Category Archives: NCFA Blog

Cynthia Huang, CEO of Altcoin Fantasy and Airhosts Forum Joins NCFA’s Ambassador Program

NCFA Canada | October 25, 2019

Cynthia Huang - Cynthia Huang, CEO of Altcoin Fantasy and Airhosts Forum Joins NCFA’s Ambassador ProgramVANCOUVER, Oct 25, 2019 – The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) today announced that Cynthia Huang, CEO of Altcoin Fantasy, the leading digital asset trading simulator, has joined the Association’s Ambassadors Program.

NCFA Ambassadors

NCFA Canada Ambassadors are leaders, educators, supporters and advocates of an inclusive and broad-based financial technology, alternative finance and tech innovation communities across Canada. They are circles of influence and ‘go to resources’ for innovation stakeholders, entrepreneurs, and investors to connect with, share and learn about industry topics via locally hosted events and initiatives. Ambassadors are specialists and plugged into an international network of shared resources, thought leadership, and industry professionals striving to cultivate and shape the future of finance in Canada and beyond.

Cynthia Huang, CEO, Altcoin Fantasy and Airhosts Forum

Cynthia began her career in risk management and insurance but after working for a tech startup in 2014, she completely fell in love with tech and startups.  To prepare to make a career change completely into tech, she began attending hackathons and co-founded the largest Airbnb host community globally. After working as a product manager and within corporate innovation, she co-founded Altcoin Fantasy, a crypto trading simulation platform that combines the fun and excitement of fantasy sports and crypto trading without the risk, to help people learn about crypto and crypto trading. Cynthia is passionate about advancing women working in tech, innovation and giving back to the community and is an ambassador for Indie Hackers. Cynthia holds a BA (University of British Columbia) as well as a CRM (University of Toronto) and CIP designation (Insurance Institute of Canada).

“I'm extremely excited to be partnering with NCFA Canada as an ambassador. At Altcoin Fantasy, we focus on driving adoption of new technologies, such as cryptocurrencies, through fun, awareness and education. We share a lot of common interests with NCFA in driving fintech innovation. We believe it’s organizations such as NCFA that will help put Canada on the map as a leader in not just fintech innovation but tech innovation overall. We can't wait to work together to help grow the fintech ecosystem even more within Canada by supporting local homegrown companies on their journey.”  -- Cynthia Huang, CEO, Altcoin Fantasy and Airhosts Forum

“Canada needs more fintech leaders who understand (and prioritize) the importance of education, partnerships and how to move the needle in growing Canadian markets.  Cynthia has been highly successful in expanding the adoption of blockchain technologies and building active communities of practice, and we look forward to her jumping in with both feet on various upcoming initiatives.”  -- Craig Asano, CEO and Founder, NCFA Canada

# # #

About NCFA

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 and cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. For more information visit: www.ncfacanada.org

About Altcoin Fantasy

Altcoin Fantasy is a crypto trading simulation platform that uses an innovative combination of fantasy sports with crypto trading, with all of the fun and excitement and none of the risk. Altcoin Fantasy partners with leading blockchain and crypto companies to host fantasy trading competitions where people can learn about crypto and practice trading completely risk-free. Digital currencies and blockchain have the power to democratize access and change the financial economy worldwide but there’s a huge knowledge gap about the space. Altcoin Fantasy aims to democratize access to crypto education and empower people globally to feel comfortable investing in this new asset class and also to help them get started with investing through hands-on practice and even giving them crypto to start investing with. For more information, visit www.altcoinfantasy.com.

Source: NCFA Canada

Media Contacts:

Craig Asano
NCFA Canada
Founder and CEO
p. (416) 618-0254
e. casano@ncfacanada.org

 

Canada Update: Alberta Updates Crowdfunding Regulations but Where Does Canada Stand in the National Harmonization of Rules? What about Fintech Development?

Crowdfund Insider | | Oct 7, 2019

Canadian flag2 - Canada Update: Alberta Updates Crowdfunding Regulations but Where Does Canada Stand in the National Harmonization of Rules? What about Fintech Development?Last week, the Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) adopted a “Blanket Order” for “Startup Crowdfunding Registration and Prospectus Exemptions.” In effect, the ASC was seeking to improve access to capital for smaller firms – a good thing- but the move also highlights the disparity between the provinces and a greater need for national harmonization of online capital formation rules. Financial services in Canada are all regulated at the provincial level thus there exists a degree of disparity regarding rules.

While a smaller country by population, Canada has consistently ranked high in entrepreneurship and innovation. According to a recent KPMG report, the Canadian Fintech ecosystem is thriving but, like any other country, more can be done.

Crowdfund Insider reached out to Denise Weeres, Director, New Economy at the ASC and Craig Asano, Executive Director and founder of the National Crowdfunding and Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA). The NCFA has long led the charge advocating on behalf of Canada’s emerging Fintech market and various securities crowdfunding platforms.

The New Economy Division of the ASC works closely with staff to coordinate efforts to facilitate capital-raising by new economy companies entering the capital market. The Division also strives to anticipate and act on issues and opportunities relating to emerging financial technologies (Fintech).

Our discussion with the two innovation proponents is shared below.


The ASC update to rules is in advance of national harmonization. Why update now?

Denise Weeres: It takes a while to get a national instrument in place.  We wanted to allow Alberta businesses and investors to be able to participate in this regime now.

What is the status of harmonization?

Denise Weeres: All of the CSA [Canadian Securities Administrators] jurisdictions are working cooperatively on the national instrument  – we are looking at harmonizing and exploring targeted amendments to improve upon the existing regime.

The maximum raise amount appears to be low in contrast to some other jurisdictions. Are there any expectations for this amount to be raised?

Denise Weeres: The maximum raise is consistent with the other participating CSA jurisdictions start-up crowdfunding regimes.

Start-up crowdfunding is intended for the very early-stage businesses.  It requires a very simple offering document – and significantly doesn’t require financial statements.

A funding portal that is not registered as a dealer can be used too.  The limits reflect the fact that investors likely won’t get all the information they would typically (both at the time of the offering and thereafter) and they may be using a funding portal that isn’t registered and wouldn’t get the protections associated with a registered dealer.

But start-up crowdfunding is not the only way to crowdfund in Canada.  It’s just one of a number of options available.

See:  Sep 22, 2019: NCFA Response to ASC Consultation Paper 11-701: Energizing Alberta’s Capital Market

For example, businesses can crowdfund through a registered dealer funding portal under the offering memorandum [OM] exemption where there is no limit at all on the maximum raise and much higher amounts for the amount that individual investors can invest;

  • $10K for anyone,
  • $30K for an “eligible investor” e.g., someone who had had and expects to have $75K net income or has $400K net assets
  • up to $100K for an eligible investor who also gets advice from a dealer that the investment is suitable for them and
  • no limit for accredited investors.

Under the offering memorandum exemption, the offering document has more detailed disclosure – more similar to the offering document used for U.S. crowdfunding – and like other jurisdictions, it involves a funding portal that is registered as a dealer.

In #Canada, businesses can crowdfund through a registered dealer funding portal under the offering memorandum (OM) exemption where there is no limit on the max raise & much higher amounts for the investors

Craig, how is the Canadian ecosystem evolving, in your opinion?

