Iceland Cuts Working Hours With No Productivity Loss, Same Pay

Iceland has achieved the holy grail for working stiffs: same pay for shorter hours.Results from two trials of reduced hours showed no productivity loss or decline in service levels, while employees reported less stress and an improved work-life balance, researchers at U.K.-based think tank Autonomy and Iceland’s Association for Sustainable Democracy said in a report.

Achieving shorter hours with sustained productivity and service levels involved rethinking how tasks were completed, according to the report. That included shortening meetings or replacing them with emails, cutting out unnecessary tasks, and rearranging shifts.

The trials, conducted from 2015 to 2019, cut hours to about 35 a week from 40 with no reduction in pay. Involving about 2,500 workers, equivalent to more than 1% of the Nordic country’s working population, results showed their “wellbeing dramatically increased,” the researchers said. Since then, 86% of Iceland’s entire working population have either moved to shorter hours or can negotiate to do so.

In Nordic peer Finland, Prime Minister Sanna Marin, 35, has suggested a four-day work week is worth looking into, saying employees deserve some of the trickle-down benefits of improved productivity. Even so, her government is currently not working on such policy.

Workers went from a 40-hour weekly schedule to 35- or 36-hour weekly schedules without a reduction in pay. The trials were launched after agitation from labor unions and grassroots organizations that pointed to Iceland’s low rankings among its Nordic neighbors when it comes to work-life balance.

Workers across a variety of public- and private-sector jobs participated in the trials. They included people working in day cares, assisted living facilities, hospitals, museums, police stations and Reykjavik government offices.

Participants reported back on how they reduced their hours. A common approach was to make meetings shorter and more focused. One workplace decided that meetings could be scheduled only before 3 p.m. Others replaced them altogether with email or other electronic correspondence.

Some workers started their shifts earlier or later, depending on demand. For example, at a day care, staff took turns leaving early as children went home. Offices with regular business hours shortened those hours, while some services were moved online.

Some coffee breaks were shortened or eliminated. The promise of a shorter workweek led people to organize their time and delegate tasks more efficiently, the study found.

Working fewer hours resulted in people feeling more energized and less stressed. They spent more time exercising and seeing friends, which then had a positive effect on their work, they said.

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Source: Iceland Cuts Working Hours With No Productivity Loss, Same Pay – Bloomberg

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Critics:

Many countries regulate the work week by law, such as stipulating minimum daily rest periods, annual holidays, and a maximum number of working hours per week. Working time may vary from person to person, often depending on economic conditions, location, culture, lifestyle choice, and the profitability of the individual’s livelihood.

For example, someone who is supporting children and paying a large mortgage might need to work more hours to meet basic costs of living than someone of the same earning power with lower housing costs. In developed countries like the United Kingdom, some workers are part-time because they are unable to find full-time work, but many choose reduced work hours to care for children or other family; some choose it simply to increase leisure time.

Standard working hours (or normal working hours) refers to the legislation to limit the working hours per day, per week, per month or per year. The employer pays higher rates for overtime hours as required in the law. Standard working hours of countries worldwide are around 40 to 44 hours per week (but not everywhere: from 35 hours per week in France to up to 112 hours per week in North Korean labor camps) and the additional overtime payments are around 25% to 50% above the normal hourly payments. Maximum working hours refers to the maximum working hours of an employee. The employee cannot work more than the level specified in the maximum working hours law.

