Thursday May 9 2019, Weekly News Digest

leveraged loans

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi launches ETF for gig market. LendingClub’s higher fees lead to earnings win. CrowdStreet hits $500M in real estate investments. Funding Circle offers manual lending in foreign markets. Marcus delays German launch. Today’s main analysis: LendingClub, GreenSky, and OnDeck earnings. Today’s thought-provoking articles: GDP growth continues. The pros and cons […]

The post Thursday May 9 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

leveraged loans

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United States

United Kingdom

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News Summary

United States

SoFi launches gig-focused ETF (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Today, the company announced a new exchange-traded fund (ETF) product focused on the gig economy. GIGE, which trades on Nasdaq, is an actively managed fund advised by Toroso Investments that allows investors to capitalize on this hot sector of the economy. Toroso offers a range of services around creating and managing ETFs.

The company also announced the creation of an ETF focused on high-growth stocks. That ETF, which trades as SFYF on the NYSE, is designed to identify and capture the growth of the top 50 of the 1,000 largest publicly traded issues.

LendingClub Records Higher Transaction Fees on the Way to Earnings Beat (TheStreet), Rated: AAA

Online-loan marketplace LendingClub (LC – Get Report) was rising more than 14% Wednesday to $3.70 after reporting a surprise profit in the first quarter, though the company’s guidance was short of expectations.

LendingClub reported a 22% increase in transaction fees that led to a 15% increase in revenue to $174.4 million and adjusted earnings of 2 cents per share. Wall Street was expecting the company to report revenue of $169.4 million and a loss of 3 cents per share.

Higher Fees Drive LendingClub’s Earnings Beat (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The marketplace lending platform reported adjusted net loss of $11.25 million, or 3 cents a share — red ink, but less than the 4 cents per share loss analysts were forecasting.

That stronger-than-expected revenue outcome was driven by stronger-than-expected loan originations during the first quarter, which rose 18 percent year-on-year to $2.73 billion. That increase in originations drove an increase in transaction fees, which were up 22 percent to $135.4 million.

For the second quarter, the company expects net revenue between $185 million and $195 million, with the high end slightly below the average analyst estimate of $196.7 million.

Why LendingClub Stock Leapt 12.4% Today (The Motley Fool), Rated: B

Wedbush believes LendingClub’s improving operating efficiency will help it produce an adjusted EBITDA margin of 20% by the end of 2019. The firm also expects LendingClub to grow revenue by 12%-15% annually in the coming years.

LendingClub, GreenSky and OnDeck Q1 2019 Earnings Results (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

LendingClub

LendingClub rounded out 2018 originating the most loans in the company’s history at $10.9 billion. With their Q1 2019 results, the company is off to a great start in 2019. Originations were $2.7 billion, up 18% year over year. The company reported that application growth was 31% over the same period.

Source: Lend Academy

Net revenues came in above high end guidance of $172 million at $174.4 million for the quarter, up 15% year over year. GAAP Consolidated Net Loss was $(19.9) million, compared to $(31.2) million in Q1 2018. Finally, the company delivered adjusted EBITDA of $22.6, up 47% year over year and well above their projections of $13-$18 million. LendingClub is on track to become adjusted net income profitable over the second half of 2019.

GreenSky Q1 2019 Earnings

In Q1 2019 GreenSky increased transaction volume on the platform 20% to $1.2 billion. They also grew revenue 22% to $103.7 million form the prior year period. GAAP Net Income in Q1 2019 was $7.4 million. The company had aggregate commitments of $11.8 billion from nine bank partners of which $4.5 billion remain unused. The company ended the quarter with $268 million in cash.

Source: Lend Academy

OnDeck Q1 2019 Earnings

Originations fell for the quarter to $636 million compared to $658 million for the previous quarter. This was attributed to OnDeck tightening their credit box during the quarter. The company shared that their line of credit product reached an all time high of $150 million for the quarter.

Strong GDP Growth Continues (PeerIQ Email), Rated: AAA

Unemployment fell to 3.6% – the lowest level since 1969. The last time unemployment levels were this low, the first humans landed on the moon. The inflation rate was 5.5% The DJIA was 800. The average cost of a new home was $15K, and the average salary was $9K. A gallon of gas cost a scorching thirty-five cents.

Source: PeerIQ

On the regulatory front, Senator Durbin introduces a bill to create a 36% APR Cap on Consumer Loans. The 36% cap matches a similar rate for loans offered to service members and is superseded by strict state-level caps, and offers no preemption of the patchwork of state laws for digital models.

Online marketplace reaches $ 500M in online real estate investments (Real Estate Weekly), Rated: AAA

CrowdStreet, Inc., a technology provider with an online marketplace for direct equity investment in commercial real estate (CRE), announced that in March it crossed the $500 million threshold in total online investments with a record number of new individual investors.

The news accompanies a record quarter with over $75 million invested.

The Pros And Cons Of Leveraged Loans (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

Corporate America has taken on substantially more debt in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Today, the underlying structure of that leverage looks different. Fewer bonds are being issued. Bank loans to indebted companies now match junk bonds in total issue. This article will review the market for leveraged loans – a marketplace that has grown tenfold in the new millennium and has passed the $1 trillion threshold.

In 2017, nearly 70% of levered loans were refinanced at lower interest rates. That creates a lot of turnover.

BlackRock is building a team of 30 data scientists to create a next-generation stock-lending platform (Business Insider), Rated: A

BlackRock founded a Palo Alto, California-based group called AI Labs last year, directed by the Stanford professor Stephen Boyd. Now, according to job postings reviewed by Business Insider, the 30-member team is tackling projects ranging from next-generation lending platforms to automating human tasks.

ONLINE LENDER SETTLES WITH FTC FOR .85 MILLION (Lawyers and Settlements), Rated: A

Avant LLC, the online lending phenomenon which had previously been hailed as a “breakout financial success story,” has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for $3.85 million. Although the lawsuit largely relied on a different federal statute, it shares much of the consumer financial protection zeal of the excessive overdraft fee lawsuits recently leveled against credit unions, banks and payday lenders. But it also reveals shortcomings in federal consumer protection laws.

Providing Additional Liquidity to Some Delinquent Borrowers Can Actually be a Win-Win (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Consumers who fall behind on credit payments may find an unexpected lifeline—another loan from their lender. A new TransUnion (TRU) study found that, in some instances, both lenders and consumers can benefit when additional loans are extended to customers during difficult times. The findings were released today during the 2019 TransUnion Financial Services Summit, attended by more than 300 executives from across the globe.

In the study, 31% of delinquent borrowers experienced improvement on one or more of their delinquent debts when securing a new personal loan. In addition, 24% of borrowers also performed well on the new loan.

Monzo plots US launch as soon as this summer (The Telegraph), Rated: A

Monzo, the mobile banking app known for its coral coloured debit cards, is planning to launch in America as soon as this summer, The Daily Telegraph has learnt.

The £1bn start-up challenger bank is in the process of hiring executives to lead its product and marketing arms in the US. It is expected that the company will choose Los Angeles as its base.

