As markets remain uncooperative, with high multiple growth stocks well off their highs, a very subdued tax loss related January effect, and many market observers positioning for stock indices to roll over another 10-20% from here, WonderFi (WNDR-NEO) increased its previously announced bought deal public offering to $45 million from $35 million. Ayre Ventures completed a follow-on investment in Mijem (Sophic Client, MJEM-CSE). Well regarded VC, Bill Gurley highlighted Shopify’s Shop Pay as a big winner of Christmas 2021 . The Securities and Exchange Commission is preparing to force more transparency from big private companies, as regulators grow concerned about the lack of oversight of private fundraising. The most anticipated IPOs in 2022, include: eToro, Stripe, Discord, Databricks, InstaCart, Klarna, Impossible Foods, according to Business Insider. Sequoia Capital and Paradigm, a venture capital firm focussing on cryptocurrency investments, will invest US$1.15 billion in Citadel Securities, a Chicago trading firm founded in 2001. Citadel Securities trades equities, bonds, options, and other assets. The company says it handles 27% of the equities trading volume in the United States. Videogame giant Take-Two Interactive agreed to buy mobile game maker Zynga for US$12.7 billion in cash and stock, ending Zynga’s 10-year run as a public company. Apple may push back its mixed reality headset debut to 2023, Bloomberg reports. Apple reportedly planned to reveal the device at June’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) ahead of a retail launch later this year. TikTok’s advertising sales for 2021 stood at US$4 billion in 2021, and the video app is now aiming to generate US$12 billion in revenue this year, Chinese online media outlet LatePost reported.

Canadian Technology Capital Markets & Company News

WonderFi (WNDR-NEO) increases previously announced bought deal public offering to $45 million.

The Company increased the size of its previously announced bought deal public offering led by Canaccord Genuity Corp., as lead underwriter and sole bookrunner and on behalf of a syndicate of underwriters (collectively, the “Underwriters”). Pursuant to the upsized offering, the underwriters have agreed to purchase, on a bought deal basis by way of a short form prospectus, an aggregate of 18,750,000 units (the “Units”) at a price of $2.40 per Unit (the “Offering Price”) for aggregate gross proceeds to the Company of approximately $45 million (the “Offering”). Each Unit shall consist of one common share (each a “Common Share”) and one-half of one common share purchase warrant of the Company (each whole warrant, a “Warrant”). Each Warrant shall be exercisable to acquire one Common Share for a period of 24 months from closing of the Offering (the “Closing Date”) at an exercise price of $3.10 per share. https://bit.ly/3qvlLv1

Ayre Ventures completes follow-on investment in Mijem (Sophic Client, MJEM-CSE).

Mijem Inc., the Canada-based social marketplace and technology company, closed a follow-on investment in its RTO concurrent financing with noted technology entrepreneur Calvin Ayre, founder of venture capital firm Ayre Ventures. Commenting on his investment, Ayre Ventures founder Calvin Ayre, said, “Mijem’s integrated Bitcoin SV (BSV) loyalty system is a key development for its users because Bitcoin SV is an everyday digital currency with important advantages with regard to scalability, speed, eco-friendly footprint, and low costs. We see a great opportunity to continue working with their team to further develop the Mijem offering with Bitcoin SV and play a part in their ongoing success story.” https://bit.ly/3nsKH4k

EMERGE Commerce (ECOM-TSXV) files preliminary base shelf prospectus.

Once a receipt for the final Shelf Prospectus is received from the applicable securities regulators, the final Shelf Prospectus will allow the Company to offer and issue up to CAD $100 million of common shares, debt securities, warrants, subscription receipts, units, or any combination of the foregoing (collectively, the “Securities”) during the 25-month period that the final Shelf Prospectus is effective. https://bit.ly/3KeYHsd

Boosted.Ai raises $43.7 million to scale AI platform for investment managers.

Toronto-based investment software startup Boosted.ai has secured a $43.7 million Series B financing round led by Ten Coves Capital and Spark Capital. Other investors that contributed to the round include Portage Ventures, HarbourVest Partners, and the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) which is a current client of Boosted.ai. https://bit.ly/3qsf3WB

Unreserved closes $33 million seed round to build property auction platform.

