Category Archives: Fundraising and Investing

Bitcoin ETF Seekers Met With SEC Monday In Latest Pitch for Approval

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Coindesk | Nikhilesh De | Nov 30, 2018

Members of VanEck, SolidX and the Cboe BZX Exchange met with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) staff earlier this week to present a new argument on why the bitcoin market is ready for an exchange-traded fund (ETF).

In the latest push to convince the regulator to approve a rule change which would open the door for the country’s first bitcoin ETF, the three firms met with the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, Division of Trading and Markets, Division of Economic and Risk Analysis and Office of General Counsel.

Notably, Monday’s effort differed from previous presentations, which took more of a regulatory focus.

See:  OSC approves Canada’s first blockchain ETF

Instead, the proponents’ argument centered around the idea that the bitcoin market is mature enough to support an ETF, and at present looks similar to markets for other assets which already have such products. The presentation gave several examples of assets that already have ETFs, including crude oil, silver and gold.

The presentation specifically tied the idea of futures markets with spot markets, noting that for money substitutes such as gold and silver, this connection between the two can be proven with empirical evidence. Further, this type of price co-integration “is evidence of a well-functioning capital market.”

The firms went on to explain that “Similar to commodity futures, the spot and futures prices [of bitcoin] are tightly linked,” again providing “evidence of a well-functioning capital market.”

On another note, they argued that the bitcoin ecosystem is “less susceptible to manipulation” than other commodities which already support exchange-traded products.

For example, insiders might possess or trade information related to the supply of physical commodities – say, if a new source for an asset is discovered, or if some event lowers the production – and this may impact price.

Bitcoin does not face this sort of issue, the presentation notes, adding:

“The linkage between the bitcoin markets and the presence of arbitrageurs in those markets means that the manipulation of the price of bitcoin on any single venue would require manipulation of the global bitcoin price in order to be effective … Bitcoin therefore is no more susceptible to manipulation than other commodities, especially as compared to other approved ETP reference assets.”

See:  Crypto prices sharply down after SEC postpones Bitcoin ETF decision

Any attempt to manipulate bitcoin’s price “would require overcoming the liquidity supply of such arbitrageurs who are effectively eliminating any cross-market pricing differences,” especially as these arbitrageurs are likely to have their funds stored on different exchanges to take advantage of price differences.

The applicants’ pitch came a day before SEC chairman Jay Clayton said concerns about market manipulation are one of the barriers preventing an ETF approval.

Speaking at CoinDesk’s Consensus: Invest conference a day after the presentation, Clayton explained that “the prices retail investors are seeing are the prices they should rely on, and free from manipulation.”

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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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Coindesk | Nikhilesh De | Nov 30, 2018 Members of VanEck, SolidX and the Cboe BZX Exchange met with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) staff earlier this week to present a new argument on why the bitcoin market is ready for an exchange-traded fund (ETF). In the latest push to convince the regulator to approve a rule change which would open the door for the country’s first bitcoin ETF, the three firms met with the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, Division of Trading and Markets, Division of Economic and Risk Analysis and Office of General Counsel. Notably, Monday’s effort differed from previous presentations, which took more of a regulatory focus. See:  OSC approves Canada’s first blockchain ETF Instead, the proponents’ argument centered around the idea that the bitcoin market is mature enough to support an ETF, and at present looks similar to markets for other assets which already have such products. The presentation gave several examples of assets that already have ETFs, including crude oil, silver and gold. The presentation specifically tied the idea of futures markets with spot markets, noting that for money substitutes such as gold and silver, this connection between the two can be proven with empirical ...
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FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP.19-Nov 23): Future of Business Tokenization – How Blockchain Challenges Concept of Money with Alan Wunsche, Founder and CEO, Token Funder

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NCFA Canada | Nov 23, 2018

JOIN US ON A STORYTELLING JOURNEY EVERY FRIDAY.

Ep19-Nov 23:  Future of Business Tokenization - How Blockchain Challenges Concept of Money

About this episode:   On this episode, NCFA Fintech Friday's host Manseeb Khan sits down with Alan Wunsche the CEO of TokenFunder. They chat about ICO's funding startups, tokenization of businesses and buying real estate through tokens. Enjoy!

  • The future of business tokenization
  • How tokenization is going to disrupt real estate and auto industry
  • How blockchain challenges the concept of money

Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host

Guest:  ALAN WUNSCHE, Founder and CEO, TokenFunder (view Linkedin)

Bio:  Alan Wunsche is CEO & Chief Token Officer of TokenFunder, a regulatory-compliant blockchain venture funding platform with Ontario's first regulated Initial Token Offering. He is also Chair & Co-Founder of Blockchain Canada, a Canadian federal not-for-profit corporation with a mission to connect Canadian Blockchain Innovators and to help Canada be a leader in blockchain technology. Alan is a finance technologist focused on new blockchain business models and the disruptive impacts of blockchain on global wealth distribution. He brings hands-on technology experience as a finance and risk transformation executive at a global bank (Scotiabank), management consulting (Deloitte, PwC), and startups.

Alan is a leading blockchain / fintech expert. Alan has hands-on finance and technology executive with deep governance, strategic planning, process reengineering, big data analytics, risk management and information management transformation consulting experience. Alan is elected Canadian Chair of Canada’s ISO/TC307 Blockchain Standards Committee. Alan is a blockchain startup CEO, conference speaker, blockchain community organizer. Throughout his 25 year career, Alan has been a trusted business partner to CIO’s, CFO’s CRO’s, CMO’s and CHRO’s, leading business performance improvement programs by transforming finance, customer and risk IT systems, processes, and organizational structures.

Subscribe and tune in each Friday to check out the latest movers and shakers in fintech.

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Transcription of Interview

Intro: Welcome fintech Friday's a weekly podcast brought to you by the National Crowdfunding and Fintech Association of Canada and partners.Covering all things fintech block chain be AI and alternative finance.

Manseeb Khan: Hey Everybody. Hopefully you're having a fantastic day. Manseeb Khan and you were tuning into Fintech Fridays is brought to you by the National Fintech and Crowdfunding Association also known as the NCFA.  Today I have the absolute pleasure of having Alan Wunsche the CEO of Token Funder. Alan thank you so much for sitting down.

Alan Wunsche: It's a pleasure to be here. Thank you.

Manseeb Khan: No absolutely. I'd love to. Just for a second ,for I guess some of the audience members that may not know who you are and what your company is. Could you just for a minute tell us who you are and what Token Funder is?

Alan Wunsche: Sure thing. So, my name is Alan Wunsche and I am the CEO of Token Funder. Who I am. So, I started in blockchain four years ago having left the traditional banking space. So, I worked at it as an executive in a fairly large bank. But I left and who I am really is a leader of a company that is on the leading edge of a lot of this new era of funding and alternatives to what is currently our financial infrastructure and banking system. So Token Funder and we can talk about anything you want to in terms of your questions. So, I'm sure you'll have lots of them, but I'll just say Token Funder as a company. We started on this journey of two years ago. To build a platform for companies to use in a legal regulatory compliant way such that they could use the latest in blockchain technology and bring their company to the market and use it as a funding vehicle so that these companies that would go under the platform can raise funds and do that in a way that helps really drive a democratization of ownership. So, what drove Token Funder is not that we could just do something that was happening already, and you know crowdfunding existed for sure but that was a real eye opener that we could also do crowdfunding. But in really interesting ways on through blockchain. So, we took the approach that we were going to take a company keep it in Canada, build it in Canada use it initially as a service for Canadian companies and then go global. So, in a nutshell Token Funder is  building really an alternative funding mechanism and some additional services that now make us look like a funding and growth company for startup companies and scale ups. So, we're getting interest from not just your super early startups but also companies that are in market as well.

Manseeb Khan: That's very exciting. I can't wait to, I don't know if you can talk about that but maybe next time when you come on the show would love to dive a little bit deeper on like the growth stuff that you guys are interested in.

Alan Wunsche: Sure, we can talk, or we could talk a little bit about that today.

Manseeb Khan: Ok. Also, you mentioned you guys are actually going to help companies when it came to regulation. Could you talk a little bit more about that because when you think of raising tokens and raising Regulations definitely have been something that people have been concerned of. If not, there's been a lot of ambiguity when it came to regulations. When you talk about regulations what does that mean to you. And what is that coming from your end?

Alan Wunsche: Sure, we do have a fairly well-established securities regulations in Canada, the US, UK, Australia, and other places right. So, these regulations that we're referring to include securities regulations that also includes anti-money laundering regulations that the government is obviously concerned about. So, when you think about looking at the kind of journey we had. So when I talk about the regulatory route that we had, we started working with the Ontario Securities Commission launch pad when they first came out and we looked and said okay we looked around and there were some early indications that that at least one company essentially had to leave or decided to leave didn't have to but decided to leave and incorporate in another jurisdiction. And it could have been you know Barbados or Switzerland or one of these others. And the reason for that being that the regulators didn't have as much certainty for them or that very likely their particular business was going to result in the securities offering. So, these companies said to themselves well will establish ourselves in another authority. So that essentially, we don't have to worry about the regulatory concerns or restrictions that may be placed on the company here in Canada. And that actually worked really well in 2017 and into the mid part of 2018. So, they raised a lot of cash. Now where the story is important for your audience if you're going to go down this road. So those companies that raised on cash outside did not include a process that's referred to as KYC. And sometimes some little misunderstood. But I'm sure you've talked about that with the previous podcasts. I'll just repeat it. KYC meaning know your customer or your client and in the given the traditional kind of initial coin offering process that you could have undertaken outside of Canada, Us and as I said Australia or the UK you could go out and you can anonymously raise funds from pretty much anyone in the world because blockchain allows for that to happen fairly anonymously. So not purely anonymously but we will get into the technology around that. So, company could go to Switzerland, Barbados or the Caymans and these other jurisdictions say OK set up shop we've got a new business and you can invest in us quote unquote right. But we're not going to worry about who you are, we're not going to really worry about those things. Well if you're going to do that in Canada if you're going to do that as a Canadian company in Canada there's very clear guidance and regulations that you really have to understand who that person is that's investing. And the reason for that is because you have to also understand their risk profile. So, know your customer just doesn't mean you actually know what they're you know what their name is and where they live. But for the sake of investor protection and this is throughout Canada throughout the U.S. for the sake of investor protection you really have to understand the risk profile of the investor and whether your particular investment is a good suitable investment for your business or for them into your business. I should say so. So, I'm just and drawing some contrasts for you and any audience at this point because you know what's happened is that we've gone through kind of a two-year process here working with the regulators and we added KYC. So, I'll talk about maybe our token offering we added KYC is a process in terms of our Canadian offering. And that's in contrast to a company that didn't do that well. Now the OSC and the S.E.C. are coming back around to these do these coin offerings that happen over 2017 and 18 and saying well you were actually selling an unregistered security. And if you've not protected yourself and it was impossible to do so you've allowed Canadian residents to invest in your business.  Then we have a problem with that. So, when we did our token offering this the process we went through last year. So, we started last over the winter into the early part of 2018 and through the whole hype cycle of all these ICOs and here we are in Canada doing a token offering that has KYC understands the risk suitability of these potential investors. And we turned a lot of people away that we're interested in investing because we determined that it wasn't just suitable investment for some of them. So, it's essentially an online process that we installed, and  we know who the investor is, we white list them in a smart contract and then we also token it. We also issued a token which would probably end up being our token and that token also had some rights. So, we're going to continue a little bit more along the contrasting because many of those new projects that went out in 2017 and 2018 outside of our jurisdiction would have terms essentially that that included something like you're contributing to this particular project but frankly you have no rights whatsoever. And just hope and pray that our new protocol token will be appreciating in value and oh by the way you can go and trade it and pump and dump it on one of these new digital exchanges. Well that's what our regulators here refer to as the Wild West. We contrasted that with OK. So if you're going to invest to get a Canadian startup such as ours you're going to have to have some patient money and we won't issue our token on a digital exchange that you can go pump and dump in because if we just don't believe it's appropriate next to other regulators by the way in the Canadian context and as long as you have some patient capital and you're willing to consider at risk capital and then we think it's appropriate for a part of your portfolio. So just like any other kind of proper investment process we implemented  that kind of steps and we had an offering memorandum and we had an annual report attached to the offering memorandum I should say and audited financial report. And that's the kind of disclosure that investors expect. Now I'll just stop there because I'm sure you've heard of the whole speculation craze that happened with initial coin offerings and now it's kind of fallen apart and for good reason now that they are in  the broad world.

