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Category Archives: Fintech and Real Estate

Crypto Pioneer Buys Penthouse in Former Toronto Trump Tower

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Bloomberg | By Natalie Wong and Gerrit De Vynck | June 20, 2018

A cryptocurrency baron has bought the largest and one of the most expensive condos in Canada, paying for it partly with digital money.

Anthony Di Iorio purchased the three-story penthouse for C$28 million ($21 million) at the St. Regis Residences Toronto, the former Trump International Hotel & Tower in the downtown business district. The unit totals 16,178 square feet (1,502 square meters) and includes a wrap-around patio overlooking the city’s skyline at the corner of Bay and Adelaide Streets.

Di Iorio didn’t take out a mortgage for the property because he doesn’t “like being in debt.” Instead, he cashed out some of his cryptocurrency and made a wire transfer to pay the price.

“I don’t remember exactly which ones I cashed in but this is my safety net, real estate right?” he said in an interview with Bloomberg at his new condo. He now owns two condos units in Toronto for a total investment of about C$34 million, he said. “I decided to take a bunch out and put it in real estate.”

The hotel is owned by InnVest Hotels LP and operated by Marriott International Inc. as the Adelaide Hotel Toronto, and will be rebranded the St. Regis once a renovation is complete. Residences in the building are owned by JCF Capital ULC.

See:  $57.9B deployed into fintech so far this year, Canada one to watch

Di Iorio got into the cryptocurrency craze on the ground floor as a co-founder of Ethereum. He was active in Toronto’s early blockchain community and was on the initial team that put together Ethereum, now the leading alternative to the Bitcoin platform. Ether, the currency that runs on Ethereum, now has a market value of around $50 billion compared with Bitcoin’s $115 billion. Di Iorio now runs Decentral, an “innovation hub’ in Toronto focused on blockchain projects. It’s the creator of the popular cryptocurrency wallet Jaxx.

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The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with fintech, alternative finance, blockchain, cryptocurrency, crowdfunding 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: ncfacanada.org

