From ::

World Bank Sells $33.8 Million More of Its Private Ethereum Blockchain Bonds

Nathan DiCamillo
The World Bank has issued a second round of its landmark blockchain bonds.
The international financial institution raised another $50 million AUD ($33.8 million U.S.) by selling the “blockchain-operated debt instrument” (bond-i), according to Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CommBank), which managed the sale jointly with RBC Capital Markets and TD Securities.
Both new and existing investors participated, CommBank said.
All told, the World Bank has issued $160 million AUD ($108 million U.S.) of these bonds, which run on a private version of the ethereum blockchain. It is “the first bond created, allocated, transferred and managed through its life-cycle using distributed ledger technology,” according to CommBank.
“We are happy to see the continued, strong support and collaboration from investors and partners,” Andrea Dore, the World Bank’s head of funding, said in a press release. “The World Bank’s innovation and experience in the capital markets is key to working with our member countries to increase digitization to boost productivity in their economies and accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.”
The blockchain platform was built and developed by CommBank’s Blockchain Centre of Excellence.
“CBA now has tangible evidence from our first bond offering using blockchain technology and subsequent bond management, secondary trading and tap issue via the same platform, that blockchain technology can deliver a new level of efficiency, transparency and risk management capability versus the existing market infrastructure,” Sophie Gilder, head of blockhain and AI at CommBank, said in last week’s release, adding:
“Next we intend to deliver additional functionality to deliver greater efficiencies in settlement, custody and regulatory compliance.”
A year ago, the World Bank announced the first $110 million AUD (roughly $81 million U.S. at the time) issuance of bond-i.
In May of this year, the World Bank and CommBank began to record secondary market bond trading using blockchain tech.
World Bank image via Shutterstock

From ::

Bitbond Meets with Government of Bermuda on Possible Digital Bond Issuance

Bitbond, a Germany based global peer to peer lender, is visiting Bermuda this week.
Bitbond recently closed on a BaFin approved security token offering raising €2.1 million for a digital bond. Investors from 87 different countries participated in the offering (minus the US and Canada).
It appears that Bitbond’s experience in issuing a regulated digital asset may foster a new business line. According to a tweet from the Premier of Bermuda, David Burt, the government is meeting with Bitbond founder and CEO Radoslav Albrecht to review the issuance of bonds via blockchain technology.
Bitbond, founded by CEO
If Bermuda moves down the path of issuing bonds on blockchain it will not be the first entity to accomplish this feat. In fact, the World Bank raised $110 million in a “blockchain bond” almost a year ago. There have been other entities which have leveraged blockchain technology to issue bonds.
For Bitbond, if there is a path to partnership, it could create a new vertical for the company that has mainly focused on providing access to capital to micro ventures.
As for Bermuda, it is a small country that has pushed forward with a regulated digital asset ecosystem. In fact, SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce recently recognized the country in a speech where she stated: 
“… we can look to Bermuda’s experience with digital asset regulation to assess potential regulatory approaches to this emerging asset class. The Bermuda Monetary Authority recently released draft guidance for crypto custodial services. This proposed code of practice addresses such difficulties as how to store private keys for hot and cold storage while preserving necessary liquidity, what safeguards should be in place to prevent unauthorized access, and how to frame internal audit of same transactions to ensure their integrity.”
Other crypto-focused firms have established entities in Bermuda. Most recently Circle announced that it has set up shop on the Atlantic island.
Both Bitbond and Bermuda are participants in the digital asset ecosystem that merit attention as the sector continues to evolve.

From ::