After building a successful car auction platform, E Inc founder Ryan O’Connor has set his sights on bringing online auctions to Canada’s booming residential real estate market through Unreserved. The Ottawa-based proptech startup aims to address what the Unreserved founder and CEO views as the “broken,” traditional model of buying and selling houses by bringing more transparency to the process for buyers and sellers alike. https://bit.ly/34OfP8a

Conduit’s ‘Stripe for Defi’ approach bags startup $21.2 million round led by Portage.

After less than a year in business, decentralized finance (DeFi) startup Conduit has raised a $21.2 million seed round. Portage Ventures led the round with participation from Diagram Ventures, FinVC, Gemini Frontier Fund, Gradient Ventures, Inovia Capital, and Jump Capital. https://bit.ly/3HZTItu

Provision Analytics raises $6 million to improve food safety with it’s SAAS platform.

Provision Analytics, a startup with a software platform that simplifies food safety audits and analytics, has raised $6 million. The raise comes as regulatory bodies tighten regulations around food safety. Level 46 Investments led the round. Level 46 is a private special-purpose entity established by the co-founders of TriWest Capital Partners. Trailhead Capital, Serra Ventures, Waterpoint Lane, and Voyager, along with other private investors, participated in the round. https://bit.ly/33DdDQl

NACO and Angel Investors Ontario promised $5.4 million from FedDev.

The National Angel Capital Organization (NACO) and Angel Investors Ontario (AIO) are set to receive a combined $5.4 million from the federal government as part of a collaboration to increase the amount of angel capital available to Ontario startups. The financing comes from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev), with the government hoping the money will help 800 businesses and 170 partnerships provincially. The government also expects the capital will increase angel investment activity by 30 percent, and help individual angel groups grow their membership by at least 30 percent. NACO CEO Claudio Rojas told BetaKit that in addition to NACO and AIO, participating organizations include Halo Health, Capital Angel Network, Golden Triangle Angel Network, and many others. The funding is an extension of existing federal support to both angel organizations. https://bit.ly/3FwdBqF

Shopify (SHOP-NYSE, SHOP-TSX): Very interesting thread from well regarded VC Bill Gurley highlighting Shopify’s Shop Pay as a big winner of Christmas 2021. 


Beyond Meat permanently added to Canadian Pizza Hut menus.

Beyond Meat Inc. said Monday that it will become a permanent menu item at Pizza Hut locations across Canada. Beyond Italian Sausage Crumbles will be included on Great Beyond Pizza, Beyond Italian Sausage Alfredo Loaded Flatbread and Beyond Creamy Alfredo. The companies conducted a test in Edmonton and Toronto last summer. Pizza Hut is part of the Yum Brands Inc. portfolio. https://on.mktw.net/3Ke5aUy


Global Markets: IPOs, Venture Capital, M&A

SEC pushes for more transparency from private companies.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is preparing to force more transparency from big private companies, as regulators grow concerned about the lack of oversight of the private fundraising that has fueled their rise. Private capital markets have become an increasingly popular way for companies to raise money in the U.S. in recent decades, allowing firms to acquire funding from institutions and wealthy individuals without the regulatory burdens of going public. https://on.wsj.com/3fl43E7

From Discord and eToro to Stripe, these are some of the most anticipated IPOs in 2022.

eToro — social trading platform, Stripe — financial services startup, Discord — chat app, Databricks — data engineering tool, InstaCart — online grocery ordering company, Klarna — Swedish payment deferral fintech, Impossible Foods — plant-based food company. https://bit.ly/3qtmSvo

Car-sharing company Turo files for IPO.

Peer-to-peer car-sharing company Turo has filed for an initial public offering, according to a filing late Monday. Turo, based in San Francisco, filed to sell up to $100 Million worth of shares, although that figure is often a placeholder used to calculate fees. The company plans to list its stock on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TURO, and underwriters include JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley. “Our mission is to put the world’s US1.5 billion cars to better use,” Turo said in its prospectus, adding that its business is “resilient” as it “dynamically adjusts” to the needs of car owners and car renters. https://on.mktw.net/3niaSKW

StockX taps banks for IPO.

