Category Archives: Fintech Opinions

Fintech Frenzy: Hype or Reality? A Closer Look at 6 Key Sectors

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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, these businesses don’t necessarily have much to do with each other (besides the obvious of moving money around).

So while the investment numbers are up in aggregate, each sub-sector has a very different story. And it’s worth diving in more deeply to understand what’s really going on.

Wealth/Investing: Race to the bank

Wealth tech companies get a steady 10% of fintech investment year after year. There’s a durable view that they show real opportunity for disruption. One of the more interesting trends right now is that all the wealth and investment companies that have achieved scale—like SoFi, Acorns, and Wealthfront (another disclosure: my team has backed Acorns)—are doing the same thing: They’re adding a checking account. You could paint with a broad brush and say they are all trying to become banks. Not necessarily licensed banks, but rather, leveraging third parties and new technologies to try to become a consumer’s primary financial partner.

See:  Lifehacks for When a Robot Wants Your Job

This is really fascinating to me and raises a key question for our industry, and our society: Will consumers bail on traditional banks? Will they go to their employer with a new direct deposit authorization form and say “send my money to Betterment, to Acorns, to SoFi”? This is truly a new phenomenon. If it works, there’s a whole new era of fintech coming, where the banks go from the “Empire Strikes Back” phase that they’re in right now—and they start to worry again. It doesn’t mean wealth tech is toast if it doesn’t work, but it’s striking that all these companies had the same ideas at the same time.

Venture investment: $1.2 billion in 2017 (Source: CB Insights)
Startup energy: Steady as she goes

Insurance: Fast growth leads to full stack

Insurance startups are really at a pivot right now. Companies like Oscar or ZhongAn have scaled from nothing to billions a year in funding, and in the process, they’ve decided to be full stack. Historically, insurance startups Insureon and Zenefits were simply brokers or managing general agents, but increasingly there’s a take that startups need to be(come) carriers. I certainly understand that instinct—if you don’t control the product, someone else controls the capital. So, I get it. But return on equity for carriers tends to be around 9%. It doesn’t make sense for a VC to invest in a carrier. Not at all.

Moving forward, the insurance tech players need to figure this out. It will be the difference between insurance getting really transformed or having a bunch of brokers with fancy apps. And that second future is not going to create a lot of equity value.

Venture investment: $1.4 billion in 2017 (Source: CB Insights)
Startup energy: Awkward teenage years

Real Estate: Disruption in full effect

Real estate and crypto are the two areas where we see the most growth. In real estate, five of the venture world’s 10 most recent unicorns—Compass, OpenDoor, WeWork, Airbnb and UCommune—are real estate companies, whether you think of them that way or not. OpenDoor, for instance, invented a true “prop” brokerage, where they don’t broker a sale for 6%, but instead buy the property, find another buyer and make money on the spread. Zillow now says they’re doing the same thing, and there have been a bunch of fast followers. This incredibly stodgy industry—which hasn’t changed in a hundred years—is getting re-made.

See:  Real estate crowdfunding in Canada: portal insights for 2017/18

Venture investment: $1.2 billion in 2017 (Source: PitchBook)
Startup energy: First-movers moving fast

Cryptocurrency/Blockchain: Time to get serious

What can we say about crypto? Last year at our Fintech CEO Summit, we talked about how people were going to go to jail for initial coin offerings (ICOs). No one has gone to jail yet, but it’s tricky. ICO volume is still frothy, with a peak of $4.1 billion raised in March but otherwise running at roughly $1.5 billion a month. Plus, the noise out of government is getting louder and clearer that this is not some sort of safe harbor.

Beyond ICOs, we think about the crypto space in three parts: the crypto investing ecosystem, enterprise blockchain, and distributed applications.

For the first, a key question is: Will crypto be an asset class? Provisionally, I believe the answer is “yes.” The investing ecosystem is now maturing nicely, and several pioneers like Basis and Compound (last disclosure: both are portfolio companies), are filling in key elements of market structure, assuming people want to trade crypto at scale more in the future.

