Category Archives: Enterprise Crowdfunding

Northern Trust Opens Doors to Cryptocurrency Hedge Funds As Part Of Pervasive Blockchain Expansion

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Forbes | | Jul 31, 2018

Financial services giant Northern Trust has significantly expanded its work with blockchain and cryptocurrencies across multiple divisions.

In addition to adding a number of new blockchain features for managing its private equity workflow, the company, which has almost $10.7 trillion in assets under custody and administration, has also quietly opened its fund administration services to a select group of hedge funds betting on bitcoin and ethereum.

These potentially groundbreaking projects amount to one of the most significant pushes into cryptocurrency and other assets encrypted on a blockchain by a traditional financial institution.

In an exclusive interview with Forbes, the president of Northern Trust’s corporate and institutional services, Pete Cherecwich, provided an unprecedented look into the breadth of his company’s work with blockchain. But perhaps more importantly, he explained why the 129-year-old institution was committing so many resources to the technology.

“You can take anything today. You can take movie rights, you can take all sorts of entities, and you can create a token for those,” said Cherecwich, who has been with the company for 11 years. “We have to be able to figure out how to hold those tokens, value those tokens, do those things.”

The newest of Northern Trust’s blockchain efforts is a previously unreported project with three “mainstream hedge funds” that Cherecwich says are diversifying their portfolios with cryptocurrency investments. While he was unable to share the names of the clients due to nondisclosure agreements, he described his company’s new cryptocurrency services in detail.

See:  Traders With Pockets Full of Crypto Quit Wall Street

Since the first quarter of this year, Northern Trust has been helping the hedge funds by comparing the numbers they report with the actual amount on record at the customer's cryptocurrency custodian. The firm further helps value the investment as part of its fund administration services, and records the value for its clients. Many of Northern Trust's fund administration services were developed for traditional assets, but others, including new risk and control frameworks for anti-money-laundering, asset existence validation, crypto-trade reconciliations and the ability to handle new net asset value pricing arrangements, were developed specifically for cryptocurrency.

While Northern Trust Hedge Fund Services had $370 billion in assets under management as of March 31, 2018, the financial institution is not currently taking direct custody of cryptocurrency. Nor does Cherecwich expect the company will custody cryptocurrency in the near future. Instead, he says helping the company’s customers account for their cryptocurrency investments is part of a larger effort to prepare for the day when fiat currencies are also issued on a blockchain.

“I do believe that governments will ultimately look at digitizing their currencies, and having them trade kind of like a digital token — a token of the U.S. dollar — but the U.S. dollar [would still be] in a vault somewhere, or backed by the government,” said Cherecwich, who worked at State Street for 20 years before joining Northern Trust. “How are they going to do that? I don’t know. But I do believe they are going to get there.”

Beyond the new work with cryptocurrency, Northern Trust is moving to significantly integrate blockchain into the life cycle of its $77 billion private equity business.

Launched into alpha in February 2017, the prototype for Northern Trust's private equity platform was initially built for Switzerland-based financial services firm Unigestion, using an early version of the open-source blockchain code Hyperledger Fabric. Just a few months after the launch, Northern Trust upgraded the rudimentary private equity platform to the first enterprise-grade version of Hyperledger Fabric, and is now adding a number of new features.

See:  U.S. bank regulator allows fintech firms to seek federal charter

The upgraded private equities blockchain moves beyond just settling a transaction, using a more automated process by which a general partner and a limited partner exchange ownership of an asset. Capital call functionality has also been built into the system, with the hope of reducing the role of middle-office middlemen and accelerating the speed at which funds are recieved.

To build the series of new blockchain services, Northern Trust established a team of 12 technology and private equity specialists working over six months, and has since supplemented the working group with product managers and operations and regulatory compliance experts who specialize in the markets targeted for implementation.

