.

A Toshiba spokesman said that while the company was open to a settlement, it would not disclose discussion specifics or details of board of directors meetings. “It is not a fact that we have reached an agreement with Western Digital,” he said.

Western Digital is not saying anything.

Toshiba was forced to put the unit – the world’s no. 2 producer of NAND chips – on the block to cover billions of dollars in liabilities arising from its now bankrupt US nuclear power unit Westinghouse.

The deal with the Bain-led consortium will, however, see it reinvest in the unit and together with Hoya a maker of parts for chip devices, Japanese firms will hold more than 50 percent of the business – a keen wish of the Japanese government.

As part of the planned settlement, Toshiba and Western Digital would extend existing agreements for their chip joint ventures in Yokkaichi, central Japan, one of the sources said. The current agreements are set to start expiring from 2021.

Western Digital would also invest in a completely new chip plant that Toshiba will start building next year in northern Japan, the source said.

Western Digital, one of world’s leading makers of hard disk drives, paid some $16 billion last year to acquire SanDisk, Toshiba’s chip joint venture partner since 2000.

With data storage key to most next-generation technologies from artificial intelligence and autonomous driving to the Internet of Things, NAND chips have only grown in importance and Western Digital has been desperate to keep the business out of the hands of rival chipmakers.

The sale still needs to clear the snarling mauls of the regulatory watchdogs but they are not expected to rip the trousers of the deal.

Courtesy-Fud

Samsung To Beef Up Iris Scanner In Next Galaxy Phones

December 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Samsung is said to be bringing several upgrades to the iris scanner on its next Galaxy S phone, presumably called the Galaxy S9. Some of these possible changes include a shorter response time, better recognition in dark or bright environments or when the user is wearing glasses, and a slightly higher resolution, 3-megapixel lens (up from 2MP in the Galaxy S8) according to The Korea Herald.

More secure biometric authentication — like fingerprint sensing, iris scanning and facial recognition — is always a good thing, but the update may seem especially necessary after hackers were able to fool the iris scanner on the Galaxy S8 using a photo and contact lenses. After the hack Samsung was quick to defend the security of its iris-scanning tech, but an improved scanner may help those concerned rest more easily.

Currently, fingerprint and iris scanning are the only biometric methods Samsung deems secure enough to use as authentication for Samsung Pay (sorry, facial recognition). According to the report, Samsung is working to get more mobile banking apps to be compatible with the iris scanner as an authentication method. Since we’re dealing with monetary transactions, security is a top priority.

A Samsung spokesperson told The Korea Herald that an “Iris scanner is the safest biometric authentication (among iris, fingerprint and face recognition) and we will continue to improve the system for upcoming smartphones for safer banking transactions,” but did not reveal any specific plans for the Galaxy S9.

But the Galaxy S9 may not be alone. The report’s source also claimed that Samsung is on target to expand the iris scanner to its budget phones by late 2018 or early 2019. Right now the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 are the only Samsung phones with iris scanning — excluding the recalled Note 7.

We’ve already heard rumors that the Galaxy S9 may get a fingerprint scanner similar to the Galaxy S8’s. When you consider that the fingerprint scanner’s proximity to the camera was one of our biggest gripes about the S8, an updated iris scanner may be a better alternative.

Samsung did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this story.

Microsoft Brings ‘Digital Whiteboard’ To Windows 10

December 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft is adding its Whiteboard ‘digital canvas’ app to Windows 10, providing a new way for employees to collaborate on creative work and share ideas.

Whiteboard, aimed at Surface owners, makes use of the device’s stylus and touch inputs to share drawings. Users can jot down notes, make precise illustrations or search for images on the web from the app. It can also create tables, diagrams and flowcharts, which are updated in real time and automatically saved to the cloud.

“It’s designed for teams that need to ideate, iterate, and work together both in person and remotely, and across multiple devices,” the Microsoft Whiteboard team wrote in a blog post.

“This is certainly a step in the right direction for a more modern and natural style of collaboration,” said Alan Lepofsky, vice president and principal analyst at Constellation Research.

Whiteboard is specifically tied to Windows 10, “thus limiting its cross-platform appeal,” he said. “Still, I am pleased to see that Microsoft is so highly focused on improving the way people create and share information.

The preview has been available for a few months as a private beta, where it was used by customers for a variety of purposes such as real-time product design collaboration with clients.

The app is free for individual use, but requires an Office 365 subscription for multiple users. The plan is for Whiteboard to also replace a similar app that currently runs on Microsoft’s SurfaceHub digital whiteboard.

Richard Edwards, distinguished analyst at Freeform Dynamics, said that launching Whiteboard on Windows 10 gives Microsoft a number of opportunities: “It gives Surface owners a chance to show off the capabilities of their devices, it gives Whiteboard users a glimpse of what Microsoft Hub can bring to meetings [and] it brings the PC back into the meeting room, offering an alternative to Apple and Google devices,” he said.

