General Overview

As 2023 comes to an end, the convergence of regulatory changes, technological advancements, and strategic market moves underscores a shared narrative of relentless disruption and innovation across a range of transformative sectors, including cloud computing, cybersecurity, egaming & esports, automobile innovation, 5G, fintech, genomics, and robotics & automation. Here’s a look at some of the trends and developments in these sectors in December. 

Sector Specific Updates

Automobile Innovation

In December, Canada’s Environment Minister, Steven Guilbeault, unveiled the Electric Vehicle Availability Standard, requiring all new cars, SUVs, crossovers, and light-duty pickup trucks sold in Canada to be 100% zero-emission by 2035 The regulation mandates escalating annual sales requirements of 20% in 2026, 60% in 2030, and reaching 100% in 2035. These targets align with California, Quebec, B.C., and several U.S. states.²

Source Image: Getty Images / MASTER

The Electric Vehicle Availability Standard challenges automakers to shift from luxury EVs to more affordable mainstream options while emphasizing the need for increased public charging stations. Companies can comply with the new regulation by selling zero-emission EVs, using credits, or investing in charging infrastructure. Ottawa has already adjusted its credit system for plug-in hybrids in response to industry concerns about the availability of charging infrastructure in certain parts of the country while still propelling Canada toward a zero-emission vehicle future.³ 


In December, the FBI announced the disruption of the BlackCat ransomware. With the aid of law enforcement agencies from Austria, Australia, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, and the U.K., as well as a mole within BlackCat, the FBI was able to hack the hackers and not only bring down their dark web portal but provide a decryption tool allowing more than 500 victims regain locked files that BlackCat had been holding for a total ransom of nearly $68 million. First appearing in late 2021, BlackCat had grown to be the second largest ransomware-as-a-service strain after LockBit.⁴

Source: Proterger Admin

Cloud Computing

Microsoft unveiled details of its ground-breaking glass-based data storage, known as Project Silica, at the 29th ACM Symposium on Operating Systems Principles. The research paper from Microsoft introduces the first cloud storage system leveraging quartz glass—an exceptionally durable medium enabling indefinite data retention. Project Silica holds the promise of rendering ransomware attacks on cloud-stored data virtually impossible.

Source: Jonathan Banks/ Photobanks Ltd.

Silica’s chief innovation is using ultrafast lasers to etch data into square glass platters in layers, offering a highly efficient archival solution. To read stored data, machine learning is employed to decode microscopic analog signals scanned from the glass back into digital data. With applications spanning finance, scientific research, and healthcare, Silica’s secure archival glass storage could fortify organizations against ransomware threats. 

Microsoft is actively configuring the physical library for glass storage based only on its own Azure cloud usage patterns, meaning that when the tech is ready, only Azure customers are likely to benefit.⁵


As part of its 25th anniversary celebrations in December, Rockstar Games, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software (held by the Fund), announced that the long-awaited Grand Theft Auto VI is coming to PlayStation and Xbox 2025. In their announcement, Rockstar Games promised to continue to “push the limits of what’s possible in highly immersive, story-driven open-world experiences.”⁶

Source: Rockstar Games

The predecessor in the series, GTA V (2013), continues to generate hundreds of millions in annual revenue and is the second-most watched game streaming on Twitch despite being more than ten years old. GTA V has sold more than 185 million copies to date and has made nearly $8 billion in revenue on a production budget of ~$265 million. The majority of the game’s income comes from subscriptions and in-game purchases. With 78% of Take-Two Interactive’s revenues in 2023 derived from such subscriptions and in-game purchases, look for GTA VI to follow the same model once published.⁷


Vertex Pharmaceuticals received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for the first cell-based gene therapy for treating sickle cell disease (SCD) in patients 12 years old and older. The treatment, Casgevy, uses CRISPR/Cas9 technology as part of a novel gene editing technique to alter a patient’s genome, marking a significant leap in gene therapy.⁸

Source: Darryl Leja, NHGRI

Sickle cell disease affects around 100,000 Americans, predominantly African Americans and Hispanic Americans, due to an inherited blood disorder that mutates the shape of red blood cells, leading to severe pain and organ damage. Casgevy is a one-time therapy offering the potential of a functional cure for sickle cell disease.⁹ And because doctors use the patient’s own cells and DNA, there is no chance of rejection as with donor cells.¹⁰


Coinbase, the cryptocurrency exchange giant, expanded its services globally by introducing spot crypto trading on its international platform in December. This move signifies the company’s strategic push beyond the U.S., with spot trading phased in gradually on the international exchange, initially focusing on derivatives. The rollout commenced with bitcoin and ether trading against the USDC stablecoin, catering primarily to institutional clients. The surge in Bitcoin’s value, doubling over the course of 2023 and reaching a 20-month high in December, is attributed to the anticipation surrounding the approval of a spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) in early 2024. In tandem with Bitcoin’s rise, Coinbase’s own shares have quadrupled in value this year.¹¹ JMP Securities, expressing confidence in Coinbase’s trajectory, drew parallels between the position of Coinbase and Amazon in its earlier years, underscoring the potential for sustained success.¹²

Source: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Robotics & Automation

Meta, OpenAI, and Microsoft have declared their intention to use AMD’s latest AI chip, the Instinct MI300X, marking a potential shift towards alternatives to Nvidia’s costly graphics processors which are crucial for artificial intelligence (AI). The move signals a broader trend among tech companies seeking more economical options for AI development. AMD’s CEO, Lisa Su, envisions owning a substantial share of the projected $400 billion AI chip market in 2027.

Source: AMD

Revealed during an AMD investor event, the collaboration marks a significant step in the quest for alternatives to Nvidia’s dominant position in AI processing. If the MI300X, set to ship early next year, proves sufficiently effective and affordable, it could streamline AI model development, posing a competitive challenge to Nvidia’s robust sales growth in the AI chip sector. 

