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Alternative Finance in Latvia | Two EU Regulators Comment on Crypto and ICOs | Update EU crowdfunding regulation


Alternative Finance Trends

January 15 · Issue #13 · View online

Alternative Finance is growing rapidly and takes its place in the financial system. What are the latest trends and how will the financial eco-system develop in the next 10 years? From P2P-lending to ICOs and from crowdfunding to marketplace lending I will provide a weekly overview of the most important news. Every week I will ask an expert to provide in-depth insights of local developments and challenges in their country.

Happy new year! 2019 will be an interesting year for alternative finance, with an agreement on the new EU crowdfunding regulation, launch of Alternative Finance knowledge centers in European countries (Altfinator Hubs), the Brexit preparations of Fintech firms and EC discussions on crypto-assets and ICO/STO.
This year I will again twice a month send out a newsletter on the latest international trends and best-practices in alternative finance. Every newsletter I will highlight a specific European country with an international expert and will (with support of ECWT) showcase a successful alternative financing round from an European entrepreneur.
This week we focus on the Status of Alternative Finance in Latvia with Martins Sulte and present the successful crowdfunding case of Linda Liukas who raised $380,747 on Kickstarter for a programming book for children.
Further news this week:
  • Two EU Regulators Comment on Crypto and ICOs, Potential for EU-Wide Rules
  • Latest insights on European Crowdfunding Legislation
  • Seedrs launches first ‘passive’ fund
  • Altfinator Hubs presented as best practice at European Commission’s Alternative Finance and Fintech expert workshop
  • ECWT review with : Linda Liukas - Hello Ruby!
  • European Expert : Martins Sulte (Latvia)
Feedback on this edition or ideas of articles to share in this newsletter? Just send a reply on this newsletter or email me at
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Two EU Regulators Comment on Crypto and ICOs, Potential for EU-Wide Rules
Latest insight on European Crowdfunding Legislation Latest insight on European Crowdfunding Legislation
Seedrs launches first ‘passive’ fund Seedrs launches first ‘passive’ fund
European Commission workshop on Alternative Finance and FinTech
European Commission workshop on Alternative Finance and FinTech
Altfinator Hubs presented as best practice at European Commission's Alternative Finance and Fintech expert workshop
European Commission Workshop 2018 on FinTech - Best Practices and Trends in the EU
ECWT review with : Linda Liukas - Hello Ruby !
(You can click on the logo to access the website)
(You can click on the logo to access the website)
Hello Ruby is a children’s book that teaches programming fundamentals through stories and kid-friendly activities.
After having founded Rails Girls, in 2014 Linda decided to write and illustrate a book for young children about the magical world of technology - Hello Ruby.
Linda decided to raise funding for the publishing through the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter and smashed its $10,000 funding goal after just 3.5 hours and gathering $380,747 in total funding during the funding period of 30 days (Jan 23 2014 - Feb 22 2014), becoming the platform’s most highly funded children’s book.
Hello Ruby is the world’s most whimsical way to learn about technology, computing and coding. It´s all about curiosity, playfulness and logic. The book provides tools for kids, parents and educators to learn to understand programming in a fun and creative way.
Hello Ruby started off with a book that is now published in over 22 languages, including Catalan, Chinese, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, Hungarian, Korean, Polish, Spanish, Swedish.
Hello Ruby - Kickstarter campaign
Hello Ruby - Kickstarter campaign
European Expert : Martins Sulte (Latvia)
What is the current status of Alternative Finance?
The alternative finance market kicked-off in 2008 in Latvia, but it has definitely made up for lost time. In 2016 the Latvian alternative finance market grew by 16% according to the overview of the activities of the non-bank consumer credit market published in 2017. As a result, banks no longer have a monopoly over the lending industry and investments are no longer confined to stocks and bonds. For non-bank lenders, as of June 30, 2017, the total net loan portfolio was more than EUR 612 million.
On the other hand, the peer-to-peer lending industry, which is a subset of the alternative lending market, has brought endless opportunities and ample variety for international borrowers and investors alike.
According to The 3rd European Alternative Finance Industry Benchmarking Report, the Baltic countries have shown one of the fastest growth rates, expanding by 287% from 2015 to 2016. In 2016, the alternative finance market volume has grown by close to EUR 101 million, with a total volume of EUR 136 million. As a result, the Baltic region is the fifth largest in continental Europe for alternative finance.
The peer-to-peer lending market is one of the latest trends in the Latvian market: industry data from the Alternative Financial Services Association of Latvia shows that in 2017, EUR 486 million was invested through Latvian peer-to-peer lending platforms, an increase of EUR 288 million from the previous year. Since 2015, more than EUR 909 million has been invested in peer-to-peer platforms and in the first quarter of 2018, EUR 201 million was invested. One factor to highlight is that through all these investments a lot of cross-border payments were made as most of the investments come from international investors and loans.
Can you give us an inspiring case from your country?
The first two platforms established in Latvia were Mintos and TWINO in 2015. According to data from AltFi, Mintos is the leading player in the peer-to-peer lending market in Continental Europe with 46% of market share. Other companies in the industry include Dofinance, Swaper, Viainvest, Viventor, and others.
About Mintos: 
Mintos is a global online marketplace for loans. On one hand, we give retail investors the opportunity to invest in loans originated by a variety of alternative lending companies in an easy and transparent way, and earn great returns. On the other hand, our marketplace provides loan originators with flexible funding and access to thousands of investors throughout the world instantly.  
There is no service fee when investing through Mintos. The marketplace is recognized as very user-friendly due to its well-designed layout which is transferable across desktop and mobile services. Our investor’s satisfaction is evident in our 9.0 rating on Trustpilot.
Registered investors in Mintos over the world
Registered investors in Mintos over the world
Key figures of Mintos investors
Key figures of Mintos investors
What are the biggest obstacles for growth?
One of the obstacles to the growth of the alternative finance industry in Latvia is lack of harmonised regulations within the European Union (EU) which struggle to keep the pace. What we have noticed at Mintos is that innovation precedes regulation in many industries. Some of the challenges are also due to the fact that the EU is a combination of different countries, cultures and laws, which has its positive sides, but at the same time it is difficult to find blanket laws to apply to each country and different currencies, thus every country has to adapt to its needs and develop its own regulations. The European Commission has adopted a proposal for a regulation on crowdfunding which will allow crowdlending platforms to only comply with one set of rules when operating in their home market and in the EU.
Currently, the Ministry of Finance of Latvia is working on creating effective regulation for the peer-to-peer lending industry in the country. In 2017, it initiated the development of new regulation for the P2P lending industry and some of the main players, such as Mintos and TWINO have been active in developing supportive and fair regulation for the country. The regulation is expected to come into effect in 2018
Current State of Alternative Finance in Europe
Albania | Armenia | Austria| Belarus | Belgium | Bosnia & Herzegovina | Bulgaria | Croatia | Cyprus | Czech Republic |Denmark| Estonia | Finland |France| Georgia | Germany | Greece | Hungary | Iceland | Ireland |Italy| Latvia |Lithuania| Luxembourg | Macedonia | Malta | Moldova | Monaco | Montenegro | Netherlands |Norway|Poland| Portugal | Romania | Russia | Serbia |Slovakia| Slovenia | Spain |Sweden|Switzerland| Turkey | UK |Ukraine
Do you have any questions regarding (trends in) alternative finance, don’t hesitate to contact me by replying on this newsletter.
This newsletter is part of the Altfinator project en supported by the European Commission to promote alternative finance in Europe.
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