Toronto based 1Password’s $125 million raise at a $2.5 billion valuation received a lot of interest this past week. Public markets saw a large number of tech companies report their Q2 financials. In the USA, popular trading app, Robinhood dropped 12% in its trading debut, while investor interest in fintech stocks has remained elevated these past few months. Regulatory overhangs on US listed Chinese stocks persisted, as SEC has stopped processing registrations of US IPOs and other sales of securities by Chinese companies.  Trevor Milton, the founder of electric truck maker Nikola, has been indicted on charges of making false and misleading statements to investors, the US Department of Justice said on Thursday. In Canada, Shopify (SHOP-NYSE, SHOP-TSX) now allows merchants to sell NFTs directly through their storefronts.

Canadian Technology Capital Markets & Company News

1Password claims $2.5 billion valuation in new round as investors rave about “generational security software business” opportunity.

1Password has raised $125 million in its latest round of financing, as the password manager startup looks to further scale its operations and move beyond passwords. The financing was led by existing investor Accel and gives Toronto-based 1Password a US$2 billion valuation, doubling the startup’s prior US$1 billion valuation after its last raise. 1Password secured that financing in late 2019, pulling in $265 million in what was the company’s first institutional capital. Founded in 2005, the company raised the money to scale and develop its go-to-market strategy. Accel partner Ethan Choi said he was “gobsmacked” in 2019 by 1Password’s numbers, which included 50,000 customers and over $50 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR). 1Password’s angel investors are also some of its biggest customers, including Shopify and Slack. 1Password has grown from 50,000 customers in 2019 to 90,000 now, pulling in $120 million in ARR. The startup’s customers also include major names like IBM, Wealthsimple, PGA, Under Armour, Intercom, and GitLab. https://bit.ly/3CbX371

Deep Genomics secures $226 million led by SoftBank as it scales AI drug discovery platform.

Deep Genomics has secured $226 million as the startup has increased the number of drug candidates it has discovered using artificial intelligence (AI) and is eyeing clinic trials. The financing was led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and marks one of the largest rounds raised by a Canadian artificial intelligence startup, putting Deep Genomics alongside the likes of Element AI and Clio. The round brings Deep Genomics total funding to date to around $302 million. https://bit.ly/2TI9q9d

Digital Technology Supercluster announces $20 million digital wellness project.

Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster has announced a $20 million project to develop a new digital wellness platform called Wellbeing.ai. The platform is being developed in partnership with Lululemon, Wysdom.AI, Microsoft, Mitacs, and Queen’s University. Wellbeing.ai aims to leverage artificial intelligence-powered virtual agents or chatbots. According to the Digital Technology Supercluster, a proof-of-concept virtual agent will be tested by the project’s partners in late 2022. The project aims to use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology to digitize users’ “complete state of wellbeing” and develop digital virtual agents to help them better understand their physical health and mental fitness. https://bit.ly/3BYDgaP

Canadian Conversational AI design tool Voiceflow raises $20 million in Series A.

Canadian collaborative conversational AI tool Voiceflow announced that it has raised $20 million in a Series A round led by Felicis Ventures. Other investors include Craft Ventures, True Ventures, Figma cofounder and Under 30 honoree Dylan Field, Ripple Ventures’s Matt Cohen, Conversation design leader Cathy Pearl, Eventbrite founders Julia & Kevin Hartz, Amazon’s Alexa Fund and more. Voiceflow’s cofounder and CEO Braden Ream says that they started the company as another company called Storyflow with the goal of creating their own conversational experience, targeting people’s assistants, and creating interesting games. https://bit.ly/3ictVo0

Silofit secures $15.25 million to bring micro-gym model to United States.

Montréal-based startup Silofit, which offers a network of micro-gyms, has raised $12.75 million in Series A funding to fuel its United States (US) expansion efforts. The all-equity round, which did not involve any secondary capital, was led by previous investor Whitecap Venture Partners. It also saw participation from real estate tech investor Alate Partners and New York-based Courtside Ventures, both of whom previously invested in Silofit. Two new investors also took part in the round: hospitality entrepreneur David Grutman and Fitt Ventures, a new venture fund from fitness publisher Fitt Insider. Silofit also secured an additional $2.5 million in debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank. The new capital brings Silofit’s total funding to date to $19.4 million. https://bit.ly/3j90imT

Firmex acquired by US-based Datasite in Vertu Capital’s first exit.