Manseeb Khan: You did mention a really good point of talking about how KYC it goes a little bit further than just other than the baseline surface level like first name, last name and where you're really from. I'm glad that you guys actually took a little bit more of initiative of understanding. Not only is it important to understand who you are but would this be a good enough investment for you. Right. Not even like oh hey yeah this is  money we're taking it. Its you guys have a more of a screening process, more a vetting process which hopefully more companies like yourself in the space to start to adopt and actually have these like set requirements that people have to kind of meet to either throw their money in like you mentioned patient money. People  don't think of patient money when you talk about blockchain or crypto because they think again, they think pump and dump  which makes sense because a lot of the news and a lot of the media out there is very much of oh look at this coin. It went from zero to 100 million and then the founders just disappeared, or they just shut everything down right.

Alan Wunsche: Yeah. I mean this is really important, and I hate the term pump and dump  but unfortunately, it's out there.

Manseeb Khan: Yeah, I'm not a fan of either.

Alan Wunsche: You know And I'll also. We didn't invent this. These are best practices that are already baked into our securities legislation. Not everyone appreciates this. So, when we started working with the launch pad you know it was it was a learning experience on both sides. So, we shared everything we knew about blockchain we came in and said this is how it all works. We're going to tokenize these businesses. Oh well what does that mean. And we can talk a little bit about that subsequently but ok sounds interesting sounds like something really novel. Now we'll also make sure that you're aware of how we expect companies to behave like good corporate citizens in the Canadian space. And you know it is very clear if you choose to look for it that it says when you accept investment into your business you need to understand a person's risk profile. In fact, that's what goes on in the online trading world today. And you know there are existing rules that say essentially, you're supposed to look at them every time anyone makes a trade and that it's a risk suitable trade for them. And there's other kinds of you know online verification that people have to do. So very similar. Just because we are in a new space doesn't mean that we have to create everything from scratch. And I want to make that point because we took the time to really understand what the big boys and let's call it, we're doing and then apply it to our particular case. So, you know we scaled it down to make it appropriate for us and we got some particular exemptions for our token offering such as being able to raise funds from our own platform which is something that traditionally you're not allowed to do. So, there were certain things that we essentially were allowed to experiment with. And this is part of trying to frankly do the right thing work with it, work with our regulators and use the latest innovative technology. Now for your benefit and others let's be clear that's a long process. So, it would have been and trust me in terms of temptation it would have been a one-month process for us to go to Barbados or Caymans or Switzerland or another place like that raised 20 million dollars. We ended up doing about a nine-month process. So not for the faint of heart to just stay here. There's a lot of regulatory discussions that ended up happening just to be super clear about that. But you know what. At the end of the day I think we're proving out that doing it for the right reasons and doing the right thing. Actually, let you sleep at night and hopefully let your kind of do right by everyone in the space. And I mean you know I've been in this space now for four years. When Ethereum  kind of hit the world. I saw it launch with a small group of folks here in Toronto and I was disappointed Ethereum had to leave the country for Switzerland. I understood how it was kind of regulatory uncertainty and other reasons that that drove that decision. But you know still you want to. You want to do it. You want to build a business for the right reasons and act accordingly. My background I didn't mention this as a CA now we're part of the new CPA organization. And you know there's ethics and guidelines and all of that good stuff that frankly went out the window in the ICO craze and it was disappointing to see all those ICOs that kind of tarnish the image of the blockchain industry. So yeah. Yes. So, I mean moving forward we're living in an environment now. I'll just add that you know while we're using the blockchain technology we're also that kind of company although we're called Token Funder, we're not saying to people you know we're somehow blockchain or bitcoin evangelists or ether evangelists if it makes sense for your business. We're going to we're going to help you out.

Manseeb Khan: Yeah like you've mentioned a couple of things. There's always going to be bad actors that make sense and I guess any new emerging industry just do again like you've said. Doing the right thing is always the right thing and helps to sleep at night right. It would have been a lot easier for. You're seeing a lot of these crypto companies going to the Cayman Islands or going to Switzerland or what have you and not really knowing that like okay cool like this. Okay. Awesome. The Cayman Islands is very right now. They're very willing to work with crypto companies and everything but this goes back down to KYC of knowing your customer and knowing. Okay cool. But What about everybody else. What about people in the rest of the world. What about Canada in the US and all the other markets that are very apprehensive when it comes to this new market. You can't really tackle them, and you can't really maximize or just sorry. If not anything you can capitalize on because they're restricted to the rules and regulations just because you're not. It's not as an even playing field as you might really think it's a temporary fix if anything.

Manseeb Khan: Yeah, it's really complex because as I said the temptation was there and the temptation was strong enough for a lot of companies to go and do it frankly. And you know just say well we're going to do this in another jurisdiction and will eventually come home and try to. Well let's just park that because there's tax reasons also that people make tax, or you know businesses tax decisions to go to these kind of tax havens and we get all that. Now ultimately, you're going to have to come back here. Ultimately if you're businesses here and you're interested in living and working in this great country then you have to come back around to our environment. Now so all of that going to make it clear that it's a process that I believe in and yet we're trying to make change within the regulatory regime. There are outdated regulations there and there's no question about it. There are regulations today that benefit the big players and the incumbents. So, you know a startup getting into this space for alternative funding and a startup like ours that is looking to do have a marketplace for these future tokens. That's great. Trust me that kind of system that's in place today makes it difficult. So, we're trying our level best to  get change and to get exemptions to make some of these existing regulations work for startups that want to innovate in the space.

Manseeb Khan: Which I mean it makes sense because like we talked in the past I mean if anything last episode we talked about how we had Charlene from Coinsquare. I like Charlene, she’s great. She is really! she mentioned she's like hey look people have to understand that the banks had 20 years at this and they're still I mean to this day they're still trying to figure out regulations and everything. So, it’s kind of make sense that especially in the startup community in Canada it's been very new, it's very new around the world. Entrepreneurship is finally getting the warm embrace that it's longing  for so many years now. And it makes sense that I guess for the time being that it is an uphill battle and hopefully within due time with  amazing players like you want amazing players like Her the regulators be the government or be it any other bodies understand where you guys are kind of coming from an understand that hey like having regulations that are not as rigid, a little bit more fluid it only benefits everybody in the long run.

Alan Wunsche: Yeah. I just add also to this point there are a lot of restrictions about  what investors can do. And you know there's a lot of good reasons historically for that. Now we're moving into a world where the millennial generation wants to manage their own portfolios. They want the kind of freedom that a decentralized place can offer them. They look around and you know we talk to many that you know they're in their 20s 30s and you know they're saying why. Why are these startups and innovative companies’ kind of limited to the accredited investors that are the really wealthy ones? So why did the really wealthy people get to continue to get first dibs if you will  on the really great next investment. And  that was really one of those kind of if you will big why's or big reasons for us pushing for the democratization we're where we said we could have easily have cut short our timeline for  our own token timeline and said yes are legal and others said this is easy just let accredited investors in and shut out all the retail investors and we said no we really believe deeply that this is a space now that let's say a startup is getting some traction it can go to the marketplace and wants to have you know a broad ownership pool of up its platform let's say. Like let's just say there's you know that the future Airbnb and wants a broad level of ownership through this new mechanism well you know is it limited to just accredited investors. We don't believe it necessarily needs to be. As long as again the retail investors aren't spending you know investing everything they know into a super high risk or everything they have into a super high-risk investment that kind of throws caution to the wind. But it's I want to get the point across here that we have the ability to make it easy for someone to go directly to a company and invest almost directly without traditional kind of financial intermediaries that that are the big names that you might see today and you won't describe them but  you can apply new technology in a way that that really reduces the friction between the investor and the company and want to open that up to the retail investor. And if you think it's like crowdfunding Well it's like crowdfunding on a new level. Yes, it's Yeah. Oh, for sure. And then and then we're looking at you know traditionally when you invest in a private company there are pretty strict rules for traditional reasons that are that are still good reasons about the liquidity and you know they were there so many of these ICOs that said you would get immediate liquidity and  then you can go. You know you don't have to believe in the company you can go get an immediate liquidity on you know X,Y or Z digital exchange. And that's great. Do whatever you want on the other end of the spectrum. We've traditionally been very restrictive about or quite restrictive about what the retail liquidity to look like in a private company and we believe that there's no changes that should happen. So, it's a bridge, right? We in effect to we as a company here are looking to  and have been you know I describe ourselves as kind of a bridge between the traditional way things for working and in the existing regulatory environment. But I mean we've got very clear regulations Yeah. we can change them.

Manseeb Khan: It is very important to again have companies like you, have amazing people like you in the space to make not only I guess the old traditional world but also the new world understand like millennials like me. I'm like Yeah. No why can't I invest in the next and Airbnb and become an accredited investor. But I'd love to. I'll be amazing.

Alan Wunsche: Today you wouldn't be able to.

Manseeb Khan: Exactly because there's so many rights now to become accredited investor. There’re so much more criteria you have to meet. And like you said for private companies it's even more so. Right there there's even more rules and even more red tape for just a 23-year-old college student like me to like to invest in next Airbnb like we're not there yet. But it's very exciting that it could be on track and that there is stuff put in place to make sure that one day everybody can potentially invest in the next Airbnb.

Alan Wunsche: That's the exciting part about this. And you know I talked to so many people. You know I  still feel young but I'm not as young as you are. No. You see you know 20 20 and 30-year old. I mean in terms of age but in terms of you know that the mindset is why can't we do this mindset right. Let me just be clear. There are very good reasons  why there's certain regulations in place essentially to prevent the scamming that happened all around the world in the ICO craze. OK. So, putting that aside if we can do this very in a safe manner it still looks after the investor protections then why can't a retail investor get in on the next really cool startup. Why does it have to be kind of limited or why should a retail investor be limited to you know twenty-five hundred dollars or something like that. You know when an accredited investor by the way who is typically very wealthy you know they have much higher limits but they're not always frankly more intelligent or aware of what this new technology is. So, we get a lot of people saying well I really understand this technology why I am limited. You know a small tiny little investment. What's the art of the possible and how can we get it. How can we get a safe environment? And it's not in or position and opened the door to a broad kind of democratization of investing opportunities.

