What Does Blockchain Tokenization Mean for P2P Lending?

tokenization P2P lending

The growth of peer-to-peer lending was a direct result of the 2008 economic recession. Banks vacated the consumer and SMB lending space, which allowed fintechs to capture the demand left by that gaping hole. According to a recent study, by the end of 2024, the P2P lending industry will be worth $897.85 billion. The market […]

tokenization P2P lending

The growth of peer-to-peer lending was a direct result of the 2008 economic recession. Banks vacated the consumer and SMB lending space, which allowed fintechs to capture the demand left by that gaping hole. According to a recent study, by the end of 2024, the P2P lending industry will be worth $897.85 billion. The market expects to grow at a CAGR of 48.2%.

Hitting a trillion dollars an important milestone. But with traditional banks and lenders investing heavily in getting their digital lending game right, it is critical to evaluate the source of the next wave of innovation in fintech lending. Though crypto lending is on the verge of hitting the mainstream, it is tokenization that we believe can change the face of the industry in myriad ways.

TOKENIZATION: The New Disintegration Technique?

Tokenization is a method that converts real world assets into transferable digital tokens that live on a blockchain.

  • Liquidity: Liquidity is a major concern when people invest. From real estate to VC funds, many lucrative assets are constrained by their ability to provide the investor a timely exit. Thus, investors are stuck with an investment for 5 – 10 years because they have no way to trade it. Tokenization brings in the necessary liquidity by converting interest into a tradeable asset.
  • Monetization: Many assets such as patents, copyrights, and carbon credits do not have a physical identity but exist in a digital format. The easiest way to convert these into their monetary equivalent is to tokenize them.
  • Access: 99.9% of investors do not have access to the next Facebook because they cannot invest the minimum 10 million dollars required for getting entry into Peter Thiel’s next fund. Tokenization creates democracy of access as it allows the everyday investor to bet just $1,000 on the next unicorn. Tokenization empowers inclusion of retail investors, and their participation is a game changer in the long term.
  • Use Case: For instance, you would like to own the Empire State Building (ESB), but you do not have the estimated $3 billion required to buy the building. On the other hand, ESB is on sale and its owners can’t find a ready buyer for such a large asset. Selling it piecemeal would degrade its value. With the help of tokenization, you can convert ESB into 3 billion tokens worth $1 each and sell it across the investing world. The investor gets to own an iconic asset at $1, and the seller will have a larger buyer universe to pitch a $3 billion asset.

How Would Tokenization Work for P2P Lending?

There are new applications coming out daily, but we believe these are the earliest use cases:

  • Tokenization would allow P2P loans to be funded by thousands of micro investors. Instead of institutional investors controlling the lending on platforms, the ‘P’ in P2P lending can be an individual investing $100 in a loan.
  • The loans would become truly tradeable, and liquid. If you invested in a 3-year loan but need the money back after 6 months, you can simply sell your digital asset on an exchange at a fair price.
  • Crypto P2P loans can enter the mainstream with tokenization, allowing development of fixed income instruments in crypto. This will allow wider participation and lure institutional investors to the market.

CASE STUDY

Blackmoon has launched a tokenization platform on this theme. Its Prime Meridian real estate lending fund is built on a similar thesis that tokenization has the power to change P2P lending fundamentally. It is in a strong position to capture a currently niche market, which will soon to grow to encompass the primary P2P lending industry.

Impact on the P2P Lending System

A P2P loan is not liquid, and the lender usually has to see through the period of the loan tenure. It can be difficult to find a third party looking to buy the same loan. The lender might need to sell at a deep discount due to lack of liquidity. Tokenization will help create more buyers/sellers and a functioning secondary market for the sector leading to more liquidity.

The process of tokenization allows for fractionalization so that the lender can sell any portion and at any time. This breaks everything you own into its digital equivalent. This enables users to create a stock or single proof of ownership tied to the specific asset. It will also make investing easier for the average investor.

Tokenization reduces trading friction and transaction costs. It would also make fractional ownership simple and easier to execute. As the financial asset is already divided into tokens, there would no duplication of legal costs after every transaction.

With integration of the tokenization process in P2P lending, lenders can list their assets as collateral. It is through tokenization, that assets such as patents, intellectual property, or even branding, can be used for raising loans. Moreover, tokenization can allow a brand new form of P2P funding to arise. Tokenized assets can also be offered for collateral funding. So if you own 10% of an apartment, you can borrow against that fractional asset on the alt-lending market.

It can spread risk across a variety of loans. Tokenization will attract more investors to alt-lending platforms as you can now diversify risk for even an amount as small as $100.