Regarding enterprise blockchain, is it actually a standalone business? The market is thriving if you count press releases, but not if you look for revenue outside of proof-of-concept. We provisionally said “no” to this question in the early days, but we have great entrepreneurs working on it—and I’m sure they’ll prove us wrong.

See:  ‘This Is Not a Passing Fad’: CFA Exam Adds Crypto, Blockchain Topics

Finally, distributed applications are the big prize. It’s clearly early days, but this is where the talent is heading. Will the Airbnb, Uber, and Amazon Web Services of the future simply be open source protocols powered by tokens that change the way we store our files, book our houses, book our travel, and manage our transportation? I don’t know when, but I believe we’ll get there. Someday.

Venture investment: $716 million in 2017 (Source: CB Insights)
Startup energy: Wild, wild west (and east and north and south)

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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

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 ...
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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:  ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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, ...
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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 ...
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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

 

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FINTECH FRIDAY$ Weekly Podcast

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Financial technology, blockchain, artificial intelligence, peer and alternative finance

 

FINTECH FRIDAY$ is a weekly podcast brought to you by NCFA and partners, where we sit down with the incredible people in the Fintech and Funding community and talk about trends, product innovations, developments and challenges!  Subscribe and tune in each Friday to check out the latest movers and shakers with hosts Manseeb Khan and others.

What to get involved?   info@ncfacanada.org

Ep1:  Facilitating Global Crypto Payments and the Future of Digital Assets

To kickoff the first episode of our Fintech Fridays weekly podcast, our host Manseeb Khan is joined by Samir Bandli, Director of Strategic Partnerships of CoinPayments, to talk about the future of crypto from its role today and its role in the future.  CoinPayments offers merchants an option to accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment and currently works with over 700+ altcoins. (more...)

Samir Bandali, Director of Partnerships

Ep2:  Canada's Role in the Global Fintech Ecosystem

On this episode of the Fintech Friday Podcast, our host Manseeb Khan sits down with the legendary Sue Britton, CEO & Founder of the Fintech Growth Syndicate, and talk about what Canada has to do to stay competitive in the fintech space, Canada being super hot to outside investors, and why diversty is going to revolutionize finance. (more...)

Sue Britton, CEO & Founder

Ep3:  Investing in Canadian Diversity

In this episode of the Fintech Friday Podcast, host Manseeb Khan interviews the incredible Peggy Van De Plassche, General Partner Roar Ventures, about doubling down on investing in diversity and launching her new Data/AI investment fund! (more...)

Peggy Van De Plassche, Founding Partner

Ep4:  Importance of a Smart Contract Safety Net

On this episode, our host Manseeb Khan sits down with LA legal tech entrepreneur Amy Wan, CEO/Founder of Sagewise. 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!  (more...)

Amy Wan, Founder & CEO


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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Lifehacks for When a Robot Wants Your Job

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BNN Bloomberg | Nisha Gopalan and Andy Mukherjee | Jul 14, 2018

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Can’t code, or speak Bahasa? Didn’t go to school with a CEO’s son or daughter? A robot will take your trading seat. Read on if you want to save your job.

The threat from automation is in the flows part of banks’ global markets business, the most important chunk of the biggest division of investment banking. Investment banks garner 70 percent of their revenue from global markets, made up of trading stocks and bonds, as well as structuring derivatives products and financing; the remaining 30 percent comes from advisory services like shepherding M&As or helping companies raise equity and debt.

The higher-margin areas within markets — from structuring to swaps — is relationship-oriented, and therefore (relatively) safe from robot overlords. And it happens to be a big contributor to the 70 percent pie, especially in Asia, where commissions on equities and fixed-income trades are sinking fast, and language and client connections play a big role. Good news? Read on.

With the flows business comprising 51 percent of banks’ global markets revenue of $109.8 billion last year, according to Coalition data, automation of even vanilla trades is no small threat. Besides, the 30 percent advisory pie of investment banking revenue outside global markets only pays well when banks counsel on large cross-border transactions or underwrite big IPOs.

