Google and Microsoft offer resources and millions in donations to help see India through its COVID-19 crisis

Sundar Pichai
Google also announced a variety of measures to help increase awareness, information on vaccines, testing, and more.

  • As India’s COVID-19 crisis rages on, US tech giants are pledging their support for the country.
  • Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced the tech giant will give $18 million in new funding to India.
  • Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said Microsoft would use its resources to help India through the crisis.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

On Monday morning, India reported 352,991 new COVID-19 infections, crossing the 300,000 single-day spike mark for the sixth consecutive day.

As India battles a major healthcare crisis, the country is receiving help from all around the globe.

A number of tech leaders and billionaires have joined the list of those attempting to help India – Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced that the tech giant will be giving $18 million (₹135 crores) in new funding for India.

Google also announced a variety of measures to help increase awareness, information on vaccines, testing, and more.

“We know the biggest way we can help is through our core information products like Search and Maps, YouTube, and Ads. Our COVID features on Search are available in India in English and eight Indian languages, and we continue to improve localization and highlight authoritative information. That includes information on where to get testing and vaccines; so far, Maps and Search surface thousands of vaccine sites, and we are working to add tens of thousands more,” the company said in a blog.

CEO of Microsoft Satya Nadella also took to Twitter to say Microsoft would use its resources and technology to support India during the crisis.

Another Indian-American tech leader and co-founder of Sun Microsystems, Vinod Khosla, announced a fund for hospitals in India to build up their supply of oxygen containers and concentrators among other essential supplies.

The US opened up the supply of raw materials for the production of COVID-19 vaccines to India on Sunday night.

Balaji Srinivasan, a Silicon Valley investor, has also announced a donation of up to $100,000 for COVID-19 relief in India, according to Coindesk.

They were also joined in pledging donations to India by the likes of Adam Nash, co-founder of Silverback Ventures, and co-founder of cryptocurrency asset Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin.

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Why you should offer interviews to applicants with gaps in their résumés

Man traveling Azores Portugal
Having come from a non-academic family, I certainly wouldn’t have dared to leave any gaps in my résumé before my first job in a local newsroom.

  • Gaps on your résumé often mean life experience but many people are scared to take time out.
  • I dropped out of my university degree and later left a company job but it made me a better worker.
  • Recruiters should view résumé gaps with curiosity and be more concerned when people don’t have any.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In between jobs, I’ve chased magic swords. A friend of mine traveled through Vietnam and Thailand. Another spent time taking care of her family and one enjoyed the summer doing nothing at all.

From a human perspective, a gap in your résumé is obviously a good thing – you’ve spent that time having pizza for breakfast, entertaining clever thoughts, learning Spanish vocabulary, or devouring all seven Harry Potter books.

Gaps in your résumé mean freedom and freedom takes courage.

I’m in my mid-30s now, but from 1992 to 2008 when I was preparing for working life, I feared the résumé gap. Career advisors taught us to see them as the death knell to our careers.

“People will ask about it,” we were warned. “And what are you going to say?”

Having come from a non-academic family, I certainly wouldn’t have dared to leave any gaps in my résumé before my first job in a local newsroom.

The fear of plunging myself into “economic ruin” would’ve plagued me and I would’ve been afraid of how I’d justify myself in job interviews – and whether I’d even be able to respond to the dreaded question.

teen playing desktop computer game with headphones graphics
I dropped out of a university degree and spent my days playing computer games.

But now, my advice to anyone with a résumé gap would be to answer boldly.

I dropped out of a university degree and spent my days playing computer games until I finally got a place on a different program. Although that might not seem like a good use of my time, it taught me a very important lesson – if something doesn’t work for me, I have to change it.

At that point, it was my degree, and later on, it was a company I was working for. Both times, it’s been worth it because I’ve been able to better evaluate my situation and think about my skills and what I really want. My life has improved as a result and I’ve become a better worker.

“I don’t have any gaps on my résumé,” one of my acquaintances wrote to me once. “And I regret it.”

The people I know who do have those gaps have told me they took the time off to recover from mental health issues. Many of them decided they wanted to work for themselves during their breaks, and a lot of them have made it happen.

What people learn during their time off from their careers gives them the freedom to think differently and maybe even better. Admitting that is tough because it goes against our ideas about the “ideal worker.”

That’s precisely the problem. What society demands of professionals today isn’t sustainable anymore, or even relevant. If you do your job well only when it works for you, then you are one thing above all else: replaceable.

