Category Archives: FinTech and Alternative Finance

Advancing the dialogue on the future of financial services

Share

Competition Bureau release | Dec 14, 2017

December 14, 2017—OTTAWA, ON—Competition Bureau

The Competition Bureau has published the final report from its market study concerning technology-led innovation in the Canadian financial services sector.

The report outlines barriers to the growth and adoption of financial technology (FinTech) in Canada and provides a number of recommendations to help regulators and policymakers continue to promote FinTech innovation. The Bureau’s proposals are aimed at fostering competition and innovation in how Canadians:

  • pay for goods and services;
  • obtain loans for themselves and their businesses; and
  • receive financial advice.

In its report, the Bureau recommends modernizing laws and regulations to encourage the entry and adoption of new technologies, while maintaining consumer confidence and safety in this rapidly evolving sector.

The report follows 18 months of active engagement with national and international leaders in this sector, federal and provincial government partners, and Canadians. During this time, a number of positive developments that align with the Bureau’s recommendations have occurred. For example:

  • The Canadian Securities Administrators launched a regulatory sandbox that allows businesses to test their FinTech innovations in an environment with fewer regulations, and enables administrators to develop a common regulatory approach.
  • The Department of Finance is looking at ways to modernize legislation and regulation, and is examining new concepts such as open banking. Open banking has the potential to offer Canadians more control over their banking information, the ability to find the financial services that best meet their needs, and greater ease of switching between service providers.
  • Numerous initiatives to modernize regulations have been launched, including the Ontario Securities Commission’s (OSC) LaunchPad, which aims to help FinTech firms navigate securities law requirements and bring new products to market faster. The OSC also partnered with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission to better assist FinTech firms to expand internationally.

The Bureau is proud to have contributed to the dialogue with regulators, industry stakeholders and Canadians. This kind of collaboration is key to ensuring that the future of FinTech in Canada is competitive and innovative.

See: 

Quotes

"FinTech has the potential to transform how Canadians access financial services. The findings and recommendations in our report will help regulators and policymakers create an environment that promotes FinTech innovation and growth in Canada."

John Pecman,
Commissioner of Competition

Download the full report --> here

 

The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, and networking opportunities to over 1600+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding industry in Canada.  For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

Share

RED Mountain Hurdles Historic $1.5 Million Mark; Keeps Going

Share

Nasdaq Newswire - Red Mountain | Dec 13, 2017

Scrappy Ski Mountain Reaches Major Milestone in Crowdfunding Campaign

ROSSLAND, British Columbia, Dec. 13, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Nearly sixteen months ago, RED Mountain launched an historic initiative for ski hills to raise capital through crowdfunding, offering ownership in the storied Canadian ski resort to investors for starting at $1000. Today, RED is proud to announce that it has hit— and exceeded — its minimum offering of $1.5 Million collectively raised on both StartEngine.com in the USA and FrontFundr.com in Canada and has accepted the first round of subscriptions under the crowdfunding offering. This means that the first funds can be accessed for use in “improving the adventure,” and investors can begin using some of the perks offered as early as this ski season.

See:  RED Mountain Goes LIVE With Crowdfunding in Canada; Urges Fans to “Fight The Man. Own The Mountain.”

“It’s hard for me to even put into words what this milestone means to our team,” says RED CEO Howard Katkov. “This campaign has been non-stop since we launched… It’s been intense in a way I’ve never experienced in any of my previous business endeavors, but most gratifying for me, my team, and our community. We planted this flag for independent skiing and touched a nerve with skiers and boarders around the world. It’s way bigger than RED Mountain now — and RED’s pretty big!”

Dubbed “Fight The Man. Own The Mountain,” the RED campaign has raised eyebrows as well as money, highlighting the importance of independent skiing.  RED Mountain has presented itself as one big, continually growing “family”, something very unique, juxtaposed to the rapid corporate consolidation of ski resorts in North America.

“After we tossed this notion out there 16 months ago, we received pledges of over $13 Million,” explains Katkov.

“We knew that not everyone would convert to their reservations to subscriptions for Class D Units— that not everyone is able to — but the traction we’ve seen on this issue is commendable on its own. More people are aware of the transformation of skiing due to corporate consolidation and we have created a touch point for those who care about independence, authenticity, affordability and access. We’ve received investments from numerous supporters who’ve never even been here! RED isn’t the only independent out there fighting the good fight, but we have become a high-profile underdog.”

“RED is defining a movement that is transforming what it means to be an Angel Investor,” explains Sean Burke, COO of FrontFundr. “You don’t need to be a high net worth individual to invest and own a piece of RED and this is what democratized investing in private enterprises is all about. RED has proven this and now holds the single largest closing for equity crowdfunding in Canada, with total subscriptions of over $1.5million.”

“Our passion hasn’t wavered,” adds Katkov. “We will continue to accept subscriptions for the Fight the Man / Own the Mountain crowdfunding offering over the winter and fully expect to raise additional equity after this great start. Just know there’s room at the table of this historic offering and truly unique opportunity to own a chunk of RED Mountain. We know that many more die-hards will be joining the family over the winter and we can’t wait to meet them!”