Craig Asano: The Fintech ecosystem in Canada is growing, albeit not fast enough!  ‘slow and steady’ compared to high competition, fast iterations and market depth of UK/US markets but Canadian tech is starting to attract the interest of US funds and international Fintech brands are taking notice too of which many are planning to include Canada in their rollout plans (ie Revolut).

New Fintech startups are launching all the time in a growing number of private and public incubators, accelerators, innovation hubs and grassroot event ecosystems that include a wide range of AI/data, Regtech (KYC, compliance automation), peer to peer debt/equity platforms, digital asset, crypto, DLT, NEO/challenger bank, Insurtech, personal finance, wealth management and alternative investing models.

Although the ecosystem is evolving the average consumer is conservative with lower Fintech awareness and adoption rates (similar to the US) than comparators in Europe and Asia.  Incumbents are strong and many Fintechs have partnered with institutions to tap capital resources, customers, data and global expansion infrastructure.  Canadian markets are smaller than the US and while it’s easy to launch it’s challenging to achieve sustainable business with significant compliance costs to operate across the country while acquiring customers not yet fully accustom to switching financial products.  There have been many successful fintech startups that are scaling from Lending Loop to Wealthsimple to Borrowell and FrontFundr who are all providing consumer-centric, simple to access, low cost, and tech-enabled financial products and services for new economy.

Open Banking is a juggernaut of an opportunity for data-driven Fintechs and consumers looking for choice, lower fees and innovative products but conversations are at a standstill until after the upcoming election.  The Ministry of Finance in Ottawa and appointed open banking advisory committee are no doubt watching the implementation challenges of PSD2 in Europe along with the progress being achieved in countries like Australia who are advancing national innovation initiatives like Open Banking ahead of Canada (and the US for what it’s worth).  Will these delays put Canada behind the eight-ball, or will we be able to catch-up quickly (leapfrog) and marry our robust tech sector with a historically strong banking system and begin to replace outdated infrastructure?

Specific to crowdfunding regulation in Canada, there’s still a long way to go to remain globally competitive in terms of caps, operating costs and the appropriate amount of regulation for the risk while making it feasible for licensed dealers and funding portals to have a sustainable practice.  The lack of harmonization and overly complex set of rules initially caused quite a backlash to the reputation of industry.

At present, there are far too few crowdfunding platforms and we need more operators to increase market volumes and reignite transactional interest among service providers, funding specialists, securities lawyers, and both retail and accredited investors.  Peer to peer lending is now proven and helping hundreds of companies’ access growth-orientated loans but needs its own set of proportionate regulation to level up further.  I look forward to next year to full harmonization which the CSA staff mentions will be out next year (ideally with the changes NCFA has been advocated for on behalf of industry for years).

Open Banking is a juggernaut of an opportunity for data-driven #Fintechs and consumers looking for choice, lower fees and innovative products 

How has NCFA’s collaboration with provincial regulators helped to move things along?

Craig Asano: We’ve developed a mutually beneficial relationship with regulators from the start which has been informative for both parties.  NCFA bridges the gap between stakeholder wants and needs and helps regulators better understand emerging innovations that are essential for Canada to remain competitive and current with the times.  The association polls its wide network of industry practitioners and aggregates feedback to regulators through comment letters, committee participation and bespoke submissions and calls.

We work with other agencies and encourage regulators to recognize a competitive perspective in their difficult role of regulating fair and efficient capital markets while protecting investors.  NCFA also gathers a significant amount of global market intel and research on how other jurisdictions are performing and shares with market participants and regulators alike in effort to bridge gaps and help stakeholders understand varied perspectives.  Regulators are regularly invited to NCFAs annual conferences where they participate to provide updates on emerging regulatory initiatives, challenges and concerns while providing education and resources for industry, companies and investors.

NCFA is appreciative of the challenge facing regulators and positions itself as an educational resource and network for the various provincial commissions to rely on at anytime.  While we advocate for specific asks on behalf of industry, we do so in ‘Canadian style’ which is a collaborative effort.

NCFA bridges the gap between stakeholder wants and needs and helps regulators better understand emerging innovations that are essential for Canada to remain competitive and current with the times #Fintech

What are your expectations for 2020?

Craig Asano: I expect to see more growth and investor appetite while regulators continue to reduce the burden which is overly burdensome now.  This means small wins for the industry but doubtful for large scale national initiatives like Open Banking to reach implementation by 2020.

Continue to the full article --> here

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Canada Update: Alberta Updates Crowdfunding Regulations but Where Does Canada Stand in the National Harmonization of Rules? What about Fintech Development? 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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Sep 22, 2019: NCFA Response to ASC Consultation Paper 11-701: Energizing Alberta’s Capital Market

NCFA Canada | Sep 22, 2019

ASC  - Canada Update: Alberta Updates Crowdfunding Regulations but Where Does Canada Stand in the National Harmonization of Rules? What about Fintech Development?

NCFA is pleased that the Alberta government is undertaking this important initiative to the  benefit of all Albertans.  We acknowledge the substantial background information provided by 11-701.  This submission responds to the brainstorming headings pp. 24 – 31 and seeks to fill knowledge gaps with recent consultation data (mainly obtained in Edmonton) and pays specific attention to equity (investment) crowdfunding and peer lending in Alberta.

Download the Submission in PDF format --> Now

Key Takeaways

The NCFA recommends that the ASC undertake the following:

  • Review and publish a report that evaluates the effectiveness of Alberta’s investment crowdfunding and peer lending requirements compared to other jurisdictions in Canada and international competitors such as the UK, US and Australia, including a comparison of the relative cost of capital to other available financing options;
  • ASC to take a more active role as a resource for both early stage companies and investors including data collection, market analysis, and information sharing to ensure more fair and efficient capital market formation in Alberta;
  • Engage Innovate Edmonton and Platform Calgary following the detailed third-party study by Startup Genome to obtain detailed ecosystem benchmarking data for follow-on analysis of Alberta’s funding gaps;
  • Support the development of a tax relief program for investors to increase the volume of start-up risk capital allocated to non-traditional sectors (eg. financial technology) similar to the effective programs in the UK: SEIS[1] and EIS[2];
  • Work with other jurisdictions to harmonize the crowdfunding regime across Canada (CSA Staff Notice 45-324) with the goal of eliminating unjustified regulatory burden at the same time. We favour BC’s regime;
  • Modify existing requirements so that they are principles based and outcomes focused to enable businesses to comply in the way that best suits their operations – detailed or prescriptive controls should only be imposed when clearly justified;
  • Implement burden reduction amendments for crowdfunding (45-108):
    • Increase the 12 month issuer cap to $5 million or higher;
    • Increase the 12 month investor caps to $10k and allow accredited investors to fully participate;
  • Allow advertising and general solicitation on social media for all crowdfunding;
  • Allow fintech solutions to streamline KYC and suitability tests;
  • Startup crowdfunding business exemption (45-109) – remove lifetime cap of $1 million; or increase lifetime cap to minimum $5 million.