People do lots of things in their jobs. They develop ideas, help people, solve problems, manage the chaos behind the scenes at large institutions, tackle climate change, teach, calculate, heal, and program.

black woman hiking
Gaps on your résumé often mean you’ve got life experience.

We’re not always equally good at those things and gaps tend to help us improve our performance. We need to remember life isn’t a machine and people aren’t cogs – life is complex.

If we don’t incorporate that into our lifestyles and into our work, then ultimately there won’t be anyone left who can develop the ideas to accommodate our complex lives.

However, gaps are scary. One of my friends is currently looking for a job but she’s scared to spread the word through her networks, whether professional or personal. I think that’s a fatal error.

If we all had the courage to leave gaps in our résumés and if recruiters approached gaps with curiosity rather than apprehension, the world of work would radically change.

Even taking parental leave is considered a “gap” in your résumé – a career inhibitor or something you shouldn’t allow yourself.

The truth is that work experience rarely makes us discover anything about life. We only get that through life experiences.

That’s why I think recruiters should be more concerned when someone comes into an interview without a gap in their résumé.

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Amazon is hiring 5,000 new employees in Germany, with some roles paying up to $82,000 per year

This picture shows the logo of US online retail giant Amazon at the distribution center in Moenchengladbach, western Germany, on December 17, 2019.
The company recently expanded its logistics empire to cope with rising demand over the holiday season.

  • Amazon will hire 5,000 more permanent employees in Germany in areas from shipping to marketing.
  • In a press release, the company said it encouraged applications from those seeking job security.
  • Entry-level Amazon logistics wages range from $13.25 to $14.90 per hour but are location-dependent.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Amazon already has 23,000 employees in Germany but is now looking to add more people to its workforce.

The delivery giant said in a press release on Friday that it would hire another 5,000 staff in areas from shipping to marketing.

Most Amazon employees work in logistics, where entry-level wages range from $13.25 to $14.90 gross per hour depending on the location. Germany’s current minimum wage is $11.14 per hour but will rise to $12.26 by July 2022.

At its logistics center in Sülzetal near Magdeburg, the minimum is $13.92 per hour; in Koblenz, it is $14.19; at the air freight handling facility in Leipzig it’s $15.83. Wages automatically rise after 12 and 24 months.

After two years, employees earned an average of around $3,500 gross per month including restricted employee shares, according to Amazon. There were bonus payments and other benefits.

It hasn’t been an easy year for the German branch of Amazon, with workers striking in June over rising COVID-19 infections at the company and again in October after their COVID-19 bonus payments were scrapped.

German trade union Verdi called for a four-day strike at Easter to demand a pay rise for workers in the retail and mail-order sectors. Amazon has also been subjected to an antitrust investigation over relationships with its third-party sellers in Germany.

In its press release, Amazon said it was calling for applications from those worried about the future of their jobs and was recruiting from a wide range of sectors.

Amazon Logistics Center
Amazon has 15 logistics centers spread across Germany.

“This is a great opportunity for career changers because we are open to a wide range of talents and qualifications,” said Amazon Germany country manager Ralf Kleber.

The company’s German headquarters are located in Munch while its research and development center is in Berlin. There are also a total of 15 logistics centers spread across the country.

Amazon itself does not provide any information about the salaries offered to employees in other sectors. According to employer rating portal Kununu, customer service employees earn about the same as their colleagues in warehouse and shipping.

Kununu’s data showed an account manager at Amazon earned almost $67,000 per year while a marketing officer earned around $62,000 and a human resources officer around $60,000.

According to Glassdoor, software engineers earn significantly more with a salary of over $82,000.

The company recently expanded its logistics empire to cope with rising demand over the holiday season and its delivery service could be worth up to $230 billion by 2025, according to Bank of America estimates.

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The elusive oligarch making Russian COVID-19 vaccine ‘Sputnik V’ criticized the EU for vaccine nationalism

Sputnik V
Russia’s vaccine is now set to go global, with plans for Sputnik V to be used in one in 10 vaccinations worldwide.

  • Dmitry Morozov of pharmaceutical Biocad is the oligarch behind Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Sputnik V is now being rolled out worldwide, with plans to use it in one in 10 global vaccinations.
  • However, it faces hurdles in the EU and US as well as Russia with reluctance and supply bottlenecks.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In Russia, the name Sputnik is associated with innovation, progress, and one of the greatest successes in Soviet history.

When Sputnik 1 became the first human object to reach Earth’s orbit in 1957, Americans watched in amazement.

