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AT&T just made it possible to pay your phone bill with bitcoin
Have some spare bitcoin kicking around You can put it toward your phone service. AT&T says it has become the first big US wireless carrier to accept cryptocurrency for online phone bill payments. Choose the BitPay option at MyAT&T and you can cover your bill with bitcoin instead of conventional funds. You can't use this in-store, alas, but it could make sense if you'd rather save old-school money for other purposes. Will this see a lot of use in the near future Probably not. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies still tend to be volatile, and they're still fighting for legitimacy in the public eye. It shouldn't hurt AT&T to experiment with the feature, however, and it might be helpful in the long run if and when digital currency becomes commonplace.

Facebook's new crypto platform could rival Apple Pay
Back in 2018, Bloomberg revealed that Facebook was developing a cryptocurrency backed by the US dollar that users can transfer to each other via WhatsApp. According to a new report by The Wall Street Journal, though, Facebook has bigger plans for its "stablecoin." The social network has apparently started hammering out deals with dozens of online merchants and financial firms in an effort to amass support for a cryptocurrency-based payment platform that could rival Apple's own payment system. WSJ says Facebook has been working on the venture codenamed Project Libra for over a year. It reportedly designed the system to be used for personal transfers and purchases not just on its own platform, but also on other websites. The system would work like other checkout options, such as PayPal, that people could use across the internet. Another previous report says Facebook is looking to raise $1 billion for the project from investors like Visa and Mastercard, indicating that the social network is going all out to make it happen.

IOTA not mentioned... but a boy can dream! VW US Charging Network to be Plug and Pay???
The number of EV charging stations across America is increasing, thus paving the way for wider adoption of electric vehicles. But a lot of the infrastructure surrounding charging has remained complicated and time-consuming. Charging points typically require downloading an individual app -- or in some cases, making a phone call to a customer rep -- before you can start juicing up. It's a faff. Now, though, Electrify America is working on a program that will let you pay for electric vehicle charging simply by plugging in your vehicle. In partnership with Hubject, Electrify America plans to roll out 'Plug&Charge' functionality to more than 2,000 public fast charging stations by the end of the year. Providing your EV meets ISO 15118 functionality standards (which increasing numbers of new models do), using one of Electrify America's charging points will leverage vehicle to grid (V2G) communications, enabling the vehicle to automatically authenticate and authorize a charging session using secure digital communication. No RFID tags, credit cards or mobile apps required. It's a game-changing technology that'll make owning and operating an EV just that bit smoother.

Hublot selling crypto only watches
Hublot has launched a new luxury watch under its Big Bang line that's not quite like any of its other models. You can't pay for it with cash or even an AMEX Black Card -- you can only purchase it online using Bitcoin. It's called the Meca-10 P2P, and it was designed for the cryptocurrency's 10th year anniversary. In fact, Hublot will engrave the unique Bitcoin transaction number you used to pay for the device on the edge of its bezel before shipping it. According to Bloomberg, one Meca-10 P2P will set you back around $25,000, based on the current Bitcoin value. However, it's not entirely clear if you'll be able to buy one even if you're a Bitcoin millionaire. Hublot is only making 210 pieces as a reference to the 21 million global Bitcoin limit, and the company told Bloomberg that it has already received over 210 orders for the device. The company has teamed up with Hong Kong company OS Limited (OSL) to perform background checks on the buyers, since every application is subject to approval. OSL will also conduct anti-money-laundering checks to ensure no bad actor is using the opportunity to turn illegally-obtained cryptocurrency into a legit luxury good.

HTC's blockchain phone can only be bought with cryptocurrency
If the idea of a HTC blockchain phone drives you wild, we've got good news: the "Exodus 1" is now available to pre-order -- it ships in December. But you can only buy it online for 0.15 bitcoins or 4.78 ether tokens, or roughly $960. (Not exactly cheap for an extremely niche device.) Though the specs are what you'd expect from a high-end HTC phone -- a six-inch display with quad-HD+ resolution, 16 MP dual rear camera and an 8MP dual front camera with 4K video, a Snapdragon 845 processor, 6 GB RAM and 128GB storage -- it's the software the company is banking on for a reversal of fortunes. The handset comes with HTC's own "Zion" cryptocurrency wallet and a secure enclave (an area kept isolated from the Android OS) for your private keys and virtual cash and, in the "very near future," all your data. As promised, the Exodus 1 will run decentralized apps on the blockchain and packs a "Social Key Recovery" function, which lets you regain access to your funds if you lose your keys via a designated number of trusted contacts.

Blockchains to become mainstream sooner rather than later
Walmart is anxious about the safety of its food following bacterial outbreaks for lettuce and other food, and it's hoping technology will set shoppers' minds at ease. It's telling its leafy green suppliers to use a blockchain system (designed with IBM's help) to track the shipments of their produce. The secure, distributed ledger will help trace the vegetables' path from the farm to the store, revealing the source of any potential outbreak in seconds instead of days. This isn't just for Walmart's internal benefit, either. Eventually, you could scan a bag and use the blockchain to find out where your spinach came from.

IBM's 10ç tiny computer is blockchain ready. Due to this low price, it means anything could be tied to the blockchain, even the food you buy or the clothes you wear.
IBM has unveiled a computer that's smaller than a grain of rock salt. It has the power of an x86 chip from 1990, according to Mashable, and its transistor count is in the "several hundred" thousand range. That's a far cry from the power of Watson or the company's quantum computing experiments, but you gotta start somewhere. Oh, right: it also works as a data source for blockchain. Meaning, it'll apparently sort provided data with AI and can detect fraud and pilfering, in addition to tracking shipments. The publication says that the machine will cost under $0.10 to manufacture, which gives credence to IBM's prediction that these types of computers will be embedded everywhere within the next five years. The one shown off at the firm's Think conference is a prototype, of course, and as such there's no clear release window.

Mercedes and Bosch will test self-driving taxis in a few months
Mercedes (or rather, its parent Daimler) and Bosch aren't far off from making their self-driving taxis a practical reality... in a manner of speaking. Bosch chief Volkmar Denner has informed Automobilwoche that the two companies will put test vehicles on the road within a few months. He didn't supply other details, but the mention provided a more definitive timetable for their ambitions. Until now, the two had only promised to have fully autonomous vehicles ready by the start of the next decade. The news suggests the two are acting on their promises to make up for lost time. In a sense, they don't have much choice. When BMW plans to sell self-driving cars in 2021 and Waymo is already ordering thousands of Chrysler vans, Daimler doesn't have the luxury of taking things slowly -- it either steps up its game or risks missing out.

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