See:  [Survey Deadline Sep 20, 2019]: ASC consults on Energizing Alberta’s Capital Market

Benefits to Alberta will include:

  • Increased capital investment in the province and increased economic growth;
  • Increased investment options for investors that support small businesses across Alberta;
  • Reduced pressure on Albertan startups to raise capital from outside Alberta and Canada;
  • Crowdfunding sources remain in Canada;
  • More capital and improved access to capital specifically for small businesses, rural businesses, economically challenged sectors, and under-served groups (eg. women and Indigenous business owners);
  • More liquidity and transparency in the markets;
  • Improved probability of retaining high growth companies in Alberta; and
  • Accelerated commercialization of new products and services.

Crowdfunding helps to drive innovation, economic activity and job growth. It fills a critical early stage funding gap (‘valley of death’), enables more productive investment in venture markets, and strengthens early stage capital markets. Crowdlending also provides support to more mature companies looking to access capital that may fall outside the parameters of bank lending. And last, but not least, it helps to democratize investment by giving smaller investors direct access to the capital markets.

“Regulation may be the largest constraint to capital markets Fintech development in Canada, as we have not set out many of the same principles as in the U.S. and U.K.”[3]

This is not the time for Alberta to hold back.

Thank you for the opportunity to contribute comments.  NCFA would be happy to expand on any of the points raised in this submission.  We look forward to future developments.

See:  ‘We don’t have enough money’: Tech leaders debate constraints at Vancouver Startup Week

1.    Background and Context

Contrary to the intent of the crowdfunding exemption, Alberta’s crowdfunding requirements hinder access to capital for SMEs across many sectors. These requirements have restricted innovative opportunities for retail investors and our members feel the impact of this directly. The potential of opening up regulation is to significantly increase job creation and economic development, as experience in other jurisdictions shows. Alberta’s 417,000 small businesses would also benefit from the increased access to capital that crowdlending offers.  Canada has fallen behind international competitors like the UK and the US. Crowdfunding now provides the largest investment at the seed stage in the UK and peer-to-peer platforms now provide 15% of all new bank lending to small businesses.

2. Fintech and Crowdfunding are Being Held Back in Canada

Canada’s crowdfunding and fintech “ecosystem” should be competitive, be in line with global trends, and enable early stage entrepreneurs to access smaller amounts of capital at a reasonable cost. Unfortunately, it is not and does not. There is a ‘funding gap’ as smaller companies find it very challenging to raise debt or equity financing in Canada.

There is a 'valley of death' for start-ups at around the $250,000 level. Venture capital funding has increased, but VC dollars are mostly going to expanding firms. Angels are a lot less active than in the US and their investment amounts are lower. Banks generally steer clear of start-ups. This means fewer innovative start-ups, fewer opportunities for investors, lower economic growth and productivity and fewer jobs.

“Regulation may be the largest constraint to Fintech development in Canada, as we have not set out many of the same principles as in the U.S. and U.K.”[5]  The NCFA has conducted numerous stakeholder consultations which overwhelmingly tell us that regulatory requirements are overly prescriptive, complex and burdensome, disproportionately raising the costs of doing business for start-ups. Entrepreneurs are reluctant to start up in Canada due to high costs (relative to a small financing), along with concerns about ongoing regulatory burdens such as over-reaching and complex reporting requirements and compliance reviews.

Investors are inhibited by restrictions like caps on investment. Many talented entrepreneurs and investors move to (or invest in) overseas jurisdictions that better understand (and support) innovation and the economic potential of start-ups and SMEs.  If the NCFA recommendations were to be implemented, the experience of other jurisdictions makes clear that more capital would be raised, especially for under-serviced sectors (e.g. women and minority groups, including First Nations, and rural communities). Investors would have increased confidence and more freedom to invest as they choose – any increase in investor downside risks are anticipated to be low.

3. Alberta

The call for comments by the ASC is a leap towards positive change in the Albertan capital markets and crowdfunding landscape. While the in-depth background material supplied by the ASC in 11-701 clearly lays out the challenges for Albertan companies, there are updated consultative engagements with the entrepreneur communities in Edmonton and Calgary. These updated reports will be a useful addition to the ASC’s decision-making processes. They also provide excellent contacts for ASC’s engagement with Alberta’s major centers.

See:  ASC advances new capital-raising initiatives for start-up businesses

(a) Startup Genome Reports

In Edmonton, starting in May 2018, community meetings under the banner of the “Edmonton Innovation Ecosystem Community” engaged members of the innovation community.[6] To date, there have been 11 community consultations with key innovators on a near-monthly basis. The impetus for the first gatherings followed consultation with 50 entrepreneurs in Edmonton to gather their feedback on ecosystem performance. The EEDC engaged Startup Genome to begin measurement of the ecosystem performance. The Edmonton Report brought two key measurement instruments to the ecosystem, Global Market Reach (GMR) and Global Connectedness (GC).

startup genome edmonton report - Canada Update: Alberta Updates Crowdfunding Regulations but Where Does Canada Stand in the National Harmonization of Rules? What about Fintech Development?

Startup Genome Edmonton Ecosystem Assessment, May 2018

We ask that the ASC review the results of EEDC’s more detailed analysis of the ecosystem as part of their assessment of 11-701 responses. Notably, Edmonton lags behind its Canadian peers in attracting resources from within the country.  In addition, Edmonton ranked below what the report calls the Globalization Phase Average in Early Stage Funding per Startup, based on data from Crunchbase and Deal Room. The key actionable insights from this early analysis are that Edmonton should focus on increasing early stage funding by (1) widening the funnel and increasing startups with seed funding; (2) supporting the formation of more sources of capital (ie. Angel groups); and increasing access to Series A capital.  Calgary has also engaged Startup Genome for ecosystem benchmarking[7].

(b) Innovation Compass

Another work product from the EIEC meetings in Edmonton was the Innovation Compass report[8]. Due to perceived low numbers of early entrepreneur engagement, EEDC engaged ZGM Marketing to complete a third-party interview process with Edmonton Entrepreneurs to make recommendations that reflect the voice of Edmonton entrepreneurs. Engagement began in December 2018 and the final report was published June 20, 2019. The report provided community validated recommendations and directions for supporting the city’s tech innovation ecosystem. Among 14 recommendations and directions, the top recommendation was:

“Encourage pools of private investors from all sectors to move off the sidelines and start investing in local tech entrepreneurs.”

innovation compass edmonto recommendations - Canada Update: Alberta Updates Crowdfunding Regulations but Where Does Canada Stand in the National Harmonization of Rules? What about Fintech Development?

Highest priority recommendation from Edmonton innovation ecosystem community members in the YEG Innovation Compass Report.

(c) Edmonton Advisory Council on Startups (EACOS)

During the early meetings of the EIEC, it was recognized that a body completely separate from EEDC that reflected the voice of Edmonton entrepreneurs was needed. The Edmonton Advisory Council on Startups was formed with members representing all stages of entrepreneurship to ensure diversity. EACOS is comprised of 13 individuals representing students, seed, startups and scale-up stage companies, and investors. EACOS has published three position papers[9] aimed at increasing the size, throughput, energy, and success of the Edmonton startup community.   EACOS has identified a number of community priorities and access to capital is top of mind. EACOS has recommended:

“Intensified efforts to engage local investors into investing into local technology companies. Investors who have built capital through traditional means, like real estate and energy, need to be effectively engaged, educated, and presented with the portfolio opportunities of technology investments.”

