F|T: The FinTech Times – Clearco continues EU expansion, Hopper continues FinTech expansion

Clearco and IDA leaders alongside Michael McGrath, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (second from right).
Plus: How crypto giant Binance became a hub for hackers, fraudsters, and drug traffickers

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Clearco expands to Germany while cutting staff in Ireland (BETAKIT)

Irish media outlet Independent.ie was first to report last week that Clearco had cut around 10 percent of its Dublin staff. A Clearco spokesperson confirmed cuts had been made to BetaKit, but claimed they were less than 10 percent of its overall Dublin headcount. The spokesperson did not confirm the exact number of employees cut; at the time of its expansion announcement, Clearco employed a team of 75 in Dublin.

Wealthsimple started as a safe haven for investors — now it’s a major player in crypto trading. Is it putting profits before values? (TORONTO STAR)

The online investing company was founded to help investors grow their money safely. Now it’s sucking investors into a ‘casino-like game,’ according to one critic, and pulling in millions along the way.

Delphia closes $60 million USD to improve AI-driven investment platform with user-owned data (BETAKIT)

Delphia offers its platform at no cost through its app, but also provides investment opportunities for accredited investors, which are charged fees. The collected fees are used to help reward its data-providing users.

NBA Top Shot seemed like a slam dunk — so why are some collectors crying foul? (THE VERGE)

One of the things Top Shot had going for it was that it had a real-world analogue: trading cards. The experience was designed so that it wasn’t necessary for users to know anything about cryptocurrency. You could pay with a credit card. Onboarding materials avoided using words like “blockchain” on purpose, even though Dapper Labs had designed its own.

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With Canadian tech IPOs on pause, private markets face a higher bar

It wasn’t that long ago that the “pandemic effect” helped drive a record-breaking IPO boom among Canadian technology companies. Fast forward a year, however, and the landscape has completely changed with private market growth capital once again the financing pathway of choice for tech firms.

Read more here.

Vybe Network raises $13.1 million CAD for Solana blockchain data infrastructure solution (BETAKIT)

Launched in the summer of 2021 by co-founders Arun Dass (CEO) and Eoin Brady (COO), Vybe provides software and infrastructure that allows users to access and use both real-time and historical data from the Solana blockchain. The company’s suite of offerings includes the Vybe app and Serum Analytics.

A Billion-Dollar Crypto Gaming Startup Promised Riches and Delivered Disaster (BLOOMBERG)

Axie Infinity’s vision of a “play-to-earn” video game has crumbled, and the company behind it now tells the players who bought into the hype it was never about the money, anyway.

VirgoCX receives CSA exemption as parent company secures $10 million (BETAKIT)

Founded in 2018, VirgoCX is a cryptocurrency trading platform that supports Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and more. It received its registered dealer approval from CSA on Monday, joining a small number of other regulated crypto platforms such as Bitbuy (acquired by WonderFi), Wealthsimple, Coinberry, Netcoins.

Young consumers are opting to buy now and pay later, as more companies enter the financing game (CBC)

According to analysis conducted by SIA Partners, the buy now, pay later (BNPL) share of retail e-commerce and point-of-sale transactions in the U.S. was less than two per cent in 2021, but is expected to double to four per cent by 2025.

Hopper rolls out new FinTech products as it aims to build a "travel super app" (BETAKIT)

The new products are part of Hopper’s ongoing push into new verticals and build on some of its previous FinTech products, such as its price freeze or flight disruption guarantee.

How crypto giant Binance became a hub for hackers, fraudsters and drug traffickers (REUTERS)

In as little as nine minutes, using only encrypted email addresses as identification, the Lazarus hackers created Binance accounts and traded crypto stolen from Eterbase, the Slovakian exchange, according to account records that Binance shared with the police and that are reported here for the first time.

Mash raises $7.5 million CAD to help builders, developers, and creators monetize (BETAKIT)

“There’s an explosion in the number of people who want to be full-time creators and builders. But to go full time, they need an easy way to actually monetize the value they deliver,” said Jared Nusinoff, founder and CEO of Mash.

Ecuadorian payments infrastructure startup Kushki lands $100M at a $1.5B valuation (TECHCRUNCH)

The startup had raised $86 million in the first tranche of the financing in June of 2021 at a post-money valuation of $600 million. It has raised nearly $200 million since its 2017 inception, according to Crunchbase. Raising an extension as opposed to a new round made more sense because it was the same investors doubling down, according to CEO and co-founder Aron Schwarzkopf. Those backers include Kaszek Ventures, Clocktower Ventures, SoftBank Latin America Fund and DILA Capital, among others.

PayShepherd closes $3.8 million CAD to fuel North American expansion of contractor billing solution (BETAKIT)

"Now we’ve got customers coast-to-coast and on both sides of the border,” PayShepherd co-founder and CEO Wesley Sessenwein told BetaKit in an interview. After securing another $3.8 million in capital, Sessenwein said the startup’s plans involve “cementing” its presence in Canada and further expanding across the US, adding that given the connections within its customer base, Europe might not be far away either.

China Weighs Reviving Jack Ma’s Ant IPO as Crackdown Eases (BNN)

The China Securities Regulatory Commission has established a team to reassess the fintech giant’s share sale plans, said one of the people, who asked not to be named discussing private information. Authorities are also nearing the final stages of issuing Ant a long-awaited license that would clear the path for an IPO and make the company regulated more like a bank, the people said.

Michael Edgar

Michael Edgar

Michael is a multimedia journalist working out of the U.K. and a staff writer for BetaKit.

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