Investors have more freedom to invest around the globe. Tokenized currencies enable investors to trade in any geographic area they wish to. Now an American Investor can lend to Asian borrowers in US-denominated loans and Asian accredited investors can invest in certain property loan platforms that are open only to a certain class of investors.

Conclusion

Tokenization is an interesting development with myriad applications in finance. One of its biggest impacts should be felt in the P2P lending industry. With the advent of new players like Blackmoon, P2P lending 2.0 is on the horizon.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Securing Digital Payments on a Mobile Phone

MagicCube

Digital payments have crossed the Rubicon and are now not only an acceptable form of payment but soon expected to become the dominant form. But the problem is small businesses are still hampered in leveraging digital payments for the convenience of their customer base. The below graph indicates the share of small business owners in […]

MagicCube

Digital payments have crossed the Rubicon and are now not only an acceptable form of payment but soon expected to become the dominant form. But the problem is small businesses are still hampered in leveraging digital payments for the convenience of their customer base. The below graph indicates the share of small business owners in the United States who accept digital and mobile payment methods as of October 2017.

Source: Statista

Similarly, IoT is no longer the future. Autonomous cars and voice-controlled assistants like Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home are already in our lives. All of these technology developments represent a new challenge in how to manage and secure our digital payment and IoT devices and infrastructure.

The MagicCube Business Model

The MagicCube solution helps in securing digital transactions on different devices, with the same level of security as device hardware solutions without the complexity and cost associated with hardware deployments.

While working with VISA, founder and Chief Executive Officer Sam Shawki witnessed that companies had to use Apple Pay to access chips while securing credit cards. This required an extensive hardware set up. This led him to embark on a project to create virtual chips.

MagicCube’s patented technology provides an embedded software solution in the existing hardware set up. Now, Visa users will not have to go to Apple to get tokenized cards. Rather, they can use the hardware of MagicCube on their regular devices via cloud by just entering a pin. Now the phone can be used to access payments and there is no need for a separate external device. A lot of companies used to give these devices to merchants for free to capture payments and lending business. But now, with MagicCube, the onboarding process does not require expensive hardware. This allows for faster and cheaper penetration of the market, and merchants don’t have to interact with bulky hardware for managing transactions. Now, consumers will not require credit cards to make payments and merchants will not need any hardware device for accepting payments.

The company charges a setup fee depending on the geography, specific requirements, and volume of the client. There is a fee for active merchants on a monthly basis and a software license fee for every user.

MagicCube Products

    • Mobile Payments: According to research reports, digital payments will overtake cash transactions by 2023. All stakeholders in the payments ecosystem need to conform to the latest technologies as well as ensure that these payments are as secure as those executed through chip-based credit cards. The company’s MC Token Shield will offer a device-independent, hardware-grade security for mobile payments without the complications of hardware. It will also render the excessive middlemen fees associated with current digital payments redundant. The company has achieved PC-DSS Level 1 SP Certification and needs just a single API for integration with any App.
    • Connected Cars: Device security in connected cars is extremely important. According to research, by 2020, one in five vehicles on the road will have some form of wireless network connection. The company’s MC Vehicle Shield offers hardware-grade security to autonomous vehicles for their most critical parts. It will not only reduce the hardware bill for the car manufacturers, but any updates in security standards can be handled like a normal software update instead of having to recall the vehicles.
    • Pin on Glass: Only 45% of US Small Businesses accept credit cards. The point-of-sale hardware costs and the complexity attached with operating them has made it too expensive for millions of small merchants. Pin on Glass technology allows for a regular smartphone to safely accept payment card PINs, thus transforming the humble phone into a POS terminal. The tech has the power to change the entire payments paradigm. MagicCube’s MC Screen Shield works on delivering hardware-grade security and cloud monitoring services for such “PIN on Glass” payments.

Who Are MagicCube?

Founded in 2014, the Silicon Valley- and Brisbane, Australia-based MagicCube is the creator of the world’s only Software Trusted Execution Environment (sTEE) platform, a technology that enables large-scale deployment and management of IoT and mobile-secure solutions for consumers. The company has raised over $10.5 million in funding from Bold Capital, Epic Ventures, Silicon Valley Bank, and others. The company’s seed round saw participation by payments giant Visa.

Before launching the startup, Shawki was the head of Visa’s Global Remote Payments business unit. He was the driving force behind the company’s global push in mobile and remote payments. He also served as the chief innovation officer of VimpelCom, the sixth largest telecom player in the world with over 214 million customers in 18 countries.

Nancy Zayed is the cofounder and chief technical officer. She was head of engineering and operations at InnoPath, a founding member of OMA (Open Mobile Alliance), head of platform development at Cisco Systems, and also spent 10 years at Apple in various leadership roles.