StockX has tapped Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs to work on its planned initial public offering that could happen as early as the first half of this year, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday. Detroit-based StockX, which connects buyers and sellers of popular sneakers, gaming consoles and other collectibles and takes a cut of the sale, has been a potential IPO candidate for at least a year now. The company’s CEO Scott Cutler told The Information last February that StockX was considering the public market but had not yet hired any bankers. While StockX, which Cutler said generated about US$400 million in revenue in 2020, sorted out its IPO plans, the company continued to take advantage of a hot venture capital market for pre-IPO startups. Last April, StockX announced it had raised US$255 million at a US$3.8 billion valuation, up from the US$2.8 billion valuation it nabbed when it raised US$275 million in December 2020. But Wall Street has been lukewarm to firms that sell previously owned goods. Clothing resale sites The RealReal, ThredUp and Poshmark saw their share prices fall last year as profits remained elusive. https://bit.ly/3nuSheN

HR software group Justworks pulls IPO as tech stocks fall.

The New York-based company was anticipated to complete a deal to join the Nasdaq on Wednesday evening that would have valued it at up to US$2 billion. But in a short statement on Wednesday morning, Justworks said it had “decided to delay its IPO due to market conditions at this time”. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index has fallen 4% since the start of January, with newly listed companies particularly badly hit. The Renaissance IPO index, which tracks companies that have listed in the last two years, has fallen nearly 10% this month. The declines followed what had already been a difficult 2021 for IPOs despite robust gains in the broader stock market. Companies raised a record amount of cash through flotations last year, but many lost favour with investors after their listings. https://on.ft.com/3Frfhl7

Sequoia, Paradigm back Citadel Securities with US$22 billion valuation.

Sequoia Capital and Paradigm, a venture capital firm focussing on cryptocurrency investments, will invest US$1.15 billion in Citadel Securities, a Chicago trading firm founded in 2001. The deal values the company at US$22 billion. Citadel Securities trades equities, bonds, options, and other assets. The company says it handles 27% of the equities trading volume in the United States. It is run separately from Citadel, a Chicago hedge fund, though both companies were founded by American financier Ken Griffin. Alfred Lin, a partner at Sequoia, will sit on Citadel Securities’ board of directors, Citadel said in a news release. The participation by Paradigm, which recently launched a $2.5 billion fund, indicates Citadel Securities will expand into trading of cryptocurrencies and crypto assets. Sequoia has made a string of crypto investments in the past year with several partners focusing more of their attention on the space. As of October, one quarter of new deals signed by Sequoia in 2021 were crypto related, according to previous reporting by The Information. “We look forward to partnering with the Citadel Securities team as they extend their technology and expertise to even more markets and asset classes, including crypto,” said Paradigm managing partner Matt Huang in the news release. Huang was formerly a partner at Sequoia. https://bit.ly/34VJYT5

Ford sees its market capitalization soar to US$100 billion for the first time as EV ambitions push stock to a 20-year high.

The market capitalization of Ford Motors soared to US$100 billion for the first time ever on Thursday as the automaker’s electric vehicle ambitions pushed its stock to a 20-year high. The milestone makes the 118-year-old company more valuable than rivals General Motors (roughly US$90 billion) and Rivian Automotive (around US$75 billion). However, Ford is still an order of magnitude behind Tesla’s US$1 trillion market cap. https://bit.ly/3tzyL4Z

Virgin Galactic sinks 17% after the space tourism company announces plan to raise up to US$500 Million in debt.

Virgin Galactic shares tumbled Thursday after the space tourism company outlined plans to raise up to US$500 million in debt, driving the stock price down even further early in the 2022 trading year.  The company plans private offerings of US$425 million in convertible senior notes that will mature in 2027, and an additional US$75 million in notes is expected to be granted to the buyers. Stock in the company fell as much as 17% to US$10.22, hurt by fears of dilution as the notes can be converted to shares. The stock traded around its lowest since March 2020 and was moving toward a loss of 24% so far this year. https://bit.ly/3KdHMpX

Take-Two to buy Zynga for US$12.7 billion.

