FFCON21 Breaking Barriers May 11-13, 2021

Category Archives: Fintech Services

#FFCON21 Brings Canada’s Tech Hub to the Web for 3 Days of Fintech Insights, Business Building

Investor Wire | Jonathan Keim | April 10, 2021

FFCON21 Image 3 - #FFCON21 Brings Canada’s Tech Hub to the Web for 3 Days of Fintech Insights, Business BuildingFFCON21: Breaking Barriers May 11-13

  • The 2021 Fintech & Financing Conference and Expo (#FFCON21) is scheduled May 11-13
  • Global virtual conference streamed from Toronto, the hub of Canada’s developing fintech ecosystem, but presented online due to pandemic concerns
  • 50-plus speakers with expert insights planned
  • Networking opportunities to connect one-to-one with peers and experts
  • Draft pitching competition to gain attention for business brand (as well as prizes)

The 7th Fintech & Financing Conference and Expo will be held for global participants virtually from May 11-13, 2021.  Originating in Toronto, FFCON21 has grown from a basic collaboration between entrepreneurs and big businesses intent on driving change into a thriving gathering of fintech, blockchain, crypto, digital banking, AI, payments, wealthtech, regtech, alternative finance stakeholders and global participants with a love for Canada’s fintech ecosystem.

In its seventh year, the 2021 gathering (#FFCON21) has been adapted to the health security needs of attendees during the present global pandemic, offering exclusive online access to a three-day collection of educational courses, networking opportunities, pitch competitions, e-booth demos and an auction for charity. 

The conference will take place May 11 to 13, still celebrating its place within Canada’s rising fintech and financial sector even as it extends its reach to a global audience through a virtual platform. Tickets, including early bird rates at present and a special startups-only package, are available at https://ibn.fm/3Ov1h.

Conference organizers anticipate bringing attendees to the table with some 50 speakers ranging from Main Street executives such as the president and CEO of public-private partnership Toronto Finance International to enterprising up-and-comers such as the founder-partner of startup builder Borderless Ventures and its CryptoAssets Institute.

See:  Showcase your products/services: Secure a DEMO Speaker spot at FFCON21: May 11-1

The second annual draft pitching and demo competition follows a sports league model geared toward identifying and featuring emerging and high growth fintech startups and scaleups. The “Breaking Barriers” theme of the conference is particularly appropriate here as draft participants compete for exposure and prizes, including promotion to investors, media, prospective buyers and partners.

The online access format driven by the pandemic proved advantageous last year following a scheduling delay necessary to reimagine the presentation of the spring conference. The digital venue and interactive platform allows for increased participation on a global scale because of the elimination of travel expenses from the plan. Networking and file sharing are able to occur naturally and easily using integrated online text and video chat features.

Additionally, the online platform makes it simple to access all digital content to catch up on anything attendees may have missed at a time when it is more convenient. Networking and e-booth displays present attendees with the potential to make connections with a future business mentor, investor or a prospective employee to help build their companies.

And at the heart of it all is the class schedule with insights from thought leaders on the direction of fintech solutions and emerging fintech trends. Presentations will explore topics that address the latest innovations, emerging industry regulation and the impact of government activity on financial technology markets.

For more information, visit the conference’s web portal at https://fintechandfunding.com.

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - #FFCON21 Brings Canada’s Tech Hub to the Web for 3 Days of Fintech Insights, Business Building The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. 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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Financial advice blows up on TikTok. The narrative has changed.

InvestmentNews | Nicole Casperson | Feb 15, 2021

TikTok financial influencers - Financial advice blows up on TikTok.  The narrative has changed.

In the past, advisers viewed social media as a marketing tool that targeted only millennial and Gen Z clients. That narrative has changed.

Imagine having less than a minute to dispense financial advice while standing in a room of thousands, or even millions, of potential clients. Now imagine doing that alone from the comfort of your home, with a smartphone and mobile app as the only tools needed.