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The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with cryptocurrency, blockchain, crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, STO, and online investing stakeholders globally. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, services, and networking opportunities to thousands of members and subscribers and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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FCA Regulatory Sanbox | Aug 8, 2018 Find out about the 29 businesses that have been accepted into cohort 4 of the regulatory sandbox to test innovative products, services, business models and delivery mechanisms. We received 69 applications for cohort 4 of the regulatory sandbox. Applications came from a diverse range of firms operating across the financial services sector including in areas such as consumer credit, automated advice and insurance. 29 firms have been accepted to develop towards testing, including 3 firms that were accepted as part of previous cohorts but did not proceed to test. Firms that have been accepted to develop towards testing are listed below, except for one firm that has asked not to be named at this point in time. See:  Fintech: UK Financial Conduct Authority Initiates Consultation on Global Financial Innovation, Partners with 12 International Regulators We have accepted a number of firms that will be testing propositions relating to cryptoassets. We are keen to explore whether, in a controlled environment, consumer benefits can be delivered while effectively managing the associated risks. Tests will be conducted on a short-term and small-scale basis and the FCA is working with each firm to agree testing parameters and ...
Read More
FCA Regulatory sandbox participants - Cohort 4
Progressa Release | Aug 14, 2018 TORONTO, Aug. 14, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Progressa, a Vancouver and Toronto based financial technology company, announced today it has successfully closed an $84 million equity and loan funding round. The equity financing was co-led by Canaccord Genuity Corp. and Gravitas Securities Inc. and included Eight Capital and Paradigm Capital as part of the syndicate. The equity capital allows Progressa to unlock a new forward-flow whole loan purchasing program for up to $72 million, with Vancouver-based credit fund Cypress Hills Partners. The equity financing was largely supported by the Canadian investment banks who see the potential for Progressa to complete a go-public transaction (“IPO”) before the end of 2019. Ali Pourdad, Progressa’s co-founder and CEO, commented, “Progressa is proud to have developed first-to-market technology solutions for the Canadian non-prime credit consumer market. Today’s enterprise business partners are utilizing the Company’s Powered by Progressa solutions to improve their customer experience, while enhancing collections recoveries and mitigating significant risk, a true win for both enterprise and Canadian consumers. We are pleased with this broad level of support from Canadian investment banks who see that Progressa is making a positive difference in the lives of Canadians.” See:  ...
Read More
Progressa Closes $84 Million Funding Round Co-Led by Canaccord Genuity and Gravitas Securities, Supporting Record Growth
CNBC Markets | Kate Rooney  | Jul 24, 2018 Fintech company Square is boosting its small-business lending with an eBay partnership. Square Capital, the lending arm of the payment start-up, will be available to eBay sellers looking to expand their business operations. Starting in the third quarter, merchants on the site can apply for a loan as small as $500 and up to $100,000 to help with everything from payroll and inventory to equipment and marketing, the companies announced Tuesday. Square Capital’s focus since launching in 2014 has been on those businesses historically excluded from the larger financial system. The partnership will offer access to capital for those who have been “underserved when seeking funding” and give U.S. sellers a "seamless funding experience," said Jacqueline Reses, head of Square Capital. See:  What we can learn from Ontario’s $3 million loan to small business Lending Loop Surpasses $10M in Loans to Small Businesses Across Canada Small-business lending is an increasingly competitive area in fintech. PayPal, which was once a part of eBay, has a program called Working Capital and provides loans to merchants based on sales history. Amazon also does this for sellers, and began extending credit to small business owners ...
Read More
Square partners with eBay to expand lending for 'underserved' small businesses
CBC | Rob Antle  | Aug 6, 2018 Agency wants to make sure tax laws are being followed When Ottawa looks at cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, it sees problems. Bitcoin can be difficult to track, and there is the potential for "tax noncompliance" through unreported or under-reported income and capital gains. The Canada Revenue Agency "wants to understand how bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies operate in the traditional economic space to ensure that tax laws are being followed," CRA spokesperson Etienne Biram said in an emailed statement. "It is important to note that using digital currency does not exempt consumers from Canadian tax obligations." So CRA commissioned research on businesses that installed bitcoin automated tellers on their premises. A bitcoin ATM is not actually an ATM; it doesn't provide a connection to a customer's bank account. Rather, it's an internet-linked terminal that allows people to buy and sell bitcoins. See:  Learn about crypto payments - Fintech Fridays Podcast: ep1 with Samir Bandali of CoinPayments According to the study that followed — which surveyed 20 businesses — the taxman wanted to understand why a business would install a bitcoin ATM, along with "the perceived value it brings to businesses and their customers, and attitudes towards tax compliance in the ...
Read More
CRA surveyed businesses to find out why they're taking bitcoin ATMs
NCFA Canada | Craig Asano | Aug 10, 2018 We're excited to announce a new NCFA Podcast series called 'FINTECH FRIDAY$' where we sit down with the incredible people in the Fintech community and talk about leading fintech products innovations developments and challenges! FINTECH FRIDAY$ (ep.4): Importance of Smart Contract Safety Nets Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host Guest: Amy Wan, Founder & CEO, Sagewise About this episode: On this episode, our host Manseeb Khan sits down with LA legal tech entrepreneur Amy Wan, the CEO/Founder of Sagewise, a smart contracts dispute resolution startup. They talk about why smart contact safety nets are important, the bridge between legal tech and fintech and how Amy closed out her seed round while being pregnant. Enjoy! Subscribe to the channel and tune in each Friday to check out the latest movers and shakers in fintech. Listen to more Fintech Fridays podcasts here Transcription of Interview Manseeb Khan: Hey Everybody Manseeb Khan and you are tuning in to NCFA newest show Fintech Fridays. Today we have an amazing guest. She's a rock star in the industry. Ladies and gentlemen. Amy Wan is with us today. She's the CEO of Sagewise Amy thanks so ...
Read More
FINTECH FRIDAY$ (ep.4): Importance of Smart Contract Safety Net with Amy Wan, CEO & Founder at Sagewise
University of Cambridge and Ivey Business School | by Tania Ziegler and Michael King | Aug 8, 2018 The 2018 Americas survey of alternative finance conducted the University of Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance is nearing its closing stages. This global survey of crowdfunding and lending via online platforms is the benchmark for the industry, providing the most comprehensive data on this fintech activity.  In Canada, Cambridge is being assisted by their research partners and the Scotiabank Digital Banking Lab at Ivey Business School.  NCFA is a supportive community partner. Leading platforms should have received an email with details on how to complete the survey from either Tania Ziegler at University of Cambridge or Professor Michael King at Ivey. It is vital that platforms participate in order to demonstrate the importance of this sector to Canadians and to policymakers at the federal and provincial levels. King says, “As we look ahead to the completion of the Federal Financal Sector Review early in 2019, this data will be vital for promoting open banking and other initiatives that support Canada’s fintech sector. When platforms opt out, they are effectively telling policymakers that alternative finance is not important and not worthy of the ...
Read More
Cambridge Survey of Alternative Finance Needs Your Participation!
Fortune | Matt Harris | Aug 8, 2018 Matt Harris is a managing director at Bain Capital Ventures. He is consistently ranked as one of the top investors in fintech, having participated in the space since 2000. I’ve been proven wrong once again. For eight years running, I’ve predicted that fintech investment is going to plateau. Based on the start of 2018, it hasn’t yet. In fact, we saw more than $5.4 billion invested in fintech during the first quarter of the year, with no signs of slowing momentum. For perspective, fintech investment for all of 2014 was just under $4 billion, so that’s “5x” growth in four years. In 2001, per data from Venture Scanner, it was something like $300 million. With that said, this whole “fintech” thing is kind of a charade. As I shared with attendees last month during our annual Fintech CEO Summit, co-hosted together with Nyca Partners, the CEOs in our portfolios don’t actually run “fintech businesses.” They run a payments business or a lending business, or they build investing technologies, or they sell to banks or insurance or real estate companies. Regardless of what VCs tell limited partners, or how media cover the industry, ...
Read More
Fintech Frenzy: Hype or Reality? A Closer Look at 6 Key Sectors
Crowdfund Insider | JD Alois | Aug 7, 2018 The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has initiated a new consultation that is going beyond the UK borders when it comes to Fintech innovation. Announced today, the FCA has created the Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN). The multinational group includes regulatory agencies from the US, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australian, France and more. FCA Director of Competition, Christopher Woolard, said the creation of GFIN is an important step for the FCA to be able to better understand and harness the benefits of innovation in financial services for consumers, while managing the potential harm. “The establishment of the GFIN can help share the experiences and knowledge from across different markets, while also providing a platform for innovative firms wishing to scale their propositions via testing in multiple countries.” The members as announced include: Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP, USA) Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) Financial Conduct Authority (FCA, UK) Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC) Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) Ontario Securities Commission (OSC, Canada) Consultative Group to ...
Read More
Fintech: UK Financial Conduct Authority Initiates Consultation on Global Financial Innovation, Partners with 12 International Regulators
Globe and Mail | Aug 8, 2018 The 2018 selloff in cryptocurrencies plumbed new depths on Wednesday after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission dented enthusiasts’ hopes for an VanEck exchange-traded fund backed by Bitcoin. A broad selloff in coins of all sizes reduced the market value of virtual currencies tracked by Coinmarketcap.com to about $230 billion, the lowest level since November. Digital assets have now lost about $600 billion since crypto-mania peaked in January, equivalent to erasing the entire market value of Visa Inc. twice over. (Shares of the payments processor are trading near a record high.) The SEC postponed its decision on whether to approve the Bitcoin ETF, dealing a blow to bulls who had bet a green light from the regulator would help sustain last month’s tenuous rally. Optimists are counting on the wider adoption of cryptocurrencies to keep prices supported, but regulators and many institutional investors have remained wary amid concerns over security and market manipulation. See:  OSC approves Canada’s first blockchain ETF Bitcoin was down 5.6 pe rcent to $6,484 as of 8:19 a.m. in New York, recovering from a 7 percent drop earlier while extending its 2018 decline to 55 percent, according to Bloomberg ...
Read More
Crypto prices sharply down after SEC postpones Bitcoin ETF decision
Digital Journal PR | Aug 7, 2018 ATLANTA--(Business Wire)--Steady, the income-building platform for the Build-Your-Own (BYO) workforce is already serving 100,000 Americans since it launched last week. The company, which today delivers personalized income-building opportunities, an income tracker, and exclusive relevant discounts, has raised $9 million in Series A financing round led by Propel Venture Partners, with significant participation from Omidyar Network, the impact investing firm established by Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay. The funds raised in this round will be used to rapidly scale and extend product features. Other investors include 25Madison, Clocktower Ventures, and Commerce Ventures. Shaquille O’Neal has joined the team as an Advisor and Advocate for the BYO workforce. “The traditional 9-5 career path doesn’t work for everyone, and we’re seeing more and more people set out to make their own way. Steady sees and serves this group, giving them the tools to discover new job opportunities, and the resources to earn more money and take control,” said Shaquille O’Neal. “Helping hardworking folks do and get more is an important mission and I’m excited to be part of it.” Work is changing. Full-time jobs are giving way to more flexible arrangements—shift work, part-time contracts, gigs, ...
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Shaquille O’Neal Joins Steady; Company Raises $9 Million in Series A Round of Funding from Leading Fintech Investors