The US offering circular can be viewed here.

Source:  here

Press inquiries can start here:

Christine Andison – Planning & Development
RED Mountain Resort
250-362-5551
christine.andison@redmountainventures.com


 

The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, and networking opportunities to over 1600+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding industry in Canada.  For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

Share

Australian Securities and Investment Commission Partners with Canadian Securities Regulators on Fintech

Share

Crowdfundinsider | By: JD Alois | Dec 12, 2017

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) has signed a cooperation agreement with the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) to foster Fintech innovation, expand the network of information sharing and support Fintech startups. ASIC previously signed a bilateral cooperation agreement with the Ontario Securities Commission which remains in effect.

See: Ontario Securities Commission and Australian financial regulator sign fintech agreement

CSA is an association that represents the provincial securities regulators including; the Autorité des marchés financiers (Québec), the British Columbia Securities Commission, the Alberta Securities Commission, the Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority of Saskatchewan, the Manitoba Securities Commission, the Financial and Consumer Services Commission (New Brunswick) and the Nova Scotia Securities Commission.

In Canada, each of the 10 provinces and three territories are responsible for securities regulation. Securities regulators from each province joined forces to form the CSA. The CSA strives to harmonize regulation for the Canadian capital markets. CSA reports it is actively looking to foster innovation in Canada’s capital markets and has commenced a number of initiatives. The participating jurisdictions in the CSA engage closely with foreign regulators to both share and learn from experiences with initiatives such as the ASIC Innovation Hub and the Fintech Regulatory Sandbox.

See: Fintech Sandbox and Ontario Centres of Excellence Announce Partnership

ASIC Commissioner John Price said that ASIC’s relationship with the OSC has been mutually beneficial.

“It makes sense to expand our links to other Canadian provincial regulators where we are seeing similar fintech innovation.”

Louis Morisset, Chair of the CSA, SA and CEO of the Autorité des marchés financiers in Québec added;

“These agreements mark new positive steps for the CSA, which already works with the Sandbox to help innovative businesses seeking to operate across Canada.”

In February 2017, the CSA launched its ‘CSA Regulatory Sandbox’ to support Fintech innovation. The Canadian Sandbox is similar to ASIC’s Regulatory Sandbox relief.

Continue to the full article --> here

 

The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, and networking opportunities to over 1600+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding industry in Canada.  For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

Share

Fintech Listed as Emerging Risk to Financial Stability in Report

Share

Bloomberg | By: Julie Verhage | Dec 11, 2017

For all its benefits, Fintech is cropping up as a concern because of its potential to disrupt financial stability.

That’s according to a new report from Depository Trust & Clearing Corp., which surveyed people in financial services to get their views on what the biggest risks are to economic security.

While developments in financial technology have ushered in greater access to banking, lowered investments fees and expanded access to banking and capital for larger swaths of the population, it starting to raise some concerns.

See: Banks face Kodak moment as fintech disruption builds

“Fintech risk, which was included in this survey for the first time, was acknowledged as a significant source of risk by 15 percent of respondents,” the authors wrote.

“Generally recognized as holding great promise, these results demonstrate a growing awareness of potential emerging risks, highlighting the need to evaluate both risks and rewards associated with fintech initiatives.”

 One area in particular that was mentioned was a lack of regulation, with respondents worrying that advancements have outpaced governance.

Continue to the full article --> here

 

The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, and networking opportunities to over 1600+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding industry in Canada.  For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

Share

British Treasury Plans to Implement EU-Wide Cryptocurrency Regulation by Late 2018

Share

TheCointelegraphJoshua Althauser |  Dec 7, 2017

The British Treasury plans to introduce regulations that will cover Bitcoin and other digital currencies in late 2018. The agency is increasingly concerned about the possibility that the virtual currencies could be used in illegal activities like money laundering and tax evasion due to their growing popularity.

Under the planned legislation that is intended to cover the entire European Union (EU), cryptocurrency traders will be compelled to disclose their identities and report any suspicious activity that they may discover in virtual currency trading.

See: Europe's alternative finance market hits $9.1 billion in the first quarter

This move by the UK government could cause confusion among industry players as the majority of f exchanges in the country are already compliant with the existing know your customer (KML) and anti-money laundering (AML) laws.

Continue to the full article --> here

 

The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, and networking opportunities to over 1600+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding industry in Canada.  For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

Share

Blockchain isn’t the only option for distributed finance services

Share

Disruptive Asia | | Dec 7, 2017

Blockchain has been compared to TCP/IP in terms of how it enables new distributed finance solutions in the same way that TCP/IP enabled internet services. It certainly looks like distributed finance solutions will disrupt the whole finance industry, but it is not guaranteed that “Bitcoin type” blockchain will be the primary long-term solution to enable it. It has many fundamental issues, and there are other candidates to create distributed ledgers and distributed finance solutions.

Blockchain is like a religion to some people. They believe in it, even if they don’t understand it. Sometimes there are moments when – and people with whom – I feel it’s forbidden to talk about blockchain problems. When you do, you get comments like, “So, you want to protect centralized solutions.”

