Category Archives: Fintech International

Central banks should consider using digital currencies: China think tank

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Reuters | Feb 7, 2018

BEIJING (Reuters) - Central banks should consider using digital currencies in cross-border payments that could cut transaction time and costs, researchers at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), a top government think tank, said in a report.

Cryptocurrencies allow parties to transact payments directly without a central intermediary, by means of blockchain technology that uses a shared ledger that verifies, records and settles transactions in a matter of minutes.

The average transmission time could be shortened to less than 1 day from 3-5 days traditionally and the cost could be reduced to 1 percent or less from about 7.2 percent, Liu Dongmin and Song Shuang at the CASS said in the report.

“Moreover, as the new system becomes more open, more flexible and more inclusive, all the developing countries will get fair and easy access to these services,” the report said.

The report proposed three types of digital payments systems: one led by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a second led by some countries, or a third that combines the IMF’s system with those of certain countries. It said a combined system was the most feasible.

But developing digital currency payment systems could pose a challenge to global transaction service provide SWIFT, it said.

See:  Quebec poised to become bitcoin mining hub as China cracks down on energy-sapping miners

China’s central bank has been exploring the issuance of a sovereign digital currency, even as it ratchets up a crackdown on privately issued digital currencies.

Fan Yifei, a vice central bank governor, had said recently China should consider adopting a “two-tier” system in issuing digital currencies, in which both the central bank and financial institutions become legitimate issuers.

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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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Canabis Company True Leaf Raises $14 Million in Cross Border US – Canada Crowdfunding Offer

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Crowdfund Insider | | Jan 28, 2018

This past week, True Leaf Medicine International Ltd. (CSE: MJ) (FSE: TLA) (OTCQB: TRLFF), announced it had closed on CDN $14 million in a cross border crowdfunding offer that saw participants by investors in both the US and Canada. True Leaf raised CND $10 million from US investors utilizing Reg A+ six weeks after the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) qualified the offering.  Reg A+ investors purchased 14,285,715 common shares at a price of CDN $0.70 per share, with a minimum investment of 500 shares per investor. Shares were sold to both public retail investors as well as traditional accredited and institutional investors.

FlashFunders, part of Boustead Securities, listed the Reg A+ offering in the US. CrowdfundX assisted in the promotion of the offering. Approximately 339 investors participated in the Reg A+ offering  with an average investment amount of CDN $12,727 and a mean of C$29,500.

Keith Moore, Chief Executive Officer of Boustead, said he always believed True Leaf had the ingredients for a successful Reg A+. The combination of a compelling product in the fast emerging Cannabis sector heightened investor interest.

See:  True Leaf: Crowdfunding Legal Cannabis Products Across North America

Simultaneously, True Leaf raised over CDN $4 million in a Canadian private placement selling 5,788,078 common shares at a price of CDN $0.70 per share to Canadian investors only.  The Canadian concurrent accredited investor and offering memorandum (OM) offering had approximately 195 investors participate with an average investment amount of CDN $6,202 and a mean of CDN $20,800. The securities issued pursuant to the Canadian offering are subject to a statutory hold period of four months and one day.

With the offering fully closed, True Leaf is the first Canadian cannabis related company to have qualified a Reg A+ offering with the SEC. The company is a reporting issuer in Canada and listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange and quoted on the OTCQB.

Alixe Cormick, the securities attorney who handled the cross border securities sale, told Crowdfund Insider;

“A successful Regulation A offering is a team effort. True Leaf had a solid team and outside support from the CSE. It also helped that True Leaf is involved in a rapidly growing industry with strong investor interest on both sides of the border.”

True Leaf is an interesting company. The business has two main operating divisions: True Leaf Medicine Inc. and True Leaf Pet Inc. True Leaf Pet is an established business that offers hemp based products for pets that are both THC and CBD free (so no stoned pets).

True Leaf Medicine was created in 2013 to provide Cannabis for both recreational and medical use. As many people know, Canada will fully legalize Marijuana usage across the country in 2018. True Leaf has been granted approval to build out a Marijuana grow facility by Health Canada. The facility is located in Lumby, British Columbia, Canada. True Leaf has applied for a license to provide Cannabis to the Canadian market and it is currently in a holding pattern to hear from the public authorities which have been working through the approval process.

