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1. UK – P2P
“IRISH peer-to-peer lending platform Flender has pushed back its UK launch to focus on becoming the “dominant platform” in its home country first.
Flender gained authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and ISA manager status to launch an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) last year and had planned to launch in the UK and Ireland at the same time.
But Kristjan Koik, chief executive of Flender, said once the platform had access to its customer data it decided to grow its brand domestically first and a UK launch will not come before 2019.
“We did get IFISA manager status and lot of our lenders are from the UK,” Koik said.
“However, we would like to grow our brand and become a dominant platform in Ireland prior to entering much more competitive a market such as the UK.”
It comes as the business lender secured €350,000 (£302,000) of venture capital equity funding from Enterprise Ireland as well as another €450,000 from private investors.”
2. US – AltFi
Venture Beat reports on a “sea change” in Series A investment rounds “that has been gradually – but persistently – eating away at venture capital (VC) funds’ highest-ROI category investments, and the reason it’s happening may surprise you.
According to Cooley’s VC trends, the median Series A valuation has moved up from $16.5 million to $23.0 million in just the past two years. VCs aren’t just competing for fewer early-stage deals, they’re also paying a lot more for them. Around the time that orange became the new black, seed rounds became the new Series A, with valuations doubling between 2012 and 2017, according to Pitchbook. (What used to be called seed-stage is now termed “pre-seed.”)”
3. US – FinTech
“Global peer to peer marketplace for small loans, Bitbond, allows clients the option to transfer their loans by using bitcoin. The bitcoin startup has seen its popularity grow, with the startup managing around $1 million in loans per month for 100 clients.
The revelation was made in an interview by Reuters TV with Bitbond’s German founder Radoslav Albrecht. He said the rationale behind the move is that it will help reduce the foreign exchange cost for clients.
Bitbond is a peer to peer lending platform that aims to cater to the financially deprived by providing small business loans. The platform works similarly to most peer to peer bitcoin lending services where capital is lent to a business for commercial purposes without either party knowing the identity of each other.
It’s now clear that the lending platform will use the cryptocurrency to enable faster and easier transfer of online payments. A transaction via the conventional banking system can take a few working days to settle, whereas the process is done in real time with bitcoin.
Bitbond founder Radoslav Albrecht said, “Traditional money transfers are relatively costly due to currency exchange fees, and can take up to a few days. With Bitbond, payments work independently of where customers are. Via internet it is very, very quick and the fees are low.”
4. US – SMEs
The wires carry a release on the launch of an offshoot of the Small Business Finance Association.
“The SBFA today announced the launch of a new initiative called the SBFA Broker Council dedicated to bringing together responsible brokers that serve small businesses to focus on creating best practices. The Council is co-chaired by Jared Weitz, founder & CEO of United Capital Source and James Webster, CEO & co-founder of National Business Capital. The mission of the Council will be to create standards and a certification for brokers who agree to best practices focused on four basic principles—transparency, responsibility, fairness, and security.
"We want to give small business owners confidence that the brokers they work with are trustworthy, vetted, and committed to being responsible," said Jared Weitz. "We need to take steps to promote brokers who are acting in the best interest of small business owners and send a clear message about the valuable role we play in the small business finance ecosystem."
5. International – FinTech
“PBOC Bans Unauthorized APP to Access Credit Rating System
Recently, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), China’s central bank, issued a document named, “Notice on Further Strengthening the Management of Credit Information Security” (Yinfa  No. 102) (hereinafter referred to as “Document No. 102”), to further strengthen the management and security of credit information database. According to Document No. 102, credit reporting agencies and access agencies are strictly forbidden to query credit report without authorization, and unauthorized APP accessing to credit reporting systems is strictly prohibited. In addition, it is required to establish a leading group for credit information security work and make clear that the person in charge of the credit management work shall take the primary responsibility for related issue. (Source: WDZJ)
Banks in China Started to Embrace Blockchain Technology in 2017
As reported by CEBNet, 12 out of 26 listed banks in China stated in their annual report that they had applied Blockchain technologies in different use cases last year. The 12 institutions include three large state-owned commercial banks (Bank of China, China Construction Bank, and Agricultural Bank of China), as well as other joint-stock banks such as China Merchants Bank and some city commercial banks.
Applications that have been adopted include the use of Blockchain technology for bill business, cross-border business, and verification of user identities.
For example, according to the annual report submitted by the Agricultural Bank of China, the bank has developed a decentralized network to provide unsecured loans to merchants of agricultural e-commerce.”
6. International – FinTech
Junk bonds, anybody?
“This is an interesting spin on cryptocurrencies. There have been thousands of digital coins created but many have died, morphing into Zombie coins. So where do digital currencies go to die? This company thinks they can be reanimated and gain a second life.
CoinJanitor, a project by Marc Kenigsberg, wants to recycle these coins and create new value with them. The idea is to buy out Zombie coin holders, giving them a way to recover some of the investment they lost in these dead coins. Once the buy outs are complete, CoinJanitor will own all the assets that belong to that coin, so it can create new tools using the data, code and other relevant assets. This is not the first time we have heard about someone pursuing a project like this but it may be the first time a company has been created with a plan to “clean up dead coins.”
CoinJanitor says it will start buying the dead coin projects, looking at their code, the data within their blockchains, their other assets and perhaps come up with plan to produce tools and services by recycling. Shouldn’t there be a few diamonds in the rough from the thousands of stumbling crypto projects? Out of the 4500 or so DOA crypto, CoinJanitor plans on targeting non exchange traded cryptos with less than $50,000 in value.
CoinJanitor says that anyone may get involved with the project. They have launched a rewards program to help it spread the word and get started with the buy out process. CoinJanitor is in the process of launching their own initial coin offering (ICO) to help fund the concept. Their sale is ongoing and scheduled to end on May 31st ($7.5M hard cap).”