4. Comparison: British Columbia

BC and some other jurisdictions have less burdensome crowdfunding requirements[10] that allow small firms to raise up to $250,000 per offering (twice a year), with participation from other provinces. While still not ideal, these less burdensome exemptions have proven to be much more effective than MI 45-108 in Ontario.

For background on exemptions in Canada see: https://www.bcsc.bc.ca/Securities_Law/Policies/PolicyBCN/PDF/BCN_2018-01__February_14__2018/. (This BCSC Notice expresses well many of the points we raise in this submission)

5. Canada’s Uncompetitive Position

Canada has fallen behind international comparators such as the UK. In the UK,  crowdfunding platforms were involved in 24% of all equity deals in 2017, but with 30% of seed stage deals in 2017.[11]

To see the advantages of a uniform, cross-border, and flexible crowdfunding regime, one need look no further than Regulation D in the US. The following are quotes from the recent Crowdfunding Capital Advisers Report.[12]

“2018 saw triple digit growth in unique offerings, proceeds and investors. More importantly, start-ups are successfully using Regulation Crowdfunding to raise meaningful capital in a relatively short period of time and at costs that are less than a typical Regulation D offering.

“Unlike venture capital, where less than 6.5 percent of start-ups successfully raise funds, the success rate in Regulation Crowdfunding hovers around an impressive 60 percent. A key data point for industry followers is that the average raise ($270,996) helps start-ups hurdle the “valley of death” they often face after expending their internal or personal capital.

“Regulation Crowdfunding is proving to be a jobs engine (creating on average 2.9 jobs per issuer), economic generator (pumping over $289 million of revenues into local economies)... There is still a lot of room for growth with Regulation Crowdfunding offerings as they equate to only 1.2 percent of all Regulation D offerings and only 4 percent of all capital raised under Reg D.

“The fact that the velocity of capital into funded offerings continues to be steady without signs of abnormal activity or irrational investor behaviour is a healthy indicator. Meanwhile, the rapid increase in the number of offerings and investors proves there is continued appetite for Regulation Crowdfunding from both issuers seeking capital as well as investors looking to diversify. This is true across the [US].

“Regulation Crowdfunding is also proving efficient. If we compare the average days to close (113) in 2018 and average raise ($250,635) of a successful Regulation Crowdfunding campaign to a traditional Regulation D offering, Regulation Crowdfunding most likely represents the most efficient, cost effective way to raise capital for start-ups and SMEs.”

The type of (published) data collection and analysis provided by the above report is rare in Canada, which is another serious impediment to decision making in this area. To back its recommendations, NCFA (and others) must rely largely on anecdotal evidence from its members.

6. Canada’s Competition Bureau

As the Competition Bureau has pointed out[13], a more flexible approach to regulation and better government support would provide significant economic benefits by freeing entrepreneurship. It would also help to keep our entrepreneurs in Canada (along with the related jobs), boost GDP (especially by improving productivity), and encourage the commercialization of new products and services generally.  It is well-documented that overly complex, prescriptive regulation is a much higher burden for smaller firms and so is inherently anti-competitive.  For a disappointing progress report on the Bureau’s recommendations of Dec 2017.  See: http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/04392.html

7. ASC Brainstorming Ideas and Comments

(a) Information resource for Alberta start-ups and early stage businesses on capital raising options

  • Raising capital shouldn’t be a ‘black box’. Companies and investors would benefit if the ASC could:
    • provide a roadmap to the various financing options including use of exemptions, what typical companies (and investors) that qualify look like, average time to market, related costs and effort, and capital flows;
    • publish sample templates of the expected quality of good offering documents;
    • work with industry to develop a transparent resource database that is widely available.
  • Dovetailing with EACOS recommendations on entrepreneur preparedness, more information on successive financings would benefit the Alberta tech ecosystem. The ASC could consider hosting this data in an anonymized format so that Alberta startups could learn about their local comparables.

(b) Information resource for investors in Alberta

Some market participants have suggested there might be a role for the ASC in increasing investor understanding respecting the exempt market and considerations when investing in start-up and early stage businesses

  • The ASC assuming an educational role could only be beneficial to Albertan investors, especially those that are seeking to diversify outside of real estate or oil and gas. An equity crowdfunding or peer lending platform operating in Alberta could then easily point to this resource as a third party unbiased educational resource for investors.
  • In addition to local investors, ASC could work with economic development agencies to provide education on exempt market trends and developments to international investors and funds with a new focus on emerging technology as a means to diversify the Alberta economy.
  • Highlighting a range of companies by sector and capital raised in private markets would help investors understand high growth SME opportunities.

(c) Expanding the accredited investor exemption to include educated, experienced investors

What are the right combinations of education and experience? For the educational component, should we consider courses such as those offered through the CVCA Canadian Private Capital Investment School or the NACO Academy for those investing in private markets?

  • The accredited investor exemption if expanded to include educated and experienced investors would unlock latent capital in Alberta while increasing opportunities for qualifying investors and allow for greater portfolio diversification.
  • Any expansion of the accredited investor definition should aim to ensure that investors understand the risks involved with investing in private market securities such as reduced disclosure and lack of liquidity and provide education on the evolving trends of online financing such as peer lending, investment crowdfunding, and digital assets.
  • Education should be tendered and open to all private capital market training bodies, associations, licensed exempt market dealers, and investor-orientated groups and structured to be flexible and allow a wide range of participation to enable:
    • the right balance of training expertise and collaboration;
    • wide program accessibility;
    • current and relevant training content updated on an annual or periodic basis;
    • range of “textbook” and experiential training delivery;
    • certification and listing for public verification on an ASC database; and
    • capture of investor risk acknowledgement such as ability to withstand loss
  • The certificate of training could then be used by equity crowdfunding and lending exempt market dealers and portals to validate investor training in a streamlined manner (rather than have investors go through the same process with various dealers and portals time and time again).

Given that the policy rationale for the accredited investor exemption is ‘ability to withstand loss’, would it be appropriate to impose some limit on the amount that can be invested by an educated/experienced investor that is not otherwise an accredited investor e.g., the greater of $30,000 and 5% of their investment portfolio?

  • Accredited investor and qualifying experienced-educated investors should be allowed to fully participate without caps in investment crowdfunding and peer lending offerings.
  • Accredited investors should be encouraged to invest in or along-side a Start-up Business Exemption campaign. The participation of accredited investors at higher levels will provide non-accredited investors with added value as the investment group will perform greater due diligence than investors only investing the minimum threshold amount in a Start-Up Business Exemption offering.

(d) Addressing the compliance challenges associated with confirming accredited investor status

The central party could then confirm, through a unique investor identifier, to any business or dealer to whom the investor provided the unique identifier, that based on the information provided, the investor qualifies as an accredited investor, without the need for the investor to reveal all of their personal information.

