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Ripple to Expand from Cross-Border Payments to Tokenized Services, Bringing Crypto Capabilities to Enterprises, Company Exec Reveals

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Asheesh Birla, GM – RippleNet at American Fintech Ripple, which is currently involved in a lawsuit from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), recently published a blog post, titled, “Evolving RippleNet for a Tokenized Future.”

Birla writes that cryptocurrency and blockchain or DLT are “more mainstream than ever.” He points out that there’s now “a palpable level of excitement for crypto that isn’t showing signs of slowing down – tokenization is here to stay.”

Birla adds that it’s estimated that “at least” 46 million US residents own cryptocurrency today, and many other nations are adopting this technology “at higher rates.” Major firms such as Square, Robinhood, Visa, Mastercard and PayPal are “firmly integrating crypto into their product stacks. World-famous DJs are offering exclusive NFTs to their global audiences,” Birla writes.

He also mentioned that even reserve banks are “jumping head first to the potential of crypto – about 80% of central banks are exploring use-cases involving central bank digital currencies (CBDCs),” with around 40% currently testing proof-of-concept (PoCs) programs. In June 2021, El Salvador became the world’s first nation to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender and in the United States, Miami is “taking action to make the city a hub for crypto,” Birla added.

He also mentioned that since Ripple’s inception, they have understood the great potential of crypto “to transform the financial system – from changing the way money moves across the globe through near-instant payment settlement to the way we borrow and loan money through DeFi platforms.”

Birla also shared:

“Back in 2012 when Ripple first launched, crypto and blockchain largely lacked the infrastructure, liquidity, and trust needed for adoption. There were only a few exchanges at that time doing a few million dollars a year in volume compared to traditional exchanges like Nasdaq with about 5 billion dollars in volume per day. Fast forward to today, there are hundreds of exchanges around the world doing billions in volume every day.”

With this increase in adoption, there’s a growing requirement for tokenization, the use of digital tokens “to represent ownership of any type of asset (physical or not) on a blockchain,” Birla reveals while adding that tokenization is “transforming how people buy, sell, track and manage assets – everything from art and real estate to intellectual property, equities and supply chain goods.”

The World Economic Forum (WEF) estimates that 10% of the world’s GDP will be “tokenized by 2027,” Birla noted while pointing out that with their years of experience working with Financial Institutions (FIs) on using blockchain-powered solutions, Ripple is “uniquely positioned to partner with enterprises for that future.”

According to Birla:

“There’s no question – those who don’t embrace these new technologies will be left behind.”

Birla reveals:

“Ripple is evolving. We’re expanding from a cross-border payments network to a platform providing tokenized services that will bring crypto capabilities to the enterprise and prepare them for a future where crypto is front and center. RippleNet was initially built to solve the challenges with speed, cost and transparency in cross-border payments for those that have been grossly underserved by the financial system at large.”

He added that on average the fee for consumers to send funds across borders is 7% or a $14 fee to send only $200. Similarly, SMEs experience really high costs and high expectations from their clients, Birla writes while noting that with fewer banks extending capital to SMEs since the 2008 financial crisis, these businesses “have trouble getting credit to supplement their already limited working capital (around 70% of SMEs in emerging markets lack access to credit, according to the World Bank).”

He also mentioned that delayed payments to overseas suppliers, employees or other critical partners “can be very damaging to these businesses.”

He continues:

“With RippleNet, payment service providers and mid-size banks have a better way to compete and don’t have to pay huge fees that inevitably get passed down to their customers and don’t need to wait days for payments to be delivered.  On-Demand Liquidity (ODL), eliminates the need for pre-funding–in cross-border payments by using XRP as a bridge between two currencies.”

As the first movers began using the product, it became evident that the companies or businesses that would find the most value would be “the PSPs and the digital-first banks – they are the ones specializing in remittance, e-commerce and SME type payments – high volume, low value–that mid to large banks have long ignored,” Birla added. He also claims that ODL is “fulfilling a real need today – ODL volume accounted for $2.4B in notional value on RippleNet in 2020.”

