Category Archives: Fundraising and Investing

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

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IT Business | Bret Conkin | June 12, 2018

Real estate and fintech have been integrating in exciting new ways in recent years.

Real estate online investment or crowdfunding has been a sector that has attracted significant interest in the U.S. over the last several years, with more than 100 portals launched to serve rapidly growing developer and investor interest. In fact, industry research hub crowdsourcing.org estimates that the industry will be worth more than $300 billion USD by 2025.

Why would developers consider an online and alternative financing route? A big reason, beyond the capital, is the significant marketing benefits that campaigns can generate, including community building.

Check out:  GAME-CHANGERS: Crowdfunding real estate projects in the GTA

To investigate where the Canadian market for real estate crowdfunding is going in the next 12 months, we interviewed the two leading portals in Canada, online investment platform NexusCrowd and private equity firm R2 (though R2 notes that they position themselves as an online marketplace or fintech in commercial real estate, not as “crowdfunders”).

Learn more below.

Bret Conkin: How many projects and capital were raised via your portal in 2017? To date in 2018?

Amar Nijar, CEO of R2 Capital & Investments: Since our launch two years ago, R2 has funded 12 projects with $25 million of equity and more than $200 million of debt.

Hitesh Rathod, CEO of NexusCrowd Inc.: In 2017 – three deals worth $2 million. For 2018 to date – one deal worth $1 million, but we’re expecting at least two more deals near term for $3 million in additional capital raised. Keep in mind that we are very selective about the deals we put on the platform and that all deals have been fully subscribed. Of note, two deals closed within four weeks and two deals closed within 2 weeks.

ITB: What are your overall metrics now since the launch of your portal?

R2: We have 2,500-plus investors on our platform, with thousands more on our emails, newsletters, and social media platforms.

NexusCrowd: Eight deals completed, with more than $5 million raised, and more than $240 million in project value.

ITB: What (ballpark) portion of the capital stack has the “online marketplace” contributed to your recent projects?

R2: 75 per cent of the equity we funded has come via online as lead generation or execution.

NexusCrowd: We’ve contributed anywhere between 15 and 100 per cent of the total capital raise (debt or equity) for specific projects. As a percentage of total capital stack (debt and equity required for a project), between five and 20 per cent.

ITB: What was your biggest online raise to date for a project?

R2: Close to $5 million on our $90 million mixed-use project across from Bayview village Mall, located on Sheppard Avenue between Bayview Avenue and Leslie Street in Toronto’s high-end housing area.

See:  Blockchain in Real Estate: You Can Now Buy Fraction of House

NexusCrowd: Two projects each raised $1 million. Deal 1 – Debt financing for a town home development in Markham, Ontario. Deal 2 – Preferred equity financing for the development of 10 luxury homes in Richmond Hill, Ontario.

ITB: Has the market for alternative finance unfolded at the pace you expected? Faster? Slower? Why?

R2: Very slow, due to the regulatory burdens of compliance. Currently Canada is not the right country for such innovation, despite the talk by politicians, as it’s not meeting the policy objectives in reality.

NexusCrowd: Slower than expected. It’s a combination of a couple of factors in my opinion – 1) Canadians are generally risk-averse and slower adopters of new products, and 2) Individuals aren’t aware of these alternative methods of investing.

ITB: What do you foresee for real estate “online marketplaces” in Canada over the next 12 months?

R2: Everybody is trying to carve his or her niche. Many think that having an online ID and password-based website with a docusign feature is an “online marketplace.” However, the players who truly engage the digital footprint with their good underlying investments, along with blockchain and security tokens, will be the clear winners over the next four years. Our current model is to provide a balanced risk-return portfolio via our online portal so investors have a dashboard to track their investments in real time. We are aiming to be the first ones in Canada to incorporate blockchain and security tokens into our platform by end of this year.