That’s what financial advice is on TikTok, the short-form, video-sharing app. Type the hashtag personal finance — #personalfinance — into the TikTok app’s search bar and thousands of videos pop up that provide viewers with financial advice and explanations of financial terminology in the form of 60-second videos.

See:  Can Reddit Forums Take Down Hedge Funds? Why GameStop Stock Soared

Financial influencers, some certified financial planners and some not, have leveraged society’s social media obsession to answer finance questions online ranging from “What’s a short squeeze?” to “How do I start saving for retirement?” in order to rack up followers and build a business.

These efforts are flourishing: TikTok videos tagged #personalfinance have garnered 3.5 billion views from the more than 1 billion monthly active users on TikTok, according to mobile data and analytics platform App Annie. By comparison, videos found under two other popular hashtags, #cookingtips or #healthtips, have 2.6 billion and 2.1 billion views, respectively.

While expanding financial advice to a wide range of young investors is a good thing, there is potential for bad results when mixing personal financial advice and TikTok, said Ritholtz Wealth Management CEO Josh Brown.

“Users should be aware that if you’re listening to people on social networks and not even bothering to Google them to see whether they have credentials and blindly doing what those people are saying, that responsibility is on the viewer just as much as it’s on the creator,” Brown said.

For example, some TikTok influencers create videos showing users how they invest in certain stocks to make money. One user, who goes by the TikTok username @Biaheza, shared a video with his 64,000 followers illustrating how he used the free trading app Robinhood to invest in “speculative” and “degenerate” trade options to make money, he said in the video. The user claims his strategy pushed his account value to $124,000.

While the financial advice may be risky, social media influencers with large followings can earn money through these platforms because advertisers will pay content creators to tout brand promotions and sponsorships to their thousands, or millions, of followers.

See:  After you die what happens to your digital assets and NFTs?

In July, TikTok introduced a $200 million TikTok Creator Fund after the platform’s popularity “propelled thousands of creators into brand partnerships, sponsorships, and representation deals,” according to TikTok’s announcement.

Through the fund, TikTok users can apply to earn an income based on these criteria: Users must be 18 or older, have at least 10,000 followers, have at least 10,000 video views in 30 days, and consistently post original content in line with TikTok guidelines.

In the past, advisers largely viewed social media as a marketing tool that targeted only millennial and Gen Z clients. Clearly, that narrative has changed as the pandemic-fueled interest in finance has turned social media and financial advice into a full-blown business model.

INFLUENCER IMPACT

The focus on traditional ultra-high-net-worth clients typically steered advisory firms away from social media and younger investors. But millennials and Gen Z are expected to inherit $68 trillion, the greatest generational wealth transfer, over the coming years.

Younger generations are going to keep making decisions based on what they learn about finance from TikTok videos, she said. The way TikTok’s algorithm delivers content makes it easier to find random videos and introduces personal finance to a group of people who might not have been interested before.

One of the most popular providers of personal finance advice videos, with more than 1.5 million followers and 22.2 million likes on TikTok, is a former Merrill Lynch financial adviser turned social media influencer, Humphrey Yang, who’s known as @humphreytalks.

At 33, the San Francisco-based content creator snowballed on TikTok after he posted finance-focused videos on the platform. One video that went viral shows Yang scaling former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ net worth with rice, with each grain representing $100,000.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Financial advice blows up on TikTok.  The narrative has changed. The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. 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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After you die what happens to your digital assets and NFTs?

TechCrunch | Erin Bury | Apr 5, 2021

Digital assets and wills - After you die what happens to your digital assets and NFTs?

As consumers build their wealth, assets are typically tangible: cash, investments, property, cars, jewelry, art. But increasingly we’re adding a new type of asset to the mix: digital assets, whether in the form of cryptocurrency or a new asset class, NFTs.

We’re going through the biggest wealth transfer in history right now, with an estimated $16 trillion expected to change hands in the coming decades. While it’s easy to hand over the reins of a physical asset in the event of an emergency or death, it’s not as simple with digital assets.