Manseeb Khan: This bridge is very much it can be built like again all regulations are not there to like they're not out to get us right. Like the man isn't like putting us down or anything. Like you mentioned what we've pretty much started the show off with like Hey these rules and regulations are put in place so that we don't get any more scam. There's no pump and dumps and this whole potential market gets kind of blown to bits because there's no rules in place as the Wild, Wild West and everyone kind of gets screwed over which is terrible. Since you are working with startups and I'm myself in the startup world do you see ICOs taking over IPO's  in the future and I guess what the future of ICOs is look like to you given that your opinion is a little bit biased but still.

Alan Wunsche: Yeah, I mean for sure I'm biased in looking at what the art of the possible is. So, what is possible, and I don't  you know for the last couple of years since we started Token Funder,  I didn't use the word ICO whenever I talk to anyone in this space. I mean of course the ICO term was taken off, but I more can keep them in this initial token offerings and the token being the more generic form because not everything you put out there is a coin or a crypto currency. So that's kind of like where do you see the future right. I do think that token offerings and this democratization of investing opportunities  into innovation puts us into innovative startups will be very real and it's a very real outside alternative funding mechanism for companies. Now what that means is that. There's that there's going to be a transition period. So, it's yeah. Let's say and we all know what's going on with the broader crypto currency in quotes. Marketplace today. Right. So, the value of its down and it would seem that even know  some people that have lost some amount of value added and all that. But let's just in one sense if we put that aside it's quite efficient to move anything of value whether it be a share in a company or you can say I'll take this business and I'll put 10 percent of this business on to go into a token that people could buy into. And then there's a marketplace for it. It's very efficient and you don't need a large infrastructure when you already have a public blockchain. You don't need to use a traditional funding vehicle. So, people have also asked me if I could address this in other in other conference panels and whatnot. Whether this is the venture capital and ultimately the answer is not necessarily because some companies may want just one or two people investing in them and some companies might want thousands of people investing in for different reasons for different business reasons. So they'll be a hybrid but there's no question that the token offering model is a very efficient one and you can just imagine you know in the future you're going to have your wallet there and you're going to have a wallet that shows some Canadian cash or some other kind of currencies and then you'll have you know a share of. So, what your startup called? It's called Curexe. Ok. So Curexe. So, I'll have a share of Curexe alongside a share of Apple alongside you know some crypto in a wallet. And  if I want to sell that share of Curexe. So, you know I'll be able to do so with whatever is appropriate you can be in the marketplace. And this will be the new way of our next generation of investing. And it's going to be powered by public blockchains I believe.

Manseeb Khan: I'm very excited for it to be one of those many thousands of investors if anything this is just another leg that's going to be attached to the  be it VC's, be it any other investment funds out there right. Because it's just in a sense they're just diversifying. And if anything, it just can be a supplement. Right. Like it is an alternative way of funding. It's going to be a shift. Your absolutely right.

Alan Wunsche: So yeah. Where did and where do you want to take the conversation.

Manseeb Khan: Yeah. So, you did mention a little bit more of tokenization of businesses. Could you talk a little bit more of that? What is a tokenized  business? What does it mean? How do I get my start up to become a tokenized business?

Alan Wunsche: I won't give you the  fully comprehensive answer to it but just think about think about some example’s tokenization is this mechanism of enabling fractional ownership and then the fairly easy transferability of that fractional ownership. That's from person to person in a blockchain right through the blockchain. There's very recently an example where a company tokenized in an entire building. So, imagine an entire building. Thought of as you know a particular token. And then imagine being you know on one side of the country and you just want to invest in a you know in a fraction of a building that happens to be on the other side of the country. No problem. And then you know your circumstances change and you'd like to liquidate that and or the value of that building goes up. You can. You can basically sell your interests. This this is technically so easy to do on the blockchain now. Now we've just got to kind of connect with the real world. And the real-world documentation that says by the way this building is represented on a blockchain officially at this location. And now go now it's available for people to buy into and transfer. That's  really interesting. So, I took great interest in that. There’re other examples of. There's an example that I think is  intriguing and I'd be interested in your take on this. There's this company called rally road. So, they've now said we'll go out and on behalf of people will go out and buy this this antique car and this antique car is X and it's a named vehicle it's a real vehicle. Happens to have no value X today and we believe that if we hold onto it it'll have value Y tomorrow. So, we convert that into a token and allow for fractional ownership of that particular antique car. And it's called rally road. So, they're embarking on a tokenizing that kind of asset. And then at some point you know on a fairly regular basis the company will presumably say OK, so this asset is now worth X, worth Y and if you've got enough appreciation out of it you can now sell your interest.

Manseeb Khan: That sounds amazing. I'd love to own a piece of it like a 1969 Mustang or something like. that Ford Mustang would be. It would be exactly the kind of example that that I heard talked about it so. Oh wow.  All kinds of really interesting cars that they happen to be focused on so that's just that's just one model. So now cars, real estate, business, business shares you name it any essentially any assets. Just kind of marry up to the legality of it  and people are considering you know that the home or the condo that you own. You know if you want some help in owning that you have that house or condo down the road. I'm sure it will be quite possible that you'll say great I've got this this residence that is known in the world in you know as registered by the government and under this lot. And you know identity and oh by the way I'm willing to legally sell a fraction of it. Which is going to be pretty easy for you for that residence to be the tokenized.

Manseeb Khan: Yeah. No, I love it. I'm waiting for the day for a company to say like hey you want it we tokenize it.

Alan Wunsche: So, this is it so Token Funders vision here is to start with companies and you know doing it in a manner that allows them just to say let's call it equity, let's call it debt let's call it something like that and we'll do that right. But we have got a lot of other interesting thoughts around how we can take the token model and not just be about capital raise. Yeah. And so, some of those ideas I've just kind of touched on here. So you have the hope that these  other spaces certainly interest me  and then we become  so the other thing I mentioned at the top of this chat with you is we've said that and we're going to also build a network around these companies that we're currently helping and that's what I call this not just funding but actually involved in the growth of the company so identifying advisors and resources from wherever they might be and providing them with an incentive of a token. say to help that particular startup. So that you're not just then a startup that's only getting you know help and  guidance from those immediately around you but that that can come from anywhere in the world if you incentivize it through a token structure.

Manseeb Khan: Yeah. No that's wow I can't wait for that.  Yeah. No, I'm working on it. No that's wow. No that's  incredible. I can't wait for that. So, like I'd like a nice network or even. You can probably call a community of just advisors and just people like be it from actual customers that are willing to use it or be from actual like V.C.s that are willing to like oh yeah no I can totally see that like the actual implementation of this XYZ  product or service like you might have right.

Alan Wunsche: I'm just going to I'm just going to add a little reality to this right now. So, I just recently came from the global Ethereum developers conference called Dev Con in Europe it was  in Prague and there were thousands of developers and continue to work on the next big thing. And also, creative people. So, the UX is really important. The important thing that folks listening to this will probably want to understand this is that we're not quite there in this new infrastructure called you know in this case the Ethereum that it's scalable worldwide as we might want it to be. So, we expected that there was there was going to be some changes this year. And so there was a lot of kind of pent up hope and all the anticipation for upgrades to the public blockchain for scalability. And now it's being pushed into 2019 but it's not that far off. So while it's not a platform that's fully scalable such that you know you can put every single asset in the entire world on a public blockchain and know we can run a piece of network on the public blockchain those are still very visionary but 2019 is now the year that we can anticipate some upgrades to scalability and speed throughput on these blockchains. So that's kind of a dose of reality.

Manseeb Khan: I love it. I can't wait, so yeah everybody you heard it here first. Make sure 2019 you guys start earmarking for getting a piece of that Ford Mustang that I so badly want. There you go. I can't wait. I can't wait. So, can anything else that really excites you that's going on in the space other than owning a piece of a building and owning a piece of my dream car.

Alan Wunsche: I think it's generally really exciting that this is going to be a technology that will bring and has really kind of awakened. I'd say a vast number of people in the population around asking real big questions around Where's the power in today's society? Who's running our big financial systems? Are they running it the right way? Should we be decentralizing some of this power? I mean these are really big questions. I don't have all the answers to them, but I think it's been real. The technology itself has been a really good catalyst to asking these questions and to ask questions of governments that they currently manage are central banks and central currencies. When and if let's say in the coming years they'll start to suggest that we're going to have central bank digital currencies as they are looking at today. It will be really interesting and it's exciting to think about these things, but it also be interesting to think and important for people to think about you know Are they getting the privacy they need going forward? Are they getting investment opportunities? Is this technology decentralizing our power structures? What will happen if we have no central bank digital currency? I think it's actually opening up exciting conversations for  a lot more people to understand how money moves. Who manages. Are our societies. Who governs our societies and how money flows and those are so those are some really big socio-economic questions in in the context of you know things to think about. This is not just a blockchain, but this is a technological shift that we're going through with the impact on a lot of jobs too. Oh absolutely. So, what do I think. I think that you know opening up this dialogue about what is money? Is Bitcoin money? Is ether money? Should it be, or should it be something else? This is an exciting time to be challenging the status quo and in doing it and always doing it for the right reasons right. Yeah absolutely. But for decades had infrastructure that's been very centralized. And now people have the opportunity to rethink some of that with decentralizing technology. Rethink the fact that you know one or two or three very large companies own our social identity if you allow them to do so and we may have you know the decentralized version of Facebook that gives you your identity back. That's exciting.

Manseeb Khan: It really is because it's this is the first-time in. I kind of want to say first time in a long time where power is really going back to the people and the people actually have the power to fight back. And every everybody's kind of looking at the current way the world works. How do how money flows. Who actually runs and operates the money. Who and why they get to operate the money everyone is kind of looking at it as more. they're looking at it more skeptically if anything right and their take their second guessing it. And there's  again the technology is emerging where maybe not only fight back but maybe create a world where it's a little bit more of an even playing field and where everybody and anybody can hopefully one day participate, own a building, buy my dream car. You know and take it from there.

Alan Wunsche: You said it even playing field and that's the whole discussion around decentralization and is there. What playing fields are we evening. I think it'll be a bigger wake up call. Should there be a nobody wants this frankly, but should there be another recession. Because you know in 2008, 2009  we all lived through it. We kind of woke up and realized hey call your financial infrastructures really entangled in you know something that happened and see in Greece or in Italy or in you know or in the U.S. or somewhere reek contagion on the broader world and you know we had a liquidity crisis. That got people concerned that they understood where and how our financial world was managed and so nobody wants it. But you know think about the fact that this is a disintermediating excuse me technology. It's potentially decentralizing existing power structures. It's a could level the playing field, it could bring new opportunities for people to decentralized large. I can call them kind of large centralized web properties that exist today. There's that there's a there's a book that's out you know after Google may or may not have the title exactly right. But you know it's a discussion. It's a  book about how the blockchain will in fact decentralize what Google looks like today. And this is a new time. I mean it opens up a lot of new questions and maybe I'll just leave it there because you know I don't have all the answers.

Manseeb Khan: No, I just think it's early but it's an exciting time. Yeah. No, I think it's a great way to really end it like this is. I'm excited. I mean I get own my dream car a lot faster than I thought I could. Oh, I got to get to a real estate a lot faster. I'm very, I'm very fired.

Alan Wunsche: Maybe a thousandth of that dream car.

Manseeb Khan: I mean hey  I rather own a piece of it and none of it.

