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

Monday May 1 2017, Daily News Digest

Upstart

News Comments Today’s main news: Funding Circle US to bolster capital markets team. US investors in Yirendai try to preserve lawsuit. Fed wants a say in fintech rules. Ablrate gains ISA manager status. Mizuho commits to fintech partnerships. Today’s main analysis: AI fintech startups offer loans on new credit. Global fintech report from CB Insights. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Multi-seller ABS […]

Upstart

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

China

International

Australia

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

Funding Circle US to bolster capital markets team (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle US is currently advertising for a number of capital markets jobs, all based in San Francisco. Among the listed jobs is a newly created Head of US Capital Markets role.

A Funding Circle spokesperson told us that Sachin Patel is now running capital markets for the firm globally.

There are currently five capital markets jobs listed in the US.

US Investors In Chinese Online Lender Fight To Preserve Suit (Law360), Rated: AAA

Shareholders in Chinese peer-to-peer lending company Yirendai Ltd. asked a California federal judge on Thursday to keep their securities fraud suit against the company and its executives alive, saying their request to dismiss the case rested on mischaracterizations and factual arguments the court couldn’t consider.

The investors sued Yirendai in 2016 after news that Chinese regulators were cracking down on the peer-to-peer lending business sent its stock tanking.

AI Fintech Startups Offer Loans on New Credit (Nanalyze), Rated: AAA

We’ve found more than a dozen AI fintech firms through our friends at CB Insights that claim their machine-learning algorithms can evaluate loan applications in milliseconds while minimizing defaults.

Many of these companies target so-called thin-file borrowers—people with little credit history—who are usually trying to consolidate debt from high-interest credit cards.

CB Insights reported in its 2016 Global Fintech report that investments dropped from an all-time high of $14.6 billion in 2015 to $12.7 billion last year. Online loan companies, in particular, took something of a hit in 2016. The last quarter was particularly tough, with a 31 percent tumble in loan originations. (However, overall, the top online loan sharks companies tracked by S&P Global Market Intelligence improved their bottom-dollar on loan originations by 15 percent from year-to-year, mostly on the backs of small businesses and students.)

Avant offers direct unsecured personal loans ranging from $1,000-$35,000 with funding delivered as soon as the next business day. It has served more than 500,000 customers worldwide, though last year’s downturn for digital lenders also hit Avant. Its year-to-year loan originations were down 12 percent to about $1.7 billion.

Led by a bevy of former Google-ites, including former Google CIO and ZestFinance CEO and founder Douglass Merrill, ZestFinance has raised $62 million in equity financing, including an undisclosed amount last July. Total funding is $262 million thanks to a couple of additional rounds of debt financing. Peter Thiel’s name again appears on the long list of investors.

Key VC tech investors like Andreessen Horowitz and Khosla Ventures have helped pour $320 million of equity into Affirm, bringing total funding to $420 million after a $100 million round of debt financing from Morgan Stanley. The company is led by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin.

Upstart is an AI fintech version of Lending Club. Meaning it provides peer-to-peer lending. Like ZestFinance, it particularly markets to the skinny jeans crowd, offering loans of up to $50,000 to help consolidate debt, pay off student loans and build credit history for those living in hipster cities like Portland and Brooklyn. The machine learning bit involves taking less tangible variables like education, college major and astrological sign into account.

Upstart CEO (and former president of Google Enterprise) Dave Girouard told TechCrunch he expects his company to become profitable this year. He predicts Upstart will originate about $1 billion in loans this year after doing about $650 million in loans in its first 2½ years.

Federal Reserve wants a say on U.S. fintech rules -Brainard (NASDAQ), Rated: AAA

The Federal Reserve wants to give input on future rules governing how technology companies move into consumer lending markets, Fed Governor Lael Brainard said on Friday.

Policymakers will have to determine whether financial technology, or fintech, companies may tap the Fed for services that large, traditional banks enjoy.