Currently there are 89 licensed producers in Canada (Ontario leads with 48) that may provide Cannabis for medical use. Last year, Health Canada indicated it would speed up the approval process and since that time more producers are receiving approval as interest in Marijuana cultivation grows.

See:  U.S. pot industry: High tech, high finance, and high times

It has been reported that Canadians spent CDN $6.2 billion on Cannabis in 2015 – an amount similar to wine consumed. An estimated 4.9 million people used 698 metric tons of Marijuana –  before recreational use has become fully legalized and in a country with a population of 37 million. Some people believe there is a risk that producers will not be able to keep up with demand once recreational use kicks in towards the end of the summer. Tax revenue from regulated Marijuana is expected to be about CDN $450 million.

In the end, legal Marijuana production and consumption is poised to become a far bigger business than it is already. Legal cultivation is expected to remove production from the grips of organized crime while providing a new source of tax revenue. If federal legalization takes place in the US, companies like True Leaf may be able to expand their market dramatically. Yes, that is a big if in the case of the current administration, but most everyone agrees that medical marijuana makes sense and no one wants it controlled by criminals.


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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FFCON18: VELOCITY Blockchain, Crypto, Alt Investing Conference (Mar 5-6, Toronto)

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FFCON18: VELOCITY

Blockchain | Cryptocurrency | Alternative Investing

Join Canada's leading financial technology and funding conference

Building upon three consecutive successful Canadian Crowdfinance Summits (CCS2015-2017), the National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA) is proud to present 2018 Fintech and Funding Conference: VELOCITY (#FFCON18), an expanded 4th Annual of Canada’s leading financial technology and funding conference. If you are a fintech investor, a company actively raising capital or key decision maker/stakeholder in technology and capital markets innovation initiatives and programs, FFCON18 is a must attend event delivering the most comprehensive thought leadership, education, networks, investment and pitching opportunities to 500+ global participants. 2018 is focused on BLOCKCHAIN, CRYPTOCURRENCY and ALTERNATIVE INVESTING and will be held on March 5-6 in downtown Toronto at the historic Design Exchange and various partner sites: The theme is all about speed, efficiency and reducing friction: VELOCITY.

"VELOCITY" uncovers and celebrates the rising stars and who’s who of fintech, blockchain and alternative finance, connecting high growth entrepreneurs and startups seeking seed and growth capital with venture capitalists, retail and accredited investors and institutional asset managers. FFCON18 also attracts the industry’s thought leaders and pioneers, investors, technology and infrastructure providers, regulators, government, media and academia for an unforgettable ecosystem-building convergence in the historic Toronto Stock Exchange in the heart of downtown Toronto.

The conference features 5 different streams of content, immersive learning and networking over 2 full days, including 50+ speakers, 15+ pitching companies, dozens of workshops, VIP 1x1 meetings and cocktail networking receptions.

Hosted By:

Exclusive Presenting Partner:

FFCON18 SPEAKERS

50+ blockchain, cryptocurrency, alternative investing and fintech experts and innovators

Investors

Discover new blockchain, crypto and startup/scale-up deal flow opportunities and investment strategies. Gain access to high grow start-ups and leading-edge insights.

Professionals

Lawyer, accountant, marketing specialist or tech guru? Get access to emerging early stage companies, deal flow and partners through new financial instruments to generate revenue and leads for your practice.

Companies

Network and pitch your venture to investors, customers and partners. Learn about the latest funding strategies and options.

Enterprise

Connect with leading capital markets innovators, consultants, fintech and blockchain leaders to develop an internal sandbox, rapidly iterate, test, deploy a nextgen global solution.

Fintech Leaders

Celebrate the transformation of digital finance with fintech peers and share how you are unbundling and enhancing financial services, mint your brand while fostering global opportunities.

Policy Makers

Discuss and learn how emerging digital technologies will impact the future of financial transactions and services globally and what it means for existing regulatory cultures and policies.

Platforms & Ecosystems

Gain valuable industry insight and make new connections with customers, partners, investors, entrepreneurs and innovators.

Innovators

Join 500+ investors, entrepreneurs, hackers, and industry experts to learn, network and be inspired by leading-edge content and the power of co-creation, innovation, tech and the crowd!