CNBC | Hugh Son | Feb 14, 2019 The first cryptocurrency created by a major U.S. bank is here — and it's from J.P. Morgan Chase. Engineers at the lender have created the "JPM Coin," a digital token that will be used to instantly settle transactions between clients of its wholesale payments business. Only a tiny fraction of payments will initially be transmitted using the cryptocurrency, but the trial represents the first real-world use of a digital coin by a major U.S. bank. While J.P. Morgan's Jamie Dimon has bashed bitcoin as a "fraud," the bank chief and his managers have consistently said blockchain and regulated digital currencies held promise. The lender moves more than $6 trillion around the world every day for corporations in its massive wholesale payments business. In trials set to start in a few months, a tiny fraction of that will happen over something called "JPM Coin," the digital token created by engineers at the New York-based bank to instantly settle payments between clients. See:  Do Banks Even Want to Go Blockchain? J.P. Morgan is preparing for a future in which parts of the essential underpinning of global capitalism, from cross-border payments to corporate debt issuance, ...
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JP Morgan is rolling out the first US bank-backed cryptocurrency to transform payments business
Forbes | Alejandro Cremades | Aug 2018 Is debt or equity fundraising smarter for startups? There is more than one way to fund a new business venture and fuel its growth. For almost all, it is going to require bringing in outside money at some point. Even if that is only to multiply what is working or to create a source of emergency capital. The two primary options are to either leverage business debt financing or fundraise for equity investors. Each method can carry its own pros and cons. It is vital for entrepreneurs not to blindly follow the herd just “because everyone else is doing it.” Discover which is best for you, at your stage in business, and stack the most advantages in your corner. Once you have decided the course of action and have a lead investor covering at least 20% of your financing round you would typically also include in the pitch deck the form of financing in which you are raising the capital. I recently covered the pitch deck template that was created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) where the most critical slides are highlighted. Debt Financing We’re all familiar with debt. At ...
Read More
Debt vs. Equity Financing: Pros And Cons For Entrepreneurs
Financial Post | James McLeod | Feb 9, 2019 The Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister gives the Financial Post an early look at Ottawa’s report card on innovation that will be released next week Navdeep Bains wants Canadians to know that things are happening. Lots of things. The Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister has a big job on his hands, hauling Canada’s economy into the 21st century by embracing artificial intelligence and a panoply of digital technologies to boost productivity and keep us globally competitive. But the federal government’s innovation agenda is still very much a work in progress. One of its pillars, the five marquee superclusters spaced evenly across the country, is mostly just an idea at this point, although $950 million in funding is beginning to flow. Does Canada feel more innovative than it did four years ago? Are we future-proofing our economy and seizing the jobs of tomorrow? Bains certainly thinks so and that belief will probably be part of the Liberal’s pitch to voters when the country goes to the polls later this year. Next week, he will release a 100-page government report called Building a Nation of Innovators that mostly serves as a ...
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The race to future-proof the economy: Navdeep Bains on the state of innovation in Canada
Modern Consensus | Leo Jakobson, February 4, 2019 Move is latest series of steps by regulator to bring clarity and less confrontational approach to regulations enforcement The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission wants to know if the technology to help it monitor major cryptocurrency blockchains for risk and regulatory compliance issues exists. The SEC is not looking to buy big data analytics tools at this time, but characterizes its interest as “conducting market research to determine the availability and technical capability,” of the tools presently available on the market, it announced in a notice on Jan. 31 What the SEC wants to know about is the “ability to provide the requested data but also an overview of the processes used to extract the data, convert the data into a reviewable format, and the verification steps to ensure there is no loss in data completeness and accuracy due to the data transformation tools and processes applied.” The software it wants would also make the data easy for SEC staff to read and understand on an ongoing basis, and would provide insights about that data—notably identifying who the data belongs to—as well as a way of ensuring the data is accurate and ...
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SEC wants big data tools for monitoring and enforcing cryptocurrency market compliance
NCFA Canada | Feb 8, 2019 Ep24-Feb 8:  Re-imagining Philanthropy with Daryl Hatton About this episode:  On this Episode of the Fintech Friday's Podcast, our host Manseeb Khan sits down with Daryl Hatton the CEO of Connection Point. They chatted about microprojects, saving little girls and puppies and how to get hooked on Philanthropy. Enjoy! Focus on value and avoid the complicated terminology when growing new innovative markets Branding customer segment-focused funding products, white labeling collaborative uses cases Crowdfunding for good at the intersection of technology, people and impact Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host Guest: DARYL HATTON, Founder and CEO, ConnectionPoint / FundRazr (linkedin) BIO:  Daryl Hatton, CEO of award winning international crowdfunding company FundRazr and of the innovative sponsored crowdfunding company Sponsifi has founded multiple start-ups and helped bring one to a successful NASDAQ IPO in 1999. He actively serves as board member or advisor to handfuls of other hot companies in Canada. In addition, he is a Director and Crowdfunding Ambassador for the National Crowdfunding Association of Canada. As a social media guy and frequent public speaker, his Twitter tagline includes words like “#KingOfGastown, entrepreneur, cardiac survivor, foodie, whisky nut, philosopher, mentor, father and friend.” * Senior Business and Technology ...
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FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP24-Feb 8):  Re-imagining Philanthropy with Daryl Hatton, Founder and CEO of ConnectionPoint/FundRazr
Forbes | Michael del Castillo | Feb 4, 2019 It’s a balmy 80 degrees on a mid-December day in Singapore, and something is puzzling Allen Day, a 41-year-old data scientist. Using the tools he has developed at Google, he can see a mysterious concerted usage of artificial intelligence on the blockchain for Ethereum. Ether is the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency (after bitcoin and XRP), and it still sports a market cap of some $11 billion despite losing 83% of its value in 2018. Peering into its blockchain—the distributed database of transactions underpinning the cryptocurrency—Day detects a “whole bunch” of “autonomous agents” moving funds around “in an automated fashion.” While he doesn’t yet know who has created the AI, he suspects they could be the agents of cryptocurrency exchanges trading among themselves in order to artificially inflate ether’s price. “It’s not really just single agents doing things on their own,” Day says from Google’s Asia-Pacific headquarters. “They’re forming with other agents to have some larger group effect.” Day’s official title is senior developer advocate for Google Cloud, but he describes his role as “customer zero” for the company’s cloud computing efforts. As such it’s his job to anticipate demand before a product ...
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Navigating Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP: How Google Is Quietly Making Blockchains Searchable
Bloomberg | Doug Alexander | Feb 4, 2019 Without digital keys, clients lose access to coins, funds Board said last week that it was seeking creditor protection Digital-asset exchange Quadriga CX has a $200 million problem with no obvious solution -- just the latest cautionary tale in the unregulated world of cryptocurrencies. The online startup can’t retrieve about C$190 million ($145 million) in Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ether and other digital tokens held for its customers, according to court documents filed Jan. 31 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Nor can Vancouver-based Quadriga CX pay the C$70 million in cash they’re owed. Access to Quadriga CX’s digital “wallets” -- an application that stores the keys to send and receive cryptocurrencies -- appears to have been lost with the passing of Quadriga CX Chief Executive Officer Gerald Cotten, who died Dec. 9 in India from complications of Crohn’s disease. He was 30. Cotten was always conscious about security -- the laptop, email addresses and messaging system he used to run the 5-year-old business were encrypted, according to an affidavit from his widow, Jennifer Robertson. He took sole responsibility for the handling of funds and coins and the banking and accounting side of the business and, ...
Read More
Crypto CEO Dies Holding Only Passwords That Can Unlock Millions in Customer Coins
Forbes | Jeff Kauflin | Feb 4, 2019 This article was updated on 2/4/19 to include Ripple, the fourth-most valuable private fintech company in the U.S.  Financial technology startups continue to attract a growing amount of attention and capital. In 2018, valuations of the biggest private companies bulged, and at least six new fintech unicorns were minted in the U.S. U.S. fintechs raised $12.4 billion in funding, or 43% more than 2017, reports CB Insights. That growth outpaced the 30% increase in venture investments across the entire U.S. market. And fintechs will need those dollars—they tend to burn about two to three times as much cash compared with other startups, according to an analysis by Brex, likely due to factors like regulatory hurdles. Here are the 10 most valuable private, venture-backed fintechs in the U.S.: 1. Stripe, $22.5 billion Originally a service to help small online sellers process payments, today Stripe serves tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon, too. In 2018 the company announced three new high-profile products, including credit card issuing technology, point-of-sale software and a billing platform for subscription businesses. Cofounders: CEO Patrick Collison, 30, and president John Collison, 28. Irish-born brothers, dropouts from MIT (Patrick) and Harvard (John) ...
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The 11 Biggest Fintech Companies In America 2019
CNBC | Elizabeth Schulze | Jan 31, 2019 Navigating the uncertainties of Brexit is proving to be a tough task for newcomers in the financial services sector. Fintech firms are proactively applying for licenses in EU countries ahead of the Brexit deadline. So far Brexit uncertainty hasn't dented investment into London's thriving fintech market. Europe's fintech companies are getting serious about the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. As uncertainty looms over the U.K.'s split from the EU, the industry gathered this week at the Paris Fintech Forum. Payments providers, cryptocurrency exchanges and digital banks all said they were taking steps to prepare for the worst-case scenario. But navigating the uncertainties of Brexit is proving to be a tough task for newcomers in the financial services sector who are luring in users with borderless, frictionless payment and banking solutions. "It is obvious the bigger the market is, the better it is for fintechs, the faster it is they can start, the more opportunities they have," Wim Mijs, CEO of the European Banking Federation, told CNBC on Wednesday. "If you cut off that market, you're hurting yourself, which is Brexit in one word." See:  Who’s afraid of Brexit? Here’s why Canadian fintechs ...
Read More
Europe's fintech companies are preparing for a no-deal Brexit
Crowdfund Insider | JD Alois | Feb 1, 2019 Regulation Crowdfunding (or Reg CF), created by Title III of the JOBS Act, has been available for several years now. While not without its shortcomings, Reg CF has been leveraged by hundreds of issuers, typically smaller firms, raising over $100 million since May 2016. This past week, Crowdfund Capital Advisors (CCA) published a report on Reg CF entitled “2018 State of Regulation Crowdfunding,” providing a snap-shot of the securities exemption and its overall performance. Crowdfund Insider communicated with CCA principle Sherwood “Woodie” Neiss regarding the report. Neiss told CI the promise of Reg CF as a jobs creator and economic engine is starting to prove true: “Back in 2012, the promise of Regulation Crowdfunding was jobs, a local economic generator, and an industry revitalizer. With the close of the 3rd calendar year of Reg CF we can see that those promises are holding true. Reg CF is proving to be a jobs engine (creating on average 2.9 jobs per issuer), economic generator (pumping over $289 million of revenues into local economies) and industry supporter (enabling 82 unique industries in regions across the USA).” See:  Prominent Group of Fintech Leaders Send Letter to SEC Chair Jay Clayton Demanding an Increase in Regulation Crowdfunding ...
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Report: State of Regulation Crowdfunding Says No Gold Rush But an Undeniable Job Creator