Blockchain Q&A: Arturs Ivanovs, FIC Network

Of the various well-established asset classes that could integrate blockchain technology the easiest, fixed income has received the greatest attention in the past couple of years. IntelAlley caught up with Arturs Ivanovs, founder & CEO of FIC Network, to discuss the bond market’s reaction to the new technology.
How would you describe the credit market’s uptake of blockchain-issued bonds?
It is in the tryout period by many financial institutions right now. Some are building their own internal optimization tools and applications using blockchain technology specifically for primary digital blockchain bond issuances. That is soon going to change as these applications will be interconnected via “operating systems.”
The real cost and efficiency benefits will emerge when independent platforms and marketplaces become available for these institutions. Benefits will include real-time order books, allocation management, ease of transfers, near real-time settlement and coupon payment flow, and the vast data that can be extracted throughout the lifecycle of the instrument.
We are positioning FIC Network as one such “operating system” for the bond market.
What is the greatest hindrance to adoption?
Education and lack of infrastructure are the two main factors.
Many decision-makers still confuse digital securities with cryptocurrencies and thus are reluctant to try blockchain-based platforms. We are always focusing on showing our platform in action to alleviate these unknowns and manifest the efficiencies it will bring to their organizations through automated workflows that traditionally have been manual in nature.
In terms of the infrastructure, there is over $40 trillion of debt securities outstanding on traditional market infrastructure with slow processing times, bilateral intermediaries, and low data availability. We have plans to create a module where these securities can be transformed into digital blockchain securities to fully benefit from FIC Platform’s efficiencies and transparency for bond coupon flows and secondary market transactions.
Is the hindrance permanent? What can be done to reduce its effects?
The hindrance is not permanent. Many innovative investment banks that we have engaged believe that digital securities are the future and are exploring the utilization of this technology.
My team’s own way of increasing adoption is to collaborate with innovative broker-dealers and issuers to issue billions of dollars worth of bonds through our platform. I am aiming for $100 billion in principal issued through our platform which should be a good enough signal that the digital fixed income market is the future. Long way to go though.
One of blockchain’s promises is fractionalizing assets. Has the market seen such an exercise yet? When do you think it will?
I have not seen a sensible fractionalized asset project so far. I believe that tokenizing individual future cash flows think coupon payments as zero-coupon bonds, is going to benefit insurance companies and corporations doing asset liability management. Our platform has the ability to do that today for newly issued digital bonds, but the market participants do not know that they need it yet. Hard to predict the exact time when such things will get adoption.
What do you see as the next major sea change in this space?
Change in the bond market structure and regulations.
I think that the processes ranging from origination to distribution to trading will be completely disrupted. Humans will be less important in structuring, sales, trading processes. The broker-dealers that will change before they have to will gain the most.
Hopefully, the regulators will provide more guidance to the digital securities space.

From ::

The Story of Rocket Loans and the Rebirth of Detroit

Detroit-based Rocket Loans is a unique consumer lender that is starting to gain some real traction

We have all heard the stories about Detroit. It was already struggling before the financial crisis and that episode eventually led to the city going bankrupt. You would never know it today as it has a downtown as vibrant as any mid-sized city in the country.

I was in Detroit recently at the invitation of Rocket Loans CEO, Bill Parker. I do visits to fintech companies quite regularly but usually in the big hubs of New York, San Francisco or London. This was my first visit to Detroit for a couple of decades so I was excited to see how the city had changed. And you can’t really tell the story of Rocket Loans without also talking about the city of Detroit.
Rocket Loans is part of billionaire Dan Gilbert’s family of companies, many of which are based in downtown Detroit. This group of over 100 companies includes Quicken Loans, Rocket Mortgage, Rapid Finance, StockX, Fathead as well as some Cleveland sports teams such as the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.

Bill invited myself and my colleague, Bladimir Estevez, not just to their offices for a meeting but to do a formal tour of downtown Detroit. This is something that Rock Holdings (the holding company) conducts on a daily basis and it is done to impress upon visitors that Detroit is back.
To say that Dan Gilbert has been important to the resurgence of Detroit would be a massive understatement. He moved Quicken Loans downtown in 2010 (from the suburbs) and has bought dozens of downtown office buildings, some of which were abandoned or nearly empty, and redeveloped them into modern Class A offices. What was amazing to see was the before and after photos of some of these buildings.

Quicken Loans is the crown jewel of the financial component of Rock Ventures. It is now the largest mortgage lender in the country, bigger than even the largest banks. They seem to be slowly moving away from that brand, though, and moving to Rocket Mortgage which has a much more modern and innovative feel. What Rocket Mortgage is to home loans, Rocket Loans wants to be to personal loans. And by the way, the Rocket Mortgage app on the Apple App Store has 4.8 stars on 39,000 reviews – pretty impressive traction.

Anyway, I sat down with Bill and several other members of the Rocket Loans management team to discuss the background of the company, where it is at today and how it fits with the other parts of the family of companies. It is still a young company, having made its first loan in 2016 and they have mostly stayed under the radar. But they are starting to make some waves in the personal loan space.
Bill is a Rock Holdings veteran having started at Quicken Loans in 2003. He was part of the founding team at Rocket Loans in 2016 and became CEO in 2017. He is very passionate about the city of Detroit, Rocket Loans and the personal loan space. He exudes enthusiasm as he describes his company, their mission and how they are changing the city.