“And if we factor in the imminent arrival of Always Connected PCs, then it becomes part of a much bigger come-back programm for the corporate – and maybe consumer – laptop.”

Lepofsky sees the launch as a part of the growth of digital canvas tools, allowing employees to share information easily and collaborate within a single document. “For far too long we have limited ourselves in the digital platforms to constraints from the physical world,” he said. “We don’t need to design for a rectangular piece of paper anymore.”

While he sees Whiteboard as promising, it will be important to see which partners are able to create integrations for the app.

Said Edwards: “How this app works alongside Office apps will determine its value an utility to business users.”

Did Consumer Report Give The iPhone X A Cold Shoulder

December 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Consumer Reports has rated Apple’s iPhone X as rubbish and claims that Apple’s iPhone 8 was a better phone despite being much cheaper.

The publication published its results from testing the iPhone X’s display, camera, battery life, and durability.

While Consumer Reports called the phone an “innovative device with a fantastic camera and beautiful display” the iPhone X lost to the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus in a full comparison of the phones because it was flimsy.

The iPhone 8 proved “hardier” when it came to drops and damage. The iPhone X performed well in the initial drop tests, but it didn’t fare so well after more extensive testing.
Consumer Reports found: “We tumbled three samples of the iPhone X. The first was fine after 50 drops, but the glass on the back was significantly cracked after 100. The other two phones ended up with malfunctioning displays after 50 drops. Though the front glass didn’t crack, several bright green bars stretched across the screens from top to bottom.”

The iPhone X performed about the same as two other flagship phones, the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+, Consumer Reports said.

The Tame Apple Press has rushed to defend their favourite overpriced toy. After all many of them have already bought the expensive turkey.

They say that Consumer Reports’ findings differ from other iPhone X and iPhone 8 drop tests. In drop-test videos by EverythingApplePro, PhoneBuff, and JerryRigEverything, the iPhone X was found to be more durable than the iPhone 8. And drop tests published right after the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus released in September showed that the phones were more durable than Samsung’s flagship phones, but still prone to easily cracking and shattering when subjected to drops or tumbling.

However, Consumer Reports has considerably more status than EverythingApplePro, PhoneBuff, and JerryRigEverything. The last time Consumer Reports complained about something, Apple actually did something about it.

There is the serious matter that the iPhone X is hugely more expensive than its predecessors. You should, in theory be getting more for your dollar or kidney, not less.

Courtesy-Fud

Android Based Keyboard Application Appears To Leak Data

December 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Another day, another dodgy Android app discovered, this time in the form of the personal data leaking ai.type Keyboard.

Uncovered by security researchers at Kromtech Security Centre, the keyboard app that offers an alternative to the native keyboards on Android and iOS devices was found to be extracting personal data from some 31 million users and flinging it over to an unsecured database server owned by the app’s co-founder Eitan Fitusi.

The data leak, according to the researchers, only affects the app on Android and not iOS, so iPhone users can keep feeling smug.

After the researchers apparently repeatedly tried to contact Fitusi, the app maker eventually added password protection to the database that held more than 577GB of user data, after it had been previously been left open to anyone who wandered by on the digital highways of the internet.

Had any of the malicious types that lurk on the web found the server they could have extracted all manner of user data, from full names, email addresses, and location, basically a treasure trove of information for people who get their kicks from identity theft and fraud.

Furthermore, security researcher Bob Diachenko noted that the app seemed to hoover up quite a lot of data for what would appear to be a simple keyboard tool.

“It raises the question of why would a keyboard and emoji application need to gather the entire data of the user’s phone or tablet? Based on the leaked database they appear to collect everything from contacts to keystrokes. This is a shocking amount of information on their users who assume they are getting a simple keyboard application,” he said.

Now it’s worth pointing out that the ai.type Keyboard app does note that it’ll suck up data and requires permissions to the user’s mobile contacts database, though it points out that “all information is locally stored on smartphone’s vocabulary”.

And the app touts privacy as a big focus, noting that text tapped into the keyboard is private and encrypted.

But the security researchers found that this isn’t the case, given that not only was there an unsecured server sitting full of user data, but the texts weren’t encrypted either as they were able to download and look through the database files where they found a table containing 8.6 million entries of text that had been typed into the keyboard app.

So pretty much the promise of privacy, which ai.type outlines on its website has appeared to have a strong whiff of BS.

Whether the data protection and encryption failings are deliberate or just down to some server setup fumbling, is still up for debate. We’ve attempted to contact ai.type for comment and clarification as to what the hell it was playing at.

Such breaches in data protection are worrying as ai.type Keyboard is a widely used app that’s been well reviewed and comes from a legit developer, basically raising the question as to who can you trust these days. We’ll console ourselves by sticking with default keyboards for the time being. 