 

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When banks balk, ordinary investors can become city builders with ‘small change’

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The Globe and Mail | | June 22, 2018

In today’s new model of real estate investment, a prospective investor can search for projects of interest on a laptop and, several mouse clicks later, send funds along. With no middlemen and no banks to decide which projects are worthy of financing, investment opportunities are no longer restricted to the very wealthy or the tried-and-true.

“This is investing democratized, and this is how capital will be formed going forward,” said Eve Picker, a Pittsburgh-based architect, city planner and founder of a real estate equity crowdfunding platform called Small Change.

Ms. Picker was a keynote speaker at the recent Building a Better City forum at the Westin Hotel in Ottawa, co-hosted by The Globe and Mail and Dream REIT. She was among a diverse group of panellists who discussed the challenges of progressive development as urban populations continue to grow around the world.

According to Statistics Canada, more than 80 per cent of Canadians live in cities, which is one of the highest rates of urbanization in the G7. And as municipalities across the country tackle challenges that range from protecting heritage to improving road safety, finding capital to create more liveable cities is an ongoing challenge.

Ms. Picker believes crowdfunding is the answer, citing figures from the World Bank that estimate a global crowdfunding market potential of up to $96-billion by 2025.

“In 2010, that figure was under $1-billion. In 2016, crowdfunding surpassed all investments made by venture capital,” she said.

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

At Small Change, Ms. Picker uses crowdfunding to fill the financing gap by matching investors with developers, raising funds for transformative real estate projects with the goal of making cities more vibrant and liveable.

When she first arrived in Pittsburgh to work as an urban designer for its planning department, the city had lost half of its population due to the relocation of the steel mill industry. She began purchasing and remaking buildings in abandoned neighbourhoods in which no one else was ready to invest.

What she found was that making abandoned buildings functional and attractive again was the easy part. Despite the success of ground-breaking and innovative improvements that paved the way for the city’s revitalization, she struggled to find enough capital.

As banks became more skittish and federal community-building funds dried up, it became increasingly impossible to continue. Her financial partners evaporated, leading her to create Small Change.

“Innovation makes banks really nervous. They want to finance tried-and-true solutions, not new ones. But we need innovation – lots and lots of it – to build better cities,” she said.

“So how do we break the cycle? How can we finance change?”

Cue the arrival of fintech – the merger of finance with technology that has made possible now-ubiquitous products and services such as shopping on Amazon, online bank transfers and the ability to purchase bitcoin. As one of the fastest growing areas for venture capital, fintech is all about innovation.

“Banks won’t lend to tiny houses, your village on a barge, or your condos on a cruise ship, but the crowd just might,” she said.

“This rapidly growing tiny industry is the future of capital formation.”

So how does crowdfunding build better cities? Ms. Picker cited several of her own success stories when banks refused credit, which include funding a construction loan to build Pittsburgh’s first tiny house in an underserved neighbourhood.

With the use of crowdfunding, Small Change helped to convert a historic building to a premier co-working space, build affordable starter homes in New Orleans, and bring to fruition an artist co-op bed and breakfast that will provide affordable housing to artists.

