Daily Review: PayPal Explores Crowdfunding, Launches Money Pools

With its latest move, PayPal explores another line of business – crowdfunding – with a competitive edge for its current customers. While renowned platforms collect fees from campaigns, PayPal offers the service for free (for now and for its account holders only), locking its account holders inside the PayPal ecosystem while locking the competition out. PayPal is not the first large FinTech to get its hands into the two hottest segments – payments and lending (think Square Capital). After all, why bother with a cacophony of financial products when two types of offers are steadily the most represented and most funded?

PayPal launches Money Pools, where groups chip in to raise money to buy things

  • PayPal launches Money Pools, a service that lets people create pages to let their contacts fundraise for a specific item or event, such as buying a group gift, a group trip, or housemates paying the rent.
  • PayPal is launching the service in 16 countries – Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States. Anyone who has a PayPal account in these regions can create a Money Pool, or contribute to one.
  • Unlike crowdfunding solutions, Money Pools are not intended to facilitate fundraising for activities such as product development and organizers agree not to offer perks, rewards, or other incentives in return for contributions made to a Money Pool.
  • The service is free when you use money from your PayPal wallet, or a debit card or a bank account linked to your PayPal account. Standard PayPal fees apply when you have to make a currency conversion or use a credit card (also linked to your PayPal account). For comparison, GoFundMe and Kickstarter each take a 5% cut of the money raised on their sites, and GoFundMe also charges a 2.9% credit card processing fee plus 30 cents per donation.
  • Once you create a page, Money Pools works similarly to other social funding sites like GoFundMe: you can personalize the page with pictures and how you want contributions to appear (public or anonymously); you can update the site’s activity feed; and you can – important for social-payments – share a link to the campaign with a short URL.

Read more on TechCrunch.

Other read-worthy news:

Colossal SoftBank fund could shake up tech world

  • Japan-based SoftBank's The Vision Fund's $100 billion nearly equals the total amount pumped into venture capital-backed companies in 2016.
  • The huge amount of cash could accelerate the trend where fast-growing startups remain private – without the scrutiny and transparency of a stock market debut.
  • SoftBank has outlined plans to focus on late-stage investments when startups are more established, (and on investments of at least $100 million).
  • The SoftBank fund is widely expected to pump some $10 billion into ride-sharing giant Uber, which has a whopping valuation near $70 billion. Such a deal would boost the profile of the Japanese group in Silicon Valley.
  • SoftBank's early, lucrative investment in Alibaba was part of a strategy focused on booming e-commerce in China, according to GGV Capital managing partner Hans Tung.
  • SoftBank's recent investments in ride-sharing firms in various countries fit a pattern of seeking money-making synergies by bringing competitors together to share technology, learnings, and more. "Masayoshi Son understands the value of consolidation," said Tung. "It is affecting the way society moves from less efficient to more efficient, and the amount of innovation that could happen. If consolidation is somewhat expedited with SoftBank money, that is not necessarily a bad thing."
  • Targets for the Vision Fund were expected to include e-commerce, ride-sharing, robotics, and machine learning.
  • SoftBank has shown a preference for technology trends with the potential to spread across borders and have a significant impact on society, according to those who have tracked the company.
  • And with all the data collected by ride-sharing, e-commerce and other platforms, investing in artificial intelligence to mine insights from mountains of information makes sense.

Read more on the Daily Mail.

European Insurance Sector Adopting Blockchain to Protect Data

  • A total of 14 European insurance providers have partnered together with Deloitte and other firms to provide a simple system for insurers to comply with the Hamon Law, with requires insurers to provide simple transfers for clients who wish to change companies during the first year.
  • The system will allow for highly secure information storage for customer data. The newest regulations from the EU, called General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), will take effect in 2018, and could impose massive fines on companies that aren’t particularly protective of consumer data.
  • The platform relies on Proof of Process technology in order to secure user data through a shared data repository.
  • The system will limit data release to the absolute minimum for processing transactions.

Read more on the CoinTelegraph.

Most Open-Source Blockchain Projects Are Abandoned Within Six Months

  • Just 8% of the 26,000 open-source blockchain projects created back in 2016 are still around today.
  • The average lifespan of an open-source blockchain project is just one year. In fact, most projects shut down within their first six months. By that time, the original excitement among developers and supporters has started to dwindle as it becomes harder to provide meaningful updates on a regular basis.

Read more on the Merkle.