After a few weeks of public markets volatility dampened new public company transactions, last week saw a bit of an uptick. Nuvei (MEI-NASDAQ, NVEI-TSX) closed an upsized US$425 million initial public offering in the United States. Quarterhill (QTRH-TSX) announced the filing of a preliminary $200 million base shelf prospectus. Dye & Durham (DND-TSX) announced a recapitalization of its credit facilities totalling $1.8 billion, ending a strategic review process that commenced in May. Q4 Inc. announced the resumption of plans to go public on the TSX. At Sophic, we published a piece on Clear Blue Technologies’ (Sophic Client, CBLU-TSXV, CBUTF-OTC, 0YA-FRA) core business of providing clean, wireless power solutions serving the multi-billion dollar off-grid market. In the USA, there was positive movement towards public markets debuts by Rent the Runway, Udemy, GlobalFoundries, AvidXchange, HireRight, GitLab and Genesys. Year-to-date, penny stock trading volume hit a record US$548 billion, soaring past 2020 totals as retail investors poured into the market. NFT sales surged to US$10.7 billion in Q3 .Snapchat and Telegram benefited from Facebook’s long outage.
Canadian Technology Capital Markets & Company News
Dye & Durham (DND-TSX) announces a recapitalization of its credit facilities and provides a corporate update.
The company entered into a new approximately $1.8 billion committed senior secured credit facility (the “New Facility”). The Company intends to use the proceeds from the New Facility to repay the amounts outstanding under its existing term loan facility, with the remaining amounts to be used, amongst other things, to finance its continued acquisition strategy. To further align the interest of the Chief Executive Officer with that of shareholders, the Company also announced that its board of directors has authorized the grant of 6,851,100 stock options to its Chief Executive Officer. The options have a term of five years. 70% of the options vest based on share price performance metrics and 30% of the options vest based on certain specified corporate milestones. The Chief Executive Officer currently holds 2,336,793 options or, assuming conversion of such options, 3.29% of the outstanding common shares of the Company (“Common Shares”), calculated on a partially-diluted basis. After giving effect to the grant, the Chief Executive Officer is expected to hold 9,187,893 options or, assuming conversion of all such options, 11.80% of the Common Shares, calculated on a partially-diluted basis. https://bit.ly/2WXtAhf
Nuvei (MEI-NASDAQ, NVEI-TSX) announces closing of US$425 million initial public offering in the United States.
Nuvei will voluntary delist its “NVEI.U” US dollar listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange (the “TSX”). It is expected that the delisting will be effective after markets close on or about October 13, 2021. Nuvei’s subordinate voting shares commenced trading in US dollars on Nasdaq Global Select Market and will continue to trade on the TSX in Canadian dollars under the symbol “NVEI” in both instances. https://bit.ly/2YwlYmJ
Quarterhill (QTRH-TSX) announces the filing of a preliminary $200 million base shelf prospectus.
The Shelf Prospectus when made final and effective, will enable Quarterhill to issue common shares, preferred shares, debt securities, warrants, subscription receipts and units or a combination thereof from time to time, separately or together, in amounts, at prices and on terms based on market conditions at the time of sale and set forth in an accompanying shelf prospectus supplement (“Prospectus Supplement”), for an aggregate offering amount of up to $200,000,000 during the 25-month period that the Shelf Prospectus is effective. https://bit.ly/301DW0J
CGI (GIB’A-TSX, GIB-NYSE) acquires ARRAY.
ARRAY brings approximately 275 professionals to CGI, while enhancing and accelerating CGI’s position as a leading provider of digital modernization services to meet the growing demand of U.S. public sector clients. The combined portfolio of enterprise application expertise in modernization, DevSecOps, cloud, data analytics and cyber security further strengthens CGI’s position as a powerful end-to-end solutions provider to federal, state and local governments. https://bit.ly/2YsHiJu
Q4 Inc resumes plans to go public on the TSX.