Along with the need to provide more affordable housing and reimagine public spaces, other panellists at the forum spoke of the need to be more intentional in reflecting diverse cultures and meeting the needs of local populations.

Continue to the full article --> here

 


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CNBC | Hugh Son | Feb 14, 2019 The first cryptocurrency created by a major U.S. bank is here — and it's from J.P. Morgan Chase. Engineers at the lender have created the "JPM Coin," a digital token that will be used to instantly settle transactions between clients of its wholesale payments business. Only a tiny fraction of payments will initially be transmitted using the cryptocurrency, but the trial represents the first real-world use of a digital coin by a major U.S. bank. While J.P. Morgan's Jamie Dimon has bashed bitcoin as a "fraud," the bank chief and his managers have consistently said blockchain and regulated digital currencies held promise. The lender moves more than $6 trillion around the world every day for corporations in its massive wholesale payments business. In trials set to start in a few months, a tiny fraction of that will happen over something called "JPM Coin," the digital token created by engineers at the New York-based bank to instantly settle payments between clients. See:  Do Banks Even Want to Go Blockchain? J.P. Morgan is preparing for a future in which parts of the essential underpinning of global capitalism, from cross-border payments to corporate debt issuance, ...
Read More
JP Morgan is rolling out the first US bank-backed cryptocurrency to transform payments business
Forbes | Alejandro Cremades | Aug 2018 Is debt or equity fundraising smarter for startups? There is more than one way to fund a new business venture and fuel its growth. For almost all, it is going to require bringing in outside money at some point. Even if that is only to multiply what is working or to create a source of emergency capital. The two primary options are to either leverage business debt financing or fundraise for equity investors. Each method can carry its own pros and cons. It is vital for entrepreneurs not to blindly follow the herd just “because everyone else is doing it.” Discover which is best for you, at your stage in business, and stack the most advantages in your corner. Once you have decided the course of action and have a lead investor covering at least 20% of your financing round you would typically also include in the pitch deck the form of financing in which you are raising the capital. I recently covered the pitch deck template that was created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) where the most critical slides are highlighted. Debt Financing We’re all familiar with debt. At ...
Read More
Debt vs. Equity Financing: Pros And Cons For Entrepreneurs
Financial Post | James McLeod | Feb 9, 2019 The Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister gives the Financial Post an early look at Ottawa’s report card on innovation that will be released next week Navdeep Bains wants Canadians to know that things are happening. Lots of things. The Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister has a big job on his hands, hauling Canada’s economy into the 21st century by embracing artificial intelligence and a panoply of digital technologies to boost productivity and keep us globally competitive. But the federal government’s innovation agenda is still very much a work in progress. One of its pillars, the five marquee superclusters spaced evenly across the country, is mostly just an idea at this point, although $950 million in funding is beginning to flow. Does Canada feel more innovative than it did four years ago? Are we future-proofing our economy and seizing the jobs of tomorrow? Bains certainly thinks so and that belief will probably be part of the Liberal’s pitch to voters when the country goes to the polls later this year. Next week, he will release a 100-page government report called Building a Nation of Innovators that mostly serves as a ...
Read More
The race to future-proof the economy: Navdeep Bains on the state of innovation in Canada
Modern Consensus | Leo Jakobson, February 4, 2019 Move is latest series of steps by regulator to bring clarity and less confrontational approach to regulations enforcement The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission wants to know if the technology to help it monitor major cryptocurrency blockchains for risk and regulatory compliance issues exists. The SEC is not looking to buy big data analytics tools at this time, but characterizes its interest as “conducting market research to determine the availability and technical capability,” of the tools presently available on the market, it announced in a notice on Jan. 31 What the SEC wants to know about is the “ability to provide the requested data but also an overview of the processes used to extract the data, convert the data into a reviewable format, and the verification steps to ensure there is no loss in data completeness and accuracy due to the data transformation tools and processes applied.” The software it wants would also make the data easy for SEC staff to read and understand on an ongoing basis, and would provide insights about that data—notably identifying who the data belongs to—as well as a way of ensuring the data is accurate and ...
Read More
SEC wants big data tools for monitoring and enforcing cryptocurrency market compliance
NCFA Canada | Feb 8, 2019 Ep24-Feb 8:  Re-imagining Philanthropy with Daryl Hatton About this episode:  On this Episode of the Fintech Friday's Podcast, our host Manseeb Khan sits down with Daryl Hatton the CEO of Connection Point. They chatted about microprojects, saving little girls and puppies and how to get hooked on Philanthropy. Enjoy! Focus on value and avoid the complicated terminology when growing new innovative markets Branding customer segment-focused funding products, white labeling collaborative uses cases Crowdfunding for good at the intersection of technology, people and impact Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host Guest: DARYL HATTON, Founder and CEO, ConnectionPoint / FundRazr (linkedin) BIO:  Daryl Hatton, CEO of award winning international crowdfunding company FundRazr and of the innovative sponsored crowdfunding company Sponsifi has founded multiple start-ups and helped bring one to a successful NASDAQ IPO in 1999. He actively serves as board member or advisor to handfuls of other hot companies in Canada. In addition, he is a Director and Crowdfunding Ambassador for the National Crowdfunding Association of Canada. As a social media guy and frequent public speaker, his Twitter tagline includes words like “#KingOfGastown, entrepreneur, cardiac survivor, foodie, whisky nut, philosopher, mentor, father and friend.” * Senior Business and Technology ...
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FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP24-Feb 8):  Re-imagining Philanthropy with Daryl Hatton, Founder and CEO of ConnectionPoint/FundRazr
