Uber, Lyft and DoorDash put $30m apiece into ballot battle fund to kill gig-economy employee …

Gig-economy giants Uber, Lyft and Doordash have put $30m apiece into a new fund to push a new California ballot measure that would prevent their …

Gig-economy giants Uber, Lyft and Doordash have put $30m apiece into a new fund to push a new California ballot measure that would prevent their workers get ordinary benefits like a minimum wage, overtime, workers’ compensation and so on.

The corporations are worried about a new piece of legislation working its way through the legislature in Sacramento that would effectively make their workers employees. The bill, AB5, passed the Assembly in May, has gone through one Senate committee and was cleared by another on Friday, meaning it will now go to the full Senate.

Numerous groups have won exemptions to the provisions in AB5 – doctors, engineers, architects, hair stylists and others – by arguing that that they set their own prices and work directly with their customers. But gig-economy giants have not, meaning that they will be on the hook for employee benefits, which in real terms will increase their cost of labor by 20-30 per cent.

Uber, Lyft and others, including truckers and exotic dancers – have been lobbying fiercely against the new law but seemingly to little avail. With the bill looking increasingly likely to become law, they have struck on a new idea: push a ballot measure that Californian residents will vote on that would undercut the law.

It’s a risky strategy: it is difficult to get a ballot measure officially approved in the first place and on average only 1 in 3 measures actually get voter approval. But the gig giants view it as essential to protect their current business models and so are planning to throw money at the problem.

And they have the governor’s ear: according to reports, California governor Gavin Newsom – who would have to sign AB5 into law – met with Uber’s general counsel and Lyft’s president earlier this week to discuss the proposed law. He is also meeting with union leaders.

Anti-worker

Unsurprisingly, labor leaders are not impressed with the ballot measure idea, calling it “the biggest anti-worker campaign in decades.” The executive secretary-treasurer of the California Labor Federation, Art Pulaski, also put out an aggressive statement in which he promised to “meet the gig companies’ absurd political spending with a vigorous worker-led campaign to defeat this measure to ensure working people have the basic job protections and the right to organize a union they deserve under the law.”

The lead politician behind AB5, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego, also had some harsh words, saying in a statement: “California has a long history of Wall Street billionaires pumping a fortune into ballot measures to further erode the middle class for their benefit. The voters of California won’t stand for billionaires allowing their workers less rights than Wal-Mart employees.”

Meanwhile, Uber, Lyft and Doordash have started their ballot campaign, outlining their main policy points in the press and beyond: drivers will get a $21 an hour minimum wage (although this will only kick in when they are actually driving a paying punter or heading to pick one up), as well as some benefits such as paid sick leave, and gig-economy workers will be able to collectively bargain with the companies in future.

Of course, those measures are full of holes with very few specifics whereas AB5 is much more precise and extends long standing employee rights to those companies’ workers. But California has a long tradition of business-friendly policies and Californian voters tend to embrace capitalism, complete with all its flaws, when given a chance, so it is all up for grabs.

The law itself stems from a California Supreme Court decision last year that ruled companies like Uber and Lyft could not simply view their workers as independent contractors and provide them with no additional benefits.

That decision went against delivery company Dynamex Operations West in deciding its drivers were in fact employees and not independent contractors. The Supreme Court decision mostly comprised of talking through two different and conflicting tests for deciding whether someone was an employee or a contractor.

Tale of two tests

One – Borello – is a complex test of 11 factors that include things like payment method, whether special skills are involved, if the company supplies the tools for the job and so on. That test has long been used by companies to argue that their workers are not employees.

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Ahem! Uber, Lyft etc: California Supremes just shook your gig economy with contractor ruling

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The second test – called the Martinez test after a similar court case in which strawberry pickers tried, and failed, to get minimum wage back pay for work they had already done – is much simpler, containing three factors, often referred to as the ABC test because it says that employing someone happens under one of three definitions:

(a) to exercise control over the wages, hours, or working conditions, or (b) to suffer or permit to work, or (c) to engage, thereby creating a common law employment relationship.