“The OCC’s proposal raises interpretive and policy issues for the Federal Reserve regarding whether charter recipients would become Federal Reserve members or have access to Federal Reserve accounts and services,” Brainard told a conference at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

Ten Marketplace Lending Options for Accredited Investors (Lend Academy), Rated: A

LendingHome launched in 2014 but quickly established themselves as the leader in the category. They are the only real estate crowdfunding platform to have reached $1 billion in total loans issued, a milestone they crossed in December, 2016 just two and half years after launching.

PeerStreet were founded just 18 months ago but they are already making a name for themselves. They are also focused on the fix & flip market providing loans ranging from 6-24 months in length. They target 6-12% returns and they maintain a conservative maximum LTV (loan-to-value) of 75%.

Sharestates has offered both debt and equity investments, although the vast majority of their deals are for debt. These deals are similar to other platforms with loan terms typically 6-24 months targeting 8-12% returns.

RealtyMogul is one of the most established players in the space having launched in 2013. They have done around $260 million in deals and today they focus primarily on commercial property.

Patch of Land is 100% focused on debt deals tied to mainly residential properties but with a small number of commercial properties as well.

RealtyShares is a “full stack” capital provider, meaning they offer both debt and equity deals on a single project for borrowers. They have done some large deals including this $5.9 million deal for a 132-unit apartment complex in Ohio.

The world leader in marketplace lending for small business loans offers US accredited investors a solid option. Loan terms range from 12 – 60 months and interest rates from 5.49% – 27.79%. Loans are rated from A+ for least risky down to D grade. They have a marketplace where you can browse the loans on offer or you can setup automated investing strategies based on loan grade. As I wrote this there were 12 loans available on their marketplace. Funding Circle provides financials and other details about each company although they don’t provide the company name.

Streetshares is a relatively new small business lender, they launched in 2014, and they are focused primarily on providing funding for military and veteran community businesses. Run by two veterans they provide three different products: term loans (3 – 36 months), lines of credit ($5,000 – $100,000) and government contract financing (for companies dealing with federal or state government contracts).

P2Binvestor, or P2Bi for short, is an asset backed lender providing revolving lines of credit typically backed by accounts receivables. These lines of credit range from $250,000 to as much as $10 million.

Upstart has been something of a quiet achiever when compared to some of their well-established competitors. Founded by ex-Googlers they have a very data-centric approach to their business. One of the things that makes Upstart unique is they were the first platform to look at a borrower’s education and factor that into the lending decision. Interest rates range from 6.37% – 29.99% APR, loan terms are three or five years and amounts range from $1,000 – $50,000.

Could Facial Recognition Technology Transform Insurance? (FA Magazine), Rated: A

In Wilmington, N.C., a high-tech company called Lapetus Solutions has developed a technology it calls Chronos that interprets facial characteristics such as baggy eyes, rosy cheeks and double chins to estimate a person’s life expectancy. One purported use of this futuristic-sounding software is to help insurance companies assess risk quickly and inexpensively. Customers could then purchase life insurance online in record time, perhaps circumventing the usual medical examination altogether.

In theory at least, insurance carriers want to provide coverage only to those less likely to need it. The better the carriers understand and predict risks, the better they can manage their liabilities. So if facial recognition technology identifies risks that were previously unknown or unknowable, it could render some consumers uninsurable, an advantage perhaps for the insurance company but not the consumer.

But Erin Ardleigh, president and founder of Dynama Insurance, an independent insurance brokerage based in New York City, isn’t so sure. “How would facial recognition technology help underwriters? I suppose if it could identify clients [who were] engaging in risky behavior, such as smoking or skydiving,” she says.

Rodgers, though, contends that the decision of whether to try this or any other new technology may ultimately come down to dollars and cents.

McHenry Working With Senate Democrat on New Fintech Bill (Bloomberg BNA), Rated: A

A leading House Republican on financial technology issues said April 25 he is working with a Senate Democrat on a revised “permanent beta test” bill to prod regulators to foster fintech innovation.