Affirm, Kabbage, Tala — The Big Three of Online Loans (Bitnews Today), Rated: AAA

Affirm is a company that provides payday loans online and at points of sale. To receive an approval decision, a potential Affirm client does not have to wait long — the company’s scoring system processes its questionnaire, profiles in social networks and other documents very fast.

Source: Bitnews Today

KABBAGE

Kabbage also provides loans online using an automated system. However, the clients of this company are not ordinary consumers, but owners of SMEs. When the founders of Kabbage decided to launch a new project in 2009, there was a gap between personal loans for consumers and credit lines allocated to small businesses in the lending system.

Source: Bitnews Today

TALA

  • the initial idea of the company’s founder Shivani SIROYA to start her own business was that “the existing credit system works very poorly”;
  • to assess the creditworthiness, Tala uses its own scoring system, which examines a set of data about the potential borrower, using machine learning technology and big data;
  • the intellectual service works in automatic mode: it investigates, makes a decision, issues loans.
Source: Bitnews Today

Resolve launches as a B2B online financing service (Digital Commerce 360), Rated: A

Financial technology company Affirm is betting that what works for online retailers will also work for B2B merchants who want to offer online financing to customers.

Affirm has launched Resolve as a B2B version of an online financing service that Affirm provides to retailers.

Kabbage Teams with BTEA to Fuel Access to Funding for Women- and Minority-Owned Businesses (Finanzen), Rated: B

Kabbage, Inc., a cash flow technology and automated lending platform for small businesses, has formed a strategic alliance with New York’s largest contractor association, the Building Trades Employers’ Association (BTEA), to provide access to fast and flexible small business funding for BTEA members through the Kabbage platform. The alliance will support women and minority-owned business enterprise (WMBE) contractors who often have difficulty accessing the funding required to procure contracts for New York’s largest construction projects.

The alliance between BTEA and Kabbage provides BTEA’s 1,300 contractor companies, including more than 100 MWBE contractor members, the opportunity to access lines of credit as high as $250,000 and attain greater financial capacity.

In The Face Of Growing Fraud Threats, Finance Firms Should Look At Managed Security (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Financial institutions face a complex array of threats — from the immediate such as synthetic identities which have been used to defraud individual firms multiple times.

In 2018, more than 43,000 breaches across all industries involved the use of customer credentials stolen from botnet-infected clients, the Accenture report said.

Read the full report here.

Fig Loans Becomes First-Ever FinTech to Receive CDFI Certification (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Fig, a mission-driven FinTech company that offers credit building alternatives to predatory loans for low-income borrowers, has become the first-ever FinTech company to become both a Certified B Corporation and federally certified Community Development Institution (CDFI). VilCap Investments and Techstars are early Fig Loans investors.

CFPB plan a mixed bag for debt collectors (American Banker), Rated: A

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a plan Tuesday to restrict how often debt collectors can call borrowers about unpaid credit and to allow consumers to opt out of other types of communications.

The proposal to overhaul the debt collection industry would limit phone-based collection attempts for the same consumer to seven calls per week. Debtors could also opt out of allowing collectors to contact them via voice mail, email and text messages.

Read the full text of the proposed rule here.

Behind The Scoop: An inside look at Genesis’ lending business (The Block Crypto), Rated: A

  • $250m worth of outstanding loans gives it an estimated 2/3 share of the total outstanding crypto loan pie
  • Genesis has seen its total USD value of borrows increase 35% QoQ in 1Q19, vs. lending protocols which saw a ~20% decline; Genesis total borrow volumes were almost an order of magnitude greater than all of borrows on lending protocols in 1Q19

Ocrolus, inFactor Partner on End-to-End Automation for Merchant Cash Advance Lenders (Ocrolus), Rated: B

Ocrolus today announced a partnership with inFactor, the financing platform that brings clarity and security to small business financing. This partnership combines two powerful technology solutions to drive end-to-end underwriting automation for Merchant Cash Advance (MCA) lenders

United Kingdom

Funding Circle still offers manual lending in other markets (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle is still offering investors the option to self-select their loans in its three overseas markets, its annual report revealed last month.

The peer-to-peer business lender scrapped its manual lending option in the UK in 2017, saying that its auto-invest product ensures better diversification.

Digital Lending Platform Esme Loans Hits £50 Million of Lending to UK Businesses (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Esme Loans, the NatWest backed standalone digital lending platform for SMEs, announced last week it has hit £50 million of lending to UK businesses. The online lender reported that it has seen a continued period of strong growth, following an uplift in lending of 337% between 2017 and 2018.

Goldman Sachs’ digital savings account Marcus just reached a UK milestone (AltFi), Rated: A

Just eight months since launching in the UK, Goldman Sachs’ digital savings account has attracted a quarter of a million customers.

Investors are getting more comfortable with the P2P ISA (AltFi), Rated: A

In the 2016/17 tax year just 5,000 customers opened IFISAs with a total £36m subscriptions (these figures were disputed by some platforms as being too low). In the following 2017/18 tax year this shot up 31,000 investors backing the IFISA with £290m subscribed in the tax year and a total of £366m in outstanding balances in IFISAs at 5 April 2018.

What is the best provision fund structure? (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

PROVISION FUNDS are designed to cover peer-to-peer investors in the event that a borrower defaults on their loan, but the way they are funded and operated varies widely across platforms. So what should investors be looking for and is there an optimal structure to reduce their chances of losses?

One key difference is whether pay-outs from reserve or provision funds are automatic or discretionary.

RateSetter is credited with the invention of the provision fund concept, which has been part of its business model since it launched in 2010. It is funded by borrowers’ repayments and money is automatically reimbursed to investors if loans go into arrears.

Tandem Recognized as Best New Digital Bank (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Challenger bank Tandem has been recognized by CFI.co (Capital Finance International) as the “Best Neo Bank UK 2019.”

OakNorth launches mortgages for HNWIs, SMEs, and clients with atypical income streams (Fintech Finance), Rated: B

OakNorth – the bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs – has today announced it is entering the retail mortgage market with lifetime tracker rate products, aimed at affluent individuals with atypical sources of income.

The six largest banks in the UK dominate 77 percent of the mortgage market, but often find it commercially unviable to create bespoke mortgages for these individuals as they lack the appropriate cost base and expertise to cater to them. These individuals therefore require more bespoke lending solutions, and as a lender that has provided over £3bn in bespoke loans to UK entrepreneurs since its launch, OakNorth has the necessary expertise and tailored credit analysis models to cater to this unique market niche.

China

Jiayin Group Readies $ 40 Million U.S. IPO (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

Jiayin Group (JFIN) has filed to raise $40 million in an IPO of ADSs representing underlying Class A shares, per an amended registration statement.

According to a 2017 Oliver Wyman report on Chinese FinTech firms, outstanding loan balances for online peer-to-peer lending platforms have exploded in recent years, from RMB 31 billion ($467 million) in January 2014 to RMB 856 billion ($129 billion) by January 2017.