Forbes | Michael del Castillo | Feb 4, 2019 It’s a balmy 80 degrees on a mid-December day in Singapore, and something is puzzling Allen Day, a 41-year-old data scientist. Using the tools he has developed at Google, he can see a mysterious concerted usage of artificial intelligence on the blockchain for Ethereum. Ether is the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency (after bitcoin and XRP), and it still sports a market cap of some $11 billion despite losing 83% of its value in 2018. Peering into its blockchain—the distributed database of transactions underpinning the cryptocurrency—Day detects a “whole bunch” of “autonomous agents” moving funds around “in an automated fashion.” While he doesn’t yet know who has created the AI, he suspects they could be the agents of cryptocurrency exchanges trading among themselves in order to artificially inflate ether’s price. “It’s not really just single agents doing things on their own,” Day says from Google’s Asia-Pacific headquarters. “They’re forming with other agents to have some larger group effect.” Day’s official title is senior developer advocate for Google Cloud, but he describes his role as “customer zero” for the company’s cloud computing efforts. As such it’s his job to anticipate demand before a product ...
Read More
Navigating Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP: How Google Is Quietly Making Blockchains Searchable
Bloomberg | Doug Alexander | Feb 4, 2019 Without digital keys, clients lose access to coins, funds Board said last week that it was seeking creditor protection Digital-asset exchange Quadriga CX has a $200 million problem with no obvious solution -- just the latest cautionary tale in the unregulated world of cryptocurrencies. The online startup can’t retrieve about C$190 million ($145 million) in Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ether and other digital tokens held for its customers, according to court documents filed Jan. 31 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Nor can Vancouver-based Quadriga CX pay the C$70 million in cash they’re owed. Access to Quadriga CX’s digital “wallets” -- an application that stores the keys to send and receive cryptocurrencies -- appears to have been lost with the passing of Quadriga CX Chief Executive Officer Gerald Cotten, who died Dec. 9 in India from complications of Crohn’s disease. He was 30. Cotten was always conscious about security -- the laptop, email addresses and messaging system he used to run the 5-year-old business were encrypted, according to an affidavit from his widow, Jennifer Robertson. He took sole responsibility for the handling of funds and coins and the banking and accounting side of the business and, ...
Read More
Crypto CEO Dies Holding Only Passwords That Can Unlock Millions in Customer Coins
Forbes | Jeff Kauflin | Feb 4, 2019 This article was updated on 2/4/19 to include Ripple, the fourth-most valuable private fintech company in the U.S.  Financial technology startups continue to attract a growing amount of attention and capital. In 2018, valuations of the biggest private companies bulged, and at least six new fintech unicorns were minted in the U.S. U.S. fintechs raised $12.4 billion in funding, or 43% more than 2017, reports CB Insights. That growth outpaced the 30% increase in venture investments across the entire U.S. market. And fintechs will need those dollars—they tend to burn about two to three times as much cash compared with other startups, according to an analysis by Brex, likely due to factors like regulatory hurdles. Here are the 10 most valuable private, venture-backed fintechs in the U.S.: 1. Stripe, $22.5 billion Originally a service to help small online sellers process payments, today Stripe serves tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon, too. In 2018 the company announced three new high-profile products, including credit card issuing technology, point-of-sale software and a billing platform for subscription businesses. Cofounders: CEO Patrick Collison, 30, and president John Collison, 28. Irish-born brothers, dropouts from MIT (Patrick) and Harvard (John) ...
Read More
The 11 Biggest Fintech Companies In America 2019
CNBC | Elizabeth Schulze | Jan 31, 2019 Navigating the uncertainties of Brexit is proving to be a tough task for newcomers in the financial services sector. Fintech firms are proactively applying for licenses in EU countries ahead of the Brexit deadline. So far Brexit uncertainty hasn't dented investment into London's thriving fintech market. Europe's fintech companies are getting serious about the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. As uncertainty looms over the U.K.'s split from the EU, the industry gathered this week at the Paris Fintech Forum. Payments providers, cryptocurrency exchanges and digital banks all said they were taking steps to prepare for the worst-case scenario. But navigating the uncertainties of Brexit is proving to be a tough task for newcomers in the financial services sector who are luring in users with borderless, frictionless payment and banking solutions. "It is obvious the bigger the market is, the better it is for fintechs, the faster it is they can start, the more opportunities they have," Wim Mijs, CEO of the European Banking Federation, told CNBC on Wednesday. "If you cut off that market, you're hurting yourself, which is Brexit in one word." See:  Who’s afraid of Brexit? Here’s why Canadian fintechs ...
Read More
Europe's fintech companies are preparing for a no-deal Brexit
Crowdfund Insider | JD Alois | Feb 1, 2019 Regulation Crowdfunding (or Reg CF), created by Title III of the JOBS Act, has been available for several years now. While not without its shortcomings, Reg CF has been leveraged by hundreds of issuers, typically smaller firms, raising over $100 million since May 2016. This past week, Crowdfund Capital Advisors (CCA) published a report on Reg CF entitled “2018 State of Regulation Crowdfunding,” providing a snap-shot of the securities exemption and its overall performance. Crowdfund Insider communicated with CCA principle Sherwood “Woodie” Neiss regarding the report. Neiss told CI the promise of Reg CF as a jobs creator and economic engine is starting to prove true: “Back in 2012, the promise of Regulation Crowdfunding was jobs, a local economic generator, and an industry revitalizer. With the close of the 3rd calendar year of Reg CF we can see that those promises are holding true. Reg CF is proving to be a jobs engine (creating on average 2.9 jobs per issuer), economic generator (pumping over $289 million of revenues into local economies) and industry supporter (enabling 82 unique industries in regions across the USA).” See:  Prominent Group of Fintech Leaders Send Letter to SEC Chair Jay Clayton Demanding an Increase in Regulation Crowdfunding ...
Read More
Report: State of Regulation Crowdfunding Says No Gold Rush But an Undeniable Job Creator