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Bitcoin.com | Avi Mizrahi | Jun 11, 2018 Canadian bitcoin investors and cryptocurrency traders are going to be subjected to an increased level of market surveillance soon if the government has its way. Once the proposed regulations are implemented, every transaction above $10,000 CAD will have to be reported. Crypto Exchanges to Report as MSBs The Department of Finance Canada has issued a Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement regarding proposed amendments to the country’s AML/ATF regime. The statement suggests that Canadian crypto exchanges will be treated as money service businesses (MSBs) and will have to report trades over a certain amount. According to the proposed amendments published in the Canada Gazette, “Persons and entities that are ‘dealing in virtual currency’ would be financial entities or other entities deemed domestic or foreign MSBs, as the case may be. These ‘dealing in’ activities include virtual currency exchange services and value transfer services. As required of all MSBs, persons and entities dealing in virtual currencies would need to implement a full compliance program and register with FINTRAC. In addition, all reporting entities that receive $10,000 or more in virtual currency (e.g. deposits, any form of payment) would have record-keeping and reporting obligations.” See:  Canada ...
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Crowdfund Insider | JD Alois | Jun 14, 2018 Ethereum rose dramatically today following the comments of William Hinman, Director of the Division of Corporate Finance at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), who inserted a statement in a speech today that ended the question of Ethereum being a security. Hinman told an audience at Yahoo Finance in San Francisco; “And putting aside the fundraising that accompanied the creation of Ether, based on my understanding of the present state of Ether, the Ethereum network and its decentralized structure, current offers and sales of Ether are not securities transactions.” The reassuring comments not only helped Ethereum, but other cryptocurrencies followed higher in its wake. CoinList co-founder and President Andy Bromberg commented on the news from the SEC that it doesn’t consider Ether or Bitcoin – for that matter, a security: “The SEC’s recent comments are a validation of the possibility of non-securities tokens and a big step towards more definitive guidance on how and when individual tokens can be defined as non-securities. The precedent they are indicating here is a powerful one that will enable new projects to continue to flourish in the space.” Of course, the comments by the SEC ...
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IT Business | Bret Conkin | June 12, 2018 Real estate and fintech have been integrating in exciting new ways in recent years. Real estate online investment or crowdfunding has been a sector that has attracted significant interest in the U.S. over the last several years, with more than 100 portals launched to serve rapidly growing developer and investor interest. In fact, industry research hub crowdsourcing.org estimates that the industry will be worth more than $300 billion USD by 2025. Why would developers consider an online and alternative financing route? A big reason, beyond the capital, is the significant marketing benefits that campaigns can generate, including community building. Check out:  GAME-CHANGERS: Crowdfunding real estate projects in the GTA To investigate where the Canadian market for real estate crowdfunding is going in the next 12 months, we interviewed the two leading portals in Canada, online investment platform NexusCrowd and private equity firm R2 (though R2 notes that they position themselves as an online marketplace or fintech in commercial real estate, not as “crowdfunders”). Learn more below. Bret Conkin: How many projects and capital were raised via your portal in 2017? To date in 2018? Amar Nijar, CEO of R2 Capital & ...
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Real estate crowdfunding in Canada: portal insights for 2017/18
Baer & Karrer | By Daniel Flühmann and Peter Hsu | May 23, 2018 The Fintech Landscape 1.1 Please describe the types of fintech businesses that are active in your jurisdiction and any notable fintech innovation trends of the past year within particular sub-sectors (e.g. payments, asset management, peer-to-peer lending or investment, insurance and blockchain applications). The Swiss fintech landscape has evolved significantly over the past few years and Switzerland continues to be an attractive base for innovators in the financial sector. Approximately 200 active companies in various sub-sectors form the core of the diverse Swiss fintech ecosystem. The total number of fintech-related businesses, however, is much higher. Many established financial institutions and other established financial market players have entered the fintech space in the recent past and, as a result, the distinction between fintech and traditional financial services has become increasingly blurred. Swiss-based fintech businesses include robo-advisory and social trading services, crowdfunding and crowdlending platforms as well as payment systems and businesses active in the area of collective investment schemes. One of the key focus areas in the past year has been driven by blockchain-based businesses, in particular in the areas of cryptocurrencies and decentralised transaction platforms (e.g. Ethereum ...
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CSA | Staff Notice 46-308 | June 11, 2018 Montréal – The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) today published CSA Staff Notice 46-308 Securities Law Implications for Offerings of Tokens, which provides additional guidance on the applicability of securities laws to offerings of coins or tokens, including ones that are commonly referred to as “utility tokens.” “Since publishing initial guidance, we have engaged with numerous businesses considering token offerings and have found that most of these offerings involve securities,” said Louis Morisset, CSA Chair and President and CEO of the Autorité des marchés financiers. “Our notice sets out additional guidance based on situations we have seen to date and common inquiries we have received from businesses and their advisors.” CSA Staff Notice 46-308 outlines specific situations that may have an implication on the presence of one or more of the elements of an investment contract in the context of an offering of coins or tokens. This notice supplements the CSA’s August 2017 publication of CSA Staff Notice 46-307 Cryptocurrency Offerings, which outlines how securities law requirements may apply to initial coin offerings, initial token offerings, cryptocurrency investment funds and the cryptocurrency platforms trading these products. See:  State and Provincial Securities Regulators Conduct Coordinated International ...