After pausing their plans to go public earlier this year, Q4 has filed for a second preliminary base PREP prospectus. The offering is expected to be $150 million, which is the same as they originally hoped to raise. The company has yet to price the offering but expects it to be around $14 to $17.50 per common share. As reported by the Globe and Mail, the delay in going public originally was caused by Broadridge reaching out during the IPO process to renegotiate the contract and Q4’s leadership did not want that to distract from the offering. Q4 offers cloud-based IR and capital markets solutions that reach across websites, virtual events, corporate access, data and analytics, customer relationship management, and capital market intelligence. The company plans to use the proceeds from the IPO to repay debts related to credit facilities, which totals $25.8 million. https://bit.ly/3AsZrUC
Coconut Software on growth trajectory with $28 million Series B funding.
With its newest round of $28 million in Series B funding, Coconut Software has raised $39.4 million to date as the startup looks to centralize the appointment scheduling needs of banks and credit unions. Klass Capital led the latest round with participation from existing investors Information Venture Partners, ScaleUp Ventures, Conexus Venture Capital Fund, and Bay Partners. Financial institutions use Coconut’s software for appointment scheduling and lobby management. The company’s customers include RBC Royal Bank, Arvest Bank, Vancity, and Rogue Credit Union. In 2019, the Saskatoon-based startup raised $6.5 million in what the company at the time called a Series A2 round. That money flowed in two years after Coconut’s original $4.2 million Series A round in 2017. https://bit.ly/3iCMq4O
GovTech SaaS company Thentia announces $15 million credit facility with Espresso Capital marking second major capital event in 2021.
Thentia, a global GovTech software as a service (SaaS) provider, announced today that it has secured a $15 million credit facility to support key investments and acquisitions as the company accelerates its rapid expansion into new markets. This latest financing marks Thentia’s third financing from Espresso Capital, a leading provider of venture debt solutions, and its second major capital event this year. This financing for Thentia comes on the heels of a $10 million Series B investment in May 2021 led by New York City-based Spring Mountain Capital with participation from BDC Capital. https://bit.ly/2YwPzMU
R-LABS and Teranet launch real estate innovation company RIOS with $4 million investment.
Toronto real estate tech startup R-LABS and Ontario-based Teranet have partnered to launch (RIOS) a real estate innovation company, with a $4 million investment. RIOS provides a platform that eliminates the delays around approvals and communication in the home-building industry. According to the start-up, RIOS will bring greater efficiencies to stakeholders in new housing supply, beginning with a focus on solving the problems related to assignment fulfillment and new home warranties. https://bit.ly/3oKAp0Y
Flahmingo raises $1.88 million, teases launch of new app in Q1 2022.
Calgary-based FinTech startup Flahmingo raised $1.88 million in its pre-seed funding round in the last week of September. According to the startup, it was an oversubscribed funding round that saw the participation of Kevin Sandhu, CEO and founder of Control; Austin Hankwitz, a FinTech entrepreneur; Hanif Joshaghani, CEO and co-founder of Symend; and Open People Network, a Toronto-based angel investor group. Founded in 2020 by co-founders Taran Singh Kainth, Gio Moros, and Kunal Seth, Flahmingo is a commission-free fractional investment app that utilizes an automated Pies and Slices model, which the company claims is the first of its kind in Canada. A 2020 survey by Finder claimed only about 39 percent of Canadians, or approximately 12.3 million Canadian adults, use a stock trading app. https://bit.ly/3oIveyF
Perch raises $1 million to fuel mortgage data platform.
Toronto real estate tech startup Perch has raised $1 million in seed funding to scale the development of its property financing solutions. The main investor in this round was Second Century Ventures, the strategic investment arm of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). https://bit.ly/3DwiJdT
Smartricity raises $1 million to scale motor testing technologies.
Ontario based Smartcity has raised $1 million in seed funding to accelerate their motor testing technologies, and to double the number of its employees. Founded in 2016, Smartricity is an industrial electric motor company that leverages machine learning and AI to produce cleantech solutions. The funding closed on September 1 and came from a round of all new investors. https://bit.ly/3Ashvyo
Clearco commits AUD$100 million, adds former Google exec as part of Australian expansion.