  • This is a logical and reasonable solution that mirrors recreational licensing and even academic author identification systems (see Orcid ID).
  • Unique IDs could be used as part of a background check which will help reduce the number of days required to verify ID prior to being permitted to participate on equity crowdfunding or peer lending platforms.
  • There are numerous ‘regtech’ solutions now in the market that can be assessed by the ASC for potential use and deployment.
  • Any investor verification system should be neutral to avoid a single group monopolizing a provincial (or national)system.

(e) Registration exemption for finders

We are interested in feedback on a dealer registration exemption for sales to investors that are accredited investors who also meet certain education and/or experience criteria. We are interested in how such an exemption could be tailored to adequately protect investors but help address the issues associated with smaller financings that are not being serviced by registered dealers.

  • We agree that a registration exemption for qualified ‘finders’ would help expand the pool of investors and supply more capital to early stage companies.
  • Finders should be required to notify the ASC of their identity or could be required to associate with registered dealers or engaged by investment platforms.
  • Finders not associated with registered dealers could be required to report periodically on their investor prospecting activity using technology to streamline communications. This would not only provide employment opportunities for finders but also minimize unreported finder type activity that occurs anyway while increasing the transparency in the exempt market for smaller financings.

(f) Reducing compliance costs for registered dealers when dealing with accredited investors

This applies across the piece in the crowdfunding sector. Each requirement should be cost justified by regulators.

(g) Addressing other registered dealer compliance burdens

For crowdfunding related burden reduction examples we encourage the ASC to review NCFAs submission to the Ontario Securities Commission of March 1, 2019 – burden reduction.[14]

(h) Facilitating angel investment funds

Should we consider adviser registration exemptions where accredited investors have a limited amount of capital at risk?

  • Yes, especially if accredited investor status is expanded to include well educated and experienced investors. In this scenario, with small amounts of capital deployed and a demonstrated ability to withstand a specified loss, barriers to obtaining capital from multiple crowd sources would be reduced.

(i) Facilitating the development of a retail, publicly-traded fund focused on innovative businesses

  • We feel this is best answered by VCs and institutions.

(k) Facilitating a semi-public market that allows secondary retail trading by non-public companies

  • The illiquid nature of exempt market securities is often cited as a major concern of prospective investors so anything that assists secondary trading is welcomed.
  • A secondary market for exempt securities would also benefit early employees of start-up companies by allowing them to liquidate holdings pre-IPO and thus help early stage companies to offer creative compensation packages and attract a wider range of employees to help them grow.[15]
  • A semi-public market should be open to all types of exempt securities from crowdfunding to security tokens to allow fair and efficient markets to form.

(m) Fostering crowdlending and peer-to-peer lending

  • Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending is providing SMEs with financing in many jurisdictions, including the US, the UK, New Zealand and Australia, at rates which are considerably lower than those offered by competitors.
  • The popularity of P2P lending in the UK has increased exponentially in recent years, with nearly £10 billion being transferred through such platforms in the past ten years and approximately £1.2bn having been transferred through P2P platforms in the second quarter of 2019 alone.
  • The current securities regulatory regime in Canada imposes costs and burdens that create significant impediments to the success of any P2P platform and by extension the availability of financing to Canadian SMEs.
  • The current regime in Canada is not suited to allowing companies to raise debt financing as it treats them as issuers. The regulatory requirements for becoming an issuer are simply too burdensome for small loan sizes (for example a $50,000 loan).
  • The sheer magnitude of P2P lending and its positive impact on the economies of  advanced jurisdictions elsewhere suggests that it would be beneficial for Canadian SMEs if the regulators in Canada were to adopt a regime specific to P2P lending. A regime modeled on those successfully implemented in jurisdictions, like the UK, where P2P lending has been proven to provide much needed funding to SMEs while ensuring an appropriate level of protection for investors.

About the NCFA

The National Crowdfunding and Fintech Association of Canada (the Association) represents over 2,000 fintech SMEs and individual members that support financial and capital market innovation, small businesses and technology. We are pleased that the Alberta government is undertaking this important initiative to the benefit of all Albertans.  Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

 

Download the Submission in PDF format --> Now


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Lending Loop Surpasses $50 million Milestone and helps thousands of Canadian Businesses and Investors

NCFA Canada on behalf of our partner's Lending Loop | Sep 11, 2019

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HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A CHESHIRE CAT SMILE?

Well they deserve it.

Back in October 2015, NCFA made this introductory video with Cato Pastoll, CEO and Co-Founder of Lending Loop, about a peer to peer lending marketplace for small businesses model that was new to Canada but was achieving significant growth internationally.

The question and opportunity was back then:  why not here in Canada?

A question that many of us ask ourselves, ask the community and point fingers at strict regulations and high operating costs.  Well fast forward several years and growth obstacles later, and the Lending Loop story continues to impress with their latest milestone of lending over $50 million to deserving small businesses to help them grow and expand operations while providing retail and accredited investors direct access to a wide range of lending and investment options, a robust community and the chance to strengthen Canadian small business - here here!

The early vision...

 

Brandon Vlaar, Co-founder and CTO of Lending Loop sharing their good news!

CONGRATS to the entire Lending Loop Team for achieving this latest milestone.  We've 'got your back' and look forward to future growth and digital finance success - the best is yet to come!  Craig Asano, CEO, NCFA

 

See:  more coverage on Crowdfund Insider here

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Canada Update: Alberta Updates Crowdfunding Regulations but Where Does Canada Stand in the National Harmonization of Rules? What about Fintech Development? 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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Holt Accelerator Joins NCFA as an Industry Partner

NCFA Canada | Craig Asano | Sep 9, 2019

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TORONTO and MONTREAL, September 9, 2019  The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA) is pleased to announce that Holt Accelerator has joined NCFA as an industry partner.

NCFA's industry partners are builders, investors and innovators who have provided a significant level of service and/or contribution towards the sustainability and growth of NCFA and related fintech sectors globally.  We encourage the fintech ecosystem to support and collaborate with NCFA's global network of industry partners by engaging directly with their ventures of mutual interest.

The name, Holt, is in honour of Sir Herbert Holt, who immigrated to Canada at the age of 18 in the late 1800's. He went on to become the longest serving president of the Royal Bank of Canada, Chairman of the Light, Heat and Power Company (formerly Hydro Quebec), and had controlling stakes or influence in another 300 companies internationally. His great, great grandson, Brendan Holt Dunn, wanted to give back to the Canadian ecosystem with the creation of the Holt Accelerator. Jan Christopher Arp would join as cofounder, and craft / implement the vision of building a fintech platform that accelerates the adoption of fintech solutions our society desperately needs.

"Our family has a history of investing, growing, supporting, and building financial companies for  the past five generations. With the rising need to support the customer journey through fintech adoption, we have decided to launch Holt Accelerator that focuses on integrating FinTech businesses with Canada’s best innovation partners, while expanding their international network.”  – Brendan Holt Dunn, Managing Partner, Holt Accelerator

"Since launching in 2017 the Holt Accelerator has been relentlessly pursuing the growth and development of leading Fintechs in Canada and around the globe.  This partnership is a testament to the valuable bridges being built coast-to-coast, and our collective commitment to support and strengthen the innovation finance ecosystem in the country and around the globe.” – Craig Asano, Founding CEO, NCFA

 

The best place to connect and get more information is at holtaccelerator.ai.