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Canadian Innovation Exchange | Peter Jones | June 8, 2018 NCFA Canada is a proud Community Partner of CIX, Canada's most curated startup investment conference. Invited attendees are founders of Canada's most innovative early- and growth-stage tech companies and global investors and corporates. CIX takes place over two days, Oct 22-23, 2018, in downtown Toronto. The 11th annual CIX Top 20 program is now open for submissions. The CIX Top 20 program is Canada's largest national showcase of the nation's hottest and most innovative tech companies. CIX Selection Committee evaluates all submissions and selects 20 to present at CIX, taking place on October 22 & 23 in Toronto. Register online and use code KICKOFFCIX by Friday, July 20th, or reach out to Joel Pinto at jpinto@brunico.com for further registration inquiries Visit the CIX website --> now The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with cryptocurrency, blockchain, crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders globally. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, services, and networking opportunities to thousands of members and subscribers and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding ...
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Race Tech Development Group | Dean Jessop | Jun 8, 2018 Nikola Tesla Unite is new to the cryptocurrency market, but cryptocurrency is not new in the minds of the founders. Working for many years to bring the concept and idea to market, NIKO Coin is set to be one of the major players in not only digital currency, but also business-to-business programs through their partnership with Alianza Motorsports. “This is a true partnership,” explained Alianza Motorsports’ Lorne Kelly. “We are working together both on and off the track. NIKO Coin promotion is being done on the side of our racecar, race hauler and with trackside functions and displays while we all work hand in hand to educate fellow teams, drivers and racing enthusiasts on the advantages and benefits of using digital currency. We have had several meetings with suppliers, other team partners, series and organizations on how we can help them get in on the ground floor of the digital currency market all with the help of NIKO Coin.” With a digital wallet offered by NIKO Coin and that can be downloaded from the Google Play Store, NIKO Coin can now connect with a wider demographic of users. See:  ...
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Grow VC Group | Jouko Ahvenainen | Jun 2018 Data and AI started to come fundamental components for FinTech in 2017. There are several reasons for this development, for example, the development of machine learning and data analytics solutions, growth of FinTech services to have enough data, and new cloud based infrastructures that make it easier to use data. We can expect this development continues and accelerates in 2018. At the same time, blockchain, distributed finance models and increasing privacy concerns will change data requirements and models. Data is coming a fundamental enabling component in the finance services, and it will give also more power to customers. Data to enable customers Everyone today knows data has a lot of value. “We try to collect all possible data, and then we find a model to monetize it, maybe sell to advertisers,” is a common sentence in many business plans. “We help companies monetize their data,” is another typical value promise. “Let’s offer our solutions for free, if we can get the data,” is a ‘sales strategy’. Is it so simple that you offer software, apps, and services to consumers and companies, utilize their data and create a big business? It really ...
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VentureBeat | Khari Johnson | Jun 7, 2018 It’s no exaggeration to call Element AI one of the top startups in the world right now. With the help of deep learning pioneer Yoshua Bengio, the company is making AI-powered products for the enterprise. And from its beginning in October 2016, Element AI has broken the rules of what to expect from a startup. In December 2016, Element AI was the very first company to receive funding from Microsoft Ventures. Six months later, the company raised a $102 million series A round. Element AI has yet to release a single publicly available product, but the company is already working with customers, has opened offices in Singapore, South Korea, Toronto, and London, and already plays an advisory role to startups that receive funding from the Global AI Fund in South Korea. At the creative tech conference C2 in Montreal last month, VentureBeat sat down with CEO Jean-François Gagné to talk about challenges enterprise customers face in implementing AI, his company’s first publicly available products, and why he believes AI is allowing startups to challenge incumbent businesses in tech and finance. This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. VentureBeat: Are there any ...
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CNBC | Kate Rooney | Jun 6, 2018 The head of the Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman made it clear Wednesday that the agency won't be bending the rules for cryptocurrency when it comes to defining what is or what isn't a security. "We are not going to do any violence to the traditional definition of security that has worked for a long time," SEC Chairman Jay Clayton told CNBC Wednesday. The agency is also not adjusting rules for initial coin offerings, and Clayton underlined that tokens or digital assets used in that fundraising process are securities. The head of the Securities and Exchange Commission made it clear Wednesday that the agency won't bend the rules for cryptocurrency when it comes to defining what is or what isn't a security. "We are not going to do any violence to the traditional definition of a security that has worked for a long time," U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton told CNBC Wednesday. "We've been doing this a long time, there's no need to change the definition." Clayton said the U.S. has built a $19 trillion securities market that's "the envy of the world" following the current rules. See:  Don ...
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The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with cryptocurrency, blockchain, crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders globally. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, services, and networking opportunities to thousands of members and subscribers and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Traders With Pockets Full of Crypto Quit Wall Street

