1. UK – P2P
“Internet lender Funding Circle is plotting to float on the stock market within the next fortnight, with a value of £1.5 billion.
The company, which allows savers to lend their money directly to businesses and get paid interest, is seeking cash to expand in the US and Germany.
The Mail understands the London listing will take place in the second week of September, earning its founders millions.
Funding Circle will be the first peer-to-peer (P2P) lender to join the UK public markets, in a sign that the industry is coming of age. The float is expected to make it one of Britain’s most valuable financial technology firms.
It will also be likely to value the stakes of founders Samir Desai, James Meekings and Andrew Mullinger – former Oxford University students who set the firm up in 2010 – at tens of millions of pounds at least.
The firm has so far issued more than £3.8 billion of loans to over 39,000 businesses, and been used by 75,000 investors including ordinary people, City firms and the British Business Bank.”
2. UK – FinTech
FT Adviser reports:
“Rathbones has completed the acquisition of Speirs and Jeffrey, the Scottish investment management business it agreed to buy in June.
The £104m acquisition cost was met via a cash consideration of £79m, with the remaining £25m coming via newly issued Rathbones shares. The shares cannot be sold for three years.”
All Speirs and Jeffrey employees will transfer to Rathbones, with Russell Critchton, previously chief executive of Speirs and Jeffrey, becoming head of Rathbones' Scottish office.”
3. International – FinTech
“China Cinda Asset Management, one of the country’s four biggest state-owned bad debt managers, said on Thursday it would “proactively” help the government tackle peer-to-peer (P2P) lending risks, after confirming China’s top financial regulator had recently met the big four asset management companies on the issue following several protests in the past few weeks by investors who had lost money on collapsed P2P platforms.
P2P risks are a social issue of great concern in China.”
4. International – FinTech
“Charlie Lee, founder of a retail payments-focussed cryptocurrency called Litecoin, told CNBC this week that crypto bear markets can be a good time for people working on crypto projects to keep their noses to the grindstone, and might also be a good time to pick up a little discounted crypto, but only with money one can afford to lose.
Lee made a distinction between the value (true utility) of crypto networks and speculative valuation. For the time being, said Lee, the two are not correlated:
“This year there has so much (retail) adoption in Bitcoin and Litecoin, but the price (has) dropped, like, 60 or 70%…it’s because it’s so volatile, it’s all about speculation these days, but in the future the price will reflect the success of the cryptocurrency.”
Lee sold all his Litecoin holdings last December at the top of the market citing concerns about “conflict of interest.” For that reason, he told CNBC interviewer Melissa Lee, “I’m not gonna buy back my litecoins any time soon, or at all."
5. International – FinTech
Crowdfundinsider on tokens v securities as proof of work changes to proof of stake.
“As we all know, Ethereum is planning to change from Proof of Work (PoW) to Proof of Stake (PoS). There is no need to dive into the pros/cons .. shoulda coulda debate now, but an interesting discussion regarding its status as a non-security came up in the virtual discussion.
To step back a bit, in June this year, Bill Hinman, the Director of CorpFin at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), pronounced at a Yahoo conference that Ethereum will not be considered a security. To quote;
“… And putting aside the fundraising that accompanied the creation of Ether, based on my understanding of the present state of Ether, the Ethereum network and its decentralized structure, current offers and sales of Ether are not securities transactions. And, as with Bitcoin, applying the disclosure regime of the federal securities laws to current transactions in Ether would seem to add little value.”
The crypto industry breathed a collective sigh of relief.
This appears to be hardening as policy as SEC Chair Clayton has referenced this understanding as recently as this past week.
But in clarifying the “decentralization test,” Hinman raises other questions. What if a non-security crypto becomes less decentralized?
Recently, someone more knowledgable on the topic than I, explained the decentralization test;
“Hinman basically indicated that tokens might avoid securities regulation if the platform is sufficiently decentralized. What that means is likely to be debated for some time unless the SEC gives concrete guidance. However, most initial coin offerings (ICOs) I see are substitutes for VC funding where the issuer plans / needs to have a very active role for quite a while / forever. Even if you read Hinman to allow for the possibility of converting securities into non-securities, I don’t see the majority of ICO projects getting close to an Ethereum / bitcoin like level of decentralization.”
Thus ICOs are, pretty much, always a security."