Over 60 years later, Sputnik is taking the world by storm again, this time as Russia’s flagship COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V.

Mass production started in September and, despite Russians initially being divided about its potential efficacy, it’s now been rolled out across the country.

Russia’s vaccine is set to go global, with plans for Sputnik V to be used in one in 10 vaccinations worldwide and particularly in Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa.

Vladimir Putin was vaccinated against Covid-19 with Sputnik V, partly to coax those Russians who remain hesitant to go and get the jab.

Dmitry Morozov, an elusive oligarch who heads pharmaceutical company Biocad, is the man behind Sputnik V.

The pharmaceutical company behind the vaccine

Sputnik V is still viewed with a fair degree of skepticism especially in the EU and the US.

Earlier this month, a top official of the European Medicines Agency said approving the vaccine too early would be “somewhat comparable to Russian roulette.”

The vaccine’s official Twitter account then demanded a public apology, saying the official’s comments “raise serious questions about possible political interference in the ongoing EMA review.”

However, Russia is also struggling with supply bottlenecks and according to information from an independent pollster reported by Reuters, over 60% of Russians are unwilling to be vaccinated with Sputnik V.

Biocad is a well-known and well-connected name in the pharmaceutical industry and has been producing drugs for HIV and cancer for years.

US-based Pfizer, which is producing its own vaccine together with BioNTech, was even interested in acquiring Biocad.

Morozov owns 30% of the company and, in September, the company established one of Russia’s most modern production facilities in Zelenograd, north of Moscow.

The company employs 2,500 employees and has 1,500 people working on Sputnik V alone.

The team is also developing a drug for COVID-19 lung disease.

A camera team from Spiegel TV got a rare glimpse into the production of the vaccine, which revealed high levels of security at the factory in St Petersburg.

Complexity inhibits production

According to Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, 10 million doses of Sputnik V have been produced so far.

However, many more doses are needed to vaccinate Russia and meet global demand.

Vladimir Putin
Russia has approved two other homemade vaccines, CoviVac and EpiVacCorona.

Unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, Sputnik V is a vector-based vaccine.

This means fragments of the genetic material of the coronavirus are placed in attenuated viruses like adenoviruses.

The adenoviruses deliver genetic information from the coronavirus into the human body.

The body’s cells then respond and produce the virus’s protein, which the immune system can recognize and for which it can produce the body’s required defense substances.

With Sputnik V, however, two different adenoviruses are found in each of the required two doses, administered three weeks apart.

While this makes the vaccine more effective, it also increases the complexity of production.

According to data published in The Lancet, Sputnik V is just under 92% effective and so is roughly as effective as the mRNA vaccines produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.

Morozov finds the EU countries’ hesitation baffling and has spoken about vaccine nationalism and bureaucracy in the EU, according to World Today News.

In addition to Sputnik V, Russia has approved two other homemade vaccines, CoviVac and EpiVacCorona.

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Ford paves the way as the first automaker to allow 86,000 employees to work from home permanently

Ford logo
Ford’s new policy will be introduced in July.

  • Ford has become the first auto company to announce employees can work from home in the long-term.
  • The company will explore flexible arrangements from July, depending on individual responsibilities.
  • A survey showed 95% of employees wanted a hybrid form of working and felt more productive at home.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Ford has become the first automobile company to shift towards remote working on a permanent basis, according to CNBC, with around 86,000 employees being allowed to work at least partially from home.

The policy is aimed at office workers rather than factory workers, who number around 100,000 and have largely returned to work.

Hybrid work plans and remote working will depend on individual and managerial responsibilities.

“The nature of the work we do really is going to be a guiding element,” chief people and employee experiences officer Kiersten Robinson told CNBC. “If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last 12 months, it is that a lot of our assumptions around work and what employees need has shifted.”

Ford’s new policy will be introduced in July when most employees are expected to make at least a partial return to the office after more than a year.

“The nature of work drives whether or not you can adopt this model. There are certain jobs that are place-dependent – you need to be in the physical space to do the job,” chairman and chief executive of Ford Land, David Dubensky, told The Washington Post.

“Having the flexibility to choose how you work is pretty powerful,” Dubensky added. “It’s up to the employee to have dialogue and discussion with their people leader to determine what works best.”

Remote work coronavirus
95% of Ford employees wanted a hybrid form of working.

According to a survey conducted at Ford in June 2020, 95% of employees wanted a hybrid form of working and a number of them felt more productive at home.