Partnerships and Competitors

The company has entered into a partnership with Visa-funded Yellowpepper to secure token-based payments and is launching the solution in the Latin American market. The company has also partnered with ID Tech, a POS solutions provider for launching a product that will securely allow any mobile device to be converted into a POS terminal.

The young startup is competing with heavyweights like Qualcomm and Infineon, who provide security chips powering and securing payments today. But the CEO is confident that their software will soon make any hardware solutions obsolete. The company is also looking to partner with other players for launching new products and is in the process of attaining critical industrial certifications which will make the sales process much easier. The company seems to be in the pole position to change how digital payments and IoT devices will be secured in the future.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

How Blockchain is Changing Alternative Lending

blockchain for alternative lending

Cryptocurrencies entered the mainstream in 2017. The million dollar fortunes made and 1,000% returns hogged the headlines. But behind all the hoopla is blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrencies, quietly and steadily changing the business universe. The technology has myriad applications. Also called distributed ledger technology (DLT), it can reimagine entire industries in hitherto unknown ways. […]

blockchain for alternative lending

Cryptocurrencies entered the mainstream in 2017. The million dollar fortunes made and 1,000% returns hogged the headlines. But behind all the hoopla is blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrencies, quietly and steadily changing the business universe. The technology has myriad applications. Also called distributed ledger technology (DLT), it can reimagine entire industries in hitherto unknown ways. From issues of security to scalability and cost effectiveness, entrepreneurs are incorporating DLT to bring the benefits to the masses.

Similarly, alternative lending has changed how Americans borrow. Small business and consumer lending was hard hit when banks decamped en masse after the 2008-09 crisis. Online lending came to the fore with players like Lending Club, SoFi, OnDeck building multi-billion dollar lending platforms.

Almost 10 years since, alternative lending is growing but not at the speed  which experts had imagined. Morgan Stanley had predicted Trillion Dollar funding via such platforms in the coming future. The sector is nowhere close to these figures. Aside from corporate governance issues, fraud and high default rates have been the true bane of the industry. IdentityMind, a RegTech company, reports that fraud caused 12% of losses in P2P online lending. That translates to almost 1.2% of total funding, which is also 2-3 times as compared to banks or retail cards.

Blockchain and Alternative Lending

Blockchain is an open, distributed ledger that records transactions between two parties in a verifiable and efficient manner. Putting digital assets (contracts, documents, financial data, etc.) on blockchain technology helps build a wall against unauthorized access and prevents fraud. Blockchain helps maintains transparency between entities; it could be between buyer and seller, business and employee, or customers and investor.

A World Economic Forum report predicts that, by 2025, 10% of GDP will be stored on blockchains. Amalgamating blockchain and alternative lending has not only a technical appeal but is business common sense. Online finance decentralized lending allows savers to directly fund borrowers; they took away the middlemen, traditional banks, who otherwise used to take the major benefit away from the transaction. Now, it is the alternative lending sectors’ turn to leverage the power of decentralization via blockchain.

The Benefits of a Decentralized Distributed Ledger

Decentralization
Currently, alternative lenders hold their complete data centrally, in either their own servers or on Amazon Web Services-type cloud structures. This is a honey pot for hackers. In 2017, an Equifax data breach collected 145.5 million users’ data. The breach was caused by a software flaw that allowed the hackers to take over the company’s website.

Lenders have access to extremely sensitive data such as bank account numbers, social security numbers, and other personal identification information. Losing control of that data can compromise the entire financial history of an individual or a business. Blockchain eliminates the risk by storing information on a decentralized ledger. So a massive data hack would never be possible because it will be practically impossible for the hackers to have access to each and every part of the distributed record.

Transparency
A distributed ledger also provides transparency and allows that all transactions are recorded are on the blockchain in an immutable manner. Thus, backdating of contracts is not possible under any circumstance (Re: Lending Club backdating loans scandal). Corporate governance improves across the board, and investors and regulators can breathe easy knowing that the data they are seeing is the absolute truth.

Securitization
Digital loans can be tokenized via blockchain and be constructed as a tradeable security. This, in effect, allows securitization for loans; so you don’t need to wait till you are a billion dollar fintech lender. Othera, a blockchain lending platform, is doing just that. It creates an online marketplace where lenders can tokenize their cashflow by putting the loan on the blockchain and selling it to investors.

User-friendly
Apart from this, blockchain technology is more user-friendly as it is open to the public with no authentication or permission issues. It is scalable and cost efficient for businesses to incorporate into their existing systems and allows for all stakeholders to easily extract relevant information about their transactions without risking the entire system’s database.