References

Genesis Mining Technologies Currently Butte Energy Announces Go-Public Transaction For Entire Cryptocurrency Mining IP Asset Portfolio and Growth Pipeline of Global Leader

Highlights:

  • Entire portfolio of Genesis Mining Group’s cryptocurrency-related intellectual property to be taken public, together with more than 200MW pipeline of contracted, green-powered cryptocurrency data centre construction and expansion projects in Europe and North America
  • Resulting issuer will bring to market turnkey financing and technology solutions for cryptocurrency data centre operators around the world, leveraging Genesis Mining Group’s pioneering proprietary software platforms Hexa, Janus, and Block Explorer, and supply-chain relationships built over nearly a decade in the industry
  • Genesis Mining Group Founder and CEO, Marco Streng, to be appointed as Chairman
  • C$20 million private placement financing

VANCOUVER, BC and BIRKIRKARA, Malta, Feb. 12, 2021 /CNW/ – Butte Energy Inc. (TSXV: BEN.H) (the “Company” or “Genesis Mining Technologies“) (being renamed Genesis Mining Technologies Corp.) has entered into an arms-length, legally binding letter of intent dated February 12, 2021 with Genesis Group Limited (“Genesis Mining Group“) to acquire (the “Transaction“):

    1. all of Genesis Mining Group’s intellectual property relating to cryptocurrency mining operations, including its proprietary (i) datacentre construction, layout, and cooling system known as “AC/DC”; (ii) datacentre monitoring and optimization software platform known as “Hexa”; (iii) blockchain data analysis tool known as “Block Explorer”; and (iv) cryptocurrency market forecasting software platform known as “Janus”; and
    2. all rights to Genesis Mining Group’s more than 200MW pipeline of contracted cryptocurrency mining data centre construction and expansion projects in Europe and North America.

The Company

Leveraging its pioneering, proprietary software platforms and supply-chain relationships built over nearly a decade in the industry, Genesis Mining Technologies intends to bring flexible, turnkey financing and technology solutions to cryptocurrency data centre operators around the world. Genesis Mining has serviced over 2,000,000 customers since its founding in 2013 and has established a broad network of partner data centre operators globally.

“This go-public transaction marks a pivotal next step in Genesis Mining Group’s history and will be a gamechanger for the cryptocurrency mining industry,” commented Marco Streng, Founder and CEO of Genesis Mining Group and incoming Chairman of the Company. “We believe that cryptocurrencies will be at the centre of the future of global commerce.

However, the integrity of this system requires computing infrastructure that is decentralized, optimally architected, and powered sustainably with green energy. With Genesis Mining Technologies’ turnkey solutions, existing operators and new entrants with access to cheap, green power can obtain the financing, procurement, and operational ingredients to compete with the world’s leading miners, in one stop.”

The Company will constitute Genesis Mining Group’s core business going forward, with all future mining operations and financing transactions to be structured such that economics will accrue to the Company solely, with Genesis Mining Group’s exposure being through its shareholdings in the Company.

Concurrent with closing of the Transaction (“Closing“), Genesis Mining Group (or its affiliates and principals) will be issued such number of shares of the Company as will constitute approximately 80% of the issued and outstanding common shares following completion of the equity financing and consolidation (described below). Closing is subject to receipt of TSXV approval, completion of definitive documentation, any requisite shareholder approvals, and completion of the consolidation and equity financing.

The Business Model and Pipeline

With the global market capitalization of cryptocurrencies recently topping US$1 trillion1, and Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) hitting all-time-highs, Genesis Mining Technologies intends to provide investors with de-risked exposure to a diversified portfolio of cryptocurrency mining assets and financing and technology licensing structures with third party partners. The Company will provide investors with direct exposure to cryptocurrency price performance, focusing its business model on driving free cashflow.

The Company’s current pipeline consists of five anticipated deals in Europe and North America, with a more than 200MW supply of cheap, green power already under contract. The Company will use these internally generated opportunities to develop and pilot its financing and technology solutions. These initial projects may take a variety of ownership and financing forms, but the Company intends to focus its efforts on rolling out its solutions at scale by partnering with other established miners and new entrants to the market.

The Company’s solutions will be focused on operators of green powered cryptocurrency infrastructure projects around the world to provide (i) flexible financing solutions for new buildouts and expansions, (ii) procurement of the right mining hardware for the project, benefitting from Genesis Mining Group’s know-how and supply chain relationships built over years of being one of the top miners globally, and (iii) optimization of operations through access to the Company’s technologies, including its AC/DC, Hexa, Block Explorer, and cryptocurrency market forecasting platform.