FFCON18 PROGRAM

5 streams, immersive learning and networking over full days including 50+ speakers, 12+ pitching companies, company demos, workshops, VIP 1x1 meetings and cocktail networking receptions.

view full conference website

NCFA MEMBERS:  GET 20% OFF

Use code NCFA_MEMBER_DEAL

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Europe’s banks brace for a huge overhaul that throws open the doors to their data

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CNBC | | Dec 29, 2017

Banks have long been at an advantage when it comes to data on their customers.

From current accounts to credit cards, established lenders have access to vast amounts of information that financial technology (fintech) competitors could only dream of.

In Europe, that could all be about to change.

On January 13, banks operating in the European Union will be forced to open up their customer data to third party firms — that is, when customers give consent.

EU lawmakers hope that the introduction of the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) will give non-banking firms the chance to compete with banks in the payments business and give consumers more choice over financial products and services.

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Britain's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has set out similar plans to let customers share their data with other banks and third parties. With customer consent, U.K. banks will be required to give authorized third-party firms access to current account data.

Those regulations form part of a conceptual transition known as "open banking." Under an open banking framework, proponents say, non-banking firms — from corporations as big as Amazon and IBM to start-ups — would be able create new financial products by utilizing the data of banks.

What does it mean for banks?

Banks will be required to build application programming interfaces (APIs) — sets of code that give third parties secure access to their back-end data.

Those APIs serve as channels for developers to get to the data and build their own products and services around it. Such information could serve as a tool to understand things such as customers' spending habits or credit history, and could lead to the creation of new services.

"In a world of open banking, the customer can choose a provider in each part of the value chain. And each bank has to participate in the value chain as an earners' right to be there,"

Anne Boden, co-founder and chief executive of U.K. mobile-only bank Starling, told CNBC in an interview earlier this year.

Boden added: "You can't just assume you're going to have the end-to-end value chain. Barclays and HSBC and RBS, at the moment own everything in that value chain — the app, the back-end, they sell other products. In a world where everybody earns their right, you could have the app from HSBC and the back-end from Barclays."

Some European lenders are giving early signals as to what a post-PSD2 world will look like.

Spain's BBVA, Denmark's Saxo Bank, Nordic lender Nordea and Ireland's Ulster Bank have already published open developer portals ahead of the EU legislation.

HSBC has also made early moves toward meeting the incoming rules. In October, the bank launched a beta version of an app that lets customers see all of their bank accounts — including those from competitors — on one screen.

That development — known as "account aggregation" — is set to be a key component of open banking, encouraging collaboration rather than competition.

"I am cautiously encouraged by some of the progress we are starting to see around adoption (of) open banking-style principles by both emerging and existing financial institutions generally — banks or otherwise," Iain McDougall, U.K. manager at fintech firm Stripe, told CNBC.

See:  Who’s afraid of Brexit? Here’s why Canadian fintechs are flocking to London

McDougall said that commentators heralding the end of banks are misguided. "We certainly don't see it that way," he said.

What does it mean for tech firms?

Dozens of fintech firms across Europe are set to benefit from the updated EU directive, as banks' data will let them create new products.

Several small lenders set up with the aim of competing with larger institutions are hoping to take advantage of the move toward a more open data infrastructure. U.K. firms Starling and Monzo, for instance, are want to make banking more like a "marketplace," by connecting consumers with a number of products and services — including those from other providers — within their apps.

"Where we're going longer term is in marketplace banking, where we're trying to build Monzo into a control center, into a dashboard, a marketplace," Tom Blomfield, co-founder and chief executive of Monzo, told CNBC.

"So we do the day-to-day money management, but say for example you want a mortgage, that's not something we would provide," he said, "so actually we'll offer mortgages from other banks on our platform."

Another fintech company, MarketInvoice, has completely shifted its business model, changing from a digital invoice service into a lender on the back of the EU regulation. Its CEO and co-founder Anil Stocker said PSD2 would let it access data on small businesses and use tech advances like artificial intelligence to enhance credit ratings.

"I think the banks are starting to realize that this world they've had guarded around customer data for so long, now it's starting to open up," Stocker said in an interview at the time.

