F|T: The FinTech Times – Jack Dorsey’s Block investigated by US federal prosecutors

Plus: Binance CEO sentenced to four months.

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Federal prosecutors are examining financial transactions at Block, owner of Cash App and Square

Federal prosecutors are digging into internal practices at Block, the financial technology firm launched by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, discussing with a former employee alleged widespread and yearslong compliance lapses at the company’s two main units, Square and Cash App, two people with direct knowledge of the contacts say.

During the discussions, the former employee provided prosecutors from the Southern District of New York documents that they say show that insufficient information is collected from Square and Cash App customers to assess their risks, that Square processed thousands of transactions involving countries subject to economic sanctions and that Block processed multiple cryptocurrency transactions for terrorist groups.

(NBC News)

Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst and RBC launch FinSec incubator

The Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst and RBC have launched the RBC FinSec Incubator, a new program to foster early-stage FinTech and cybersecurity startups.

The program aims to help participating startups enhance their product security and resilience, and achieve product-market fit, by teaching entrepreneurs about industry procurement requirements and providing opportunities to demonstrate their technologies to industry experts and potential investors.


Binance founder Changpeng Zhao sentenced to four months in prison

Binance founder Changpeng Zhao was sentenced to four months in prison for failing to establish adequate anti-money laundering protections. Zhao, once the head of the largest crypto exchange in the world, pleaded guilty in November 2023.

Judge Richard Jones says that Zhao prioritized “Binance’s growth and profits over compliance with US laws and regulations.” While Jones doesn’t think Zhao is likely to reoffend, the scale of the crime is notable. Though Zhao is not as well-known as FTX fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried, he is a more important figure in the crypto world. The Chinese-Canadian entrepreneur founded Binance in 2017.

The Verge also raised some questions about what Changpeng Zhao gave to the feds.

(The Verge)

WonderFi’s Bitbuy purchases clients of Bitstamp as fellow crypto exchange exits Canada

Bitbuy, a regulated subsidiary of Toronto’s WonderFi, has acquired the Canadian customers of Bitstamp as the latter cryptocurrency trading platform pulls out of Canada.

Through a business transfer agreement announced late last week, Bitbuy has purchased more than 110,000 retail and institutional client accounts from its former competitor Bitstamp.

WonderFi also announced that it reached agreements with Kaos and Mogo to refresh its board this week. Previously, Kaos and Mogo had claimed that WonderFi underperformed despite a strong crypto market in part due to the makeup of its board, while WonderFi claimed that Mogo was seeking control of it without paying a premium.


Wealth Management Startup Altruist Valued at $1.5 Billion-Plus

Wealth management startup Altruist says it has raised $169 million, elevating its valuation to more than $1.5 billion.

Altruist, which aims to compete with Charles Schwab Corp. and Fidelity, refers to itself as a “modern custodian” building technology for financial advisers. Its software and app assist with account opening, trading and creating custom financial models.

(BNN Bloomberg)

FinTech startup Fluence Technologies agrees to be acquired by Anaplan

Toronto-based FinTech software startup Fluence Technologies is set to be acquired by Miami-based Anaplan for an undisclosed amount. The company, based in the Los Angeles area, has received an investment led by Iconiq Growth, with participation from Granite Capital Management, Adams Street Partners and Sound Ventures, according to a statement reviewed by Bloomberg News.

Founded in 2019, Fluence Technologies develops financial close, consolidation, and reporting SaaS solutions. The solution is targeted towards finance teams at high-growth and highly acquisitive companies.


Five things you’ll want to do at the world’s most interesting crypto conference

Described as The Super Bowl of blockchain meets the Cannes Film Festival of Web3, Consensus 2024 is a three-day event in Austin, Texas from May 29-31 organized by CoinDesk.

The event is known for bringing together the most influential members of the cryptocurrency, blockchain, and Web3 communities, from Wall Street titans and AI innovators to ecosystem builders, protocols, and startups.


‘Wallet-as-a-service’ startup Ansa raises $14 million with female investors leading the way

Ansa, a startup that helps merchants develop and offer branded virtual wallets, has raised a $14 million Series A round of funding, the company has told TechCrunch exclusively.

Founded in 2022 by former Adyen product manager Sophia Goldberg and ex-Affirm software engineer JT Cho, San Francisco-based Ansa is building what it describes as a white-labeled digital wallet infrastructure to help businesses process small payments and offset high credit card fees for smaller transactions.


Shopify’s Tobi Lütke headlines special BetaKit Town Hall on May 7

Canada currently faces many headwinds. The federal government’s response to these issues and our looming productivity crisis have left many in Canadian tech demanding better.

BetaKit has organized a special Town Hall bringing together Canadian founders and leaders from across the technology ecosystem for a pulse check on the state of innovation, productivity, optimism, and more.

The event will feature a discussion and AMA with Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke and conversations with Cohere co-founder Ivan Zhang, MedEssist co-founder Joella Almeida, and Tulip Retail founder Ali Asaria. We hope to see you there!


Zūm Rails hits milestone following Series A round

Zūm Rails has grown by $5 million annual recurring revenue (ARR) in the past six months, co-founder Miles Schwartz wrote in a LinkedIn post this week.

Having been bootstrapped since 2019, BetaKit covered the Montréal-based FinTech startup when it raised $10.5 million CAD in Series A financing for its payments platform in February.


Beyoncé’s former digital director thinks your culture is meaningless

Do ping pong tables, office dogs, and a casual dress code add up to a genuine “culture”?

Dr. Marcus Collins says no. The man who will deliver the keynote address at Inventures 2024 in Calgary this May lives at the intersection of marketing and culture. His career has seen him direct digital strategy for Beyoncé and award-winning campaigns for industry giants like Apple and Nike. Collins believes tech companies regularly tout “culture,” yet often fail to practice what they preach.


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Feature image courtesy Mark Warner via Wikimedia Commons.

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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