The move from Ford comes after major companies including Google, Spotify, and Salesforce all announced that they were offering their employees the option to work from home permanently.

A survey conducted in January by the National Association for Business Economics suggested just one in 10 companies expected employees to return to the office after the pandemic.

“These companies are all looking at each other,” associate professor at Michigan State University’s School of Human Resources and Labor Relations, Angela Hall, told The Detroit News. “And especially someone like Ford, who is a large, respected employer – people are going to model that behavior.”

The Washington Post also reported that General Motors and Toyota were looking at flexible options for a return to the office, although they are both yet to announce new policies.

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Daimler is converting its engine plant in Berlin into a digital campus and hundreds of jobs may be in danger

02 September 2020, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Sindelfingen: Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG speaks during the opening ceremony at the "Factory 56" plant. The new S-Class will be built in the new completely digitalized and networked factory.
Costing around $2.4 million, the conversion project could offer employees long-term prospects.

  • Daimler plans to close its oldest plant in Germany and make it digital, Handelsblatt reported.
  • The $2.4 million conversion is part of a cost-cutting scheme that will cut 20,000 jobs by 2025.
  • The future factory will focus on electromobility and will assemble smaller parts for electric cars.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Daimler is planning to gradually shut down its engine and transmission production plant in Berlin-Marienfelde and convert it into a digital campus, Handelsblatt reported.

The German factory opened in 1902 and is the oldest Daimler plant producing conventional combustion engines. Its closure will now put 2,500 jobs at risk at the Mercedes Benz parent company.

Costing around $2.4 million, the conversion project could, however, offer employees long-term prospects, as the future factory will focus on electromobility and will also assemble smaller parts for electric cars.

Daimler management and the works council in Berlin agreed to convert the factory into a “digital start-up factory with a series of state-of-the-art pilot lines and test cells,” the company announced Wednesday.

Assembly in the digital plant will be carried out using sensors and software applications, including the latest enhanced reality tools.

There will also be training sessions for representatives from over 30 international Mercedes factories.

Some of the technologies that will be used are already being used at Mercedes. For example, Daimler used the new MO360 ecosystem to produce the S-class.

Daimler is also investing in self-driving cars, teaming up with Alphabet’s Waymo. It is now backing a high-end car service that aims to compete with Uber and Lyft.

FILE PHOTO: A Mercedes-Benz Concept IAA car is displayed prior to the Daimler annual shareholder meeting in Berlin, Germany, April 6, 2016.  REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke
Daimler plans to transform and put electric cars at the fore.

“We will significantly reduce the workforce,” a manager told Handelsblatt.

According to Daimler, however, its top priority is designing and implementing the project in a socially responsible way.

Jan Otto, chairman of IG Metall in Berlin, told Handelsblatt that the number of jobs to be cut had not yet been decided although the union is demanding that the Daimler plant in Marienfelde remains a production site.

According to Otto, Marienfelde could also be expanded again in the future, perhaps to produce battery systems or at least recycling batteries.

Daimler’s planned transformation from a hardware provider to a software-based company with electric cars at the fore is putting particular pressure on the group’s engine sites which still manufacture classic internal combustion engines.

Daimler CEO Ola Källenius is also pursuing a number of cuts across the board, particularly affecting engine locations.

The main plant in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim is being hit particularly hard by these cost-cutting measures, and thousands of jobs are to be cut at the plant by 2024.

Overall, Daimler plans to cut more than 20,000 of its 300,000 jobs worldwide by 2025.

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Scientists may have made jet fuel from food waste, and it could dramatically cut methane emissions

KITZBUHEL, AUSTRIA - JANUARY 22: An A380 Airbus of Emirates Airlines on January 23, 2009 in Kitzbuehel, Austria. (Photo by EyesWideOpen/Getty Images)
Using sustainable air fuel could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 165%.

  • Scientists have found a way of turning food waste into sustainable air-fuel that can power flights.
  • Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory said it could reduce emissions by 165%.
  • Test flights are due to begin in 2023 with Southwest Airlines and production will be ramped up.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Although most of the world’s food waste currently gives rise to methane gas and contributes to climate change, researchers in the US have found a way to use food waste to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

By turning “wet waste” into a kind of paraffin that powers jet engines, researchers claim their method reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 165% compared to fossil fuels, according to the BBC.

Their figure combines both the reductions in greenhouse gases emitted by airplanes and the emissions avoided by not sending food waste to landfills where it gives rise to methane gas.