P2P lending in crisis as regulatory bubble pops (Technode), Rated: A

Chinese peer-to-peer (P2P) lender Dianrong, once hailed as the “LendingClub of China,” appears to be in crisis following an announcement that it is closing around two-thirds of its offline branches and laying off as many as 2,000 employees. At around the same time, it was accused of falling behind on wages and severance payment. In mid-April, the company reportedly sought $100 million in investment to meet new capital requirements.

European Union

Goldman Delays Marcus’ Germany Launch (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs has decided to delay the German launch of its consumer bank Marcus until 2020.

International

International P2P Lending Volumes April 2019 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

The total volume for the reported marketplaces in the table adds up to 571 million Euro.

Milestones achieved this month (total volume since launch):

  • Mintos crossed 2 billion EUR
Source: P2P-Banking

This credit card won’t let you buy anything else after you’ve hit your annual carbon limit (Fast Company), Rated: A

Doconomy is launching two versions of the card later this year. One just tracks your carbon footprint as you spend, and the other, called Do Black, takes the additional step of setting a hard limit on your footprint for the year. Initially, the data used to calculate the impact of each purchase will be imprecise—the system pulls the category code of a merchant that classifies it as a particular kind of store, then makes a calculation based on the general carbon footprint of the industry, whether you’re buying something from a fast-food joint, a clothing store, or an airline. The limit is based on a country-specific calculation of how much carbon each citizen can emit to stay on track with the 2030 goal to cut emissions in half.

Others are working on similar solutions; a startup nonprofit called Poseidon Foundation is beginning to work with retailers to track the impact of specific purchases and let customers instantly buy a carbon offset equal to their emissions. Ben and Jerry’s tested the concept at an ice cream shop in London last year.

Over 50 Banks, Firms Trial Trade Finance App Built With R3’s Corda Blockchain (CoinDesk), Rated: A

ABN Amro, Standard Chartered, ING and around 50 other banks and companies have participated in tests of a trade finance application called Voltron.

The tests saw firms across 27 countries use Voltron, which was developed by R3 using its Corda platform, to make simulated letter of credit transactions.

Real Estate Tokens: What They Are and How to Invest (Bitcoin Market Journal), Rated: A

Put simply, a real estate token is a virtual asset used to represent ownership of land, apartments, homes, and various other real properties. The intent is to eliminate antiquated and outdated methods of dealing with real estate. Instead, buyers and sellers complete transactions with digital tokens.

Currently, it can be a challenge to find the right place to invest in real estate tokens; however, there are a few platforms that can get you started.

Harbor

The Harbor platform provides users with a way to trade real estate on a blockchain network. Assets available on Harbor include private REITs, real estate funds, building ownership, and land. Using blockchain technology means Harbor provides transparency, efficiency, fractional ownership, and, of course, liquidity.

Slice

Additionally, Slice gives users the ability to hold, trade, or liquidate their tokens with its built-in security exchange platforms. The platform is available to anyone who has $10,000 he or she is willing to invest.

Meridio

Meridio is a platform that gives its users the ability to invest in shares of real estate on the blockchain. Through Meridio, properties are split into digital shares, which gives investors and owners a way to interact with one another seamlessly.

Bitfinex Releases Whitepaper to Confirm $ 1 Billion Initial Exchange Offering (CryptoGlobe), Rated: A

Cryptoasset exchange Bitfinex has confirmed that it is planning to raise $1 billion through an initial exchange offering (IEO).

Dong has also been accepting pre-orders for Bitfinex’s upcoming token sale through his crypto-lending application Renrenbit. The well-known investor had reportedly taken pre-orders from users who wanted to participate in the public phase of Bitfinex’s upcoming $1 billion token sale, even before IFinex published an official whitepaper for it.

Cred Partners with Tron and Bitcoin.com to Provide Crypto Lending and Borrowing Services (Bitcoin Exchange Guide), Rated: A

Bitcoin.com has announced a partnership with Cred in which Bitcoin.com users will earn interests of up to 10% on their crypto holdings. Cred is a crypto borrowing and lending company whereas Bitcoin.com is an information portal that has over 4 million Bitcoin wallets.

Fvndit Launches $ 10M Equity-Back Digital Security Offering (Financial Buzz), Rated: A

Fvndit, Inc. (“Fvndit”), a California- and Vietnam-based fintech company, today announced the launch of a $10M digital security offering. Proceeds from the raise will be used to further propel Fvndit’s business objectives as the market leading SME-focused crowd-based funding platform in Vietnam.

Its wholly-owned subsidiary, eLoan, JSC (“eLoan”), operates an online Peer-to-Peer (P2P) funding and investing marketplace in Vietnam, its current local market. Today, SMEs account for more than 41% of Vietnam’s GDP (of $241B USD) and 97% of all enterprises but still remain largely neglected by traditional banks with 70% of them do not have access or have difficulty in accessing credit. eLoan was launched in late 2017 with a clear mission – to make credit more simple and investing more rewarding.

TomoChain teams up with Constant to bring first stablecoin to its platform (Cryptoninjas), Rated: B

Creci Wins its Category at the Innovate Finance Global Summit (PR Web), Rated: B

Creci, an early stage start-up, with headquarters in Hollywood, Florida and offices in Medellin and Bogota, was selected on April 30, 2019, as the category winner for Peer-to-Peer Lending, Alternative Funding, and SME Lending at the Innovate Finance Global Summit in London.

Australia

YOZO a quick and open answer to business lending maze (Mirage News), Rated: A

YOZO is redefining lending for small business by offering a transparent and seamless experience for their borrowing needs. Firstly, by taking the guessing game out of an increasingly frustrating question, “how much can my business borrow?”. YOZO helps small business gauge their borrowing capacity in under a minute. Secondly, by providing an intuitive online experience to apply and receive funds in 48 hours for approved customers.

Southeast Asia

Brankas wants to bring Southeast Asia’s banks and e-commerce into the digital era (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Fintech continues to be among the biggest topics driving startups and investment in Southeast Asia. The region’s “internet economy” is forecast to grow massively as its 600 million people increasingly come online — already Southeast Asia has more internet users (350 million) than the U.S. has people, but developing a robust payment landscape underpins those heady growth forecasts.

Brankas,  an Indonesia-based startup that operates regionally, is one such young company — it operates a platform that gives banks and financial companies the tech to roll out digital products and embrace online services.

Singapore Fintech Firm Heading into Indonesia (Retail News), Rated: A

Following a successful Series B funding round, SME lending platform Validus Capital is launching in Indonesia. SME lending platform Validus Capital has launched in Indonesia, its first Southeast Asian market outside its home country of Singapore, the firm announced in a media release on Thursday.

Latin America

Brazil fintech Nubank opens Mexico office as it seeks Latam expansion (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Brazilian fintech firm Nubank will open an office in Mexico on Tuesday, an initial step in a potential expansion into other Latin American countries, a company executive said.

