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Blockchain In Lending: 30 Startups To Watch In 2019

  • 12 February 2019
  • Sam Mire

The rise of the blockchain has caused a boom in financial service offerings.

When identifying fintech and blockchain’s intersection, it’s tough to ignore how the technology is transforming lending. People who are otherwise shut out of the lending marketplace now have more opportunities to extend their credit. Platforms to help borrowers manage their past, present, and future credit are on the rise. Blockchain has inspired the creation of many new services that could significantly change the way everyone in the finance landscape thinks about lending.  


CoinLoanCoinLoan

CoinLoan is a service for those with digital currencies who don’t want to part with their crypto, but also need cash on hand. The CoinLoan platform brings lenders and borrowers together on a peer-to-peer basis. Lenders deposit fiat funds into the platform, where borrowers also deposit cryptocurrency. Borrowers are then supplied with the funds they need to get by, eventually repay the loan plus interest, and receive the equivalent of their crypto deposit in full. Lenders are then reimbursed for their loan and are provided with interest for their effort. It’s essentially a bank loan formula, democratized and gutted of excessive fees and middlemen. Lenders’ funds are insured by the platform, there are no maximum loan amounts, no requirements to become a lender, and funds are provided for several different digital currencies.

Date Founded:  February 1, 2017

Funding Type: ICO


CreditMintCreditMint

CreditMint brings together those who need a loan with a pool of issuers willing to extend credit. Credit funds, hedge funds, and trading desks will have access to the pool of credit seekers in the CreditMint ecosystem. The CreditMint team touts faster settlement times, fewer intermediaries and fees, and 100% privacy as the primary benefits of this direct lending infrastructure. The extension of credit on a peer-to-peer basis is the first step in CreditMint’s vision to use blockchain in all aspects of financial trading, but it’s not the last. Eventually, a wider array of trading tools will become part of the CreditMint service. For now, it is primarily a lending platform where legal agreements can be established, repayment can be completed, and relevant changes can be updated to a shared ledger in real time.

Funding Type: Private


CapexmoveCapexmove

Capexmove’s solution helps investment banks automating how debt securities are serviced. Functions performed by registrars, paying and calculation agents can now be performed by a single software. As a result, margins, settlement periods, and data accuracy are improved. When a debt security is issued and sold, it’s then tokenized to make it easier to pass along to secondary investors. Smart contracts facilitate binding agreements, so that funds can be automatically recouped should disputes arise. This element is also meant to speed up transactions and reduce the cost of doing business on the platform. The platform is being prepared for release in the United Kingdom and broader European Union.

Date Founded: 2017

Funding Type: Private


BrightNetworkBright

Bright is building their vision from the ground floor, implementing the infrastructure for several blockchain-powered financial services. They are hoping to serve as the intersection between the business world and the new era of financial services. The Bright network is an open protocol system for those seeking to tap into the vast ecosystem of financial data, whether it be fintech companies, their customers, or both. The blueprint begins with data vaults owned by users and populated with information that may be relevant to companies in the financial sector. The protocol oversees how these vaults are accessed – always with user consent – and also handles the issuance of fees for services rendered. Lastly, the Bright Marketplace is where interactions between purchasers of information and sellers takes place. The idea of Bright is to give users more control over their data while making it available for the betterment of the fintech sector.

Date Founded: 2017

Funding Type: ICO


WeTrustWeTrust

WeTrust is a blockchain-driven platform for the saving, giving, and insurance purposes. The WeTrust platform serves as a banking service for the countless unbanked citizens of the world. WeTrust Spring is a cryptocurrency donation platform for philanthropic causes, from Airdrop Venezuela to the Lupus Foundation and more. Though many of the details remain to be fleshed out, it’s WeTrust’s vision that they will also be able to fill the role of the “trusted third party” in the insurance and loan industries with blockchain technology. Implementing technological checks and balances – smart contracts, for one – WeTrust hopes that middlemen and fees can be minimized without compromising the integrity of the product. Users can create customized “trusted lending circles” on the platform and refer to that circle when they need financial help, instead of going through the hassle of asking a bank.

Date Founded: 2016

Funding Type: ICO


Spring LabsSpring Labs

Spring Labs is working on a secure environment for the exchange of identity and credit information using blockchain technology. The benefit for users will be transparency. Users will be able to access evidence about their credit history and score, as well as how those calculations were arrived at. This will provide a broad, clear window into any potential data breaches or unauthorized purchases. From the perspective of financial institutions, the benefit is greater savings. By participating in a network of shared information, lenders and bankers will have greater insight into customers’ creditworthiness without paying time and again for new reports. It’s a blueprint based on the mantra “the more information you have, the better you’ll be”. If the industry proves willing to embrace the paradigm, it could be applied for several purposes.