Alan Wunsche: Very good.

Manseeb Khan: All right. So, Alan thank you so much for again coming on the show. I can't wait to have you on again. And thanks for refiring the dream.

Alan Wunsche: I'm excited for you and it's a pleasure to be here with you today.

Manseeb Khan: Absolutely. All right Alan. So, thank you again. So, on behalf of the National Fintech and crowdfunding association I wish you an amazing Fintech Friday and weekend.

Outro : you've been listening to fintech Fridays brought to you by NCFA and partners. Tune in weekly for the latest fintech Friday podcast by subscribing to this channel. The National crowdfunding and FinTech Association of Canada is a non-profit actively engaged with social and investment fintech sectors around the globe and provide education research industry stewardship services and networking opportunities to thousands of members and subscribers. For more information please visit and see if a Canada dot org. Oh yea.

 

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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


NEXT WEEK! DON'T MISS IT SEE YOU IN VANCOUVER
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Cointlegraph | By Marie Huillet | Nov 20, 2018 The cryptocurrency market crash has eased pressure on the U.K.’s financial regulator to introduce hasty new rules for the sector, Reuters reported Nov. 20. As Reuters outlines, the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) had been pressed to expedite new regulation for the rapidly growing crypto space, raising the risk of a heavy-handed approach that could impede investment and stifle development. Now that the sector has settled, government officials and FCA representatives indicate they will be taking more time to fine-tune the balance between investor protection and fostering financial innovation. See:  House Finance Committee Urges Canadian Government to Regulate Cryptocurrencies Speaking at a conference dedicated to crypto regulation in London yesterday, Nov 20., Gillian Dorner, deputy director for financial services at Britain’s finance ministry, said: “We want to take the time to look at that in a bit more depth and make sure we take a proportionate approach.” British regulators reportedly told the conference they are analyzing over 2,000 crypto assets to see whether they can be regulated under existing rules before considering whether reform might be necessary. Christopher Woolard, the FCA’s executive director for strategy and competition, is quoted as saying ...
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Crypto Bear Market Gives UK Regulators Breathing Space to Finalize Crypto Regulation
Crowdfund Insider | Cali Haan | Nov 19, 2018 After holding a series of 18 meetings to review Canada’s Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA), the House Finance Committee has recommended that the Government of Canada regulate cryptocurrency businesses to prevent criminal use, iPolitics reports. The committee has been conducting meetings to review PCMLTFA laws since February, something required of at least one parliamentary committee every five years. See:  OSC introduces new cryptoasset educational tools The committee has heard from over 70 expert witnesses since it started the review last February, including representatives from the financial advisory firm IJW & Co. and the law firm Durand Morisseau LLP, both of which submitted 65-page reports. In its report to the government, the committee said that both firms warned: “(I)n the absence of some degree of regulatory oversight, cryptocurrency transactions may be used by parties to swiftly move large amounts of wealth across borders.” The committee said that its three recommendations to parliament accorded with those suggested by the firms: Cryptocurrency exchanges handling crypto-to-fiat conversions must be legally classed as money services businesses (MSBs), which are required to follow strict financial-reporting guidelines, “…in compliance with the PCMLTFA.” Cryptocurrency exchanges should be licensed ...
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House Finance Committee Urges Canadian Government to Regulate Cryptocurrencies
NCFA Canada | Nov 16, 2018 JOIN US ON A STORYTELLING JOURNEY EVERY FRIDAY. Ep18-Nov 16:  Bridging the AML/ATF Gap with Financial Institutions and the New Economy About this episode:   On this episode, NCFA Fintech Fridays host Manseeb Khan sits down with Charlene Cieslik the Chief Anti-Money Laundering Officer at Coinsquare. They talk about not everyone using crypto is a terrorist, regulatory uncertainty, cape shopping and guidance in the crypto space. Enjoy! Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host Guest:  CHARLENE CIESLIK, Chief AML Officer, Coinsquare (view Linkedin) Bio:  Charlene Cieslik is the Chief Anti Money Laundering Officer of Coinsquare, Canada's most secure digital asset exchange for buying bitcoin, ethereum, and other digital currencies.  During her 20-year career, Charlene has held roles as the Chief Compliance Officer, Chief Anti-Money Laundering Officer, Chief Anti-Bribery Officer, and Chief Privacy Officer at several Canadian and Foreign scheduled banks, where she was responsible for the development, remediation, and execution of AML/ATF, anti-bribery, regulatory, and privacy programs.  Charlene has worked with several “Big 4” accounting firms and a Canadian fintech company, where she has assisted global financial institutions with AML/ATF program development, particularly with post-regulatory exam remediation and AML/ATF investigations. Charlene holds a Master’s degree ...
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FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP.18-Nov 16): Bridging the AML/ATF Gap with Financial Institutions and the New Economy with Charlene Cieslik, Chief AML Officer, Coinsquare

 

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VanFUNDING Brings Leading Blockchain, FinTech, RegTech, and Capital Innovation Experts to Vancouver #VF2018

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VANCOUVER, BC / ACCESSWIRE / November 15, 2018 / VanFUNDING 2018: CONVERGE, an annual innovation, technology and capital event organized by the National Crowdfunding and FinTech Association (NCFA), will take place in Vancouver on November 29-30 at Parq Vancouver.

The event showcases leading technologies and experts in blockchain, fintech, artificial intelligence and alternative finance that are making an impact on Canada, the capital markets and the world.

The event will feature over 50 speakers including Monique Morden, CEO of Judi.ai; Brady Fletcher, Managing Director, TSX Venture Exchange at TMX Group; Toufi Saliba, CEO of Toda.Network; Mark Wang, Director of Capital Market Regulation, BC Securities Commission; Paul Schulte, Managing Editor, Schulte Research; Rojin Nair, General Manager Fintech Solutions for Celero and more.

The event will also feature its annual pitching program that will award three "Front of the Line"Dragon's Den Golden Tickets and other prizes to the winning startups. Startups selected to pitch include Flux Network, Capiche Capital Technologies, Very Good Butcher, Squamish Canyon, Drive Hockey, Veme, Moca Estimator, Symend and HeyBryan.

As NCFA Canada CEO, Craig Asano states, ''We are witnessing unprecedented change that is already affecting our daily lives - how we interact with financial services, generate digital wealth, invest, evaluate, consume, vote, store, transfer, and purchase anything of value.''

The past year has been saturated with news about blockchain's capabilities and its potential to vastly alter traditional financial ecosystems. However, as Toufi Saliba, CEO of TODA Network, notes, ''The global penetration of [this technology] is less than 0.2 per cent, of which, the vast majority of blockchains are scams.'' While individuals should remain cautious about fraudulent businesses that have arisen from people looking to cash in on the hype, Saliba explains that the next wave of blockchain adoption and utilization will be ''like a tsunami, [where] you can partake in what's yet to be the most disruptive technology in human history, or ignore it and get disrupted."

This year's theme, CONVERGE, immerses participants in content covering new capital market innovation, decentralized models, computer intelligence, infrastructure, alternative investment opportunities and the evolution of the ICO and security token offering (STO).

''The ICO market has shifted towards securitized token offerings and we are pleased to be at the forefront of this change and enabling a true security token standard with Etherparty, which offers AML KYC controls on assets that are issued from financial institutions or companies looking to raise funds through equity financing,'' said Lisa Cheng, Founder and Head of R&D for Vanbex Group.

Save your spot: http://vanfunding.com/

Link to video: watch here

VanFUNDING wouldn't be possible without the generous support of The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA), Toda.Network, Judi.ai, Vanbex Group, Northern Block, FrontFundr, REITIUM, FintruX, Holt Accelerator, TIMIA Capital, JJ Human Capital, Schulte Research and more.

About the NCFA:

The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA) 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. Learn more About Us or visit www.ncfacanada.org.

Media Contact:

Brittany Whitmore
Exvera Communications Inc.
Brittany@exvera.com

SOURCE: National Crowdfunding Association of Canada

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Innovative tech is shaping the future of financial services

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BNN Bloomberg | November 9, 2018

#VF2018 promises to be a comprehensive overview of emerging technologies and alternative financing options

  • The #VF2018 Conference features blockchain, AI, fintech, funding innovations, and alternative finance options for investors and businesses
  • This year’s theme, CONVERGE, engages participants and builds bridges across the most disruptive emerging technologies
  • Immersive educational content, over 50 speakers, and a multitude of networking and partnership opportunities

The 2018 VanFUNDING Conference comes at a perfect time for investors and enthusiasts alike to dive into the vast world of fintech, blockchain, artificial intelligence, digital banking, and much more. Held at Parq Vancouver from November 29-30, this event promises to be the epitome of innovation and knowledge.

Emerging, Disruptive Technologies

Our world is undergoing a period of unprecedented change, especially when it comes to emerging technologies in the financial realm. For instance, we have seen how AI has been adopted into various industries where it powers chatbots and self-driven vehicles. We have also seen how digital commerce has been at the forefront of eliminating the need for paper. Most importantly, we have come to the clear realization that blockchain’s momentum is not slowing down anytime soon and that its capabilities for revolutionizing the financial industry go beyond merely eliminating the “middleman.”

The VanFUNDING 2018 Vancouver Conference comes at a perfect time for investors and capital market participants to learn more about these burgeoning technologies, which together make up the future of finance and other key industries in our modern world.

Apart from the major news that we have heard about blockchain, the advancement of AI projects has been paramount in efforts to further automate work processes and mitigate human error and oversight. With the power to improve fraud detection, enhance financial management, and generate unique trading strategies through historical data observation, the potential here is limitless.

As NCFA CEO, Craig Asano states, “We are witnessing unprecedented change that is already affecting our daily lives — how we interact with financial services, generate digital wealth, invest, evaluate, consume, vote, store, transfer, and purchase anything of value.” With this in mind, it is clear that the need for comprehensive, educational fintech events has never been higher.

In order to provide a holistic analysis of these emergent technologies, #VF2018 will boast workshops, presentations, and mentorship opportunities to encompass the breadth and depth of knowledge these essential topics necessitate. The focus of the conference will be to provide immersive educational content, highlighted by over 50 expert speakers and abundant networking possibilities for attendees, while also providing a pitching platform for emerging players to connect with investors and scale their profile.

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Toufi Saliba, CEO, TODA Network is a pillar in industry helping blockchain technologies achieve massive scale.

Building Bridges

In addition to helping companies understand the best practices of raising capital in public and private markets, the conference will also build bridges between these technologies that are empowering our markets. For instance, what are the key connections between blockchain and AI? How can FinTech utilize blockchain to overhaul obsolete banking systems? How can blockchain make our payments and wealth more secure? What are the technical impediments to mass adoption? These are just a few of the pertinent questions #VF2018 will set out to address.

Moreover, the past year has been especially saturated with news about blockchain’s capabilities and its potential to vastly alter traditional financial ecosystems. The technology has shown immense potential to push us closer towards a utopian financial world, but as Toufi Saliba, CEO of Toda, notes, “The global penetration of [this technology] is less than 0.2 per cent, of which, the vast majority of blockchains are scams.” While individuals should remain cautious about fraudulent businesses that have arisen from people looking to cash in on the hype, Saliba explains that the next wave of blockchain adoption and utilization will be “like a tsunami, [where] you can partake in what's yet to be the most disruptive technology in human history, or ignore it and get disrupted."