Nubank, a six-year-old startup that has raised $400 million from investors such as China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd, Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global Management and Kaszek Ventures, will start Mexican operations with 20 employees, Nubank executive and co-founder Cristina Junqueira said in an interview.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday May 9 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

The Rise of Crypto Lending, a Natural Progression of Peer-to-Peer Financing

Nexo

The rise of new technologies often give rise to new business models. The peer-to-peer lending space is just over a decade old and still have much to grow into. However, not long after the first P2P lender–Zopa in 2005–opened its doors, a new technology that promises to challenge traditional ways to deliver financial services emerged. […]

Nexo

The rise of new technologies often give rise to new business models. The peer-to-peer lending space is just over a decade old and still have much to grow into. However, not long after the first P2P lender–Zopa in 2005–opened its doors, a new technology that promises to challenge traditional ways to deliver financial services emerged. That technology was the blockchain, a distributed ledger that underlies the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Since then, other blockchains have been created along with new business models to suit. As it stands in 2018, crypto lending has not made a big dent in P2P lending services, but the potential is there. This article will highlight some of the more significant blockchain-based P2P lenders, which we hope will inspire a new look at technological innovation in this space.

Think of crypto lending like you would the banking industry: Even if Capital One provided perfect products at every turn, there would still be plenty of room for JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America. There would still be room for the hundreds of other banks that compete for customers.

The companies listed here are not ranked in any manner. Rather, they=se are just some of the choices available for consumers in the market for cryptocurrency loans.

1. SALT (Secured Automated Lending Technology) Lending

One of the best benefits crypto-based lending has to offer is that a lessened importance on traditional credit scores as a factor for risk assessment. SALT Lending touts blockchain-based assets as “the perfect form of collateral.” The company is using this fact to “dramatically reduce the complexity and cost of the loan process.” SALT operates under Regulation D and, in lieu of credit checks, the company does AML and KYC verifications.

Offering three tiers of product, SALT’s loans start at $5,000 and go as high as $250 million. Loan percentages run between 12 and 22 percent APR, but the borrower retains the value of the collateral currency claiming any gains and losses that happen over the life of the loan. SALT accepts Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Dogecoin as collateral, and funds loans in USD.

One fact that could be a significant factor when deciding to use the SALT Lending platform is that loans are not transferable on the blockchain, but through existing financial channels. Thus, they become securities.

It’s not foolish to base a good bit of faith in a company that has proven players on its team. Founder Erik Voorhees was also involved in founding several other crypto websites prior to starting SALT Lending. Among these include Satoshi Dice, which he later sold, Coinapult, and ShapeShift.

2. ETHlend

Unlike SALT Lending, Estonia-based ETHlend is a fully decentralized P2P platform built on the Ethereum blockchain for lending Ether as tokens for collateral. Some insiders fear that platforms that allow their loans to become securities might run the risk of being swallowed up by banks.

ETHlend lends Ethereum, Bitcoin, their own LEND tokens, and DAI tokens, as well as 180+ other Ethereum-based tokens. The company offers address-to-address loans that are sent within minutes, with no middle men, assuring that no one, not even Ethlend, can stop one’s lending or borrowing. The company plans to expand beyond Ethereum to other distributed ledger platforms in Q3 of 2019.

The company’s interest rates range from .25 to five percent MPR, and all transactions are carried out on digital wallets. Borrowers that transact in the LEND token can get a no-fee loan.

Announced earlier this week, Aave is a tech-based company designed to expand on the offerings of centralized fintech companies like PayPal and Coinbase. Aave Pocket, Aave Gaming, and Aave Lending (SaaS) are among the offerings this expansion adds to the platform.

Unfortunately, the service is not yet available everywhere including a block to U.S. citizens.

3. Nexo

A new kid on this block is Nexo, and being a new kid means that they are doing things in a new manner. Founded in Zug, Switzerland—even more of an “EF Hutton” mention than Estonia—in 2017, Nexo promises the world’s first instant crypto-backed loans. Available worldwide, Nexo loans start at $1,000 and top out at $2 million.

The process is an easy one.

  • Log on to the website.
  • Verify your account
  • Deposit crypto assets into Nexo wallet
  • Withdraw loan to your bank account

There will be brief pauses while the borrower is verified—the company complies with the highest AML and KYC (provided by Onfido) standards—and while your deposit is confirmed on the blockchain. Overall, the Nexo process reads like a rather quick and seamless process.

The platform loans Euros, USD, and Tether while accepting Ether, bitcoin, Bincance coin (BNB), and Nexo as collateral currency. The interest rate is eight percent if the collateral currency is Nexo and 16 percent for all others. Nexo assets are stored in multi-signature wallets, more than one multiple cryptographic keys are necessary to gain access, and cold storage (wallets not connected to the Internet) at BitGo and PrimeTrust.

4. LendingBlock

LendingBlock predicts that, as digital assets grow as an asset class, demand for hedging, swaps, repurchases, and short selling will increase. The currency crypto market has more than $500 billion in assets circulating with less than one percent used as collateral. That leaves lots of room for growth.

Touted as the first cross-chain lending platform for the crypto economy, the company promises a product that will help its customers access secure, transparent, and fair crypto-to-crypto loans. Not a lender itself, LendingBlock provides the platform upon which parties can enter P2P contracts. The company acts as agent for both lender and borrower, as well as security trustee of the collateral. This ensures that the borrower doesn’t face any uncovered credit risk to the lender.

All collateral deposits are held in cold storage. Those who think regulation will be necessary before the crypto market can fully mature can take comfort in the fact that the company is focused on becoming a regulated business. They have submitted the full regulatory application to the country of Gibraltar and await the regulator’s response. They have also begun regulatory processes with the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK, and the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodities Futures Trading Commission in the United States.

Basing the platform on its own token (LND), which is used to make payments and receive interest on loans, allows the company to reduce the cost of exchange fees and makes it easier to manage interest payments. The use of smart contracts reduces expenses, risks, and complexity, which makes for lower costs for borrowers and higher returns for the lenders.

5. BlockFi

New York-based BlockFi might be the ideal platform for Americans who want to secure USD loans with Bitcoin and Ethereum, provided that said Americans live in any of the 44 states where the company is currently conducting business.

The attractive thing about the BlockFi platform is that it seems easy enough for a lay person to understand without any kind of financial advice. A borrower needs to meet only two requirements to qualify for a loan: They can have no liens or bankruptcies on their record, and they must have at least $15,000 of crypto assets between their Bitcoin and Ethereum portfolios.

If those criteria are met, the customer can borrow up to 35 percent of their crypto asset value, with loans ranging from $2,000 to $10 million. Interest rates go from 12 to 14 percent APR, and there is an added fee of one to four percent of the loan value. Borrowers can take a loan in Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Litecoin.

Unlike other crypto-based lenders on this list, BlockFi does not have its own coin or token.

6. Unchained Capital

Texas-based Unchained Capital could very well be the platform of choice for those who want to liquidate their Bitcoin while maintaining it and seeing it go to work in the world.