Let’s discuss the loans themselves. They occupy a pretty familiar wheelhouse for consumer lenders. Loan amounts go as high as $45,000, interest rates range from 5.98% to 29.99%, loan terms are three or five years and they charge an origination fee from 1% to 6%. Borrowers can get same day funding via ACH up to $25,000 which is a unique feature. All loans are originated by Cross River Bank and a majority of the whole loans are then sold to investors.

One of the unique aspects of Rocket Loans is that they don’t have to play the customer acquisition game. Their sister company, Rocket Mortgage, is the largest mortgage lender in the country with millions of customers. These people are the main source of customers for Rocket Loans. Many are looking for personal loans, often to do home improvements, and Rocket Loans is able to market to them effectively. What this means is that, unlike most personal loan platforms, home improvement loans makes up a significant portion of their originations.

They would not disclose loan volume numbers or loan performance but suffice it to say they are happy with they are at. They are not a venture backed business, all funding has come from the parent company, so they only have to answer to one shareholder. This also means they have been able to grow deliberately. They have not broken any records for fast growth, but Bill was pleased to report that they have been profitable for some time now.

Looking to move beyond their core offering Rocket Loans recently launched a new product, a point of sale loan for the contractor market. This is a direct competitor to GreenSky, but Bill thinks their product has a number of advantages such as lower merchant discount rates and the ability to approve a broader set of consumers across the credit spectrum. They are actively marketing to contractors now as they build out this new offering.

Rocket Loans was one of the co-founders of the Online Lending Policy Institute along with Cross River Bank and Boston University. So, they are strong supporters of creating a dialogue with policy makers and they participate in the annual Online Lending Policy Summit in DC every year.
While they have kept a relatively low profile, I expect you will hear the Rocket Loans name more and more. Rocket Mortgage just hosted Detroit’s first ever PGA Tour event and so the brand got some huge exposure during that week. And it also shined a light on the fact that Detroit is a city that has been reborn. And Rocket Loans is now part of the story of the rebirth of Motor City. Maybe one day, in the distant future, it will become known as a finance capital.

From :: email

Office of Financial Research logo

Update from the Office of Financial Research

Today, the U.S. Treasury Office of Financial Research (OFR) published a working paper, "The Effects of the Volcker Rule on Corporate Bond Trading: Evidence from the Underwriting Exemption."

This paper examines the impact of the Volcker rule, which bans proprietary trading by commercial banks and their affiliates, with some exceptions. It finds evidence that the rule has increased the cost of liquidity provided by firms it covers, but not decreased the firms’ exposure to liquidity risk. It also finds that the rule has decreased the market share of covered firms. Customers appear to be trading more with non-bank dealers, who are exempt from the Volcker rule but also cannot borrow at the Federal Reserve’s discount window. (Working Paper no. 19-02)

This working paper can be found here:

The OFR website can be found here: 
Other OFR Working Papers can be found here:

Thank you for your interest in the work of the OFR.

From ::

SEC Qualifies First Issuance of Digital Token Under Regulation A+

In Short

The Situation:
As the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") continues to bring enforcement actions to stop unregistered sales of digital tokens, blockchain companies are exploring ways to sell tokens to the public in compliant ways.

The Result:
Blockchain start-up Blockstack obtained from the SEC qualification of its offering statement for the first-ever digital token offering under Regulation A+ ("Reg. A+"), which is a cheaper way to raise capital than a traditional IPO. European authorities likewise have welcomed compliant offerings of digital assets, with several gaining approval in Germany and increased activity in France after the passage of new legislation early this year.

Looking Ahead:
Regulatory approval for digital token sales provides a path forward and some measure of optimism for the future of compliant token offerings, even though hurdles remain.
On July 10, 2019, the SEC qualified the offering statement for the first-ever digital token offering under Reg. A+. Blockstack, a blockchain start-up, launched the $28 million token offering under the registration exemption that was enacted as part of the JOBS Act.
Reg. A+ is intended to be a substantially cheaper alternative to a traditional IPO. It reduces disclosure obligations and still allows companies to raise up to $50 million in a 12-month period. In addition, as compared to other registration exemptions, Reg. A+ offerings can target a wider scope of retail investors, in addition to institutions and wealthy individuals.

The Blockstack offering is not the first chance that the SEC has had to review and comment on a digital token offering. Other offerings, including those submitted under a more traditional IPO path on Form S-1, have been met with significant scrutiny, which has led to several potential offerings being abandoned before completing the SEC review process.