 

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Do Banks Even Want to Go Blockchain?

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Cointelegraph | Stephen O'Neal | June 23, 2018

On June 18, Carlos Torres, CEO of Spanish bank BBVA, declared that blockchain is “not mature” and faces major challenges. During the past month, blockchain’s effectiveness and maturity were also questioned by players as big as the Bank of Canada (BoC), the Russian Central Bank, and DNB, the Central Bank of the Netherlands.

While blockchain can indeed improve the effectiveness of cross-border payments and cut the costs by eliminating the middleman, it hasn’t yet proven itself as a tool ready for industrial-scale use. What’s more important is that some of the banks might not be happy to give up those juicy margin fees.

Ripple’s attempts to modify the system

Ripple, a California-based payment network and protocol company, was established in 2012.  Essentially, it focuses on facilitating transfers between major financial corporations.

See:  University of Waterloo joins Ripple’s $64 million CAD blockchain research initiative

Ripple is not quite your average cryptocurrency — some argue it’s not a cryptocurrency at all. First of all, it doesn’t champion the dreams of overthrowing the government along with the banking system. Oppositely, it chose to work with mainstream financial players from the very start. As Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple, told Cointelegraph:

We were from the beginning really looking at how we work with governments, how we work with banks. And I think some in the crypto community have been very much, “How do we destroy the government. How do we circumvent banks?”