 


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: ncfacanada.org

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Real Estate Crowdfunding Platforms: What to Look For

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Equities.com | By Equity Multiple Team | August 8, 2017

Since the JOBS Act of 2012 opened the door for equity crowdfunding, dozens of startups have taken up the mantle of “real estate crowdfunding” – depending on your definition, there are now dozens to well over 100 platforms offering some form of real estate micro-investing, affording retail investors unprecedented access to real estate investments. For individual investors managing their own portfolios, the vast array of options can be overwhelming. Discerning investors are right to evaluate the landscape critically, and only pursue those investments and investing platforms that align with their strategy.

While each offers a unique focus and value proposition to investors, platforms have now consolidated into several main categories of the business model:

eREITs: Fundrise and RealtyMogul, two of the original players the real estate crowdfunding space, have pivoted to offering semi-blind funds that aggregate properties throughout the country. These investments offer built-in diversity and very low minimums, making them appropriate for less experienced investors.

Commercial equity investing: probably the closest to the original idea of real estate crowdfunding, these platforms offer CRE equity opportunities to accredited investors, allowing them to participate in high-upside, larger commercial projects. While the return potential is often great, these tend to be the long term and riskier than other RECF investments. Thus, these kinds of investments are most appropriate for investors who have time to really understand the risk factors in play, and who have at least a working knowledge of real estate equity investing

Debt investing: Some platforms take some or all of an existing real estate loan, secured by a deed on the underlying property, and syndicate it out to a network of individual investors at a fixed rate of return. Other platforms act as the lender, issuing a loan to a real estate developer or flipper. In either case, the platform’s network of investors are offered a flat annual rate of return - typically between 7% and 12% - over a relatively short term - generally 6 to 18 months. Since these investments are secured by the property and short in a term, they tend to be a good fit for more risk-averse investors.

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Understanding the spectrum of models can help investors prioritize those offerings that best fit their portfolio objectives, whether that be stable cash flow, preserving wealth for retirement, or opportunistic pursuit of high upside. Given the relatively low minimums, many platforms offer, there may be room in an individual’s portfolio to invest through several platforms and achieve further diversification.

Regardless of what model a platform operates under, investors are advised to take a close look at the track record and experience of the people behind the platform. Attentive customer service is a must – platforms should practice transparency and be willing and able to answer any questions investors have.

Individual Deals - What to Look For

Some platforms perform their own diligence on investments, which should give you some comfort as an investor. Even so, you’ll want to understand some key components of any deal you consider and be sure it aligns with your investing objectives before pulling the trigger. Here are some of the main things to consider:

Risk Factors - No investment is without risk, even fixed-rate, short-term debt investments. Examples of risk factors are tight construction timelines, a precarious labour market in the area, an unsubstantial track record or aggressive leverage on the part of the Sponsor who originated the deal. Again, if risk factors aren’t presented transparently, or the platform is unable or unwilling to field questions about risk factors, this should raise a red flag.

Payout Structure - While debt deals are mostly straightforward, equity investments can be much more complex. Be sure to understand where your investments fit in the capital stack, and what order you will be repaid principal and profits relative to the Sponsor and other LP investors.

Cash Flow and Liquidity - Simply looking at how many dollars you’re expected to receive over the lifetime of a deal (the simple return) or even a time-weighted return (IRR - internal rate of return), won’t give a complete picture of the timing and magnitude of returns. Depending on the business plan for the project and how the platform has negotiated and deal, you may receive distributions monthly or quarterly, and you may begin receiving cash flow from rent immediately, at some point partway through the term, or not at all in the case of a ground-up development or rehab. Similarly, repayment of principal may be projected for the end of the term, partway through the term, or piecemeal in the case of partial sales or a refinance. Be sure that the schedule of distributions and principal repayment is palatable to you given your liquidity needs.

Once again, if any aspect of the deal is unclear or doesn’t pass the sniff test, don’t hesitate to ask questions of the platform offering it.

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The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, leadership, support, 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. Learn more at ncfacanada.org.

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How Real Estate Investing Is Spurring Millennial Home Ownership

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Forbes | By Christine Michel Carter | July 25, 2017

Millennials are the largest group of home buyers for the fourth consecutive year, according to the National Association of Realtors 2017 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report. Nearly 40% of home buyers were under 36 years old.

So what’s driving the change in Millennial home ownership?

Forty-nine percent of Millennial buyers had at least one child, also according to the report. That is up six percentage points from two years ago. Also, while Millennials are not racing down the aisle, they are purchasing homes with their partners. Though marriage rates declined, the number of U.S. adults in cohabiting relationships reached nearly 18 million last year, up 29% since 2007. About half of those cohabiters (those living with an unmarried partner) are younger than 35. But most importantly, in a joint Real Estate Investment Survey with Harris Interactive, RealtyShares found that 55% of Millennials are enthusiastic about home ownership as an investment, and over half would invest in property other than their primary residence.