Digital identity verification
Identity theft is one of the biggest reasons for online lending fraud. That is exacerbated by the fact that the lender and the borrower usually never meet in real life. The old traditional way was to go through the lengthy and costly process of physical verification. But in the age of blockchain, by merging identity verification with decentralized blockchain principles, a tamper proof digital-id can be used as the digital signature for recording and validating all transactions.

How Blockchains Are Revolutionizing Lending

Alternate lending has seen many iterations and pivots since inception. From being a pure peer-to-peer platform, the sector has metamorphosed to one dominated by balance sheet lenders and institutional investors. Now, the era of Alt Lending 2.0 is emerging, which is going to be dominated by players who have co-opted blockchain as an integral part of their business processes.
Here is a brief description of some companies that are doing innovative work in the field.

SAP
The ERP giant is experimenting with blockchain on an enterprise level. One of its applications is focused on KYC.  The distributed ledger solution is to store a customer’s ID and link it to their personal documents, which are not stored on the blockchain. Once the transaction is cleared, the link is established and the documents are accessed to prove identity and the onboarding process continues. In this, SAP provides a solution to KYC issues, with running proof of identity. Thus, there is a single source of truth for all parties.

WishFinance
WishFinance is a Singapore- and Honk Kong-focused lender to merchants and small businesses. It is keeping its entire loan portfolio on a public blockchain to push transparency for investors. The investors can evaluate the performance of a loan at anytime (the data is anonymized so no identifiable borrower information is shared).

SALT
SALT is reversing the model by allowing crytpocurrency holders to cash out without actually selling their crypto assets. It allows loans for Bitcoin. The borrower can redeem his crypto assets once the loan is paid.

Conclusion

Blockchain has the power to allow alternative lending companies to scale effortlessly and solve fraud and KYC issues haunting the industry. Lenders who are able to get their blockchain game right should see renewed investor interest and benefit from higher unit economics.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

6 Blockchain-Based Crypto Lenders Changing P2P Lending

ETHLend

The integration of blockchain technology into multiple facets of our world could greatly streamline many industries that affect our day-to-day lives, and financial lending is the ideal forum. A natural progression of P2P lending, blockchain application can make the entire lending process more seamless and greatly reduce the amount of time the process takes. Here […]

ETHLend

The integration of blockchain technology into multiple facets of our world could greatly streamline many industries that affect our day-to-day lives, and financial lending is the ideal forum. A natural progression of P2P lending, blockchain application can make the entire lending process more seamless and greatly reduce the amount of time the process takes.

Here are a few of the players in the early days of this promising technology.

SALT (Secured Automated Lending Technology)

According to its website, SALT is the only platform built to facilitate loans secured by blockchain assets.

“Distributed ledgers represent a paradigm shift in the storage and transfer of assets and, for the first time in history, there is a perfect form of collateral: blockchain assets,” the website reads.

Basing loans on blockchain assets makes creditworthiness no longer an issue. Writing for Forbes, Roger Aitken reported that SALT asserts that, by focusing on the borrower’s assets instead of their credit score, it is able to “dramatically reduce the complexity and cost of the loan process.” SALT seeks to streamline every step of the loan process, facilitating a new blockchain-backed lending market.

The investor retains the value of their holdings, with any earnings or losses that occur to the wealth during the process reverting completely to the borrower.

Among the potential assets to blockchain-based coin lending are that it is a realm where crypto wealth is recognized. Company CEO Shawn Owen, speaking with Forbes, said “if you’re a holder of blockchain assets, a lot of your financial wealth is not being recognized by lenders.” This technology is poised to open those funds to be leveraged and also break down geographic constraints while bringing the potential for the unbanked and underbanked into the financial world.

SALT offers three value tiers and products.

  1. The basic membership package affords one up to $10k in term financing, paid only in USD; terms go from three to 24 months
  2. The premier package offers up to $100K in term financing with a line of credit. This can be paid in USD, Euro, GBP, JPY, and RMB. Term lengths are anywhere from one hour to 36 months.
  3. The enterprise package provides access to over $1M of term financing and a line of credit to be paid in an ad hoc currency selection, dictated by metered terms. This package offers two benefits that the premier package doesn’t–API integration and cold storage enterprise wallets.

All three packages offer no pre-payment penalties, market data and educational resources, and loan management web portals. The premier package offers access to the SALT hardware wallet, customizable loan terms, and early access to new products. These are not offered with the basic membership package.

All member lenders are Regulation D accredited investors, and while credit checks are not done on borrowers, SALT undertakes full Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) verification checks.

