SALT at ETHDenver 2019

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As SALT has developed the technology necessary to support our lending business, we have opted to build a lot of our supporting services in house. As you scoff at why we wouldn’t just buy something off the shelf, remember how new the blockchain ecosystem is relative to other industries. We like to think we’re rational and always properly weigh our buy vs build options. After exploring the options, and in some cases buying them (much to our dismay), we’ve had to rely primarily on our talented dev team to build the systems, services and applications necessary to run our business.

Through many conversations with other blockchain companies, we have come to understand that some of these services would be valuable to helping build their business. Our first effort at separating a service and making it available to the public was a blockchain address and transaction monitoring service called Meerkat. You know, because Meerkats are always on alert.

The service allows anyone to subscribe (and unsubscribe) to specific Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dogecoin, and Ethereum (plus all ERC-20) blockchain addresses and transactions. Once you subscribe to a given address (or multiple addresses), you’re notified via your provided callback URL of transactions in or out of the address you’re watching. Subsequently, you can subscribe to a transaction so that you can be notified of its status updates (detected, mined, confirmed, etc).

To put this effort to the test, we chose to offer a $5000 prize at the 2019 ETHDenver Buidlathon (hackathon) for the best use of the Meerkat service.

There were some really creative submissions and we’re grateful that teams thought something we’d built could be useful to their project.

Ultimately, we picked Charity Watchdog as the winner because it supports the open and transparent ideals inherent to cryptocurrency. Their idea gives users the power and insight to choose whether or not to support a particular charitable organization. This is cryptocurrency at its finest. We hope Charity Watchdog continues their endeavor to bring transparency to charity spending. Below are some additional details about their project and a few other teams we want to give a shoutout to for creatively using Meerkat to BUIDL their project.

Thank you to each team for all of the creativity, hours and effort you put into leveraging Meerkat for your projects. We’ll see you all next year! In the meantime, keep watching via www.meerkat.watch.

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Director of Product Experience Rob Odell answers buidler/hacker questions at the SALT table at ETHDenver.

SALT’S CHOSEN WINNER:

Project: Charity Watchdog

Team: Artem Kuznetsov, Peter Gao

Description: Charities are traditionally opaque with their spendings, with donors not knowing exactly where their money is being spent.

With Charity Watchdog, we bring accountability and transparency to charity spends by watching the transactions of charity wallets, and prompting the charities to provide receipt or some form of documentation as to where the money was spent within a grace period.

Any charity that is on the platform and does not provide proof of fund usage will be flagged for donor review. This gives users insight into charity spending and they can choose whether or not to support the charity based on its spending, proof of usage, or lack thereof. This helps put donors more in control.

How they used the Meerkat API: Charity Watchdog used Meerkat to watch and update their app as transactions were sent to various charities. It was the key component in being able to notify users in the app that a charity has spent funds. It’s then the charities’ responsibility to add the supporting evidence for transparency.

OTHER NOTABLE PROJECTS:

Project: Shares

Team: Mark Evans Josh Robinson

Description: Shares seeks to demystify the stock issuance process for startups by facilitating the creation and issuance of uncertificated shares in the form of ERC-20 tokens. You don’t need paper certificates, a spreadsheet, or a lawyer. Just five minutes and a wallet address!

The project used IPFS for hosting the dApp portion of Shares, which is responsible for creating an ERC-721 token (one per company) that represents ownership of their domain on DwNS (Decentralized Web Naming System) and provides an easy-to-remember URL (ex. acme.shares.dwns.io). Uncertificated shares are subsequently minted through an ERC-20 contract and are sent to a user-designated Ethereum address. The view layer for the dApp was made using VueJS. For the web app portion, they used NodeJS and Express and connected to the Twilio and Meerkat APIs.

How they used the Meerkat API: Shares combined Twilio and Meerkat to notify users via text message when shares were moved from a contract. The team passed the phone number into the callback URL so that any transaction alerts on the security contract would get sent via text message — an instant way to alert users of activity.