Which, in non-legal terms, means that if a company gets to decide how much you earn and the job a worker does is a core part of its business, then their staff are employees, not contractors.

And the Supreme Court indicated very clearly that it felt the Martinez text was the way to go from now on: which puts gig-economy companies squarely into the employee camp. They aren’t happy about that and so will use the money they could be giving to their “independent contractors” to try to push a legislative bypass into law through a direct ballot measure.

If they do end up going that route, the ballot measure will appear at the same time as the presidential election in November 2020. ®

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DTC Shoe Company Atoms Gets $8.1M In Series A Round

The round was led by Initialized Capital, which was started by Reddit Co-founder Alexis Ohanian and Garry Tan, who met the Atoms founders through …

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Direct-to-consumer (DTC) shoe brand Atoms, which offers sizes in quarters instead of halves, and also lets customers buy different sizes for each foot, has raised $8.1 million in a Series A funding round, according to a report.

The company will use the money to continue investing in its shoes and to grow its marketing and retail presence. The company sells directly through its website. It recently had a waiting list of around 40,000 people.

The round was led by Initialized Capital, which was started by Reddit Co-founder Alexis Ohanian and Garry Tan, who met the Atoms founders through a Y Combinator startup. Also participating in the round were Kleiner Perkins, Dollar Shave Club CEO Michael Dubin, Acumen Founder and CEO Jacqueline Novogratz, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, TED Curator Chris Anderson, rapper Chamillionaire and previous investors Aatif Awan and Shrug Capital.

The company’s shoes are intentionally simple in style.

“We will make only one shoe design a year, but we want to make that really well,” said Co-founder Sidra Qasim.

Ohanian said he truly believed in the shoes. “The thing that I love about Atoms is that it isn’t just a different look, it’s a different feel,” he said. “When I put on a pair for the first time, it was a totally unique experience. Atoms are more comfortable by an order of magnitude than any other shoe I’ve tried, and they quickly became the go-to shoe in my rotation whenever I was stepping out. That wouldn’t mean anything if the shoes didn’t look great. Luckily, that’s not a problem; I wear my Atoms all the time and even my fashion designer wife is a fan.”

Atoms said offering shoes in quarter sizes instead of regular sizes wasn’t as hard to accomplish as people might think. “We thought it would be challenging, and it wasn’t unchallenging, but the good thing was that many manufacturers were already starting to think about this,” noted CEO Waqas Ali. “Think about it – there has been almost no innovation in shoe-making in the last 30 or 40 years.”

Baton Systems raises $12 million for blockchain-inspired bank payments infrastructure

Founder and CEO Arjun Jayaram said the capital will bolster Bolton’s distributed ledger-based system, which enables on-demand payments without …

Baton Systems, a three-year-old Fremont, California-based provider of bank-to-bank payments infrastructure modeled on blockchain technology, today announced that it’s raised $12 million in series A funding from Trinity Ventures, with participation from Alsop Louie and Commerce Ventures.

Founder and CEO Arjun Jayaram said the capital will bolster Bolton’s distributed ledger-based system, which enables on-demand payments without the need for prefunding of margin requirements (the percentage of stocks, bonds, and other securities investors must cover with their own cash). “This investment provides us with the strategic support and firepower to scale our bank-to-bank payment solution for the world’s leading financial institutions even faster and more effectively,” he added. “Speed to market is critical in an industry that is crying out for modernization while at the same time facing a daunting global regulatory environment.”

Baton’s hybrid cloud platform acts as a gateway between bank ledgers for real-time reconciliation, the accounting process that confirms whether money leaving an account matches the amount that’s been spent. Using a shared and permissioned ledger, clients can clear and settle asset classes and currencies in real time and gain visibility into the flow of funds across banks and exchanges, all without disrupting existing ledgers.