Courtesy-TheInq

iPhone Top Camera For Photos On Flickr

December 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Flickr, the highly popular picture hosting site, just shared some interesting info on the top cameras of 2017. According to its data, the iPhone ranks as the most popular camera with 54 percent of photographers using devices from Apple — more than all the other traditional camera companies combined.

In general, phones captured 50 percent of the photos uploaded to Flickr. Other camera types like DSLR, point-and-shoot and mirrorless came in at 33 percent, 12 percent and 4 percent respectively.

It shouldn’t be too surprising that phones account for such a large portion of modern photography. The cameras in phones keep getting more and more advanced with dual-lenses, more megapixels and AI integrated camera software. Phonemakers know this and use photography as a major selling point for new phones — Huawei collaborates with Leica, Google brags about the highly rated camera on its Pixel 2 and Apple even has an Instagram for its “Shot on iPhone” campaign.

Flickr says that nine out of ten of its most popular devices are taken up by different iPhones. The top three spots were occupied by the iPhone 6iPhone 6S and iPhone 5S in that order. The only non-iPhone to place in the top ten was the Canon 5D Mark III, which came in 9th place. While Canon came in second place for most popular brand, it only accounted for 23 percent of the top 100 devices. Nikon came in third with 18 percent.

Apple’s photography presence has been growing steadily for the past few years. In 2016 Flickr ranked Apple as its most popular brand with 47 percent using Apple devices. In 2015 Apple took the top rank at about 30 percent. But 2017 marked the first year that the majority of Flickr users were using iPhones and phones in general accounted for half of all photos uploaded.

Canon or Nikon may come to mind when told to think of a popular camera brand, but that title may belong to Apple.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this story.

Twitter 280-Character Limit Is Popular, According To Report

December 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Perhaps Twitter’s character expansion was a good gamble after all when it doubled its signature 140-character limit.

In November, Twitter expanded the length allowed for tweets to 280 characters from the original 140 characters. When it happened, the company was roundly criticized and mocked, not just for the new length limit, but also for the silliness of the whole exercise or out of concern that Twitter wasn’t focused on more important issues like tamping down on harassment. The event became such a topic of conversation that #Twitter280 began trending.

Now, early data indicates the change is being well received after all.

“If a tweet can hook you in the first few words, we’ll read all of it,” said Frank Speiser, co-founder of the social media analysis firm SocialFlow, which conducted a study of Twitter’s usage. In a nutshell, he found: “We want to read longer tweets.”

SocialFlow tracked approximately 30,000 thousand tweets between Nov. 29 and Dec. 6 and found tweets longer than 140 characters were being retweeted 26.52 times on average, compared with 13.71 times for shorter ones. It also discovered that longer tweets were being liked on average 50.28 times, compared with 29.96 times for shorter tweets.

BuzzFeed reported on SocialFlow’s findings earlier on Friday.

The findings come about a month after the social network officially decided to let its 330 million users tweet up to 280 characters after a “successful” trial run with a select group of users in September. Now, it appears many Twitter users, including President Donald Trump, are regularly using long tweets to get their messages out.

A Twitter spokeswoman declined to comment beyond the company’s November blog post when the 280-character limit was broadly released. The company said then its internal data indicated people who wrote longer tweets were retweeted more often, got more followers and generally “spent more time on Twitter.”

EU Possibly To Regulate Bitcoin

December 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The European Union needs to consider regulating bitcoin, European Central Bank rate-setter Ewald Nowotny announced, citing the risk of money laundering.

The cryptocurrency has surged from $1,000 at the start of the year to above $16,000, and its futures jumped more than 20 percent to a high of $18,700 in their U.S. debut on Sunday night.

 The steep gains have prompted many to question its real value and ask whether a bubble has emerged, and central bankers are worried they will be blamed if the as yet unregulated market crashes.

“A particular aspect that needs to be discussed …is the question of how far the regulations on money laundering …are relevant here,” he told a news conference.

While even small lenders were subject to strict controls on money laundering, it made no sense that even large bitcoin transactions could proceed without similar checks, he said, though this was a matter for the European Union rather than the ECB.

The still relatively small scale of the market in relation to traditional currencies also meant the problem was not that it threatened the current monetary system, he said.

Although there was no solid data, Austria appeared to be attracting companies selling bitcoin because it was perceived to be relatively easy to get a license to operate there, Nowotny told reporters.

 “We now have indications that we here in Austria have a more lax, a simpler regulation than in Germany… and we therefore also see a trend that such granting (of licenses) is increasingly shifting to Austria. And we have absolutely no interest in that,” he said.

Austria should at least match German regulations, he said, adding: “Ultimately we must settle this at the European level.”

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