Toronto-based virtual data room (VDR) company Firmex has been acquired by fellow VDR provider Datasite. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed. Datasite has acquired 100 percent of Firmex from majority shareholders Vertu Capital and BDC Capital, and Firmex’s management. The acquisition comes about two and a half years after Toronto-based Vertu and BDC teamed up in early 2019 to acquire a majority stake in Firmex from Québec investor Novacap, Firmex’s only other investor aside from the company’s management team. https://bit.ly/3BURvNT

Shopify (SHOP-NYSE, SHOP-TSX) allows merchants to sell NFTs directly through their storefronts.

Shopify has made it possible for eligible sellers to sell NFTs (non-fungible tokens) via its platform, which opens up a whole new world for e-commerce merchants. On Monday, the NBA’s Chicago Bulls launched its first-ever NFTs –– including digital artwork of NBA championship rings –– by launching an online store on Shopify. Instead of having to go to an NFT marketplace, Bulls fans can now purchase the digital art directly with the team’s online store using a credit or debit card. In its first day of making them available, the NBA team sold out of the NFTs within just 90 seconds, according to Kaz Nejatian, Shopify’s VP of merchant services. https://tcrn.ch/3zP6wio

RBC re-invents investment solutions for Canadians by launching RBC ESG Market-Linked GIC and RBC North American MarketSmart GIC.

Canadians seeking the security of GICs but looking for opportunities to increase their returns now have the best of both worlds with two new GICs: the RBC ESG Market-Linked GIC and the RBC North American MarketSmart GIC. Both were developed through a partnership between RBC Capital Markets and the GIC business within the retail bank, leveraging their respective areas of market expertise and product knowledge. RBC’s first GIC based on ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) factors, the RBC ESG Market-Linked GIC is purpose-built for investors who want to help make a difference in the world by including ESG considerations in their investment decisions. This ESG GIC is linked to a global index of environmentally and socially responsible organizations, all of which must first pass a set of rigorous ESG standards. To be included, each company must demonstrate positive ESG metrics, low carbon impact and strong financial health. https://bit.ly/37c9dyq

Calgary’s parking authority exposed drivers’ personal data and tickets.

If you parked your car in one of the thousands of parking spots across Calgary, there’s a good chance you paid the Calgary Parking Authority for the privilege. But soon you might be hearing from the authority after a recent security lapse exposed the personal information of vehicle owners. The parking authority oversees about 14% of the paid parking spots in the Calgary region, and lets drivers pay to park their cars by a parking kiosk, online, or through the phone app by entering their vehicle’s license plate number and payment details. But a logging server used to monitor the authority’s parking system for bugs and errors was left on the internet without a password. The server contained computer-readable technical logs, but also real-world events like payments and parking tickets that contained a driver’s personal information. https://tcrn.ch/3rJXOiB

Global Markets: IPOs, Venture Capital, M&A

Robinhood drops 12% in volatile public-trading debut after IPO valuing it at US$32 billion.

Online trading app Robinhood whipsawed in its post-IPO debut on Thursday, with shares climbing 6% before falling as much as 12%. Shares hit a high of US$40.22 before falling to a low of US$33.60. The company priced its IPO late Wednesday night at US$38 per share, representing the bottom end of its targeted range of US$38 to US$42 per share. The IPO raised US$2.1 billion for the company and gave it a valuation of US$32 billion. Robinhood last raised US$3.4 billion earlier this year, with shares trading on private secondary markets at a valuation around US$40 billion. The company raised the money amid a surge in retail trading in meme-stocks like GameStop and AMC Entertainment. https://bit.ly/3f9OWO3

Robinhood, gateway to ‘meme’ stocks, raises US$2.1 billion in IPO.