From a market in India that turns 10 tons of food waste into energy to a factory in Indiana turning plastic waste into eco-friendly fuel, innovative solutions are on the rise as both the food and tech industries change rapidly.

A breakthrough moment

The scientists are from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the University of Dayton, Yale University, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and airlines including Southwest have already started collaborating with them.

Delta Air Lines Bombardier CRJ 700 regional jet
Delta Air Lines committed $1 billion last year to become carbon neutral by 2030.

With global passenger numbers expected to double by 2040, airlines are having to think seriously about how to cut their emissions. Delta Air Lines committed $1 billion last year to become carbon neutral by 2030.

According to NREL, airlines currently contribute 9% of greenhouse gas emissions in the US.

“If our refining pathway is scaled up, it could take as little as a year or two for airlines like Southwest to get the fuel regulatory approvals they need to start using wet waste SAF in commercial flights,” NREL scientist Derek Vardon and corresponding author of the paper said in a press release. “That means net-zero-carbon flights are on the horizon earlier than some might have thought.”

The scientists use catalytic conversion to produce paraffin

The researchers’ method interrupts the conversion of food waste into methane and produces volatile fatty acids.

Using catalytic conversion, they produced two types of sustainable paraffin.

Combining these two types and then mixing 70% of the result with jet fuel produced a suitable mixture that still meets airline fuel criteria.

landfill
SAF would result in fewer fossil fuels used and would put food waste to good use.

“Since the SAF blend would have a carbon footprint 165% lower than fossil jet, that blend is high enough to decarbonize flight,” Vardon said.

Aside from a huge reduction in fossil fuel usage and putting food waste to good use, flights using SAF would produce 34% less soot than the flights of today.

“That’s where we see the most potential for this technology is that you’re preventing methane emissions, and dramatically lowering the carbon footprint of jet fuel,” Vardon told the BBC. “And you just can’t do that with fossil fuels without getting into things like offsets.”

While SAF wouldn’t completely solve the problem of greenhouse gas emissions, it would provide a lifeline for an industry that is undergoing a reevaluation amidst the coronavirus health crisis.

“It is undeniable that SAF’s role in reducing emissions across the industry and at Southwest will be significant,” said Michael AuBuchon, Southwest’s senior director of fuel supply chain management. “NREL’s research could provide a game-changing opportunity to make SAF cost-effective, leading to its larger-scale deployment.”

The research team plans to begin test flights with Southwest Airlines in 2023.

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Brussels is struggling to gather evidence against Amazon in an antitrust case it opened

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 9: Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, Blue Origin and owner of The Washington Post via Getty Images, gives an update on Blue Origin and the progress and vision of going to space to benefit Earth at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. (Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Brussels announced the case in the summer of 2019.

  • The EU is struggling to find evidence for an Amazon antitrust case, the Financial Times reported.
  • The bloc has not managed to access Amazon’s algorithm and has not received replies to its questions.
  • If the lawsuit is successful, Amazon could face fines of up to 10% of its annual revenue.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Europe is struggling to gather evidence against Amazon for the antitrust case it has opened against the e-commerce giant for its market dominance and anti-competition practices, the Financial Times reported.

Brussels announced the case in the summer of 2019 on allegations that Amazon was manipulating its algorithm to favor its own products over third-party sellers on its websites.

They have reportedly been unable to access the algorithm and the list of detailed questions they sent to Amazon has not yet received a response.

Antitrust lawsuits have become commonplace as big tech companies come under increasing levels of scrutiny, including in the US.

Facebook was hit by two large antitrust lawsuits from the Federal Trade Commission in December 2020 and has now motioned for the cases to be thrown out.

Parler has also filed lawsuits against Amazon while the gaming giant behind Fortnite, Epic Games, has taken on Google and Apple.

“Cases involving algorithms are complex,” a Brussels-based legal expert told the Financial Times. “But the EU doesn’t have to dictate how a computer code works. It is for the company that uses the algorithm to deliver a fair result.”

Margrethe Vestager Jeff Bezos
If Amazon is found to have breached European law, the company could be fined up to 10% of its annual revenue.

If Amazon is found to have breached European law, the company could be fined up to 10% of its annual revenue. The figure stood at $233 billion for 2018, meaning a fine of up to $23 billion, but has since increased.

The lawsuit was followed by a second one in November 2020 over the way Amazon uses data from third-party sellers on its websites.

The Financial Times said the EU had been given evidence that Amazon may not gain anything from disadvantaging third-party sellers as they generate large amounts of profit for the company.

