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Newmarket recouping full investment in sale of its ISP: mayor



The Town of Newmarket has sold off the internet service provider (ISP) into which it invested millions, but said it will completely recoup those dollars.

Mayor John Taylor said it was a way for council to avoid making another significant, long-term capital investment to expand the business. Although the town’s legal department is still vetting the public release of what the sale cost telMAX, Taylor said it entirely covers the town’s investment into ENVI.

“The environment when ENVI was born into now has become much more competitive,” Taylor said, adding that the business was growing but “would have required a significant, long-term continued investment by shareholders, and by extension, the taxpayer.

“We’re de-risking ourselves considerably,” he added. “This is really an exceptional outcome.”

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The 30 kilometres of fibre and more than 200 customers of ENVI, which began as a $5-million startup in 2018 to expand fibre optic connectivity in Newmarket, will be completely absorbed by Stouffville-based ISP telMAX.

The town has said telMAX will be able to expand the network faster than the municipality could have. Taylor said the investment telMAX is making toward expansion would be approximately $60 million, something the town may have had to put into it over a long period.

The money from the sale will cover the ENVI’s line of credit, Taylor said, with the remainder going back into the reserves used to start up the company initially.

ENVI president and CEO Gianni Creta said they were challenged by the pandemic causing businesses they were targeting to have employees work from home. Still, he said they continued to grow and gain trust in the community.

“I would have loved to have done more and gone bigger, but I’m definitely not disappointed at all in the way we’ve run the business,” he said.

The model has had its skeptics since the beginning. Lloyd Ainey, a Newmarket resident and senior partner of Toronto-based telecom Interface Technologies, said ENVI did not make sense given the competition in the market.

“The town can’t loss leader,” he said, adding that the fibre market had also softened as new technologies have emerged like data centres. “I went to those guys and said, ‘Guys, I think you’re making a mistake. We got all these kinds of pressures.’”

But the ability of the town to recover its investment indicates a degree of success, Taylor said. He said he understands the skeptics, and they may be pleased about the municipality divesting itself of the ISP, but there were benefits to undertaking the risk.

“I really feel like we’ve found a balance,” Taylor said. “Taken some level of risk, taken some bold steps to be a leader, but we’ve also seen an opportunity to de-risk and accelerate that program.

“This journey, that investment, has put us into a position to have this sale, which is really going to thrust ourselves into one of the fastest, fully wired communities in Canada,” Taylor further said.

There will be a transition period, Creta said, but he added they have assured ENVI customers that they will be able to maintain those services. Now, telMAX will make its way into the community, with the town boasting about PC Magazine rating it as the fastest Canadian ISP in June of this year.

The mayor expressed appreciation for the board and workers of ENVI and everyone that bought into it.

“We did something incredible,” he said. “This will accelerate our community significantly.”

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Choose Your Investment Guru Wisely – Forbes



If you want to learn how to play tennis, it makes more sense to take the Masterclass from Serena Williams than to watch a random infomercial or a video from your high school coach. If you want to learn about investing you should also seek out the best.

Warren Buffett is verifiably the best investor of all time, with an audited track record going back several decades. Why, then, do so many would-be investors choose other role models, who all too often turn out to be hucksters and hacks—or just plain misguided?

I’ve asked the question many times. I’ve posed it to my NYU finance students each semester for over 20 years. Still, there’s no satisfying answer. I could hardly believe it when Bloomberg reported that Caroline Ellison of Alameda, FTX, and crypto infamy (and the former girlfriend of Sam Bankman-Fried) had supposedly learned investment strategies from Edwin Lefèvre’s Reminiscences of a Stock Operator, a roman à clef based on the life of Jesse Livermore, the stock trader who made a fortune shorting stocks before the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

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I’ve heard other young stock enthusiasts cite the book before. In 2021, Business Insider published a profile of 20 ambitious teen traders. One even mentioned Reminiscences as a favorite book. It’s one thing to read this book as entertainment. It’s another thing entirely to read it as an instruction manual. That’s because the book was published in 1923—long before Jesse Livermore’s last act.

At the age of 14, young Livermore had his first job posting stock quotes at the Boston branch of Paine Webber. His colorful life makes for great artistic inspiration and Lefèvre was probably unable to resist the allure. Livermore made and lost his fortune many times, not a sign of a good investor but rather the clear profile of a gambler and speculator. Livermore was a flamboyant character. He had a railcar, yacht and an extravagant apartment on the Upper West Side. He belonged to exclusive clubs and kept many mistresses. In the panic of 1907, Livermore made a million dollars in a single day. This was real money back then. But by 1915 he had filed for bankruptcy—and not for the first time. In the end, he lost his entire fortune and filed for bankruptcy a third time. This was in 1934, when his assets were listed at $84,000 and his debts at $2.5 million. That was his final business act. His final personal act was to shoot himself to death in the cloakroom of the Sherry-Netherland hotel in Manhattan on Thanksgiving Day, 1940.