Robinhood Markets Inc, the owner of the trading app which emerged as the go-to destination for retail investors speculating on this year’s “meme’ stock trading frenzy, raised US$2.1 billion in its initial public offering on Wednesday. The company was seeking to capitalize on individual investors’ fascination with cryptocurrencies and stocks such as GameStop Corp (GME.N), which have seen wild swings after becoming the subject of trading speculation on social media sites such as Reddit. Robinhood’s monthly active users surged from 11.7 million at the end of December to 21.3 million as of the end of June. The IPO valued Robinhood at US$31.8 billion, making it greater as a function of its revenue than many of its traditional rivals such as Charles Schwab Corp (SCHW.N), but the offering priced at the bottom of the company’s indicated range. https://reut.rs/3x9nxC5

Indonesia’s most valuable startup is in talks to raise up to US$2 billion ahead of IPO.

GoTo, Indonesia’s most valuable startup, is in discussions with investors to raise as much as US$2 billion ahead of stock-market listings at home and in the U.S., according to people familiar with the matter. The internet firm, created through the merger of ride-hailing giant Gojek and e-commerce provider PT Tokopedia in May, has begun the process of raising US$1 billion to US$2 billion at a valuation of between US$25 billion and US$30 billion, the people said, asking not to be named as the matter is private. GoTo is planning an initial public offering on the local stock exchange this year before seeking a listing in the U.S., they said. It was last valued at US$18 billion. https://bloom.bg/377BG8v

U.S. regulator freezes Chinese company IPOs over risk disclosures -sources.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has stopped processing registrations of U.S. initial public offerings (IPOs) and other sales of securities by Chinese companies while it crafts new guidance for disclosing to investors the risk of a new regulatory crackdown by Beijing, according to people familiar with the matter. Chinese listings in the United States have reached a record US$12.8 billion so far this year, according to Refinitiv data, as companies swooped in to capitalize on the U.S. stock market reaching daily record highs. Deal flow slowed down substantially this month after Chinese regulators banned ride-sharing giant Didi Global Inc from signing up new users just days after its blockbuster IPO. They followed up with crackdowns on technology and private education companies. https://reut.rs/3C1I6Eu

Tencent is world’s worst stock bet with US$170 billion wipeout.

China’s unprecedented crackdown on its technology industry has turned Tencent Holdings Ltd. from a market darling into the world’s biggest stock loser this month. The Chinese Internet giant had tumbled 23% in July as of Wednesday, set for its worst month ever after erasing about US$170 billion of market value. That marks the fastest evaporation of shareholder wealth worldwide during this period, Bloomberg data shows. Nine of the top 10 losers in shareholder value this month are Chinese companies, including Meituan and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. https://bloom.bg/3BRUHKh

Didi Global considers going private to placate China and compensate investors.

Ride-hailing giant Didi Global Inc. is considering going private in order to placate authorities in China and compensate investors for losses incurred since the company listed in the U.S. in late June, according to people familiar with the matter. The Beijing-headquartered company has been in discussions with bankers, regulators and key investors about how it could resolve some of the problems that emerged after Didi listed on the New York Stock Exchange on June 30, the people said. A take-private deal that would involve a tender offer for its publicly traded shares is one of the preliminary options being considered, they added. https://on.wsj.com/3rKBo0L

SoftBank Vision Fund’s bet on Didi falls US$4 billion into the red.

SoftBank had intended the US$100 billion Vision Fund to help diversify its investment footprint, with founder Masayoshi Son acknowledging the need to reduce the group’s exposure to China. The single largest bet on Chinese tech by SoftBank’s Vision Fund is now US$4 billion in the red as Beijing punishes ride-hailing group Didi Chuxing for alleged data security lapses on the back of its blockbuster New York listing. The Vision Fund’s 20.1 per cent stake in the taxi app, for which it paid US$11.8 billion in 2019, is now worth US$7.8 billion after Chinese regulatory pressure hit Didi’s business prospects, cutting its market value almost in half. https://on.ft.com/3xbMFIn

Uber shares drop as Softbank plans to sell shares to cover Didi and other losses.

SoftBank is selling about one-third of its stake in ride-hailing company Uber, in part to cover losses on its investment in Chinese ride-hailing company Didi, two people familiar with the matter told CNBC. It’s planning to sell 45 million shares, which will have a 30-day lockup. Uber shares fell 5% in extended trading following the report. The value of Uber’s own Didi stake declined US$2 billion last week following the June debut of Didi’s American depositary shares on the New York Stock Exchange, as China reportedly planned fines and other punishments against the company amidst a broader crackdown on U.S. listed Chinese companies. https://cnb.cx/3lbTVSe

Saas company Medallia to be taken private by Thoma Bravo in deal that values company at US$6.4 billion.