The loans, which sport interest rates in the 10 to 15 percent range, are not transferable via the blockchain, as they become securities and are thus transferable through existing financial channels.

EthLend

EthLend is an Estonian-based fully decentralized P2P lending platform on the Ethereum blockchain for lending Ether as tokens for collateral. The platform uses any ERC20 token. All lending on the platform is facilitated through the use of smart contracts, a feature unique the Ethereum blockchain.

The company’s Twitter feed from January 3 reports that it has reached nearly $600K USD in lending volume. 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.

With a roadmap that goes into Q4 2019, the company seems to have a well-plotted vision. Included in that roadmap are:

  • Q1 2018—Plans for a Decentralized Credit Rating (DCR), which will draw on Credit Tokens (CRE) and previous loans on EthLend to create a decentralized credit rating that can be used for other Decentralized Applications (DAPPs) as well
  • Q2 2018—The addition of bitcoin to the DAPP
  • Q2 2018—CRE from third party services, such as uPort and Civic, which can be used when the borrower doesn’t have enough previous loans
  • Q4 2018—the incorporation of the lending of other altcoins and tokens
  • Q3 2019—expansion beyond Ethereum to other distributed ledger networks

Rating the company, CrushCrypto.com says “use cases may seem limited for now, but we believe as tokenization of real assets becomes more prevalent, EthLend has a good chance to become a market lender in this space.”

A pre-ICO lasting from September 25th to October 25th of last year sold 62.5 million LEND available at a sale price of 1 ETH = 25K LEND. The ICO, which ran from November 25-30, saw the company raise $17.86M USD, essentially 100% of the $17.9M goal.

In Q4 2107, the company opened up to USD-based loans and installments.

The platform is not without some aspects that may cause concern for some industry insiders. Certain functions are only accessible with LEND tokens, such as featured loan listings and email marketing for new loan requests. Also, EthLend is currently only available through the Eidoo ICO search engine.

On the upside, only dealing with crypto-to-crypto borrowing means there will be fewer regulation restrictions when those start to be handed down. Also, some insiders fear that other blockchain lending platforms that deal in fiat currencies might be swallowed by the banks, as they do open their transactions to become securities.

ICO Bench rates EthLend at 4.4 out of 5.

Celsius

Celsius is a New York-based NPO based on the Ethereum blockchain, which extends instant credit through a decentralized P2P network. The network is akin to a membership organization that consists of both lenders and borrowers. Members must complete a Celsius profile to join.

Celsius touts itself as the “first crypto wallet that allows users to earn interest (7%) on their held coins” and allows borrowers to use cryptocurreny as collateral to gain access to USD loans. Using a token called a DEG, Celsius deals in BTC, ETH, and USD and uses smart technology to bind the lender/borrower relationship.

Borrower’s metrics are ascertained by using the Celsius Score, a digital credit score calculated by using various traditional metrics, such as FICO scores and mortgage history, as well as non-traditional ones such as Uber and Amazon histories. Lenders choose their borrowers using this score to determine risk.

An NPO acting in the best interests of its users through lower fees and no hidden fees, Celsius’s ultimate goal is to give credit to large blocks of the public who are underserved by banks.

ICO Bench rates Celsius at 2.8 out of 5. The central reason for the less than stellar mark centers around the company being long on marketing, but less so in technology terms.

Some Other Players

Fusion LenderComm

Seven banks, including BNP Paribas, HSBC, ING, BNY Mellon and State Street, have joined forces with R3 and Finastra to develop a blockchain-powered marketplace for syndicated loans. The first pilots have already been successfully completed.

With the early support of seven global banks (two of which do not yet wish to be named), the platform will cover 10% of the syndicated loan market when live next year.

Inspeer

An expansion under the Russian LightFin.ru brand, Inspeer deals in crypto and fiat. The company serves three million regional customers and processed 200,000 loans in its first year.

LendingBlock

For those who like to be in the know a little earlier, there is LendingBlock, a securities lending platform for crypto and digital assets. Users can lend and borrow cryptocurrencies against collateral of other cryptocurrencies in a completely decentralized and private manner. Watch for a Q1 token presale and a Q3 launch. LendingBlock is not currently working with fiat currencies.

 

Conclusion

The business of cryptocurrency lending is looking like the Wild West. There are some promising players to consider, and more if you look. SALT has Erik Voorhees associated with it, who founded Coinapult and gambling site SatoshiDice. He is a long-time cryptocurrency and blockchain advocate.

Do your own homework to make informed choices, but if crypto lending is in you future, start your research with these platforms.

Author:

Written with Paul Keenan.

Allen Taylor