No, I want distributed solutions that work, are reliable and can really scale up.

The basic idea of distributed ledgers is to store data (or data blocks) in a distributed network in a reliable way. Those data blocks then can include some information, e.g. how many tokens (e.g. Bitcoins) you have, ownership of a certain asset (token as a certificate e.g. based on smart contracts), or your credit score (e.g. a distributed credit rating systems). The order of the transactions is fundamental for these systems – it means, for example, that you cannot use the same token twice or sell the same asset twice.

Traditionally that order has been easy to maintain because a centralized system authorized the transaction and then updated your information. If you buy a flight ticket with your debit card, your bank (or its processor) has the system to check that you have enough money to pay for the ticket, then it handles the transaction, deducts money from your account and sends information to the airline that they will get their money and they can issue you a ticket. Then their system confirms your place on a flight, issues the ticket and sends it to you.

With distributed ledgers, we must imagine solutions where there is no single centralized party to check your bank account, confirm the payment, or keep track of available seats on a flight. Basically, everyone has a wallet where he or she can hold money (or monetary tokens) and flight seats (tokens with the right for a seat). And there is no central party or upper hierarchical party that would approve transactions and keep track of them. This means we need algorithms to guarantee transactions are recorded and maintained in the right order.

See: 

For example, when I buy a flight ticket from a flight dealer, the system must guarantee that I don’t use money elsewhere until my ticket is paid, and that the dealer doesn’t sell the seat to someone else until I have got my ticket. When we tokenize money and assets this way, it then creates many other opportunities to make use and trading of them easier and more flexible than with traditional ownership documents.

Know your distributed finance systems

There are several models to guarantee or at least estimate this in a distributed system:

  1. Proof-of-work (POW): This is the model that blockchain uses. Basically the way to guarantee the order is to slow down the system and make it hard to add a new block, i.e. it takes time and computing capacity (that means it takes a lot of electricity too). If two blocks are added simultaneously, then it is basically a competition to see who can perform the calculation tasks faster and add more to the chain, because the longer fork wins. The reward for adding a block is to receive some tokens (e.g. Bitcoins).
  2. Leader-based system: The requires someone (or several people, either in a hierarchy or taking turns) is the leader and all transactions are sent to them for their approval. One could say this is not really a distributed model (de-centralized, perhaps), and its one technical weakness is that the leader is the weak link in an attack situation such as DDoS.
  3. Proof-of-stake (POS): We can say it is a kind of gambling system. Each party basically votes with their own money (tokens) which would be the consensus of the transaction. If you are on the winner’s side you win money, otherwise you lose. In this way the system motivates everyone to follow the consensus chain.
  4. Voting-based system: There are several ways to create voting models – for example, you could have equal voting rights or allow a leader to have more votes. Many of these solutions have fundamental problems with potential attacks and how things like botnets could influence the voting results. Proof-of-stake and voting solutions also overlap (voting with money), and there are hybrid solutions, too.
  5. Hashgraph: This is quite a new solution – it’s a modified voting model, but the voting is based on information stored in the network. In this system, each node must know all transactions. When I create a transaction, my node sends it to some randomly selected nodes that again send it randomly to some others (a gossip model), so the number of nodes that receive it grows exponentially. This doesn’t yet guarantee a consensus about the order of the transactions. But each message also includes the ID in a coded format (hash) of the last message the node sent and received, so it is possible to build a graph where all transactions are in the right order. Hashgraph can handle hundreds of thousands of transactions a second. Hashgraph looks very promising for many high capacity needs, but it is not yet proven in practice.

The descriptions above are simplified summaries to present the main ideas of different models, and there are probably other ways to categorize them. We could also separate categories for consensus methods and data models. But they give a rough idea of the kinds of different models out there that are based on very different processes and algorithms, and have different pros and cons.

Continue to the full article --> here

 

The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, and networking opportunities to over 1600+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding industry in Canada.  For more information, please visit:  www.ncfacanada.org

Share

Ontario Securities Commission seeks cryptocurrency and blockchain experts for Fintech Advisory Committee

Share

EconoTimes | Nov 23, 2017

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) is seeking applications for membership on its Fintech Advisory Committee (FAC).

The FAC is tasked with advising OSC LaunchPad staff on the latest developments in the fintech space and the challenges faced by innovative businesses in the securities industry. Launched in 2016, OSC LaunchPad engages with eligible fintech businesses and helps them in navigating securities regulatory requirements. It strives to keep regulation in line with digital innovation.

See: OSC approves first ICO in Ontario to TokenFunder

The OSC is seeking FAC members with experience in areas including digital platforms (e.g. crowdfunding portals, online advisers); cryptocurrencies or distributed ledger technologies (e.g. blockchain); venture capital, financial services, securities, legal or accounting, with a focus on the fintech or technology sector; data science or AI (artificial intelligence); fintech or technology entrepreneurship; compliance or RegTech solutions; or cryptography or cybersecurity.

Applications are open until December 22, 2017.

Continue to the full article --> here


The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, and networking opportunities to over 1600+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding industry in Canada.  For more information, please visit:  www.ncfacanada.org

Share