Former CTO the latest Coinsquare exec to sue the crypto startup

Simon Palmer, who previously served as Coinsquare’s chief technology officer (CTO), has filed a lawsuit against the Toronto-based FinTech firm.

As first reported by The Logic, Palmer, who served as Coinsquare CTO from January 2019 until June 2021, is suing Coinsquare. Palmer is alleging wrongful dismissal and breach of contract, according to a court filing obtained by BetaKit. These claims have not yet been proven in court.

Palmer is the fifth former employee and fourth former exec to sue the crypto startup since 2019.

With the move, Palmer has become the fifth former employee and fourth former executive to sue the cryptocurrency startup since 2019. Coinsquare told BetaKit the previous four lawsuits have either been settled or are inactive.
 

In a response to BetaKit, a Coinsquare spokesperson declined to comment on the lawsuit, stating, “we do not comment on active legal matters.” Stephen Moreau, one of the lawyers representing Palmer, told BetaKit, “I am declining to comment save to say that my client intends to litigate his issues in the proper forum.”

Founded in 2014, Coinsquare is a crypto trading platform that allows users to buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum through its QuickTrade mobile app with no commissions.

This news follows a busy and tumultuous few years for Coinsquare. Since 2019, the crypto startup has experienced: a customer data breach; an Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) settlement; a Canada Revenue Agency agreement; numerous changes to its executive team and overall business; a series of minority stake acquisitions by Vancouver-based Mogo; and recent growth fuelled by the rising popularity of cryptocurrency.

RELATED: Coinsquare brings on Tradelogiq exec, Martin Piszel, as CEO

Palmer first joined Coinsquare after it acquired TipCoin, his previous employer, in early 2019. After serving as CTO for over two years, Palmer parted ways with the company in June. According to his LinkedIn page, Coinsquare’s current CTO, since May 2021, is Daljit Bhartt.

In Palmer’s statement of claim, which was filed in July with the Ontario Superior Court in Toronto, he alleges that he was terminated by Coinsquare “without cause” on April 26, 2021.

Alleging “wrongful dismissal,” Palmer is seeking damages of nearly $946,000 from Coinsquare. In an August filing, Coinsquare noted plans to defend itself.

Over the past two and half years, Coinsquare has been sued by four former employees, including its former chief financial officer (CFO), chief operating officer (COO), chief digital and growth officer, and director of automated trading strategies. The first three filed lawsuits against the startup between May and August 2019, while the latter moved to sue in February 2020.

These aren’t the only challenges Coinsquare has faced, as the startup also reached a settlement with the OSC over allegations of wash trading that led to an overhaul of its executive team.

RELATED: Following changes to business, Coinsquare launches crypto trading app

Chief legal officer Stacey Hoisak led Coinsquare after co-founder and CEO Cole Diamond stepped down as part of the OSC settlement. She served in the role until the addition of former Tradelogiq executive Martin Piszel as CEO in July.

In 2020, Hoisak led a major overhaul to Coinsquare’s business and tech amid new competitive pressures from Canadian FinTech unicorn Wealthsimple, which has made various advances into crypto. As part of these plans, Coinsquare launched a new crypto trading app in February. The startup also intends to launch its own stock-trading platform later this year.

Shortly thereafter, fellow Canadian FinTech firm Mogo announced it had reached a deal to acquire a 20 percent stake in Coinsquare, and has struck an agreement to increase the size of its stake twice since then, to 39 percent.

Coinsquare has seen significant growth during 2021 following its business changes, which has been fuelled by the rising popularity of cryptocurrency. According to Mogo, in April, Coinsquare generated record monthly revenue of $8 million. In the first quarter of 2021, the startup also saw its revenue increase by 500 percent year-over-year.

Feature image from Coinsquare via Glassdoor

Josh Scott

Josh Scott

Josh Scott is a BetaKit staff writer who loves to tell Canadian business and tech stories. His coverage is more complete than his moustache.