This Mining Company Is Back to Creating Value for Investors

As many of you know, I serve as interim CEO and chairman of HIVE Blockchain Technologies, the first publicly traded company involved in the mining of cryptocurrencies. We maintain facilities in Iceland, Sweden and Norway, all of which have optimally cool climates and cheap renewable energy.

Last week, HIVE business took me to just within the frigid Arctic Circle. This was followed by stops in Zurich, Geneva and Milan, where temperatures soared in a record-setting heat wave. Keep in mind that many European hotels still do not have air conditioning.

The constant flying and wildly fluctuating temperatures were well worth it, though. I’m very pleased to say that a satisfactory agreement was reached between HIVE and its strategic partner, Genesis Mining. All claims arising from the master service agreements, as well as legal proceedings, have been withdrawn and discontinued. You can read the full press release here.

Above all else, I’m thrilled that HIVE can return to creating value for its shareholders, to whom I extend my gratitude.

Cryptocurrencies Challenging Traditional Monetary Policy

The agreement couldn’t have come at a better or more interesting time. Economic conditions have improved in the cryptocurrency ecosystem, with bitcoin surging as high as $13,764 late last month. Meanwhile, Facebook’s upcoming Libra coin is drawing fresh attention to digital currencies as a concept.

That includes attention from Congress. In a July 2 letter, lawmakers on the House Committee on Financial Services requested that Facebook and its partners halt development of Libra, as they fear the coin could lead “to an entirely new global financial system that is based out of Switzerland and intended to rival U.S. monetary policy and the dollar.”

Agustín Carstens, head of the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), also weighed in on Facebook’s announcement, telling the Financial Times that “many central banks” were working on developing their own cryptocurrencies.

“It might be that it is sooner than we think that there is a market, and we need to be able to provide central bank digital currencies,” commented Carstens, a harsh critic of cryptocurrencies.

This is quite an admission. But if you recall, it wasn’t so long ago that JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon was calling people who buy bitcoin “stupid.” Today, his bank is starting client trials of its very own digital currency, the JPM Coin.

The times are definitely changing, and that includes international tourism. When I was in Europe, I saw busloads full of Chinese tourists, who are the biggest spenders of any other nationality. This is very constructive for airlines and the travel industry as a whole. Many of the tourists gobbled up all of the three and four-star hotels, leaving only the five-star hotels, which naturally raised their rates—often to outrageous levels.

Total outbound Chinese passenger journeys in millions
click to enlarge

On an unrelated note, I want to congratulate my good friend Frank Giustra for being awarded the Order of Canada for “his impactful contributions to business and to international humanitarian initiatives addressing global crises and development.” This is a huge honor, equivalent to knighthood in the U.K., and I can’t think of too many people who are as deserving of it as Frank is.

Finally, I don’t normally recommend movies, but I saw Pavarotti recently and can’t stop thinking about it. The Ron Howard-directed documentary of the great Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti is a marvel, both inspirational and moving. You need not be an opera fan to enjoy the film or appreciate Pavarotti’s contribution to world music of the past half century. It’s for anyone who’s interested in the lives of high achievers, of which Pavarotti was decidedly one, having sold more than 100 million records.