With all the enthusiasm Millennials have towards real estate investment, for them, it is still a foreign and confusing concept with many barriers. In fact, 70% of all Americans think investing in real estate is more difficult than investing in other asset classes. Few are aware of the options towards home ownership, such as borrowing from retirement, real estate crowdfunding or house hacking.

See: Could Real Estate Crowdfunding Help Millennials Retire Sooner?

Not surprisingly, Millennials believe technology makes the real estate investment process easier. That’s why Kendra Barnes, millennial and real estate investment coach, started The Key Resource, a digital resource educating and empowering fellow Millennials to invest in real estate. Barnes herself owns a 4-plex, duplex and single family home in Washington, D.C.- a city with a strong housing market. Today Barnes makes nearly $200,000 in annual rental income and plans to buy at least two more properties before the end of 2017 in other states. Barnes relates to other Millennials with regards to the order in which they’re making big decisions- she bought a house, got married and then invested in real estate:

We had no plans of ever buying rental property- not because we didn’t think it was possible, we just never even considered it. One day we played Rich Dad’s board game Cash Flow and it changed our lives. We realized that we were doing absolutely nothing to build wealth and at the rate we were going we’d have to work until we were old and gray. We decided to get into real estate investing and started making sacrifices that most people wouldn’t in order to reach our goals. We downsized to a one car household, saved more, and borrowed from our retirement account to buy our first property.

See also: Fintech Lures Millennial Investors Away From Asset Managers

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The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, leadership, support, and networking opportunities to over 1500+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding industry in Canada. Learn more at ncfacanada.org.

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German Real Estate Crowdfunding Market Booms

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CrowdfundInsider | By  | June 21, 2017

The German real estate crowdfunding market is set to more than triple in size this year. Real estate developers, asset managers, and, most recently, real estate agents are joining the fray of real estate crowdfunding platforms, trying to unseat the handful of leaders who have already established a strong leadership position in this very young market.

The road ahead for the German real estate crowdfunding market has been cleared. The threat of being excluded from the scope of application of the crowdfunding regulation, the Kleinanlegerschutzgesetzt (KASG), was taken off the table last month. The crowdfunding market can move ahead on its exponential growth path.

Exponential Growth

The German real estate crowdfunding market is very young. Although a few projects appeared as early as 2012, the market has only taken off after the entry into force of the KASG in July 2015. Most real estate projects raise funds in form of subordinated loans regulated by the KASG.

Michel Harms tracks the overall crowdinvesting industry through his crowdfunding barometer and his aggregation site crowdinvest.de which lists all crowdinvesting projects available in Germany. According to his reports, real estate accounts for 80% of the crowdinvesting market. In 2016, the market doubled in size to reach €40 million. In the first five months of 2017 alone, 51 real estate projects raised €52 million. One can reasonably expect the market to triple in size by the end of 2017.

In 2016, more than 80% of the 48 projects were residential development projects (construction, renovation, rehabilitation), half of which were located in big German cities, with Berlin being the top location. As mentioned, most platforms use the regulated subordinated loans, ahead of bank loans and bonds. The average loan duration is 21 months, the median interest rate 6%.

See: Could Real Estate Crowdfunding Help Millennials Retire Sooner?

Three leaders emerge

In the short time since 2015, three leaders have already emerged: Exporo, Zinsland and Bergfuerst, three platforms dedicated real estate crowdfunding. Together, they make up for more than three-quarters of the real estate crowdfinancing.

Exporo was incorporated in 2013 by Simon Brunke, CEO, Björn Maronde, Julian Oertzen and Tim Bütecke. The company launched its first project as Exporo GmbH at the end of 2014. Since then, the platform has broken away from the pack by raising more than €64 million cumulatively, which amounts to a market share of over 40%. The platform has financed more 52 projects, including 21 in 2017 alone. Many of these are large projects, at the upper limit of the German prospectus-exemption of €2,5 million. To fuel its expansion, Exporo recently raised €8 million from e.ventures, Holtzbrinck Ventures, Sunstone and BPO Capital.

Zinsland was founded in 2014 by Carl-Friedrich von Stechow, CEO, Dr. Stefan Wiskemann and Moritz Eversmann. The platform launched its first project in 2015. Since then, it has financed 25 projects, including 10 in 2017, for a total of €18 million. It claims 2,600 members.  To meet its aggressive growth plans the company expect to double its number of employees by year end.

Bergfürst was started much earlier than its competitors, in 2011, as an equity crowdfunding platform launched by Dr. Guido Sandler, CEO, and Dennis Bemmann. The platform launched its first real estate project in 2014 and pivoted shortly after to dedicate itself exclusively to real estate projects. To date, the platform has raised nearly 13 million to finance 20 real estate projects. Whereas most competitors require a minimum investment of €500, Bergfürst lets retail investors participate with €10.

Bergfürst transition to real estate crowdfunding is an exception. Other equity crowdfunding platforms who fund SMEs and startups, such as Seedmatch (through Mezzany), Companisto or FunderNation, have tried their hand in real estate crowdfunding with a few projects. But they seem to have given up competing with the more specialized platforms.

 

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The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, leadership, support, and networking opportunities to over 1500+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding industry in Canada. Learn more at ncfacanada.org.

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GAME-CHANGERS: Crowdfunding real estate projects in the GTA

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Mississauga.com | by Louie Rosella | June 7, 2017

NexusCrowd, a Canadian real estate crowdfunding platform, has a number of projects on the go through crowdfunding, including a $12 million real estate redevelopment project announced in 2015 boasting three properties — one in Mississauga.