In an era where people get their news from TikTok and Instagram, it’s not surprising that they would take the same dumb approach to learning about investing. But if you ever base your investment technique on a novel, be sure you know the ending of the real story first.

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Government of Canada announces investment in three Waterloo Region tech businesses –



Today, the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) announced an investment of more than $10 million in three Kitchener-Waterloo tech companies.

Miovision Technologies is a Kitchener-based company that lets cities and towns reduce traffic congestion and vehicle emissions while improving public safety through intelligent transportation solutions. With the $7.4-million repayable investment through the Jobs and Growth Fund, Miovision will develop TrafficLink and Scout, its traffic monitoring hardware and software. It also plans to increase its network by up to 100,000 intersections in North America over the next four years, and will further its transition into “Smart City” technologies, expanding its presence globally and adding 58 jobs,

Advanced Electrophoresis Solutions Ltd. is a Cambridge medical technology manufacturer specializing in the development of testing instruments for pharmaceutical companies to analyze protein structures and interactions. The repayable investment of over $1.7 million, through the Business Scale-up and Productivity stream, will allow the company to increase the production of ready-to-use customized testing instruments, and grow its sales and marketing team. Advanced Electrophoresis Solutions is looking to expand its presence in Asia and Europe while also creating 11 additional jobs within Waterloo.

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Huron Digital Pathology is a St. Jacobs-based medical equipment company that develops digital imaging solutions in the pathology field for the clinical, research and education markets. With the $1-million repayable investment through the Business Scale-up and Productivity stream, the company can increase the production of its digital pathology scanners. It hopes to revolutionize disease diagnosis by being the first company to bring to market an Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabled image search engine for use in the pathology field. Huron Digital Pathology is looking to increase its productivity. with the goal of producing over 100 scanners every year and creating 11 skilled jobs.

“Tech companies, like the three highlighted today, are what builds Waterloo region’s growing resumé of research and innovation. Canadian tech companies work tirelessly to bring new products and processes to markets that will benefit our regional economy and Canadians,” said The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. “The Government of Canada is committed to supporting businesses as they adopt new digital solutions, enhance global competitiveness and create local jobs that will contribute to a growing economy that works for everyone.”

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After FTX, is crypto as an investment dead?



But following a series of failures in the industry, including the collapse of Bahamas-based FTX Trading Ltd. in November, bitcoin and ether prices are now down by about 75% from their all-time highs a year earlier — and financial advisors and crypto experts are divided as to the industry’s fate.

Many crypto skeptics see the collapse of FTX as confirming their worst suspicions.

“[Cryptocurrency] is highly speculative, highly volatile and it’s something you steer away from until we see signs of maturity in that sector,” said Andrew Pyle, investment advisor with CIBC Wood Gundy in Peterborough, Ont.

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While the blockchain technology that underpins cryptocurrency is likely to offer investment opportunities in the future, the sector has no place today in the portfolios of the “vast majority” of clients, said Pyle, who has never recommended crypto investments.

The fallout from FTX’s collapse means “you’re looking at a number of years before you get broader public trust in cryptocurrencies,” said Mark Noble, executive vice-president of ETF strategy with Horizons ETFs Management (Canada) Inc.

“That said, I don’t think the crypto ecosystem goes away,” Noble said, suggesting that blockchain innovations will continue during what could be a long “crypto winter” of little investor interest. Horizons ETFs offers both long and short bitcoin funds.

Institutional investors who believe in the transformative potential of blockchain technology are likely to “double down” on investments, said Michael Zagari, an investment advisor in Montreal with Burlington, Ont.-based Mandeville Private Client Inc.

“Just because one investment [FTX] didn’t work doesn’t mean they’re going to stop there,” said Zagari, who suggests there will be “a lot of deals to be had” but believes the industry will remain volatile for the next 12–18 months.

He recommends allocating no more than 10% of a portfolio to cryptocurrency or crypto-related investments for risk-tolerant clients with at least a 10-year horizon, as part of their equity exposure.

FTX’s bankruptcy has caused other crypto exchanges to suspend withdrawals, with some struggling to continue operating.

And “there are going to be more shoes to drop. We just don’t how many or how big,” said Alex Tapscott, managing director of the digital asset group with Ninepoint Partners LP, during a Nov. 24 webinar.

Characterizing himself as “short-term bearish, long-term bullish” on cryptocurrency, Tapscott suggested that the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec exposed themselves to “huge concentration risk” by each investing in a single crypto firm rather taking positions in established cryptocurrencies. (See “Highs and lows,” below.)

