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Ayre Group pioneers ‘social distancing’ policy to combat COVID-19

There is no doubt that the onslaught of the novel Coronavirus pandemic gravely disrupted how businesses operate. In this article, we take a look at how the Ayre Group implemented their Work-From-Home policy, as a solution to the high level of lay-offs that some companies faced. Orville Williams of the Antigua Observer tells the story originally published on March 18, 2020.

More than 100 employees of the Ayre Group have been told to work from home as the company – headed by the Canadian billionaire Calvin Ayre – implements strategies to fend off the coronavirus.

The firm – headquartered at Canada Place in Woods – is taking the lead in the private sector, by enforcing a group-wide social-distancing, work-from-home policy, amid COVID-19’s global spread.

The coronavirus had had a significant socio-economic impact worldwide since its inception and has escalated drastically, affecting both the public and private sector. In severe cases across the world, employees have been placed on unpaid, leave had their contracts suspended and even been laid off, as businesses struggle to cope with the impact of the virus.

The Ayre Group, however, is striving to both adhere to international health regulations and support its staff during the crisis. In a media release yesterday, the group explained that the policy will allow employees to work remotely – given their duties enable them to do so – in “protecting the health and well-being of the employees operating in the building”.

The company’s media relations specialist, Jamilla Kirwan, explained how the decision was made.

“We have the capabilities, within our group, to work from home. I know that not many companies have that kind of option and so, I’m sure that many people are trying to figure out how they’re going to manage staffing, children being home and that sort of thing.

“A lot of our work, obviously, is electronic. You know, we’re on emails (and) if we need a meeting, we do video-conferencing and so, we’re basically just encouraging anyone who has that kind of capability to do the same,” she explained.

Kirwan said the company had had a “coronavirus-free” bill of health among the employees and was actively practicing social distancing to keep it that way.”

“We have not had any cases of anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, however, we feel that one of the ways we could help to mitigate the spread of the virus is to teach people how to do social distancing.”

“With our over-100 employees, we thought this would be the best way to assist with the social side of things – having our people stay home, stay with their families and limit the amount of people coming into their homes,” she said.

Additionally, the group announced that one of its subsidiaries – the Bodog Beach Club – will be temporarily closed until further notice, also to regulate the spread of the virus.

This temporary closure will not affect staff financially, however, as “all employees within the Ayre Group, including: Bodog Beach Club, Calvin Air Helicopters and the Calvin Ayre Foundation, will continue to be paid during the period of social-distancing.”

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Calvin Ayre feels insulted by All Inclusive Resorts

In the following article, Special Economic Envoy to Antigua and Barbuda, Ambassador Calvin Ayre discusses plans for his upcoming wellness resort retreat and the exceptional experience it will offer. This article, that appeared on the Antigua Newsroom online portal, was published on June 15, 2020.

Billionaire Antiguan businessman Calvin Ayre says he is opposed to the “all inclusive” model of tourism in Antigua & Barbuda.

Ayre was at the time speaking about his US$ 100 million investment in a wellness resort retreat at Valley Church Beach which he says will not be all inclusive because he disagrees with that model.

“It will have everything and more but it absolutely won’t be all inclusive,” Ayre told a radio interview alongside Prime Minister Gaston Browne on Saturday.

“I am fundamentally against all inclusives at every level, I think they are horrible experiences and I think they are bad for Antigua,” Ayre said.

He added, “I find them insulting as an Antiguan when I try to go use one of them and they say no to me.”

Speaking of his own resort the businessman said, “what I would like to do there is create a wellness community…the idea would be to bring people in here and introduce them to Antigua and have a fully functioning wellness retreat resort.”

He said once completed it will be the best in the Caribbean.

“The way I am anticipating doing it is going to be much more extreme on the medical wellness side of it more than anything that’s in the region. It will be unique in the whole region,” Ayre the Chairman of the Ayre Group said.

Apart from the resort the billionaire says he wants to bring other investments into Antigua & Barbuda in the future.

“Unfortunately, some of my plans are immature so I can’t get into them right now but I do want to be part of creating some of the solutions to make the problems from the pandemic,” he said.

Ayre said COVID-19 has given Antigua & Barbuda and opportunity to diversify the economy.

“I think on the tourism side the low-end tourism is not going to come back all that quickly and this is an opportunity to reset Antigua with no risk because the risk is upon us already by the pandemic.”