Management and Board

The Company will appoint an experienced management team and board of directors on Closing consisting of principals from the Company and Genesis Mining Group, including incoming Chairman Marco Streng.

Marco Streng is a crypto mining industry pioneer and Founder and CEO of Genesis Mining Group. In 2013, he co-founded and launched Genesis Mining, bootstrapping the organization into becoming one of the largest crypto mining companies in the world serving over 2,000,000 customers.

Tillmann Korb will be appointed as the Company’s Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Korb holds a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering. He studied at the Technical University of Munich and École Central Paris. His professional career started in strategy and management consulting, with a focus on the German automotive industry. He has been a cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiast since the early days. Motivated by the urge to turn his private enthusiasm into a professional career, he started his engagement for Genesis Mining Group as Regional Manager for North America, developing cryptocurrency data centers and business relations. He was key in pivoting Genesis Mining Group’s business model to providing mining technologies and financial resources to its established partner network.

Consolidation and Financing

On or before Closing, a consolidation of the Company’s issued and outstanding share capital on the basis of one new common share for every four outstanding common shares will be completed. No fractional shares will be issued under the consolidation and any fraction will be rounded to the nearest whole number.

In connection with the Transaction, the Company will complete a private placement financing of subscription receipts (“Subscription Receipts“) at a price of C$1.00 per Subscription Receipt for aggregate proceeds of C$20,000,000, subject to the approval of the TSX Venture Exchange (the “Exchange“). Each Subscription Receipt will convert into one post-consolidation common share of the Company immediately prior to the completion of the Transaction. Proceeds from the financing will be used to commence initial deployments of capital into Genesis Mining Technologies’ existing pipeline and for general working capital.

Trading in the common shares of the Company has been halted in accordance with the policies of the Exchange and will remain halted until such time as all required documentation has been filed with and accepted by the Exchange and permission to resume trading has been obtained from the Exchange. Since the common shares of the Company are listed on the NEX market of the Exchange, and the Transaction does not constitute a Related Party Transaction under the policies of the Exchange, the Company is not required to seek shareholder approval for the Transaction.

For corporate updates, please register to our mailing list at genesis.tech.

Completion of the transaction is subject to a number of conditions, including but not limited to, Exchange acceptance and if applicable, disinterested shareholder approval. Where applicable, the transaction cannot close until the required shareholder approval is obtained. There can be no assurance that the transaction will be completed as proposed or at all.

Investors are cautioned that, except as disclosed in the management information circular or filing statement to be prepared in connection with the Transaction, any information released or received with respect to the Transaction may not be accurate or complete and should not be relied upon. Trading in the securities of the Company should be considered highly speculative.

The Exchange has in no way passed upon the merits of the Transaction and has neither approved nor disapproved the contents of this news release. Neither the Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in policies of the Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this news release.

ON BEHALF OF Butte Energy Inc.
(to be renamed GENESIS MINING TECHNOLOGIES CORP.)

“Geir Liland”

CEO and Director

For further information: Geir Liland, Tel: (604) 609-6110

Source: Genesis Mining Technologies (currently Butte Energy) Announces Go-Public Transaction for Entire Cryptocurrency Mining IP Asset Portfolio and Growth Pipeline of Global Leader, Genesis Mining Group

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Iceland’s Giant Mining Farm Beats The Crypto World

Working around the clock, seven days a week, the computers were part of the largest concentration of Bitcoin mining power in the world. By solving and packaging complex “blocks” of encrypted data, the machines helped secure and expand the worldwide network of digital currency. And in return for their work, they generated vast fortunes for their owners. The Genesis Mining, operated by Iceland’s largest IT provider, pulled in what’s estimated to be millions a year.