See:  Charlene Cieslik, Chief Anti-Money Laundering Officer of Coinsquare, Joins the National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada’s Advisory Group

In Asia, the former is largely a Japanese game since China pulled the plug on deal-making by its overly ambitious conglomerates. And large share sales only happen in a few markets. India may be the second-biggest destination for cheap Xiaomi phones, but the Chinese firm’s Hong Kong IPO probably made more for banks than the entire Indian equity advisory industry will earn in fees this year, as a senior finance executive told one of us.

Desks have already shrunk, and will get smaller still. A decade from now all trading will be electronic. Last year, JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chairman Jamie Dimon famously boasted of a currency trader that made a $100 million bet via a cell phone. That’s the shape of things to come.

In contrast to the early days of the 2008 financial crisis, when tech was culled to cut costs, digital upgrades are now seen as both an operational necessity and a strategic differentiator. Tech spending in global-markets divisions of investment banks has risen to $16.5 billion at the 12 institutions Coalition canvassed, from $13.8 billion in 2013. A chunk of that is maintenance of bulky legacy systems, but Amrit Shahani, a London-based research director at Coalition, says large Wall Street and European banks are each spending around 10 percent, or a giddy $1 billion of their annual revenue, to stay relevant.

Chief technology officers are pushing for even bigger budgets. Their teams are the financial coders who’ve created bespoke systems for Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and the like and who are increasingly sitting on trading floors so that precious minutes aren’t wasted talking to someone in Bangalore when a huge deal blows up. Contract workers from third-party firms like PageGroup Plc’s Michael Page and Robert Walters Plc are getting seconded for a few years to help run trading floors smoothly. Headhunters say a $155,000 salary (excluding bonuses) for someone with eight years’ experience isn’t uncommon in Hong Kong, for instance. It’s not exactly banker comp, but it’s rising much faster.

Beyond the coders are the bankers-cum-traders-cum-tech thinkers.

See:  The world’s new oil and AI’s imminent impact on the future of Fintech

Nomura Holdings Inc. in February hired Jezri Mohideen, a former senior trader at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Brevan Howard Asset Management, to be its global chief digital officer for investment banking. Based in Dubai, part of his job is to set up artificial-intelligence labs and merge the old and new worlds of asset custody.

Talk to any senior banker or trader and they’ll tell you there’s a lot of soul-searching going on amid threats from fintech and blockchain. The challenges are even more pressing for consumer and private banks, as well as in some corners of corporate lending such as trade finance.

Barclays Plc’s wealth management and investment operations head in the U.K. is Dirk Klee, previously at UBS Group AG’s wealth arm in technology and digital services. Singapore’s DBS Group Holdings Ltd. CEO Piyush Gupta is using open-application-programming interfaces to blur the boundaries between payments and commerce. If he doesn’t do it, Ant Financial’s Alipay or upstarts such as ride-hailing service PT Go-Jek Indonesia surely will. In trade finance, using blockchain to retire paperwork older than Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice” is a project both Singapore and Hong Kong are working on.

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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 ...
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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:  ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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

 

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Blockchain has the potential to do amazing things, but it needs a reboot

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The Globe and Mail | Chris Horlacer | June 29, 2018

Chris Horlacher is president and CEO of Equibit Group, a company that’s putting securities on the blockchain.

When Kik Interactive CEO Ted Livingston was quoted in a recent article saying that “Almost nobody should be looking at blockchain,” I’m sure many readers familiar with the space gasped in shock.

But Mr. Livingston is quite correct in his assessment. It’s one I’ve maintained for a very long time. Blockchain is a fantastic, paradigm-changing technology, but the rush to put everything “on a blockchain” has resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars wasted on projects that are unlikely to ever be commercially viable.

Blockchain technology can be used to completely change how humanity creates, secures and transfers intangible property. Money, contracts, insurance, licences, identity – you name it. Whereas today these things require the blessing of an outside authority to control, with blockchain, individuals can take ownership themselves.

In a world where the custodianship of financial assets is highly centralized, the underlying technology behind bitcoin looked to be a wonder poised to change how society creates and moves value. After more than eight years of studying the technology, speaking publicly about it, and founding a blockchain development company, it’s quite clear to me blockchain is just that – a wonder: a publicly accessible asset register using infrastructure funded directly by its users with an embedded form of payment known as a cryptocurrency.