To echo and expand on Saliba’s thoughts, over 1,200 blockchain patent applications were filed in 2017, up from 594 in 2016 — many of these applications were submitted by blue-chip financial institutions like Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and others.

What’s Next

Overall, #VF2018 is set up to be a tremendously apropos event for the modern world. The global fintech realm continues to experience disruption on a daily basis via modern technologies such as blockchain and AI. The innovations of today could become antiquated as soon as tomorrow, given the rate at which these technologies are evolving. As such, the demand for immersive, educational content that examines these emerging technologies and their future outlook has skyrocketed. Events such as #VF2018 are essentially acting as a portal into the future, where attendees can stay ahead of the curve to pragmatically anticipate what tomorrow will bring.

To get tickets to this event, click here.

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OSC introduces new cryptoasset educational tools

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Investment Executive | James Langton | Nov 1, 2018

According to the commission’s research, 5% of adults in Ontario already own cryptoassets

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) has launched two cryptoasset educational initiatives as part of its activities for Financial Literacy Month, the commission announced Thursday.

GetSmarterAboutCrypto.ca aims to give investors an overview of cryptoproducts and services, including their regulatory status, and due diligence tips.

TBACoin.ca mimics what a typical fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO) website may look like to help those interested in this type of capital raising tool identify potential red flags.

The hype surrounding the ICO market, combined with poor investor knowledge, “provides fertile ground for fraudsters” to exploit retail investors, the OSC says in a news release. According to the commission’s research, 5% of adults in Ontario, or about 500,000 investors, already own cryptoassets.

“At the OSC we’re committed to fostering innovation in the financial sector while at the same time helping protect investors from potential fraud and ensuring they consider both the opportunities and risks when buying cryptoassets,” says Tyler Fleming, director of the OSC’s Investor Office, in a statement.

See:  OSC Study: Lack of understanding of cryptoassets puts Ontarians at risk

“These initiatives help investors better understand cryptoasset products and services as well as be on the alert for any potential red flags before making a purchase.”

Continue to the full article --> here


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


NEXT WEEK! DON'T MISS IT SEE YOU IN VANCOUVER
LAST CHANCE FOR TIX


Coindesk | Nikhilesh De | Nov 30, 2018 Members of VanEck, SolidX and the Cboe BZX Exchange met with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) staff earlier this week to present a new argument on why the bitcoin market is ready for an exchange-traded fund (ETF). In the latest push to convince the regulator to approve a rule change which would open the door for the country’s first bitcoin ETF, the three firms met with the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, Division of Trading and Markets, Division of Economic and Risk Analysis and Office of General Counsel. Notably, Monday’s effort differed from previous presentations, which took more of a regulatory focus. See:  OSC approves Canada’s first blockchain ETF Instead, the proponents’ argument centered around the idea that the bitcoin market is mature enough to support an ETF, and at present looks similar to markets for other assets which already have such products. The presentation gave several examples of assets that already have ETFs, including crude oil, silver and gold. The presentation specifically tied the idea of futures markets with spot markets, noting that for money substitutes such as gold and silver, this connection between the two can be proven with empirical ...
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Bitcoin ETF Seekers Met With SEC Monday In Latest Pitch for Approval
Investment Executive | By James Langton | Nov 23, 2018 Many hurdles remain for the CMRA before it becomes a reality Canada’s regulatory landscape faces a transformation as politics, shifting priorities and new legal realities push the investment industry’s overseers in new directions. Most obviously, the prospect of a fundamental reshaping of the regulatory framework in Canada now is, at least, a possibility – given the Supreme Court of Canada’s (SCC) long-awaited decision on Nov. 9, which reversed a lower court’s ruling in Quebec, that declared that a proposed federal/provincial model for a co-operative capital markets regulator is constitutional. But while this decision knocks down a basic legal obstacle for the new model for overseeing the securities industry, that doesn’t mean that the adoption of a co-operative regulator is imminent – or even inevitable. Indeed, the SCC’s decision hints at the significance of the hurdles that still must be cleared before the proposed Capital Markets Regulatory Authority (CMRA) can become a reality in Canada. Although the SCC has found that the proposed CMRA model is constitutional, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is a good idea. “It’s up to the provinces to determine whether participation is in their best interests,” the ...
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Not yet a done deal
Forbes | Lawrence Wintermeyer | Dec 2, 2018 If your professional interests take you to the crossroads of financial services, regulation, compliance, and digital - especially data analytics and machine learning - which altogether is known as regtech, you are in the right place. You are part of statistically small and very geek-oriented professional community, but you know this, and though you might choose not to admit this to strangers at this year's festive parties for fear of causing great pain by boredom, you are in good company with this Contributor and my interviewee. I first met Jo Ann Barefoot when I was chairing the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Industry Sandbox Consultation, where she provided excellent guidance and insights. Jo Ann is one of the most dedicated and busiest advocates of the regtech space on the planet and is truly outstanding in both her knowledge and passion in this area. She dedicates her time to a number of global bodies and initiatives related to regtech: she is a Senior Fellow Emerita at the Harvard Kennedy School Center for Business & Government, a Senior Advisor to the Omidyar network, sits on the fintech advisory committee for FINRA, is an Executive Board Member of the International RegTech ...
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A Regulation Revolution In Financial Services
NCFA Canada | Nov 23, 2018 JOIN US ON A STORYTELLING JOURNEY EVERY FRIDAY. Ep19-Nov 23:  Future of Business Tokenization - How Blockchain Challenges Concept of Money About this episode:   On this episode, NCFA Fintech Friday's host Manseeb Khan sits down with Alan Wunsche the CEO of TokenFunder. They chat about ICO's funding startups, tokenization of businesses and buying real estate through tokens. Enjoy! The future of business tokenization How tokenization is going to disrupt real estate and auto industry How blockchain challenges the concept of money Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host Guest:  ALAN WUNSCHE, Founder and CEO, TokenFunder (view Linkedin) Bio:  Alan Wunsche is CEO & Chief Token Officer of TokenFunder, a regulatory-compliant blockchain venture funding platform with Ontario's first regulated Initial Token Offering. He is also Chair & Co-Founder of Blockchain Canada, a Canadian federal not-for-profit corporation with a mission to connect Canadian Blockchain Innovators and to help Canada be a leader in blockchain technology. Alan is a finance technologist focused on new blockchain business models and the disruptive impacts of blockchain on global wealth distribution. He brings hands-on technology experience as a finance and risk transformation executive at a global bank (Scotiabank), management consulting (Deloitte, PwC), and ...
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FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP.19-Nov 23):  Future of Business Tokenization - How Blockchain Challenges Concept of Money with Alan Wunsche, Founder and CEO, Token Funder
CBC News | Nov 23, 2018 More than 3,000 people contributed to campaign to buy new installation from renowned Japanese artist LET'S SURVIVE FOREVER. That's the name of the infinity mirrored room the Art Gallery of Ontario plans to purchase from world-renowned artist Yayoi Kusama — that is, if its crowdfunding campaign is successful. And yes, it's always spelled in all-caps, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) said. Over 3,000 people have already chipped in a contribution to permanently acquire the brand new Kusama installation, even though they hadn't seen it until now. The AGO said its campaign has brought in around half of the $1.3 million it needs to buy the work, but it's hoping more people donate on next week's "Giving Tuesday," a day devoted to donations following "Black Friday" shopping. Here's a look inside the room: The major installation, which will be given a special place at the downtown Toronto gallery, features mirrored orbs on the ground and suspended from the ceiling — similar to the work Narcissus Garden, which dominated a large room in the AGO during last year's ultra-popular Kusama exhibit. There's also a mirrored rectangular column inside the LED-lit room, which creates what's said to feel like an infinity room inside an infinity room ...
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Art Gallery of Ontario shows off the Yayoi Kusama infinity room it's crowdfunding to buy
CNBC | Eric C. Jansen, president and chief investment officer of Finivi | Oct 31, 2018 The many big companies disrupted by blockchain have now made it a priority to harness this technology. Large firms such as Accenture, Facebook, Google, IBM and Microsoft are developing patented products and services based on blockchain's digital-ledger open-source technology that can be accessed and adapted by anyone. Ironically, the whole raison d'etre of blockchain is to circumvent the very type of centralized authority these traditional tech companies represent. Development efforts in both private and public blockchain are seeking to forge new business models. As is typically the case when faced with disruption, large companies are seeking to defend their territory by adopting the very tool that threatens them. With blockchain there's a lot at stake. The global market for blockchain-related products and services is about $700 million and is projected to exceed $60 billion annually in 2024, according to Wintergreen Research. Among the big corporate blockchain players are Accenture, Facebook, Google, IBM and Microsoft. These firms are developing products and services based on blockchain's digital-ledger open-source technology that can be accessed and adapted by anyone. Blockchain enables global transactions between parties without going through ...
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Blockchain's potential will continue to spur public and private investment
CFO Innovation | by Eric Cheung, Unit4 Asia Pacific | March 15, 2018 The world as we know it is changing. Rapid technological advancements are altering industries and creating new market opportunities. As the business world accelerates towards what arguably is looking like an everything-as-a-service (XaaS) economy, the next few years will be pivotal for finance departments in making the transformations necessary to update their service offerings and deliver service excellence. Several trends are converging over the next few years that could set the stage for a service-economy shift that will keep CFOs more than ever in the driving seat. This year, 2018, may turn out to be an important turning point for the finance function as three disruptive technologies begin to be widely adopted – as the finance function of Unit4 Asia Pacific, which I lead as CFO, is finding out. In the finance function, we are developing blockchain-enabled distributed ledgers that we plan to link to our Unit4 Financials single-ledger system in 2018 Blockchain and Self-Driving Finance As the foundation of cryptocurrencies, blockchain has already played a vital role in next-generation finance tools. It is also gaining traction in a wide range of industries across Asia Pacific. In ...
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A Tech CFO on Three Disruptive Technologies Transforming Finance
Cointlegraph | By Marie Huillet | Nov 20, 2018 The cryptocurrency market crash has eased pressure on the U.K.’s financial regulator to introduce hasty new rules for the sector, Reuters reported Nov. 20. As Reuters outlines, the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) had been pressed to expedite new regulation for the rapidly growing crypto space, raising the risk of a heavy-handed approach that could impede investment and stifle development. Now that the sector has settled, government officials and FCA representatives indicate they will be taking more time to fine-tune the balance between investor protection and fostering financial innovation. See:  House Finance Committee Urges Canadian Government to Regulate Cryptocurrencies Speaking at a conference dedicated to crypto regulation in London yesterday, Nov 20., Gillian Dorner, deputy director for financial services at Britain’s finance ministry, said: “We want to take the time to look at that in a bit more depth and make sure we take a proportionate approach.” British regulators reportedly told the conference they are analyzing over 2,000 crypto assets to see whether they can be regulated under existing rules before considering whether reform might be necessary. Christopher Woolard, the FCA’s executive director for strategy and competition, is quoted as saying ...
Read More
Crypto Bear Market Gives UK Regulators Breathing Space to Finalize Crypto Regulation
Crowdfund Insider | Cali Haan | Nov 19, 2018 After holding a series of 18 meetings to review Canada’s Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA), the House Finance Committee has recommended that the Government of Canada regulate cryptocurrency businesses to prevent criminal use, iPolitics reports. The committee has been conducting meetings to review PCMLTFA laws since February, something required of at least one parliamentary committee every five years. See:  OSC introduces new cryptoasset educational tools The committee has heard from over 70 expert witnesses since it started the review last February, including representatives from the financial advisory firm IJW & Co. and the law firm Durand Morisseau LLP, both of which submitted 65-page reports. In its report to the government, the committee said that both firms warned: “(I)n the absence of some degree of regulatory oversight, cryptocurrency transactions may be used by parties to swiftly move large amounts of wealth across borders.” The committee said that its three recommendations to parliament accorded with those suggested by the firms: Cryptocurrency exchanges handling crypto-to-fiat conversions must be legally classed as money services businesses (MSBs), which are required to follow strict financial-reporting guidelines, “…in compliance with the PCMLTFA.” Cryptocurrency exchanges should be licensed ...
Read More
House Finance Committee Urges Canadian Government to Regulate Cryptocurrencies
NCFA Canada | Nov 16, 2018 JOIN US ON A STORYTELLING JOURNEY EVERY FRIDAY. Ep18-Nov 16:  Bridging the AML/ATF Gap with Financial Institutions and the New Economy About this episode:   On this episode, NCFA Fintech Fridays host Manseeb Khan sits down with Charlene Cieslik the Chief Anti-Money Laundering Officer at Coinsquare. They talk about not everyone using crypto is a terrorist, regulatory uncertainty, cape shopping and guidance in the crypto space. Enjoy! Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host Guest:  CHARLENE CIESLIK, Chief AML Officer, Coinsquare (view Linkedin) Bio:  Charlene Cieslik is the Chief Anti Money Laundering Officer of Coinsquare, Canada's most secure digital asset exchange for buying bitcoin, ethereum, and other digital currencies.  During her 20-year career, Charlene has held roles as the Chief Compliance Officer, Chief Anti-Money Laundering Officer, Chief Anti-Bribery Officer, and Chief Privacy Officer at several Canadian and Foreign scheduled banks, where she was responsible for the development, remediation, and execution of AML/ATF, anti-bribery, regulatory, and privacy programs.  Charlene has worked with several “Big 4” accounting firms and a Canadian fintech company, where she has assisted global financial institutions with AML/ATF program development, particularly with post-regulatory exam remediation and AML/ATF investigations. Charlene holds a Master’s degree ...
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FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP.18-Nov 16): Bridging the AML/ATF Gap with Financial Institutions and the New Economy with Charlene Cieslik, Chief AML Officer, Coinsquare

