Category Archives: Research

Ontarians and Cryptocurrencies: A First Look

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OSC Get Smarter About Money | Dec 11, 2017

December 11, 2017 – Over the past several months, interest in cryptocurrencies has increased significantly. The Investor Office commissioned a small online survey of Ontarians age 18 and over, carried out in November 2017, as a first step towards learning more about which segments of the Ontario public are purchasing cryptocurrencies, how Ontarians perceive the risks of cryptocurrencies, and some of the reasons why Ontarians either are or are not purchasing cryptocurrencies.

New financial products can help foster the dynamism of our capital markets, but investors should always do their due diligence before purchasing a cryptocurrency or cryptocurrency-related product—fraudsters have tried to capitalize on market interest in cryptocurrencies by creating fake initial coin and token offerings, promising high returns and then walking away with any funds raised.

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The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a national non-profit actively engaged with social and investment crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, peer-to-peer (P2P), initial coin offerings (ICO), and online investing stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, networking opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, academia and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and online financing industry in Canada.  For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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The 2017 State of Regulation Crowdfunding: US Securities-based Crowdfunding under Title III of the JOBS Act

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CrowdfundInsider | By  | Jan 15, 208

Recently, my company crafted a report for the US Securities and Exchange Commission that summarizes progress on Title III of the JOBS Act of 2012, also referred to Regulation Crowdfunding or Reg CF. This newest securities exemption was added to the options that smaller companies could utilize to raise both debt and equity capital within the US.

Regulation Crowdfunding allows startups and SMEs to raise up to $1,070,000 per year from both retail and accredited investors by utilizing registered funding portals (or broker-dealers) to conduct exempt offerings online. At the end of 2017, there were 36 FINRA approved crowdfunding portals.

This exemption requires issuers to file in a Form C and post online disclosures about a company’s operations, team, financials and other material information for investors to review. Regulation Crowdfunding started in the United States on May 16, 2016. The second calendar year for the industry ended on December 31, 2017. Because data about issuers, their financial well-being, and the capital that is committed is public information we can analyze the data and bring transparency to a segment of the markets (exempt private offerings) that has been fairly opaque until the JOBS Act went into effect.

See Also: SEC Updates JOBS Act Amendments Including Reg CF Funding Cap

Key findings of our report:

  • The number of unique offerings increased 267% from 178 in 2016 to 481 in 2017
  • Proceeds increased 178% from $27.6 million in 2016 to $49.2 million in 2017. Total proceeds by the end of 2017 was $76.8 million
  • The number of successful offerings increased 202% from 99 in 2016 to 200 in 2017
  • The average success rate of offerings to date is 66.7%
  • The total number of investors in Regulation Crowdfunding increased 158% from 28,180 in 2016 to 44,433 in 2017
  • Issuers that filed annual reports and reported creating jobs created on average 13.9 jobs.
  • Revenues for Issuers that filed annual reports increased on average 131% between the year in which they leveraged Regulation Crowdfunding and the Prior Fiscal Year.

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

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Bitcoin’s gender divide could be a bad sign, experts say

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CBCnews | Anne Gaviola | Jan 1, 2018

Bitcoin, and the world of cryptocurrency, is a boys' club, say some experts, and that should be cause for concern.

Cryptocurrency is a form of digital currency traded between people or used to purchase goods outside of banks or government regulation — that's part of what makes it risky. Figuring out exactly who is putting money into this kind of asset is difficult because part of the attraction of investing in the crypto realm is the assurance of anonymity.

But survey after survey backs up what the anecdotal evidence suggests — women are underrepresented.

Google Analytics results put the divide at 96.57 percent men to 3.43 percent women.

See: How to Take Advantage of the New Trends in Blockchain, Cryptocurrency and Financial Technology

That's a huge red flag to Duncan Stewart, research director of Deloitte Canada's technology division.

"It isn't merely that the value has risen as far and as fast as it has; it's the fact that it's 97 percent men — that is, in and of itself, a potential danger sign," he says.

"There are studies out there that suggest men are predisposed towards bubbles in a way that women are not."

Stewart made his case in a recent online post on the subject. Stewart said he "cannot think of any security, currency or asset class in history that shows that extreme a gender divide and has been sustainable."

One reason is the well-documented lower risk tolerance of female investors. In other words, if women aren't getting involved, it's likely too risky, this line of thinking suggests.

The most comprehensive study on gender and the stock market shows that women who invest — whether their own money or on behalf of an organization — take a more cautious approach but tend to outperform their male peers in the long run.

'Role models are needed'

Stewart says he saw this in action during the dot-com boom and bust in the early 2000s.