Medallia Inc. , a software-as-a-service company specializing in customer and employee experience, said Monday it has agreed to be acquired by Thoma Bravo in an all-cash deal that values the company at US$6.4 billion. The deal will take Medallia private again, after it hit public markets in 2019. Under the terms of the deal, Medallia shareholders will receive US$34 a share in cash, equal to a premium of about 20% over the stock’s closing price on June 10, the last trading day before media reports of a possible transaction and about 29% over the stock’s 30-day average price. “Medallia has positioned itself at the forefront of the experience management market with a best-in-class SaaS platform that leverages proprietary AI to help companies better understand their customers and employees and drive meaningful business growth at scale,” said Scott Crabill, a managing partner at Thoma Bravo, in a statement. https://on.mktw.net/3f9Ioz6

Qualtrics acquires data analytics firm Clarabridge for US$1.3 billion.

Qualtrics, a provider of software that companies use to gather feedback from customers and employees, is making its first big move since going public in January, acquiring 15-year-old conversational analytics company Clarabridge in an all-stock deal worth US$1.3 billion. This is the largest acquisition in Qualtrics’ 19-year history and brings AI-powered software that companies can use to better understand how their customers perceive them. Clarabridge’s software analyzes the sentiments behind social media posts, emails, support calls, chats and product reviews, helping companies respond quickly to problems with products and services. Qualtrics, with a market capitalization of around US$20 billion, is moving to take advantage of its market success since its IPO–its shares are trading around 33% higher than their IPO price. Last week, Qualtrics acquired marketing software startup Usermind. https://bit.ly/3iexTMT

Founder of embattled electric truck startup Nikola charged with fraud.

Trevor Milton, the founder of electric truck maker Nikola, has been indicted on charges of making false and misleading statements to investors, the US Department of Justice said on Thursday. The indictment said that, from November 2019 to September 2020, Milton schemed to defraud investors into buying Nikola shares through statements about the company’s product and technology development. Nikola did not immediately respond to requests for comment. https://bit.ly/3lcEgCh

Emerging Technologies

Bezos offers to cover US$2 billion in NASA costs in exchange for astronaut lunar lander contract.

Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos on Monday offered to cover billions of dollars of NASA costs in exchange for a contract to build a lunar lander to land astronauts on the moon. Bezos said Blue Origin would waive all payments up to US$2 billion from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the current and next two government fiscal years. Blue Origin would also fund its own pathfinder mission to low-Earth orbit, according to Bezos. In return, the company requested a fixed-priced contract from the government agency. https://cnb.cx/376OOKM

Alaska Airlines pioneers A.I. to plan flight routes, saving fuel and time.

One morning last week, Alaska Airlines flight 1380 thundered down the runway of the Seattle-Tacoma Airport and ascended into clear blue skies, bound for San Diego. The flight pushed back from the gate five minutes ahead of its 6:10 a.m. scheduled departure time. But its journey really began several hours earlier, about a mile away from the airport, on the sixth floor of Alaska Airlines’ new steel and glass headquarters building, known as “The Hub.” https://bit.ly/3f6MCHH

For decades, VR has failed to live up to expectations.

Yet somehow, it keeps receiving more chances and more resources. It has been seven years since Palmer Luckey appeared on the cover of WIRED magazine. The June 2014 issue declared, “This kid is about to change gaming, movies, TV, music, design, medicine, sex, sports, art, travel, social network, education—and reality.” In 2016, Facebook acquired his virtual reality company, Oculus, for US$2 billion. It now invests US$18.5 billion annually into research and development, and Facebook Reality Labs, the company’s Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality division, accounts for as much as 20 percent of its entire workforce, with no sign of slowing down. But despite the many years, billions of dollars, and year-long pandemic requiring at-home entertainment, the results thus far have been pretty lackluster. The headsets are spiffier and the games are more lucrative, but our minds nevertheless remain collectively un-blown. https://bit.ly/3BT3ETI

Elon Musk’s brain-chip company Neuralink has raised US$205 million, and says its tech will help quadriplegic people control phones and laptops with their minds.