Clearco has officially expanded to Australia, its fourth international market to date, as the Toronto-based startup sets its sights on the Asia-Pacific region. As part of its expansion, the FinTech firm has promised to invest up to AUD$100 million (CAD$92 million) in e-commerce, mobile app, and SaaS businesses in Australia. To lead these efforts, Clearco has hired former Google director and Limepay co-founder Dan Peters as managing director of its Australian operations. Founded in 2015, Clearco offers a suite of performance financing products designed to help e-commerce, mobile app, and SaaS companies grow, while also helping founders retain business ownership. To date, Clearco has invested more than US$2.5 billion globally into over 5,500 startups across three continents. 2021 has been a busy year for Clearco. In April, the startup rebranded from Clearbanc and secured $100 million USD in equity financing as part of its Series C round, which saw the company gain unicorn status at a reported valuation of close to $2 billion. https://bit.ly/3aeTorX
D-Wave plans to build a gate-model quantum computer.
D-Wave, the world’s first company to build a quantum computer, has announced their plans to build a gate-model quantum computer. The company believes that the combination of annealing, gate-model quantum computing, and classic machines is what its businesses’ users will need to get the most value from this technology. D-Wave said in an announcement, “We’re anticipating what our customers need to drive practical business value, and we know error-corrected gate-model quantum systems with practical application value will be required for another important part of the quantum application market.” This application is particularly useful in fields like materials science and pharmaceutical research. https://tcrn.ch/3BkHvg8
Global Markets: IPOs, Venture Capital, M&A
Rent the Runway files to go public.
Clothing rental website Rent the Runway on Monday filed to go public, the latest in a string of companies that offer used clothing to enter the public market this year. The New York-based company’s financial statements showed it took a big hit from the pandemic, when revenue fell nearly 40%. The business fell 10% more in the first half this year. Founded in 2009 by first time entrepreneur Jennifer Hyman, Rent the Runway lets customers rent items from designer brands for a monthly subscription fee, although the company also rents items on an a-la-carte basis. The two companies in the used-clothing business to go public this year had widely differing experiences. Shares of Poshmark, which lets customers buy and sell pre-owned merchandise to one another on its app, has seen its stock fall 45% from its IPO price. Thredup, which sells clothing on consignment, is up, however. https://bit.ly/3Buj0NN
Digital education company Udemy files for IPO.
Online course company Udemy filed for an initial public offering Tuesday, confirming The Information’s previous reporting. The San Francisco-based company follows several other education technology companies like Duolingo and Coursera that have opted for public listings. In its IPO filing, Udemy reported bringing in nearly US$430 million of revenue in 2020, up 55% from 2019. Still, the company posted a loss of US$78 million last year, a slight increase from 2019. In sales and marketing, the company reported spending nearly US$193 million in 2020, up 52% from US$126 million a year earlier. The company did not report the terms for its offering, but have applied to be listed on the Nasdaq under the symbol “UDMY.” https://bit.ly/3uX6e7P
GlobalFoundries reveals revenue jump in U.S. IPO filing as chip demand surges.
Chipmaker GlobalFoundries revealed a jump in revenue in its filing for a stock market flotation, setting the stage for a blockbuster finish to a record year for initial public offerings in the United States. GlobalFoundries, which is owned by Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Co, has not set terms for its listing yet, but it could seek a valuation of about US$25 billion, Reuters first reported in August. The IPO, one of the most hotly anticipated deals of the year, is expected to round out a record year for flotations, after several other big names such as Robinhood Markets Inc, Coinbase Global Inc and Roblox Corp capitalized on the capital markets boom earlier in 2021. Alongside electric-vehicle maker Rivian’s stock market debut, GlobalFoundries is expected to headline an unusually crowded year-end IPO schedule, as companies look to make the most of sky-high investor appetite for listings of high-growth tech companies. https://reut.rs/3mFg3n7
Payments firm AvidXchange files for U.S. IPO.
AvidXchange Holdings Inc is looking to raise up to US$506 million in a U.S. initial public offering (IPO), according to a regulatory filing on Monday, that could value the business payments firm at about US$4.4 billion. The company, which is backed by billionaire Peter Thiel, was valued at $2 billion in a funding round in April last year. The 21-year-old company processed around 53 million transactions with a total value of US$145 billion last year, its website showed. AvidXchange, which expects to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol “AVDX,” said it plans to price its stock at US$21 per share to US$23 per share in the IPO. Goldman Sachs & Co, J.P. Morgan, BofA Securities and Barclays are among the underwriters for AvidXchange’s IPO. https://reut.rs/3mE0Vqq
Employment screening specialist HireRight files IPO.