Not only is the team at Unchained Capital in the market to make money as a lender, they have an idealistic side as well. Noting that 60 percent of Bitcoin sits around and does nothing, they have a goal to circulate it and use it to strengthen the platform. The company was founded by people who believe cryptocurrencies can change the world only if they’re useful.

The Unchained Capital team has designed its personal loans to be ideal for people who are looking to make large purchases, who hope to avoid tax events, and who want to invest. Their commercial loans are geared to companies that want to free up capital, expand their businesses, buy expensive equipment, and balance their portfolios.

Unchained Capital does not have its own cryptocurrency.

7. Other Companies to Consider

The crypto lending space is expanding. New lenders seem to be popping up quite often, which means that some people in the cryptocurrency space, at least, see a market for crypto-backed lending. Despite the market having taken a downturn in 2018, rebounding from the bull run last year that catapulted Bitcoin to $20,000 in December, this space is expanding. Lately, Bitcoin has been holding around the $6,500 mark. Since the majority altcoins tend to follow Bitcoin’s price, that means the market as  whole is down, yet more crypto lenders are ambling to get in the door.

Some of the other companies in the crypto lending space that might be worth checking out include BitBond, Credible Friends, Bitfinex (a crypto exchange that facilitates crypto financing transactions between parties), Celsius, Poloniex (another cryptocurrency exchange that allows traders to lend to other users), CoinLoan, Nebeus, GetLine, and BTCpop.

Authors:

Written by Paul Keenan and Allen Taylor.

Allen Taylor

Tuesday December 5 2017, Daily News Digest

credit-to-cash ratio

News Comments Today’s main news: Prosper’s top concern next year is liquidity. Affirm seeks new funding at $1.5B valuation. LendingHome surpasses $2B in loan originations. ThinCats delays IFIsa launch. Funding Circle hits 3B GBP in lending. Dianrong planning $500M IPO. Today’s main analysis: Acorns puts up a fight to upscale. Mobile credit and financial inclusion. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Is Lending Club […]

credit-to-cash ratio

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

India

APAC

News Summary

United States

Prosper’s Top Concern in 2018 is Liquidity, CEO Says (Bank Innovation), Rated: AAA

Marketplace lender Prosper will make liquidity a top priority as the company moves into 2018, company CEO David Kimball said during a lending conference that took place last week.

“Our main concern… it’s always liquidity, and I think most people in this room understand that the best way to get to liquidity is to have a lot of different options,” Kimball said to attendees of the Investors Conference in Marketplace Lending on Friday, December 1st. “And so I think you’ll see our toolkit expand [in 2018] versus where it is now.”

Is Lending Club Misleading New Investors About Past Performance? (deBanked), Rated: AAA

New retail investors interested in the Lending Club platform are greeted with a friendly statistic, that “99% of portfolios with 100+ Notes have seen positive returns.” That’s a slippery statement, which is probably why they footnoted it.

Affirm Is Said to Be Raising Funding at $ 1.5 Billion Valuation (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Affirm Inc., an online lender run by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, is in advanced talks for a financing round that would earn it a place in the unicorn startup club.

The San Francisco-based startup is discussing an investment of about $150 million, said people familiar with the matter. The deal would value the company at $1.5 billion, about double the valuation from the last round in April 2016, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the terms aren’t finalized. Affirm declined to comment.

Acorns Teardown: The Most Popular Robo-Advisor Faces A Fierce Fight As It Goes ‘Upmarket’ (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

The micro-investing app has grown an of army of 2.2M accounts. But making money off these first-time, lower-income investors won’t be easy. To do so, Acorns is building out higher-tier investment services and moving into the highly saturated $40T retirement planning market.

With over 2.2M investment accounts in the US since launch, the company has proved there is a clear niche for its product. It is already the largest robo-advisor by client accounts.

Acorns’ service isn’t free, but it is cheap — the company charges $1 a month or .25% for accounts over $500. At $12 annually for many accounts, that’s not a lot of revenue.

Acorns is making a number of important moves:

  • It is launching its own retirement savings plan in 2018 called Acorns Later, which could help it reach new users and push up current users’ account size.
  • It has formed a strategic partnership with investor Paypal to extend its product to Paypal’s huge user base. In addition, its partnership with Paypal could ultimately help Acorns get into bank account services, a move similar to what low-income investing competitor Stash has done.
  • A B2B offering may also be in the works, based on recent acquisition activity. B2B products have helped other robo-advisors see big jumps in AUM.
Source: CB Insights

Acorns manages approximately $528M in AUM and approximately $407 per account as of September 2017. Compare that to Betterment which manages approximately $28.5K per client account and Wealthfront which averages $42.3K.

Source: CB Insights

Mortgage Marketplace Lender LendingHome Surpasses $ 2 Billion in Loan Originations (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Monday, mortgage marketplace lender LendingHome announced it has originated more than $2 billion in mortgage loans for homeowners and real estate investors. The online lender revealed that the first billion of originations occurred over the course of 30 months, while it took just 12 months for the company to originate its second billion. In the process, LendingHome crossed the major milestone of financing more than 10,000 homes nationwide.

How Cross River Bank plans to bring mobile payments to business customers (Tearsheet), Rated: A

How and when employees get paid should be their choice, Isaacson said. The technology to make that happen is already in the market — Uber and Lyft drivers are taking advantage of it, for example — but the systems aren’t in place at most companies, and there’s a mental barrier for businesses to overcome to begin creating mobile payout experiences.

It’s also too inflexible for some businesses, like a restaurant or store that may need more or fewer cases of Coca Cola than the originally ordered 10. They need to be able to make adjustments like that in real time, Isaacson said. With a mobile device, people can manage and initiate payments in real time and remotely.

Cross River Bank is a business bank, whose clients are some of the biggest fintech companies. Behind the scenes, CRB has developed payments solutions for faster, more secure and lower-cost transfers that have been integrated by TransferWise and the bitcoin wallet Coinbase, as well as Google Wallet and Stripe — which counts Lyft as a customer.

Morgan Stanley is getting in on the hottest trend in investing (Business Insider), Rated: A

The New York-based investment bank announced Monday the launch of Access Investing, an online roboadviser designed to capture a younger clientele.

The goal of Morgan Stanley’s new offering is to serve as a stepping stone, so to speak, for younger savers who one day might want to tap into the bank’s broader suite of wealth-management services when they are wealthier and older.

2017’s Best & Worst Cities for Wallet Fitness (WalletHub), Rated: AAA

Wallet Fitness levels vary widely across the U.S. As we prepare to make resolutions for self-improvement, it’s fair to wonder who’s best positioned for financial success and who has the most work to do. To find out, we compared more than 180 U.S. cities based on 29 key indicators of Wallet Fitness.

Source: WalletHub
10 Best Cities for Wallet Fitness 10 Worst Cities for Wallet Fitness
1 Fremont, CA 173 Oxnard, CA
2 San Francisco, CA 174 Miami, FL
3 Madison, WI 175 New Orleans, LA
4 Columbia, MD 176 Gulfport, MS
5 San Jose, CA 177 Santa Ana, CA
6 Seattle, WA 178 Brownsville, TX
7 Minneapolis, MN 179 San Bernardino, CA
8 Sioux Falls, SD 180 North Las Vegas, NV
9 Bismarck, ND 181 Newark, NJ
10 Warwick, RI 182 Hialeah, FL
Source: WalletHub

See the rest of the results here.