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Bloomberg | | May 30, 2018

Asim Ahmad. Source: Asim Ahmad

Millennials who made money trading digital assets in their spare time are breaking away from top firms.

Whether cryptocurrencies and the technology that powers them will reshape the financial system remains to be seen. What’s not in doubt is their ability to transform the career paths of bright young minds on Wall Street.

Adrian Xinli Zhang was climbing the ranks at Deutsche Bank AG in New York when he discovered Bitcoin. The 29-year-old made enough money trading digital currencies in his spare time to leave the German bank in March, the same month he was promoted to director, people familiar with the matter said.

At Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Jonathan Cheesman, 36, and Justin Saslaw, 28, are among at least three front-office employees in New York who quit the bank this year after making personal profits from cryptocurrencies, said people with knowledge of the situation, asking not to be identified. In London, Asim Ahmad pocketed enough from investing his savings in Ether to walk away from BlackRock Inc.

“I’m in a position where it doesn’t make sense to work at BlackRock anymore,” said Ahmad, who advised pension funds on investments in alternative assets and hedge funds while at the world’s largest asset manager. “The one-day volatility of my portfolio is higher than my salary, so if I get a few investments right then I’ll have made the same as my yearly wage and everything else on top is a bonus.”

Officials for BlackRock, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs declined to comment on their employees’ investments or their departures.

While the Wall Street establishment debates whether cryptocurrencies will become a profit center or a legal liability, some employees have gotten wealthy enough from personal investments in digital assets to turn their backs on promising jobs at top firms. A small but growing group of finance professionals has built up a big enough financial cushion to eschew the safety net of a monthly salary.

Instead of heading to the beach or squandering their trading proceeds on luxurious living, some of the new digitally-moneyed have become such ardent believers in the power of blockchain, the technology behind Bitcoin and other digital assets, that they’re starting their own businesses. Ahmad says he now helps run a fund that invests in blockchain ventures with a positive social or environmental impact. Zhang is working on a trading platform for digital assets, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Zhang, formerly a trader on the centralized risk desk at Deutsche Bank, started investing in cryptocurrencies in his spare time last year and has traded more than $1 million worth of the assets, the person familiar said. He exchanged tips and trading ideas with colleagues, including Yao King, head of program trading and exchange-traded fund trading for the Americas, who also made sizable personal profits from crypto trading, said people familiar.

Aside from just buying and selling coins, some seek to profit from inefficiencies in the market, such as the variance in the price of Bitcoin on different exchanges and the difference in pricing for futures contracts of varying expiration dates. When the first Bitcoin futures started trading on a Sunday evening in December, King stayed up all night and at one point his trades accounted for a third of all open interest in the March Bitcoin future, according to people familiar with the matter.

When Ahmad first came across Ether in 2016, the same year he joined BlackRock in London, he invested all the savings he had available from six years working for an investment consultancy in Northern England, or 10,000 pounds ($13,250). While declining to say how much money he made from his investments, which included participation in initial coin offerings, he said Ether cost about $10 when he invested. It now trades above $500 and cost more than $1,400 earlier in the year.

More:  Could Cryptocurrency Be the Investment Opportunity of a Lifetime?

“If you start mentally spending this money it will hurt you when it falls,” said Ahmad, who quit BlackRock in March. “If you enjoyed the volatility on the way up you have to accept it falls as hard if not harder at times.”

It’s not only financial professionals who saw the extreme volatility and immature market infrastructure of cryptocurrencies as a money-making opportunity. Scammers and criminals have also targeted the market, prompting regulators from China to the U.S. to scrutinize digital assets.

Authorities worry virtual currencies are susceptible to fraud because exchanges are not actively pursuing cheaters, wild price swings make it easy to push valuations around and digital assets aren’t currently subject to regulations like those that govern stocks and bonds. The Justice Department has opened a criminal probe into whether traders are manipulating prices, while the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating initial coin offerings.

“You’ve seen a bifurcation internally at many larger houses where senior managers are very skeptical about crypto, while graduates and younger team members are very positive,” said Grimsley. “The youngsters may have less intellectual baggage and may be more open-minded, but they also have less responsibility for managing risk and working out the practicalities of bolting on crypto to the existing business.”