HireRight Holdings on Wednesday filed plans for an initial public offering under the ticker HRT on the New York Stock Exchange. The Nashville-based employment screening company lists 15 underwriters on its IPO prospectus led by Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs. HireRight said it plans to raise up to US$100 million in its IPO as a placeholder, but that figure will most likely be revised when the company provides an estimated price range in upcoming filings. HireRight reported a net loss of US$15.6 million and revenue of US$326.5 million for the six months ended June 30, compared to a net loss of US$45.9 million and revenue of US$259.4 million in the year-ago period. Private equity firms General Atlantic currently owns 52% of HireRight and StonePoint Capital owns 29%. https://bit.ly/3DoeeSf
Coding platform GitLab aims for nearly US$9 billion valuation in U.S. IPO.
GitLab Inc, a coding platform backed by the likes of ICONIQ Capital and Khosla Ventures, is looking to raise as much as US$624 million through an initial public offering in the United States, targeting a valuation of nearly US$9 billion. The company plans to sell 8.42 million shares of its class A common stock in the IPO, while existing shareholders are offering 1.98 million Class A shares that are priced between US$55 and US$60 per share, a regulatory filing showed on Monday. GitLab, which creates online tools to reduce the software development cycle by allowing teams to collaborate, was last valued at US$6 billion after a secondary share sale in January, according to startup data platform PitchBook. Industry leaders such as Nvidia Corp, Siemens AG and Goldman Sachs are among its customers, according to the company’s website. Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, and BofA Securities are the lead underwriters for the offering and the company plans to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol “GTLB”. https://reut.rs/3lrTrat
Genesys owners to weigh IPO at up to US$20 billion value.
The private equity owners of Genesys are considering an initial public offering for the call-center technology provider and aiming for a valuation as high as US$20 billion, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Permira and Hellman & Friedman have held talks with advisers about a U.S. listing of the company in the first half of 2022, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. No final decision has been made and the firms could elect for the company to remain private. https://bloom.bg/3mB7M3L
Peloton rival iFIT postpones IPO, citing “adverse market conditions”.
iFIT, a fitness technology company that rivals Peloton, announced Thursday it was postponing its initial public offering, citing “adverse market conditions.” The company had announced plans to go public just last week. The decision comes amid rising volatility in the stock market, driven by worries about inflation, and uncertainties about Congress’ ability to pass a long term increase in the debt ceiling. iFIT’s postponement raises questions whether other companies will reevaluate plans of going public. Despite the recent concerns, the IPO market this year has been booming. A recent report from consulting firm Ernst & Young showed that the third quarter of 2021 was the most active third quarter for IPOs globally in 20 years. IPO proceeds from this year, totalling US$330 billion, have already surpassed the US$268 billion from all of 2020, according to the report. iFIT, which offers classes through its workout app and sells exercise equipment, previously announced it would likely have an IPO price of between US$18 and US$21 per share, and that they were seeking a listing on the Nasdaq under the symbol “IFIT.” Its latest SEC filing shows the company, which provided financial statements with years ending on May 31, lost US$517 million in 2021, up significantly from nearly US$99 million in 2020. https://bit.ly/2X0f3kU
SoftBank is cutting more deals with fewer staff than ever.
Masayoshi Son has sharply accelerated the pace of his startup investments this year, quintupling the number of companies in his Vision Fund 2 portfolio in less than nine months. The founder of SoftBank Group Corp. has cut 115 deals this year, according to Bloomberg calculations based on data released by the company. That is more than the combined number of deals the first Vision Fund made since its start in 2017, showing Son remains confident in his investing capability despite blunders with office-sharing service WeWork and financier Greensill. https://bloom.bg/3oKX1hU
Affirm stock rockets after company lands partnership with Target.
