F|T: The FinTech Times – Wealthsimple begins offering mortgages with Pine partnership

Plus: Binance caught in anti-money laundering crosshairs.

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FINTRAC fines crypto giant Binance $6 million for flouting anti-money laundering laws

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, has been hit with an approximately $6-million CAD fine from Canada’s anti-money laundering agency.

The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) found that Binance committed two violations of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act. FINTRAC claimed that Binance failed to register as a foreign money services business and to report large virtual currency transactions.

Earlier this month, Binance founder and former CEO Changpeng Zhao, also known as ‘CZ,’ was sentenced to four months in prison.


Wealthsimple enters mortgage space through Pine partnership

Wealthsimple has introduced a new co-branded mortgage product that uses Toronto-based Pine’s digital mortgage application platform.

“We know there’s a housing affordability crisis going on right now, and since the rates have shot up over the past couple of years, we know a lot of our clients are feeling the pain,” Simon Lejeune, vice-president of growth at Wealthsimple told BetaKit in an interview. “We wanted to go to market with a way to relieve that pain.”

According to the companies, users can receive a pre-approval rate in minutes and a formal approval process can be completed in less than 24 hours, which they say is much faster than the typical timeframe of up to three days offered by traditional banks.


FTX Creditors Will Be Repaid in Full, Crypto Exchange’s Estate Says

All of FTX’s creditors, except the government, will get 100% of their money back in cash plus interest, the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange’s estate said late Tuesday.

FTX forecast that it will have between $14.5 billion and $16.3 billion in cash to distribute to customers and other creditors from the assets it has collected.

The estate has said before that it expected to settle many creditor claims in full, though that seemed a remote prospect when the firm collapsed in late 2022.

(The Wall Street Journal)

#CDNtech companies Nuvei, WonderFi, Thinkific saw revenue growth in Q1 2024

This week, Nuvei and WonderFi reported their financial results for the three months ending March 31, 2024.

BetaKit has compiled a roundup of the performance of the firms as Nuvei awaits approval of its go-private and WonderFi emerges from a public boardroom battle.

Both posted positive earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) as well as revenue growth on either a yearly or quarterly basis.


Infighting among fintech players has caused TabaPay to ‘pull out’ from buying bankrupt Synapse

Instant payments company TabaPay has abandoned its plans to purchase the assets of troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse, TabaPay confirmed to TechCrunch. Synapse says the problem is banking partner Evolve Bank & Trust. And Evolve says it is not involved, and not to blame. Meanwhile, another player in the saga, Mercury, says Synapse’s allegations have “no merit.”


Shopify CEO says Canada must overcome “go-for-bronze” culture at BetaKit Town Hall

The BetaKit Town Hall at the University of Toronto’s Myhal Centre on Tuesday brought together all corners of the tech ecosystem to discuss the state of innovation in Canada, and what should be done to support it.

Addressing the 500 attendees—which included ecosystem leaders, major VCs, and fledgling founders—during his fireside chat with BetaKit board chair Staish Kanwar, Shopify CEO Tobias Lütke leaned into the theme of “tough love,” saying the country suffers from a “go-for-bronze” culture that is often lacking in courage and ambition.

The event also platformed the vantage points of entrepreneurs in different stages of their careers to dig into what challenges and opportunities they currently face in the ecosystem and what they think needs to change. Watch the discussion between early-stage founder Joella Almeida (MedEssist), scaling founder Ivan Zhang (Cohere), repeat founder Ali Asaria (Tulip), and ecosystem newcomer Jocelyne Murphy (Socratica) here.

Their ideas ignited discussions in-person and online, offering a pulse check on the state of Canadian tech. Many expressed optimism as multiple generations of the ecosystem galvanized around the debated issues for the first time in a while, but others were eager for more action.


BlockFi partners with Coinbase for fund distribution, shuts down web platform

Bankrupt crypto lender BlockFi is completing its wind-down of operations, revealing its intention to shut down its web platform in May. BlockFi has partnered with Coinbase to allow clients to access and withdraw funds.

In a blog post, the company stated that its collaboration with Coinbase will enable “eligible BlockFi Interest Accounts, Retail Loans, and Private Clients” to withdraw their funds.


Hard Knocks: The lawyer behind some of Canada’s biggest (and quietest) deals

Not many people have behind the scenes access to Canada’s biggest tech exits and funding deals. Chad Bayne does.

As a partner at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP’s emerging and high growth companies practice, he gets a front row seat to how these deals are really done. One of his top takeaways? That the loudest startup in the room isn’t always the one making the most progress.


Startup neobank Mercury is taking on Brex and Ramp with new bill pay, spend management software

Digital banking startup Mercury is layering software onto its bank accounts, giving its business customers the ability to pay bills, invoice customers and reimburse employees, the company has told TechCrunch exclusively. The additional features puts the company in even more direct competition with the likes of Brex and Ramp, two rival fintechs that have for years been fighting for market share in an increasingly crowded space.


Why every business leader in Canada needs a Tech MBA

A new world of business calls for a new kind of business degree.

That was the thinking behind the launch last fall of the MBA in Technology Leadership—better known as the Tech MBA—by York University’s Schulich School of Business.

“We live in a completely different world, one that’s driven and constantly disrupted by technology,” said Detlev Zwick, Dean of the Schulich School of Business, one of Canada’s top-rated business schools.


As Banks Cut Off Risky Fintechs, a Tiny Lender Leans In

In Woodhaven, Queens, beneath an elevated subway line an hour’s ride from Manhattan, sits an unremarkable bank branch, squeezed between a shuttered Rite Aid and a children’s events space that moonlights as a venue for $10 adult Zumba dance classes. A plastic banner fastened to the shop front bears the lender’s name: Community Federal Savings Bank.

Despite its sleepy appearance, the lender has emerged as a partner of last resort for fintech and crypto startups that other banks have cut off as too risky. In recent months that’s included one of the world’s highest-profile fintechs: Revolut, a banking app valued at $33 billion in 2021, which moved some of its U.S. business over to CFSB in March.

(The Information)

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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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