Garlinghouse believes that governments aren’t going anywhere, saying, “In my lifetime, I don’t think that’s happening,” so it’s only logical to cooperate with them and work within the existing regulatory framework. That attitude helped Ripple to land crucial partnerships with important players, including, China-based payment services provider Lian-Lian, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority, WesternUnion, among others.

Santander’s experience

In April, Spanish-based international bank Santander announced the launch of its Ripple-powered, blockchain-based payment network called One Pay FX, becoming the world’s first bank to do so.

One Pay FX is a mobile application for cross-border payments backed by Ripple’s blockchain. It’s based on xCurrent technology — not the above mentioned xRapid — which doesn’t cut out the corresponding bank from the entire process, thus not quite changing the conventional system, but rather modifying it.

In other words, xCurrent uses immutable “interledger” protocol, which “is not a distributed ledger,” as confirmed by David Schwartz, Ripple chief cryptographer. In xCurrent’s case, the network peers do not have access to a shared ledger, which is the basis of major blockchain networks like Ethereum (ETH) or Hyperledger. However, xCurrent technology allegedly allows to “eventually plug” cross-border transactions into distributed ledgers.

Other startups trying to disrupt the banking system

On May 21, Argentinian Banco Masventas (BMV) announced a partnership with Bitex, a local fintech startup founded in 2014 with a focus on “developing the Bitcoin market in Latin America.” Now, BMV clients can use Bitcoin for international payments as an alternative to conventional ways.

As a result, the bank states, the customers get to transfer money from account to account in less time than traditional bank transfers: BMV states that the new service will reduce transfer times by up to 24 hours.

José Humberto Dakak, a principal shareholder of Masventas, said that the move intends to strengthen the bank’s digital and smartphone-based services and reduce banking service costs. In addition to expediting transfers, Bitex claims that it can provide more secure transactions.

Moreover, there’s Wyre, a San Francisco fintech startup whose self-titled cross-border payments platform alleged in 2016 to make international payments faster and more cost effective by putting them on a blockchain. In addition, Red Belly Blockchain — a project run by researchers at the University of Sydney — has been developing new blockchain technology for secure and rapid transfers of virtual currencies that have allegedly outrun Visa and Bitcoin network with “more than 440,000 transactions per second on 100 machines." However, these startups don’t deal the existing banking system, per se, essentially trying to substitute it instead.

See:  Bank of Canada, TMX say blockchain feasible for securities settlement

Finally, there are big league players experimenting with blockchain as well: In February 2018, J.P. Morgan (JPM), whose CEO has infamously called Bitcoin a fraud, launched the blockchain-powered Interbank Information Network (IIN) in collaboration with the Royal Bank of Canada along with Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited. The platform, which is based on the bank's private Quorom blockchain, allows JPMorgan to exchange information with other banks and “minimize friction in the global payments process,” speed up the process and improve security, according to the bank.

Moreover, IBM has announced a blockchain banking solution that aims to cut the settlement time and costs of international payments; and MasterCard (MA) has introduced its own blockchain technology for partner banks and merchants.

