BitLendingClub has decided to close its service designed to help small businesses in emerging markets due to regulatory pressures, the company informed customers in a blog on its website. The blog noted the company worked hard to build a platform to provide the greatly needed service.
The blog did not expand on what regulatory pressures it was facing.
The company, which launched two years ago, will maintain minimal functionality in the near term to allow existing users to repay loans and withdraw their funds. The restricted functionality will begin next week, although a specific date was not given. The team noted it would advise users when the change occurs by email.
The platform will be operational with limited functionality for 30 days after loans are either repaid or have defaulted. The expected termination date is August of 2017.
Customers have up to 30 days to withdraw funds after the last loan is repaid or marked as written off. “We recommend that you begin withdrawing your funds immediately,” the blog stated.
The platform, which began in Bulgaria in 2014, was developed to provide small businesses in emerging markets access to capital at affordable rates from lenders across the globe. BitLendingClub leveraged blockchain technology to bring financial innovation to these businesses.
In October of 2014, BitLendingClub received a €200,000 seed investment from the European venture capital fund LAUNCHub.
The status of Loanbase, a BitLendingClub offshoot, was not addressed on either organization’s website.
In September, BitLendingClub rebranded itself as Loanbase. BitLendingClub posted a blog about the rebranding and said it was part of an effort to bring the benefits of bitcoin to the general public, without them having to know anything about the technology.
Loanbase posted a notice on Facebook in September stating that “BitLendingClub is back again.” It said all bitcoin-related loans would be handled through the BitLendingClub domain while the Loanbase platform would become the default product on the Loanbase domain.
The Loanbase website currently notes that its platform is designed for small- and medium-sized businesses in Latin America, with an initial focus on Brazil.
Loanbase announced on Nov. 26 that it has collection agencies in more than 90 countries.
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