“You must have a default ‘yes’ to new innovation,” Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) said in a speech at the American Action Forum in Washington.

McHenry said the 2017 version of the act would include “significant changes and revisions,” but he declined to discuss those. He also declined to identify the Democratic senator with whom he is working. He said he hopes to introduce the new bill in two months.

Global Debt Registry Wins FinTech Breakthrough Award (GDR Email), Rated: A

Global Debt Registry (GDR), the asset certainty company known for its loan validation expertise, today announced it has won the FinTech Breakthrough Award for ‘Best Business Lending Product’. The 

Female Fintech Founder On Series F And The Future Of Payments (Forbes), Rated: A

Karla Friede was first an executive with depth in sales and marketing and a passion for innovating. As the president and CEO of a company who had developed a new offering, a B2B payment technology, she was excited about getting to market.

Friede, now the CEO along with co-founders, Tana Law and Shaun McAravey, bought the rights to the idea from Zevez Corporation and in 2009 launched Nvoicepay.

Friede admits it wasn’t easy launching and scaling at that time. But, it taught them to be very smart with every penny. And, they had to prove their business case as they went along because investors weren’t throwing money at every shiny object.

Many B2B organizations don’t accept credit cards. And, managing ACH transfers require a lot of manual processes and the collection of sensitive financial data.

Friede says she was a little naïve in tackling the launch because the B2B payments space was so large. It’s one thing tackling Billion Dollar industries, it’s another thing dipping your toe into a market in the tens of Trillions.

Friede encourages founders to partner with people that think differently but complement your skills.

As Friede puts it, investors are looking for reasons not to invest in you…rather than reasons to invest in you. Don’t give them those reasons, give them a proven business model and secure set of customers.

Only 9% of VC-backed companies have woman CEOs so you won’t ‘look and feel like them.’ Instead, look and feel like someone who knows what they are doing and has proven it. That’s a shorthand all investors respond to.

If you are a female founder and you’re concerned about bias, she has this advice:

  • Target women-lead VCs or those with a woman partner.
  • Make it easy for the VC to relate to you.
  • Talk like the men around you.

She considers it a point of pride that they’ve raised $25M and it’s taken them to Series F to do it.

Small Change Announces Pittsburgh’s Liberty Bank Building Real Estate Offering (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Real estate crowdfunding platform Small Change announced this week the launch of Pittsburgh’s Liberty Bank Building real estate offering. The funding portal noted that the project is seeking $300,000 to fund development of the building into co-working operator Beauty Shoppe’s flagship location.

Picker also noted that the next reincarnation of the Liberty Bank Building is having difficulty getting funds because it is considered to be the first full co-working building in Pittsburgh:

“Why is it so difficult to finance projects that bring innovation and new life to neighborhoods and cities? Must we rely on traditional financial institutions that are not very innovative at their core?”

Small Change added there is a 10% projected return on debt instrument. A full return of interest and capital is anticipated in 36 months. This is not an offer to sell securities.

State Bank Regulators Sue to Stop the OCC’s Fintech Charter (National Law Review), Rated: A

As we reported last fall, New York Department of Financial Services Superintendent Maria T. Vullo stated that she was “ardently opposed” to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (OCC’s) intention to process applications for a new financial technology (fintech) company charter. We now see just how much her counterparts in other states share that view, as the state bank regulators recently came together under the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) banner to ask the federal courts to stop the OCC’s fintech charter initiative.

In turn, we believe that the CSBS action will act as a further disincentive for at least some fintech companies to pursue a national bank charter at this time.

Are Robo-Advisers in Your Future (My Prime Time News), Rated: A

Rather than having a “real” human being as your financial adviser, you can now hire a robot, or robo-adviser. The automated adviser will then manage your investment funds through the use of mathematical rules called algorithms. There is almost no human interaction.