The Instinct MI300X boasts a novel architecture and stands out with 192GB of high-performance HBM3 memory, facilitating faster data transfer and accommodation of larger AI models. AMD’s enhancements to the ROCm software suite, also disclosed during the event, position it as a competitive counterpart to Nvidia’s CUDA software, addressing a key preference among AI developers.¹³


The Colombian Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications (MinTIC) recently concluded its 5G spectrum auction, raking in approximately COP1.37 trillion ($352.73 million) over nine rounds of bidding. The auction, lasting a mere five hours on December 20, featured the 3.5GHz band, with successful bidders securing 80MHz blocks. Notable winners included Union Temporal Colombia Movil-Telefonica, WOM, Sociedad Futura Telecall Colombia, and Claro Colombia, making bids ranging from COP318.306 billion to COP411.384 billion.

Source: – article – Maria Alegandra Trujillo, “Colombia’s 5G Spectrum Auction: A Tale of Limited Coverage”

Claro Colombia further secured a 4G-suitable 2.5GHz spectrum block for COP157.057 billion. Interestingly, the 700MHz, 1900MHz, and Extended AWS bands saw no takers. Minister of Information Technologies and Communications, Mauricio Lizcano, highlighted that 82.5% of the available spectrum was acquired during the auction. All successful bidders are granted permission for technical tests starting January 2024, and commercial 5G deployments are slated for February 1, 2024.¹⁴

EDGE ETF: Investment in Innovation

The Evolve Innovation Index Fund (EDGE ETF) is an 8-in-1 innovation fund that invests in disruptive innovation themes across a broad range of industries, including: cloud computing, cybersecurity, egaming & esports, automobile innovation, 5G, fintech, genomics, and robotics & automation. For more information on EDGE ETF, visit our website at or click here. Give your portfolio an EDGE. 

Portfolio Strategy and Activity

For the month, Evolve Cyber Security Index Fund made the largest contribution to the Fund, followed by Evolve Automobile Innovation Index Fund and Evolve Cloud Computing Index Fund. The largest detractors to performance for the month were Evolve E-Gaming Index ETF, followed by BeiGene Ltd and KDDI Corporation. 



  1. Stueck, W., “Auto industry wins concessions on hybrid vehicles under Canada’s zero-emissions regulations,” The Globe and Mail, December 20, 2023;
  2. Bubbers, M., “The Liberal EV mandate is no moonshot. We need it if we want to see cheaper EVs,” The Globe and Mail, December 21, 2023;
  3. Stueck, W., “Auto industry wins concessions on hybrid vehicles under Canada’s zero-emissions regulations,” The Globe and Mail, December 20, 2023;
  4. “FBI Takes Down BlackCat Ransomware, Releases Free Decryption Tool,” The Hacker News, December 19, 2023;
  5. Afifi-Sabet, K., “Microsoft inches closer to glass storage breakthrough that could finally make ransomware attacks impossible in the data center and hyperscalers — but only Azure customers will benefit from it,” TechRadar, December 06, 2023;
  6. “Rockstar Games Announces Grand Theft Auto VI, Coming 2025,” BusinessWire, December 4, 2023;
  7. Lu, M., “Charting Grand Theft Auto: GTA’s Budget and Revenues,” Visual Capitalist, December 5, 2023;
  8. “FDA Approves First Gene Therapies to Treat Patients with Sickle Cell Disease,” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, December 08, 2023;
  9. “Vertex and CRISPR Therapeutics Announce US FDA Approval of CASGEVY (exagamglogene autotemcel) for the Treatment of Sickle Cell Disease,” Vertex Pharmaceuticals, December 8, 2023;
  10. Wong, C., “UK first to approve CRISPR treatment for diseases: what you need to know,” Nature, November 16, 2023;
  11. “Coinbase’s international exchange to launch spot crypto trading,” Reuters, December 13, 2023;
  12. “JMP Securities bullish on Coinbase (COIN) – sees same attributes that were present in Amazon decades ago,” Street Insider, December 22, 2023;
  13. Leswing, K., “Meta and Microsoft say they will buy AMD’s new AI chip as an alternative to Nvidia’s,” CNBC, December 6, 2023;
  14. “Colombian 5G auction generates COP1.37tn; four bidders walk away with 3.5GHz spectrum,” Comms Update, December 21, 2023;
The contents of this blog are not to be used or construed as investment advice or as an endorsement or recommendation of any entity or security discussed. These contents are not an offer or solicitation of an offer or a recommendation to buy or sell any securities or financial instrument, nor shall it be deemed to provide investment, tax or accounting advice. The information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only.
Commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with exchange traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds (funds). Please read the prospectus before investing. ETFs and mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently, and past performance may not be repeated. There are risks involved with investing in ETFs and mutual funds. Please read the prospectus for a complete description of risks relevant to ETFs and mutual funds. Investors may incur customary brokerage commissions in buying or selling ETF and mutual fund units.
Certain statements contained in this blog may constitute forward-looking information within the meaning of Canadian securities laws. Forward-looking information may relate to a future outlook and anticipated distributions, events or results and may include statements regarding future financial performance. In some cases, forward-looking information can be identified by terms such as “may”, “will”, “should”, “expect”, “anticipate”, “believe”, “intend” or other similar expressions concerning matters that are not historical facts. Actual results may vary from such forward-looking information. Evolve Funds undertakes no obligation to update publicly or otherwise revise any forward-looking statement whether as a result of new information, future events or other such factors which affect this information, except as required by law.

Tags AI  artificial intelligence  cyber security  EDGE etf  fintech  Genomics