Holt Accelerator joins NCFA as an industry partner - Canada Update: Alberta Updates Crowdfunding Regulations but Where Does Canada Stand in the National Harmonization of Rules? What about Fintech Development?

NCFA Interview with Jan Christopher Arp, Managing Partner, Holt Accelerator

What type of companies and investors does Holt work with, and how does Holt add value and accelerate its portfolio? 

Holt Accelerator seeks fintech companies that solve our 250+ Advisors biggest problems. Specifically, it's about finding the world's best fintechs at home and abroad and matching them with problem owners of financial institutions, as well as providing resources and connections to make a deal. Resources and connections include funding (or access to investors), product development (i.e. through partners or Advisors), or engagement with other relevant stakeholders. The result, companies in our portfolio have closed six-figure customer deals with financial institutions, raised multi-million seed rounds, or international portfolio companies have established Canadian subsidiary offices.

 

What fintech models do you get most excited about today and where do you see exponential growth happening in 1-3 years out?

Many areas excite us, but to name a few:

  • Improved customer profiling for either augmented due diligence, streamlined on-boarding, AML / KYC requirements, and/or increasing sales, as well as improved protection of the associated profile data,
  • Improving financial inclusion through lending, such as "niche" lending products or alternative credit scoring,
  • Democratizing access to existing and emerging asset classes for the masses,
  • Building infrastructure for blockchain during the "crypto winter", with special consideration for securitize token offerings (STOs).

 

Can you give us a run-down of the current cohort?  What’s on the horizon and how best can investors and interested parties meet these amazing Holt-backed fintech founders?

After processing close to 600 applications from 74 countries, we've chosen the top 1% that are best suited to solve Canada's greatest challenges. If you are interested in becoming an Advisor, then take a look at our current cohort below, and let us know which company speaks to you. We will be in Vancouver, Toronto, Waterloo and Montreal, providing a chance to meet them in person, or reach us and we'll make the connection. Our current cohort includes:

  1. Conatix – a cybersecurity firm preventing fraud and data theft from the inside. Conatix helps banks detect suspicious employee activity, improper behavior, policy violations and other threats on IT networks with thousands of employees, in real time.
  2. ConfirmU - helping individuals with little or no credit history gain access to financial products by combining financial data and psycholinguistics into an alternative credit scoring system.
  3. HodlBot - a Canadian based customizable cryptocurrency trading bot that enables users to index the market, create and automatically rebalance their cryptocurrency portfolios.
  4. LexAlign - LexAlign PBC automates the "missing piece" for fraud and AML risk management: the ongoing monitoring, gap analysis and support of customer processes at scale, including for remote deposit capture (RDC), ACH and wires.
  5. Maat.ai - modernizing finance by creating new and compliant digital document management solutions. Their digital ID and wallet make secure interactions easy. This Mexican Fintech is enabling people and organizations to exchange digital documents safely, easily and efficiently, improving the experience for all parties.
  6. Manzil - many of the world's 1 billion Muslims cannot pay or receive interest on financial transactions, hindering their ability to purchase a home. Manzil offers them a murabaha mortgage, balancing modern business practices and religious obligations.
  7. MarketsFlow - tackling the performance gap in do-it-yourself digital wealth management, MarketsFlow offers a portfolio optimization platform delivering high returns for online investors. This British firm consistently outperforms other robo-advisors available today.
  8. WealthBlock.AI - US based WealthBlock.AI invites investors to view financial documents via a secure link and tracks the interaction between these investors and the entrepreneurs, to gauge interest and streamline follow ups.

What are the biggest opportunities and challenges with Fintech in Canada and how can industry, government and key stakeholders best lead the way for a sustainable and successful future?

Canada's biggest threat (and biggest opportunity) is our current inability to sync our world-class cities and provinces from coast-to-coast. The result, slow to advance on pressing matters, such as implementing our own Open Banking Framework (i.e. we are at minimum 5 years behind leaders, and the gap is growing), or defining a strategic direction for our Nation.

“Holt Accelerator will be hosting Deal Day's in various cities across Canada over the next several weeks, and we hope fintech leaders do their part to attend this nation-wide effort to unite us. If you can't engage now, then we encourage you to engage with other events / players, like our partners at NFCA, who have been doing some great work in the space for some time now.” Jan Christopher Arp, Managing Partner, Holt Accelerator

# # #

About NCFA

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.  For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

About Holt Accelerator

The Holt family legacy is rooted in tradition and entrepreneurship. Our history of investing, growing, supporting, and building financial companies for the past five generations, has led us to create the Fintech accelerator, powered by an AI solutions provider.  For more information, please visit https://www.holtaccelerator.ai/

 

CONTACTS:
Craig Asano
Founder and CEO
NCFA Canada
casano@ncfacanada.org

Jan Christopher Arp
Managing Partner
Holt Accelerator
jan@holtaccelerator.ai


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Paul Schulte, Founder and Managing Editor, Schulte Research, Joins the National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada’s Advisory Board

About NCFA Canada | C. Asano | August 23, 2019

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Paul Schulte, NCFA Advisor, Banking and Financial Services

TORONTO, Aug 23, 2019 – The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA) today announced that Paul Schulte, Founder and Managing Editor of Schulte Research in Singapore, has joined the Association`s international Advisory Board to advise in the areas of Banking and Financial Services (profile).

Paul's roles in banking & financial services in the past 30 years include equity & fixed income research (buy & sell sides) in emerging markets. In recent years, technology has evolved rapidly to challenge all facets of financial services his core belief is: Liquidity & credit are everything; get bank liquidity & solvency right and the rest follows.

Aside from being the founder & editor of Schulte Research, he has taught for 18 years IN MBA programs: Tufts, HK UST, HKU, LMU Hilton School in LA & SUSS in Singapore. He has also worked for the Number 1 investment bank from Switzerland, US, UK, Japan, PRC & Holland starting in 1990. Paul has been a source for the WSJ, NYT, Bloomberg, Nikkei, FT, Economist, Barron’s & Forbes. His clients include some of the largest sovereign, pension, mutual and hedge funds globally. He served as an advisor to IOSCO, ASIC, HKMA, Malaysian SFC, PRC PBOC & CBRC, Thai SEC & Indonesian OJK and Bank Indonesia.

See:  News on China cryptocurrency and more reforms

Paul has authored numerous books such as “The Next Revolution in our Credit-Driven Economy: The Advent of Financial Technology” integrates market theory & practice to help investors identify fintech opportunities & help regulators create a sustainable environment. In conjunction with SUSS, he co-authored "Handbook of Blockchain, Digital Finance, And Inclusion” (AI, the IOT & Insurtech in China).