Enigma is one of the largest cryptocurrency mining facilities in the world. First built to exclusively mine Ethereum, the facility is being continuously upgraded for mining state-of-the-art Blockchain technology. Enigma’s computational performance is achieved with specifically designed mining rigs that efficiently mine hashing algorithms for various cryptocurrencies such as Zcash, Dash, Monero and others. The Enigma facility is powered by geothermal energy, and resides in the capital of Iceland.

 Some see cryptocurrency as an answer to the volatility of unbacked, non-scarce paper currency. Cryptocurrency is scarce by design, meaning that it is not subject to the dilution caused by expanding the supply of money supply—that is, cryptocurrency is not subject to inflation as we understand it. For this reason, many are turning to cryptocurrency as a hedge against increasingly volatile fiat currencies including the U.S. dollar.

When we launched Genesis Mining over six years ago, we set out to build the largest and most trusted crypto mining company in the industry.

Today we proudly serve over 2,000,000 customers, employ hundreds of people, and manage  over a dozen large-scale data centers across our three core divisions — hosted mining which makes up 20% of our business, farm management for institutional clients, and our self-mining facilities, the biggest part of the business.

While these numbers are validating, our team is driven by far more than revenue metrics and customer growth. We are driven by our strong belief that the need for decentralization has never been greater than it is today and that blockchain has the power to solve many of the problems caused by centralization.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen organizations of all sizes announce initiatives that promote corporate social responsibility and aim to make the world a better place. Seeing these initiatives inspired us to begin exploring different opportunities that would allow us to give back. 

As the industry leader in institutional crypto mining, we view it as our moral and ethical responsibility to push the industry forward and proactively look for ways to support research and causes that we believe will make the world a better place. 

While there are many clear use cases for how our computing power can be leveraged, we’re open to hearing from any and all researchers, governments, and organizations who could benefit from what we have and would like to explore partnering together in ways that will move the world forward. 

Bitcoin is beautifully transparent in how it operates. It depends upon a mathematically controlled scarcity mechanism called “blockhalving” in order to sustain its value into the future. Blockhalving reduces the reward for mining new BTC by 50% every 210,000 blocks. Current production is at 1,800 BTC per day right now, and will stay that way until the next blockhalving in May 2020. Knowing everything we know right now, we can determine that it will take until the year 2140 for miners to actually mine the last Bitcoin.

Yes, we’ve mined 85 percent of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency. But it’s still going to take more than a hundred years to reach 100 percent, and even after this point of no return, miners will still have opportunities to generate revenue. They’ll simply move from solving complicated math problems that create new BTC to instead solving complicated math problems that confirm transactions on the network, collecting rewards in the form of transaction fees for their role in supporting the network. At such a time when Bitcoin reaches full maturity with 21 million BTC in the wild, there’s bound to be a lot of transactions to process.

It won’t be the end, it will be a new beginning in which cryptocurrency is far more ordinary and mainstream. With that in mind, here are three actionable takeaways for the crypto enthusiasts wondering what to do in response to this 85 percent news item.

Mine while you still can.

As described above, the Bitcoin mining is going to continue for quite some time and can’t accurately be described as done. With 15 percent of the total supply remaining, the crypto community still stands to generate some 3,150,000 BTC before this game is truly over. With BTC price lately holding around $10,000, there’s more than $31 billion up for grabs at today’s market prices. There’s no telling how this value will change going forward. Grab some while you still can!

Bitcoin mining is a much different game with 15 percent of the supply remaining versus when there was still 100 percent remaining. You nowadays need high-powered hardware in order to compete against the centralized commercial mining operations that benefit from economies of scale. These pay less for the electricity that powers their mining rigs, and they run lots of them at once. You might consider getting an ASIC mining device in order to stand a chance of successfully earning some Bitcoin for yourself, or you can rent access to supercharged offsite hardware by engaging a cloud mining company.

Source: Genesis Mining Corp.