See:  3 Ways Digital Assets Will Reshape The World

When someone dies, they either have a will that dictates how their assets will be distributed, or, if they die without a will, a government formula outlines how their assets will be divided. While a will outlines who should receive what, it typically doesn’t have an up-to-date asset list, nor does it contain passwords or access keys. There’s an estimated tens of billions in unclaimed assets sitting in banks today as a result of a family or executor not knowing about those accounts following an individual’s death.

But an executor can do due diligence by calling financial institutions to double-check whether the person held accounts and get access to those funds, which typically requires providing copies of the will and/or death certificate. With digital assets, it’s not as simple as calling the bank and finding out a relative had a valuable NFT. There’s no directory or central body that governs NFTs or cryptocurrency — it’s purposely decentralized, which is great for privacy but less than ideal for family members who want to figure out if someone held valuable digital assets.

And it’s not just about knowing digital assets exist — it’s about knowing how to access them. A recent study from the Angus Reid Forum, commissioned by Willful, showed that consumers under 35 are way less likely to have shared account access with loved ones (19% of those under 35 have shared account info, compared with 32% of those over 55). This makes sense, since the younger you are, the less likely you are to think about passing on assets after you die. But this tech-savvy younger demographic may leave their families in the lurch if something happens.

So what can consumers do to ensure their digital assets are protected? First, consider using a password manager like 1Password — which can store all of your account information, logins, private keys to digital assets and any other key information — and share the master access password with your executor or store it with your will.

See:  LabCFTC Releases Primer on Digital Assets

Second, consider using a digital wallet or exchange to store your digital assets — if your family has access to that, it may also include access to your private keys, depending on the wallet’s features, or the exchange itself may have a death-management process.

Third, create an up-to-date list of your assets that your executor and/or key family members have access to — this should include physical and digital assets, and should be reviewed and updated either annually or when you acquire a new asset or change financial institutions. Finally, create a will that clearly outlines how you want your assets to be distributed and provide specific instructions on how you want digital assets to be distributed.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - After you die what happens to your digital assets and NFTs? The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. 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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MazumaGo raises seed capital and is listed as “Emerging Rocket”

MazumaGo | Miri Radar | Apr 1, 2021

ready rocket - MazumaGo raises seed capital and is listed as “Emerging Rocket”

Fintech start-up MazumaGo kicked off 2021 by closing its seed funding round. The Victoria-based company raised over $800,000 led by Angel Investment Fund eFund. The round also included notable investments from Mother Trucker Capital (Hyperwallet) and Ryan Holmes from Hootsuite.

“We initially invested last year and closely worked with the MazumaGo team over the past 12 months and equally important: became active users of the payment platform which really solved a lot of our problems raising capital and distributing gains quickly and efficiently” - Pieter Dorsman, CFO & Director eFund

See:  Fintech Fridays EP46: Making Business Borderless: International Payments and Partnerships

MazumaGo disrupts the Canadian B2B payments sector by giving businesses a simple and secure solution to process payments online without transfer limits. These funds will be used to invest in marketing and sales campaigns and hire additional business development and software staff.

“Over the past year, we added some critical features and improvements to our software that allow us to scale customer acquisition in 2021. This investment helps us drive growth while keeping up a steady level of software development.” - Matthew Smith, Co-Founder & CEO

Emerging Rockets: Companies poised for growth

What’s more, MazumaGo was just named an “Emerging Rocket” on the Ready to Rocket list by Rocket Builders. Ready to Rocket is a unique business recognition list that profiles technology companies with the greatest potential for revenue growth. Each year, based on analysis of trends that will drive growth in the information technology sector, Rocket Builders identifies the top private companies that are best positioned to capitalize on the trends for growth.

The Canadian B2B payments opportunity

MazumaGo is solving a huge pain point for Canadian businesses which are still reliant on manual processes and paper cheques to process high-value payments. While consumers have consistently adopted digital payment methods like Interac eTransfer over the past decade, the business environment is lagging behind drastically.