See:  Canadian Startup Equibit Wants to Decentralize the Securities Industry

Somewhere along the line, however, amid the hype, the many companies who started investing in blockchain technologies got lost – forgetting its true value proposition.

There are many lessons to be learned from how the world’s most prominent cryptocurrency – bitcoin – secures itself. For example, we can use those same features to produce tamper-proof databases, but they need not be blockchains. A number of companies have got caught up in the rush to blockchain; they’ve created networks that tick a box, a mandate, but are actually “permission-based” or “closed” networks – not blockchains as they were initially intended.

“Tokenization” – the process of assigning a digital proxy for a real-world asset – has also been fundamentally misunderstood in this rush. Many of the companies issuing tokens are injecting them into applications for which there is no need. Tokenization for the sake of tokenization isn’t a plan with any hope of generating a return on investment. Near-term, these tokens will serve only as a convenient exit for company founders.

People either forgot, or never knew, what the real value proposition of blockchain technology was. As investors and as human beings, we need to keep asking, “what’s the business case for these networks?” There are worse things than missing out on the next unicorn and, put simply, if a business isn’t looking to disperse their infrastructure costs and make individuals sovereign over their data and digital assets, blockchain probably isn’t for them.

Over the past 10 years, our faith in institutions – both financial and governmental – has been seriously eroded. We’ve endured trillions of dollars of currency debasement used to recapitalize banks, repeated corruption scandals and an endless stream of fraud settlements paid out by financial institutions. Outside of the Western world, it’s even worse.

With bitcoin, and technologies like it, there is a way for individuals to reach a relative island of safety and financial stability. By removing any dependence on third parties to secure their assets or transfer value, they have one less variable in their life to worry about.

More:  How Blockchain is Impacting Canadian Fintech Markets

It’s my hope that 2018 becomes the year when this industry resets. Whose lives does it want to change, and why? Blockchain still has the potential to do amazing things, things that upend centuries-old foundations of industry and replace them with something infinitely better. But we can’t lose sight of the real application of the value proposition itself, which is the radical transparency of the network and its power to bring people together on a level playing field. It can’t only be about closed networks, trading tokens and initial coin offerings. That misses the point entirely.

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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 ...
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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:  ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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, ...
Read More
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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Peer-to-peer lending will help small businesses stay afloat

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The Globe and Mail | Michael King and Craig Asano | May 30, 2018

With interest rates on the rise and the Canadian banks moving up lending rates, the higher cost and reduced availability of credit will affect all Canadian businesses, like a rising tide lifting all boats. Inevitably some boats will be swamped and sink, particularly if they are smaller and more vulnerable.

One set of borrowers at greater risk are Canada’s 1.14 million small businesses, defined as companies that employ up to 99 workers. Statistics Canada reports that small businesses represented 98 per cent of all businesses, employed 70 per cent of workers, and generated 30 per cent of each province’s GDP on average. This category includes startups and high-growth firms, which represent Canada’s best hope for job creation and economic growth.

As credit becomes less available, small businesses face a difficult choice of cutting back on investment or turning to more expensive borrowing, such as credit cards or payday loans. Either option is bad.

Fortunately, small businesses now have an alternative source for loans called peer-to-peer (P2P) lending. These online platforms match borrowers and investors directly and can provide loans cheaper and faster than traditional sources. How can that be? The answer is technology.

Taking a step back, small businesses are financed differently than big ones. Most Canadian startups have neither the credit history nor the collateral to secure a bank loan. Statscan reports that more than 80 per cent of startups rely on alternative funding sources such as the entrepreneurs’ savings and personal loans taken out by owners. Only 45 per cent can access credit from financial institutions and 19 per cent receive trade credit from suppliers.

Technology is disrupting this paradigm. P2P lending platforms allow businesses (and individuals) to take out a loan online with the funds crowdsourced by investors who pool their savings to fund loans. Traditionally only financial institutions were set up to screen borrowers and allocate credit. But technologies such as the internet, cloud computing, data analytics and artificial intelligence have opened this asset class to new lenders such as your neighbour or a fellow business owner.