Project: ETH Dev Tools

Team: Aidan Musnitzky, Billy Rennekamp, Theo Ephraim

Description: ETH Dev tools is a chrome developer tools extension that acts like a swiss-army knife for dApp developers and curious users. The extension appears in a chrome inspector tab and comes with various modules that introspect the current dApp you’re using. The plugin is easily extensible for additional tools but already comes with four fully functional modules:

Logs — A network inspector that shows logs and details of all network interactions between your dApp and your RPC endpoint via the web3.js provider including request timing, parameter inputs and return values.

ABI Explorer — This section keeps a list of all contracts the dApp has loaded and scaffolds boilerplate forms based on the ABIs of those contracts. The auto-generated UI gives you access to all contract methods ready to be queried with calls and sends — this is similar to what’s possible with Remix or a verified contract on Etherscan, but without the context switching or compilation.

GraphQL Explorers — A GraphQL explorer that comes pre-populated with Infura’s EthQL endpoints as well as all of the most popular The Graph subgraphs including Uniswap, ENS, Dharma and others. These endpoints come with sample queries ready to ping all the most relevant and highly available content. There’s also the option to add a custom endpoint for easy access to any other available datasets.

Watcher — A tool for monitoring activity on any wallet address or contract. This service is provided by a websocket proxy listening for webhooks from SALT’s Meerkat. It’s easy to subscribe or unsubscribe to this data with a simple UI and websocket support from an Heroku instance.

How they used the Meerkat API: The ETH Dev Tools team creatively added Meerkat to their ETH dev tools chrome extension to more easily help dApp developers subscribe (or unsubscribe) to an address or a transaction right from their browser. For dApp developers, this helps speed up the troubleshooting process when trying to monitor and notify users of address activity.

Project: Balanced Crypto Portfolios with built-in investment capabilities automation

Team: Anibal Catalan, Leonardo Lower, Manuel Garcia

Description: Automated balanced portfolios hedged against DAI with investment capabilities to get returns from loans repayments from AAVE.

Hedge your crypto portfolio and lower overall risk due to volatility and correlation behavior by moving out part of it into a stable asset: MakerDAO DAI.

Build a balanced portfolio, they will rebalance it for you.

Don’t stop there, invest some DAI into a fund which will invest by funding loans in EthLend based on clear rules (eg.: amount, duration, MPR, LTV, etc).

Get returns from the loans repayments.

We provide you with bots and brokers that will take care of rebalancing and investing on the right loans.

How they used the Meerkat API: This team used Meerkat to subscribe and monitor wallet activity. This is fundamentally important for projects in the #DeFi, or decentralized finance, space as the main pillars of this movement are accessibility, financial inclusion and transparency. Meerkat makes it possible for users to be notified of all payout and rebalancing activity.

Project: Battle Bombers

Team: Franky Aguilar, Mark Pereira, Drew Harding

Description: Taking the mobile crypto experience to where it should be.

The makers behind Battle Bombers are taking the concept of mobile-first crypto applications to users and developers. Battle Bombers uses an architecture that accesses the full native extensions in mobile ecosystems, which really stretches the capabilities of cryptocurrency on mobile. This application shows that app developers and designers will be able to fully express their creative abilities on mobile platforms without restriction.

How they used the Meerkat API: This team was able to use Meerkat to provide their users of push notifications with an alert regarding activity on specific addresses associated with the games they were playing on their phones. Once alerted of activity on an address, Battle Bombers sends that alert to the user in the form of a push notification.

Project: ETHBackpack Team: Josh Forman, Peter Hendrick, Ron Stoner, Sean Martin

Description: Live, on main-net chain, IT certifications and degrees. Show you have certificates such as CCNA, AWS Certificate, Certified Bitcoin Professional with an ETH Wallet address.

ETHBackpack can allow companies that distribute professional certificates on the Ethereum blockchain. Contract deployed on main net.

Individuals seeking employment or contract work can show their credentials in a public, verifiable way. Employers seeking to hire professionals could potentially search for applicants that have the certifications they’re looking for and verify such certifications.

How they used the Meerkat API: This team used Meerkat to notify users and watchers of a specific address that it had been updated with a new certification or degree.