Videogame giant Take-Two Interactive agreed to buy mobile game maker Zynga for US$12.7 billion in cash and stock, ending Zynga’s 10-year run as a public company. The acquisition will give Take-Two—maker of such hit games as Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption—an entry way into the mobile game market. But  there’s no guarantee the deal will be completed. Zynga is selling at a weak point for the company. Its stock price has fallen 50% in the past 10 months, partly due to concerns about the impact of Apple’s ad tracking changes on Zynga’s ad revenue. Zynga’s board has the right to shop the company around to other buyers. And the value of the deal will fluctuate, as about two thirds of the purchase price is being paid in Take-Two stock, which fell 13% on Monday morning. https://bit.ly/3A09li2

Automotive supplier Aptiv acquires Wind River Systems for US$4.3 billion.

Automotive supplier Aptiv is paying US$4.3 billion in cash to acquire Wind River Systems, a provider of software for internet-connected devices, from private equity firm TPG. The deal, which comes nearly four years after TPG acquired Wind River from Intel, reflects the increasing technological sophistication of modern vehicles, which use sensor devices to collect and analyze data about everything from mechanical performance to driver safety and in-car entertainment systems. The price tag seems a bit high given that Wind River generated around US$400 million in revenues in 2021. But Wind River, which was founded in 1981, has a broad set of customers in other industries such as aerospace, telecommunications and defense, which may have also played into Aptiv’s decision. https://bit.ly/33k8qwM

Coinbase buys futures exchange in crypto derivatives push.

Coinbase Global Inc. is acquiring futures exchange FairX in its biggest step yet toward expanding into crypto derivatives. Already registered with U.S. regulators, the firm could give Coinbase the edge it needs in getting a derivatives marketplace up and running. Terms of the deal were not provided. https://bloom.bg/3HW0f8C

DAZN nears deal to buy BT Sport for an estimated US$800 million.

Sports streaming service DAZN is nearing a deal to acquire Britain’s BT Sport in an estimated US$800 million transaction that will give it access to sought-after rights to the English Premier League and UEFA Champions League matches, four sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. A deal is expected to be reached as soon as this month, after protracted negotiations that became public last fall, the sources said. The transaction has yet to be finalized and could still fall apart, they added. The U.S. media company, which owns the pan-European sports network Eurosport, offered to form a joint venture with BT, something the telecoms company was considering as an alternative to a sale, another source said. Britain’s Sunday Telegraph first reported the joint-venture talks. https://reut.rs/3fqnMSP

Emerging Technologies

Apple may push back mixed reality headset debut to 2023.

Apple may delay its upcoming mixed reality headset until 2023, Bloomberg reports. The device, codenamed N301, is intended to support both virtual reality functionality and augmented reality by way of cameras that pass views of the real world through to the viewer. Apple reportedly planned to reveal the device at June’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) ahead of a retail launch later this year. In 2019, The Information reported that Apple planned to release the N301 headset in 2022, followed by a pair of slimmer AR glasses in 2023. Headworn AR and VR devices face numerous technical challenges in their development, particularly in regards to displaying high quality graphics without overheating. Bloomberg’s reporting highlights issues with heat, software development and the headset’s cameras as factors contributing to the potential delay. Pushing the headset into 2023 means Apple’s headset would come to market after the planned launch of a similar headset being developed by Meta Platforms. Codenamed Project Cambria, the mixed reality device is targeted for 2022 and will be cross-compatible with software made for Meta’s existing VR headsets. Regardless of whichever device is released first, neither is likely to be an immediate hit with consumers. Meta has said that Project Cambria will be more expensive than its Quest 2 VR headset, which sells for US$299 or US$399 depending on the amount of internal storage included. Apple has considered pricing as high as US$3,000 for its first headset. https://bit.ly/3qvKyix

Magic Leap’s new AR headset is rolling out to healthcare companies.