See:  Digital Payments in America – Scaling the Peak

Indeed, paper cheques remain still the most commonly used payment method for commercial transactions. Transaction limits and percentage charges are barriers of current digital alternatives that hold back businesses from moving away from the cheques.

“Cheque volumes and values continued to decline, while average value of cheques increased; (...) the average value of a corporate cheque increased by about five per cent. Cheques remain an important payment option for large value corporate payments.” - Payments Canada, 2020

Bringing business payments into the 21st century

Smith and Co-Founder Nick Addison (CTO) solved this problem by building a payment processing software that enables businesses to send and receive no-limit payments for a flat fee.  With MazumaGo, they combined the simplicity of an eTransfer with the robustness and security of the banking system.

The company launched in September 2019 under the brand DivDot and rebranded in November 2020 as MazumaGo. Following the tagline, “Make business payments move,”—the company’s vision is to eliminate any reasons why businesses would want to use cheques and to build a simple, secure network for businesses to exchange funds.

Continue to the full article --> here


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - MazumaGo raises seed capital and is listed as “Emerging Rocket” The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. 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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Build a Tailored Digital Strategy

Guest Post | Mar 30, 2021

Link buiklding - Build a Tailored Digital Strategy

If you imagine what is a backlink, the answer is, it is a link that one website gets from another. Backlinks have a significant influence on a website's importance in search engine results. That is the reason they are measured as very valuable to recover the SEO ranking of a website. Search engines are used to calculate scales making use of various points to display search results. No one knows how much weight the search engines give to the backlinks when the results are listed. However, what everyone does know for sure is that they are essential. Backlinks with the assistance of the First page HK are natural. This means that a website must not use artificial ways to create backlinks to its websites.

What are backlinks?

We will tell you in simple words about the complex. The term "backlink" comes from the English "backlink", which literally means"backlink". This is only the name of the links that lead to your site from other resources. To put it even more simply: Let's say you have a website, let's call it X, you have prepared and want to post an article about yourself or your services with a link to your website X on the pages of a news or information resource (let's call such a resource Y). So, the link in your article posted on resource Y will be a backlink for your site X. Depending on the goals, as well as the method of placement, you can distinguish the following types of backlinks: temporary; eternal, which are placed in posts; eternal, which are placed in articles.

SERP - Build a Tailored Digital Strategy

Importance of backlinks

Backlinks are significant for several details.

The quantity and quality of pages that link to your website happen to be a few of the criteria used by search engines.

This happens to Google to control your ranking on its search engine results pages (SERP).

See:  Link Building for Beginners: Complete Guide to Get Backlinks in 2020

The higher it is in a SERP, the better it will be for your business since people tend to click on the first results shown on Google, Bing, among others.

But why do search engines care about backlinks?

It didn't matter how good the content on a website was, how popular it was, or what the website was for in the early days. If a phrase on a page matched a word someone had searched for, that page probably showed up.

Guide to make a good advertising campaign on YouTube with AdWords

Video is the content format that grows the most every day, either as a source of information or as simple entertainment. To consume this content, it is no secret that the most popular platform is YouTube, without any doubt.

Therefore, if you have not yet tried to carry out advertising campaigns and advertise on youtube for your project, it is recommended that you bet on this new advertising channel that is not yet so exploited and thus differentiate yourself from your competition.

See:  Digital innovation during crisis launches tea auctions and digital currencies

It is not necessary to have ample means to record a promotional video. Nowadays, commercials have been a great success and have been registered with standard cameras, and even with mobile phones. Besides, you can also create banners with images or GIF type and make them appear above and to the side of the videos you want.

How much does Facebook advertising cost? What is the price of the ads on Facebook?

Posting ads on Facebook, Instagram, and Audience Network is within budget reach. How much does, it cost to advertise on the Facebook campaign can cost less than what some people spend on coffee every day. The exact cost associated with showing your ad to someone is determined in our ad auction. Learn more about the prices of our ads and how to define a budget that suits your needs.