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

 

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Equity crowdfunding is eroding the best returns VC funds used to enjoy

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VB | | May 13, 2018

There’s been a sea change in Series A investment rounds that has been gradually – but persistently – eating away at venture capital (VC) funds’ highest-ROI category investments, and the reason it’s happening may surprise you.

According to Cooley’s VC trends, the median Series A valuation has moved up from $16.5 million to $23.0 million in just the past two years. VCs aren’t just competing for fewer early-stage deals, they’re also paying a lot more for them. Around the time that orange became the new black, seed rounds became the new Series A, with valuations doubling between 2012 and 2017, according to Pitchbook. (What used to be called seed-stage is now termed “pre-seed.”)

How we got here

You might think this is just an organic consequence of too much money chasing too few deals, especially given that the last time we saw this much VC investment was in pre-bubble 1999. Ironically, one of the most powerful changes brought about by dot-com was the democratization of angel investing in startups, taking many early stage deals off the table before VCs could get a look at them.

Based on over 30 years of raising capital, plus my own participation in the ecosystem as an angel investor for the past last 20 years, my sense is that widespread angel investor empowerment began after the dot-com bubble. By 2000 a lot of “new money” investors were minted, and only a relative few had taken enough gains off the table before the bust to be able to invest in venture capital funds. Many took to the streets, joining angel investment clubs and online communities to start sprinkling their money around on green shoots.

See:  Jan 8, 2018: Intro Presentation on Raising Equity and Funding for your Startup

As fans of the TV show Startup Junkies will recall, in 2007, my company at the time, Earth Class Mail, was faced with the dilemma of whether or not to accept a venture investment from Ignition Partners (the largest VC fund in Seattle at the time). We raised a lot of eyebrows among Silicon Valley VCs for raising $12 million in angel money, including $8.9 million from 96 Keiretsu investment club members alone (what “crowdfunding” was before it moved online). Most VCs were dismissive of the investment prowess of angel groups at the time.

Take VC money, lose control

Our concern over taking VC instead of more angel money? By investing just $6 million out of a total of $18 million, one VC would redefine the Series A term sheet, effectively take control of the board, and ultimately determine the company’s destiny.

That concern turned out to be justified. After all, we had a good thing going with an army of “brand ambassador” angel investors who helped us find customers, strategic partners, and plenty of capital. Alas, our management team was drawn to the allure of a prestigious VC investment like a moth to a burning light.

We knew that taking institutional VC with aggressive Series A preferences meant ceding control to a single concentrated investor.

Just one year later, Ignition had its own internal scandal that caused an implosion within the partnership. The shrapnel impacted many of its portfolio companies, including us. As a result of this external event, our founders, 70 percent of our employees, 140 angel investors, and three board members were kicked to the curb. The company lost its engine room and bridge in one catastrophic event, sending it into survival mode for the next five years and an eventual packaged bankruptcy designed to get only the VC’s money out when the fund reached its 10-year term.

For my next startup, I went to the fledgling AngelList platform (before they introduced deal syndication) and put our seed round together from a handful of savvy angel investors pitched over a web conference, and a F500 corporate strategic investor.

I used AngelList again with my current startup, iMovR, to raise a quick $225,000 round through the Barbara Corcoran Venture Partners syndicate in 2015. Even angel groups were beginning to lose their popularity due to the many time-consuming stages of their processes.

An exciting alternative: Equity crowdfunding

It was the JOBS Act of 2012 – creating Title III and Title IV equity crowdfunding structures – that ultimately squeezed VCs out of many of the best early-stage deals. Why? Instead of just the four percent of the population that have the income to declare themselves accredited for participating in Reg D rounds, anyone in the general public could invest in a Reg CF or Reg A+ offering.

While equity crowdfunding rounds attract large numbers of small investors, these angels become avid brand ambassadors for companies and help them generate more visibility and sales. The SEC even managed to catch some of the lightning of Kickstarter’s popularity by enabling “investor perks” as part of the security offering, now a fairly common feature of crowdfunding deals.

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Eighteen months ago, I started a spreadsheet to track dozens of crowdfunded deals to help us choose between Reg CF, Reg A+, and the new breed of “side-by-side” Reg CF/Reg D hybrid offering structures. At the beginning there were virtually no other companies at our stage of revenue ($10 million+). A study commissioned by the SEC indicated one-third of the crowdfunded companies were pre-revenue, and the majority had generated under $1 million in sales. Issuers were often first-time entrepreneurs.