 

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Latest West Coast Tourism Location, Squamish Canyon, Opens Up Investment to the Community by Equity Crowdfunding to Create an All Ages All Weather Experience through Amazing Canyons and Waterfalls

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FrontFundr Release | Victoria Bennett | Oct 31, 2018

As Squamish, on B.C.'s busy west coast, cements its reputation as the Outdoor Capital of Canada, it opens up a challenge, what do you do if you can't or don't want to do extreme sports?

SQUAMISH, BC, October 31, 2018 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Squamish sits between two of the biggest tourist destinations in Canada – Vancouver, B.C. and Whistler, B.C. and is quickly becoming a destination itself. The Squamish tourism market has been growing at an amazing rate, even faster than B.C.'s tourism market as a whole. In 2017, there was a total of 5,713,926 overnight international visitor arrivals to the province, including 3,691,074 visitors from the US, 1,277,878 from Asia Pacific. The government has been putting more and more resources into attracting tourists to this amazing part of the world and the investment is paying off – in B.C., the tourism gross domestic product grew more rapidly in 2016 than all other industries combined.

Many of the activities in and around Squamish are designed specifically for the extreme sports enthusiast and very able outdoors people, even the hiking is difficult. The Sea to Sky Gondola (constructed in 2014) is one of the only attractions in the Squamish area that caters to visitors of all abilities. Additional attractions and activities that all levels and abilities can enjoy are needed in this area, to address the surge in visits by local and international tourists. Robin Sherry, founder and project lead of Squamish Canyon has met with the different levels of government from the city to roads to parks and first responders and they are all struggling to keep up with the rate of tourism growth in the region. There is still a need for investment and support by the government to the Parks, but there is also a need for private industry to play its role.

See:  Join us Nov 29-30 at the 4th annual VanFUNDING 2018: CONVERGE conference!

As the area has grown through tourism the community has grown too and having alternative activities for both tourists and the community that are safe, all weather and all ages has become paramount.

Working closely with the logging community and industry in the area, Squamish Canyon is preserving 26 acres of forest and creating low impact activities including interpretive forest and canyon walks, playground and entertainment area. Five years in the planning, Sherry is working with local businesses and contractors with international and local experience to have Squamish Canyon ready to open in Summer, 2019.

Robin Sherry commented, "I've lived in Squamish for over ten years and seen the huge growth in tourism but also the growth in the town. I am very involved in the outdoor community, but I also want everyone to be able to participate in this stunning location. Participation means a number of things; to be able to walk safely through temperate rainforest and understand the history ,culture and ecology, to bring local businesses in as suppliers, to create meaningful jobs that enable people to live in Squamish and to open up the investment to the community, so people can benefit from revenues made by Squamish Canyon."

Squamish Canyon launched their equity crowdfunding campaign on Canada's largest investment crowdfunding platform, FrontFundr on Tuesday, October 30th. Canadians can invest from $250 on the platform. Prior to launch, nearly $300,000 has already been reserved by investors.

Key Data
- Approximately 7.6 million people drive the Sea to Sky Highway per annum; 60 – 70% of those are estimated to be visitors to the area.
- Squamish Canyon is located 65 km from Whistler BC, which sees approximately 2.7 million visitors annually.
- Squamish Canyon is nestled in the Coastal Mountains at the end of the Howe Sound surrounded by fjords and waterfalls in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. The canyon is a few minutes off the spectacular Sea to Sky Highway, close to the world famous Stawamus Chief (340,000 visitors annually), Shannon Falls Provincial Park (475,000 visitors annually) and the Sea to Sky Gondola (400,000 visitors annually).
- The Sea to Sky Gondola sees approximately 400,000 visitors annually and far exceeded its highest visitor projections in the first year of operations. An estimated 80% of gondola visitors were specifically coming to the area to ride the gondola and not just passing through on the way to Whistler (Kirby Brown, General Manager, Sea to Sky Gondola).
Squamish Canyon will be located 62 km from Capilano Suspension Bridge, North Vancouver, BC – over 800,000 visitors annually
- The focus for Tourism Squamish is currently on attracting multi-generational tourists from the Lower Mainland (Lesley Weeks, Executive Director of Tourism Squamish)

See:  Fans donate over $500K to Vancouver’s independent Rio Theatre so it can buy its own space

For more information or to arrange an interview contact Victoria Bennett victoria@bmwconsults.com (403) 589 7992

Full details of the offering can be found in the Offering Memorandum. This document is for information purposes only. Please consult your finance professional before making an investment.

Squamish Canyon is a proposed destination addressing the Sea to Sky Corridor's critical lack of engaging, safe, and fun experiences for visitors of all ages. British Columbia's Highway 99 from Horseshoe Bay to Lillooet (known as the Sea to Sky Highway) links Metro Vancouver with Whistler and Squamish, BC. It is one of the busiest tourist highways in Canada, with day parks along the route seeing up to 900,000 visitors per year. And for those without advanced abilities, it's a destination they cannot fully experience.

Mamquam Adventures Inc, a local company with world-class partners, is changing that, designing a year-round, all-weather experience; one that can be enjoyed by the local 'big kids', parents with toddlers, grandma and grandpa, and almost anyone in between on the Vancouver - Squamish - Whistler highway.

At Squamish Canyon, you will be immersed in the natural beauty of the place named "Mother of Wind", walking over waterfalls, along the edge of canyon walls, and through a majestic rainforest on boardwalks, bridges, and suspended walkways, an experience only a whitewater kayaker or climber could previously enjoy. Along the journey, visitors will learn about local ecosystems, glacial water systems, outdoor safety, the history of the land and the First Nations of the area, as well as safety and conservation.

Mamquam Adventures Inc. values environmental and social sustainability, public transparency, and accountability. The company intends to balance growth and purpose in creating Squamish Canyon. The project brings together industry and tourism, diversifying the economy of the area, and creating a place for the local community and visitors to revel in the natural, rustic beauty of Canada's outdoor recreation capital.

Squamish Canyon. A destination waiting.

Source:  view release


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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FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP.13-Oct 12): Road to Fintech IPO: Capital Networks, Scalable Solutions, Putting People First with Ali Pourdad, Co-founder and CEO Progressa

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NCFA Canada | Oct 13, 2018

Ep13-Oct 13:  Road to Fintech IPO:  Capital Networks, Scalable Solutions, Putting People First

About this episode:   On this episode, NCFA show host Manseeb Khan sits down with Ali Pourdad the CEO of Progressa who recently closed out an $84 million dollar round. They talk about P2P loans, loan services operating within the blockchain and why being people first business matters. Enjoy! (see Transcript)

Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host

Guest:  ALI POURDAD, Co-founder and CEO, Progressa (LinkedIn)

Bio:  Ali Pourdad has been CEO of Progressa since its inception in 2013. Under his leadership the Company has raised over $40 million of investor capital and invested over $2.0 million dollars in its proprietary "Powered by Progressa" decision engine for Canadian Enterprise partners looking to enhance collections strategy in a positive way. The company has grown to over 110 employees in Vancouver and Toronto. Ali has decisively positioned Progressa for its next generation of growth by recently executing on several initiatives, including creating one of Canada's most popular Exempt Market Bond Offerings and securing an $11.4 million Series A financing .

Prior to co-founding Progressa, Ali worked in both corporate restructuring and audit & assurance, with the bulk of his professional career at PwC, where he managed top-tier engagements of financial firms. Born and raised in Vancouver, BC, Ali holds a Canadian Chartered Accountant degree and a BBA in Finance from Simon Fraser University. He began his professional career at a young age, co-founding a leading IT services firm with locations in Edmonton, AB and Vancouver, BC in 1998. Ali is also a regular contributor to Business in Vancouver's weekly radio technology panel and was named to BIV's Top 40 under 40 in 2017.

 

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Transcription of Interview

Manseeb Khan:  Hey Everybody Manseeb Khan here. And you are tuning in to another episode Fintech Friday. Today I have the amazing the incredibly talented Ali Pourdad CEO Progresa. Ali thank you so much for sitting down with me today.

Ali Pourdad: Thanks for having me.

Manseeb Khan:   Yeah so Ali could you just give the audience a little bit about who you are and essentially who and what Progresa is.

Ali Pourdad: Sure. I'm happy to. I think for those who are not aware of myself or Progressa I have a background as an entrepreneur. I've been there for about 20 years. This is my second business I had to get out of high school. Pre Dot-com which shows was my age. This is my second life. We started Progresa back in 2013 in Vancouver . Me and my co-founder originally started off as a straight consumer finance lending business. And sort of quietly behind the scenes we were building software. And today. I would say we're sort of a full-blown financial technology company and we have a lending business. That drives a significant amount of revenue but we also. A multitude of software offerings for our major Canadian enterprises. We solve problems for Canadian business.

Manseeb Khan:  Yeah that's incredible. So, this might be a silly question, but I guess we'll make you a little bit more different than Money Mart and any of the other loan services out there.

