“This campaign is by the people, for the people,” Thom Feeney writes, explaining his reason why he set up the Greek bailout crowdfund. Feeney, as we know him, is the Briton behind this idea. His story has gone viral for the past weeks in the intersections of Europe, crowdfunding, economics, and investments.
There’s so much going on across the globe whether in US, China, or Europe—from Greece’s economic collapse to China’s stock market crash to economists’ warning of US being unprepared for coming crash with interest rates still stuck to the floor as The Telegraph puts it.
Let’s burst the bubbles of mainstream headlines and take a closer look at what’s going on in Europe while looking through the lenses of the crowd economy and finance—crowd currencies, P2P lending/commerce, equity-based, and non-equity-based crowdfunding. “The crowd economy also signifies the emergence of crowds to replace top-down approach to business and monopoly… it’s has a bigger value proposition than the sharing economy,” says Priti Ambani, Global Media Director at Crowdsourcing Week.
How can it contribute to Europe’s future, anyway?
The Euro Banking Association (EBA), which is supported by the European Commission, said that “Blockchain technology has the potential to reduce costs, improve product offerings and increase speed for banks,” CoinDesk writes. On the other hand, Cegeka, a Belgium-based Big Data company, is already testing Blockchain applications that European banks can use.
What to expect: Blockchain technology in banking isn’t fictional; it could happen in not-so-distant future. With 10 banks “seriously” experimenting on it, (and Barclays, LHV Banks, and BBVA included in that list) and top Dutch banks are on it, too.
US and Asian regions are not the only one gaining momentum in P2P lending. Europe is growing and the loan volumes for this year are exceeding £2bn according to Apex Insight research. A few weeks ago, the University of Cambridge and EY in collaboration with third-party research participating platforms released the European Alternative Finance Benchmarking report, which also shows the rapid growth of P2P lending across Europe. “The European alternative finance market grew by 144% last year.”
What to expect: Lending platforms will increase; with the government backing up these alternative options, and regulating them to make them more sustainable, crowd finance and P2P lending can kindle the entrepreneurial spirit of Europeans.
Europe has regulated investment-based or equity-based crowdfunding; it is now a legitimate alternative form of finance across the region, and as Inline Policy puts it, “the sector continues to grow and shows no sign of slowing down.” Meanwhile, Germany’s equity-based crowdfunding sector “jumped from € 7.9 million to over € 12.4 million in Q1 – an over 50% increase,” this year according to Crowdfund Insider.
What to expect: There are still issues that needed to be dealt with and we expect that the government will be proactive in studying this sector to improve the financial networks, economy, and the community of startups and SMEs. According to Inline Policy, “The European Union has over the last few years kept a watchful eye on the proliferation of crowdfunding. Following a consultation initiated by the European Commission at the end of 2013, the institution settled on monitoring crowdfunding through the establishment of a working group.” The government would either embrace and regulate it or stop and dumb down innovation.
Non-equity based crowdfunding
Also called as reward-based crowdfunding, according to Recrowdfunding, it is a stepping-stone for tomorrow’s renewable energy technologies in Europe. Unlike the equity-based, contributors and participants receive rewards, tokens, or consumer products in exchange. For example, Clean Reach is a hub for renewable energy enthusiasts and advocates, a platform to raise funds and build a community with like-minded individuals.
Kickstarter, Indiegogo, FundedByMe, Pozible are examples of non-equity crowdfunding platforms and supporters receive what is due to them based on their contribution or package they chose. However, FT said that Europe seeks tax on crowdfunding rewards. “Proposals to levy the purchase tax on crowdfunding “rewards” — the incentives that start-ups offer to their small backers — were sent to the European Union’s Value Added Tax Committee last month. If adopted, they will make businesses raising money on online platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo charge up to 23 per cent of the value of any items sent to donors.”
What to expect: Crowdfunding, whether equity- or reward-based, is gaining traction in EU, and it’s also attracting the regulators to subject them to European laws, especially it involves cross-border transactions between the sellers and buyers. We expect a clear guide on how to deal with these issues, instead of red tape in this sector.
Get ready to jump on many of the above conversations at CSW Europe in Brussels, Oct 19-23, 2015. Take a first look at the agenda and don’t miss the opportunity to network and connect with the best European minds on the crowd economy.