"Once you get into an open banking world, when you don't actually have to be a bank and you can manage a big balance sheet and have all the regulation that goes with it, it changes the game." -Antony Jenkins, founder and CEO of 10x Future Technologies

Some believe that tech giants such as Facebook, Amazon and IBM could be primed to disrupt banking, especially once lenders are forced to open their data vaults to tech firms.

Antony Jenkins, who served as the CEO of Barclays from 2012 until 2015, said it was uncertain as to whether a tech giant or small fintech firm was more likely to benefit the most from open banking.

"I think it's highly unpredictable," Jenkins said. "What is certain is there is going to be disruption."

See:  Why the bank referral scheme gives SME lending a much needed shake-up

Jenkins, who is now the founder and CEO of fintech start-up 10x Future Technologies, said that data junkies will be the biggest beneficiaries.

"All financial services products are just data. So companies that are very good at managing data are advantaged in this space. I would also say that once you get into an open banking world, when you don't actually have to be a bank and you can manage a big balance sheet and have all the regulation that goes with it, it changes the game."

He added: "That disruption could come from a fintech company, it could come from a tech company with really good customer relationships and a really good understanding of how to manage data."

Hurdles

Some worry that banks will be slow to respond, and that some will be reluctant to comply.

"Implementing open banking and making this happen is not something overnight. It's a tough journey for everybody," Starling's Boden said.

Indeed, the transition toward PSD2 has not been without friction.

In May, several fintech firms and lobbyists moved to fend off plans by the European Banking Authority to water down its open banking rules by banning a technique known as "screen scraping" — essentially copying data from one interface over to another.

"We saw the big banks suing start-ups like ours, trying to block them by any means." -Daniel Kjellen, founder and CEO of Tink


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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Free to Trade: Securities Issued Under Reg A+ May Trade in Canada

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Crowdfund Insider | JD Alois | Dec 24, 2017

One of the attractive aspects of Reg A+, as created by the JOBS Act of 2012, is the fact issuers may immediately trade securities following a funding round. This has led to a growing number of SMEs to raise capital under Reg A+ and quickly list shares on NYSE, NASDAQ or OTC Markets.

As the rule is still quite new, regulators continue to adapt to the new exemption. This holds true for Canada, a country that has leveraged Reg A+ for cross border funding rounds.

Earlier this week, the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) published a document recognizing the ability for Reg A+ issues to trade immediately as well.  The approval was noted in a tweet by Alixe Cormick, a Canada based securities attorney and a leader in the crowdfunding movement.

See:  How to Effectively Market an Equity Crowdfunding/Reg A+ Offering

While not a major change, the approval brings “greater certainty to cross-border activities” while making Reg A+ more amenable to issuers. While the Canadian securities market is governed by multiple provincial regulators, Ontario is the financial center and other provinces should follow suit.

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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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Finova Financial’s Equity-Linked JCO Token Going Global: Soon Available through Canada’s FrontFundr Online Investment Platform

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Business Wire | Finova Financial Release | Dec 19, 2017

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Finova Financial, a digital financial services provider transforming the future of global banking, announced today the first stage of international expansion for the world’s first equity-linked token, JOBS Crypto Offering (JCO), through a partnership with Canadian online investment platform FrontFundr. Finova’s token will carry the unique attribute of being linked to a share of equity in Finova and will provide for an ERC-20 Ethereum token standard that can not only be traded in cryptocurrency but is also backed by assets in a U.S. corporation.

“Our focus is on connecting investors and entrepreneurs. Using technology, FrontFundr makes it easier for entrepreneurs to raise money from a much larger investor community,” says FrontFundr CEO Peter-Paul Van Hoeken. “Finova’s JCO model is like the missing piece of the puzzle for everyday Canadians who have wanted to get in on the crypto-investing space but were shut out of ICO (Initial Coin Offering) opportunities due to accreditation requirements.”

Introduced in the U.S. in November, the JCO is a new crowdfunding mechanism using blockchain and cryptocurrency to create a hybrid of initial coin offerings (ICOs) and traditional initial public offerings (IPOs), allowing companies to raise capital more readily through cryptocurrency investments and an initial public offering of stock in compliance with the JOBS Act Regulation A+.