“Why would Amazon want to worsen the customer experience if customers will realize they can get better quality products for cheaper elsewhere?” an insider with knowledge of the defense told the Financial Times.

Those familiar with the case said an investigation could still take years and may still result in a successful outcome for the EU.

Amazon did not respond to the FT’s request for comment and the EU said it was still investigating.

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Bill Gates advised against investing in Bitcoin, saying cryptocurrencies damage the environment

Bill Gates
Gates spoke out against bitcoin citing environmental damages caused by the cryptocurrency.

  • Billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates criticized bitcoin’s environmental impact in an interview.
  • Speaking to CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin, he said it used more electricity than any other method.
  • Cambridge University analysis suggested bitcoin used more energy than Argentina, the BBC reported.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Bill Gates is one of the richest people in the world and an outspoken advocate, fighting against climate change.

In a Clubhouse interview with New York Times reporter and CNBC co-anchor Andrew Ross in February, Gates spoke out against bitcoin citing environmental damages caused by the cryptocurrency.

“Bitcoin uses more electricity per transaction than any other method known to mankind,” Gates said. “It’s not a great climate thing.”However, he added that bitcoin’s energy use may be acceptable if green energy is used and it is not “crowding out other users.”

Gates clarified that he does not see climate change and bitcoin as being “closely related,” and labeled himself a “bitcoin skeptic,” citing a preference to invest in “products” like malaria and measles vaccines rather than cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocurrencies have become a major culprit for energy consumption, with the world’s bitcoin network using as much power as the whole of Ireland in 2018.

Analysis by the University of Cambridge released earlier this year suggested that bitcoin was now consuming more electricity than Argentina, according to the BBC.

Gates is not the only one to speak out against bitcoin’s environmental impact, with CIO of Société Générale’s Kleinwort Hambros bank, Fahad Kamal, saying bitcoin’s energy use was “staggering” and a major worry for investors.

Economist Nouriel Roubini also criticized bitcoin and the growing trend in bitcoin investment, spiked by endorsements from Tesla chief Elon Musk.

“Since the fundamental value of bitcoin is zero and would be negative if a proper carbon tax was applied to its massive polluting energy-hogging production, I predict that the current bubble will eventually end in another bust,” Roubini said.

However, others have stood behind bitcoin and the cryptocurrency soared to record highs on February 21, reaching $58,640. “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer previously told Sorkin on CNBC that it was “almost irresponsible” for companies not to own bitcoin.

Meanwhile, Ark Invest founder Cathie Woods said she expected the price of bitcoin to rise between $40,000 and $400,000 and that digital wallets would gut traditional banks.

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Revolut is operating as a bank in 10 Central European countries, and hopes to do so across the continent

Revolut
Revolut has been operating as a bank in Poland and Lithuania since last year.

  • Revolut has launched as a bank in 10 Central European countries using a Lithuanian banking license.
  • The startup has also applied for a UK banking license and hopes to achieve profitability this year.
  • Revolut broke even in December and was valued at $5.5 billion in 2020 after raising $500 million.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Revolut has started operating as a bank in 10 Central European countries.

Using a license issued in Lithuania, Revolut Bank will operate in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Malta, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

The British-born startup and financial app has been operating as a bank in Poland and Lithuania since last year while maintaining its services in other European countries using its e-money license.

Revolut started 15 years ago as a service for withdrawing money outside users’ home country without commissions, exchanging currencies at a more favorable exchange rate than with banks, and making payments between friends.

In February last year, Revolut was valued at $5.5 billion after raising $500 million from TCV, a Silicon Valley growth fund.

The neobank has been adding to its services with more insurance options, a cryptocurrencies news feature, and the ability to split bills with non-Revolut users.

The advantage of a banking license is that it allows Revolut to be used for deposits, while e-money licenses mean Revolut serves as more of a wallet for its users.

After Brexit, the company moved its license from the UK to Lithuania in order to continue operating in European markets. However, Revolut has also applied for a UK banking license to improve its profitability.

“Revolut is now the fastest growing fintech company in Europe because we put the customer at the heart of everything that we do. Our product design is second to none, we have no hidden fees, and we are constantly building new and innovative financial products,” Revolut Bank CEO Virgilijus Mirkės said in a statement.

“Launching the bank in ten new European markets will provide a greater level of security and confidence for our customers, and will enable us to launch a host of new products and services in the near future,” he added.

In December 2020, the company broke even following a 40% revenue decrease earlier in the pandemic, suggesting that profitability may soon be on the cards.

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