Shares of Affirm Holdings Inc. are up more than 14% in Wednesday afternoon trading after Target Inc. announced that it would begin allowing customers to make purchases with the company’s buy-now pay-later technology. The arrangement with Target isn’t exclusive, as Target is also introducing capabilities from Sezzle that will let customers pay for goods in installments. Affirm shares have been hot in recent months as the company announced a partnership with Amazon.com Inc. and outlined plans to move beyond the checkout button. Affirm plans to launch a debit card that will let consumers split purchases after the fact, and it also intends to let customers own crypto assets in their Affirm savings accounts. Shares have gained 89% over the past three months as the S&P 500 has dipped 0.8%. https://on.mktw.net/3iGiXag
Penny stock trading volume has hit a record US$548 billion, soaring past 2020 totals as retail investors pour into the market.
Penny stocks, long dominated by retail investors, are attracting unprecedented levels of interest as the Securities and Exchange Commission looks to clean up the fraud-prone segment. So far this year, US$548 billion in trading volume has been registered by OTC Markets Group, which runs the main penny-stock marketplaces. That figure – already at an all-time high – is just through the end of September, meaning it will continue rising through the end of 2021. For context, 2020 saw US$445 billion in annual trading volume. https://bit.ly/3mumNEr
Cruise plans to have ‘tens of thousands’ of Origin AVs on roads in incoming years.
Commercial robotaxi and delivery service ‘Cruise’ expects to make the leap from limited availability to a business of tens of thousands of vehicles in the next few years. The eye-popping projection will be reached, according to CEO Dan Ammann. He stated that a combination of regulatory approvals, capital from investors along with US$5 billion credit line from GM Financial, and technological breakthroughs, including a 90% reduction in compute costs over the next four years will fuel this growth. These are some bold claims, but it appears the company is laying the groundwork to back them up. Last week, they received a driverless deployment permit which allows the company to begin charging for autonomous services, and they just need one more permit to operate a robotaxi service in San Francisco which they say is only months away. The $5 billion line of credit from GM Financial will be used to pay for the production of the Origin without having to give away more equity to investors. https://tcrn.ch/2WUGgW9
Amazon is reportedly working on a smart fridge that tracks what’s inside.
Amazon is reportedly aiming to bring some of the tech it uses at cashierless Amazon Go stores to your kitchen. The company has been working on a smart fridge that can monitor items and help you order replacements if you’re running low on something. Amazon wouldn’t make the fridges itself, Insider‘s sources said. It’s looking to team up with an appliance manufacturer. There’s a possibility that Alexa voice control could be included. The company has reportedly spent upwards of US$50 million per year on the project so far. Even so, there’s no guarantee that the fridge will come to market as it’s possible Amazon will shelve the plans. https://tcrn.ch/3oDE7cE
Google confirms US$1billion investment into Africa, including subsea cable for faster internet.
The developing world represents the best chance of growth for large internet companies, and today one of the very biggest set out its strategy for how it plans to tackle that. Google said that it would be investing US$1 billion to support “digital transformation” across Africa. This will include landing a subsea cable into the continent to enable faster internet speeds, low-interest loans for small businesses, equity investments into African startups, skills training and more. Google said it will inject the investment over the next five years, in projects to be implemented in countries across the continent including Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Ghana. The subsea cable will cut across South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria and St Helena, connecting Africa and Europe. https://tcrn.ch/3oBXIdm
Facebook Connectivity unveils robot that can speed fiber deployment.
Amidst a week which could be considered one of Facebook’s worst ever, they have unveiled their new technologies designed to bring the next billion people online to a faster internet. This tech includes a robot called Bombyx that can install fiber-optic cable over telephone wires in a fraction of the time it usually takes. It also showed off Terragraph, a wireless tech that can deliver fiber-like wireless networking in the ‘last mile’ in areas that are hard to reach with cables. Facebook also showed a new segment of subsea cables which could triple the amount of internet bandwidth reaching Africa. https://bit.ly/3Dp9nAw
Media, Streaming, Gaming & Sports Betting
Snapchat was the biggest winner the day Facebook went dark.