Elon Musk’s Neuralink, the company developing microchips designed to go in people’s brains, has raised US$205 million in funding, it said in a blog post Thursday. Neuralink said the funding would go towards one specific application of its chip: helping quadriplegic people control digital devices with their minds. Quadriplegia is the full or partial paralysis of all four limbs. https://bit.ly/3yeRn9M

Dad builds robotic exoskeleton to help son walk.

French dad and robotics engineer Jean-Louis Constanza has built a robotic suit for his 16-year-old son Oscar that allows him to walk. Oscar, a wheelchair user, activates the suit by saying “Robot, stand up” and it then walks for him. Jean-Louis co-founded the company that builds the suit, which can allow users to move upright for a few hours a day. https://bbc.in/3BQBIQm

Media, Streaming, Gaming & Sports Betting

Apple TV+ remains at 3% market share as Netflix, Amazon, Disney dominate.

Apple TV+ is coming up on its two-year anniversary this November and while it has a number of hit and award-winning shows like Ted Lasso, the service has struggled with adoption. A new report today says that continues with Apple TV+ remaining at 3% market share. Analysis from JustWatch back in January put Apple TV+ market share at 3%. That was up 1% from what we had heard from Canalys back in September 2020. Many have attributed the adoption difficulty to the small catalog of content on Apple TV+ compared to the huge ones with Netflix, Amazon, and Disney. Now JustWatch is out with its report on streaming services for the June quarter. Seen by 9to5Mac, the data says Apple TV+ market share remains at just 3% in the US. https://bit.ly/2TI9sxR

Adtech, Privacy & Regulatory

Mass ransomware hack used IT software flaws, researchers say.

The hackers behind a mass ransomware attack exploited multiple previously unknown vulnerabilities in IT management software made by Kaseya Ltd., the latest sign of the skill and aggressiveness of the Russia-linked group believed responsible for the incidents, cybersecurity researchers said Sunday. Marcus Murray, founder of Stockholm-based TrueSec Inc., said his firm’s investigations involving multiple victims in Sweden found that the hackers targeted them opportunistically. In those cases, the hackers used a previously unknown flaw in Miami-based Kaseya’s code to push ransomware to servers that used the software and were connected to the internet, he said. https://bloom.bg/3BKEB4S

Amazon is offering building managers US$100 gift cards as an incentive to install ‘Key’ devices, which let delivery drivers get into the lobby at all hours.

Amazon is trying to persuade building managers to install devices that would let delivery drivers get into lobbies without being buzzed in, the AP reports. Amazon’s “Key for Business” service installs a device on a building’s front door that lets delivery drivers get inside. According to the AP, Amazon is currently on a major sales drive, sending staff to pitch the product to building managers by knocking on doors, cold-calling them, and even approaching them on the street.  AP reports Amazon salespeople have offered a US$100 Amazon gift card as incentive for building managers, along with free installation. AP spoke to building managers about these offers — not all of them had agreed to have the Key for Business device installed. https://bit.ly/3ye8fgZ 

Amazon gets record US$888 million EU fine over data violations.

Amazon.com Inc. faces the biggest ever European Union privacy fine after its lead privacy watchdog hit it with a 746 million-euro (US$888 million) penalty for violating the bloc’s tough data protection rules. CNPD, the Luxembourg data protection authority slapped Amazon with the record fine in a July 16 decision that accused the online retailer of processing personal data in violation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. Amazon disclosed the findings in a regulatory filing on Friday, saying the decision is “without merit.” https://bloom.bg/3l9WdkY

China says food delivery drivers must be paid minimum wage.

Shares in China’s food delivery app Meituan fell sharply after China issued a warning that food delivery drivers must be paid minimum wage. The Hong Kong-listed firm fell 14%, its worst fall ever, according to Bloomberg, after the joint announcement from seven government departments on working conditions for delivery workers. The announcement comes as the government targets the sprawling power of China’s tech giants, launching antitrust investigations and issuing new rules on cybersecurity and online education. Companies such as Meituan and rival food delivery app, Alibaba’s Ele.me, have come under attack for their treatment of gig economy workers. The regulatory onslaught has battered China shares as investors scramble for cover, unsure of where the next crackdown will come. https://bit.ly/3A8UFMv


Twitter is testing a new e-commerce feature, which allows businesses to showcase their products on their Twitter profile.