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How This Impact Investor Is Generating Double Digit Returns Cleaning Up The Seafood Business

Last year, Amy Novogratz gathered a seaweed farmer, an oyster-hatchery owner, the creator of a chip made from dehydrated salmon skins, a grocery buyer, a restaurateur and a reporter for a dinner party in her Manhattan loft. As her guests savored arctic char poached in saffron with heirloom tomatoes and a pistachio pesto, she rose to explain the fish’s provenance: Matorka, a farm in Grindavík, Iceland, that raises its antibiotic-free fish on land in tanks using geothermal energy.

Back in 2016, when Novogratz’s Aqua-Spark fund invested $2.5 million in it, Matorka was producing just 50 tons of fish a year. By the time of that dinner party, it was selling 3,000 tons, including to celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa and U.S. grocery delivery service FreshDirect. When Covid-19 hit and Matorka’s restaurant sales dried up, Aqua-Spark helped out with a $750,000 bridge loan. “The brand is back to a good place now,’’ reports Novogratz, who sees it growing to 6,000 tons by 2022—a “really good sweet spot where you can keep production controlled, know your market, know your customer, really trace everything.” 

The 45-year-old Novogratz is herself in a sweet spot these days. A decade ago, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor doctors warned could kill her. A risky 20-hour surgery excised the tumor but left her with balance and mobility problems—on top of blindness in one eye from a childhood accident. Today, she and her husband, Mike Velings, 50, run Aqua-Spark, a Netherlands-based sustainable aquaculture fund that has attracted $148 million from 190 investors across 29 countries. They include ImpactAssets, a Bethesda, Maryland–based donor-advised fund (it enables individuals to park their contributions in profit-making impact investments before ultimately distributing the money to operating charities) and the Louis Dreyfus Company, the commodities giant controlled by billionaire Margarita Louis-Dreyfus. Novogratz herself has notable connections.

Older sister Jacqueline is founder and CEO of pioneering impact-investing venture fund Acumen and is married to TED Talks head Chris Anderson. Big brother Michael is a former billionaire macro hedge-fund trader turned prominentIn simple dollar terms, Aqua-Spark is a minnow in the $265 billion worldwide aquaculture industry, which now supplies more than half of all seafood produced for human consumption. Yet as the first and largest investing fund in the world dedicated exclusively to environmentally sound aquaculture, it is having an outsized influence. 

For example, in 2015, in its first investment, Aqua-Spark poured $3.4 million into Calysta, a Silicon Valley startup that makes a novel fishmeal. Calysta uses fermented microbes, derived from a byproduct of manufacturing natural gas, to create fish feed that is better for the environment than fish- or soy-based versions on the market. Aqua-Spark’s money helped pay for a pilot plant which in turn helped Calysta attract $150 million in additional investment, including from Cargill and BP Ventures. It’s now building a factory in China designed to produce 20,000 tons of feed a year—a potential game changer for the $40 billion global fish-feed market. “When I met [Novogratz and Velings], I said it could take 10 years,” recalls Calysta cofounder and CEO Alan Shaw. “They really do trust.” 

With its in-it-for-the-long-haul approach, Aqua-Spark has yet to sell a single holding. It expects companies in its portfolio to pay all employees a living wage and to prioritize transparency for scientific results. Several of its investments are in farms, which must minimize antibiotics and chemical use and limit polluting discharge. 

Novogratz and Velings visit Glitne, a Bergen, Norway based halibut farm they invested in 2016.
Novogratz and her husband, Mike Velings, visit Glitne, a Bergen, Norway based halibut farm they invested in 2016. Tory Williams/ Aqua-spark

Aquaculture “was seen as a very dirty, disease-ridden industry. They’ve shifted the mindset on it and made it investible,” says Lisa Kleissner, a prominent impact investor who sits on Aqua-Spark’s board. 

