Latin American micro-lending startup Ripio Credit Network concluded its initial coin offering (ICO) presale, raising $31 million from accredited investors. Following the public Ripio ICO, the startup hopes to have raised a total of about $40 million.
Ripio (formerly BitPagos) has been operating within the crypto space since 2013 and established a blockchain-based lending service to help unbanked Latin American residents obtain loans. Now, the startup aims to expand the service into developing markets outside of Latin America through the creation of the Ripio Credit Network (RCN), an Ethereum-based micro-lending platform.
Using cosigned smart contracts, the network connects borrowers, lenders and co-signing agents. Significantly, both lenders and borrowers can interact with the platform using fiat currency, while the cosigner and corresponding wallet providers settle the contract using RCN tokens. This makes the platform much more accessible to people who are not familiar with cryptocurrency. The settlement process will require fees, but Ripio says they will be far lower than those charged by conventional lenders.
The presale, which was limited to accredited investors, raised $31 million from investors across the world, including significant contributions from Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea. Notable investors included Blacktower Capital, Blockchain Investors Consortium, and FBG Capital. Ripio notes that presale participants did not receive a discount, although they did have an opportunity to purchase tokens in much larger quantities than are available in the public Ripio ICO.
“Our goal is to widen financial inclusion by extending credit lending globally, and for implementing it we need worldwide support,” said Ripio founder Sebastian Serrano. “With vast experience on the blockchain market and a willingness to provide developing countries with fair lending conditions, our team is certain that this product will be welcomed by the community and help us democratize the digital economy in developing countries, offering digital payment alternatives within everyone's reach in these regions where up to 65% of the population remains unbanked."
The public Ripio ICO is scheduled to begin on October 24 and has a hard cap of 21,250 ETH, worth about $6.4 million at current exchange rates. Based on the success of the presale, it is likely the public distribution event will reach this cap, bringing the Ripio ICO’s fundraising total to about $37 million.
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