Twitter on Wednesday rolled out testing of Shop Module, a new e-commerce feature on its platform. With Shop Module, Twitter users can scroll and tap through products to learn more about and shop for products on the business’ landing page without leaving the Twitter app. “We know people come to Twitter to interact with brands and discuss their favorite products,” said Twitter’s Revenue Product Lead Bruce Falck at Twitter Analyst Day 2021. “Imagine easily discovering, and quickly purchasing a new skincare product or trendy sneaker from a brand you follow with only a few clicks.” https://bit.ly/3fcINRr

Walmart’s latest business: Selling its e-commerce tech to other retailers.

Just as Amazon Web Services is the profit center that powers much of Amazon’s other businesses, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon has been increasingly interested in expanding his company’s profit pools beyond its core retail business. Starting Wednesday, small- and medium-size retailers can purchase the technology Walmart has developed to allow shoppers to buy items online and pick up the purchases at the store. These businesses also will be able to add products to Walmart’s online marketplace with just a few clicks. To offer the suite of cloud-based services, Walmart has partnered with Adobe, which will sell the software through a subscription. https://cnb.cx/2WtnYdS

Fintech, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency

Robinhood CEO says the meme-stock craze has helped ailing companies survive, and that high retail investor participation is fundamentally good for markets.

Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev said Thursday that retail investors who’ve put money into so-called meme stocks have been a benefit to struggling companies and the market overall. “I think what’s interesting with what we’ve seen in retail investing over the past year is that a lot of these companies have been hit hard by the pandemic, right?,” including airlines, retailers, and movie chains, said Tenev in an interview on CNBC before the online brokerage’s own stock began trading. “[You] have the institutions that are basically writing these companies off and then retail investors coming in and keeping them up and supporting them.” https://bit.ly/3j3k42X

Bitcoin mining stocks surge as the cryptocurrency rallies towards US$40,000.

Shares of cryptocurrency mining companies soared in early Monday morning trading as bitcoin staged a rally to a six-week high above US$38,000. Marathon Digital Holdings and Riot Blockchain both jumped 18% premarket. Crypto mining peers including Bitfarms (up 17.6%), Bit Digital(16.5%), and Hive Blockchain (16.7%) also gained. Meanwhile bitcoin leapt 15% and all other major coins were in the green. The stocks tend to move in the same direction as bitcoin, though many of them have outperformed the cryptocurrency in 2021. Marathon and Riot have jumped 165% and 65% year-to-date, respectively. As of Monday morning, bitcoin is up roughly 30% in the same time period. https://bit.ly/3lf0HGP

Crypto has no inherent value but its high volatility makes it good for business, the CEO of the world’s largest publicly traded hedge fund says.

Luke Ellis, the CEO of Man Group, the world’s largest publicly listed hedge fund, said in an interview with Financial Times that cryptocurrencies have no inherent value but make good trading instruments because of their volatility. “If you look at cryptocurrencies as a whole, it is a pure trading instrument. There is no inherent worth in it whatsoever,” Ellis told the Financial Times. “You can have an infinite number of different cryptocurrencies … Anyone can start another one any day.” Cryptocurrencies, Ellis added, are just one among the 800 markets and 15,000 individual stocks that his London-based hedge fund trades. Because cryptocurrencies “go up and down a bunch,” trading these could be good for business, Ellis said. “For some of the strategies we trade, we might do very well,” he told the Financial Times. “But that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing.” https://bit.ly/37c2Vi1

Tesla records US$23 million in bitcoin-related impairments after cryptocurrency’s second-quarter plunge.

Tesla said Monday that a US$23 million bitcoin-related impairment caused some drag on its quarterly operating income. The electric auto company only referred to bitcoin or crypto one time in its second-quarter announcement, after CEO Elon Musk went back and forth on whether Tesla would accept the digital currency for vehicle purchases. The subject didn’t come at all on Tesla’s conference call with investors and analysts. https://cnb.cx/379jP0R

Amazon job posting hints at plan to accept cryptocurrency.

