Two Bitcoin Companies Make the Fox Business List of 30 Hot Fintech Startups

Bitcoin Magazine
Two Bitcoin Companies Make the Fox Business List of 30 Hot Fintech Startups

Fox Business published a list of 30 top fintech startups to watch in the Bay Area. The list includes two Bitcoin companies that offer simple and effective solutions for important real-world problems.

BTCjam allows users to invest their bitcoin and earn a high rate of return. This process is secure and allows investors to participate in peer-to-peer lending. BTCjam is also a great place for those seeking loans, and especially for the residents of developing countries without a national credit scoring system who are subject to aggressive predatory lending practices when they need to borrow money from traditional lenders.

Using cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, and tapping foreign lenders, helps BTCjam avoid regulatory issues, TechCrunch reported in 2014.

“We are one of the first real use cases for bitcoin,” said founder Celso Cardoso Pitta Jr. “Today people circle around buying and selling of bitcoin, but I don’t think bitcoin increases in value because it’s a commodity or a currency. It needs to be useful.”

BTCjam is a marketplace where people from around the world connect to borrow and lend using bitcoin. By the end of 2014, the company had facilitated bitcoin loans in excess of $10 million dollars in value with more than 100,000 users worldwide. BTCjam created an online credit scoring system to qualify borrowers from all over the world and allow them to build a transparent credit profile on the platform.

“Our disruptive credit model is providing a new path to financial freedom for users from over 200 countries around the world,” states the BTCjam website. The investors, who loan their money to qualified borrowers, can earn interest up to 19.3 percent. Therefore, the BTCjam solution seems a win-win for both borrowers and investors – provided, of course, the borrowers repay their loans.

Credit ratings on BTCJam are determined by many variables. Borrowers can improve their score by having their identity, address, credit score and social accounts verified, and developing a good credit history on BTCJam. The company recently announced its new feature AutoInvest, which automatically diversifies an investment budget into select loans that meet an investor’s selected portfolio criteria and risk preferences.

Epiphyte (a name that will be familiar to readers of Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon) provides enterprise software solutions for financial service providers to securely integrate with cryptofinancial networks. The company’s software allows financial service providers to convert the currency of one nation to bitcoin, make an international transfer, and change the bitcoin into the currency of the destination country. Epiphyte, a winner of the Innotribe Startup Challenge in October 2015, claims that its software operates well with crypto-financial networks and bridges the traditional financial services with the latest in bitcoin technology.

Epiphyte’s solution avoids traditional money movement avenues and instead converts currency to bitcoin, moves the coins, then cashes them out on the other end in the local tender. The bitcoin are moved for a fraction of the cost of traditional money transfers using exchanges such as Coinbase and BitPay, which take on the currency risk.

Banks, for example, will be able to integrate with cryptocurrencies over traditional protocols such as SWIFT. Epiphyte’s first product provides banks with a low-risk way to provide services to their customers. The company is rolling out a pilot implementation of this product.

The value proposition of the company is to help banks to provide lower-cost international remittance services by leveraging the innovative solutions provided by Bitcoin startups, which, again, is a win-win for banks and Bitcoin companies, and, of course, for consumers.

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Commonwealth Bank of Australia To Launch Ripple Payments Soon

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) plans to begin using the Ripple network to settle payments between its subsidiaries soon.

Commonwealth Bank chief information officer David Whiteing revealed the large bank’s interest in Ripple technology yesterday during a speech at an event hosted by the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA).

Technology news outlet CIO reported Whiteing said, “Bitcoin is a protocol which is now being replicated by non-asset based vendors like Ripple and others. We absolutely see that’s where it’s going to go. The bank has a role to play in that.”

“As a result, we have done a whole bunch of experiments with it. We are about to launch using Ripple as a means to transfer payments between our subsidiaries.”

Commonwealth Bank’s mobile app already features multicurrency bank accounts, which he noted supports up to 15 currencies, and that it wouldn’t be hard to add loyalty points or digital currencies to it.

“It shouldn’t be that difficult for us to then add cryptocurrencies to it and whatever other means of payment transfers people might want,” said Whiteing.

Whiteing, who became CBA’s CIO last year, has been leading the bank’s efforts to innovative. As highlighted in his speech at the AIIA event, CBA is exploring the many new trends in the banking industry. Their mobile banking app already is used by 3.5 million of Commonwealth Bank’s 11 million customers and is something the bank is putting a lot of resources into to developing. CBA is also considered to be part of the “big four” Australian banks, alongside National Australia Bank (NAB), ANZ and Westpac.

When contacted by Bitcoin Magazine, a CBA spokesman confirmed the bank has been experimenting with Ripple and added that Commonwealth Bank will continue to test “crypto protocols” and soon “begin a wider experiment with one of our offshore subsidiaries to explore the benefits of interbank transfers using these protocols. The idea is to test in a controlled environment what a bank-to-bank internal transfer might look like using crypto rather than existing payment providers.”

The spokesman also stressed that use of Ripple’s payment network will stay within the Commonwealth Bank Group and they will continue “to comply with all legal and regulatory requirements.

The news comes a week after Ripple Labs announced a $28 million series A funding round and a pivot to institutional use cases. Previously, the digital currency startup aimed to leverage its payment network for cheaper and more efficient remittances but now, Ripple Labs is focusing its efforts on “correspondent banking, domestic transfers and corporate treasury” applications.

Ripple Labs previously announced partnerships and pilots with several financial institutions, including global remittance provider Western Union, but according to Ripple CEO and founder Chris Larsen, there are many more that haven’t yet been publically announced.

In an interview on the BreakingBanks Radio Show with guest host Chris Skinner, a fintech author and founder of the Financial Services Club, Larsen said, “We have about 30 partners in various stages of proof-of-concept, pilot and production. We have to respect when our partners want to announce they are using our infrastructure. We are very, very excited and pleased with the uptake we are seeing.”


Photo Mattinbgn / CC 3.0 Unported

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