Real estate crowdfunding is experiencing explosive levels of growth, particularly in Mississauga and across the GTA.

NexusCrowd, a Canadian real estate crowdfunding platform, has a number of projects on the go through crowdfunding, including a $12 million real estate redevelopment project announced in 2015 boasting three properties — one in Mississauga.

NexusCrowd bills itself as the first investment platform in Canada that provides investors with exclusive access to co-invest with established real estate developers and investors in real estate deals that have reached at least 50 per cent of the funding target.

See:  Could Real Estate Crowdfunding Help Millennials Retire Sooner?

Just last fall, NexusCrowd announced it has closed its fourth real estate investment offering, raising $517,000. By partnering with Downing Street Realty Partners, NexusCrowd allowed accredited investors to participate in the development of a mixed-use commercial real estate project located in downtown Toronto.

“We have now raised over $2 million for four private real estate investments using our innovative investment platform,” said Hitesh Rathod, CEO of NexusCrowd. “Offering high-quality exclusive investment opportunities to our investors is our top priority and we are excited to announce that we are working on additional partnerships to further expand our product offering.”

NexusCrowd was part of what was hailed Canada’s first crowdfunded real estate project in fall 2015 and featured another Mississauga location.

“This type of deal is extremely exclusive,” said Rathod in a 2015 interview with The Mississauga News. “I think crowdfunding has huge potential. It just needs to be done the right way. You need to do due diligence. It can be a risky proposition and I work to mitigate risk.”

One of the three assets in the $12 million project is a 25,000-square-foot former pharmaceutical manufacturing facility at 951 Verbena Rd., in the area of Tomken and Britannia roads. The other two properties are industrial facilities in Etobicoke.

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The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, leadership, support, and networking opportunities to over 1500+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding industry in Canada. Learn more at ncfacanada.org.

 

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Fintech Platform futureshare Launches to Help Canadian Homeowners Unlock Their Real Estate Wealth

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Market Wired | May 18, 2017

Alternative to HELOCs and reverse mortgages means homeowners don't have to sell to tap into their home equity

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - May 18, 2017) - There is more than $2.9 trillion in unmortgaged real estate equity in Canada (CREA), and today fintech platform futureshare launches to help Canadians unlock that real estate wealth without taking on new debt. The company was founded in 2016 as an alternative to home equity loans, home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) and reverse mortgages and gives homeowners a lump sum free of ongoing payments and interest rates in exchange for a percentage of the home's appreciation, which can be paid out without penalty at any time or once the property is sold. futureshare's online platform is the first of its kind in Canada and is now live in beta and accepting online applications for homes within Ontario with plans to launch in Alberta, Manitoba and British Columbia by the end of 2017.

"Canada's housing market has billions in untapped equity and futureshare is giving that wealth back to Canadians to help them reduce financial stress and live happier lives. We're revolutionizing the process by giving Canadians an alternative to home equity loans or HELOCs that's interest rate and payment free, allowing them to unlock their real estate wealth and increase their cash flow," said Michael Orrbrooke, CEO and founder of futureshare. "Whether it is, for example, for home improvements, debt consolidation, for funding retirement or investing in a small business, futureshare wants to help Canadians achieve their financial goals without adding new debt."

See: Real Estate Crowdfunding - An Emerging New Asset Class

The average Canadian owes $1.67 for every dollar in income (StatsCan), and futureshare is designed to help homeowners access the equity tied up in their home without adding to their ongoing debt burden. Unlike a reverse mortgage or HELOC, futureshare doesn't require homeowners to have perfect credit scores or to fall within a specific income bracket, and it doesn't increase monthly payments. A homeowner's eligibility is based primarily on their home value and whether they have at least 25 per cent equity ownership in their home. Homeowners will be able to access on average up to 10-20 per cent of their home equity using futureshare's platform, and unlike a loan, there's no ongoing payments or interest rates.

Canada has become a hub for fintech innovation, with venture capital financing for fintech companies increasing by 74% from 2015 to 2016 (Thomson Reuters). Like other fintech platforms, futureshare's process is simple and easy to complete online. Homeowners can use the online equity release calculator to see how much of their wealth they can unlock, and once they complete the 90-second pre-qualification questions, the homeowner receives a real-time conditional offer outlining the details of the equity release amount and terms they could receive. The home is then appraised and a final offer is sent via email by futureshare to the homeowner, with the credit application and underwriting process continuing online. Homeowners receive their funds, via electronic transfer, on average within 10-15 business days of signing the final offer.

About futureshare

futureshare provides an alternative to home equity loans, home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) and reverse mortgages, helping homeowners unlock their real estate wealth without having to sell their home. The online platform provides consumers with the opportunity to receive funds based on an appraisal on their home in exchange for a portion of their homes future appreciation, meaning that homeowners have zero ongoing payments, and incur zero interest. futureshare is currently available in beta in Ontario with plans to launch in Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia by the end of 2017. futureshare is based in Toronto, and the platform launched in May 2017.

To learn more about futureshare, visit futureshare.ca.

Social media links:

Facebook: facebook.com/futuresharedf
Twitter: twitter.com/futuresharedf

For additional information, contact:

Jamie Gillingham
Eighty-Eight
Account Manager
jamie@eightyeightagency.com
416-944-2722

SOURCE: futureshare (view release)

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