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Herewith today's FinTech, SME and alternative finance news round-up.
1.UK – FinTech
Rory Cellan-Jones writes a feature reprising his recent BBC radio documentary on cryptos, Magical Money. He looks at a couple of ICOs being touted at a recent London blockchain conference.
“A belief in the power of blockchain - essentially a database shared across multiple computers where every new entry is added to an unchangeable log - has seen billions of dollars invested in ICOs over the past 18 months.”
The documentary itself, while pitched at the non-expert listener, is worth attending to, and is available here.
2. UK – P2P
P2P Finance News reports an NED hire at Funding Circle, seen as a move prepping for an IPO.
“FUNDING Circle has appointed former 02 customer director and Tesco Mobile chair Cath Keers as a non-executive board member, reigniting rumours of a planned flotation.
Keers becomes the first female non-executive director (NED) on the peer-to-peer business lending platform’s board.
Publicly-listed companies are expected to have at least one in three female directors on their board by 2020.
It was reported earlier this year that Funding Circle was readying to hire advisers to prepare for a £1bn-plus float as soon as late autumn.
Keers currently serves as a NED for Sage Group and TalkTalk and is also chair of digital products provider Ustwo.”
3. UK – P2P
VICTORY Park Capital (VPC) Specialty Lending has reported record quarterly revenue returns for the first quarter of this year, boosted by its balance sheet investments, according to P2P Finance News.
“The alternative finance-focused investment fund said it generated a gross revenue return on balance sheet investments of 2.96 per cent and a total net revenue return of 2.69 per cent.
Its capital return for the quarter was down 1.75 per cent, which gave VPC a total net return of 0.94 per cent for the quarter.
Meanwhile, the fund reported that in March the gross revenue return from balance sheet investments was one per cent while total net revenue return was 0.89 per cent.
VPC’s cumulative net asset value on stood at £330.3m at the end of March 2018.”
4. US – FinTech
CooinGeek reports a new crowdfunding platform “scheduled to launch in late May, with Bitcoin Cash (BCH) at the core of its fundraising model.
Coinfundr will focus solely on raising funds through Bitcoin, as an alternative to already established sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter, The Merkle reported.
In one of the first developments of its kind to be built solely around a single cryptocurrency, the Coinfundr platform aims to allow businesses, inventors and entrepreneurs to raise the capital they need from investors via BCH payments.”
5. US – FinTech
Digital currency Dash CEO Ryan Taylor has been hacked, reports Crowdfundinsider.
“According to a statement released by Dash reps Taylor was the target of a concerted attack that impacted not just his Twitter account but LinkedIn and perhaps his cell phone too. Taylor released the following statement;
“It has come to my attention that I have been the target of cybercriminals at sometime this afternoon (Wednesday, 5/9). At the moment, my Twitter account, LinkedIn account, and personal cell phone SIM card have been compromised. However, we’re still evaluating the extent of the attack, as additional channels could be compromised. I will continue to share details as they are surfaced.”
Hacking attempts are widespread in the cryptocurrency world. Typically, cryptocurrency exchanges are targets or nefarious individuals will create spoof Twitter or Telegram accounts to lure in the unsuspecting. The attack on Dash Core Group CEO appears to be a bit more sophisticated and coordinated. At this writing, Taylor’s LinkedIn account has been vaporized but his Twitter account appears to be active along with some snarky comments. Dash is a top twenty crypto and also provides value added services such as wallets and merchant friendly payments. There is no indication that the hack impacted Dash in any way.”
6. International – P2P
Medianam reports events in India.
“Fintech startup BigWin Infotech has received a license from Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to launch its P2P lending platform called www.paisadukan.com. The platform will offer loans on behalf of matched borrowers and investors. It will also provide legal and recovery support, principal protection, and evaluation of credit risk by a proprietary algorithm, it said on its website.”
7. International – FinTech
FinTech Australia is lauding the Aussie Government’s policy push regarding Open Banking. The advocacy group says the Australian decision has pushed back against big banks to open true banking reform by next year, according to Crowdfundinisder.
“A government-backed Open Banking framework will be a game-changer for consumers and businesses, along with drive a new wave of fintech innovation and growth in Australia,” commented FinTech Australia chair Stuart Stoyan. “Finally, customers will be able to use a regulated system to unlock the power of their own data to get access to financial services better tailored to their needs.”
Stoyan said the reform is expected to push down lending costs while allowing people to more easily manage their financial services. Switching to a Fintech challenger bank should be far easier.
The government has accepted the timeframe proposed by the Farrell Report, which was also endorsed by FinTech Australia, to introduce the first phase of the Open Banking reform within 12 months of a government decision. This means customers of the big four banks will be able to use this reform to pass on their transaction, deposit and debit and credit card data to other accredited financial services providers by July 2019.
In contrast, there will be a delay mortgage data access to February 2020, with all other data identified in the Farrell review to be available from July 2020, with this expected to include personal loans.
FinTech Australia notes that the Australian Banking Association (ABA) had been arguing for an 18-month timeframe for the introduction of the first phase of open banking (including product information and transaction data) and for this timeframe to only begin after Parliament passes legislation. It was also arguing for all mortgage and lending data to be included at an unspecified later date.
Additionally, the government has decided to accept the arguments of FinTech Australia to include data from joint accounts in the reform’s first phase, another point of disagreement with the ABA.