Loan to Value (LTV) Explained

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When you apply for a traditional loan, the lender uses your credit score, as reported by third-party credit agencies, to determine your credit worthiness or financial “reputation.” The higher your credit score, the lower the risk. To offset your credit score or in some cases even completely remove it from the equation, you can apply for an asset-backed loan. With this type of loan, you can offer up your assets — anything from your house or car to your stock portfolio — as collateral to act as “insurance” for the lender. In asset-backed lending, borrowers typically secure loans for an amount that’s less than the total value of the collateral.

The measurement of the balance of the loan relative to the value of the collateral asset is represented as loan-to-value or LTV. For example, you may have a loan for $320,000 for a home that is valued at $400,000, in which case your loan is 80% of the total value of the home.

As an asset-backed lender, one of the things that makes SALT unique is that we don’t even look at your credit score. With a SALT loan when you have collateral — whether you’re unbanked, haven’t accumulated credit, or have poor credit — you can still get a loan. Instead, SALT uses loan-to-value of your collateral to assign risk. As LTV is a measure of risk, the lower the LTV, the lower the risk for the lender (and therefore the lower the interest rate for the borrower).

How is LTV calculated?

Good question.

LTV is calculated as the loan amount in USD divided by the value of the collateral in USD, expressed as a percentage.

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As an example, if you have a current loan balance of $100,000 and your total collateral asset balance is $200,000, you have an LTV of 50%. To make things easier, we’ve added an LTV Helper to the borrower portal that illustrates exactly how the LTV is calculated. See below.

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Understanding LTV and how it’s calculated is essential to making an informed decision about your loan terms. Liquidation events benefit no one, which is why we provide the tools like our automated notification system to help you avoid them. Before you apply for a loan, you should ask yourself:

  • How much do I need?
  • How much total crypto do I have?
  • Am I prepared to deposit more crypto if necessary to lower my LTV?

Once you answer these questions, you can choose the LTV that’s right for you.

Starting LTV

When you are taking out a loan against your crypto assets with SALT, you presently have 3 options for your starting LTV; 30%, 40% and 50%. The starting LTV will determine approximately how much (in terms of dollars) of the crypto asset you will need for that loan.

From the example above, for a $100,000 loan, you would need $200,000 in Bitcoin, Ether, Doge, or Litecoin to secure the 50% LTV loan option. For a 40% LTV, it would be $250,000 and for 30% LTV, it would be approximately $333,333.

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Using LTV as a measure of risk, the 30% LTV option is the lowest risk.

Why is a lower LTV seen as less risk?

As the LTV goes up, the value of the underlying asset goes down. In the case of a crypto asset-backed loan, the value of Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, or Doge is trending down.

If the price of the crypto asset falls too low, the LTV will continue to increase. As it approaches 100%, there is a threshold where the collateralized asset will be sold to pay back the loan. This is known as the liquidation threshold. This threshold can vary from business to business and loan to loan.

For our example, let’s say the liquidation threshold is set to a 90% LTV.

When the LTV ratio reaches 90%, the crypto asset will be sold to reduce the LTV back down.

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Timeout. Liquidations!?!

At SALT, we pride ourselves in having a robust notification system that relays important account activity to borrowers via our portal, text, phone calls, and emails. We give you control of how you want to be notified about each activity. You can be notified of everything from deposits and withdrawals to LTV warning thresholds.

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As a borrower, you always have the option to transfer more collateral at any time.

Back to LTVs.

Why does this matter?

As you might be aware, the price of Bitcoin (or any crypto asset) can move up and down. As the price moves up, your LTV goes down. As the price moves down, your LTV goes up.

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To build on our earlier example of a $100,000 loan with a 50% LTV, let’s use Bitcoin as the underlying crypto asset. In this example, let’s use $4,000 as the US dollar price of 1 Bitcoin.

Loan Amount = $100,000

Starting LTV = 50%

Price of 1 Bitcoin = $4,000

Doing the math $200,000/$4,000, you would need approximately 50.00 BTC to get a $100,000 loan with a 50% starting LTV.

Bringing it all together!