Canada’s first P2P platform, Lending Loop, was launched in late 2015 – a decade after this model was pioneered in Britain by Zopa. Last month, Lending Loop passed $20-million in loans funded on its platform by more than 20,000 Canadian investors. While $20-million is impressive, it is still only a sliver of the $95-billion of credit outstanding to Canadian small businesses as reported by Statscan.

The average small business borrower on Lending Loop’s platform is borrowing $75,000 to $100,000 for three to five years. While interest rates vary substantially, P2P loans typically start at around 6 per cent with an average interest rate of 12 per cent, significantly lower than a credit card. These loans are used to finance inventory and equipment, or to hire new employees.

The Canadian P2P lending market got a boost this month when the Ontario government announced it would contribute $3-million over the next two years to loans funded on Lending Loop’s platform. The Ontario government will fund up to 10 per cent of small business loans, supporting funding of $30-million.

See:

Besides the obvious benefit to small businesses, Ontario’s announcement was important for two reasons. First, Ontario has drawn attention to P2P lending as an alternative funding source and raised awareness among businesses to accelerate adoption. And second, by partnering with a fintech startup, Ontario is leading by example and giving a boost to entrepreneurs working to democratize finance.

Here are four more steps that Canadian policy makers can take to promote P2P lending:

First, Canada should follow Britain and adopt new P2P lending regulations, as opposed to shoehorning this sector under existing equity regulations. New regulations should ensure the cost of due diligence borne by lenders is proportionate to the investment risk.

Second, retail investor caps for P2P lending should be raised over time if this asset class is proven to be low risk, increasing the pool of funds available to meet the needs of small businesses.

Third, the federal government should partner with industry to provide more education for investors and small businesses. This effort should include data collection and benchmarking to allow researchers to establish what is working and what is not.

Fourth, Canada should adopt Britain’s mandatory referral program. Banks that reject a small-business loan must refer unsuccessful applicants to a government portal that connects them with alternative lenders who may be able to assist them.

Our hope is that Canadian politicians recognize that promoting innovation means more than cutting ribbons and offering tax credits. It is about plugging holes in a leaky financial system and adding wind to the sails of small businesses to move them forward.

 

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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, 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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The forces of change are trumping banks and regulators

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The Globe and Mail | and | May 15, 2018

Patricia Meredith and James L. Darroch are the authors of Stumbling Giants: Transforming Canada’s Banks for the Information Age, the winner of the 2017/18 Donner Prize.

Most businesses fail to respond to the challenge of disruptive technology. But disruptive technologies, including mobile devices, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, blockchain and social networking, are transforming financial services.

So it is perhaps not surprising that, far from embracing creative destruction, the protected oligopoly of Canadian banks and their counterparts in many other parts of the world have chosen to lobby in favour of the status quo. The response of global financial regulators, in the form of Basel II and III, has reinforced the old business model, making it more difficult for banks to adapt. Unfortunately, as we describe in our book, Stumbling Giants: Transforming Canada’s Banks for the Information Age, the forces of change are far more powerful than the bankers and regulators are.

As Bill Gates said more than 20 years ago: “We will always need banking, we won’t always need banks.”

The functions of banking – lending, investing and paying – are necessary in the information age. But how these functions are performed looks very different. Financial-technology companies (fintechs) – such as Amazon, PayPal, Alibaba, Apple, Google and myriad small players including robo-advisers, lenders and payments providers – are using technology to create new and better financial services for both consumers and businesses. They operate in all parts of financial management, whether that is tracking overall spending, applying for a loan or optimizing investment strategies. These technology companies compete directly with traditional banks and, in many respects, have taken them by surprise.

Ant Financial Services (part of the Alibaba Group) uses information from its payment-processing platform to develop cash flow forecasts and assess the riskiness of micro, small and medium-sized businesses. It tracks performance in real time and increases credit lines if the business is increasing faster than expected and accelerates collections if it is not. Ant’s loan losses are significantly lower than those of traditional banks. It’s “Just Spend” securitized consumer loan product helps consumers take that vacation they have been dreaming about. Amazon One Click let’s me buy that item I have been eyeing up online without having to perform a payment transaction. PayPal for Business offers web payments, online invoicing and other services to help me run my online business better.