While there may be cost savings, it is important to understand their risks and limitations before using them. First, what level of human interaction is important to you? While limited human interaction may result in reduced fees, many people feel more comfortable having often complex investment decisions explained by a person they trust. Before you decide to create an account with a robo-adviser, it’s important that you understand how the system works. Robo-adviser systems are limited to the information provided, and do not seek out new information or research potential options in the same way that a human adviser would.

Therefore, remember that even if you are not dealing with a human, you still need to verify the license of the service and the registration of the product or offering with the proper authorities.

FinTech Fireside Chat with PayJoy (Center for Digital Strategies), Rated: B

PayJoy is a FinTech company based in San Francisco, CA. PayJoy is bringing consumer finance to people who otherwise could not afford modern electronics such as smartphones. Today, PayJoy’s unique locking technology enables us to offer monthly installment payment plans to millions who otherwise would be unable to afford a quality smartphone. PayJoy’s ambition is to deliver affordable consumer finance to 1B+ people worldwide to obtain a smartphone and join the modern digital, mobile economy.

Poloniex Lending Bot vs Manual Poloniex Lending (The Merkle), Rated: B

Unfortunately, Poloniex Lending Bot cannot do much about issuing loans at very low rates when the market spikes. Additionally, the bot negates any opportunity to benefit from high long-term rates. Moreover, there is a 10% fee for using the bot, which can negate some of the profits earned rather quickly. It is a convenient lending bot, granted, but it should not necessarily replace manual, lending activities for anyone who knows what they are doing.

This also means one needs to buy small amounts of said coin to effectively issue the loan. If the coin suddenly plummets in value, that can cause losses in a cryptocurrency portfolio. Then again, a lending bot would not be able to protect users from falling currency values either by any means.

United Kingdom

Ablrate Gains ISA Manager Status and Passes £20 Million in Loans (EIN News), Rated: AAA

David Bradley-Ward, CEO at Ablrate, said: “Following our successful application for full authorisation from the FCA we now have the necessary approvals from HMRC to offer an Innovative Finance ISA. We hope to be able announce the launch of our IFISA soon after integrating the necessary technology.”

However, the asset backed lender is taking a cautious attitude towards the new product.

Multi-seller ABS approach to flourish (Structured Credit Investor), Rated: AAA

Marketplace loan ABS involving a multi-seller approach is expected to become more commonplace, due to the extra control that online lending platforms can exert over the securitisation process. Investors and loan sellers also benefit from a consistent securitisation programme, but a degree of expertise is required to handle the greater complexity involved in executing such transactions effectively.

VPC Specialty Lending Net Asset Value Rises As Dividend Is Lifted (Alliance News), Rated: A

VPC Specialty Lending Investments PLC on Friday said its net asset value increased significantly over the course of 2016 but said its NAV per share declined after its share capital swelled, while it reported negative total return in the period.

VPC said its net asset value at the end of 2016 stood at GBP363.1 million versus GBP201.8 million at the close of 2015, but the NAV per share fell to 95.26 pence from 100.90 pence after 182.6 million new shares were issued throughout the year.

Total shareholder return in the period was -17% versus the total return in 2015 of -5.5%. Revenue return was 6.0% versus 4.3% the year before.

Funding Circle to shut down forum amid property loan debate (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

FUNDING Circle is closing its community forum on Tuesday, as it says that some investors are “asking questions about a narrow range of technical topics” that would be better dealt with through its investor support team.

A thread on short-term property loans has now attracted 1,300 replies and more than 59,000 views. Lenders on the platform expressed their concerns around a tranche of London-based property loans that are going into default.

The platform suggested that its investors share their views on another website called the P2P Independent Forum instead.

How will your career evolve as the fintech sector grows? (Silicon Republic), Rated: A

For a start, you are probably wondering what future jobs will be available in fintech, as banking as we know it transforms into an online entity and long-standing financial institutions are shapeshifting for a new era.