Augmented reality headset maker Magic Leap has announced early partners for its Magic Leap 2 headset — a signal that the once consumer-focused company is still moving ahead with its enterprise-focused business. In a press release today, Magic Leap named four healthcare partners that are getting access to the device: clinical data visualization company SentiAR, neurotechnology company SyncThink, diagnostics company Heru, and surgical software tool Brainlab. https://bit.ly/3zZ9p1h

Disney patents metaverse technology for theme parks that would track visitors while projecting personalized 3D images for them.

Disney park visitors could soon be riding through the metaverse as the entertainment giant explores headsetless augmented reality. Disney Enterprises was approved for a “virtual-world simulator” patent during the last week of December. The technology would project 3D images and virtual effects onto physical spaces, according to the US Patents Office. Instead of being designed for mass entertainment, the device would track individual park visitors to personalize the projections. For example, while one family may see Mickey Mouse greeting them by a hot-dog stand, another group could interact with Harry Potter while grabbing a cup of Butterbeer. https://bit.ly/3ncZbFw

Google launches Ripple, an open standard that could bring tiny radars to Ford cars and more.

Google has been publicly building tiny radar chips since 2015. They can tell you how well you sleep, control a smartwatch, count sheets of paper, and let you play the world’s tiniest violin. But the company’s Soli radar hasn’t necessarily had commercial success, most prominently featuring in an ill-fated Pixel phone. Now, Google has launched an open-source API standard called Ripple that could theoretically bring the tech to additional devices outside Google — perhaps even a car, as Ford is one of the participants in the new standard. Technically, Ripple is under the auspices of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), the same industry body that hosts the CES tradeshow in Las Vegas each January, but there’s little question who’s actually behind the project. “Ripple will unlock helpful innovation that benefits everyone. General purpose radar is a key emerging technology for solving critical use cases in a privacy-respecting way,” reads a quote from Ivan Poupyrev, the man who led the team at Google’s ATAP skunkworks that came up with Soli in the first place. https://bit.ly/3GzaXlk

Media, Streaming, Gaming & Sports Betting

Chinese report says TikTok aiming for US$12 billion revenue in 2022.

TikTok’s advertising sales for 2021 stood at US$4 billion in 2021, and the video app is now aiming to generate US$12 billion in revenue this year, Chinese online media outlet LatePost reported. Although TikTok, owned by Chinese internet giant ByteDance, has amassed more than 1 billion monthly active users worldwide, the app, which doesn’t operate in China, accounts for only a small part of ByteDance’s overall revenue. ByteDance generates the majority of its revenue from its two popular Chinese apps, the Douyin video app and the Toutiao news feed. The Information has reported that, as of November, ByteDance’s annual gross revenue was on track to reach 400 billion yuan (US$63 billion) in 2021. LatePost’s report comes as ByteDance tries to increase its revenue outside China by boosting TikTok’s ad revenue. Earning more revenue overseas is becoming more important for ByteDance and other Chinese internet giants, as their domestic operations are grappling with Beijing’s regulatory crackdown and a slowdown in China’s economic growth. https://bit.ly/3A4kuys

Netflix raises prices in U.S., Canada.

Netflix has hiked its monthly prices again in the U.S., marking the third time in less than four years it is raising the cost for subscribers. Netflix’s most popular plan–which allows for two streams–will now cost US$15.49, up from US$13.99. Its standard plan now costs US$9.99, up a dollar, and its premium plan–which allows for four streams–costs US$19.99, up two dollars. The price increase also will affect Canadian subscribers. Given Netflix’ volume of programming and slowing subscription growth in the U.S., it’s not a shocking move. But while the average family has a wide range of streaming options–including HBO Max, Disney+, Paramount+ ,Discovery+ and  Hulu, the price hike might not hit Neflix’s subscriber numbers that hard. It’s possible the move could actually hurt competitors as some subscribers may decide they are willing to shell out more for Netflix and give up one of the smaller services with fewer shows and movies. This year will be a key one for these subscription streaming services. https://bit.ly/3qup6uk

Apple in ‘serious talks’ to broadcast Major League Baseball games starting next season.