See:  Canada’s fintech adoption rate doubles in18 months; yet ranks 18th of 20 countries in EY Global Adoption Index

“FrontFundr in Canada and WeFunder in the U.S. are the first of what we hope will be many crowdfunding partnerships across the world,” says Finova CEO Gregory Keough. “We’re looking forward to building on the JCO concept globally because we think it’s the compliant alternative to the ICO and a perfect way to use the blockchain to help more companies raise capital and help more investors get in on crypto opportunities.”

Founded in 2015, FrontFundr has advocated the collaboration between the angel investor community and the emerging online investing sector. As the leading online investment platform in Canada, FrontFundr opened up investing in private companies for the public, democratizing investing in private companies.

JCO: How it Works

The JOBS Crypto Offering (JCO) is a new financing process that allows for companies to issue securities to the general public in exchange for cryptocurrency or other funds in compliance with SEC regulations. Ownership of such securities would be represented by entries in a distributed electronic network or database maintained by or on behalf of the Company in accordance with Section 224 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, which we refer to as Tokens. The Tokens would be listed on an Alternative Trading System that is compliant with Regulation ATS under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.

For more information, visit: http://jco.finovafinancial.com

About Finova Financial

A digital financial services provider transforming the future of global banking, National Financial Holdings, Inc. (known as “Finova”) develops fair and affordable financial technologies to create a more inclusive financial system and provide a path to financial health for the 2 billion people outside of the traditional financial system. Founded in 2015 by a team of financial services, technology and payment experts, Finova is backed by leading Silicon Valley venture capital firms and Wall Street private equity investors.

For more information: www.finovafinancial.com

About FrontFundr

FrontFundr is Canada’s leading online investment platform connecting investors and vetted companies. Registered as an Exempt Market Dealer (EMD), FrontFundr uses technology to assist companies in raising capital from accredited and non-accredited investors through a streamlined online investment process.

For more information: www.frontfundr.com

Contacts

Finova Financial
Media Contact:
Pam Abrahamsson, 503-298-9749
pabrahamsson@promoteonpurpose.com
or
Company Contact:
Silvana Puello, 561-517-9256
silvana.puello@finovafinancial.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

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Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Centra ICO that Was Pumped by Floyd “Crypto” Mayweather

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Crowdfund Insider | | Dec 15, 2017

Initial Coin Offerings are fat targets for attorneys representing disgruntled investors. Tezos is the most prominent example of an ICO gone bad due to the very public internal infighting, the fact that creators attempted to describe investments as donations and the hundreds of millions of dollars in crypto ultimately raised. Today, we have a class action lawsuit filed against the Centra ICO on behalf of Plaintiff Jacob Zowie Thomas Rensel.

The Centra ICO received the tacit endorsement of Boxing Champion Floyd Mayweather, sometimes know as “Floyd Crypto Mayweather” was joined by world famous rapper DJ Khaled that “led to a patina of credibility,” according to the New York Times. Of course, this is just nice talk meaning they pumped the ICO on their social networks.

See:  SEC Chairman Jay Clayton Tells House Committee that Fewer Public Companies is a Troubling Trend, Shares Insights on ICOs

Centra Tech even announced Floyd Crypto Mayweather as an official “Brand Ambassador,” back in September.  Floyd Crypto was expected to “spread the word to mainstream media about the benefits of the Blockchain-based ecosystem.”

“We are proudly welcoming World Champion Boxer, Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather JR to the Centra team as an official Brand Ambassador,” said Sam Sharma, president and co-founder of Centra, at that time.

Today, the ICO is a bit less rosy as Komlossy Law in Florida filed in the US District Court of Southern Florida for a trial by jury as the “Defendants raised over $30 million in digital cryptocurrencies by offering and selling unregistered securities in direct violation of the Securities Act.”

The filing continues to explain the Defendants, including  Sohrab Sharma , Raymond Trapani, Robert Farkas, and William Hagner, made a feeble attempt to portray the Centra ICO as a sale of “utility-based tokens” that were “not securities, shares or investments.” Allegedly, this took place even while the Defendants touted the growth potential of the CTR Tokens and called purchasers investors.

Additionally, the class action filing claims: “the Centra ICO unabashedly stated that participants would be able to use the CTR Tokens “or trade them on cryptocurrency exchanges for a profit.”

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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