Amazon.com Inc.’s payments team is exploring letting customers use cryptocurrencies to pay for their orders — a development that’s roiling digital currency markets. An Amazon job posting published online last week seeks a “Digital Currency and Blockchain Product Lead.” After Insider reported the existence of the posting earlier, Bitcoin surged to about US$40,000. Amazon shares gained about 1% in New York. Amazon doesn’t currently let customers pay with any cryptocurrencies. But AWS sells a blockchain technology infrastructure product. https://bloom.bg/3ffYCqr

Goldman Sachs files to create an ETF dedicated to DeFi and blockchain stocks.

Goldman Sachs is aiming to create an exchange-traded fund focused on companies developing decentralized finance and blockchain technology, a regulatory filing shows. In an application filed Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the US bank said it plans to use Solactive’s Decentralized Finance and Blockchain Index as a benchmark for its Goldman Sachs Innovate DeFi and Blockchain Equity ETF. The new fund would invest at least 80% of its assets in stocks, securities and depositary receipts included on the underlying index, Goldman Sachs said. ETFs are products that track the performance of another index or asset, and whose shares trade just like those in a company. https://bit.ly/3ye4WpP

Visa is seeing the cryptocurrency craze dwindling even as customers stepped up use of their crypto-linked cards last quarter.

Visa is seeing some cooling of the cryptocurrency frenzy following a boom in crypto-related transactions during the first half of the year, the CFO of the payments company told Bloomberg. The company’s fiscal third-quarter results released Tuesday included a 34% surge in payments volume to US$2.7 trillion. Cross-border volume excluding travel and largely for online transactions leapt 56%, with cryptocurrency-related purchases representing most of that acceleration, Visa said, according to a conference call transcript.  “There was quite a big increase in crypto purchases,” especially in April and May, Visa CFO Vasant Prabhu told Bloomberg in an interview published Tuesday. “But by June it had begun to fall back.” https://bit.ly/3zSaLtI


Taiwan gives TSMC green light for most advanced chip plant.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. has received final approval to build its most advanced chip plant yet, a day after U.S. rival Intel said it planned to seize chip industry leadership. TSMC plans to build a 2-nanometer chip facility in Hsinchu, one of Taiwan’s most important chipmaking centers. The Environmental Review Committee, a cross government and academic environmental regulatory body, approved the plan on Wednesday. This clears the way for TSMC to start construction of the facility in early 2022, and begin installing production equipment by 2023, sources familiar with the plan told Nikkei Asia. “Semiconductor is one of the most crucial industries to Taiwan’s economic growth,” Economics Vice Minister Lin Chuan-neng said at the environmental review committee meeting. “The government will help TSMC to achieve its environmental targets while continuing to build the advanced technologies.” https://s.nikkei.com/3fejxKC

Intel to build Qualcomm chips, aims to catch foundry rivals by 2025.

Intel said on Monday its factories will start building Qualcomm chips and laid out a roadmap to expand its new foundry business to catch rivals such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd by 2025. Amazon.com Inc will be another new customer for the foundry chip business, said Intel, which for decades held the lead in technology for manufacturing the smallest, fastest computing chips. But Intel has lost that lead to TSMC and Samsung, whose manufacturing services have helped Intel’s rivals Advanced Micro Devicesand Nvidia Corp produce chips that outperform Intel’s. AMD and Nvidia design chips which then are made by the rival chip manufacturers, called foundries. Intel said on Monday it expects to regain its lead by 2025 and described five sets of chipmaking technologies it will roll out over the next four years. https://reut.rs/3zTWMDt

Apple’s iPhone hot streak is going to run into the global chip shortage.

Apple reported a blowout quarter on Tuesday, driven by sales of iPhones, which were up 50% annually to US$39.57 billion in sales. That followed the March quarter, where iPhone sales were up 65.5% annually, and Apple’s holiday quarter, where sales were up 17% to US$65.60 billion. The iPhone is on a hot streak driven by last year’s release of the iPhone 12, which is the first significant iPhone redesign since 2017. Current iPhone consumers are upgrading to the first iPhone with 5G, and many people are switching from an Android phone, Apple CEO Tim Cook said on Tuesday. But Apple now faces an issue that has ensnared everyone from game console makers to automotive companies to Microsoft’s PC business: An industry-wide shortage of chips and other components. https://cnb.cx/37eFch6