From above, assuming the liquidation threshold is set at 90% LTV, the price of 1 Bitcoin would need to go all the way down to approximately $2,222 to raise the LTV up to the liquidation threshold of 90% LTV.

A $100,000 loan with a starting LTV of 40%, would require 62.50 BTC at a price of $4,000 per Bitcoin. However, the 90% liquidation threshold would not be reached until the price of 1 Bitcoin went down to approximately $1,778.

Repeating the example with a 30% LTV, you would need 83.33 BTC at a price of $4,000 per Bitcoin and would reach the 90% liquidation threshold when the price of 1 Bitcoin was approximately $1,333.

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STABILIZE IT

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Today we’re proud to announce a partnership with CENTRE Consortium to accept USD Coin (USDC) as collateral.

A product of a collaborative effort between, Coinbase, Circle, and the CENTRE Consortium, USDC is a new stablecoin backed by the US dollar. According to Coinbase, “One USDC is a 1:1 representation of a US dollar on the Ethereum blockchain” and “each USDC is 100% collateralized by a corresponding USD held in accounts subject to regular public reporting of reserves.” From a credibility standpoint, Circle has partnered with accounting firm Grant Thornton LLP to conduct monthly audits of US dollar reserves backing the number of USDC tokens in circulation.

Why add USDC?

We’re constantly evaluating and analyzing new collateral options to determine how a given collateral will benefit our customers. Typically, we base our decision to add a new collateral type on a number of factors including the voting feature on our borrower portal. In this case however, we deliberately chose to add USDC in direct response to the market volatility we’ve recently experienced.

When there’s volatility in the market, it directly impacts your LTV, which can result in an undesired loss of collateral. We’ve heard your feedback regarding the need for transfer options that can be implemented on nights, weekends, and holidays. We’re adding USDC to the mix because we want you to keep your crypto, markets don’t.

By adding USDC we’re providing a quick, easy way for you to stabilize your LTV when there’s a rapid drop in the market. Given it’s backed by the US dollar but isn’t wholly tied to the U.S. banking system, you can transfer USDC as collateral at any point in time to bring your LTV back down. Now, rather than waiting for the bank to open to lower your LTV with a wire transfer, you can take immediate action when you notice your collateral is declining in value due to market volatility.

With the addition of USDC, SALT now offers loans backed by Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, DOGE, and USDC — you can secure a loan backed 100 percent by a single collateral type or combine them in a way that works for you.

Interested in applying for a loan? Sign up here. Or visit saltlending.com to learn more about SALT’s offerings.

Read more about the USDC Ecosystem.

SALT: A Better Way to Unleash the Value of Your Blockchain Assets

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There are a lot of loan offerings out there for blockchain assets, but none of them are quite like SALT.

Let us tell you why.

At SALT our guiding principle is to put you first — and that means offering more than just Blockchain-Backed Loans™. We strive to offer the highest level of service and security because we’re committed not only to helping you make the most of your digital assets, but to helping you keep them safe.

Here are a few ways we’re staying true to that commitment through our offerings.

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Security is imperative when it comes to maintaining safe custody of your assets and it’s a top priority at SALT. Here are just a few features we have developed to ensure the safety of you and your assets:

· Offline storage and generation of all platform wallet keys — plus, our key management controls are CryptoCurrency Security Standards (CCSS) compliant

· Multi-signature wallet protection — requires multiple independent signers to access funds

· Multi-factor enrollment required and user passwords protected by SHA256

· TLS (SSL) protection for all website traffic with industry-standard RSA 2018 encryption

· Ongoing third-party penetration testing and platform assessment

· Multiple layers of network and application firewalling

Aside from the above, one of the features that sets us apart from other lenders is that we don’t commingle your assets. Instead we create a unique multi-signature wallet for each of you, as well as for each individual collateral type you put onto the SALT platform — an added layer of security given your assets are never pooled with the rest of the user base.

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What better way to track your assets than to know exactly where they stand?