Snapchat use surged more than 20% after Facebook Inc.’s services went down for six hours Monday, the biggest winner among rival apps during the U.S. social media giant’s worst outage in years. Facebook blamed network configuration glitches for immobilizing a suite of apps from Messenger to Instagram and driving some of its 2.7 billion daily users to the competition. Snap Inc. saw a 23% boost in time spent on its Android app on Monday compared with the same day the prior week, according to Sensor Tower data shared with Bloomberg News. That led to gains in activity on apps from Telegram and Signal to Twitter Inc. and ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok on Oct. 4, the mobile researcher said. https://bloom.bg/3FqQDSN
Telegram added 70 million new users amid six-hour WhatsApp outage.
Six hours of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp not working globally affected more than just customers, it also hurt the three companies and Zuckerberg’s pockets. On the other hand, Telegram benefited from this outage as it received over 70 million new users in one day. According to Telegram’s CEO on his channel, Telegram “welcomed over 70 million refugees from other platforms in one day.” Pavel Durov praised its app for a “record increase in user registration and activity.” Although people in the US and most 9to5Mac readers prefer iMessage, WhatsApp is the most important message app in other countries, such as Brazil. Every time Facebook services have an outage, people start to migrate to Telegram, but it’s been a while since the last massive migration happened. https://bit.ly/3FnEf67
Apple doesn’t make videogames. But it’s the hottest player in Gaming.
Apple Inc. doesn’t make hot videogames such as “Fortnite,” or consoles such as the Xbox. But with little fanfare, Chief Executive Tim Cook has turned the maker of the iPhone into one of the world’s largest videogame companies. https://on.wsj.com/2YhCbeJ
Adtech, Privacy & Regulatory
Ireland signs on to global deal seeking to curb tax avoidance.
A global agreement to set a minimum 15% corporate tax rate cleared its last major hurdle Thursday after Ireland, a low-tax country that is the European headquarters for some of the largest U.S. tech companies, said it would join the overhaul effort. The change in policy comes before a meeting on Friday that will include 140 governments and jurisdictions that have been negotiating for years a way of taxing international companies. If the needed changes to national law and international treaties are made, it would be the most sweeping change in international taxation in a century. In addition to setting a minimum rate that would likely see a number of the world’s largest companies pay more tax, existing tax revenues would be divided more fairly among countries where businesses have customers. https://on.wsj.com/3uVNfe7
Facebook whistleblower shows ‘self-regulation is not working’ for social media, White House says.
A whistleblower’s allegations that Facebook put profits before safety is the latest revelation that “self-regulation is not working” for social-media platforms, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday. On Sunday, “60 Minutes” interviewed former Facebook data scientist Frances Haugen, who alleges that the company has been deceiving investors about how it has been dealing with hate speech and misinformation on its platform. Facebook’s shares dropped as much as 6% on Monday. Psaki said the Biden administration will support social-media reforms proposed by Congress. https://on.mktw.net/3Ag7YKq
Apple to face EU antitrust charge over NFC chip.
Apple will be hit with an EU antitrust charge over its NFC chip technology, according to sources familiar with the matter. This charge puts the company at risk of a potentially very hefty fine and could force the company to open its mobile payment system to rivals. This isn’t new for Apple, as they have been in the EU antitrust chief Margethe Vestager crosshairs since last JUne when she launched an investigation into Apple Pay. Preliminary concerns included Apple’s NFC chip which enables tap-and-go payments, their terms and conditions, how Apple Pay should be used in merchants apps and websites, and the company’s refusal to allow rivals access to the payments system. This has since been narrowed down to just focus on the NFC chip, which can only be accessed by Apple Pay. The commission can fine companies up to 10% of their global turnover for violating EU rules, which based on Apple’s 2020 revenue could be up to $USD 27.4 billion. Shares of Apple were down 1% at $139.6 in pre-market following the news. https://reut.rs/2WUpM0c
China launches plan to make algorithms fair and follow party ideology.
China has launched a three-year plan to make the algorithms that power internet platforms more fair, transparent and in-line with Communist Party ideology, the Wall Street Journal reported. While many governments are struggling with how to exert more control over the power of giant tech firms, China’s moves appear to be going the furthest in that direction. In the U.S., Facebook is facing renewed scrutiny after a whistleblower leaked a massive trove of documents and called for more government regulation during testimony before the Senate. In Europe, regulators are looking at restricting the use of some artificial intelligence. But measuring the impact of China’s new plan is difficult, the report said, as the details and and enforcement of the new rules remain unclear. Algorithm’s underpin everything from how companies target online advertising to how they give recommendations for products or content. https://bit.ly/30boNKl
Twitch source code and creator payouts reportedly part of massive leak.