Apple is said to be in ‘serious talks’ as part of negotiations for Major League Baseball broadcast rights. Apple has been rumored to be exploring sports rights for a while. Presumably, Apple would bundle sports streaming as part of Apple TV+, or some kind of add-on tier. If a deal is reached, Apple would start airing MLB games starting next season. The exact details of the deal were not disclosed. However, the sports package believed to be on the table is weekday national games, that were owned by ESPN until recently. https://bit.ly/3nhDvIp

App Annie: Global app stores’ consumer spend up 19% to US$170 Billion in 2021, downloads grew 5% to 230 billion.

Consumer spending on mobile apps reached US$170 billion in 2021, according to App Annie’s newly released “State of Mobile 2022″ report, out today, which offers a comprehensive look at the app economy across iOS, Google Play and third-party Android app stores in China. That figure is up 19% year-over-year, which is down just one percentage point from the growth rate the firm reported in its prior annual report. https://tcrn.ch/3FtS6H5

Adtech, Privacy & Regulatory

Apple will allow third-party App Store payments in Korea; will still charge commission.

Apple has finally announced that it will comply with a law in South Korea, requiring it to allow third-party App Store payments, some four months after the antitrust law was passed. The law also applies to Google, which is already in compliance. As expected, Apple says that it will still take a cut of all App Store sales, though this will be at a reduced rate. https://bit.ly/3tryS26

U.S. gets ‘second time lucky’ in reviving Facebook monopoly case.

Meta Platforms Inc.’s Facebook must face the U.S. government’s monopoly lawsuit alleging that the company abused its dominance and should be broken up, a judge ruled. https://bloom.bg/3fgHi4h 

UK class action lodged against Meta seeks US$3.1 Billion for breach of competition law.

A competition legal expert, backed by a powerful litigation fund, is set to mount a multibillion-dollar class-action suit against Facebook/Meta for breach of competition law on the basis that it abused its dominance of social networking in the U.K. for several years. If successful, the action would see Facebook having to pay US$3.1 billion in damages to Facebook U.K. users. https://tcrn.ch/3foiojq 

Fintech, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency

Apple could reinvent money management, take on PayPal and Robinhood.

With its relationships with banks, credit card and checking account data from consumers, an image of trustworthiness and privacy, and a history of taking complex tasks and making them simple, Apple has the building blocks to turn the iPhone and its ecosystem into the ultimate financial management tool. https://bloom.bg/3zJ8IZX

Visa is testing a platform that will support central bank digital currencies in partnership with blockchain firm ConsenSys.

Visa is testing a platform in partnership with blockchain firm ConsenSys that aims to support central bank digital currencies. The new technology aims to provide an “on-ramp for CBDC to existing payment networks,” Catherine Gu, Visa’s head of CBDC, said in a statement Thursday. This means banks and companies can plug into their existing modules and seamlessly integrate their infrastructure to issue CBDC-linked payment cards or wallet credentials, among others, she explained. “We envision a user experience that looks very familiar to how you pay today,” Gu said. “If CBDC networks are seamlessly integrated into your existing banking app, you’d be able to use your CBDC-linked Visa card at the checkout.” A CBDC is a type of central bank liability — similar to the US dollar — issued in digital form, which could be used by the general public. https://bit.ly/3I89xyA

El Salvador preparing 20 bills to provide legal framework to Bitcoin bonds.

El Salvador, the first and only country in the world to give legal tender status to Bitcoin, is preparing to introduce 20 bills to provide a legal framework for its upcoming Bitcoin bonds. The government, led by its pro-Bitcoin President Nayib Bukele, said the funds raised will be used to build infrastructure for Bitcoin City and buy more Bitcoin. https://bit.ly/3n8MBqD

North Korea hackers stole US$400 million of cryptocurrency in 2021, report says.