Remarkably, in recent months there have been numerous Reg A+ and side-by-side rounds issued by companies with $5 million-$15 million in revenues-to-date and led by seasoned entrepreneurs who clearly had the connections and track records to raise traditional VC. In interviewing some of these CEOs I sensed many of them chose this path after having similar challenges with VCs in their prior ventures.

Many angel investors have startup experiences of their own and have seen first-hand how some VCs can push perfectly good companies to exit too fast or for valuations that advantage the VCs over all other stakeholders. They also recognize that investing directly into companies means they get to pocket the fund expenses and 20 percent profits interest that are deducted before winnings are shared with limited partners.

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

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Could Cryptocurrency Be the Investment Opportunity of a Lifetime?

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NCFA Guest post | Laura Buckler | May 18, 2018

2017 was a big year for cryptocurrency, and we’re still witnessing the power of this trend. Cryptocurrencies and digital assets are arguably one of the most liberating and transformative fintech innovations of our time, attracting a growing number of retail and institutional investors yet they challenge the status quo and are difficult to regulate.

Olaf Carlson-Wee, founder of cryptocurrency hedge, said it well: “We are seeing more managed money and, to an extent, institutional money entering the space. Anecdotally speaking, I know of many people who are working at hedge funds or other investment managers who are trading cryptocurrency personally, the question is, when do people start doing it with their firms and funds?”

It’s a good question, and it’s only a matter of time before we see that happening on a large scale. Cryptocurrency will irreversibly change the course of our society’s development.

This is what most people are wondering about: is cryptocurrency the investment opportunity of a lifetime? People are rushing to get in before it’s too late, so are they doing the right thing?

The answer is more complex than a simple yes or no.

The Positive Sides of Cryptocurrency Investments

Why should you invest in cryptocurrencies? Because of the potential return. Ronnie Moas, independent research analyst, predicted the growth of Bitcoin and Ethereum well enough: “Bitcoin is already up 500 percent since I recommended it in the beginning of July, and I’m looking for another 500 percent move from here,” – he said. The prediction continues: “The end-game on Bitcoin is that it will hit $300,000 to $400,000 in my opinion, and it will be the most valuable currency in the world.

Here are few reasons to go for it:

  1. Exchange fees are minimal, usually circling around the rate of 0.2%. In comparison, the Bank of Canada has set much higher fees for foreign currency. The exchange fee for Swiss franc, for example, is around 1.27%, and UK pound sterling is being exchanged with a fee of 1.7293%.
  2. The process of investment is very easy. Many digital asset exchanges have simple on-boarding processes and advanced features to help investors with online wallets, several trading options and multiple currencies.
  3. Political instability is pretty good for cryptocurrencies. Global and local political issues are usually bad for the stock market. The reason for that? Stock markets are tied to companies that depend on strong financial institutions and government services. Cryptocurrency is independent from those factors. In May 2017, major stock markets dropped because of the potential for scandals between U.S. and Brazilian presidencies. Bitcoin, on the other hand, rose more than 3.5%. Currently, the world is experiencing serious political instability, which could be a sign of growth for cryptocurrencies. There’s proof for that, too: due to the recent nuclear deal crisis, Iranian investors started turning to Bitcoin.
  4. Beyond straight investments, many cryptocurrencies offer perks to owners and they can be used to purchase products and services with the number of merchants and markets accepting crypto growing globally with each passing day.

The wave of optimism regarding cryptocurrencies is more than justified. But are there any risks that could undermine the success of this investment?

See:  Bitcoin price LIVE: BTC to SOAR as survey finds one in five banks warming to crypto

Potential Issues to Consider

  1. Cryptocurrencies are not immune to design issues. Transaction times, in particular are a serious problem for the Bitcoin network. In August 2017, we saw a phenomenon called “hard fork,” when the blockchain split in two. The split led to the creation of Bitcoin Cash – a spinoff of the cryptocurrency. With an unknown future, it’s safe to tread carefully.
  2. The interest in cryptocurrencies is constantly increasing, and that’s clogging the blockchain network. The design is not strong enough to cope with all that traffic.
  3. The huge interest imposes another problem: there are too many speculators who expect cryptocurrencies to grow rapidly and provide high margin returns but how these currencies are valued remains to be seen. The market is also suffocated with people who think that Bitcoin is going to become a widely used currency for daily purchases but the volatility makes the use of bitcoin as a payment system impractical. Both of these groups could be wrong.
  4. The biggest issue, however, are the unexpectedly big listing fees. According to an investigation by Business Insider, cryptocurrency exchanges charge between $50,000 and $1 million to list initial coin offerings. One CEO told Business Insider that a top-tier exchange asked for $1 million to list their coins. “Good exchange means a high probability of good market fit, because you have access to liquidity and investors,” – sаid Oliver Bussmann, owner of a Swiss fintech advisory firm. “If you don’t get access to certain exchanges, then it’s tier two exchanges, which means access to investors is limited.”