You are always in control

You define the Nyan cat lost in the space budget and the bid. You can spend an amount that exceeds your maximum bid.

Get results, regardless of budget.

Ads are shown to the people who are most likely to be interested in them, so you get results.

Pay for the actions that interest you.  Select your goal (like impressions or conversions) and pay just for that.

Link decay - Build a Tailored Digital Strategy

Backlinks in terms of monetization

Backlinks can bring a good profit to the webmaster. The webmaster rents out space on his site and puts down the backlinks of the optimizers, for which he receives money. In Runet, it is not difficult to find a seller and a buyer, you just need to know where. The highly respected Sape, Balogun, and Xap should be mentioned as specialized sites where such contracts can be concluded.

But you should not get carried away with setting up backups, especially if their number has exceeded a hundred, and the price does not exceed two dollars. For such link spam, search engines can ban you.

Firstpage - Build a Tailored Digital Strategy


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Build a Tailored Digital Strategy The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. 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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Sustainable finance linked bonds and loans in the capital markets

Torys | David A. Seville, Janet Holmes, and Michael Murphy | Mar 23, 2021

Green finance - Sustainable finance linked bonds and loans in the capital marketsSustainable finance continues to gain momentum as governments and corporate issuers pay increasing attention to environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors and investors, regulators and other stakeholders encourage more robust ESG practices.  Interest in sustainable finance accelerated in 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting the need for funds to help economies, businesses and individuals recover in a responsible manner that addresses environmental and social challenges. The global market for sustainable finance totaled US$732 billion in 2020, up 29% from US$565 billion in 2019, with responding to COVID-19 ranking fifth in terms of value for use of proceeds among bonds issued in 2020, behind renewable energy, green buildings, access to essential services and clean transportation.

Market offerings in sustainable finance include green bonds, green loans, social bonds, sustainability bonds, sustainability-linked bonds and loans, transition bonds and Sustainable Development Goals-linked bonds (SDG-linked bonds). In this article, we discuss these instruments and relevant examples from the Canadian and global markets.

See:  The Steps to Designing a more sustainable and digital economy

Green bonds:  The proceeds of green bonds are exclusively applied to finance or re-finance new and/or existing “Green Projects” as defined by the Green Bond Principles issued by the International Capital Markets Association (ICMA).  Green Projects should provide clear environmental benefits that can be assessed and, where feasible, quantified by the issuer. The green bond market dates back to the inaugural green bond issuance by the World Bank in November 2008 and is the most well-developed of the sustainable finance markets. These bonds require the issuer to deploy and track the use of proceeds according to a disclosed framework, develop a process for project evaluation and selection, and report on the deployment of proceeds.

Green loans:  Green loans are similar to green bonds in that funds are made available exclusively to finance or re-finance new and/or existing eligible “Green Projects” as defined in the Green Loan Principles9 developed by the Loan Market Association. Green Projects are defined the same way under both the Green Bond Principles and the Green Loan Principles, thereby providing issuers with the flexibility to choose between debt financing options for Green Projects.  You can read more about green loans and other sustainable loans in “Trends in ESG loans”.

Social bonds:  The proceeds of social bonds are exclusively applied to finance or re-finance new and/or existing “Social Projects” as defined in ICMA’s Social Bond Principles. Social Projects include providing and/or promoting affordable basic infrastructure, access to essential services, affordable housing and food security.

See:  5 Drivers Behind the Sustainable Investing Shift

Sustainability bonds:  Sustainability bonds are instruments whose proceeds are exclusively applied to finance or re-finance a combination of both Green Projects and Social Projects in accordance with ICMA’s Sustainability Bond Guidelines.  Sustainability bonds may be an attractive option for issuers that would like the flexibility to allocate proceeds among Green Projects and Social Projects without having to issue separate bonds.

