News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

Listen to a wide range of opinions. Panel discussion at an Another Crowd event.

1.UK – P2P


P2P Finance News on P2P as a property play:


“PROPERTY is one of the most popular ways for peer-to-peer investors to put their money to work.

The attractions are obvious: the reassurance of bricks and mortar as security and inflation-busting returns, often with the added allure of tax-free earnings thanks to the Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA).

Of course, property is a broad church. Commercial and buy-to-let (BTL) mortgages, development finance and bridging loans are all available through P2P finance platforms.

With the exception of owner-occupied residential mortgages, where the lengthy loan terms do not fit very well with the P2P lending model, it is possible to lend to almost any segment of the property market.

However, the variety of platforms and loan types available can be disorientating for investors that are new to the sector. Here we aim to navigate you through the diverse world of P2P property investing.”


2. UK – P2P


P2P Global Investments (P2P) has become the second investment trust whose recovery story has been tarnished by having to write off a holding in Urica, a platform designed to speed up invoice payments, set up by former Artemis fund manager Lindsay Whitelaw – according to CityWire.


‘The £641 million peer-to-peer lending trust, which is under new management and in the process of reducing its exposure to US consumer debt, had an equity investment in Urica, which is now in liquidation, and also provided a rolling credit facility to Urica Europe, which is not.

P2P said the £5.5 million equity investment, equivalent to 0.74% of net asset value, made in October 2015 has now been written off though it it still has a £24.2 million lending exposure to Urica Europe. P2P’s annual report for the year ending 31 December shows Urica was its top holding, making up 4.11% of the portfolio but no other detail is given in any other documents filed to the stock exchange or in any factsheets published by the trust.’

3. UK - FinTech

Fintech company Square is boosting its small-business lending with an eBay partnership, according to Yahoo Finance.

‘Square Capital, the lending arm of the payment start-up, will be available to eBay sellers looking to expand their business operations. Starting in the third quarter, merchants on the site can apply for a loan as small as $500 and up to $100,000 to help with everything from payroll and inventory to equipment and marketing, the companies said in a press release.

Square Capital’s focus since launching in 2014 has been on those businesses historically excluded from the larger financial system. The partnership will offer access to capital for those who have been “underserved when seeking funding” and give U.S. sellers a "seamless funding experience," Jacqueline Reses, Head of Square Capital said in the press release.

Small-business lending is an increasingly competitive area in fintech. PayPal , which was once a part of eBay, has a program called Working Capital and provides loans to merchants based on sales history. Amazon does this for sellers too, and began extending credit to small business owners in 2011. It uses sales data to trigger invitations for financing that could boost growth.’

4. UK – SMEs

Unquote reports:

“BNP Paribas Asset Management has launched a vehicle targeting the UK SME lending market.

BNP Paribas UK SME Debt Fund 1 will provide senior loans to SMEs with an annual turnover of less than £50m.”

5. US – FinTech 

Crypto investment startup Bitwise is seeking regulators’ permission to offer an exchange-traded fund (ETF) tied to the top 10 cryptocurrencies,

according to a CoinDesk report.

“The Bitwise HOLD 10 Cryptocurrency Index Fund ETF would track the returns on the startup’s HOLD 10 Index. That index is the basis for a passive investment fund which itself invests in the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization. This fund “captures approximately 80 [percent] of the total market capitalization of the cryptocurrency market,” the company said Tuesday.

According to a press release, the ETF proposal addresses issues surrounding supply, liquidity, trade volume and custody, which are areas the SEC has expressed concern about in the past.

The proposal, filed with the SEC, differs from other ETF applications under the agency’s review in that it lists multiple cryptocurrencies as part of the fund, and not just bitcoin.

The news comes just hours after the regulator announced it was postponing a decision on five other proposed ETFs. Those funds were proposed by Direxion Investments, which has withdrawn similar proposals in the past at the SEC’s direction.

At the same time, there is an effort to encourage the SEC to approve another ETF proposal, offered by VanEck and SolidX. The SEC is taking comments on this proposal, and may offer a decision as soon as next month if it does not choose to delay it as well.”

6. International – FinTech


The Bitcoin Standard author Saifedean Ammous brought his book tour to Toronto, according to Crowdfundinsider.

‘Ammous is an assistant professor of economics at Adnan Kassar School of Business in Lebanon. He holds a PhD in Sustainable Development from Columbia University in New York, where he also completed an MA and MPhil in Sustainable Development. He has an ongoing research interest in Arab political economy.

A write up on the book at states, “The Bitcoin Standard analyzes the historical context to the rise of Bitcoin, the economic properties that have allowed it to grow quickly, and its likely economic, political, and social implications.”

Central to Ammous’s analysis of Bitcoin are ideas from Austrian economics regarding “sound money.”

“Monies that are easy to make,” said Ammous, “…eventually stop being money; they lose their value.” Currencies produced in difficult geological processes, however, like gold, said Ammous, often supplant currencies devalued by their ease of replication, like paper money backed by superfluities.

As has lately been witnessed in inflationary countries like Venezuela and Iran, people instinctually, “dump weak currencies for harder currencies.”

Ammous also noted that countries with monetary policies that weaken their local currencies have historically been invaded by aggressors bearing sound money.

Gold and silver were traditionally the “most sound” or “hardest” (essentially, “hardest to obtain”) currencies used by most humans.

Proponents of Bitcoin have likened the energy-intensive number crunching system used to produce it to a geological process.