Twitch appears to have been hacked, leaking source code for the company’s streaming service, an unreleased Steam competitor from Amazon Game Studios, and details of creator payouts. An anonymous poster on the 4chan messaging board has released a 125GB torrent, which they claim includes the entirety of Twitch and its commit history. The poster claims the leak is designed to “foster more disruption and competition in the online video streaming space.” The leak is labelled as “part one,” suggesting there could be more to come. https://bit.ly/30amGGN
Fintech, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency
Visa plans to cut Apple Pay fees, some banking execs ‘angered’ by Apple Card launch.
The relationship between Apple and US banks is beginning to show strain, according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal. The report, citing “people familiar with the matter,” says that banks such as JPMorgan Chase, Capital One, and Bank of America have “grown unhappy with the costs” associated with Apple Pay transactions, particularly after Apple introduced its own Apple Card product in 2019. The report also reveals the tidbit that Apple agreed not to develop a card processing network to compete with Mastercard and Visa as part of its initial push for Apple Pay adoption. As it stands today, banks pay Apple a fee whenever cardholders use their card for an Apple Pay transactions – essentially a portion of existing interchange fees. The fee varies around the world and even by card issuer, but in the US it’s believed to be around 0.15% of a credit card transaction and 0.5 cents for each debit card transaction. https://bit.ly/3uPUV1d
U.S. Justice Dept launches new initiatives on cryptocurrencies, contractor hacks.
U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco on Wednesday unveiled two new Justice Department enforcement initiatives aimed at targeting cryptocurrencies and government contractors who fail to report cyber breaches.Monaco announced on Wednesday, during a virtual speech at the Aspen Cyber Summit, the launch of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team, whose goal will be to “strengthen” the Justice Department’s ability to disable financial markets that allow cybercriminals to “flourish.” The group will include a mix of anti-money laundering and cybersecurity experts. Monaco also announced the creation of a civil cyber fraud initiative, which will “use civil enforcement tools to pursue companies, those who are government contractors, who receive federal funds, when they fail to follow recommended cybersecurity standards.” https://reut.rs/2YwTTuR
Bitcoin set to become legal payment in Brazil.
Brazil’s Federal Deputy Aureo Ribeiro has revealed that Brazilians could soon be able to buy houses, cars and even McDonald’s with Bitcoin. The South American nation is preparing to vote on a cryptocurrency regulation bill which is expected to be presented to the Plenary of the Chamber of Deputies within the next few days. “We want to separate the wheat from the chaff, create regulations so that you can trade, know where you’re buying and know who you’re dealing with,” Ribeiro said. “With this asset you will be able to buy a house, a car, go to McDonald’s to buy a hamburger – it will be a currency in the country as it happened in other countries.” Bill 2.303/15, which calls for the regulation of virtual currencies, was approved for presentation last week. https://yhoo.it/2Yzcjv0
Crypto trading volume on Binance is reportedly soaring despite a market crackdown and regulatory pressure.
Binance’s trading volume spiked last month despite regulatory pressure on cryptocurrencies and the company itself, with new data highlighting the exchange’s heavyweight status in the US$2 trillion digital assets market. Spot cryptocurrency trading volumes at Binance were US$789 billion in September, a 74% surge from US$454 billion in July. The increase in Binance’s spot volumes suggests investors may have been largely unfazed by China’s declaration last month that crypto-transactions are illegal. But the country stopped short of banning possession of digital currencies. Bitcoin on Tuesday rose and regained the US$50,000 level for the first time since early September. Binance’s volume was $92 billion over the past 24 hours through midday Tuesday, according to CoinMarketCap, led by the Shina inu coin. The dogecoin spinoff has charged up 85% over the past 24 hours following a tweet from Elon Musk. https://bit.ly/3uZeeWd
Shiba inu coin skyrockets 65% after an Elon Musk tweet supercharges the token – taking weekly gains to 220%.