Baton asserts its system is redundant across geographic regions and that the underlying architecture — which autoscales to handle bursts in transaction traffic — is highly robust and customizable. To this end, APIs and functionality sets let customers create custom workflows for settlement while leveraging Baton’s platform for transactions.

It’s worth noting that Baton isn’t the only firm with legacy ledger systems in its crosshairs. Blockchain-inspired bank Secco is built around a database distributed among customers’ phones, while Sila’s solution connects to existing payment systems with smart contract functionality on the Ethereum network. Separately, a report published by the World Economic Forum earlier this year found that several dozen different central banks are exploring, researching, or actively experimenting with in-house blockchain technology.

But Baton has made substantial inroads into the $2 trillion payments market, with a pilot involving the Bank of England and a client base that includes three of the world’s top 10 global banks. The company says its network currently processes more than $12 billion each business day in payments between market participants and clearinghouse counterparties.

“We’ve been a firm believer in the potential of what Baton is doing for the payments industry since day one,” said Gilman Louie, partner at Alsop Louie. “Since those first conversations, Arjun and his team have rapidly moved from concept to reality with a top-tier set of initial clients, and advanced discussions taking place with the A-list of central banks and global financial institutions.”

Trinity Ventures general partner Schwark Satyavolu, who’s also a member of Baton’s board, added: “Bank-to-bank settlement today is slow and manual, trapping billions of dollars that could instead be used to grow businesses. Baton is completely transforming the global bank payments infrastructure, leveraging the best of blockchain’s potential while mitigating its key concerns. Arjun and his team are the ideal visionaries and practitioners capable of turning this tremendous need into reality — and are already doing so for their many top-tier banking clients.”

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Powerhouse Energy-Positive Building Hosts Next-generation IoT Innovation With IOTA Distributed …

The IOTA Foundation’s mission is to support the research and development of new distributed ledger technologies (DLT), including the IOTA Tangle.

TRONDHEIM, Norway–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

Jaguar Land Rover and ENGIE Lab CRIGEN team up to co-create and showcase IOTA-enabled Sustainable Energy Innovation at ENTRA’s newly commissioned smart building in Trondheim, Norway

UK’s largest automotive manufacturer, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and it’s 2019 World Car of the Year, the I-PACE, will lead the way in a demonstration of energy provenance-tracking and Internet-of-Things (IoT) co-creation during a special exhibition with non-profit IOTA Foundation’s distributed ledger technology, France’s ENGIE Lab CRIGEN, the ENGIE Group’s corporate center for R&D and ENTRA, one of Norway’s leading real estate companies.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190830005098/en/

The demonstration is part of the grand opening of ENTRA’s Powerhouse Brattørkaia, the biggest new energy-positive building in Norway, held today, August 30th in Trondheim, recipient of an award for Norway’s most innovative city, in a country recognized as a global leader in technology. Jaguar Land Rover, ENGIE and IOTA Foundation’s demonstration underscores the global significance of sustainability co-creation across transportation, infrastructure, and energy.

“This agile initiative demonstrates vividly how cities can transform both infrastructure and transportation into a sustainable and mutually beneficial ecosystem,” said Russell Vickers, manager, Jaguar Land Rover’s vehicle-as-a-service engineering group. “We are excited to let the public see how energy-positive buildings and vehicles such as the I-Pace in this demonstration can create positive sustainability innovation in line with Jaguar Land Rover’s Destination Zero strategy.”

The showcase demonstrates how electricity charged by smart electric vehicles can be traced back to the Powerhouse as its green and local source while delivering a real-time data display of energy exchange between the car and the Powerhouse charging resource.

“This partnered demonstration not only reveals how The Powerhouse Group’s energy-positive approach to construction can play a critical role in combating global warming,” said Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, architect at Snøhetta, one of five founding partners in Powerhouse. “It also spotlights the many ways in which industries can partner to create interactive, energy-smart innovation.”