Ali Pourdad: Sure. Yeah but you don't see companies like money mart or other loan services, companies as a competitor because. We don't we don't go direct to consumer like they do. So. A company like many of markets has branches, HYG online but there are really seeking consumers and going directly at consumers for lending products and offering them. Credit where they actually paying cash in their pocket and not necessarily helping them  helping them. Progressa fundamentally different. All of our customer acquisition comes from other businesses. And we're typically solving problems for those businesses and probably problem for those consumers. And what I mean by that is our software is setting up and offering a number of services. But the main purpose of at least  two thirds of our software solution. Revolves around enterprise collections and try to have a healthier and more of a holistic approach to the recover money as a Canadian enterprise so. That would be an example of you know a young lady or a young gentleman who's going through a tough time in the past that. They owe. You know Roger or TELUS money. Progresa is the company that will come in and help facilitate that recovery for those enterprises. Help them recover money but also offer a better experience. To that young lady or that young gentleman who might be going through that tough time or stressful time. Ultimately. What that means is that larger TELUS, Bell, and other enterprises that use Progresa. Will have better net promoter score. Better. Which is better customer satisfaction. And ultimately manager their risk better for them. There's been real demand for differences between that and traditional lenders. All of our loans for example the customers will actually not seeing money, we're helping pay their debts and pay down the debt. And leaving them into better financial life.

Manseeb Khan: You guys also do. I mean I've from looking from your website and from some of your past blog posts you just do go a little bit more deeper than credit scores. You start building I guess a customer persona. And just like a characteristic of like who this  person is their past history someone is not in and of itself is pretty incredible because now the loan is a lot more  personalized, it's a lot more individualized`.

Ali Pourdad: Yeah exactly and that's a very good point. I mean we do have a proprietary technology that we built over the years. Technology is quite different than what's out in the market today, what's out in the market today is, you put it very well it's not personal. It's very generic and it's very archaic. And so, it leaves a lot of the population in a position where. They can't be helped even though they might be financially responsible or living within their budget. You are doing all the right thing but. On paper it doesn't reflect that. That's where Progressa shines that. That's why we've been successful even quietly growing behind the scenes because. We'd be making major investment. And that technology that allows us to evaluate these consumers just fundamentally differently and give them credit for things that might you might not necessarily see as a traditional lender.

Manseeb Khan: So, you recently raised the 84 million dollars round which is absolutely incredible. Previously you raised a 10-million-dollar round. You took a much more alternative approach compared to the other startups out there. There were a lot more loud a lot more bullish. In a sense they have the mentality of You don't need banks, we don't need do we need the old world because we're building the new one right. We don't need your guys help you guys look much more silent a lot more tactical route of quietly building partnerships with banks and credit card companies. Could you talk a little bit more of that approach and what that approach looks like and what would your advice look like to other startups on collaborating with banks and other institutions.

Ali Pourdad: Happy to answer that question. I would say there was always a very well thought out plan in the early days when we first launched there was a lot of fintech’s out there that. We’re making quite a bit of noise in the marketplace. A lot of that noise revolved around either taking down the bank or replacing the need for banks etc., etc. . And you know in the Canadian marketplace we have an affiliation with the bank that's going to be quite hard to displace. And we saw that in the early days. So, you know what we decided to do is just invest in. Trying to tackle bank problems. What are the things that the banks are trying to tackle and how can we? Help them be more successful. That was a fundamental decision we made early on. We did it quietly and without making noise because. Frankly we weren't ready to scale the business and have been a business that had both. Technology and lending. You're not going to scale until you have scalable technology and you can't have scalable technology until you have a track record behind with. Very chicken and egg. You have the built of a little bit slow and steady or you risk blowing up your company. And that's what we did. And we now reach the point this where we that we have a very strong foundation as you mentioned. We raised a big round that round the reflection of. The sort of the order that we chose to tackle problems. And investors saw that they saw that we hadn't blown up our business and that. We're you know conscience of investors capital. And they doubled down and supported that next stage. You know my advice entrepreneurs considering building disruptive technology you really need to evaluate what your road map looks, what's you path revenue. Or if you have a better revenue try to disrupt banks or try to work with banks. Sometimes both can be achieved at the same time and. That's the route the Progressa chose.

Manseeb Khan: Some of the investors mentioned that you've actually from day one you started operating the business as it was a public company. You know you talked about how you guys built the very strong foundation. Could you just give us a little bit more detail of what that foundation looks like and how you pretty much just muted out everybody else and just put your head down and just build Progressa.

Ali Pourdad:  Sure. Yeah, I mean I know my background in between my first business and Progressa sort of pivoted professional services I became a chartered accountant I worked at PWC for a number of years. Really built up my professional skill set so that. I knew that one day I go back entrepreneurship and I really wanted to have a good tool kit. To build a business in a proper way. You can help businesses any number of ways a lot of entrepreneurs get lucky, some of them blow up their businesses. I knew that this type of business was going to be successful I need to build the skill set. So, with a professional a background I very quickly started to build the team and the right spot. And we focus on things that we knew were going to be needed to rebuild capital. Making sure we have proper financial reporting, making sure we have things like insurance, making sure you know we have good controls, getting audited financial statements and so on and so forth. And we made all of those investments right off the bat. To raise money in the Canadian marketplace. Well there's a lot of heavy regulation. You know the government securities regulations in each of the provinces. Is there to protect investors and rightfully so as a company that you know had a strong report below like we do. We had to have all of these checks and balances in place . In order to be able to successfully raise money. Today, that got an easier because we're more on the radar. But as early stage startup when you're going through these things. Such as one of one of the things you might not think about that makes  will make life easier for you. Make those investments. So, you know allocate capital to proper lawyers. Allocate capital to make sure you build your finance team. Have that reporting to share holder reporting as well it's very important in the early days. To keep you're a shareholder in the loop people and keep them happy. Because you might be going back to them for more money and investors are happy to see the right track to a great growth story. But you've got to deliver what you say.

Manseeb Khan: So, I guess sticking with the same chicken and egg analogy that you previously mentioned you want to make sure you have all your ducks in a row before you start bringing on investors and everybody right.

Ali Pourdad: Yes exactly. I mean we would I mean nowhere we're 6 years in, and we bootstrapped for the first couple years we've totally bootstrapped the business. I don't remember having a management team up until two and a half years into the company. So, we were probably. 20, 26 people before I hired my first other senior manager. You know Ali was HR, He was the CFO. He was legal. I did. I'd basically over just over 20. Individuals in the organization. And tell that point you know as an entrepreneur when you reach that point and your business is run rate is reaching a point where you. De-risk the investment. To the point, we have reached that. You know we've got to the point where the business has started to prove it or start to prove that. Even if we do start to make the right investments and people and scalable technology that we could build something big. Once we had the core competency of the central bank when we take. Both decisions. You know I would be going any other way. in any  entrepreneur that's looking to start a business today. Simply understand you're core competency first. Do that. Make the investment and understanding that before you build. Anything scalable on top of that. You want to make sure that you're building on the right foundation because you'll still move faster you pay your investors a lot of money

Manseeb Khan: You guys are also gearing up to go public by the end of 2019. So. Again just talking about the huge round that you just raised. What got investors excited? Was that a marketing experiment?

Ali Pourdad: To give credit to the investment bankers that were involved in our fund raise they did a good job positioning Progressa of the Canadian marketplace. Listen we may go public, we haven't officially announced anything, but the reality is that a lot of the market driven. we're executing on growth right now. The business is reaching record run rate on revenue and the bottom line and it sets us up to go public nicely. That's what our Board decides to do and our shareholders support. We do have a number a lot of shareholders. They were already about 200 shareholders are Progressa today. So, you know as a small business with 200 shareholders everybody has to be on. The same page about a decision like that. There's lots of avenues for late stage private companies to. Create liquidity for investors if that's their plan. My personal plan is to continue to execute on our strategic plan that our board has signed off on. It's ambitious and it grows this business into a very credible player in Canada. One thing that you mentioned earlier that all sort of reiterated that we had. Very much flown under the radar for 3, 4, 5 years and now we're trying to get on my radar. Where you can fully expect that. So, we're going to be. Doubling down quite hard on that side of things and therefore you know we're going to be more on the radar than ever before. And that's very much a function of launching our technology offering publicly. And you know all of our technology offerings that we made all these investments in. Have supported a growing lending business. But today they're ready to support. Other companies and support them and help them achieve their business objectives. And  you can expect to be hearing a lot more about Progressa as we roll up those products in the coming weeks.

Manseeb Khan: Yeah, I'm super excited just to see like what's going to be like the changes that may or may not happen now that you guys are going to be a little bit more on everybody's radar. So how are you going to keep the team and Progressa motivated healthy and productive and how do you see I guess the environment changing I mean I a rumor going public?

Ali Pourdad: Yeah, I mean there's different challenges for us as a Toronto and Vancouver company as they try to make. There are two very different cultures. I think.,  The first point is that you have to put the people first if you want to grow your team in a healthy and productive way. you make investments and bringing the right leaders in the work of younger teams that motivate them. But you also have to keep an eye on market trend is that you know you're out there especially in a large organization like we are. They're always talking they always have their eyes and ears on their friends that other organizations to stay competitive truly competitive you need to have a proactive strategy with your employees and not reactive. You know as it relates to Progressa today we really doubled down on people we've made serious investments in our senior H.R. people. We just went on Merit Finley the senior executive from over venture just literally started and this last week, really big win for a company like Progressa because you can't navigate this late stage try this. Potentially IPO scenario without a person like that. The IPO that just leads to bigger and better things. I mean I would expect our team to increase in size modestly. But I our H.R function that really where I would be focused. If you were to IPO, you suddenly now have different challenges and risks. And you need to keep people first That have a people first philosophy. As long as that  doesn't change, and you double down with  everything else. Then post IPO should look really good.

Manseeb Khan: There are a lot of startups that both have either office in Vancouver and in Toronto. I guess your best advice to them would be just double down on people focus on HR and just be there for every single individual in the company because they're the people that are going to help build your amazing building and your business right.

Ali Pourdad: Absolutely. I mean are companies are complex, as an entrepreneur you may not see that on day one. You may be just doing everything and happy to do it and that sort of learning things on the fly. But as you build out teams and build out processes start making investments and technology becomes very. Sort of evidence to how complex it is. And., I think. You know my advice obviously try to simplify it as much as you can and keep things simple for yourself and for your senior leaders that you bring on. Businesses are inherently complex and if you don't keep people first they get  burnt out They don't grow. They get frustrated. You really have a people first mindset to drive that. We haven't always had it right. Progressa it's not something you get right. Right away, you sometimes make mistakes you hire the wrong people and you just need to iterate just like iterate technology iterate on your team and get it to a place where it becomes scalable. Because it's not just technology scalability that. Drives businesses like fintech its's people scale ability. Have the right people at the right times. And. You have to know when it's the right time for those people to move on. These companies evolve very fast. I mean you know in the early days you might double, triple, quadruple revenue year over year. If you maintain those run rates for two three four years. And haven't paid those investments in people get burnt out really fast. And so. That would be my advice.

Manseeb Khan: Yeah, I love that people scalability. That's incredible. So, I guess you have mentioned that a little bit early on like how much harder it is for Canadian  fintech companies to get Canadian investment money. What is your perspective on the regulating sector. So, for example consumer loans. Do you feel that the government is including regulators? And do you think they're striking the right balance between investor protection and enabling market innovation?