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FCA Regulatory Sanbox | Aug 8, 2018 Find out about the 29 businesses that have been accepted into cohort 4 of the regulatory sandbox to test innovative products, services, business models and delivery mechanisms. We received 69 applications for cohort 4 of the regulatory sandbox. Applications came from a diverse range of firms operating across the financial services sector including in areas such as consumer credit, automated advice and insurance. 29 firms have been accepted to develop towards testing, including 3 firms that were accepted as part of previous cohorts but did not proceed to test. Firms that have been accepted to develop towards testing are listed below, except for one firm that has asked not to be named at this point in time. See:  Fintech: UK Financial Conduct Authority Initiates Consultation on Global Financial Innovation, Partners with 12 International Regulators We have accepted a number of firms that will be testing propositions relating to cryptoassets. We are keen to explore whether, in a controlled environment, consumer benefits can be delivered while effectively managing the associated risks. Tests will be conducted on a short-term and small-scale basis and the FCA is working with each firm to agree testing parameters and ...
Read More
FCA Regulatory sandbox participants - Cohort 4
Progressa Release | Aug 14, 2018 TORONTO, Aug. 14, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Progressa, a Vancouver and Toronto based financial technology company, announced today it has successfully closed an $84 million equity and loan funding round. The equity financing was co-led by Canaccord Genuity Corp. and Gravitas Securities Inc. and included Eight Capital and Paradigm Capital as part of the syndicate. The equity capital allows Progressa to unlock a new forward-flow whole loan purchasing program for up to $72 million, with Vancouver-based credit fund Cypress Hills Partners. The equity financing was largely supported by the Canadian investment banks who see the potential for Progressa to complete a go-public transaction (“IPO”) before the end of 2019. Ali Pourdad, Progressa’s co-founder and CEO, commented, “Progressa is proud to have developed first-to-market technology solutions for the Canadian non-prime credit consumer market. Today’s enterprise business partners are utilizing the Company’s Powered by Progressa solutions to improve their customer experience, while enhancing collections recoveries and mitigating significant risk, a true win for both enterprise and Canadian consumers. We are pleased with this broad level of support from Canadian investment banks who see that Progressa is making a positive difference in the lives of Canadians.” See:  ...
Read More
Progressa Closes $84 Million Funding Round Co-Led by Canaccord Genuity and Gravitas Securities, Supporting Record Growth
CNBC Markets | Kate Rooney  | Jul 24, 2018 Fintech company Square is boosting its small-business lending with an eBay partnership. Square Capital, the lending arm of the payment start-up, will be available to eBay sellers looking to expand their business operations. Starting in the third quarter, merchants on the site can apply for a loan as small as $500 and up to $100,000 to help with everything from payroll and inventory to equipment and marketing, the companies announced Tuesday. Square Capital’s focus since launching in 2014 has been on those businesses historically excluded from the larger financial system. The partnership will offer access to capital for those who have been “underserved when seeking funding” and give U.S. sellers a "seamless funding experience," said Jacqueline Reses, head of Square Capital. See:  What we can learn from Ontario’s $3 million loan to small business Lending Loop Surpasses $10M in Loans to Small Businesses Across Canada Small-business lending is an increasingly competitive area in fintech. PayPal, which was once a part of eBay, has a program called Working Capital and provides loans to merchants based on sales history. Amazon also does this for sellers, and began extending credit to small business owners ...
Read More
Square partners with eBay to expand lending for 'underserved' small businesses
CBC | Rob Antle  | Aug 6, 2018 Agency wants to make sure tax laws are being followed When Ottawa looks at cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, it sees problems. Bitcoin can be difficult to track, and there is the potential for "tax noncompliance" through unreported or under-reported income and capital gains. The Canada Revenue Agency "wants to understand how bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies operate in the traditional economic space to ensure that tax laws are being followed," CRA spokesperson Etienne Biram said in an emailed statement. "It is important to note that using digital currency does not exempt consumers from Canadian tax obligations." So CRA commissioned research on businesses that installed bitcoin automated tellers on their premises. A bitcoin ATM is not actually an ATM; it doesn't provide a connection to a customer's bank account. Rather, it's an internet-linked terminal that allows people to buy and sell bitcoins. See:  Learn about crypto payments - Fintech Fridays Podcast: ep1 with Samir Bandali of CoinPayments According to the study that followed — which surveyed 20 businesses — the taxman wanted to understand why a business would install a bitcoin ATM, along with "the perceived value it brings to businesses and their customers, and attitudes towards tax compliance in the ...
Read More
CRA surveyed businesses to find out why they're taking bitcoin ATMs
NCFA Canada | Craig Asano | Aug 10, 2018 We're excited to announce a new NCFA Podcast series called 'FINTECH FRIDAY$' where we sit down with the incredible people in the Fintech community and talk about leading fintech products innovations developments and challenges! FINTECH FRIDAY$ (ep.4): Importance of Smart Contract Safety Nets Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host Guest: Amy Wan, Founder & CEO, Sagewise About this episode: On this episode, our host Manseeb Khan sits down with LA legal tech entrepreneur Amy Wan, the CEO/Founder of Sagewise, a smart contracts dispute resolution startup. They talk about why smart contact safety nets are important, the bridge between legal tech and fintech and how Amy closed out her seed round while being pregnant. Enjoy! Subscribe to the channel and tune in each Friday to check out the latest movers and shakers in fintech. Listen to more Fintech Fridays podcasts here Transcription of Interview Manseeb Khan: Hey Everybody Manseeb Khan and you are tuning in to NCFA newest show Fintech Fridays. Today we have an amazing guest. She's a rock star in the industry. Ladies and gentlemen. Amy Wan is with us today. She's the CEO of Sagewise Amy thanks so ...
Read More
FINTECH FRIDAY$ (ep.4): Importance of Smart Contract Safety Net with Amy Wan, CEO & Founder at Sagewise
University of Cambridge and Ivey Business School | by Tania Ziegler and Michael King | Aug 8, 2018 The 2018 Americas survey of alternative finance conducted the University of Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance is nearing its closing stages. This global survey of crowdfunding and lending via online platforms is the benchmark for the industry, providing the most comprehensive data on this fintech activity.  In Canada, Cambridge is being assisted by their research partners and the Scotiabank Digital Banking Lab at Ivey Business School.  NCFA is a supportive community partner. Leading platforms should have received an email with details on how to complete the survey from either Tania Ziegler at University of Cambridge or Professor Michael King at Ivey. It is vital that platforms participate in order to demonstrate the importance of this sector to Canadians and to policymakers at the federal and provincial levels. King says, “As we look ahead to the completion of the Federal Financal Sector Review early in 2019, this data will be vital for promoting open banking and other initiatives that support Canada’s fintech sector. When platforms opt out, they are effectively telling policymakers that alternative finance is not important and not worthy of the ...
Read More
Cambridge Survey of Alternative Finance Needs Your Participation!
Fortune | Matt Harris | Aug 8, 2018 Matt Harris is a managing director at Bain Capital Ventures. He is consistently ranked as one of the top investors in fintech, having participated in the space since 2000. I’ve been proven wrong once again. For eight years running, I’ve predicted that fintech investment is going to plateau. Based on the start of 2018, it hasn’t yet. In fact, we saw more than $5.4 billion invested in fintech during the first quarter of the year, with no signs of slowing momentum. For perspective, fintech investment for all of 2014 was just under $4 billion, so that’s “5x” growth in four years. In 2001, per data from Venture Scanner, it was something like $300 million. With that said, this whole “fintech” thing is kind of a charade. As I shared with attendees last month during our annual Fintech CEO Summit, co-hosted together with Nyca Partners, the CEOs in our portfolios don’t actually run “fintech businesses.” They run a payments business or a lending business, or they build investing technologies, or they sell to banks or insurance or real estate companies. Regardless of what VCs tell limited partners, or how media cover the industry, ...
Read More
Fintech Frenzy: Hype or Reality? A Closer Look at 6 Key Sectors
Crowdfund Insider | JD Alois | Aug 7, 2018 The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has initiated a new consultation that is going beyond the UK borders when it comes to Fintech innovation. Announced today, the FCA has created the Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN). The multinational group includes regulatory agencies from the US, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australian, France and more. FCA Director of Competition, Christopher Woolard, said the creation of GFIN is an important step for the FCA to be able to better understand and harness the benefits of innovation in financial services for consumers, while managing the potential harm. “The establishment of the GFIN can help share the experiences and knowledge from across different markets, while also providing a platform for innovative firms wishing to scale their propositions via testing in multiple countries.” The members as announced include: Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP, USA) Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) Financial Conduct Authority (FCA, UK) Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC) Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) Ontario Securities Commission (OSC, Canada) Consultative Group to ...
Read More
Fintech: UK Financial Conduct Authority Initiates Consultation on Global Financial Innovation, Partners with 12 International Regulators
Globe and Mail | Aug 8, 2018 The 2018 selloff in cryptocurrencies plumbed new depths on Wednesday after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission dented enthusiasts’ hopes for an VanEck exchange-traded fund backed by Bitcoin. A broad selloff in coins of all sizes reduced the market value of virtual currencies tracked by Coinmarketcap.com to about $230 billion, the lowest level since November. Digital assets have now lost about $600 billion since crypto-mania peaked in January, equivalent to erasing the entire market value of Visa Inc. twice over. (Shares of the payments processor are trading near a record high.) The SEC postponed its decision on whether to approve the Bitcoin ETF, dealing a blow to bulls who had bet a green light from the regulator would help sustain last month’s tenuous rally. Optimists are counting on the wider adoption of cryptocurrencies to keep prices supported, but regulators and many institutional investors have remained wary amid concerns over security and market manipulation. See:  OSC approves Canada’s first blockchain ETF Bitcoin was down 5.6 pe rcent to $6,484 as of 8:19 a.m. in New York, recovering from a 7 percent drop earlier while extending its 2018 decline to 55 percent, according to Bloomberg ...
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Crypto prices sharply down after SEC postpones Bitcoin ETF decision
Digital Journal PR | Aug 7, 2018 ATLANTA--(Business Wire)--Steady, the income-building platform for the Build-Your-Own (BYO) workforce is already serving 100,000 Americans since it launched last week. The company, which today delivers personalized income-building opportunities, an income tracker, and exclusive relevant discounts, has raised $9 million in Series A financing round led by Propel Venture Partners, with significant participation from Omidyar Network, the impact investing firm established by Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay. The funds raised in this round will be used to rapidly scale and extend product features. Other investors include 25Madison, Clocktower Ventures, and Commerce Ventures. Shaquille O’Neal has joined the team as an Advisor and Advocate for the BYO workforce. “The traditional 9-5 career path doesn’t work for everyone, and we’re seeing more and more people set out to make their own way. Steady sees and serves this group, giving them the tools to discover new job opportunities, and the resources to earn more money and take control,” said Shaquille O’Neal. “Helping hardworking folks do and get more is an important mission and I’m excited to be part of it.” Work is changing. Full-time jobs are giving way to more flexible arrangements—shift work, part-time contracts, gigs, ...
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Shaquille O’Neal Joins Steady; Company Raises $9 Million in Series A Round of Funding from Leading Fintech Investors