Rich Uncles Announces New CFO, COO, and Corporate Headquarters (Business Insider), Rated: A

Leading crowdfunding real estate investment platform, Rich Uncles, LLC, today announced the appointment of John H. Davis as its new chief financial officer and Jean Ho as its new chief operating officer and chief compliance officer.

Mr. Davis comes to Rich Uncles after more than four decades with KPMG LLP, one of the world’s four largest accounting firms, where he had served as a partner since 1988.

Ms. Ho joined Rich Uncles, LLC in 2016 as the company’s chief financial officer, where she has helped lead the acquisitions of 29 commercial properties across two Rich Uncles-sponsored REITs: Rich Uncles Real Estate Investment Trust I and Rich Uncles NNN REIT, Inc. Prior to joining Rich Uncles, LLC, Ms. Ho held positions as chief operating officer and chief financial officer of Soteira Capital, LLC, chief financial officer of MKA Capital Advisors, LLC, and with KPMG LLP, where she specialized in real estate, financial services, and high net wealth personal financial and estate planning.

Perkins Coie Law Firm Boosts Fintech Bench with SEC Attorney Hire (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Perkins Coie, a law firm that is very active in the Fintech / Blockchain space, has announced the hiring of a former SEC attorney. Michael S. Didiuk has joined the firm’s Investment Management practice group as a partner in the San Francisco office where he will represent clients on various federal securities laws and complex regulatory issues raised by Blockchain technology and with the emergence of digital asset sales and digital securities.

Barclaycard building digital bank in US (Banking Technology), Rated: A

Barclaycard is rebranding itself to Barclays in the US as part of its retail digital banking strategy in 2018.

According to Tearsheet, Barclaycard says since last November it has been targeting prime and super-prime borrowers with an online personal loan offering on a test-and-learn basis to a small group of customers. Barclaycard plans to launch the same offering publicly by the middle of 2018.

Mass firings at top digital currency investment bank (New York Post), Rated: A

The largest investment bank catering to the red-hot cryptocurrency sector was in total disarray on Friday after management fired nine employees — including the entire tech team, The Post has learned.

The Argon Group had been battling internal turmoil recently as many of its investment bankers had grown disenchanted over the direction of the company, sources said.

Atlantic Capital Bank expands into Fintech Banking with strategic new hire (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

Chris Stanley joins Atlantic Capital Bank as Vice President of Fintech Industry Banking, to lead Atlantic Capital’s Fintech Banking practice.

Expanding on a successful payments industry line of business, the new fintech banking practice will focus on emerging growth and growth-stage companies in this evolving technology segment. This will bolster Atlantic Capital’s core deposit gathering strategy.

Want to Learn 8 Secrets for Getting a Business Loan? Here are 2 (Small Biz Trends), Rated: B

Secret #1:  Yes, You CAN Improve Your Personal Credit Score

  • Pay down your credit cards. As a yardstick, you’ll want all your cards under 50 percent  of their limits. This means no more maxing out cards — for personal or business.
  • Lower your debt compared to your income. A good benchmark is keeping debt to 30 percent of less of your income. Rather than taking a second mortgage on your home and increasing your debt load, you might be better served to apply for a business loan.
  • Monitor your credit score. Errors are more common than most people realize. Besides you’ll learn which creditors report to credit agencies and what they report on.

Secret #2:  Your Business Credit History May Be Incomplete, But It’s Not Hard to Change That

  • Establish free profiles with the three major business credit bureaus: D&B, Experian, Equifax
  • Apply for a business credit card and use it to establish a timely repayment history.
  • Do business with vendors (“trades”) that report to credit bureaus regularly.
United Kingdom

ThinCats delays IFIsa launch (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

ThinCats has announced that it will now be launching its Innovative Finance Isa (IFIsa) early next year.

The peer-to-peer lending platform had hoped to launch its IFIsa by the end of this year and thanked investors for their patience.

It is currently building the new systems needed to handle the different aspects of accepting and administering Isa investments safely.

Funding Circle hits £3bn lending milestone (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle has become the first UK peer-to-peer platform to reach the £3bn cumulative lending milestone.

The business finance provider said on its website that “30,948 UK businesses have financed their goals by borrowing £3bn through Funding Circle”.

Zopa, which lent out a record £100m last month, said it expects to reach the £3bn mark in January.

Micro-lender Oakam secures £35 million debt facility from Victory Park Capital (Finextra), Rated: A

Digital micro-lender, Oakam today announced that it has secured a £35 million debt investment from Victory Park Capital Advisors, LLC (VPC), an investment firm focused on private middle market debt and equity investments.

LandlordInvest publishes loan book (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

LANDLORDINVEST, a peer-to-peer lending platform for residential and commercial real estate mortgages, has published its entire loan book to mark its one-year anniversary.

It reveals that LandlordInvest lent a total of £2.7m between December 2016 and December 2017, with an average loan amount of £210,535.

The average loan term was 7.6 months, the average LTV was 63.7 per cent and the average annual gross return to investors was 11.1 per cent.

Welendus launches beta platform for investors (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

WELENDUS, the peer-to-peer payday lender, has launched a beta version of its platform for investors after its latest funding round exceeded its target in under 24 hours.

The fully-authorised platform, which aims to re-define the short-term lending market with cheaper rates and no hidden costs, is now inviting investors to create an account.

Six ways fintech startups could hurt incumbent banks (Econsultancy), Rated: A

For years, there has been much talk about the impact of fintech startups like Mondo and Atom Bank on incumbent banks but little has been done to quantify the actual effects fintechs are having on big banks.

New data from The Bank of England (BoE), published as part of its 2017 stress test of the UK banking system, however, is shedding light on this subject.

  • Reduced overdraft revenue
  • Reduced fees from payment services
  • Higher customer acquisition and retention costs
  • More difficulty cross-selling
  • Increased liquidity risk
  • Increased cyber security risk

Five (more) UK startups to watch: Were we right? | Fintech Recap 2017 (Bob’s Guide), Rated: B

Where they were then: Trussle, the online mortgage trading company, is a rising star in the fintech industry. The start-up company provides solutions and answers to those looking to invest with a hassle-free process.

Where they are now: Following their funding round in early February to raise £4.5m ($5.68m) backed by Orange and Growth Capital, and existing investors LocalGlobe, Zoopla and Seedcamp, Trussle went on to join forces with Revolut in April to give users direct access to their mortgage brokering services.

Total equity funding: $7.38m (now $7.6m) +2.98%*

Where they were then: Iwoca was created to help make credit and loans of up to £100,000 available to small businesses.

Where they are now: 8 days after the time of writing the previous bio, Iwoca partnered with NatWest through Capital Connections to provide SMB loans, a significant collaboration for the six year-old startup.