Novogratz is the sixth of seven siblings whose U.S. Army colonel dad expected them to be up by 6 a.m. on weekends. After studying theater at New York University, she did a stint in Washington, D.C., researching policies affecting teenage mothers, then went to work with her brother-in-law, heading up the TED Prize, the annual award given to an individual behind a single change-the-world idea. That’s how, in the spring of 2010, Novogratz found herself on a research ship in the Galápagos for a trip mixing ocean-conservation lectures and scuba diving. On that trip she met Velings, a Dutch serial entrepreneur who started his first business at age 18. 

Their relationship blossomed over the next seven months, but then Novogratz started having worrisome seizures. By October, she had received her brain tumor diagnosis. After the surgery, Velings proposed at her hospital bedside. She accepted but said she needed time to get her life back—she had to learn to walk again. Within a few months, Novogratz was back working at TED. “It was way too early,’’ she admits now. “I didn’t know how to stop pushing. It was my identity.” Finally, she says, a TEDx conference scheduled for Doha, Qatar, made her take a step away. “I couldn’t even walk on sand, and I had agreed to lead workshops in a desert. It was nuts.” She bought a ticket to the Netherlands, where she and Velings started to build a life and company together. 

Icelandic farm Matorka raises arctic char and steelhead trout in land-based tanks run on renewable energy.
Icelandic farm Matorka, which raises arctic char and steelhead trout in land-based tanks run on renewable energy, is one of Aqua-Spark’s 19 portfolio companies. Oli Haukur Myrdal

The duo picked aquaculture because few investors cared about this big and troubled market. Some fish farms were actually compounding the problem of overfishing in the wild by using wild fish as feed. More sustainable farming operations, to the extent they existed, “were selling to really small upscale markets at a premium” and had little access to outside capital, Novogratz says. They had met with dozens of potential investors in Silicon Valley and Europe and were eyeing a September 2013 formal fundraising launch when tragedy struck again. Novogratz gave birth to their first child in July 2013, and the infant died just a month later. The launch was postponed—but not for long. By the end of 2014, Novogratz had given birth to a second child (she and Velings now have three healthy kids), and the couple had commitments for more than $8 million from 26 investors. They covered initial operating costs with $4 million of their own money. 

The two of them aim eventually to have 60 to 80 companies in the Aqua-Spark portfolio, more than three times their current roster. Early on, they worried there might not be a big enough pipeline of investable businesses; now they’re actively tracking at least 1,550. 

Despite her disabilities, Novogratz has thrown herself into searching out prospects, climbing down boat ladders in Vietnam and walking on feeding platforms above crocodile-infested waters in Mozambique: “Sometimes I back away, but mostly I push myself through it.” 

Although the pandemic currently prevents them from making such on-site visits, Novogratz and Velings are undeterred, doing their due diligence remotely. “Everything that is behind us is pushing us forward,’’ she says.

Amy Novogratz is featured in the latest edition of the Forbes Impact 50. Click here for the full list. Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Send me a secure tip

Chloe Sorvino

Chloe Sorvino

I cover all things food and drink as a staff writer at Forbes, from billionaires and ag tech startups to CPG entrepreneurs and wine. I head up the 30 Under 30 Food and Drink list, as well as Forbes’ 25 Most Innovative Ag Tech Startups list. My reporting has brought me to In-N-Out Burger’s secret test kitchen, had me trekking through drought-ridden farms in California’s Central Valley and even sent me to a chocolate factory designed like a castle in Northern France. I gravitate towards the intersection of food and mass manufacturing. I also cover beauty and personal care. Send tips to csorvino@forbes.com. 

Blue Lagoon Iceland – Instagram post by Armin Hamidian • Jan 23, 2018 at 6:09pm UTC

25 Likes, 6 Comments – Armin Hamidian (@onlinemarketingscoops) on Instagram: “@iceland.today …Pleasure…#bluelagoon #bluelagooniceland #bluelagoonresort…”

Source: Instagram post by Armin Hamidian • Jan 23, 2018 at 6:09pm UTC

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