The information and recommendations made available through our emails, newsletters, website and press releases (collectively referred to as the “Material”) by Sophic Capital Inc. (“Sophic” or “Company”) is for informational purposes only and shall not be used or construed as an offer to sell or be used as a solicitation of an offer to buy any services or securities. In accessing or consuming the Materials, you hereby acknowledge that any reliance upon any Materials shall be at your sole risk. In particular, none of the information provided in our monthly newsletter and emails or any other Material should be viewed as an invite, and/or induce or encourage any person to make any kind of investment decision. The recommendations and information provided in our Material are not tailored to the needs of particular persons and may not be appropriate for you depending on your financial position or investment goals or needs. You should apply your own judgment in making any use of the information provided in the Company’s Material, especially as the basis for any investment decisions. Securities or other investments referred to in the Materials may not be suitable for you and you should not make any kind of investment decision in relation to them without first obtaining independent investment advice from a qualified and registered investment advisor. You further agree that neither Sophic, its, directors, officers, shareholders, employees, affiliates consultants, and/or clients will be liable for any losses or liabilities that may be occasioned as a result of the information provided in any of the Material. By accessing Sophic’s website and signing up to receive the Company’s monthly newsletter or any other Material, you accept and agree to be bound by and comply with the terms and conditions set out herein. If you do not accept and agree to the terms, you should not use the Company’s website or accept the terms and conditions associated to the newsletter signup. Sophic is not registered as an adviser or dealer under the securities legislation of any jurisdiction of Canada or elsewhere and provides Material on behalf of its clients pursuant to an exemption from the registration requirements that is available in respect of generic advice. In no event will Sophic be responsible or liable to you or any other party for any damages of any kind arising out of or relating to the use of, misuse of and/or inability to use the Company’s website or Material. The information is directed only at persons resident in Canada. The Company’s Material or the information provided in the Material shall not in any form constitute as an offer or solicitation to anyone in the United States of America or any jurisdiction where such offer or solicitation is not authorized or to any person to whom it is unlawful to make such a solicitation. If you choose to access Sophic’s website and/or have signed up to receive the Company’s monthly newsletter or any other Material, you acknowledge that the information in the Material is intended for use by persons resident in Canada only. Sophic is not an investment advisor nor does it maintain any registrations as such, and Material provided by Sophic shall not be used to make investment decisions. Information provided in the Company’s Material is often opinionated and should be considered for information purposes only. No stock exchange or securities regulatory authority anywhere has approved or disapproved of the information contained herein. There is no express or implied solicitation to buy or sell securities. Sophic and/or its principals and employees may have positions in the stocks mentioned in the Company’s Material and may trade in the stocks mentioned in the Material. Do not consider buying or selling any stock without conducting your own due diligence and/or without obtaining independent investment advice from a qualified and registered investment advisor. The Company has not independently verified any of the data from third party sources referred to in the Material, including information provided by Sophic clients that are the subject of the report, or ascertained the underlying assumptions relied upon by such sources. The Company does not assume any responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of this information or for any failure by any such other persons to disclose events which may have occurred or may affect the significance or accuracy of any such information. The Material may contain forward looking information. Forward-looking statements are frequently, but not always, identified by words such as “expects,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “intends,” “estimates,” “potential,” “possible,” “projects,” “plans,” and similar expressions, or statements that events, conditions or results “will,” “may,” “could,” or “should” occur or be achieved or their negatives or other comparable words and include, without limitation, statements regarding, projected revenue, income or earnings or other results of operations, strategy, plans, objectives, goals and targets, plans to increase market share or with respect to anticipated performance compared to competitors, product development and adoption by potential customers. These statements relate to future events and future performance. Forward-looking statements are based on opinions and assumptions as of the date made, and are subject to a variety of risks and other factors that could cause actual events/results to differ materially from these forward looking statements. There can be no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct; these statements are no guarantee of future performance and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors. Sophic provides no assurance as to future results, performance, or achievements and no representations are made that actual results achieved will be as indicated in the forward looking information. Nothing herein can be assumed or predicted, and you are strongly encouraged to learn more and seek independent advice before relying on any information presented.