Shiba inu coin’s breakneck rally has showed no signs of slowing down, with the dogecoin-inspired token soaring by 60% on Wednesday. The three-day run higher was sparked by Elon Musk tweeting about his Shiba Inu dog on Monday, demonstrating the influence the Tesla boss has in crypto markets. Shiba inu coin was up 65% to US$0.00002223 on Wednesday as of 5.55 a.m. ET, according to Coingecko data, having earlier risen as much as 80%. The token has gained around 220% over the last seven days. The token was founded in 2020, with its anonymous creator dubbing it a “meme token.” It explicitly mimicked dogecoin, a cryptocurrency started in 2013 as a joke that captured the imagination of crypto retail traders. https://bit.ly/3mwC5Z9
NFT sales surge to US$10.7 billion in Q3 as crypto asset frenzy hits new highs.
Sales volumes of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) surged to US$10.7 billion in the third quarter of 2021, up more than eightfold from the previous quarter, according to data from market tracker DappRadar, as the frenzy for crypto assets reached new highs. NFTs use blockchain to record the ownership of digital items such as images, videos, collectibles and even land in virtual worlds. Surging sales and hefty prices on NFTs – items which do not physically exist – have baffled many but the explosive growth shows no sign of abating. The third-quarter figure was up from US$1.3 billion in Q2 and US$1.2 billion in Q1, DappRadar said. DappRadar’s numbers, which include multiple blockchains and “off-chain” transactions, put total 2021 sales volume at US$13.2 billion. Another market tracker, CryptoSlam, which excludes “off-chain” sales, says the figure is US$9.6 billion. Meanwhile, NonFungible.com, which tracks NFTs on the ethereum blockchain only, puts the 2021 total volume at US$7 billion. https://reut.rs/30dh7ar
A huge glitch on DeFi platform Compound has put US$160 million at risk – with the founder begging for the money to be returned.
It was a very rough weekend for Compound, one of the biggest decentralized finance platforms in the world. A routine network upgrade went badly wrong, ultimately leaving US$160 million worth of cryptocurrency at risk in a pool that can be drained by experts who know how to exploit the mistake, according to Compound founder Robert Lescher. Over the weekend, Lescher was imploring users to return any cryptocurrency they may have received or claimed from the pool. He said more than $30 million had been returned on Sunday. Lescher tweeted on Sunday that 490,000 comp was at risk, worth around $160 million. Comp was down 6.1% to $318.22 on Monday, according to Coingecko. https://bit.ly/3mkT94q
Intel say it didn’t consider UK for new factory because of Brexit.
Intel is no longer considering building semiconductor factories in the UK because of Brexit, the firm’s boss has told the BBC. Pat Gelsinger, CEO of the chipmaker since February, says the firm is now looking at “EU countries and getting support from the EU.” Intel had “about 70 proposals for sites across Europe from maybe 10 different countries”, Gelsinger said, adding that he was hoping to receive support from the EU and finalise a site before the end of the year. The company plans to invest up to US$95 billion in semiconductor factories over the next 10 years, the BBC reported. https://bit.ly/3iL5Owq
Biden administration announces goal of 5 million homes powered by community solar.
The Department of Energy on Friday announced a target of the equivalent of five million homes powered by community solar energy by 2025. The target would save US$1 billion and contribute to administration goals of fully renewable electricity by 2035, according to the department. “Community solar is one of the most powerful tools we have to provide affordable solar energy to all American households, regardless of whether they own a home or have a roof suitable for solar panels,” Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm said in a statement. “Achieving these ambitious targets will lead to meaningful energy caost savings, create jobs in these communities, and make our clean energy transition more equitable.” https://bit.ly/3Dnalx9
Sophic Capital Client Insights
Sophic Client Clear Blue Techonologies (CBLU-TSXV, CBUTF-OTC, 0YA-FRA): Powering the Most Challenging Systems.
Any electrical system that doesn’t have access to the power grid is subject to sub-par performance, potentially resulting in increased lifetime costs and premature obsolescence. Sophic Capital client Clear Blue Technologies is a provider of clean, wireless power solutions serving the multi-billion dollar off-grid market. https://bit.ly/3Fw6iR6
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