Happy Friday!
One of the biggest trends in fintech this year has been the emergence of financial chatbots. This is true even among the more traditional financial services incumbents, as Bank of America debuted Erica, its take on a voice-based AI bot, at Money 20/20 a few weeks ago.

I had a chance to sit down with Keith Armstrong, co-founder and COO and Abe.ai, when I was at Finovate two months ago. The team at Abe has built a white-labeled conversational banking bot for banks, with a goal of delivering financial coaching at scale, currently delivered through Slack and SMS.

You can hear my interview with Keith here.  (Apologies for a few moments of poor audio quality – minor cable error but the rest of the audio is clean). We address the bot hype, how they picked the name Abe, and why Orlando is a great spot to build a chatbot company.

Wealthfront rebalances its portfolio of executives
After almost three years, Andy Rachleff, the co-founder of Wealthfront, is resuming his role as CEO. He says he wants to have a more direct influence in Wealthfront and be more involved on the operating side, while former CEO Adam Nash will have a strategic role on the Board. The change at the top mirrors other key departures earlier this year, including the COO and a few top product heads.

Another cryptocurrency launches
While Bitcoin is still the most popular form of cryptocurrency, new versions continue to come out as coders devise new ways to structure security, privacy, and authentication.  The latest entrant is Zcash, which layers additional anonymity protocols on top of the original Bitcoin code. While over 700 cryptocurrencies have been created since Bitcoin first launched, it is estimated than only around 10 have a market cap greater than $10MM.

New Jersey bank raises VC funding
Cross River Bank raised $28MM in venture capital. Battery Ventures led the round with participation from a16z and Ribbit Capital. While Cross River is well-known for being the bank behind billions in marketplace loans from lenders such as Affirm and Upstart, they are also expanding into payments and other areas. One lesser-known initiative is a new digital bank being incubated called Almond Bank. Cross River has been working on the project for around a year – no word yet on when it will launch. In addition to providing the banking infrastructure for fintech companies, Cross River shows it can offer its investors some home-grown upside as well.