 


The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with cryptocurrency, blockchain, crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, STO, and online investing stakeholders globally. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, services, and networking opportunities to thousands of members and subscribers and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Public and Private Capital Markets Converge with Canada’s Blockchain, Cryptocurrency and Fintech Leaders at FFCON18: VELOCITY on March 5-6 in Toronto

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FFCON18 | February 28, 2018

The 4th Annual 2018 Fintech and Funding Conference Explores the Accelerating Speed and Adoption of Blockchain Technologies, Cryptocurrency and Alternative Investing Markets

TORONTO, ON / ACCESSWIRE / February 28, 2018 / Hosted by the National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA) with presenting partner Nikola Tesla Unite, FFCON18: VELOCITY will be held next week at the Design Exchange in Toronto. Planned announcements, thought leadership content and product launches on Monday, March 5:

  • Hear regulatory updates from participating CSA members from BC, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec, and The Competition Bureau
  • Global product launch of a blockchain-enabled biometric validation platform from Crypto KABN
  • Critical updates on layer zero protocol and how TCP/IP can evolve to scale blockchains
  • Is traditional venture capital dead? Debate on how ICOs are changing the funding game moderated by Andrew McCreath, BNN
  • Which financial technologies will push Canada to the forefront of blockchain innovation globally?
  • 50+ speakers featuring keynotes on blockchain's transformative potential and roadmap, future of bitcoin, decentralized future and machine learning: CryptoOracle, Pegasus Fintech, Globalive Technology Partners, Decentral/Jaxx and Ethereum, Ov2 Capital and TSX Venture Exchange
  • Insights from Canada's fastest growing crypto, digital asset and payment ventures: U.CASH, CoinPayments, Coinsquare and TokenFunder, Ontario's first regulated ICO

These are exciting times - we are witnessing a transformation of technology and society. With new opportunities come hurdles that must be overcome to realize inherent potential. The conference program highlights challenges while celebrating innovative achievements and Canadian milestones.

FFCON18 brings together fintech leaders, investors and emerging innovators from start-ups to scale-ups to government regulatory bodies and agencies who have a vision for the future of finance. A must-attend event for fintech investors, companies raising capital and decision-makers in technology, finance and digital media.