In October of last year, Ripple introduced Line of Credit, an extension of ODL which allows RippleNet customers “to source capital on-demand to initiate cross-border payments at scale using XRP,” Birla noted while adding that unlike incumbents who have large balance sheets that allow them to scale their business quickly, many fintechs and SME “lack the capital and resources to compete.”

He also noted:

“Before switching to RippleNet they didn’t have access to the same services as traditional FIs and were overcharged for legacy systems – sometimes even resorting to costly VC money to fund payment flows. We’re constantly building to meet the needs of our current and future customers.”

As clients were prepared to move from fiat only to crypto-enabled flows, Ripple was easily able to add new services and capabilities such as ODL and Line of Credit, Birla added while noting that in the future, every client will join RippleNet with the same base service and a wallet “designed to support both crypto and fiat.”

He explained that by adopting the wallet, clients can take advantage of the latest blockchain-based services that keep them “at the cutting-edge – the platform is designed to seamlessly upgrade and add new services as customers want them.” In the foreseeable future, clients may use their Ripple-powered wallet “to custody XRP, BTC, stablecoins, and anything that’s tokenized,” Birla confirmed.

He added:

“We saw the idea of taking a platform that can be built upon work brilliantly with Cisco starting back in the 80s – they first brought networking into the enterprise, and subsequently were perfectly positioned when the internet started to take off to easily build on that foundation, bringing customers other services like security tools and collaboration software. We are doing the same with RippleNet.”

Clients choose to work closely with Ripple because they’re “a trusted source in enterprise crypto that will help them to grow and scale their business,” Birla claims.

He also mentioned:

“When we launched ODL commercially in 2018, the payment flow required payments to be originated in fiat, converted to XRP and then again converted to fiat currency in the destination country. Over the years, we’ve refined ODL, streamlining the product to improve efficiency and experience.”

Today, ODL clients are able to send XRP for cross-border payments directly via a cryptocurrency wallet, Birla explained while noting that they are able to leverage their wallet “to source XRP on-demand instead of having to source it through a third party.”

This gives greater flexibility and choice to clients “while reducing friction in the payment flow,” Birla explained while pointing out that it also provides their clients the ability “to grow and scale quickly with new partners and currencies, by simplifying the onboarding process and enabling multiple currencies through a single wallet.”

He added:

“FlashFX, an innovative payments technology company based in Australia, was founded on the belief that smart technology is the key to unlocking the potential of global payments. They are constantly looking for new ways to integrate cutting-edge technology to bring their customers the most innovative services.”

As an ODL customer, FlashFX is one of the first service providers to connect to a customer leveraging Ripple’s new ODL model, Birla revealed while noting that as such, they’re now able “to support payments in GBP – a currency ODL didn’t support previously – as well as EUR payments.” FlashFX is only one example of a customer expanding their business with Ripple’s products,” Birla noted.

He further revealed:

“This comes on the heels of incredible global momentum for Ripple. The APAC region especially is exploding with growth and opportunity thanks to progressive crypto regulation and innovative companies looking to jump on the chance to lead in the crypto space.”

For Ripple, we’re seeing some of our “largest growth volume here,” Birla revealed while pointing out that Southeast Asia transactions increased by 10x last year, fueled by existing RippleNet clients and new connections.

New clients such as Novatti joined Ripple’s international payment network, using ODL “to enable payments from Australia to the Philippines, and we acquired 40% of Asia’s leading cross-border payments specialist Tranglo to accelerate the expansion of ODL and Line of Credit in the region,” Birla added. He also noted that as more businesses decided to add crypto-powered services, clients such as Novatti and Tranglo “play a vital role on the network as fiat on and off-ramps.”

He concluded:

“Today, it’s a matter of when, not if, crypto will play an integral role in the future of financial services. This industry has moved full speed ahead for the past decade and it’s only speeding up. The future belongs to those to build bridges between the traditional financial world and the new paradigm of crypto and blockchain technologies.”

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Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/07/177721-ripple-to-expand-from-cross-border-payments-to-tokenized-services-bringing-crypto-capabilities-to-enterprises-company-exec-reveals/

Crowdfunding

Socure Introduces Predictive Document and ID Verification Solution with High Precision and Multi-Dimensional Risk Insights

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Socure, an established provider of digital identity verification and fraud solutions, has introduced the industry’s “first” predictive document and ID verification solution with native fraud risk signals and intelligence.

Socure’s Predictive Document Verification aims to go beyond just authenticating a government-issued ID and matching a selfie to the photo on the ID. It aims to predict “whether or not the identity itself is safe to do business with by employing real-time data linking for better accuracy and real-time identity trust decisions.”

With Socure’s Predictive Document Verification service, hundreds of validation checks may be carried out on every document and selfie “resulting in unrivaled auto-decision rates and risk insights.” The announcement also mentioned that its multi-dimensional predictive signals “inform ML-driven decisioning to identify more good customers and eliminate fraudsters in real time.”

Alex Faivusovich, fraud prevention manager at Lili, stated:

“Socure’s Predictive Document Verification helps us onboard new customers quickly and scale more rapidly than we could with other tools. It is the only solution providing a single, comprehensive view on the digital identity, not just on document authenticity and matching, but for actual risk and fraud decisions. No other solution compares in terms of accuracy or insights. With DocV, we gain confidence in knowing we are doing business with consumers who are who they say they are and won’t put our business at risk.”

Socure Predictive Document Verification’s advanced image capture “delivers up to 98% auto-decisioning rates within seconds,” the announcement revealed.

Meanwhile, less sophisticated image capture tools “result in only 65% to 70% auto-decisioning,” the update noted.

Socure’s Predictive Document Verification has also been designed to thwart “spoofing” attacks with 99.5% accuracy by using NIST PAD Level-2 liveness detection and “enhanced biometrics to match the selfie to the photo on the ID.”

The liveness detection checks “work passively in the background, so fraudsters can’t detect it’s happening,” the announcement explained. No user blinking or head rotation is needed, thus helping to significantly reduce consumer friction. Unlike other tools, a single selfie image “fulfills both facial recognition and liveness detection,” the release noted.

David Mattei, senior analyst at Aite-Novarica Group, stated:

“The use of document identification and verification solutions to verify a user’s identity is growing due to the surge in online, digital interactions. Socure’s Predictive Document Verification product goes beyond traditional document validation and photo-to-selfie matching. It looks at other risk attributes such as device fingerprints, phone number, and other digital identity signals to deliver a more comprehensive risk profile of the user.”

Using proprietary computer vision tech, Socure’s Predictive Document Verification “extracts document PII and verifies it by linking it to authoritative data sources, such as credit header, utility, telecom records, and more.”

From there, device, phone, and address data are also “collected and evaluated during the onboarding process, and then Socure derives predictive signals like phone to name correlation, address to name correlation, device intelligence, and IP distance from the physical address, all elements that are nearly impossible to fabricate,” the release noted.

The amalgamation of these predictive signals “informs a final decision (pass, reject, or resubmit), blocking risky attempts to enter a customer’s ecosystem while helping them onboard more legitimate customers faster, or identify existing good users with less friction.”

The announcement further noted that hundreds of predictive signals “incorporated into the document verification and biometric matching process provide the industry’s only digital identity continuum measuring against fraud risk.”

Socure’s Predictive Document Verification has been developed to employ machine learning classification models “trained with 530 million known good and bad identities and 400+ offline/online data sources to assess risk.”

As very large amounts of data are critical to enhancing the overall accuracy of Socure’s Predictive Document Verification, Socure has created a process for continuous improvement “using feedback data from a broad range of clients representing multiple industries.”

Also critical to Socure’s fraud detection engine, is “the incorporation of hundreds of highly predictive features that are unique to identity and device components that can indicate fraud intent to drive more predictive, data-driven outcomes,” the release noted.

Johnny Ayers, founder and CEO of Socure, remarked:

“Legacy providers that specialize only in identity document verification aren’t able to integrate seamless risk checks because they don’t have historical data, the machine learning engine, or the 1000s of predictive signals to deliver near perfect fraud classification. This means their customers are missing critical insights or are left with cobbling together disparate products that are costly to deploy and manage as they’re loaded with compounding false positives.”

Johnny added:

“What’s worse, the legacy approach still leaves gaps in determining whether it’s safe to do business with a consumer and predict the likelihood that person will commit fraud in the future while frequently requiring multiple retries on the capture of the document. With Socure’s Predictive Document Verification, we provide a single solution that eliminates the guesswork, with the highest degree of accuracy and customer experience.”

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Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/09/180536-socure-introduces-predictive-document-and-id-verification-solution-with-high-precision-and-multi-dimensional-risk-insights/

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Crowdfunding

Coinbase Is Now Supporting Trading with Horizen (ZEN), Shiba Inu (SHIB) Tokens

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Digital assets firm Coinbase (COIN: Nasdaq) reveals that Horizen (ZEN) is now available on Coinbase.com and in the Coinbase Android and iOS apps.

Coinbase clients are now able to trade, send, receive, or store ZEN crypto tokens in “most Coinbase-supported regions,” with certain exceptions due to regulatory or other types of restrictions. Trading for these assets is also supported via Coinbase Pro, the platform for professional or sophisticated traders.

Horizen (ZEN) is a blockchain or distributed ledger tech (DLT) ecosystem that supports “privacy-preserving” decentralized applications (dApps). Using ZEN as its native crypto-asset, Horizen has “both a main blockchain and a sidechain platform that enables developers to build custom private or public blockchains and decentralized applications.”

The announcement from Coinbase also mentioned that one of the most common requests they get from clients is to be able to purchase and sell more digital currencies via Coinbase. The company had shared a process for listing new digital assets, “designed in part to accelerate the addition of more cryptocurrencies.”

Coinbase further noted that they are investing in appropriate tools to assist consumers with better understanding and exploring virtual currencies. As previously reported, the exchange has introduced informational asset pages and a new section of the Coinbase website to answer common queries regarding cryptocurrencies.

You may sign up here for a Coinbase account.

In a separate announcement, Coinbase revealed that the Shiba Inu (SHIB) is available via Coinbase.com and in the Coinbase Android and iOS apps.

Coinbase clients may start trading, sending, receiving, or storing SHIB in most Coinbase-supported regions, with certain exceptions. Trading for these crypto-assets is also being supported via Coinbase Pro.

As noted in the update, Shiba Inu (SHIB) is a token that “aspires to be an Ethereum-based alternative to Dogecoin (DOGE), the popular memecoin.”

Unlike Bitcoin (BTC), which is intentionally designed to be scarce, SHIB is “intentionally abundant — with a circulating supply of one quadrillion.” The Shiba Inu Token ecosystem “supports projects such as an NFT art incubator and the development of a decentralized exchange called Shibaswap.”

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Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/09/180534-coinbase-is-now-supporting-trading-with-horizen-zen-shiba-inu-shib-tokens/

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Big Data

Israel’s Blumberg Capital Secures $225M to Invest in Early-Stage AI, Big Data, Cybersecurity, Fintech Ventures

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Blumberg Capital revealed on Friday (September 18, 2021) that it has secured $225 million as part of its fifth fund, which focuses on making strategic investments into early-stage ventures.

Blumberg was established around 30 years back by Jewish entrepreneur David Blumberg and has reportedly invested in hundreds of startups across the globe. The VC company has invested in 17 different firms through its fourth fund, which includes Israeli firms Zone7 and VERAI.

As reported by Calcalist, Blumberg’s portfolio reportedly includes several successful Israeli initiatives, such as Yotpo, which may be on its way to Nasdaq. Recently, the firm had been valued at more than $2 billion.

Other notable businesses include IntSights, which has been acquired for $400 million by Rapid7, and DoubleVerify, which became a  publicly traded firm with a $7 billion+ valuation.

Blumberg’s fifth fund will mainly invest in AI, Big Data, cybersecurity, digital health, Fintech, logistics, and supply chain solutions. Approximately 90% of the fund’s investments will be channeled towards seed funding rounds. Meanwhile, the remaining capital will be directed towards follow-up rounds.

Blumberg maintains business offices in San Francisco, Miami, New York, and Tel Aviv. Notably, the new fund will now take Blumberg Capital’s AUM to $750 million.

Yodfat Harel Buchris, MD at Blumberg Capital, who manages the company’s Tel Aviv-based office, said that the decline in overall investments in firms at the seed stage may negatively impact Israeli innovation efforts. He added that their fund aims to continue supporting the next generation of Israeli entrepreneurship, “regardless of market trends.”