As the first-ever digital token offering pursuant to an SEC-qualified offering statement, Blockstack's token offering is a possible indication that the SEC's enforcement efforts against unregistered digital token sales and its guidance on the application of securities laws to digital tokens are having the intended effect—pushing the market to offer and sell digital assets in a compliant way.

As companies continue to look to raise capital by selling digital tokens in a compliant manner, Reg. A+ may prove to be appealing. For example, the day after Blockstack's offering was qualified, it was announced that YouNow's Props Project became the second digital token offering to have its offering statement qualified by the SEC, also under Reg. A+.

Still, cost and timing hurdles may discourage some companies from taking this fundraising route. It was reported that Blockstack spent around $2 million on its compliance and offering documents. And public filings show that it underwent a rigorous 10-month review process before becoming qualified.

Outside of the United States, companies likewise have had incipient success with gaining regulatory approval for token offerings. In Germany, a lending platform named Bitbond launched in January 2019 a €100 million security token offering ("STO"), which was the first to be approved by the German financial regulator BaFin. And in July, BaFin approved a €50 million STO by a German venture capital investment fund named StartMark and a €250 million STO by Fundament Group, Germany's first issuer of a real estate-backed token.

With the increased STO activity in Germany, BaFin provided additional guidance on the classification of tokens in April 2019. It said that tokens representing investments in the form of profit participation, loans, or registered bonds—which in their traditional form do not qualify as securities under the German prospectus regime—may be classified as securities if issued in token format because of the increased tradeability of tokens. In June 2019, the German legislature also introduced a draft bill to extend licensing obligations for financial and banking services related to cryptoasset (Kryptowerte) business models.

Other countries, such as France, have put in place specific legal regimes that allow nonlisted securities to be issued and traded as digital securities using distributed ledger technology (instead of traditional systems). In April 2019, a French bank was one of the first to take advantage of the new law to issue bonds on the Ethereum blockchain.

News of regulatory approvals provides some measure of optimism for the future of compliant digital token offerings and a potential path for other companies to follow.

Three Key Takeaways
  1. The SEC's enforcement efforts against unregistered digital token sales and its guidance on the application of securities laws to digital tokens show some success in pushing market participants toward compliant offerings.
  2. Successful applications for offerings of digital tokens in the United States and Germany provide a path forward for some blockchain companies to raise money in a compliant way.
  3. Questions remain in the United States whether Reg. A+ will be a realistic way for companies to conduct compliant digital token sales, as costs and timing obstacles could still discourage the wider adoption of Reg. A+ offerings.

From ::

Some deals are too good to miss

We at CoinLoan work hard to make an efficient crypto lending platform. Further, we want to implement as many improvements as we can. Fortunately, we have done just that.
Today, we’ve got excellent news for you! CoinLoan is offering lower withdrawal fees.

Keep in Mind:

  • Starting on August 6th, the average withdrawal fee will be cut in half for all users.
  • Withdrawal Minimal Amount will be also reduced for euros and cryptocurrencies.
Read on for more details.

We Cut Withdrawal Fees in Half

Withdrawals are important. Any action you take on this platform, like lending, borrowing, buying/selling, and earning using your referral link, requires a withdrawal. As there is no way to avoid withdrawals, we figured it was time to make them cheaper and easier.
Last time we checked, we had the lowest fees on the market for borrowers and lenders.
Our previous fees update resulted in complete removal of lending fees. Now, the time has come to move forward and cut platform fees even more. From now on, we take about 50% off the withdrawal fees for fiat, crypto, and stablecoins. For instance, withdrawing bitcoins from the platform you’re now paying 0.0005 BTC instead of 0.001 BTC.
You can find the updated prices on Fees Schedule page.

We Decreased Withdrawal Minimal Amount

Lower fees mean lower withdrawal limits!
Withdrawal limits on CoinLoan mean the minimal amount you can withdraw. Updated fees allowed us to cut limits significantly for euros and cryptocurrencies. So, now you can transfer 0,001 BTC from the platform instead of 0,01 BTC as it was before.
To find out your withdrawal limits, go to My Wallet, find the currency needed and, press Withdraw. Here you’ll see the sum available for withdrawal, the minimum withdrawal amount, your withdrawal fee, and the amount you’ll get.
Figure 1: Example of how to see your withdrawal information.

Don’t want to miss our next announcement? Keep an eye out!


CoinLoan is a P2P lending platform for cryptoassets backed loans.