Blockchain analysis company Chainalysis said it was one of the most successful years on record for cyber-criminals in the closed east Asian state. The attacks mainly targeted investment firms and centralized exchanges. https://bbc.in/3zY2vJO

The Associated Press is launching an NFT marketplace this month, mining a trove of photos to fund its news business.

 The Associated Press announced it is launching a photography-focused non-fungible token marketplace at the end of January. The marketplace will be built by blockchain technology firm Xooa, which works with brands on metaverse and NFT strategy. The initial collection of NFTs will be released over a period of several weeks. Collectors will be able to purchase and view various pieces of the news agency’s photojournalism. “For 175 years AP’s photographers have recorded the world’s biggest stories through gripping and poignant images that continue to resonate today,” said Dwayne Desaulniers, AP director of blockchain and data licensing in a press release. https://bit.ly/3I5rLAu

The Gap is launching its first NFTs with the collectibles ranked from ‘common’ to ‘one-of-a-kind’.

The Gap is launching its first-ever NFT collection that it has dubbed a “gamified” experience. The iconic American clothing retailer says that the first phase of its collection of non-fungible tokens — digital pieces of art tied to a blockchain — will arrive Thursday for a starting price of about US$9. Built on the open-source Tezos blockchain, the Gap’s NFT collection was designed with the artist Brandon Sines, who is known for creating Frank Ape, an animated New York City ape that embodies “positivity and equality.” The digital collectibles are ranked on four levels: common, rare, epic, and one-of-a-kind. The common NFTs will be the first to go on sale with the rest to follow over the next two weeks. The gamified aspect encourages customers to collect the common and rare NFTs in order to unlock the chance at purchasing the epic NFT, which includes limited-edition Brandon Sines art and a physical hoodie. https://bit.ly/3nrMreo

China to launch state-run NFT blockchain that is entirely separate from cryptocurrencies.

China’s state-backed Blockchain Services Network (BSN) is set to launch new infrastructure to support non-fungible tokens, kickstarting a Chinese NFT market that is not linked to cryptocurrencies. The announcement signals Beijing’s interest in the NFT surge while trying to balance it against its 2021 ban on crypto transactions. The state-backed digital infrastructure will clearly differentiate between cryptocurrencies and NFTs, as the latter will still remain legal. Still, some tech companies such as JD.com, Baidu, and Tencent Holdings have opted to call their NFTs “digital collectibles.” The new technology, called the BSN-Distributed Digital Certificate (BSN-DDC), will allow users to manage their NFTs, with all purchases and service fees to be transacted with the Chinese yuan. https://bit.ly/3rrn0Lg


TSMC sales set sixth quarterly record on elevated chip demand.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. reported a sixth straight quarter of record sales, buoyed by unrelenting demand by Apple Inc. and other customers for chips produced by the world’s largest foundry.  Revenue for the December quarter jumped 21% to US$15.8 billion, according to monthly figures released by TSMC Monday. https://bloom.bg/3nqa9aN

​​Canalys: Worldwide PC shipments soared in 2021 to 341 million units.

It would be easy to think PC sales dropped worldwide last year amid chip shortages, but that conventional thinking would be wrong. As it turns out, Canalys reports that PC shipments grew 15% year over year in 2021 and were up 27% over 2019, with a whopping 341 million units sold. https://tcrn.ch/3FuqHVo



White House announces new clean energy plans, including Dept. of Agriculture support of solar in rural communities.

The Administration continues to use every tool available to deploy clean energy at a record pace. But to fully seize the opportunities of a clean energy economy, President Biden is pressing forward on passing the Build Back Better Act. The historic legislation will amount to the nation’s largest investment in combatting climate change, lowering energy costs for working families, and building a clean energy future. https://bit.ly/3K5De4Z

Congress to take a look at crypto’s carbon footprint.

A powerful House committee next week will convene a hearing on the energy use of digital cryptocurrency mining. Why it matters: The Jan. 20 Energy and Commerce Committee hearing highlights growing concern about carbon emissions linked to bitcoin and other currencies, even as the sector vows to get greener. https://bit.ly/3KeSk8C 


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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. 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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.