Jaguar Land Rover announced earlier this year the development of an IOTA Smart Wallet to secure and monetize data exchanges with its vehicles. Aligned with JLR’s Destination Zero vision (zero accidents, zero congestion, and zero emissions), the potential use of the wallet is further expanded by this new initiative to bring a JLR I-Pace vehicle, elected World car of the year 2019, at the heart of IOTA smart city co-creation work.

This development leverages ENGIE Lab CRIGEN’s expertise in energy, facility management, and smart city, as well as its capabilities in IOTA, enabled IoT development. The corporate R&D center based in Paris has cooperated with the IOTA Foundation since September 2018 with the goal of exploring the use of IOTA technology in enhancing ENGIE’s business processes, products, and services in such areas as energy, smart cities and buildings, and mobility.

“We welcome this real-world, practical demonstration of the power of technology to enable a sustainable, workable ecosystem between energy sources, cars and developments,” said Philippe Calvez, ENGIE Lab CRIGEN, Research Lab Manager, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAI).

ABOUT POWERHOUSE

Powerhouse represents a collaboration in the development of energy-positive buildings and consists of the real estate company Entra, the entrepreneur Skanska, the environmental organization ZERO, Snøhetta architects, and the consulting company Asplan Viak. Completed projects include Powerhouse Telemark, Powerhouse Drøbak Montessori school, Powerhouse Kjørbo and now Powerhouse at Brattørkaia.

More Information: https://www.powerhouse.no/en.

ABOUT IOTA FOUNDATION

IOTA is a global not-for-profit foundation incorporated and headquartered in Germany. The IOTA Foundation’s mission is to support the research and development of new distributed ledger technologies (DLT), including the IOTA Tangle. The Foundation encourages the education and adoption of distributed ledger technologies through the creation of ecosystems and the standardization of these new protocols.

The IOTA Tangle moves beyond blockchain by providing the world’s first scalable, feeless and fully-decentralized distributed ledger technology. The Tangle uses its own unique technology to solve three fundamental problems with blockchain technology: high fees, scaling and centralization. It is an open-source protocol connecting the human economy with the machine economy by facilitating novel Machine-to-Machine (M2M) interactions, including secure data transfer, fee-less micropayments, and secure access control for devices.

Visit www.iota.org for more information. Follow IOTA on Twitter: @iotatoken and YouTube: IOTA Foundation.

ABOUT JAGUAR LAND ROVER

Jaguar Land Rover is the UK’s largest automotive manufacturer, built around two iconic British car brands: Land Rover, the world’s leading manufacturer of premium all-wheel-drive vehicles; and Jaguar, one of the world’s premier luxury sports saloon and sports car marques.

More information: https://media.jaguarlandrover.com/en-us/news

ABOUT ENTRA

Entra is one of Norway’s leading real estate companies. It offers environmentally-leading and flexible office buildings with a central location and high quality. ENTRA is a partner to the POWERHOUSE partnership.

More information: https://www.entra.no/

About ENGIE Lab CRIGEN

ENGIE Lab CRIGEN is the Group corporate center for R&D and high-level expertise dedicated to new energy sources (hydrogen, biogas and LNG), new energy uses in cities, building and industry of tomorrow, and emerging technologies (computer sciences and AI, robots and drones, nanotechnologies and sensors).

ENGIE Lab CRIGEN conducts operational R&D projects and develops pilots on behalf of the New Corp, Métiers and Key Programs, Business Units (BUs) and external customers, with the goal of mastering tomorrow’s technologies, bringing them to maturity, and preparing for the energy transition. Its activities are also strongly focused on the implementation of innovative offers and solutions to improve the BU’s operational performance and to build new revenue streams.