If you want to work in this sector, you’ll need to brush up on the latest goings-on in the industry, and what better way to do that than to follow the experts online? To save you some trouble, we’ve provided you with a list of 10 people to follow on Twitter if you want to work in the fintech sector.

European Union

Tradeplus24 CHF100m Fintech raise in Switzerland signals Insurance move into SME Lending (Daily Fintech), Rated: AAA

Note: the deal was done in CHF which is about parity with USD, so you can read that as $100m.

A $100m Fintech raise in Switzerland in 2014 would have been inconceivable. In 2017 it is noteworthy as another sign of a rapidly maturing Fintech community in Switzerland.

I could only find the Tradeplus24 news on German language sites, so if that is an issue for you, here are the key facts:

– they raised CHF100m debt

– The debt is for lending to Swiss SME (note: they refer to KMU which translates to SME). This makes them a balance sheet lender, like Avant, not a marketplace lender like Lending Club. This means they have assured capital to offer rather than simply matching on a best efforts basis (our take is the latter is the better model long term but that you need balance sheet based lending to get a market going).

The Tradeplus24 approach is different. It brings Insurance into the mix. AsOceanoOne put it “An insurance or equal protection of investment grade quality against credit loss and fraud is in place for all pre-financed receivables. The purchase of the receivables occurs only when a credit insurance or an equal protection is in place and confirmed by the relevant protection provider.”

China

26 on trial over China P2P fraud (XinhuaNet), Rated: AAA

Twenty-six executives of a Chinese online peer-to-peer lender stood trial in Beijing on Wednesday and Thursday after allegedly cheating the public out of a huge amount of money.

The local procuratorate charged that the defendants had used two online P2P platforms, Ezubao and Sesame Financial, to illegally raise funds and then spent lavishly on luxury gifts and salaries between June 2014 and December 2015.

International

THE GLOBAL FINTECH REPORT: Q1’17 (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

While fintech covers a diverse array of companies, business models, and technologies, companies generally fall into several key verticals, including:

  • Lending tech: Lending companies on the list include primarily peer-to-peer lending platforms as well as underwriter and lending platforms using machine learning technologies and algorithms to assess creditworthiness.
  • Payments/billing tech: Payments and billing tech companies span from solutions to facilitate payments processing to payment card developers to subscription billing software tools.
  • Personal finance/wealth management: Tech companies that help individuals manage their personal bills, accounts and/or credit, as well as manage their personal assets and investments.
  • Money transfer/remittance: Money transfer companies include primarily peer-to-peer platforms to transfer money between individuals across countries.
  • Blockchain/bitcoin: Companies here span key software or technology firms in the distributed ledger space, ranging from bitcoin wallets to security providers to sidechains.
  • Institutional/capital markets tech: Companies either providing tools to financial institutions such as banks, hedge funds, mutual funds, or other institutional investors. These range from alternative trading systems to financial modeling and analysis software.
  • Equity crowdfunding: Platforms that allow a collection of individuals to provide monetary contributions for projects or companies provisioned in the form of equity.
  • Insurance tech: Companies creating new underwriting, claims, distribution and brokerage platforms, enhanced customer experience offerings, and software-as-a-service to help insurers deal with legacy IT issues.

Read the full report here.

Australia

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) anticipates getting over $200 million returned to consumers out of its so-called “fee for no service” remediation projects plus $30 million out of quality-of-advice work with the large institutions.

It said that in the financial advice space in the last 12 months it had extracted six enforceable undertakings; banned 41 individuals from providing financial advice; had four infringement notices and had undertaken seven criminal actions.

“In our fee-for-no-service remediations, we have got up to just over $60 million, and we anticipate getting over $200 million returned to consumers out of that project. We will have about $30 million in the backward-looking quality-of-advice work that we have done with the large institutions,” Bird said.

Kristen Lunman: Taking a chance on financial technology (NZ Herald), Rated: A

As the programme director for New Zealand’s first fintech-focused business accelerator programme, the pressure is on in the countdown to demo day. That’s when the teams will pitch their business plans and – they hope – attract the crucial dollars that will enable them to forge ahead.