Back then, he was an award-winning technology fund manager on Bay Street. Female fund managers represented about 20 percent of institutional investors at the time, but they shied away from the tech stocks the men were heavily invested in.

He recalls his female colleagues being mocked for not jumping in with as much fervor as the men — until the men began losing lots of money.

"Maybe they 'got' it better than the men did all along," Stewart said.

Iliana Oris Valiente is a rarity in the cryptocurrency world. She has emerged as a female leader in this space and was recently chosen to lead consulting firm Accenture's global blockchain innovation division (blockchain is the technology behind cryptocurrencies).

See: 

A chartered accountant by training, she began her career in the world of auditing but got hooked on bitcoin as soon as she heard of it in 2012.

Oris Valiente says when she entered the world of cryptocurrencies it was a noticeably male-dominated industry.

"In 2014, when this started to become a core component of my day job, I was regularly the only female in the room, period," she said.

She says things are changing, albeit slowly. "We're starting to see really strong females in leadership roles," she said.

For instance, of the largest initial coin offerings (or ICOs, which are fundraising mechanisms for blockchain-related projects) currently underway, about 13 percent are headed by women.

"They're acting as very powerful role models, and these role models are needed to encourage other women to potentially looking at this field," said Oris Valiente.

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

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Advancing the dialogue on the future of financial services

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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

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IBA Reports: Rule of Law Versus Rule of Code: A Blockchain-Driven Legal World

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IBA Disruptive Innovation | Nov 2017

Rule of Law vs Rule of Code:  A Blockchain Driven Legal World

This comprehensive legal paper examines the current and future impact of blockchain on the legal profession and legal services including the challenges and opportunities. The paper describes the technological innovation, business impact and legal treatment to date in order to anticipate how this will affect the legal services sector and policy perspectives on a global scale.

 


Blockchain Technology:  Is it building a brighter future?

The invention of a revolutionary encoding or crytographic technology known as ‘blockchain’ is already central to a significant proportion of business-to-business and business-to-consumer commerce, legal products and processes.

'Ultimately, those firms that are willing to adapt and embrace this technology will be able to provide more effective and efficient services, which may lead to a competitive advantage over those firms who do not evolve.'

 


These times are changing:  Disruptive Innovation and the legal profession

This report seeks to investigate Professor Christensen’s ‘disruptive innovation’ theory as applicable to the legal profession. It provides a brief analysis of various changes occurring within the legal market, their potential consequences for both buyers and sellers of legal services, and the drivers and barriers to innovation.

 

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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

 

 

 

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

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Nov 20, 2017: NCFA Canada Welcomes Competition Bureau’s recommendations to encourage competition and innovation in Canada’s financial services sector

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NCFA Canada | Robin Ford | Nov 20, 2017

Competition Bureau request for public comments on draft study:  Technology-led innovation and emerging services in the Canadian financial services sector

The Competition Bureau recently announced a draft report and issued a request for public consultation regarding technology-led innovation and emerging services in the Canadian financial services sector.  The consultation took place between November 6 and November 20, 2017 (11:59 pm Pacific time). and interested parties including NCFA Canada were invited to provide their feedback on the draft report no later than November 20, 2017.

Visit this link to learn more about the Competition Bureau and the scope and the premise of the study/report:  http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/04315.html

NCFA Canada's submitted response:

  1. NCFA welcomes this report and its recommendations to encourage competition and innovation in Canada’s financial services sector.
  2. We agree that " competition is good for both business and consumers—and regulation should be minimally intrusive on market forces". We also agree that SMEs "are key drivers of economic growth—and their success is crucial to Canada's long‑term prosperity".
  3. We agree with the barriers to entry listed in the draft report (paragraphs in the report are not numbered) but would add to the list: inadequate incentives and assistance by governments, public funders, and regulators compared to other jurisdictions (eg, tax incentives, start-up loans or guarantees, grants, collaboration on data collection and analysis, educational programs for investors and start-ups, help with regulatory compliance, etc).As the draft report mentions, the UK has been very assertive in supporting start-ups and fintech. HM Treasury recently announced that small businesses struggling to access finance from the banks have found funds via government requirements that the biggest banks pass on the details of small businesses they have rejected for finance to alternative finance platforms - Funding Xchange, Business Finance Compared, Alternative Business Funding, and Funding Option. <https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/designation-of-banks-and-finance-platforms-for-finance-platforms-regulations>4. With respect to barriers caused by regulation, we add only that regulatory burden also tends to favour larger incumbent firms.5. Regulatory arbitrage is not necessarily a bad thing, as the report appears to suggest.6. We support all the recommendations in the report, in particular the recommendation for a FinTech policy lead in this complex and fast moving area.7. We would like to see an additional recommendation for more transparency in regulatory analysis. It has been very difficult in the past to respond to regulators' proposals because the published analyses have not been clear or complete. The problem proposed to be solved by regulation is rarely defined, the reasons for concluding that a regulatory intervention is needed are rarely set out, alternative solutions are not described with the reason(s) why one solution has been chosen rather than another, and (published) cost benefit analysis or impact assessment is rare. This means that stakeholders must infer much of the analysis and often do not have the data they need to respond. We would like to see a more transparent regulatory approach to reduce the risk of unnecessary or incorrect regulation and to enhance collaboration.

