Uber Co-Founder's Crypto Brokerage Firm Now Publicly Trading on Canadian Stock Exchange

Voyager, a brokerage firm that focuses on finding the best rates for bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies, has decided to go public on Toronto, Canada’s Venture Exchange (TSX-V).

According to the company’s announcement, Voyager’s shares will be publicly listed - after the completion of a recent “reverse merger” valued at about $60 million. Launched by former Uber chief technical officer, Oscar Salazar, the (previously) privately-held firm acquired UC Resources Ltd., a publicly-traded mineral exploration company.

The acquisition is reportedly part of a deal that involves UC Resources signing a share-purchase agreement proposed by Voyager’s management.UC Resources and Voyager have now jointly established Voyager Digital (Canada) Ltd., and this new commercial entity’s shares are currently listed on the TSX Ventures Exchange under the ticker VYGR.V.

Commenting on the merger, Stephen Ehrlich, the CEO at Voyager, remarked:

By becoming a publicly traded entity, Voyager allows the traditional investing community to tap the public markets for exposure to this important asset class and financial utility that is built upon the technology of the future.

According to Ehrlich, the Voyager’s decision to go public could bring a “high level of trust” to the company’s clients. He explained that the newly established business entity, Voyager Digital, would allow traditional equities traders to indirectly gain exposure to cryptoassets by purchasing Voyager’s shares. In an official company blog post, Ehrlich wrote: 

This type of exposure will help more people become comfortable with the crypto market and ultimately increase widespread adoption.

Not Charging Usage Fees Or Commission

Established in July 2018, Voyager aims to provide a convenient way to trade bitcoin and other digital assets. The fintech startup offers a mobile app that allows users to compare cryptocurrency prices - based on quotes from several different exchanges. Because of this feature, Voyager’s management claims its customers are able to get the best (or cheapest) rates for cryptos. Notably, there’s no commission charged for using Voyager’s app, as the company reportedly generates revenue from capturing small spreads on cryptocurrency price movements.

During a recent interview with CCN, Ehrlich revealed how the Voyager app matches the best orders for its customers. He explained: 

Best execution has four components: price, quantity, the depth of liquidity, and the reliability of the API on the exchanges. We look at all those factors and try to get you the best execution possible. We’ve built a really detailed, complex algorithm to make sure that we can execute across all those exchanges and still be able to bring back the best execution quality back to our customer.

Securing Partnerships With Market Makers To Provide Greater Liquidity 

Ehrlich further noted that a greater level of “transparency” (from exchanges and crypto-related service providers) was required before more investors could be persuaded to invest in digital assets.

He added:

We are legally required to disclose both quarterly and annual reports as well as mergers, acquisitions, insider trading, securities transactions by company insiders, and ownership changes.

Going on to mention that Voyager is under obligation to help its shareholders earn a return on their investments, Ehrlich confirmed that the company had raised $7 million through private funding, in addition to the most recent $60 million funding round. Voyager’s management has also reportedly secured partnerships with ten market makers and digital asset exchanges, in order to gain access to more liquidity.

Additionally, Voyager has been granted a money transmitter license in 10 different US states. At present, the crypto startup is planning to obtain the same license in 20 more US states.

Microsoft's Bing Reportedly Blocked Over 5 Million Cryptocurrency Ads Last Year

Francisco Memoria

Microsoft’s search engine Bing has reportedly blocked over 5 million cryptocurrency-related ads last year, as a result of a ban the search engine enacted in an attempt to protect its users from fraudsters.

According to Bing’s ad quality review, the company’s bad account takedowns doubled in 2018, with cryptocurrency, weapons, and third-party tech support scams being the main problems it faced. Overall, Bing suspended “nearly 200,000 accounts” last year, and removed 900 million ads from its platform.

As covered, Bing banned cryptocurrency-related ads back in May, in a move it claimed was made to protect users from scammers, as the crypto market being unregulated meant cryptocurrencies “present a possible elevated risk to our users with the potential for bad actors to participate in predatory behaviors, or otherwise scam consumers.”

At the time Melissa Alsoszatai-Petheo, who published the company’s blog post on the move, wrote:

To help protect our users from this risk, we have made the decision to disallow advertising for cryptocurrency, cryptocurrency related products, and un-regulated binary options. Bing Ads will implement this change to our financial product and services policy globally in June, with enforcement rolling out in late June to early July.

The move saw cryptocurrencies join other questionable products and services Microsoft banned from its platform. These include Ponzi and pyramid schemes, and the mentioned third-party tech support scams.

Bing notably banned cryptocurrency-related ads following bans enacted by search giant Google and social media giant Facebook. These two firms have since started allowing crypto-related ads from a few companies.

At the time, various cryptocurrency associations threatened lawsuits against the tech giants over what they claimed to be “cartel collusion” against cryptos, made in an attempt to manipulate the market.

Although Microsoft’s search engine has banned crypto ads, the tech giant itself has been accepting bitcoin payments since 2014. Its website even has a how-to page walking users through the process of topping up their accounts using BTC.