Date Founded: 2017

Funding Type: Venture-backed


Bank of HodlersBank of Hodlers

Bank of Hodlers is an Indian startup that provides cryptocurrency-backed loans, crypto credit cards, and insurance policies against theft of digital assets. Those who are wary of the perils of digital currency will likely find the insurance aspect of Bank of Hodlers appealing. Internet-connected, or hot wallets, provide flexibility, but can be hacked by sophisticated thieves. With Bank of Hodlers, users get “the flexibility of a hot wallet with the security of a cold wallet”. This means that, should a user’s wallet be compromised, Bank of Hodlers will replace the amount of funds stolen within 24 hours – more than most services will guarantee. Those using BoH also get access to fiat loans backed by their crypto portfolio, with no fees or credit checks required. The Bank of Hodlers credit card with blockchain-level fraud protections, 8% interest after two months, and decentralized storage of purchase data.

Date Founded: March 15, 2018

Funding Type: Private


DDC FinanceDistributed Credit Chain

The Distributed Credit Chain was created to return equity and value to those who most rely on the financial service industry. Based on the concept of “distributed banking”, the chain will eventually attempt to take credit reporting, wealth management, and other credit-related financial tools out of banks’ hands and put it into the peoples’. Most of the details about the DCC remain theoretical, but the logic behind the premise is sound. Essentially, by using a blockchain-driven marketplace to connect lenders, borrowers, financial institutions, and businesses, the overall cost and barriers to making financial transactions will be lower. Standards can be unified to reduce confusion and create an equitable marketplace across national borders. The DCC envisions their service being applied for consumption loans, blockchain-driven credit cards, token loan services, mortgage claim registration, and more.

ICO: May 28, 2018

Funding Type: ICO


NuoNuo

Nuo is a blockchain-powered financial platform offering a mobile crypto wallet, margin trading, a bonds marketplace, and peer-to-peer loan services. Interested lenders can lend ether and receive interest for their trouble, while borrowers can get their hands on ether by putting up other tokens as collateral. Margin trading lets those with either a gut feeling or statistical basis short or long Ethereum and other Ethereum Request for Comment-20 (ERC-20) tokens using smart contracts. The Nuo bonds marketplace is also a peer-to-peer-level exchange where non-fungible, tokenized assets are bought, sold, and traded. The Nuo digital wallet is the storage locker for all the assets that are acquired, sold, and exchanged on the platform’s various marketplace. Together, these services are what prompted the Nuo team to describe the platform as the “bank of the future”.

Date Founded: 2018

Funding Type: Venture-backed


FaininFainin

Fainin is a Berlin-based startup that ventures beyond mere financial lending. In fact, it is a platform for “lend(ing) anything you want and borrow(ing) anything you need” – think an Xbox One, a drone, a ten-speed bike, or a basketball. We all have things lying around that we rarely use or could do without, and Fainin lets lenders earn money by renting them out at a daily rate. Users choose from broad categories such as Photography, view the offerings and their per-day rental cost, and find a price point that works. Each interaction is backed up by a smart contract built in with the parameters of the agreement so that each party is protected. And, Fainin insures lenders’ items up to 15 Euros. While the premise of the platform requires a measure of faith that items will be treated with care, the blueprint also fits seamlessly into convenience, sharing-based trends in the economy.

Date Founded: September 1, 2017

Funding Type: Venture-backed


InlockInlock

Inlock is a token market with a twist. The platform is used to provide token fiat loans to those with crypto portfolios to leverage, but it has also created a product line called a “Superposition”. Those who invest on the Inlock token market can take a “Superposition”, meaning that they hold simultaneous stakes in two different positions. Depending on how market factors play out, they can ultimately choose the one stake that they are most confident in and lock it it. Other features of the platform include wealth preservation tools that release an investor from a stake once the value hits a certain threshold, ensuring that they aren’t left penniless in worst-case scenarios.

