F|T: The FinTech Times – BC court upholds ban on crypto mining, Sequoia backpedals Klarna ousting

Plus: Capital One’s blockbuster acquisition to protect itself from FinTech.

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British Columbia Court Backs Ban on Crypto Mining in Canadian Province

British Columbia’s provincial power utility, B.C Hydro’s, moratorium on crypto mining projects was ruled as reasonable by a provincial supreme court judge, according to a ruling posted on Monday.

Justice Tammen wrote that B.C. Hydro’s ban was grounded on a cost-of-service basis, which considers the unique, substantial energy demands of cryptocurrency mining and aims to preserve affordable energy access for the broader population.

The moratorium was being challenged by Conifex Timber, a forestry company that had branched out into crypto mining.



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Round13 Digital Asset Fund claims over 40 percent gains despite tough crypto market

Despite a tumultuous two years for the cryptocurrency market, Round13 Capital claims its Digital Asset Fund (DAF) has still posted gains of more than 40 percent since its inception.

“Buying negative actors’ liquidations is generally a very profitable crypto strategy if you believe in crypto, which is something we do,” said Bambra, who noted that the Round13 DAF bought low on Bitcoin, Ether, and other digital assets during the recent bear market. “We front-ran the opportunity in a sense because we got excited at those prices.”


Here’s why Capital One is buying Discover in the biggest proposed merger of 2024

Capital One’s recently announced $35.3 billion acquisition of Discover Financial isn’t just about getting bigger — gaining “scale” in Wall Street-speak — it’s a bid to protect itself against a rising tide of fintech and regulatory threats.

“This deal gives the company a stronger hand to battle other banks, fintechs and big tech companies,” said Sanjay Sakhrani, the veteran KBW retail finance analyst. “The more that they can separate themselves from the pack, the more they can future-proof themselves.”


Profitable payments startup Zūm Rails closes $10.5-million
Series A

Bootstrapped since 2019, Montréal-based FinTech startup Zūm Rails has now raised $10.5 million CAD in Series A financing for its payments platform that seeks to merge open banking with instant payments.

Founded around a kitchen table, co-founder and chief sales officer Miles Schwartz claims Zūm Rails now moves more than $1 billion in payments monthly.


Sequoia Retracts Request to Oust Moritz From Klarna Board

Sequoia Capital has retracted its request to remove Michael Moritz as chairman of Klarna’s board, according to emails reviewed by The Information. Sequoia partner Matthew Miller, the director who in recent days had asked Klarna shareholders to remove Moritz, is instead leaving the Klarna board.

In an email, Sequoia’s chief Roelof Botha told Klarna shareholders that the firm realized in recent days that their “understanding of the situation was wrong” and that the firm is in full support of Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski.

(The Information)

Levr.ai closes $1-million seed round for AI-powered loan platform for small businesses

Vancouver-based FinTech startup Levr.ai has secured $1 million CAD in seed financing to continue scaling its artificial intelligence (AI)-powered loan software for small businesses.

The seed round comes a year after Levr.ai raised $1-million in pre-seed financing.

CEO Kaylan Pepin told BetaKit that the startup is “feeling the demand” for its platform and noted this funding gives the startup more resources to scale.


BEKH, Volta and Tribe launch new initiatives to support Black Canadian founders

Tribe Network has partnered with Atlantic Canada accelerator Volta to launch a new residency program for Black founders, while the Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (BEKH) is developing a new ecosystem mapping tool for Black entrepreneurs.

The new joint program between Tribe and Volta, called Accelerate Black Tech, will combine Volta’s startup mentorship model with Tribe’s network to support Black tech entrepreneurs and their startups.

Meanwhile, BEKH is developing an ecosystem mapping tool meant to help users tap into a network of resources, support, and opportunities.


Yuga Labs Founder Garga Returns as CEO to ‘Unshackle’ Bored Ape Team

The Bored Ape Yacht Club’s creator has a new leader: Yuga Labs co-founder Greg “Garga” Solano announced Wednesday that he’s returning as CEO, replacing former Activision executive Daniel Alegre after less than a year at the helm.

It’s unclear whether Alegre will leave the company or transition into another role.


As crypto market bounces back, Balance reachieves $2 billion in assets under custody

With Bitcoin more than doubling in value over the past year, and crossing $1 trillion in market cap again last week, digital asset custodian Balance claims it has reached $2 billion in assets under custody (AUC) once again as the crypto market recovers from its 2022 crash.

Balance also recently relocated its headquarters from Toronto to Calgary. CEO George Bordianu said Alberta’s regulatory environment provides the structure Balance needs to become a qualified custodian, without having to satisfy certain regulatory requirements it doesn’t perform.


Block to cut 112 jobs in March as economic uncertainty bites

Jack Dorsey-led Block plans to cut 112 jobs on March 30, the fintech said in a legally mandated notice, as part of its previously disclosed plans to trim headcount and reduce costs, sending shares up over 3 percent in early trade on Thursday.

The California-based payments firm said in November that it expects to cut jobs and embark on a broader cost-savings program by the end of 2024.


Helius raises $12.8 million CAD to help devs build blockchain apps on Solana

Toronto-based Helius, which has built a developer platform for crypto applications, has raised $12.8 million CAD ($9.5 million USD) in Series A financing.

The startup offers a set of tools allowing developers to efficiently create blockchain applications on Solana, a Web3 infrastructure platform.

“Most of the focus has been on speculation instead of tangible things producing real value,” CEO Mert Mumtaz said in a statement. “To change this, we need to make it as simple as possible for developers to build apps that are cheap, fast, and scalable.”


Feature image courtesy Art Rachen on Unplash.

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl is a staff writer and newsletter curator at BetaKit with a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. He's interested in tech, gaming, and sports. You can find out more about him at alexriehl.com or @RiehlAlex99 on Twitter.

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