From email

Nexo LogoBorrowEarnAppsAccount
Nexo Card
Dear Nexonian,
With great pride, we announce that the Nexo Card is here!
True to our innovative approach to FinTech, at Nexo, we are pioneering the world’s first card that allows holders to spend the value of their assets without selling them.
The Nexo Card can be ordered and managed from the comfort of your Nexo Mobile App, giving you instant worldwide access to Nexo’s services.
Simply navigate to the Card tab and Nexo takes care of the rest!
Nexo Card

The Nexo Card Benefits

The Nexo Wallet Аpp

Ready to Use at 40+ Million Merchants

The Nexo Card is already linked to the assets in your Nexo Wallet. When making purchases, the Nexo Oracle confirms in real-time your credit line balance, approves the transaction and send you the details in a push notification.

All the Features You Need, Right at Your Fingertips

  • Freeze and unfreeze your Nexo Card with a single tap
  • Create free virtual cards for safe online purchases
  • Monitor all your transactions in real-time and full detail
  • View your PIN. Change it at any ATM if needed
The Nexo Wallet Аpp
The Nexo Wallet Аpp

#ZeroFees on All Transactions

  • No hidden fees
  • No account maintenance fees
  • No inactivity fees
  • No surcharges at Point-of-Sale payments
  • No foreign exchange (FX) fees

Instant Cashback on All Transactions

Enjoy cashback of up to 5% whenever paying with your Nexo Card. The cashback is instantly deposited into your NEXO Wallet, increasing your available credit line balance.
The Nexo Wallet Аpp
The Nexo Wallet Аpp

State of the Art Security Features

Nexo Wallet is equipped with military-grade 256-bit encryption and 24/7/365 fraud monitoring mechanisms, guaranteeing the safety of clients' funds and transactions.
We are confident that we provide the best card service in the blockchain space and that you will enjoy using the Nexo Card as much as we enjoyed creating it for you.
Best Regards,
Your Nexo Team


DAI and USDT Stablecoins Are Listed on CoinLoan

All you need to know about our new coins

CoinLoan is excited to announce that we’ve listed Dai (DAI) and ERC20-based Tether (USDT) stablecoins on our lending platform and crypto exchange. Being backed by stable assets, stablecoins combine the best of the crypto and fiat worlds to create new opportunities and use cases.
For instance, stablecoins can be a possible solution to the high volatility that cryptocurrency faces today. Also, they are used for convenient cross-border and cross-platform funds transfers, which are unavailable for fiat funds.
CoinLoan loves introducing stablecoins because they offer CoinLoaners a safe way to store value within the crypto space. Please note that TUSD, USDC, PAX, and PAXO have also been added to the CoinLoan platform. Currently, these stablecoins are available for lenders and borrowers in the My Wallet tab.

Keep in mind:

  • DAI and ERC20-based USDT can be used as loan currencies on the CoinLoan lending platform;
  • BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC, XMR, CLT, and ONT can be used as collateral for loans in DAI and USDT;
  • Both DAI and USDT can be bought and sold for cryptocurrencies on the CoinLoan crypto exchange.

What is DAI?

The Dai stablecoin is a collateral-backed cryptocurrency whose value is stable relative to the U.S. dollar. It is a standard Ethereum token adhering to the ERC20 standard.
Unlike other stablecoins, DAI is entirely decentralized. Its low volatility makes DAI coins the perfect medium for a stable, predictable loan.
Learn more about DAI stablecoins here.

What is USDT?

The Tether stablecoin was designed to build a necessary bridge between fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies, offering stability, transparency, and minimal transaction charges to users. Value-wise, USDT is pegged against the U.S. dollar.
Tether’s relationship with the cryptoasset industry can be described as “permanently ambivalent.” Although Tether has the highest market volumeamong all stablecoins, there has been rife speculation that Tether does not back their issuing with real dollars from customers and investors. However, in the first half of 2019, Tether’s banking arrangements have seemed to stabilize.
Learn more about USDT stablecoins here.

How to use DAI and USDT on CoinLoan

To borrow new stablecoins, find a suitable offer on the Lending Market or create a Loan Request to set your terms. Check out CoinLoan’s Borrowing Guide for more details.
To invest using DAI or USDT, you must first deposit the stablecoins into your CoinLoan wallet. To do so, please visit the My Wallet tab.
Alternatively, you can visit CoinLoan’s Crypto Exchange and convert your existing crypto (BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC, or XMR) into the desired stablecoins. Please visit CoinLoan’s Lending Guide for more detailed instructions.

Are you interested in crypto-backed lending? Check out CoinLoan’s Lending Market to find a proposal and issue a loan in just a few clicks!

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