Tickets are selling fast. Check out the conference website and register at: FintechandFunding.com (Event hashtag: #FFCON18) NCFA Members get 20% off with code NCFA_MEMBER_DEAL


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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10 reasons the $1 million crowdfunding cap should be $20 million

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VentureBeat | By:  | Dec 10, 2017

It’s been 18 months since the final rule of the JOBS Act went into effect, allowing equity crowdfunding. In those 18 months, everything proponents of the rule said would happen (and none of what the detractors said would happen) has become a reality. Over $82 million dollars of previously untapped capital from local investors has been committed to over 650 companies. No fraud has been perpetrated. And everyone (including investors, the Government, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the media) has more insight into the private capital markets than has ever existed before, bringing a new level of transparency, accountability, and data analysis. This is the time to raise the maximum a company can raise from $1 million to $20 million.

Why? Entrepreneurs all across America are finally raising funds faster than they could through traditional channels. Investors now have a transparent and efficient way to support local businesses that they love and believe in by receiving information about these offerings online. Regulators have transparency into the private capital markets, an auditable trail of disclosures, and a digital footprint full of data. And our government has a jobs engine, a way to promote women- and minority-run businesses, an economic booster, and a tax engine. Not bad!

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

So if it’s working, why raise the cap to $20 million? Let me explain:

1. We can make it a bigger jobs engine. Data from companies that have been successful with an equity crowdfunding offering shows they hire on average 2.7 people within 90 days of a $300,000 raise. That’s about one job per every $100,000 raised. If we increase the cap to $20 million, that could equate to 200 new jobs for each issuer that raises $20 million. So raising the cap would make equity crowdfunding the Main Street jobs engine we expected it to be.

2. It will provide regulators with more transparency. Companies that raise money via equity crowdfunding file specific disclosures about their businesses, their operations, and their financial wellbeing. All of this is digitally recorded, and For the first time in 80 years, regulators can actually see where capital is flowing in the private capital markets, which can allow them to further protect investors. Increasing the limit to $20 million will attract larger firms that seek more capital down this public path. This means regulators AND investors will have real-time actionable visibility into a larger part of the private capital markets.

3. Startups can make a bigger impact. $1 million dollars is nice, but consider how much more a company can do with $20 million. Increasing the cap doesn’t mean every company would get $20 million (currently only about 50 percent of companies are successful with their campaigns and raise on average $300,000), but those that are worthy and can win over the support of the crowd can take on much greater goals.

4. Communities will get more engaged. Want to know how to engage local communities? Make them investors in the local businesses that are not just mom and pop shops but large employers and high-growth startups. They will have a vested stake in the performance of those companies, and by default these businesses will benefit from the marketing power of the community. Increasing the cap to $20 million gives local investors a greater stake in their local communities. Research shows that money invested locally circulates in the local economy rather than being sucked out.

5. We’ll see gender and minority benefits. Data my firm has been collecting proves that equity crowdfunding is democratizing access to capital among women- and minority-founded businesses. Increasing the cap to $20 million means more capital to this underserved group of founders.

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

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KPMG Launches Blockchain Service in Canada

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Accounting Today | By Ranica Arrowsmith | Sep 16, 2016

kpmg-distributed-ledger-services

KPMG has introduced Digital Ledger Services, a suite of services to help financial services companies implement blockchain technology, in Canada.

Blockchain technology is in essence a distributed database that maintains a continuously growing list of records that is secure from tampering and revision. KPMG’s new service is meant to provide faster and more secure transactions, streamline and automate back office operations, and reduce costs via the use of blockchain-based technologies.

KPMG’s Digital Ledger Services include full lifecycle support from strategic qualification and business case development to relevant use-case development, systems and operations integration, and ongoing management of a company’s blockchain infrastructure. The lifecycle support includes management consulting, risk consulting in financial processes and regulation. KPMG’s in-house coding and development will also be part of the services offered to clients.

See:  Blockchain startups make up 20% of largest crowdfunding projects

KPMG is making a big push to expand its blockchain service offerings across its member firms worldwide. The firm has dedicated more than 80 partners and executives to focus on the technology, and is working on several blockchain projects with clients globally. Among these projects is the qualification of a blockchain solution for a major bank’s global payments, and the development and prototyping of smart contracts in insurance and involvement in blockchain workshops across Canada and Europe.

“Distributed ledgers as exemplified by blockchain are an exciting way to rethink how contracts between multiple parties can be reliably and securely executed without the need for central intervention,” said Lian Zerafa, Canadian lead for financial services consulting for KPMG. “It engenders agility, trust and traceability and opens up entirely new ways that parties can interact with each other, whether for basic payments or more complex activities such as identification or providence verification.”

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 stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, leadership, support and networking opportunities to over 1300+ 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. Learn more at www.ncfacanada.org.

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Air Canada launches travel crowdfunding website Embarq

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The Globe and Mail | Karen Ho | July 19, 2016

Air Canada

If you’ve ever been asked to chip in for someone’s honeymoon, volunteer excursion or backpacking trip through Europe, you know firsthand how many young people are making travel a priority despite a lack of financial resources.

Air Canada has taken notice. The airline recently launched its own online travel-fundraising site called Embarq.

“We’ve seen a huge increase in the rise of crowdfunding platforms that have made it very commonplace for people to help make one of their dreams into a reality,” said Selma Filali, Air Canada’s director of marketing communications. “We know that millennials have more audacious travel plans than ever before. They really want to see the world but they really lack the funds to make that a reality.”

The website, created in partnership with marketing firm JWT, facilitates contributions to a travel goal by encouraging users to upload photos or a video story and spread the campaign through social media. It was soft launched in March.