Check out Paul Schulte's new book: AI & Quantum Computing for Finance & Insurance: PRC VS US. https://www.worldscientific.com/worldscibooks/10.1142/11371

“At the moment, we're witnessing financial technology stocks eating away at the liquidity foundations of banks -- Alibaba, Tencent, Google, Grab, Kabbage, GS? They are the future.” – Paul Schulte, Managing Editor, Schulte Research

“The growth and influence of global fintech markets (and players) such as Asia is remarkable.  Paul’s experience and ability to see deep into the confluences of financial powers in all things banking and financial services in emerging markets and his core understanding of innovative technologies is a huge asset.  We are thrilled to have him join NCFA’s advisory board and look forward to his contributions as we venture overseas.”   – Craig Asano, Founder & CEO, NCFA

Source:  NCFA

# # #

About NCFA

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. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

About Schulte Research

The focus of Schulte Research is technological change in banks & insurance and the way this affects prices. Our clients include some of the largest sovereign, pension, mutual and hedge funds globally.  In 2014, Mr. Schulte wrote “The Next Revolution in our Credit-Driven Economy: The Advent of Financial Technology”. He was credited for seeing the disruption to banks early. He is an advisor on Fintech to six bank boards, two insurance boards and five regulators. He is also a frequent keynote speaker.  For more information, please visit http://www.schulte-research.com/

 

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Craig Asano
Founder and CEO
NCFA Canada
416 618 0254
casano@ncfacanada.org


 

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BIS | Agustín Carstens | Nov 14, 2019 Keynote speech by Mr Agustín Carstens, General Manager of the BIS, at the 55th SEACEN Governors' Conference and High-level Seminar on "Data and technology: embracing innovation", Singapore, 14 November 2019. Introduction It is a great honour to address this distinguished audience today. We meet against the backdrop of the Singapore Fintech Festival and the opening, here in Singapore, of one of the first three BIS Innovation Hub Centres. Singapore has positioned itself as a centre of innovation, research and development at the heart of the world's most dynamic economic region.1 The impressive achievements in fintech relate in no small part to the work of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Singaporean authorities in creating a solid public infrastructure to foster innovation. This morning, I will discuss the role of personal data in digital financial innovation. The use of new technology with such data holds great promise, but it also presents new and complex policy trade-offs, and a clear need for domestic and international policy coordination. I would also like to share some thoughts on how the work of the BIS can contribute to this debate. The value of personal data Personal ...
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Canadian Securities Administrators | Nov 12, 2019 Montreal and Singapore - Members of the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) have signed a fintech co-operation agreement with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). The members are the securities regulatory authorities in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Québec and Saskatchewan. The agreement extends the work of the CSA Regulatory Sandbox Initiative and the MAS Fintech and Innovation Group. Notably, it includes a referral mechanism for innovative businesses, and will enhance and clearly define information-sharing between these jurisdictions. “This agreement with MAS will allow innovative businesses in Canada and Singapore access to new regulated markets,” said Louis Morisset, CSA Chair and President and CEO of the Autorité des marchés financiers. “Flexible regulatory environments with appropriate investor protection measures are best-placed to support the rapidly growing fintech industry.” “Singapore and Canada are no strangers in fintech collaboration. MAS and Bank of Canada had collaborated on a project to explore cross-border payments transactions on blockchain. This co-operation agreement will strengthen our co-operation between the 2 countries, specifically in developing innovative solutions for the securities sector,” said Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer, MAS. The co-operation agreement exchange ceremony was held at the Canadian Pavilion ...
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Finextra | Nov 6, 2019 Non-banks now account for a quarter of the institutions offering payment services or payment instruments, up from 14% in only six years, according to a fresh batch of statistics from the Bank for International Settlements. The data comes from the Basle-based BIS's annual Red Book report on payments and financial infrastructures. It reveals increasing incursions by non-bank competitors into both retail and wholesale payments. "The traditional bank-based ecosystem is being disrupted from below by fintechs and from above by well established big techs," states the report. "When asked which financial products and services are most affected by technological developments and competition, banks often rank payments the highest - both today and over the next five years." Non-bank providers now account for 10% of direct participants in RTGS systems in jursidictions covered by the BIS-convened Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures. In contrast, non-banks accounted for only four percent in 2012. The payments landscape continues to morph, says the BIS: "Driven by innovation and shifts in consumer preferences, new systems, new methods and new players are shaping the future of payments." The report also checks in on the drive towards a cashless society. It finds the ...
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CNBC | Jeff Cox | Nov 13, 2019 Key Points Google plans to offer checking accounts next year. The project, code-named Cache, will be run in conjunction with Citigroup and the Stanford Federal Credit Union. Google will offer checking accounts next year, according to a source familiar with the company’s plans, representing Big Tech’s boldest move yet into the consumer banking business. Most previous efforts have focused on credit cards and payment platforms. The accounts for the project will be run by Citigroup and the Stanford Federal Credit Union, the source said, confirming a report in The Wall Street Journal. As part of a project code-named Cache, the company will become the latest Silicon Valley leader to try its hand at the banking space. Previous attempts by Apple and Facebook faced obstacles, with consumers growing increasingly skeptical over providing large technology companies with their personal information. Google does not intend to sell customers’ data, Caesar Sengupta, an executive at the firm, told the Journal. “If we can help more people do more stuff in a digital way online, it’s good for the internet and good for us,” Sengupta said. For years, banks had been concerned about competition from small, nimble ...
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11fs Pulse | Joanne Kumire | Aug 27, 2019 Introduction to Open Banking in the UK The first step towards banking automation came in 1967 following the installation of an ATM in the UK. Over 50 years later, Open Banking arrived, ushering in a new era of digital banking, which ironically is lessening the need for ATMs. It is no secret that the financial industry was in dire need of a makeover, I mean except for a few bankers (if that), no-one really understood how most of banking worked even though it plays an integral role in our everyday lives. The 2008 global financial crisis was evidence of that and this disaster led to a review of regulations, from which Open Banking – the first enactment of PSD2 – was birthed. Since January 2018, we have heard a lot about Open Banking, the regulation that has released the financial data of consumers from the banks’ ownership and into the hands of consumers. That means regulated banks in the UK are now required to let customers share their transaction data such as spending habits and regular payments with authorised third-party providers (TPPs) offering other services – as long as the customer ...
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Artemis | Steve Evans | Nov 7, 2019 A blockchain based parametric weather insurance product has made its first payouts, after severe weather impacted smallholder farmers covered by the product in Sri Lanka. The parametric insurance was launched in a pilot phase a year ago, as Oxfam in Sri Lanka teamed up with insurance and reinsurance broker Aon and insurtech blockchain solutions provider Etherisc, alongside local insurer Sanasa, to deliver a responsive risk transfer solution that could be rolled out affordably in developing regions, with the goal of making automated payouts to smallholder farmers when extreme weather conditions occurred. The pilot launched with around 200 farmers enrolled that were exposed to the risk of losing their crops due to extreme weather. After the first year, the system has made some pay-outs to farmers in this initial operations phase, the parties behind the product announced. Now, the parties involved will move onto the next phase of the project as cropping season starts in November, seeking to solve any issues raised during the pilot with the goal of refining the system’s efficiency and increasing the scale the number of farmers that will benefit from the parametric microinsurance. “We are proud to have ...
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Mylo | Ted Liu | Nov 5, 2019 Mylo Raises $10M Series A From Major Canadian Financial Institutions Montreal, November 5, 2019 – Mylo, the Montreal-based fintech, has secured $10M in financing for its app that helps Canadians automate their saving and investing. The Series A round was led by National Bank’s corporate venture capital arm, NAventures, with follow-on investment from Desjardins Capital, Ferst Capital Partners and Tactico. This brings the company’s total funding up to $14M. “Mylo’s mission has always been to help Canadians achieve their financial goals. With over 450,000 Canadians creating accounts to save and invest on our platform in only two years, we know we’re on the right track,” said Mylo Founder and CEO, Phil Barrar. “This investment from important strategic partners lets us start the next phase of our mission. Our team is focused on building innovative new products to help Canadians overcome any financial roadblocks that stand in the way of their goals.” The investment by National Bank reinforces the institution’s commitment to innovation. “We see great alignment between Mylo’s mission and our own focus on providing individuals with the digital tools they need to manage their finances,” said Igal Ohayon, Director of Venture ...
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Osgoode Professional Development York University | Nov 2019 Strictly Legal, an Osgoode Professional Development podcast, is about all things legal. Each episode, we unpack current issues affecting the legal landscape with the help of some of the industry's leading thinkers. Heated fights over intellectual property are nothing new in promising technology markets. Are we poised for a revolution in the protection of all types of IP?  The blockchain can be used to control and track the distribution of protected IP.  Imagine a world where you could easily register and claim ownership over your original creative works – from music to photos to blogs. With the use of blockchain technology, that world is not so far away. As the world reacts to the current blockchain mania, many businesses in the community are having discussions on what the future of innovation in the blockchain space looks like. This week's guest: Paul Horbal, Bereskin Parr (@horbal) BIO:  Paul Horbal is a partner with Bereskin & Parr LLP. He is a member of the firm’s Electrical & Computer Technology group and is Chair of the Financial Technology group. His practice focuses on patent, industrial design and technology law, with an emphasis on securing and leveraging ...
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Reuters | Sharon Lam | Nov 8, 2019 Recession gatecrashes Hong Kong’s fintech party HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Hong Kong’s economic travails are an unwelcome guest in the city’s fintech party. Enthusiasm for online-only banks was palpable at the Fintech Week conference. Yet months of political unrest have hit small businesses, and the added risks may delay local launches by the likes of Standard Chartered and Tencent. Attendees this week descended on Hong Kong’s Lantau Island for the financial hub’s fourth annual gathering. With appearances from top officials like Financial Secretary Paul Chan to executives at Singapore’s $14 billion Grab and other rising stars, there was plenty of buzz. Hot topics included central bank digital currencies and cross-border payments. See:  News on China cryptocurrency and more reforms Virtual banks, as these branchless outfits are known in Hong Kong, took centre stage. Earlier this year, Hong Kong authorities granted eight licenses for such firms to offer payments, deposits and other services, in a long overdue shakeup. HSBC, Bank of China Hong Kong, Hang Seng Bank and Standard Chartered account for some three-quarters of the city’s mortgages and two-thirds of retail loans. Online challengers, including a joint venture between Chinese handset ...
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Exponential Group Joins NCFA as an Industry Partner | Interview with ExG Co-Founder, James Wallace