Sustainability-linked bonds and loans:  Sustainability-linked bonds and loans differ from green bonds, green loans, social bonds and sustainability bonds in that the proceeds do not need to be used to finance Green Projects and/or Social Projects. Instead, the borrower’s achievement of (or failure to achieve) predetermined sustainability performance objectives (e.g., a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, or increased use of renewable energy), external ratings and/or equivalent metrics can result in a decrease (or increase) in borrowing costs. These bonds require specified pre-issuance disclosure such as an overall sustainability strategy, identification of the precise targets and performance indicators, and post-issuance verification of performance.

Transition bonds:  Transition bonds are similar to sustainability-linked bonds and loans in that they do not generally require proceeds to be used to finance or re-finance Green Projects. Instead, the proceeds of transition bonds are used to fund a firm’s transition towards a reduced environmental impact or to reduce the firm’s carbon emissions.

See:  Podcast: How blockchain could revolutionize green finance in Asia

Transition bonds may be an attractive option for issuers that are taking meaningful steps to reduce their environmental impact but do not have significant projects that would qualify as Green Projects and therefore would be unable to issue green bonds. These bonds require the publication of a transition framework, disclosure in line with the TCFD recommendations, commitment to the goals of the Paris Agreement or approved targets to achieve zero emissions by 2050, and reporting on transition performance.

SDG-linked bonds:  SDG-linked bonds include covenants based on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and the issuer is penalized if it fails to meet these covenants in the agreed timeframe.

Continue to the full article --> here


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Sustainable finance linked bonds and loans in the capital markets The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. 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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Plaid’s fintech accelerator FinRise announces inaugural cohort

TechCrunch | Natasha Mascarenhas |

Acceleration - Plaid's fintech accelerator FinRise announces inaugural cohort

Plaid, the fintech giant, has announced the inaugural cohort of startups in its new accelerator program, FinRise.

The equity-free and capital-free program has chosen five early-stage fintech startups out of 100 applications to join its cohort, working on issues central to the financial services industry such as simplifying payments and access to credit. The accelerator, announced two months ago, is explicitly focused on backing underrepresented founders in tech.

Last week, The Information reported that Plaid is nearing a new financing deal that would value the company at between $10 billion to $15 billion. Beyond a high valuation, Plaid sports a key characteristic that positions it well to help early-stage startups: it has gone through regulatory hurdles. Months ago, Plaid announced it would not merge with Visa in what would have been a $5.3 billion acquisition. This event, as well as advice on how private fintech startups can deal with policy issues, will be part of FinRise programming.

See:  KPMG Pulse of Fintech Report H2 – 2020

While participants don’t get funding, FinRise has collated a number of “capital access partners,” which basically means investors who are committed to meeting with these companies and potentially writing a check. This network includes Accion, Acrew, Amex Ventures, Flourish, Harlem Capital, Kapor, Matrix, Village Capital, Visible Hands and First Round.

Here’s a look at the five startups:

  • Global Data Consortium is building a process for global digital identity verification for businesses. Co-founded by Bill Spruill and Charles Gaddy, the startup is building a data supplier network of more than 200 sources to help build a standard of processes around digital identity verification. “As we continue to scale our platform it’s important to make sure our technical infrastructure continues to be enterprise-ready. Plaid’s engineering expertise and knowledge will prove useful to our team to help us plan and execute around our next level of service support architecture,” Spruill told TechCrunch.
  • Guidefi is a marketplace focused on connecting communities of color to culturally savvy financial advisors. Led by Charlene Fadirepo, the financial wellness startup doesn’t charge for matches to advisors, but only charges money once services begin.
  • OfColor wants to be the go-to enterprise wellness platform for employees of color. Founder Yemi Rose tells TechCrunch that “a lot of companies we encounter generally pride themselves on being colorblind in their HR benefit practices, in spite of outcomes that show a different approach is needed…our biggest hurdle is education.” The startup focuses on features like a personalized financial manager as well as loans that allow employees to maximize their 401(k) contribution.

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