At SALT, we believe in transparency, which is why we’ve built technology that enables us to track the values of multiple collateral types from multiple exchanges by calculating the volume weighted average. With the ability to pull this data in near-real time, we can provide the most stable as possible price of your collateral to protect it in the event of an exchange experiencing issues. Because of this technology, we’ve also been able to develop a near real-time Loan-to-Value (LTV) monitoring system. These capabilities combined allow us to provide you with the information necessary for you to simultaneously track your loan health and portfolio value at any time. Even when you aren’t tracking these items on your own, our automated notification system helps keep you up-to-date via phone, text and email so you’re alerted if and when your collateral declines in value.

Additionally, as mentioned previously, we refrain from commingling your assets — a major benefit given you can rest assured that your assets aren’t being mixed in with anyone else’s and that they’re verifiable independent of the SALT platform.

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We want to help you maximize the potential of your blockchain assets and work with you to accomplish your goals. Not only do we offer a quick, simple process for securing a loan, but we’re able to deposit funds into your account as quickly as you’re able to complete the loan process. Simply customize your loan options, apply for a loan, and then transfer your chosen collateral types to the SALT platform, and once your application is approved, we’ll drop the requested funds into your bank account.

Aside from a fast turnaround time and ease of use, there are a few other points to keep in mind about how we do (and don’t do) business.

We DO:

· Currently offer 4 collateral types — Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Dogecoin

· Offer the option to combine collateral types to secure a loan

· Offer flexible loan terms with a variety of APR and loan term duration options

· Lend in multiple jurisdictions around the world, with more expansions coming soon

· Help you secure the best loan terms for you depending on your location and needs

We DON’T:

· Charge origination fees

· Charge prepayment fees

· Run credit checks

· Commingle your assetsImage for post

Navigating the lending landscape — whether it be in the traditional or blockchain sense — can be tricky and confusing, which is why we connect you with a dedicated professional throughout your entire journey with us.

Sign up – once you become a SALT member, we provide you with direct access to experts who can answer your questions and guide you through our platform and offerings — with offices in the Philippines, Mauritius, and Denver, we offer global support that you can either access online 24/7 or via phone during business hours

Borrow – once you become a SALT borrower, we assign a dedicated lending associate to each customer to guide them through the underwriting process; once the loan is funded we assign a Member Success Advocate to be your primary point of contact regarding your relationship with us

Once you sign up, we provide you with access to 24/7 online support followed by access to seasoned lending professionals and a dedicated underwriter throughout your entire journey with us from membership to borrowing. Whether you want to speak with someone via phone during business hours or access online support at any point in the week, you can take comfort in knowing there’s a person who’s dedicated to answering your questions quickly and personably.

At SALT, we operate with a customer-first mindset because you’re the reason we come to work each day. As we seek to add new collateral types, platform features, and lendable jurisdictions, we remain focused — focused on our vision, our contribution to the advancement of blockchain technology, and most importantly on our commitment to helping you unleash the power of your blockchain assets.

To stay in the loop about what’s new at SALT, follow us on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn or Telegram.

Sign up to receive updates and announcements from SALT.

Our Two Satoshis on the 10th Anniversary of Bitcoin

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Ten years ago today Satoshi Nakamoto announced his vision to change the world. This vision came via the Bitcoin White paper, which defined Bitcoin as “A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.” Since the publishing of the white paper, Bitcoin has completely revolutionized the way we think about the world — not only in how the world works today, but in how it can work in the future.

As we acknowledge the tenth anniversary of Satoshi’s white paper, we at SALT are proud to not only be contributors to the blockchain space, but to be among those working to advance the capabilities of humanity via blockchain. Ten years later and Satoshi’s work is still inspiring people throughout the world — it’s the catalyst for individuals and companies to find new ways of addressing challenges with global finance, real estate, and healthcare, to tracking everything from global food supply, to votes to donations. It’s not just a new technology but a new way of thinking — and one thing’s for sure — SALT wouldn’t exist without it.