ENGIE Lab CRIGEN is located at La Plaine Saint-Denis close to Paris and has 200 employees. www.engie.com, https://www.engie.com/en/innovation-energy-transition/research-laboratories/lab-crigen/

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190830005098/en/

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Bitcoin SV Leads Intraday Recovery Despite Craig Wright’s Billions Blow

In comparison, benchmark cryptocurrency bitcoin surged by a dwarfed 1.14 percent, while gains of Ethereum, Binance Coin, and Bitcoin Cash were …
Bitcoin SV, bitcoinBitcoin SV, bitcoin

Bitcoin SV is up over 5 percent on Friday’s trading, leading a stuttering crypto market recovery. | Source: Shutterstock

Bitcoin SV (BSV) is delivering better returns than rival assets this Friday even after its founder Craig Wright’s embarrassing loss in a recent courtroom battle.

As of 11:00 GMT, the BSV-to-dollar exchange rate was trading more than 4 percent higher on a 24-hour adjusted timeframe, according to data fetched by CoinMarketCap.com. In comparison, benchmark cryptocurrency bitcoin surged by a dwarfed 1.14 percent, while gains of Ethereum, Binance Coin, and Bitcoin Cash were below 1 percent.

bitcoin sv, bitcoin, cryptocurrencybitcoin sv, bitcoin, cryptocurrency
Bitcoin SV (BSV) leads intraday gains, beating Bitcoin, Ether, and Bitcoin Cash | Source: CoinMarketCap.com

Bitcoin SV appeared stronger against bitcoin as well. The BSV-to-BTC exchange rate rose by 2.94 percent on a 24-hour adjusted timeframe.

The move uphill indicated that speculators are moving into altcoins fearing that bitcoin would extend its downtrend after piercing below the psychological support of $10,000. As they did, Bitcoin SV registered the 9th largest intraday upside movement against bitcoin, beaten only by a handful of tail-ending altcoins that closed as much as 26 percent higher against the benchmark cryptocurrency.

Craig Wright’s Fu**-Up

Bitcoin SV’s intraday recovery occurred despite its Craig Wright’s loss in a courtroom battle against the estate of his deceased former partner David Kleiman. The plaintiff alleged that Wright forged documents to steal half of the bitcoins he and Kleiman mined between 2009 and 2013. Wright, on the other hand, denied that there was such a partnership.

A US district court in Florida eventually ruled that Wright has illegally acquired half of the bitcoin mined and half of the intellectual property held by Kleiman. Judge Bruce Reinhart ordered Wright to hand over about 500,000 bitcoin to Ira Kleiman, the brother of David Kleiman. The judge also cast doubts over Wright’s claims that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, the original creator of Bitcoin.

“During his testimony, Dr. Wright’s demeanor did not impress me as someone who was telling the truth. When it was favorable to him, Dr. Wright appeared to have an excellent memory and scrupulous attention to detail. Otherwise, Dr. Wright was belligerent and evasive,” Reinhart said.

Wright later appeared in an interview in which he tried to play mind games with bitcoin investors. The Australian computer scientist said, handing over his part of holdings to Ira would have him crash the bitcoin market.

‘*sshole Satoshi’ Craig Wright: I Can Sink Bitcoin Price Because I’m a $6B Whale, Baby! https://t.co/hKEfj8Pajtpic.twitter.com/y4xtFhjGGn

— CCN Markets (@CCNMarkets) August 27, 2019

Wright’s critics refuted his statements, saying that the “fake Satoshi Nakamoto” did not even have any bitcoin to give to Kleiman’s real estate.

Open bet available for any $BSV CSW cultist of the belief that Craig has the Satoshi coins.

I’ll put up $10k that none of these coins will be moved by CSW within a year, I’ll even offer you 2-1 odds, so $5k for you.

Money locked in escrow, paid out 1 year today.

— Peter McCormack (@PeterMcCormack) August 28, 2019

Not a Sustainable Jump

Bitcoin SV’s intraday upside did not do enough to switch the asset’s near-term bias, which remains extremely bearish. The project would likely lose its base support as long as its founder does not come up with strong evidence, showing that he is the real Satoshi Nakamoto. The odds of that happening are slipping by every day, squeezing the Bitcoin SV value alongside.

As of now, the BSV-to-dollar exchange rate is trading almost 50 percent lower from its year-to-date high of $226.96.