To support the growth of fintech companies in Canada, the federal government must encourage innovation and increase competition. As Payments Canada rolls out our new real-time payments system, the government should accept the Competition Bureau’s recommendation and enact legislation to open access to qualified non-bank participants. It must implement legislation similar to laws already in place in Britain, the European Union and Australia, making it clear who owns the data stored in warehouses (the customer) and who has access to it (all competitors with the owners’ permission). This would make information – the raw materials for modern financial services – available to all competitors.

Check out:  NCFA: Canada Needs a Harmonized Securities Environment as Current Provincial Approach is a Fintech Innovation Killer

To support the growth of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) the government should consider giving the Business Development Bank of Canada the mandate to develop securitized lending. Using artificial intelligence and sophisticated risk-pricing algorithms to adjudicate loans based on real-time transaction data and future cash flow forecasting has proven much more reliable than traditional bank lending, based on historical returns and secured assets.

Innovation in financial services is urgent. Canada is falling further and further behind. Countries such as China, India and the United States are moving rapidly to establish e-commerce platforms with integrated financial technology companies. Fintechs are key drivers of the financial ecosystem of the future. Instead of wasting time revising the Bank Act to preserve the status quo, our policy makers should focus on legislation to ensure access to infrastructure and data for innovative new entrants and access to financing for the SMEs that represent Canada’s entry into the 21st century information economy.

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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, and online investing stakeholders globally. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, services, and networking opportunities to over 1700+ members 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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St. Louis Fed President on Crypto: ‘Currency Competition Is Nothing New’

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Coindesk | David Floyd | May 14, 2018

James Bullard, president of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, said Monday that cryptocurrencies "are creating drift toward a non-uniform currency in the U.S."

Bullard spoke on the history and economics of private currencies at CoinDesk's Consensus 2018 conference in New York, drawing on his work in this area. He told attendees that public and private currencies can "coexist in equilibrium" and even "facilitate transactions that might not otherwise occur."

But U.S. history shows that currency competition often causes more problems than it solves, he contended. In the 1830s, 90 percent of the currency in circulation was privately issued, with the uniform "greenback" only coming into use during the Civil War.

"You would have Bank of America banknotes, Wells Fargo banknotes," Bullard said, but "they all traded at a discount."

See:  Crypto Self-Governance Touted as Solution to Regulatory ‘Mess’

With over 1,800 cryptocurrencies having been issued as of today, Bullard said there was a risk of drifting back towards that kind of "chaos of exchange rates." Consumers could find themselves having to hold multiple forms of currencies for different transactions, he said, with each trading at a different relative price - not to mention the risk that a currency tanks, taking the consumer's savings with it.

"Currencies have to be reliable and hold their value," Bullard said, using the hyperinflationary Venezuelan bolivar as an example.

As for whether cryptocurrencies "might be able to protect us from the vagaries of Venezuelan monetary policy," Bullard pointed to a few issues.

First, transactions using these currencies might be illegal. Ignoring that, though cryptocurrencies' monetary frameworks may not be as reliable as some proponents claim.

Bitcoin, for example, has a fixed supply of 21 million bitcoin, but "the system can still bifurcate, creating two fixed volumes of coins." In Bullard's opinion, problems with monetary policy are "not mitigated by commodity-based money nor by cryptocurrencies."

Looking ahead

Following Bullard's opening remarks, he was joined by Diane Brady, journalist and founder of dbOmnimedia, for a fireside chat. She asked if government control was the only way to guarantee a stable monetary system. Bullard replied:

"This century, the past century it's been true. Will it always be that way? I don't know. Maybe there are technological solutions."

For the time being, he said, cryptocurrencies aren't a threat to the dollar's dominance because of their low transaction volumes. "The dollar's in great shape today," he said. "It will stay in great shape."

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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, and online investing stakeholders globally. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, services, and networking opportunities to over 7500+ 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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