To commemorate this moment in time, we spoke with SALT’s team and clients about what Bitcoin means to them, how it’s impacted their lives, and how it’s changed the world. Here’s what they had to say:

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More Than Twice the Opportunity

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Until recently SALT Lending has been operating in 15 U.S. jurisdictions, as well as New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Our active pursuit of additional opportunities to enable our members has paid off. We are proud to announce the addition of 20 new jurisdictions in the United States in which we can expand our operation for a total of 35. Effectively we’ve broadened our reach by 60%. As our growth continues, we anticipate making additional announcements about where we will be operating. For today, we are pleased to service an abundance of new member applications.

Our operational intent in new jurisdictions available for both businesses and individuals includes a total of 13 U.S. states. Previously SALT was present in 5 U.S. states including Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, and Kentucky. SALT is now set up in an additional 9 U.S. jurisdictions which include Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, and Oklahoma. Alabama has joined the list of business-only jurisdictions.

SALT’s operations focused solely on business loans will also expand. Previously SALT’s business-only loan operations included Delaware, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Wyoming. Luckily four of these are areas that have moved to the list for both business and individual operations. These include: Kansas, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Oklahoma. Business-only jurisdictions now include 22 areas. The newly added states are: Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

We are currently engaging with members who previously submitted loan inquiries and reside in areas in which we did not previously operate. We wish to thank you for holding and waiting until this time and encourage you to submit your loan inquiries for our review.

In the meantime, new member applications will be accepted at the upgraded member portal. Those with a previous membership that have not yet reestablished their account on the new platform are advised to do this as soon as they receive email confirmation that their account has been triggered. After this process has been completed, members will have the opportunity to check out minimum requirements in specific jurisdictions, use tools associated with the Proof of Access (POA) program and review their fresh new personalized dashboard for more membership detail.

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To the SALT Community

A Message From SALT

When we first announced SALT and what we were building, it was a new idea. The concept is as simple now as when we began: leveraging blockchain assets as collateral for loans.

We knew from the beginning there would be challenges and obstacles in the path to executing this model. We knew that we would have to build the bridges required to connect this new asset class to the traditional institutions and systems that have been historically resistant to change. This is always the case when you are disrupting the status quo. We knew other companies would follow our business model, walking down the same paths we cleared and over the same bridges we built.

Today, only a year after our official launch, our expectations have become a reality. The trail is blazed, there is loan demand, there is competition and new ways of doing business with traditional markets is unfolding. At SALT we welcome this evolution and recognize the value it brings to our collective vision. What was once a big dream is now a thriving competitive landscape.

For this I am grateful.

I am grateful for our community, because SALT would not exist without you. I am grateful for our critics, because they help us identify opportunities for improvement. I am grateful for competition, because it validates our industry and drives maturity. We have created a market that is revolutionizing the world — a call to arms that is getting louder every day.

When we started SALT, we were motivated by a deeply held belief that blockchain technology was going to bring about a world with more liberty, fairness, and prosperity. The total market cap of all cryptocurrencies was less than $6bn. Most of the world was unaware of what Bitcoin was, let alone its potential. Since those early days, I’ve watched the impact of both crypto and SALT grow tremendously. What was once a single beacon of light in a dark, centralized world of money is now a robust and evolving ecosystem full of incredible innovation. As for SALT, what was once a couple of people brainstorming in a coffee shop has become a growing company with of talented team, over $50MM in loans issued, expanding jurisdictions, evolving products and services and a community of members 70,000+ strong. We have been hard at work collaborating, building, testing and compiling a team all for the purpose of serving our global market.

Like Bitcoin, SALT has had some missteps along the way. But also like Bitcoin, SALT has become more dedicated through every experience, more antifragile through every challenge, and stronger through every success. I’ll be the first to admit that we could have been more communicative with our community. We’ve been building a solid team focused on addressing this pain point and I am confident that you will be hearing from SALT more regularly going forward.

As the 1st mover in this industry, SALT has the responsibility and privilege to lead without a map. It is a responsibility we do not take lightly and we will continue to work hard to build and operate our business with integrity and dedication. I applaud the tenacity and entrepreneurial spirit of every company that sees the same vision and potential that has motivated SALT since its genesis and has joined us in transforming this space.

SALT remains strong, dedicated to our community, and confident in the future.

All the best,

Caleb Slade

Co-founder and Chief Knowledge Officer