Prime Minister Gaston Browne says he accepts the recommendation to diversify not only tourism but other sectors.

“And that is something our government is actively pursuing.”

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Calvin Ayre opens ‘most impressive building on the island’ deemed a modern green facility

The impressive five-story, Canada Place located in St. John’s, Antigua, is not only home to the Ayre Group’s various pioneering technological companies but serves as a beacon of inspiration for its employees and Antigua on a whole. Dubbed “The Greenest Multi-complex in the Caribbean,” Canada Place is a highly sought-after office facility, capable of housing several companies and up to 600 persons. As the Ayre Group navigates this COVID-19 new normal, with gradual resumption of work from office, building occupants found it easy to return to this environmentally friendly, state-of-the-art facility. This article serves as a fitting throwback to the building’s official opening in 2019. The article was written by Latrishka Thomas and published in the Antiguan Observer on November 25, 2019.

“This is now easily the most impressive building on the island, hands down. There is no other office complex on the island that could actually challenge Canada Place,” Prime Minister Gaston Browne said Friday of the newly opened Canada Place.

Business mogul Calvin Ayre on Friday, opened his global headquarters, which he said “shall be home for various pioneering technologies that, it is hoped, will make a significant impact on the economy of Antigua & Barbuda.

“In this regard, we have been steadily increasing our employment of Antiguan and Barbudan nationals and expect that our employment levels should approach 600 during 2020.”

The five-storey building, which is located close to Woods Malls, is a modern green facility.

Local media relations representative for the Calvin Ayre Group, Anika Potter, described one of the major features in Canada Place as being “our solar farm which is actually our car-park for our employees so they have covered parking and that I believe, transmits over 500 kilowatts of energy, so technically our building should be able to function solely on the solar farm, on solar energy”.

She said another key feature is “the fifth floor which is our employee lounge. It houses our indoor cafeteria, our outside eating area, a games room, our library for our staff to just be able to relax and just unwind.”

The media representative also revealed that there are many other amenities within the complex that promote energy efficiency.

“The building in and of itself is massive and when I say massive, I don’t necessarily just mean in size. I mean in all of the amenities, all of our kitchenettes are equipped with coffee machines and bottle less water coolers. 

“So, what we’ve done, instead of just using the regular water cooler with a bottle we do filtered water through a UV system and that is what our employees use to drink so we don’t deal with water bottles. We are trying to have the building be able to operate on its own as well as minimizing our carbon footprint,” she continued.

And, according to Ayre, “greater reliance on renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, will redound to the benefit of humanity. I, therefore, fully endorse the government’s policy of seeking to transition from the use of fossil fuels to green energy. This magnificent complex is a symbol of this commitment to a pollution-free Antigua.”

In addition, the building, a “US $40 million investment into the Antiguan economy,” is equipped with a day care and gym which Ayre said is meant to ensure that all of the employees feel appreciated.

“We tried to create an environment where basically the employees feel valued. And I think in the presentation I made earlier (Friday evening) one of the statements that I made was about the fact that, unlike just about every other building I’ve seen in my life, the executive suites aren’t on the top floor.”

Prime Minister Browne, in addressing attendees during Friday’s opening ceremony, praised Ayre saying that “unlike other exploiters we have a true partner in Calvin Ayre who is conjointly with the government and people of Antigua and Barbuda to ensure the advancement of this beautiful twin island state”.

Calvin Ayre is a Canadian entrepreneur based in Antigua and Barbuda who founded the Ayre Group and Bodog entertainment brand and also manages other business entities on the island.

In 2000, Ayre launched online gambling company, Bodog, the success of which made him a billionaire and in Ayre’s speech on Friday he credited the success to “small but solid steps” saying that “the initial step taken by me in 2006 when I started business operations in Antigua has had several giant steps added to bring us to where we are today”.

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BSV is ready for the world’s business. Are you?

Bitcoin SV has already proven the world its wide array of capabilities. Now, BSV is on to the next step of building businesses and industries powered by the BSV blockchain. After all, Bitcoin isn’t just the future of money – it’s the future of business. This article was originally published on CoinGeek on May 8, 2019.