Brian Mosoff, CEO of Toronto-based Ether Capital Corp., also said bitcoin and ether will endure through this crash, even if some exchanges don’t. “Nothing has changed [in terms of the technology],” Mosoff said. Bitcoin and ether “still do exactly what they set out to do: the fundamentals are the same; the value proposition is the same.”

Retail investors seem to agree. While crypto ETF assets under management dropped by $4.1 billion between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30, only $66 million of the decline was due to outflows, according to data from National Bank Financial Markets (NBFM).

“It seems like the crypto ETF users in Canada are sticking to their allocations,” said Daniel Straus, director of ETF research and financial products research with NBFM, in an email to Investment Executive. “Bitcoin and ether are both extremely risky and speculative, but the anemic outflows from Canadian crypto ETFs suggest their investors may be treating them like ‘moonshot’ long-term bets.”

Mike Tropeano, senior director of wealth consulting with Broadridge Financial Solutions Inc. in Boston, said he expects global regulators to “be much harsher” on the crypto industry after the collapse of FTX. What will follow over the next few years is “a thinning of the herd,” a flight to safety to the most established names, and more innovation.

“The information is still flowing daily, [not only] with regard to FTX but [also] with the overall market,” Tropeano said. “Anyone who is looking to play a role in the market — the [financial] advisor especially — requires a lot of diligence to stay on top of what is happening.”

Mosoff suggested some “advisors are probably relaxing a little bit,” knowing that clients are less likely to be asking about investing in cryptocurrency “until the next cycle starts.” But he said that cycle will come, and advisors should use the crypto winter to educate themselves.

While the fall of FTX and BlockFi Lending LLC have shaken the market, the depth of the crypto winter may depend on how the industry’s established behemoths weather the storm, said Daniel Gonzalez, research analyst and consultant in Toronto with California-based Javelin Strategy & Research: “If a Coinbase, or Binance were to go down the drain, I think that would end crypto adoption for retail investors for a while.”

In many ways, the advisor’s role now isn’t different from what it was when cryptocurrencies were trading at their peaks.

“There’s absolutely a role for advisors to play here, and it’s to be the voice of reason [in terms of allocation to cryptocurrency],” Mosoff said. “But I don’t think that’s saying, ‘I’m going to rule out an asset class entirely.’”

That said, cryptocurrency has not proven to be an inflation hedge or a diversifier, said Jason Heath, managing director of Objective Financial Partners Inc. in Markham, Ont. Furthermore, “higher interest rates and a likely recession are sure to hinder speculative investments like cryptocurrency in 2023.”

Pyle said expecting retail investors to understand is unreasonable “if institutional investors, traders, analysts, portfolio managers, hedge fund managers and even regulators can’t understand this space.”

An advisor’s “paramount responsibility is to protect your clients’ wealth,” Pyle added. “Protect it from inflation, protect it from running out and protect it de facto from things that most people don’t understand.”

Highs and lows in the crypto space


Feb. 18: Toronto-based Purpose Investments Inc. launches world’s first bitcoin ETF.

October: Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board (OTPP) invests US$75 million in FTX Trading Ltd. through its Teachers’ Venture Growth platform.

Oct. 12: Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec invests US$150 million in New Jersey-based Celsius Network LLC, a crypto lender.

Nov. 10: Bitcoin hits its all-time intraday high of US$68,789.63.

Nov. 16: Ether hits its all-time intraday high of US$4,891.70.


January: The OTPP invests another US$20 million in FTX.

Jan. 10: Fidelity Investments Canada ULC announces it will add 1%–3% exposure to bitcoin in its asset-allocation ETFs. (The target allocations remain the same as of press time.)

Feb. 14: New Jersey-based BlockFi Lending LLC agrees to pay the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission US$100 million in penalties and pursue registration of its crypto lending product.

March 31: Canadian cryptocurrency ETFs amass $6.1 billion in assets under management, according to data from National Bank Financial.

May: TerraUSD stablecoin and Luna, a linked token, crash.

June 18: Bitcoin plunges below US$25,000. It was trading above US$50,000 in early May.

July 6: Voyager Digital Ltd., a New York-based crypto broker, files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

July 13: Celsius Network files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Aug. 17: Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec announces it is writing down its entire investment in Celsius Network.

Nov. 11: FTX files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Nov. 17: OTPP announces it will write down its entire investment in FTX.

Nov. 21: U.S. senators Elizabeth Warren, Dick Durbin and Tina Smith send a letter to FMR LLC (Fidelity Investments) asking the firm to reconsider a decision to allow 401(k) plans to offer access to bitcoin.

Nov. 27: Bitfront, a U.S. crypto exchange, announces it will cease operations in March 2023. The platform stated the decision “is unrelated to recent issues related to certain exchanges that have been accused of misconduct.”

Nov. 28: BlockFi files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing exposure to FTX.

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