    We would also like to see the encouragement of fintech advisory groups to governments and regulators with strong representation from the businesses themselves.

    8. The statements in the following paragraph are contestable - some are highly contestable.

    "The large financial institutions in this country did not fail, largely due to Canada’s strong regulatory regime and the sound business practices of those institutions. Because our financial institutions did not fail, demand for P2P lending and equity crowdfunding is significantly lower in Canada than in jurisdictions where the financial crisis had a greater impact or where regulatory regimes were insufficient to prevent widespread bank failure. In those jurisdictions, regulators responded by strengthening restraints on financial institutions, effectively causing a contraction in available SME credit. As a result, demand for P2P lending and equity crowdfunding increased significantly faster than in Canada."

    We suggest that references to support these conclusions be added.

    9. We are not sure why, in the description of the UK's regulatory framework for P2P, the word "forces" rather than simply "requires" is used.

    10. We do not agree that "in the UK, [a] renewed focus on competition has led to the establishment of the "twin peaks" of regulatory structure: the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the FCA." Rather, it was the other way round. As HM Treasury's consultation document of July 2010 states -

    "1.4 The UK’s ‘tripartite’ regulatory system made three authorities – the Bank of England (the Bank), the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the Treasury – collectively responsible for financial stability, and, as a result, this system failed in a number of important ways."

    "1.6 Perhaps the most obvious failing of the UK system, however, is the fact that no single institution has the responsibility, authority or powers to monitor the system as a whole, identify potentially destabilising trends, and respond to them with concerted action." [https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/81389/consult_financial_regulation_condoc.pdf]

    The UK Government's decision to change the regulatory structure led to a renewed focus on (among other things) the competition objective of the regulator and (after strenuous debates in Parliament) a stronger competition objective was added to the legislation.

    11. We suggest that "risk" be defined. For most risk professionals, it simply means "uncertainty". With uncertainly comes both threat and opportunity. And of course risk does not exist in a vacuum, it is always 'risk to what?' (to competition? to regulatory objectives?).

    Thank you for the opportunity to comment.


 

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

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Competition Bureau invites feedback on draft FinTech report

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Press Release | Competition Bureau | Nov 6, 2017

November 6, 2017 – OTTAWA, ON – Competition Bureau

As part of its commitment to engage with Canadians on emerging issues, the Competition Bureau has published a draft report on its market study concerning technology‑led innovation in the Canadian financial services (FinTech) sector.

The financial services sector is a pillar of the Canadian economy. From consumers buying groceries to businesses making investments that create the jobs of tomorrow, practically everything we do relies on this sector.

Recently, there has been a wave of new, innovative, and technology-based means for Canadians to access financial services. The introduction of innovative products is an opportunity to inject greater competition in the sector. When there is more competition, we generally see lower prices, more choice and convenience for consumers, as well as higher levels of innovation.

“The future is now. Let’s get it right by providing policymakers with the information they need to nurture a competitive environment that allows Canada’s FinTech companies to innovate and grow globally.”

-John Pecman, Commissioner of Competition

However, innovative products are often challenged by the rules associated with the old ways of doing business. The draft report contains a number of recommendations for regulators and policymakers to consider. Each recommendation is aimed at modernizing the regulation of financial services to support innovation and greater competition through FinTech.

See:  Competition Bureau suggests Canadian FinTech sector’s slow growth due to regulation, consumer complacency

Through the publication of a draft report, the Bureau continues to engage with stakeholders, including businesses, consumers, and domestic and foreign regulators and policymakers. Interested parties are invited to provide their feedback on the draft report no later than November 20, 2017 by completing the online form, or by sending comments to the coordinates below:

Competition Promotion Branch
Competition Bureau
50 Victoria Street
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0C9
Fax: 819-934-9293

The Bureau will soon release a final report which takes into consideration the views collected during the consultation period.


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

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