Date Founded: January 3, 2018


BitbondBitbond

Bitbond is a Berlin-based outfit using blockchain to help provide easier liquidity for businesses. Those who need business loans only need to apply for funding through the platform, at which point they’ll be approved or denied by their origination department, which is open 24/7. Users don’t need to mess around with piles of paperwork; the Bitbond platform makes it simple to link business accounts electronically. Once an account manager reviews financials and credit history, applicants are provided an offer that is tailored based on their qualifications. If approved, funds are deposited directly into the applicant’s bank account. Repayment plans are made clear, with low-end interest rates coming in at 1% per month. With sleek, easy-to-understand graphics and figures, Bitbond is making sure that those who need a business loan are catered to without hidden fees, red tape, or the other perils of legacy loan operations.

Date Founded: January 7, 2013

Funding Type: Private


LendingblockLendingblock

Lendingblock is a securities lending platform for digital assets. Built for the institutional-level investor, the service is meant to be a tool for traders, hedge funds, and exchanges to tap into a new source of liquidity. The platform provides clear oversight into a lender or borrowers’ portfolio of stakes. Once a borrower and lender engage in a transaction, the life cycle of that loan is handled off of the exchange. Funds are held in cold storage, collateral is actively monitored, and default and liquidation is pre-arranged, should repayment not go as planned. Loans can be traded in the form of Ethereum, bitcoin, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash and a team of financial experts are made available to those using Lendingblock to execute trades.

Date Founded: October 2017

Funding Type: ICO


NexoNexo

Nexo is a service for acquiring fiat capital when a crypto portfolio is used as collateral. Users first deposit crypto assets into a Nexo digital wallet. The service accommodates 21 different token types, including Bitcoin, Litecoin, ZCash, Ethereum, and Monero. Deposited assets are guaranteed by BitGo, an SEC-compliant custodian. Without no credit  check required, a loan in the form of fiat currency is deposited into the depositing user’s account. Users can then use a physical credit card or their own bank account to use that money. Interest on repayment is deposited automatically from the user’s account, and no additional fees apply. From the guarantor ensuring that funds are held safely to the near-instantaneous pace at which fiat funds are deposited, Nexo has one of the most straightforward, hassle-free crypto loan services on the market.

ICO: April 1, 2018

Funding Type: ICO


SmartCreditSmartCredit.io

SmartCredit.io is a peer-to-peer lending marketplace for tokens and tokenized credit. Users can lend and borrow ether and other stablecoins at interest rates that are reasonable to both parties. Credit is tokenized when loan agreements between individuals are converted on the platform to Smart Money tokens. The value of these tokens are covered by the SmartCredit platform so that lenders are not left holding the bag if a borrower doesn’t honor an agreement. Other security measures are put in place to make sure that everybody engaging in transactions passes a threshold level of trust. The stable of SmartCredit credit risk management tools includes mandatory loan insurance, credit score tracking, and legal enforcement of all contracts.

Date Founded: July 1, 2017

Funding Type: Venture-backed


LendonomyLendonomy

The Lendonomy team wants to help younger generations share and save money through their peer-to-peer lending platform. This means that most of the loans lent and received are relatively small compared to many lending platforms; but for students and young people, that’s just fine. The Lendonomy philosophy is simple: if you have money to share, lend it. If you are strapped for cash and need some help, take a loan from a peer who understands. But more than a lending platform, Lendonomy is meant to be a social network for young people who understand that money makes the world go ‘round. The service wants to help educate their users, so they provide money management tips and tools. Users can also partner with their favorite brands on the app to be paid as an ambassador. Lendomony is a multi-pronged tool for helping the young generation get and keep their finances in order.

Date Founded: April 2018

Funding Type: Venture-backed


BitsugarBitsugar

Bitsugar was created to extend fiat currency to those who have plenty of crypto but don’t want to sell in return for short-term liquidity. Founded in Lithuania and licensed as a lender by the European Union, Bitsugar is a believer in the power of cryptocurrencies and wants to help people hang onto theirs as long as possible. Users who need cash on hand submit a request on the platform, speak with a loan manager, provide essential documents, and send their digital currency to a cold storage locker. In return, their bank account is credited with an agreed-upon amount of fiat currency. The loan is then repaid in monthly installments. Users can receive as much as 65% of their digital currency as fiat, no credit checks are required, and no income tax payments are required when someone receives a loan.

