3 Tech Updates: Bitcoin, Amazon & Uber | Jun 2021

Chinese bitcoin miners are leaving the country after China bans bitcoin operations. A new report reveals that Amazon expects some vendors to give up part of their company in order to parther with the e-commerce giant. An uber has unvield its plans for employees to return to work. We look a little more closely at these updates from the tech world that you should know about: 

1. Bitcoin miners exit China after a ban

After a series of policy announcements over the past several weeks,  China bans bitcoin operations China has officially banned bitcoin mining operations in the country. This will have a significant impact on the bitcoin mining industry and will spark what is being dubbed the great mining migration. China is currently home to 65% of global bitcoin mining operations. It is expected that this ban will cause around 90% of these mines to shut down operations or move to another location.

The ban will also impact the hardware required to mine bitcoin. Bitmain is one of China's leading mining rig suppliers. The company has announced that they will not sell any more equipment until they have successfully moved to another country.

China has stated that cryptocurrencies disrupt the global order and that they are used to carry out illegal activities on a large scale. For example, money laundering. However, many believe that China's true motivations lie elsewhere. China recently launched its own digital currency, the CBDC or Digital Yuan. Many believe that the cryptocurrency ban is China's way of ensuring the Digital Yuan is the choice of digital currency domestically. The bit coin mining industry is also very energy heavy, by targeting it China will also be able to reduce its carbon emissions.

2.Vendors must give Amazon part of their company

According to a recent report by the Wall Street Journal, Amazon requires some of its partners to agree to let the e-commerce giant buy stake in ther companies at a discounted price[1].The report revals that Amazon has struck 75 such deals with publicly traded companies of the past few years. As per agreements with these partners, Amazon has the right to buy stock in the vendor's company at a consideration below market price.

The right to purchase is typically tied to certain milestones that Amazon has to acheive. For example, they must purchase services worth a certain amount from the vendor. The benefit to the vendor is that they can land a big contract with the e-commerce company which can boost their share prices. These type of agreements have helped amazon gain a foothold in businesses like call center services and natural-gas. News of such unusual arrangements comes at a time when the US governement is already investigating Amazon and other big tech companies for their competitive practices.

3. Uber reveals hybrid return-to-work model for employees

As offices being to reopen after covid restriction have been eased, Uber has announced plans for its employees. The company has asked employees to return to office 50% of the time. Employees will have flexibility on how they want to split that time. The company will also allow employees to chose their preferred office location. Employees will be allowed to work from home until the Sep 13th. If the situation with Covid worsens the company will re-evaluate its plans. Uber has also informed employees that they will be able to apply to become fully remote. Uber will examine these applications on a case by case basis.

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Source:

1. Jun 2021, D. Mattioli, "Amazon demands one more thing from some vendors: a piece of their company", Wall Street Journal, [availalbe online] available from: https://www.wsj.com/articles/amazon-demands-one-more-thing-from-some-vendors-a-piece-of-their-company

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