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theEweekly Wrap

Google’s new debit card – Bitcoin university – PM’s latest Twitter blunder

Google to introduce prepaid debit card

On Wednesday Google Inc revealed on its blog that it would be expanding its presence in the world of commerce with the introduction of a prepaid debit card.

The card will be linked to users' Google Wallet apps as well as their bank accounts, enabling the transfer of money between the owner's account and friends'.

The card, which is currently only available to consumers in the US, allows users to withdraw money in Google Wallet accounts from ATMs and can be used in millions of MasterCard accepting locations.

Google has confirmed that data retrieved from transactions made using the Google debit card will be added to its internal profiles in order to better target its ads. The search engine corporation will collect data including: the description of goods purchased, the amount of the transaction and the name and location of the seller.

As well as being able to physically access their Google Wallet Balance, users will receive instant notifications when they spend money to their smartphone, enabling consumers to stay on top of their transactions.

The Google debit card is available free through the latest version of the Google Wallet app, or through Google Wallet accounts.

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Cyprus university introduces Bitcoin transactions

The University of Nicosia (UNic) has become the first accredited university in the world to accept Bitcoin payments.

The private university in Cyprus has a student population of more than 5,000, who will be able to pay their tuition fees using the virtual currency from Spring 2014.

Bitcoin is renowned for its fluctuating nature, however, for the university's large number of international students this should prove advantageous when making cross-border payments.

Since Cyprus's crash in April, Bitcoin has seen a huge surge in price. Like gold and bonds, there are very few outlets that accept Bitcoin, and there is yet to be any regulation put in place to monitor the currency. However, economies in crisis continue to turn to Bitcoin as an alternative method of payment causing its value to rise.

Christopher Vecchio, a currency analyst with Daily FX stated to Marketplace in April:

"With these capital controls in place, there is a need for an alternative investment vehicle to transfer wealth, and Bitcoins are serving as that medium of transaction right now."

As well as accepting Bitcoin payments as of Spring, UNic will also be introducing the first Master of Science Degree in Digital Currency.

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PM 'accidentally' following escort agency on Twitter

A statement from Number 10 has revealed that due to an automated system used in 2009, the PM's official Twitter account followed a 'high-class escort' agency.

Downing Street has apologised for the gaffe, stating to the BBC that it was in the process of unfollowing inappropriate accounts.

The Twitter account in question, Carlton's of London, stated on its website that it offered the "finest London escorts to gentlemen of distinction"; David Cameron's spokespeople have since stated that 'following' an account was not an endorsement of that Twitter user from the PM.

This is not the first time David Cameron has been involved in a Twitter related scandal. Back in September the PM was seen to 'favourite' an offensive tweet towards the foreign secretary, William Hague; the tweet read "@David-Cameron please call off @WilliamHague, hasn't Kenya suffered enough today?".

The tweet was in reply to a post from the PM's official Twitter account offering condolences to Kenya's president Uhuru Kenyatta, following the Nairobi terror attack.

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