Date Founded: 2018

Funding Type: Venture-backed


FinteumFinteum

Finteum is a global platform for borrowing and repaying money on the same day. The Finteum team sees a void in the market for same-day loan issuance and repayment, citing outdated and unpredictable processes as the reason the market has failed with respect to intraday loans. Banks often rely on intraday cash influxes to manage liquidity needs, and when the flow of money is jammed up, serious problems can arise. With Finteum, banks, asset managers, and insurance and pension agents can rely on a unified ledger to create a more transparent lending marketplace. Regulators will also have access to the platform. The hope is that the service will increase trust between financial institutions and lower barriers to intraday lending, including cost and uncertainty about repayment.

Date Founded: May 18, 2018

Funding Type: Private and venture seed funding.


Unchained CapitalUnchained Capital

Austin, Texas-based Unchained Capital created a financial service company to lend fiat currency to owners of cryptocurrency. Those who remain bullish on crypto often need cash for a variety of reasons, but are hesitant to take their money out of the crypto markets. Whether it’s FOMO or tax-related burdens that come from divestment, Unchained Capital is one liquidity solution. They offer loans in exchange for ethereum and bitcoin deposits. Those deposits are protected by keys held by the borrower, the Unchained Capital team, and a third-party agent. No single party can access the funds until the agreed-upon loan terms are honored. Those terms vary, with three-to-sixty-month terms available. Interest rates range from 7.25% to 13% and origination fees are between half a percentage point and one percentage point.

Date Founded:  2017

Funding Type: Venture-backed


Celsius NetworkCelsius Network

The Celsius Network is a financial investing and lending platform that lets users earn interest on their existing portfolios. To some, the proposition might sound too good to be true: all you have to do is deposit crypto funds in the Celsius app to begin earning interest in the form of the token you deposit. Though rates are subject to change, Celsius users can earn as much as 7% annual percentage rate (APR) on their investments. Those who need dollars can leverage their portfolios to obtain a fiat loan, with an interest rate of 5% APR. The CelPay feature works like Venmo for cryptocurrency. Users can pay other users in digital currencies without fees and no digital wallet necessary. The Celsius Network is a member of the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance.

Date Founded: June 1, 2017

Funding Type: ICO


BlockFiBlockFi Lending

BlockFi Lending provides money to those with crypto portfolios but little liquidity. Based in New York City, BlockFi is one of many services that offers to temporarily take on your crypto portfolio in exchange for fiat currency. Those seeking funding put up their ether, bitcoin, or Litecoin can apply for a loan, and if approved and in agreement with the terms of the loan, receive the capital they need. BlockFi is a secured non-bank lender that holds onto your crypto assets until the loan is repaid. Their target demographic is retail investors and lenders, and BlockFi is currently authorized to operate in 35 states.

Date Founded: August 2017

Funding Type: Venture-backed


BloqboardBloqboard

San Francisco-based Bloqboard lets users lend and borrow digital assets using the Ethereum blockchain. Loans are issued from peer to peer, and for borrowers it provides an opportunity to leverage crypto portfolios in exchange for fiat currency. Borrowers can also use the platform to margin trade, manage loans they have taken out using Dharma and Compound protocols, and engage in arbitrage. Lenders, as they always do, receive additional income from interest. App developers also play a role in the Bloqboard ecosystem, as they can create their own trading platforms built on the Dharma and Compound protocols.

Date Founded: 2018

Funding Type: Venture-backed


Salt LendingSALT Lending

SALT Lending is a membership-based loan acquisition platform. Users with cryptocurrency portfolios can leverage those digital assets in exchange for a cash loan. The benefit is the same as most cash-for-crypto loan services: users don’t have to miss out on market gains as they would if they sold their assets outright. SALT stands for Secured Automated Lending Technology, which is the protocol that the platform runs upon. Lenders and borrowers are matched automatically based on their unique criteria, which reduces that cost that come with manual matching. The SALT team has partnerships with the likes of the Chamber of Digital Commerce and The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). APR begins as low as 5.99%, there are no origination fees, and no maximum loan value.

Date Founded: 2016

Funding Type: ICO


PayPiePayPie Blockchain

PayPie has created a suite of financial tools that infuse intelligence into money management. The service analyzes how a company or individual can improve their cash flow and passes performance-related data along to the user. For those who don’t know where to start or have hit a wall when it comes to cash-flow analysis, PayPie’s insights may serve as a breakthrough. The platform provides continual financial analysis that is “near real-time”. By analyzing a company’s accounting information, PayPie can give advice on how financials may appear to outsiders. The service also assists users in finding new financing opportunities, though PayPie itself is not a loan acquisition platform. PayPie integrates with Intuit’s QuickBooks Online accounting service.