Total equity funding: $58.5m (now $90m) +54%*

Where they are now: They currently boast a 6.6% annual return for investors and have earned £156m in interest for investors. They’ve lent £3 billion to UK businesses in a total of 43,251 loans (since 2010).

Total equity funding: $373.2m (now flat) –%*

Where they were then: Crowdcube is an investment crowdfunding platform that lets customers hand pick the businesses they want to back and invest in.

Where they are now: In the third quarter of 2017, Crowdcube registered £1m in company revenue, with 70 pitches.

Funds raised to date: $18.69m (now $28.3m) +51.42%*

Where they were then: Based in the heart of the UK capital, LendInvest is the UK’s leading online property lending and investing businesses.

Where they are now: In September, LendInvest announced the strategic partnership with Clever Lending, a specialist lending solution.

Total equity funding: $58.6m (now $393m) +570%*

China

Chinese Online Lender Dianrong Eyes 2018 IPO, Could Raise at Least $ 500 Million (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Dianrong.com, a Chinese online lending platform started and run by a co-founder of LendingClub Corp. , is planning an initial public offering as soon as next year that could raise at least $500 million, according to people familiar with the matter.

China Is Set to Implement a System of Ranking Its Citizens (Interesting Engineering), Rated: AAA

China is set to implement a social credit system that will rate each of its citizens on a publicly available scale. Officially known as the Social Credit Score or SCS, the system is likely to be implemented by 2020.

It works by giving each citizen a score based on their daily interactions and financial decisions, the score can be affected by debt, spending habits and even social interactions. Obviously, to get this kind of score that will be somewhat compared to a person’s trustworthiness, there will need to be a huge amount of individual monitoring and data collection. The SCS is expected to be rolled out in 2020, but there will be a large scale trial period from now until then so the system can be at optimal functionality when it goes live on its 1.3 billion citizens.

Micro-lender China Rapid Finance spots opportunity in new rules (Reuters), Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance will make any adjustments needed to its business practices and the fees it charges in response to Bejing’s new requirements to clean up fast-growing online micro-lenders, its chief executive Zane Wang said on Monday.

Online micro-lenders have come under scrutiny as “problems such as over-lending, repeat borrowing, improper collection, abnormally high interest rates, and privacy violations have become prominent”, Chinese financial regulators said last week.

Banks’ robo-advisers are facing increasing scrutiny (China Daily), Rated: A

With financial institutions increasingly employing roboadvisers, China’s central bank and financial regulators issued draft regulations for comment recently, requiring financial institutions to receive regulatory approval for offering such services.

The regulatory authorities said financial institutions should create rational investment strategies and algorithm models, as well as remind investors of the flaws and risks associated with algorithm-based robo-advisory models.

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The project that Pinganfang.com was caught up in is a sharing working place project called Bar Works. Every work place was sold at $25,000 and the minimum purchase quota per investor was two each. The expected annual rate of return was between 12% to 15%.  On June 30th 2017, the SEC charged Renwick Haddow (the planner of Bar Works project) with multiple counts, including illegal fundraising $36 million from the Bar Works investors. 

On November 30th, JD Finance and China UnionPay co-launched a Blockchain-based risk information sharing mechanism.

On December 1st, Alibaba officially set up a poverty alleviation fund. As planned, the fund will invest 10-billion-yuan in the next five years to establish a comprehensive security system and help people fight against poverty. At the fund launch ceremony, Jack Ma, the executive chairman of Alibaba Group, told the media that Ant Financial would suspend plans for an initial public offering.

Change of pace ahead for fintech (China Daily), Rated: A

China has emerged as a leading fintech market globally, with analysts estimating the market size to have exceeded $243 billion by the end of last year, accounting for about 85 percent of the global market share.

The sector’s fast and furious growth was also illustrated by the surge of fintech investment in the country, which attracted capital of $8.8 billion between July 2015 to June 2016, equivalent to an increase of 252 percent since 2010, according to a report by Singaporean banking giant DBS Group and global accounting firm Ernst & Young.

International

Why Mobile Credit Can Be the Entry Ticket to Financial Inclusion (Let’s Talk Payments), Rated: AAA

Think for a moment of what your life would be like with no access to credit. Chances are you wouldn’t own a home or a car. Most of us could not have afforded our college education. The entrepreneurs among us would be hard-pressed to build successful businesses. And what about the ways we take advantage of credit cards – basically small-time loans that exist to allow us to pay for emergencies and unexpected expenses? Our financial identity is tied up in our access to these credit opportunities.

The good news, however, is that mobile devices – along with the existence of the cloud – are providing an entirely new landscape for the developing world. This landscape involves assigning a financial identity to those who have largely remained anonymous, reaching these populations through their smartphones. There are scores of creditworthy people on the planet, and we’ve proven before through data science that worthiness has little to do with income or wealth, but instead with the opportunity to demonstrate responsibility.

With this understanding in mind, we reviewed activity in the wake of recent hurricanes that rocked the Caribbean and observed a spike in prepaid mobile users topping up their phone allowances via on-demand credit extensions prior to hurricanes making landfall.

Source: Let’s Talk Payments

The following image shows the ratio of airtime credit extensions to cash top-ups as the eye of Hurricane Irma hit the Leeward Islands as well as Turks & Caicos.

Source: Let’s Talk Payments

As Irma made landfall, purchasing airtime from shops become extremely difficult, if not impossible. The graph above shows what happens when cash based-top ups are not possible.

For these reasons, creating a mobile financial identity in order to provide mobile credit remains the best place to start to address financial exclusion in many parts of the world and smartphones are the most logical vehicle for providing it. Nearly 80% of people all across the globe have prepaid phones, and there are nearly $1 trillion in transactions taking place every day.

Anger and confusion as crypto traders lose thousands in ‘flash crash’ on $ 54 billion exchange (Business Insider), Rated: A

A “flash crash” on the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange has left customers demanding answers and refunds, with many claiming to have lost thousands of dollars.

The price of cryptocurrencies NEO, OMG, and ETP crashed as much as 90% in minutes on the Bitfinex exchange on Wednesday before quickly bouncing back to former levels.

The price crash led Bitfinex, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily volume, to close the positions of many traders who had placed leveraged bets on these digital currencies. Leveraged trading involves borrowing money to increase exposure.

Brett Kruger, a Bitfinex user affected by the “flash crash”, told Business Insider he is unhappy with Bitfinex because he claims the website was “lagging, unresponsive” at the time of the crash. He said he was also repeatedly logged out of the website, blaming recent DDoS attacks. Bitfinex announced last Sunday that it had been hit by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, a malicious attack meant to bring down the service.

Etherecash Provides Lawyer-backed Platform to Secure Loans Against Your Own Cryptocurrency (Coinspeaker), Rated: B

EthereCash, is a three prong financial platform, wants to eliminate borders, intermediaries and prejudices, providing access to bank services for everybody. It makes all the tedious and lengthy bank operations simple, transparent and secure.