What conclusion does this bring us to?

The discussion is complex and no one can correctly predict the future of cryptocurrencies. As in any other investment, risk is still involved. The expectations are bright, but we mustn’t neglect the problems related to these investments. The only thing we can recommend is to get well informed before making any investment.

Laura Buckler is a freelance writer and contributor at https://essays.scholaradvisor.com/ who brings a hands-on approach to each of her in-depth articles. Through her work as a social media marketer, she learned many skills in are the areas of social media, content writing and digital marketing. Find her on Twitter.

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The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with cryptocurrency, blockchain, crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders globally. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, services, and networking opportunities to over 1700+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry.  Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE!  Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit:  www.ncfacanada.org

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MLG Blockchain Pioneers Crypto Fundraiser for Special Olympics Canada Foundation

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MLG Blockchain release | May 14, 2018

TORONTO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--MLG Blockchain, an expert blockchain consultant and development firm, has launched a crypto fundraising initiative to support and raise awareness in support of the Special Olympics Canada Foundation. MLG aims to raise $5000 in cryptocurrency donations or regular Canadian dollar donations for both the 2018 motionball Marathon of Sport Toronto and the #NoGoodWay campaign.

@MLGBlockchain aims to raise $5000 in #crypto donations or regular Canadian $ #donations for both the 2018 @motionball and the #NoGoodWay campaign

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"Toronto motionball Marathon of Sport is proud to have MLG Blockchain Consulting join us for this year's event,” said Braeden Hunt, Co-Event Director Toronto motionball Marathon of Sport. “The opportunity to support donations through cryptocurrency is a new fundraising initiative for motionball and the Special Olympics movement, and we are excited to see the results.”

Donors will be able to support this initiative until May 26th, the date on which the motionball Marathon of Sport (MMS) will take place. The MMS is an all-day sports fundraiser for the Special Olympics Canada Foundation. MLG Blockchain has announced it will send a delegation of 10 members to participate in the event, at the Hangar in Downsview Park, Toronto. On this day, 84 teams of motionball supporters, each raising a minimum of $3,000 in pledges and each joined by a Special Olympics athlete, will take to the field for a day of non-stop sports.

“It is refreshing to see such positive social initiatives taking place in Canada. We are very proud to support Special Olympics athletes with the help of the Blockchain community,” commented Michael Gord, CEO at MLG Blockchain.

In addition to this friendly competition, 1,000 Marathon of Sport participants will take a powerful pledge in support of 120 Special Olympics athletes to end the use of the R-word in everyday conversation and take an inspirational stand against anti bullying.

To contribute to the campaign, click on the links below:

For crypto donations: https://commerce.coinbase.com/checkout/844dfef7-5e33-4820-97b0-226c8fad98af
For Canadian dollar donations:
https://www.marathonofsport.com/sponsor/?t=2558

About motionball:

The non-profit organization motionball is introducing the next generation of volunteers and donors to the Special Olympics movement through integrated social and sporting events. motionball now hosts 32 annual events in 19 cities across Canada and is proud to have donated $9.5M to the Special Olympics Canada Foundation since its inception in 2002.

For more information, please visit motionball.com, or follow @motionball on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

About MLG Blockchain:

MLG Blockchain is a global blockchain development and consulting firm headquartered in Toronto with a distributed team across North America, Europe and Asia that is focused on building next-generation applications using blockchain and smart contract technology. MLG Blockchain speeds up your team's understanding of the blockchain and its potential opportunities for your business.

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The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with cryptocurrency, blockchain, crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders globally. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, services, and networking opportunities to over 7500+ members and subscribers and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry.  Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE!  Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit:  www.ncfacanada.org

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Large Global Payments Processor Unveils Airdropping Campaign Among Users

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CoinTelegraph | By Nick Bakursky | May 14, 2018

CoinPayments, a global cryptocurrency payment processor, has announced an airdrop  launch of its own utility token – the CPS Coin. The company also plans to lower its transaction and conversion fees for token holders and enhance its user interface in 2018.