Date Founded: 2017

Funding Type: ICO


DrawBridgeDrawBridge Lending

DrawBridge lending brings cash loans to those with crypto assets, serving as a Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA) and Commodity Pool Operator (CPO) in the process. When a user puts up their digital assets as collateral for a cash loan, their funds are held by an insured custodian in a cold wallet. A borrower pays a 2.5% annual percentage rate (APR) in one lump sum at the end of the loan. The loan terms range from on, two and six months. The DrawBridge blueprint and mission – to provide much-needed liquidity to the crypto-asset-holding institutions and accredited investors.

Date Founded: March 21, 2018

Funding Type: Angel Investment


AcudeenAcudeen

Acudeen wants to ease the burden on cash-poor small and medium-sized businesses when clients don’t pay in a timely manner. Acudeen does this by helping finance businesses’ 30 to 120 day receivables sooner. Essentially, somebody who needs to “sell” their invoice can do so for cash, with the seller taking a bit of a financial hit the immediate payout. Buyers receive a larger share of the invoice, but also have to wait to receive those funds. It’s a classic example of cash now being more valuable to some than receiving more cash later, and Acudeen has rode this concept to success. In a two-year period, the platform helped fund more than $2.4 million in invoices, providing much-needed cash amidst countless financial pinches. Acudeen has received acclaim from the Founder Institute, Tech In Asia, and Seedstars.

Date Founded: March 31, 2016

Funding Type: ICO


Blackmoon FGBlackmoon Financial Group

Blackmoon Financial Group is a Moscow-based technology platform facilitating the growth of marketplace lending, known to many as peer-to-peer lending. Borrowers come to the Blackmoon platform seeking funding. Loan originators and investors also come to the table, and each party benefits. Loan originators get access to Blackmoon’s financial infrastructure, including risk profiles of potential borrowers and advanced performance analytics. Investors are privy to the same tools in deciding if they want to take on the debt as an investment. Plus borrowers get access to a marketplace of potential lenders who may be less stringent in their standards or tight with their cash. Portfolio monitoring, business intelligence modules, and asset valuation systems issue even greater insight for originators and investors.

Date Founded: 2015

Funding Type: ICO


SuretlySuretly

New York City-based Suretly is pioneering a new form of investing called “crowdvouching” – essentially crowdsourcing a guarantor of a loan. Those who need help to be approved for a loan can tap into Suretly’s network by posting information that will help prove them worthy of credit. Those considering vouching for others can view those documents and decide whether or not they are worth sticking their neck out for. The upside: vouchers can receive 5-25% of a loan amount as a reward for vouching, varying on how much of the loan they are willing to personally guarantee. The downside: if the borrower does default, the voucher is on the hook for their pledged amount. So, while there is incentive to choose who you vouch for carefully, there is also real opportunity to benefit financially without even breaking a sweat.

Date Founded:  June 1, 2016

Funding Type: ICO


WelltradoWelltrado

Welltrado is an ambitious platform that combines multiple peer-to-peer investing platform into a single source. That means that individuals who have multiple online loans or investments don’t have to open and close tabs and windows to monitor their funds. Welltrado will also serve as a conduit between lenders and borrowers who want to engage in a new agreement. Users of Welltrado not only can monitor their funds across different lending platforms, but actively manage them also.

Date Founded: July 1, 2015

Funding Type: ICO


LendroidLendroid

Lendroid is an open protocol that enables lending, short selling, and margin trading. Based on the Ethereum blockchain, the Lendroid team wants to tap into a pool of lenders from across the world. Smart contracts rule and guarantee all lending agreements, making the platform “non-custodial”. Lendroid is still very much a work in progress, but its vision is clear. Ultimately, margin trading, governance, and an auction market will augment the platform’s crypto and fiat lending capabilities. Offering all of these investing and finance tools on an effective, blockchain-secured platform is an intriguing proposition in a fintech space that has become highly fragmented.

ICO: February 11, 2018

Funding Type: ICO

About Sam Mire

Sam is a Market Research Analyst at Front Lines Media. He's a trained journalist with experience in the field of disruptive technology. He’s versed in the impact that blockchain technology is having on industries of today, from healthcare to cannabis. He’s written extensively on the individuals and companies shaping the future of tech, working directly with many of them to advance their vision. Sam is known for writing work that brings value to industry professionals and the generally curious – as well as an occasional smile to the face.

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