NCFA Canada | Craig Asano | Aug 20, 2019

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TORONTO, ON Aug 20, 2019  The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA) is pleased to announce that the Exponential Group (Exponential Ventures, Exponential Capital and Exponential Markets) has joined NCFA as an industry partner.

NCFA's industry partners are builders, investors and innovators who have provided a significant level of service and/or contribution towards the sustainability and growth of NCFA and related fintech sectors globally.  We encourage the fintech ecosystem to support and collaborate with NCFA's global network of industry partners by engaging directly with their ventures of mutual interest.

"Since founding NCFA in the summer of 2012, one of it's core missions has been working with communities of change that are passionate about enabling inclusive opportunities for 'big vision' companies seeking to change the world but need access to capital and resources to innovate competitive products and services that otherwise may not exist.  These companies often focus on new economies of scale that look beyond 'for profit' models alone.  Supporting and leading this change by developing new infrastructure and partnerships while leveraging new technologies can be a beacon of light resulting in massive transformation and change." - Craig Asano, Founder and CEO, NCFA

 

Meet James Wallace, Co-Founder of the Exponential Group

Exponential Group is the world's first fully integrated early-stage seed capital, business advisory, later stage capital raising, digital issuance and trading.

 

Q1. How did you get to where you are today?

James:  A whole lot of failures that led to a massive amount of learning.

 

 

Q2. What can you attribute your achievements to date to?

James:  Empathy for the excluded, plus grit and determination.

 

 

Q3. What’s the story behind founding Exponential Group and specifically what problems are you interested in solving as a Founder?

James:  An unwavering intention to migrate society to a free, inclusive and abundant paradigm by resolving government and financial exclusion.  Alleviate suffering and expand human potential to enable meaningful living.

 

 

Q4. Can you tell us more about the Digital Asset Impact Fund?

James:  The exchange-traded diversified digital asset impact fund will allow anyone access to a fund that holds a board basket of digital assets. These assets include tokenized real estate, currencies, precious metals, art, and venture capital. This is the easiest way to participate in migrating the economy to the digital asset world.

 

 

Q5. What role/impact do you think blockchain and digital securities will have on the future of financial services?

James:  Blockchain introduces trust to the Internet for the first time. Said another way, a trusted engagement is a secured value exchange, whether that’s an exchange of time reading content on a blog, giving personal data to your government, or trading any store of value such as a digital asset for fiat currency.

Different blockchains verify various aspects of user engagement online. As more and more blockchains connect to support the services of web users, non-blockchain equipped services will simply fall away, as they will not (and can never) be trusted.

Connections to web pages and native applications that are not secured and validated by blockchains will simply cease to exist over time. Bad players will slowly go extinct as blockchain-based services prevent their access to users.

The network of blockchains will eventually become the new Internet. And, because we believe absolute trust scales absolutely, ExV invests in platforms that create and grow trust with their users, in addition to adding significant value by solving a major problem.

 

Q6. What’s the greatest risks and challenges to improving mass adoption and education of blockchain and other technologies with the potential to impact great social change?

James:  Education and updating regulation. In parallel, we need to help everyday investors understand that there are only benefits to digital securities, as well as press the regulators to allow access to digital asset investments for retail investors. We believe the rest will happen naturally.

 

 

Q7. Where do you see Exponential Group in 3-5 years from today?  How can our community help out and get involved and where can we get more information?

James:  Exponential Group will continue to focus on expanding cross-border digital securities trading and as a result we believe in 3-5 years we will be one of the largest global investors, issuers and traders of digital securities.

Exponential Group is looking for dynamic founders to assist in issuing high quality digital securities and investors that wish to upgrade their investment portfolios to contain digital assets.

The best place to connect and get more information is at exgroup.ai.

 

Thanks to James and the Exponential Group for their support of the NCFA Community.  We look forward to collaborating and continuing to advance the development, adoption and growth of industry!

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Canada Update: Alberta Updates Crowdfunding Regulations but Where Does Canada Stand in the National Harmonization of Rules? What about Fintech Development? 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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