Ali Pourdad: Yeah, I mean I think certainly some regulation is needed across the board. Otherwise you know you get your in situations a country that things don't make macro sense anymore. The best example would be in 2008 there's no lack of regulation that caused banks in the US  to have aggressive underwriting practices and that turns into major problems. So, you don't want that. Sort of worst-case scenario. In Canada. You know people I think people would be quite surprised to understand there is a fair amount of regulation out there in consumer loans. We know we have a very heavily regulated mortgage-based payday loan base. And even other types of lending were very heavily regulated. You know in my view household debt to income ratios are quite concerning in Canada. That is, you know that could easily be correlated. Other things that may not be a regulation issue simply could be. You know high real estate prices the low interest rate. Those are very hard things the regulators control. So, balance is tough  question the answer from an investor standpoint I do believe provincial governments have worked hard to find that right balance investor protection and enabling innovation. You know a major issue that we continue to have in Canada though. Is that these provinces that security regulators aren't harmonized yet and that may. Make things complicated for starts to navigate and innovate quickly.

Manseeb Khan:  Touching back on what you said you guys have invested in a lot of the technologies right? Do you see the future with digital banking by offering a full range of services. And if so I guess what technologies you are most excited about and that you think is going to have the most impact.

Ali Pourdad: Yeah, I mean I think we're already a lot of the way there in Canada. I think our  major banks have fairly strong digital banking offerings themselves. And so, you know there's lots there's a there's a lot of room for disruption, but I think the single probably the single most important legislation required to. Fully complete digital banking roadmap for all Canadians and probably the one I'm most excited about. Is the open banking concept? And that's something that governments started to get wind down in the year they. Have already started to empower consumers with data. Once the banking data is back in the control of the consumers and not the bank. Then you really will have a truly digital banking environment with a full range of services. And you know the ability to unlock full potential. And until then you know you know I think Canadian fintech’s will continue to innovate. You know again Progressa we play behind the scenes we try to play it with. Predicates. Where that. Adds value to a bank and credit cards and so on. Solve problems. You know. What that could lead to it. The regulators don't offer it if they don't move quick enough on open banking, then the banks could just snap up fintech’s one at a time as they see fit. I think. You know you. Have. Different data that are still around after five six seven years. They are well positioned to. Sit down with parents who are having those conversations hoping they can change the environment in Canada significantly. As it relates to digital banking operate because it could really make life good for Canadian's for Canadians and either the playing field for a lot of consumers out there without traditional access to credit Or Just traditional banking products simply because their data is in the control of the banks. Is not doing anything with that.

Manseeb Khan: So essentially the old gatekeepers of helping Canadians in the past are going to be greatly diminished just making it ,like you mentioned a couple times or just making lives of Canadians that much more easy.

Ali Pourdad: That's the idea. I mean banks I think banks do a  great job I've got. I'm not in the camp that banks need to go down or fold or be this be disruptive. Certainly, there's a lot of services and banks that are frustrating to the consumer to deal with. At the end of the day they happy they think large investment digital banking offerings. The issue is less to do with those offerings and more to do with. Empowering the consumer. As a consumer of a bank. You sometimes feel handcuffed. And. I you know I think fundamentally that a lot of upside here for Canadians. If the government does step in and offer you know to open up the data again it's kimono and give power back to the consumer. It just opens up a wide range of opportunity to offer service that. Really. You know make life good for that consumer I mean best examples are the social media companies in the U.S. that. Are able to take data and improve. And again, depends on who you ask. But if you ask me and you've offered your consent really improve life for you and they think very sort of seamless day to day. There's no reason they can't be in that situation in Canada with banking data and make a well thought out plan.

Manseeb Khan: So, speaking of peer to peer you're seeing a lot of people starting to shift into getting into crypto and very much getting into blockchain and how do you see loan services like yourself getting into blockchain and how do you see loan services in the blockchain and different from existing services that we have today. And what I'm asking is What do you need to see be a KYC, be it regulatory to make an actual shift to be 50/50 blockchain or if not just go all in on blockchain.

Ali Pourdad: Yeah. So, I think the answer to that question is simply to look at where the regulations are heaviest and where. Block Chain can solve those problems. And in lending you know I think those questions are still being asked. There not fully fleshed out but certainly where you have heavy KYC the mortgage space and other types of lending in Canada. Yes, the blockchain can solve a significant problem as it relates to onboarding customers and making sure that there's a paper trail for everything. And so, from that perspective the block chain has some real application. Things more seamless for consumers. I think. You know the parts crypto is concerned there is a lot of the young population out there that. Has been investing in cryptocurrency. And the average age of a crypto user is quite young. And they're building up cryptocurrency wallet. With real financial holdings there so. That money is available.  but not in their Canadian or Canadian bank account it's not available under U.S. bank account. It's available in their crypto account. And so. Naturally. You know there's going to be. Sources and uses for the money and the lending is one option for the cryptocurrency you're going to start to see platforms. That offer peer to peer lending options for the crypto currencies. Simply because people are going to be sitting on those currencies and are going to want to get that money to work and try to generate a return just like any. You know company or other peer to peer platforms the in  U.S.  for example, trying to achieve. Definitely we're going to see shifts into crypto I don't think it's to take over the world as far as lending is concerned, I think lending is just A function of whatever currency is sitting on out there whether it's crypto or fiat. But certainly, the block chain going back to that will make life good. And I think that the companies right now that are Again asking the question when. Where are the problems? Where the pain points? And how can I use blockchain to make things better? At Progressa that  We're certainly exploring a lot of those things but not haven’t decided to use the blockchain yet.

Manseeb Khan: So, you did mention peer to peer loans right. So, do you see peer to peer loans disrupting your business given that it would make it a lot more easier for just Canadians and if not under serviced  Canadians to get loans or just to make sure they can pay the Rogers bill or the phone bill or what have you.

Ali Pourdad:  I don't necessarily see that I think offering credit is a core competency that you have to learn over time. It was something that is easy to reproduce. We have learned by mistake. The have to have money loose. Because you definitely will lose money in the beginning and it takes time to. Again, understand that core competencies that you can start to scale it and make money in greater amounts you know is it possibly disrupt able ? absolutely there is possible disruption there in the future. I think in Canada probably a lower chance of that happening. Peer to peer lending in Canada first of all is being banned by securities regulators for quite some time. In the U.S. certainly you see peer to peer lending is much more prevalent. And you're already seeing a block chain-based companies tackle peer to peer lending. But there is just a drop in the bucket and the reality is the block chain is at this point heavily correlated with crypto currencies. And are like crypto currencies and so that's the main driver. You know if somebody borrowing and they don't need crypto currency then there's really no use of the platform. So. As far as I understand there's we're still talking about tens of millions of crypto currency users across the world not hundreds of millions or 200 you know are billions yet. And so, it's still a quite a small market. Relative  to the overall market and something that. Companies just to keep their eye on and evaluate as they grow and look at market opportunities and pounce on it if you think there's something there to. To grow into.

Manseeb Khan: Yeah no absolutely. Like we said before the average crypto very young so it's tens of millions 100 to hundreds. So, it's not a very young, very infancy stage for companies to pounce on it right. So, I guess one of the things that is out there that's very prevalent in the business media would be alongside of crypto and blockchain would be AI right. AI is definitely going to be disrupting the banking industry for sure in the past couple episodes. It was also mentioned that AI is also going to be very disruptive for the insurance business. How do you see AI either disrupting or helping the loan services and Do you see as an opportunity or do you see it as a threat?

Ali Pourdad: Oh, I mean perhaps this is an opportunity for sure want to be very people are asking this question because I don't know that I would recommend. You know getting into lending if you have an AI that's not the reason to get into lending and I don't think you can use AI effectively right off the bat anyway. I think you have to grow into AI. AI is by its inherently is reliant on big data. You're not just sitting on that data when you launch a business. You have to build the data over time, you need to make sure it's a scaleable data. It's being housed properly that a lot of an investment you have to make it into a  data infrastructure. To leverage AI effectively. So, from our perspective I mean we definitely see it as an opportunity because we've made those investments. Heavy investments in technology and our data infrastructure. I mean we have a  full data team in Vancouver. That to use AI effectively to have automated credit models and use sort of machine learning to automate the recalibration process that we that we currently have humans doing you know. And so that that's all upside for business that make those investments. But it's not something that I don't think  it's not practical for a number of years. You have to you can't just acquire the data, you have learned by mistakes. And build up to date on an appropriate way so that when you're ready to build scalable technology you know they you add AI to the list.

Manseeb Khan: Yeah. So, all of that is just testing and learning right? Where do you see yourself in Progressa the next three to five years? I mean given that we talked about block chain and crypto and AI?

Ali Pourdad: Three to five-year progress as generating, I mean you can see us like a traditional online lending business. But over three to five years Progress is going to generate the majority of its revenue from that technologies. And a minority of its revenues is from the lending business. I mean we made a  significant investment in software. That are driving great growth in  our lending business today. But over the next three to five years you know I fully expect that we'll be able to service our much larger enterprise partners in more meaningful ways as a software provider and much more so than a lender. For me personally you know I'm having fun. We've made significant investments in building out a great team. And I want to see this team be successful. I work closely with our board and I'll continue to run Progressa as long as they have me with the job. At the same time, you know Progressa has set me up for many great opportunities personally well had to get involved with many younger entrepreneurs as I can. And guide them and share my voice. I had the privilege of contributing weekly for a couple years on the Business in Vancouver the technology panel and continue to do that and have fun. You know I'm in a mode personally where Progressa even though we've been flying under the radar behind the scenes. Progressa has set me up to contribute back how meaningfully and guide younger entrepreneurs and try to get involved with younger businesses that have disruptive technologies. But I think that's what I see for Her my future.

Manseeb Khan: Yeah that's incredible it's actually very humbling to hear that like even though you are I guess relatively compared to traditional businesses you guys are a very young company, but you already have the mindset of Yeah, I know I'm still a startup and I'm still building a great business, but I still want to give back to young entrepreneurs. someone to guide them like hey that mistake I made over there yeah don't do that to just do this instead this was going to make your life so much easier. That's absolutely incredible. So as an aspiring young entrepreneur myself I wholeheartedly thank you and amazing entrepreneurs like you for helping and just guiding us and giving back.

Ali Pourdad: Yeah. Thank you. I appreciate it and thanks for having me on the show.

Manseeb Khan: Absolutely. So, what will be the best way for young entrepreneurs out there to contact you. Could we snapchat you. Do you up on Twitter. What we the best way to contact you?

Ali Pourdad: Yeah for sure. I'm on Twitter as my handle is  Ali Pourdad. It's my first name and my last name. You can find me on progressa dot com as well. I will have a bio on there with my name, so you'll find me on Twitter, you'll find me on Instagram. And happy to chat with young entrepreneurs. I mean we certainly have a handful of Progressa. But again, I'm also on LinkedIn. Always a good way to find me in on LinkedIn. Happy to chat with young entrepreneurs  and add I value where I can.

Manseeb Khan: Awesome. Ali thank you so much for sitting down with me today and I can't wait to have you on the show again hopefully post IPO.

Ali Pourdad: I'd love to be back thanked you !

 

 

 

 

End of Podcast

 

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NEXT WEEK! DON'T MISS IT SEE YOU IN VANCOUVER
LAST CHANCE FOR TIX


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