The 39-year-old expat Canadian moved to Wellington six years ago with her husband and two pre-school children after falling in love with the country when the couple honeymooned here.

Asia

Japanese Megabank Mizuho Commits to Fintech in Series of Partnerships (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

One of the largest banks in Japan, Mizuho Financial Group, has been in the news recently for several partnerships involving fintech. According to Nikkei Asian Review, the bank is in talks to co-develop a fintech incubator that will be focused on virtual currencies, like bitcoin, and AI-based loan screening ventures. The discussions are with World Innovation Labs (WiL), a firm based out of Silicon Valley that helps US and Japanese startups raise capital, to co-found the incubator by as early as June of this year.

The creation of an incubator is not Mizuho’s first foray into fintech. Just last week, it was reported that Mizuho partnered with Cognizant (one of the world’s leading professional services companies, a member of the Nasdaq-100, and Fortune 500 company) to develop a distributed ledger solution for more efficient and secure trade financing.

Just two days after the partnership with Cognizant was reported, it was announced that Mizuho had also partnered with IBM to create a blockchain-based trading platform.

OJK’s regulation on financial technology-based lending services (Lexology), Rated: AAA

Both agreements must be drawn up in an electronic form. Providers are restricted by the following rules:

  • Providers must be established as a legal entity in the form of a limited-liability company as meant by Law No. 40 of 2007, or in the form of a cooperative as meant by Law No. 25 of 1992.
  • The maximum direct or indirect foreign share ownership in Providers in the form of a limited-liability company which are established and owned by foreign citizens and/or legal entities is 85% of the total issued capital.
  • Providers are required to have IDR 1 billion in capital (i.e. paid-up capital for a limited-liability company and self-capital for a cooperative) at the time they apply for registration and IDR 2.5 billion at the time they apply for the license. Limited-liability companies or cooperatives intending to engage in the P2P Lending Services business are required to register with and subsequently apply for a license to the OJK.
  • Providers are prohibited from conducting other businesses outside the P2P Lending Services, such as acting as lender or borrower, providing security or guarantee for other parties’ debt and issuing bonds.

Vietnamese fintechs and the $ 35 billion dream (VietnamNet), Rated: A

According to Boston Consulting Group (BCG), roughly $53 billion has been reserved for fintech firms and there are over 3,500 fintech firms all over the world.

According to PwC, online payment and mobile money transfer services are becoming the gateway to approach a fraction of the population which have not yet transacted with banks.

It forecasts that mobile technology will help many new customers access financial services and open up a new market worth $3 trillion in global payments.

Vietnam has 90 million people, most of whom are young, 50 percent of whom have internet access and 70 percent use smartphone.

These factors, according to Nielsen, a market survey firm, are the important reasons for experts to believe Vietnam is a potential fintech market.

Are crowdfunding and P2P lending good investments? (The Star), Rated: A

However, there is also “equity-based” crowdfunding, which is smaller, but more interesting from an investment point of view.

Peer-to-peer lending, on the other hand, is not concerned with equity, but with debt.

In Malaysia, it will still take a few years before these alternatives really take off, either as a way to obtain debt or equity for entrepreneurs or as an investment vehicle for investors.

But some fintech crowdfunding start-ups already exist, such as pitchIN, Mystartr and CrowdPlus.asia.

For those of us looking to obtain unsecured loans for personal consumption, the bank still seems the best option. For now.

Africa

World Bank offers African FinTech startups better odds (IT Web Africa), Rated: AAA

An exclusive pan-African post-acceleration programme, XL Africa has been launched by the World Bank Group for African digital startups.

XL Africa aims at supporting enterprises in any sector that are making smart use of digital solutions and connect these businesses with angel investors and venture capital firms in a bid to raise growth capital estimated at US$1.5 million.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor