Last week Safello, a Swedish Bitcoin trading platform, launched an equity crowdfunding campaign on the platform of FundedByMe. The start of the campaign was matched by an announcement of FundedByMe that it is now also accepting Bitcoins on its crowdfunding platform.
Both Bitcoin and crowdfunding (including P2P Lending) are relevant trends in the FinTech space. Bitcoin and foremost its underpinning Blockchain technology are challenging concepts for the mainstream monetary system. The strong debut of LendingClub on the New York Stock Exchange on 9 December 2015 proves that crowdfunding is already part of the mainstream monetary system. The debut lifted the company’s valuation to $8.5 billion, higher than all but 14 US banks. However, Bitcoin and crowdfunding are not only concepts relevant in the field of technology tech driven innovations that are challenging for the incumbents in the financial industry. They can also be positioned as being part of the same family of ideas that includes P2P economy initiatives like Uber and Airbnb. And even music & video streaming and online staffing can be seen as part of this family of ideas.
The basis of all these new trends is smart coding that enables an instant match of supply and demand on a peer-to-peer level, bypassing the involvement of institutions. It appears that in the digitalized world scheduling and coordinating activities by hierarchical organizations are rather time consuming and expensive compared to online alternatives. It raises serious questions for governments regarding the rise of flexible jobs and how to raise taxes on revenues. But it does not only concern technology and regulatory issues. It is also about a shift in the importance of ownership in doing business. Uber, now the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles and Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate.
Combining ideas will truly pose a disruptive trend, challenging both the financial institutions and governmental bodies. Imagine a world where you can earn bitcoins by renting out your apartment on Airbnb and invest those very same Bitcoins in a crowdfunding campaign. This future is actually closer to us than you may think. For example, last month Adyen announced a partnership with Bitpay. Adyen processed $25 billion in payment transactions in 2014 and is the leading global payments technology company. Bitpay is an electronic payment processing system for the Bitcoin currency. The partnership enables the 3500 business clients of Adyen, including new clients as Airbnb and Spotify, to accept Bitcoins.