We talked to Jaime Leverton of Hut 8 about bitcoin mining, and she had the following to say:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Jaime Leverton: The last year or so has been challenging for everyone; however, I am acutely aware that COVID-19 has negatively impacted various communities and industries disproportionately to my own. When I think of the hardships many have faced and are still facing, I am grateful and feel so fortunate that myself, my husband and our two daughters are safe and in good health. We’ve been able to continue to work, go to school – even if those parts of our lives have looked a little different. I am personally an avid runner and reader, and those hobbies have kept me engaged, along with the support of our dog, Dexter.
Tell us about you, your career, how you joined Hut 8.
Jaime Leverton: I earned a Master’s in Business Administration, Marketing Informatics from Dalhousie University after graduating from the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor of Arts, Psychology and Political Science.
After my graduate studies, I was focused on gaining business experience across a number of different sections of the finance industry and developed a keen interest in business recovery.
Over the last 20 years, I’ve had incredible opportunities to serve as a driver for operational re-imagining in increasingly senior executive roles with leading tech companies like eStruxture Data Centers, Cogeco Peer 1, National Bank, BlackBerry, Bell Canada, and IBM Canada. Within those roles, I was tasked with transforming operations and accelerating growth which is my objective at Hut 8 Mining Corp, having now joined as CEO.
Giving back has also been an important aspect of my career. I am an active mentor, and I sit on the board of the Stratford Festival, TECHNATION and the Merry-Go-Round Children’s Foundation – roles that I have a great passion for.
How does Hut 8 innovate?
Jaime Leverton: I see Blockchain technology as one of the biggest innovations of our century, and seeing as Hut 8 is a Bitcoin miner, our mission is inherently innovative. Still, sustainability and diversity are two major areas of the crypto mining sector, where I’m actively pursuing innovative solutions. Strengthening the diversity of our team and finding ways to further reduce our carbon footprint are high on the list of priorities for Hut 8.
Since Bitcoin started growing in popularity, it has advanced, become more refined, and new applications for the tech have taken shape. Because the landscape is evolving quickly, part of our mandate is also to find creative and impactful ways to inform our audiences about the value of digital economies. We see a lack of understanding of this evolutionary technology as one of the major barriers we are tasked with overcoming.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Jaime Leverton: COVID-19 has undoubtedly influenced currency, creating an interesting and positive impact on bitcoin mining – that is, if anything related to the pandemic can be conceived of as positive.
Governments around the world have printed a third of their national debt in fiat. The pandemic has sparked a money printing “Mardi Gras”, and the result of that will be a highly inflationary environment. Investors are foreseeing this and are looking for a way to hedge against inflation and protect the value of their portfolios.
On the flip side, what goes up in value in an inflationary environment are scarcity assets like gold and now, Bitcoin. The advantage of Bitcoin over gold is that it’s immutable and decentralized. It can’t be faked or diluted, and the fear of loss is eliminated – it’s the hardest store of value in history.
COVID-19 has also created an interesting confluence of inflation coupled with the acceleration of the digitization trend. This has supported bitcoin adoption and, therefore, bitcoin mining because it has pushed people towards comfort with digital forms of money and encouraged a familiarization with what bitcoin means and is.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Jaime Leverton: Thankfully, the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t had any lasting negative impact on Hut 8. In fact, we’ve been steadily growing over the last year, and since joining as CEO in November of 2020, we’ve added multiple strategic hires to our executive leadership team.
I’m zeroed in on diversity when it comes to Hut 8’s human resources. When I first got started in the tech industry, there were very few women in senior executive leadership roles I could model myself after. Even fewer with families or lifestyles, I could relate to.
I am incredibly honoured to have been chosen to lead a company helping to champion and drive the next evolution of technology and technological disruption. It brings me great pride not only to be joining Hut 8 from a business perspective but also as a woman in the role of CEO within a specific tech segment that has historically been known for a great lack of diversity.
Having experienced a lack of gender diversity first-hand throughout my career, I know how important it is to have the contribution of differing perspectives if you want to achieve long-term success, and I intend to keep that top of mind as Hut 8 continues to grow.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Jaime Leverton: As miners, we are unique in that we don’t really have an end customer. We love our shareholders, and we look at them the same way other businesses would their consumers. Corporate transparency has been key in maintaining and building trust with new and existing investors throughout the craziness of COVID-19. We’re focused on increasing communication and increasing our presence wherever our investors are to ensure they know exactly what we’re up to and can feel confident in our position as a global leader in Bitcoin mining.
Your final thoughts?
Jaime Leverton: I have been a long-term advocate of Women in STEM, so I’d like to reiterate my pride in holding a role young women can take as evidence to support seeing themselves as C-Suite leaders in the tech industry.
I am a big supporter of the idea that what makes us different makes us valuable within our careers. There is often a feeling of needing to conform to archetypes to gain access to leadership roles – particularly when it comes to STEM.
What I’ve found across the industries I’ve worked in is a strength in being genuine and authentic. I see my identity as a wife and mother as an advantage to what I bring to my professional work, and I’m passionate about encouraging that perspective in others.