ID Finance strengthens board with ex-CEO of 4finance (ID Finance Email), Rated: A

ID Finance, the emerging markets fintech company, has strengthened its board with the appointment of Kieran Donnelly, ex-CEO of, 4finance, as a board advisor. The appointment will support ID Finance as it continues rapid expansion and further diversification of its business.

Kieran Donnelly served as CEO at 4finance, the European online and mobile consumer lending group for three years. He brings over 30 years of management experience to ID Finance having also held senior roles at Standard Bank Group, MDM Bank and Renaissance Group.

India

India’s Small Businesses Are Ready To Boom, Thanks To Fintech (Forbes), Rated: AAA

In 2017, India ranked second in the growth rate of fintech adoptionamong digitally active consumers across the globe; this surge was paralleled by the rise in fintech funding — receiving over $200 million in the first half of the year.

The financial services market in India is primarily untapped, with 40% of the population having no association with any bank, and more than 80% of the transactions carried out through cash.

Economic analysts predict that the next impetus for growth in the Indian economy will come from SMBs and startups.This is a great opportunity for the fintech industry, especially startups, to make it easier for SMBs, including kirana and mom-and-pop stores that are looking to gain access to capital and grow their business, by providing services where traditional banks and lenders have failed to reach, or have done so at a far higher cost. For example, Mumbai-based online loan platform, SMECorner.com, offers business loans to SMBs with virtually zero collateral.

Online lifestyle renting firm Rentickle.com raises $ 4 M in equity and debt (YourStory), Rated: A

Delhi-NCR-based lifestyle products rental portal Rentickle.com today announced it has raised $4 million in a fresh funding round. The fundraising is a combination of equity and debt.

The equity portion was led by Ajay Relan, Founder and Chairman, CX Partners, and ThinKuvate, a Singapore-based VC firm, with participation from existing investors. Delhi-based NBFC, DMI Finance Pvt Ltd, extended the company a debt line. Rentickle.com had raised $250,000 seed funding in early 2016.

P2P Easy Extends Services As The Fastest Growing Peer-to-Peer Money Lending Platform In India (Digital Journal), Rated: B

‘P2P Easy’ is a recently founded online platform that works hand in hand with borrowers and lenders for fast loan processing & acceptance.

Although the idea of loaning money dates back to the time when the first bank was established, the core issues are more or less the same to date – i.e. 90% borrowers are rejected, and lenders are skeptic due to a lack of any reasonably acceptable guarantee.

APAC

Culum Capital launches online platform for alternative investment (HedgeWeek), Rated: A

Culum Capital, a Singapore-based receivables and supply chain financing provider, has launched a new investor platform, which is aimed at accredited and institutional investors around the globe, and provides invoice financing to SMEs as an alternative to traditional financing sources.

The platform uses its proprietary credit scoring and on-going risk measurement to identify optimum investment opportunities and provide transparency. The transactions carry a short tenor of maximum 120 days, with the average transaction at 70 days. Annualised gross returns are between 10 and 25 per cent, with a strong SME diversification.

Fintech versus financial inclusion: What’s the difference? (DevEx), Rated: A

Mobile phones have introduced a sea of opportunities in every sector imaginable, and that includes in finance. Today, anyone with a cellphone can engage in one form or another of cashless transaction, be it paying bills, sending phone credit, transferring cash, or buying goods and services — even in flea markets.

But what makes this a game changer in the financial sector is how it has penetrated different levels of society. This applies particularly to the unbanked, who are unable to access formal financial institutions and often borrow money from informal lenders who may charge high interest rates and where there is no guarantee of consumer protection.

In recent years, new technologies have emerged that are being used to complement and further what mobile money has achieved: machine learning, peer-to-peer lending, biometric technology, cloud computing, and blockchain, among others.

A conscious effort to ensure all these innovations work for the unbanked

But just because it’s fintech doesn’t necessarily mean it covers financial inclusion.

In fact, a number of the technologies being adopted in the sector are largely aimed at consumer convenience instead of the unbanked.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Bitfinex and a 36 per cent charge from the school of life

Publicly, the Hong Kong-based bitcoin exchange Bitfinex has lumped its users with a 36 per cent haircut on all balances to cover the $70m hack which it experienced last week.

The haircut applies to all customers irrespective of whether they were holding bitcoin balances or dollar balances or other altcoin balances. But customers don’t come away with nothing! No. Not in the world of virtual money creation. That would be crazy. They get a BFX token (an IOU) as compensation.

Privately and anecdotally, however, customers are reporting some variance with regard to the way the haircut is being imposed. Some US customers, for example, who only had dollar balances are reporting they’ve been able to get all their money back.

Continue reading: Bitfinex and a 36 per cent charge from the school of life

Publicly, the Hong Kong-based bitcoin exchange Bitfinex has lumped its users with a 36 per cent haircut on all balances to cover the $70m hack which it experienced last week.

The haircut applies to all customers irrespective of whether they were holding bitcoin balances or dollar balances or other altcoin balances. But customers don’t come away with nothing! No. Not in the world of virtual money creation. That would be crazy. They get a BFX token (an IOU) as compensation.

Privately and anecdotally, however, customers are reporting some variance with regard to the way the haircut is being imposed. Some US customers, for example, who only had dollar balances are reporting they’ve been able to get all their money back.

Continue reading: Bitfinex and a 36 per cent charge from the school of life

Day three post Bitfinex hack: Bitcoin bailouts, liabilities and hard forks

On Wednesday, we argued that the loss of approximately $70m worth of bitcoin from customer segregated accounts held at Bitfinex should give the banking industry pause for thought with respect to adopting blockchain and bitcoin-based financial technologies.

Today, we’re going to look at the wider implications of the hack, and the potential fallout in terms of legal risk.

Continue reading: Day three post Bitfinex hack: Bitcoin bailouts, liabilities and hard forks

On Wednesday, we argued that the loss of approximately $70m worth of bitcoin from customer segregated accounts held at Bitfinex should give the banking industry pause for thought with respect to adopting blockchain and bitcoin-based financial technologies.

Today, we’re going to look at the wider implications of the hack, and the potential fallout in terms of legal risk.

Continue reading: Day three post Bitfinex hack: Bitcoin bailouts, liabilities and hard forks

Time to reevaluate blockchain hype

The Hong-Kong based Bitfinex exchange is short 119,756 bitcoins after being hacked on Tuesday, though nobody can be sure what’s really happened because ‘hacking’ is a loose term and can encapsulate almost anything, including an internal security breach…

The Hong-Kong based Bitfinex exchange is short 119,756 bitcoins after being hacked on Tuesday, though nobody can be sure what's really happened because 'hacking' is a loose term and can encapsulate almost anything, including an internal security breach. (Do see the case of Mt Gox.) The mark-to-market value of the stolen coins is roughly $70m, but again who can really tell their true worth. Bitcoin is an asset class where the liquidation of 119,756 (approximately 0.8 per cent of the total bitcoin circulation) can move the market more than 20 per cent, suggesting a certain fantastical element to the valuation.

Continue reading: Time to reevaluate blockchain hype