Since Bitcoin was revitalized in November 2018 in the form of Bitcoin SV (BSV), the Bitcoin world hasn’t been short of amazing. The recent months have proven that by following Satoshi’s original plan of keeping a stable protocol as we focus on the roadmap towards secure, massive on chain scaling, we are opening a world of incredible new possibilities—as we work towards enabling the world’s new money.

In October, we announced Tokenized, which creates customizable smart contract system for Bitcoin SV, as the winner of our £5M contest for Bitcoin Token Solutions. This project, created by James Belding, Samuel Georges, Scott Barr, Farid Uddeen, and Brendan Lee, proves that Satoshi’s original vision for Bitcoin undeniably works, because they used resources only made available through massive scaling, and not through further protocol changes.

We’ve already seen that because Bitcoin SV offers unlimited possibilities, it’s created a Cambrian explosion of creativity and innovation. Now, we’re on the next step. That of creating businesses and industries powered by Bitcoin SV. I know people have bright ideas of how to do that, and they just might need a little support to make it a reality.

Bitcoin, after all, is not just the future of money—it’s the future of business.

I’ve said it before but it merits repeating. 2019 will be a year of massive on-chain scaling, and that’s already proving to be true. Bitcoin SV has already proven it can sustain 64MB blocks, 103MB blocks, and now regularly mines 128MB blocks, with plans to reach 500MB by the mid-year, and between 1GB and 2GB blocks by the end of the year. The protocol has already proven that scaling on chain has to come first, and application developers and users will flow in to fill it.

Now, I want to plan the next step, and get the world’s new businesses kick-started. If you’re ready for the new world of Bitcoin, let us know, and we’ll get to that next step together.

Celebrate the renewed life of Bitcoin, and all the developments happening with Bitcoin SV, with all the world leaders in on-chain scaling at the CoinGeek Toronto conference on May 29-30. This is the third conference I’ve done, and this time, the special focus is on massive on-chain scaling—the one area where people supporting these other technologies that don’t work are very confused about.

On-chain scaling gives the confidence to enterprises and start-ups to aim their application development at that network which is going to stimulate the transaction volume that’s necessary to attract the security. At the end of the day, just like there’s no need to be two internets, there will only be one platform. And that platform has to, by definition, be the one that scales.

CoinGeek Toronto, which will take place at the Carlu, will welcome new faces as well as familiar names to the global stage, alongside BSV leaders such as nChain’s Dr. Craig Wright and Founding President of the Bitcoin Association Jimmy Nguyen. And of course, to celebrate, there’ll be one of my famous after-parties—the likes of which Toronto has not yet seen!

For full details and to reserve tickets to CoinGeek Toronto, register here. If you’re ready for the new world of Bitcoin, let us know, and we’ll get to that next step together.

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Bitcoin SV is a utility platform and does not need casino-style crypto only exchanges

Calvin Ayre talks about the Bitcoin SV vision, its protocol, and design. He also discusses the difference between BSV and all the other digital assets out there. This article was originally published on CoinGeek on April 21, 2019.

There is so much confusion out there about what Bitcoin SV (BSV) is. Yes, most by now understand that it is the original Bitcoin following the original design, protocol and vision of Satoshi Nakamoto based on the white paper and other sources. Most everyone smart also by now agrees that Craig Wright is the inventor of Bitcoin.

However, the distraction caused by the endless trolling and cyberbullying of Craig and his legal efforts to stop them are not what is important. What is important is to understand the difference between Bitcoin SV and all other copycat platforms and why they are all so scared of Bitcoin SV.

Binance and a cartel of these altcoin-dependent exchanges just launched a delist attack on Bitcoin SV under the guise of it being about Dr. Craig Wright. I am sure the young and inexperienced leaders of Binance and the cartel think this is smart. It is not.

They are right that Bitcoin SV is an existential threat for them all. Bitcoin SV is designed to be the “power everything” platform, and can scale to do everything that all other blockchain and DLT project claim to do and far, far more. It can power Internet of Things Dr. Craig Wright’s greater vision of the Metanet, where Bitcoin SV subsumes and powers the entire Internet and monetizing all data.

This means that if Dr. Wright’s vision comes to pass, the world will operate on a single global blockchain, just like we operate on a single public internet. There will be no other public blockchains or cryptocurrencies, and the only tokens other than BSV itself will be financial and other real world assets tokenized on top of BSV.