“No other airline is offering a similar product,” Ms. Filali said. “More and more of our existing customers were purchasing our e-gift card to help friends and relatives with their travel dreams.”

See:  Why Crowdfunding Is a Must-Have Marketing Tool for Brands

More than 800 people have already put up profiles on the site, including Claudia Martellino, who wants to go to Vancouver for a national bodybuilding competition; Rosalie Poirier, who wants to volunteer in South Africa for a wildlife conservation trip and Clement Horton II, who wants to travel to Madrid for next year’s World Pride event.

According to Ms. Filali, approximately 40 per cent of the profiles are for group trips, and the top five destinations so far are Toronto, London, Paris, Vancouver and Tokyo.

Ms. Filali said a major incentive for travellers to use Embarq over other sites such as GoFundMe, IndieGoGo or Kickstarter is the lack of fees, as well as the ability to collect funds even if users don’t reach their set goals.

“All the others take a percentage of the funds raised,” she said.“Everything that you receive on an Air Canada gift card is 100 per cent for you to use. There is a seal of trust with us as an established airline that we can take you anywhere with our network.”

Funds collected through Embarq go toward an Air Canada gift card for airfare and things such as seat selection or baggage fees. “It’s not for hotel or car [rentals],” Ms. Filali said.

Travellers also cannot use the funds collected from Embarq for Air Canada vacation packages, on-board drinks or travel insurance.

Canadians already spend millions of dollars on group fundraising sites. GoFundMe reported more than 58,000 campaigns took place in Canada last year, with more than 223,000 donations generating over $17.5-million. That amount was just shy of double the donations, $9.6-million, generated in 2014.  See:  2016 Canadian Crowdfunding Director

A report from the Canadian Tourism Commission published in March, 2015, supports Air Canada’s strategy of targeting millennials between the ages of 18 and 34 for growth. “The number of international millennial trips is expected to nearly double to reach about 300 million trips per year by 2020,” the report states. “Millennials travel more frequently and further than other age groups. A large percentage of millennials value travel as an essential aspect of their lives.”

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 stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, leadership, support and networking opportunities to over 1300+ 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. Learn more at www.ncfacanada.org.

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Crowdfunding 2.0: Can Social Innovators Turn The Model On Its Head?

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Forbes | July 17, 2016

Social change

Crowdfunding began as a way to fund personal projects. A new generation of social entrepreneurs takes it to the next level.

When college friends Matt Flannery and Jessica Jackley decided to launch an experimental website to raise funds for small-scale entrepreneurs in Bangladesh, they had no idea of the revolution they would start. Launched in 2003, Kiva.org enabled visitors to see profiles of individual business entrepreneurs (like women basket weavers or smallholder farmers) and give them an interest-free ‘micro-loan’ for as little as $25. Bring together enough like-minded funders, and suddenly you have meaningful amounts of money flowing to business entrepreneurs who have no other sources of financing.

The era of crowdfunding for social causes was born.

Since launch, Kiva has sent nearly US$850 million to low-income borrowers in over 80 countries. The default rate remains less than 3%, making this one of the safest forms of lending to emerging markets, with 75% of the loans going to women.

There is no question that crowdfunding for social causes is here to stay. But are there new ways to mobilize money for social good?

Fortunately, the evidence appears strong.  Two current trends in particular are striking:

Taking crowdfunding into niche sectors

“Crowdfunding platforms are going beyond the ‘We fund everything’ of generic platforms such as Kickstarter,” says Josephine Korijn, a social finance consultant at Chelwood Capital. “There’s real power in specializing in a niche sector, such as solar energy, where a site can establish itself as the ‘go-to’ site, or where it can bring together specialist funders and projects.”

See:  4 Crowdfunding Mistakes for Social Entrepreneurs to Avoid

One of the best examples is DonorsChoose.org. Founded by former New York high school teacher and Ashoka Fellow Charles Best, DonorsChoose.org specifically focuses on schools as the recipients of its funding. Schools post a project, such as the building of a new classroom or the purchase of equipment, and supporters (parents, alumni and well-wishers) can back the campaigns. Donors Choose has raised over US$430 million to date, reaching almost 19 million students in schools across the United States, and backing over 700,000 projects.

Another example is Youcaring.org, where family and friends can set up a campaign to raise funds for a loved one suffering from a severe illness. YouCaring has raised over US$350 million to date.

 Pooling the power of consumers for corporate change

An even more radical approach goes beyond simply pooling donations, and instead looks at how to bring together customer spending power in new ways to create pressure for corporate change.

This is the approach of Ashoka Fellow Will Byrne. Having previously founded the non-profit organization Groundswell, which enables consumers in the US to join together to purchase renewable energy more cheaply, Byrne is now enabling consumers to pool their purchasing power to influence companies through a new commercial start-up called Threshold.

“Threshold enables customers to come together and launch campaigns petitioning a company to make some kind of change in their behaviour. If the company complies, the customers commit to making a purchase from the company,” says Byrne. ‘We arrange gift vouchers from the company so that customers can honour their commitment.”

Deck:  The Socially Conscious Consumer (BDC report)

Threshold is currently piloting several campaigns in Washington, DC and San Francisco. A glance at the website reveals a wide range of campaigns, including asking a popular restaurant chain to give its unused food to the homeless and another asking a bike company to set up outdoor workshops for bike repair.

Byrne says that by placing actual customer orders behind the requests, Threshold changes the conversation between company and customer.

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 stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, leadership, support and networking opportunities to over 1300+ 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. Learn more at www.ncfacanada.org.

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