He also mentioned that they’ve established a unique model that doesn’t simply include the investment of capital. It also aims to support the financial growth of the company, business development, marketing, “building of organizational culture, and strategy for recruiting employees across the world.”

He confirmed that they also support initiatives that may be “involved in training new employees for the industry from among former IDF soldiers that served in intelligence, technological, and combat units.”

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Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/09/180528-israels-blumberg-capital-secures-225m-to-invest-in-early-stage-ai-big-data-cybersecurity-fintech-ventures/

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Crowdfunding

Assetz Capital Says they’re Providing Funding to Northern Ireland Market, where Mainstream Lenders are Not Meeting Requirements

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Morgan McCandless, Relationship Director at Assetz Capital, a marketplace lending platform originating secured loans, reveals that he re-joined Assetz in June of this year, having previously worked on the Northern Ireland portfolio as a consultant, before the COVID outbreak.

As a Relationship Director covering Northern Ireland, he was mainly responsible for representing the Assetz Capital brand, “managing the current loan book whilst identifying opportunities to continue to grow the client base of high-quality SME borrowers.”

Morgan recently shared that for as long as he can recall, he’s had an interest in the property sector, “having gone straight from university into property banking.”

One global financial crash later, during which he worked borrower-side for 8 years, he then reverted to what he enjoys most, which is “helping to provide funding for property investment and development projects for experienced clients.”

He also noted that he enjoys spending time on site with the borrower and “contributing in some way to deliver a tangible product, something meaningful.”

He also mentioned that he’s been involved in funding development initiatives for a number of years across NI, and will “often pass schemes long-completed, now mature and occupied – which is quite gratifying.”

He further noted that he focuses on “admin management (with massive support from a very efficient Relationship Support Team), client / agent meetings and site visits throughout NI.” He added that it’s “essential to be visible and accessible, and to be on the road so to keep in touch with the market; most clients also love the opportunity to get their funder on site to show off their work.”

He continued:

“The impact of the pandemic on all sectors cannot be understated and coupled with Brexit, it clearly had the potential to be instantly detrimental to the NI property market in particular. However, in hindsight the advent of CBILS was absolutely necessary to absorb the shock of the pandemic and has been the overriding theme over the past 12 months.”

Morgan also mentioned that it seems to have been “a welcome initiative that instilled confidence when it was needed most.” It offered an opportunity for borrowers to continue “to function, while also introducing some much-needed support to the local economy – whether that be through Contractors, Agents, Solicitors and QS’s, who were also indirect beneficiaries.”

He also shared that clients “just want to get back to business as usual and leave the pandemic behind.”

He confirmed that Assetz are now accredited under the Recovery Loan Scheme and are “again assisting borrowers in the NI market by stepping up to provide much needed funding in a market where mainstream lenders are not fulfilling their traditional function.”

He also noted that CBILS was “welcome and necessary – albeit it was before my time started with Assetz – so I missed all the fun.” He pointed out that the bounce back in the NI market has been impressive and “contrary to what might be expected, the residential market has been reinvigorated to some extent by the government’s supporting initiatives.”

He also shared that it is “encouraging to see the apparent level demand for family homes at realistic and sustainable prices across most of NI – presumably driven to some extent by those intending to work more from home and so able live in a more rural setting, with more space, a better work/life balance and where value for money can be hard to ignore.”

Morgan added that Assetz is a fairly small, close-knit team “making a big impact.”

Morgan further revealed:

“I have a few deals at various stages; the acquisition of a hotel site with planning for 200 rooms in what is an extremely prime and historic location; a multi-phase residential development project that would deliver over 200 homes; and a mixed-use commercial investment anchored by a UK National, located within one of NI’s premium retail parks.”

He added:

“Although these are advancing, they may never get to drawdown stage, which is just the reality of lending. However, every one of them is an opportunity for us to put our best foot forward and reflects Assetz’ restored appetite to consider larger property transactions, in strong locations for quality promoters.”

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Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/09/180530-assetz-capital-says-theyre-providing-funding-to-northern-ireland-market-where-mainstream-lenders-are-not-meeting-requirements/

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