The Bitcoin SV vision also means that the future of crypto exchanges will change. Currently, exchanges list far too many tokens in order to inflate fee revenue from trading as many cryptocurrencies as possible and generating casino-like fervor. This model will come to an end. The future is the model of FloatSV, a newly-launched and BSV-focused exchange. As stated on its website, FloatSV “only supports tokenized real assets” and does so “by committing to list only blockchains running Proof of Work SHA256 and real assets such as commodities and currencies.” The casino style speculative exchanges without banking will ultimately cease to exist.

This is the real reason Binance and some other exchanges are afraid of Bitcoin SV, and why they illegally banded together to try to incite a mob mentality on social media to harm Bitcoin SV. Craig’s legal actions to defend himself from trolling was just the excuse they choose to justify this. That and his prior social media conduct when Craig is not even on Twitter anymore.

But this is the amazing part. None of these youngsters in this cartel understand that Bitcoin SV does not need the casino-style exchange to succeed. We are building a blockchain that has real utility for businesses and consumers, to enable massive amounts of real payment and data transactions, to support the BSV token with real long-term value. Therefore, its “use case” is not trading against other cryptocurrencies to make money, like the speculative investment scheme for most other tokens. It is a utility platform for the BSV token to actually be used on BSV blockchain, so it only needs fiat on and off ramps. At some point, the BSV ecosystem will also need regulated secondary markets for security and commodity tokens of real world assets, such as FloatSV is anticipating. But at no point in its life does Bitcoin SV’s ecosystem need casino-style speculative exchanges for trading against large numbers of coins that are not real assets. Bitcoin SV is a utility backbone to run everything and this makes it unique as no other blockchain platform has this plan or ability.

This means that in launching this attack, all these exchange guys have done is sped up the inevitable march of regulation over their actions. This was coming anyway as on June 19th, 2018, the fifth EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD 5) was published in the official journal of the European Union. Among other things, the EU Directive extends all the traditional anti-money laundering laws to virtual currency platforms and wallet providers. I can’t wait for this Directive to be implemented in all EU countries. I’m sure the crypto exchange landscape will quickly change.

Meanwhile, all Bitcoin SV needs is to finish restoring the original Bitcoin protocol, keep it stable and keep massively scaling. If it does that, big enterprises will come build on BSV what they cannot do on other platforms, and BSV will consume – by its superior technology – the entire crypto ecosystem of the world. This is Dr. Craig Wright’s vision and that is why it really does not matter who invented Bitcoin, because he sure as hell invented Bitcoin SV and in doing this he has changed the world for the better.

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To boost brand value, choose branded content, not internet ads

Calvin Ayre talks about building brand value through quality, branded content instead of online advertising. Bodog and its associated brands, BodogFight, BodogMusic, Calvin Ayre WildCard Poker are testaments to the effectiveness of branded content. This article was originally published on on December 11, 2010.

According to a new survey conducted by Adweek Media and Harris Interactive, almost two-thirds (63%) of Americans claim to ignore internet advertising. In terms of the type of internet ads that garner the most scorn (and the least amount of eyeballs), banner ads were routinely ignored by 43% of responders, while 20% said they pay the least amount of attention to search engine advertising.

Those figures look even worse when compared with other forms of media advertising, such as television ads (ignored by 14%), radio (7%) and newspapers (6%). The 9% who claim that they don’t ignore any of these forms of advertising presumably (a) have way too much free time on their hands, or (b) have their eyelids forcibly held open like Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange.

The data in this survey highlights the folly of any company attempting to build brand value predominantly via online advertising. Seriously, the only people getting rich off this arrangement are the companies who get paid to host the ads. Not for nothing do people say ‘content is king’. The branded content I’ve created over the years for the Bodog Brand and its associated entertainment properties – BodogFight, BodogMusic, Calvin Ayre WildCard Poker — not only made a significantly greater impression on viewers than a plain old banner or pop-up ad, it continues to resonate years after its initial release, and will continue to do so for however long digital media exists.

Quality editorial content is another high-value method of building your brand. My appearances on VH1’s Fabulous Life and MTV Cribs got loads of play upon their initial release, and continue to get the brand message across every time someone bangs my name into a search engine. Of course, it helps that the Bodog Brand’s message is universal, eternal and not subject to the whims of marketing gurus.

On that note, be sure to catch my upcoming appearance in the January issue of Playboy magazine, (available late December 2010 — just ahead of the NFL playoffs). Score!


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