Founded in 2013, CoinPayments is a global cryptocurrency payment processor with a reach of over 1,000,000 vendors across 182 countries, says the company’s blog. CoinPayments offers a cloud payment solution allowing merchants to accept Bitcoin and hundreds of other coins through their plugins, APIs and point of sale (POS) interfaces.

“CoinPayments has created a special place in the world of cryptocurrency users with intuitive digital wallets, which include shopping cart plugins that can be easily integrated by online merchants making it appealing to their customers” said Alex Alexandrov, founder and CEO of CoinPayments

in an interview with Insight Success.

The company is set to launch two mega projects in 2018. Firstly, CPS Coin - the CoinPayments token - will lower transaction and conversion fees for merchants. Secondly, a revamped version of their existing user interface - called CoinPayments 3.0 - will provide online merchants and wallet holders with “even more user-friendly experience” company representatives said.

Airdrop to all users

The CoinPayments team reported to Cointelegraph that the company launched an airdrop of 100 CPS Coins to all current users, as well as new signups on the CoinPayments platform until August 1, 2018. The value for the 100 CPS coins is €10. Any user who purchases CPS coins starting on May 4th will receive two CPS coins for the price of one, or three for one on orders totalling over €500,000 within a 24 hour period.

The CPS Coin is a utility token used within the CoinPayments platform, and provides discounts and rebates for using various CoinPayments services. Users wanting to buy CPS Coins can buy directly from CoinPayments at a rate of €0.10 per token.

See:  Singapore consortium claims breakthrough in DLT payments project

There is a wide range of discounts and rebates available for CoinPayments services, including merchant fees, conversion fees, withdrawal fees, initial coin offering (ICO) participation and as a preferred payment method in their own decentralized marketplace.

For example, merchant fees may be reduced by half. Merchants have the option to pay the 0.5 percent processing fee with CPS Coin by checking a box on their account. If they choose this option, they will only have to pay a 0.25 percent processing fee in CPS Coins based on a €0.10/CPS Coin rate. If their CPS Coin wallet doesn’t contain enough CPS Coins to pay the fee then the required amount of CPS Coins will be purchased automatically from the CoinPayments pool using the fee collected at the time of the transaction.

As for conversion and withdraw fees, users will receive a 50 percent rebate if they pay from CoinPayments directly into the user’s CPS Coin wallet.

Regarding ICO participation, CoinPayments will negotiate an allocation of tokens from hosted ICOs at a discounted rate from the public ICO price and CoinPayments users will have the option to participate in this allocation using CPS Coin.

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The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with cryptocurrency, blockchain, crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders globally. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, services, and networking opportunities to over 1700+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry.  Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE!  Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit:  www.ncfacanada.org

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Profile: CoinPayments

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Crypto Payment Processing

CoinPayments is a payment processor allowing merchants to accept Bitcoin and hundreds of altcoins in their store through easy to use plugins, APIs and POS interfaces. With over 1 million users across 230 countries around the world, CoinPayments.net is most comprehensive multi-cryptocurrency platform available online.

CoinPayments Services

Payment Platform Features

We are constantly innovating to be at the forefront of this emerging technology and have created numerous features and services beneficial to the users of our platform. Our most notable features include:

Crypto Payments

We charge a 0.5% fee for all merchant transactions and provide a seamless integration of our payment processing service for the most common ecommerce platforms through plugins and well documented APIs.

Crypto Conversions

We offer conversions for the majority of coins we support, through a simple and easy to use interface. We also offer merchants automated functionality to convert altcoins to bitcoin or another coin or settle out to fiat through 3rd party gateways.

Multi-Coin Wallets

We offer a hosted wallet with send/receive/store functionality for all coins we support. We add another layer of security with our free vaulting service to set a time lock on your wallets. Use our unique $PayByName feature to send any coin to a user’s PayByName instead of complicated deposit addresses.

Run or Participate in ICOs

CoinPayments ICO Service

Whether you’re looking to run your own ICO and want to accept crypto payments or if you’re looking to participate in ICOs hosted by CoinPayments, we help facilitate this through our CPS ICOs marketplace.

Coin Hosting

Increase Your Coin’s Reach

CoinPayments is constantly integrating new coins onto our platform, so if you have a coin you want to start accepting in your store or if you are a developer working on a coin and looking to increase user adoption, CoinPayments can help by hosting your coin on our platform.

Follow Us

Stay Connected

For the latest news on crypto and payments and the latest official CoinPayments announcements make sure to read our Blog and follow us on Twitter and our RSS Feed.

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