By Annabelle Pollack
This new model will allow SALT to distribute risk, enhance security, reduce interest rates, fund loans more swiftly, and focus on expanding its suite of wealth preservation products
We’re excited to announce Fireblocks, a platform that secures digital assets in transit, as our first partner for securely storing and transferring customers’ collateral assets. The partnership with Fireblocks marks a shift in SALT’s business model from self-custody to a more distributed custody approach that will allow us to onboard additional partners in the future and add greater flexibility for capital providers. This new approach also enables us to distribute risk, fund loans and conduct transactions more quickly, and provide customers with enhanced security for their cryptoassets, as well as lower interest rates on crypto-backed loans.
“When SALT was founded in 2016, custody wasn’t where it is now, so we built a proprietary custody solution to keep our customers’ collateral assets safe,” said Justin English, CEO of SALT. “Now that the industry has matured and companies like Fireblocks have come to the forefront, we’re excited to work with them to streamline our operations and expose their networks to our suite of wealth preservation products. They have a proven ability to safely and securely store and transfer collateral assets and to do so swiftly, which will inevitably allow us to provide faster service to our customers and focus more on product development.”
The move toward third-party custody solutions will also enable SALT to provide greater security and flexibility to capital providers that may prefer to work with a specific custodian, provided the custodian meets our rigorous security standards.
“MPC has quickly become the industry standard among the largest and most trusted institutions in the digital asset space,” said Michael Shaulov, CEO and co-founder of Fireblocks. “We’re proud to partner with the SALT team to help them strengthen security, reduce costs and expand operations as they move into the next stage of their growth.”
Fireblocks meets these security standards by combining multi-party computation (MPC) with Intel SGX technology to create a proprietary, defense in-depth approach to digital asset security — this allows organizations to accelerate operations without relying on physical hardware or slow, manual processes.
“Security is our top priority as we make this shift to be commensurate with our growth and distribute risk among trusted custodians,” said Dirk Anderson, chief technology officer at SALT. “The primary reason we’ve chosen Fireblocks as our first partner is because of their approach to MPC technology. Not only does it meet our security standards, but it will grant us more flexibility and increase the speed at which we can conduct transactions. This means we can fund stablecoin loans much faster and reduce the turnaround time for returning customers’ collateral assets once their loan has matured.”
From a customer standpoint, the biggest and most exciting changes to note are increased security, faster services, and the offering of lower interest rates. Aside from these changes, the customer experience will largely remain the same. Just as they do now, borrowers will still be able to make deposits and withdrawals, and will be able to continue tracking the health of their loan via our Loan-to-Value monitoring and real-time notification systems.
“We believe working with Fireblocks and other custody partners in the future is in the best interest of both the business and our customers,” said English. “Not only will we be able to offer more competitive interest rates, but we will have the time and resources to focus on expanding our offerings to include products that are designed to help our customers build and preserve their wealth.”
SALT, the pioneer of crypto-backed lending, offers a way for individuals and businesses to use their cryptoassets as collateral to secure a fiat or stablecoin loan without having to worry about credit checks. SALT offers flexible loan terms and accepts multiple cryptoassets as collateral including cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, and tokenized gold. SALT also offers competitive interest rates and does not charge origination or prepayment fees. As cryptocurrency becomes more widely adopted and additional real-world assets become tokenized, SALT’s mission is to offer solutions that make it possible for people to securely hold, manage, and borrow against their cryptoassets. Founded in 2016, SALT is headquartered in Denver, Colorado. For more information, visit www.saltlending.com or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Medium.
All SALT loans are subject to KYC, AML, and other Terms, Conditions, and Restrictions. Please see saltlending.com/terms and FAQ for additional information. Loan options and terms may not be available in your jurisdiction, for your loan amount, and/or collateral type. SALT Loans are subject to jurisdictional limitations and other restrictions. SALT may not be able to offer a loan to all borrowers. SALT loans are originated by Salt Lending LLC. NMLS #1711910. NMLS Consumer Access (https://www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org/).
Fireblocks is an enterprise-grade platform delivering a secure infrastructure for moving, storing, and issuing digital assets. Fireblocks enables exchanges, custodians, banks, trading desks, and hedge funds to securely scale digital asset operations through the Fireblocks Network and MPC-based Wallet Infrastructure. They have secured the transfer of over $70 billion in digital assets and have a unique insurance policy that covers assets in storage & transit. For more information, please visit www.fireblocks.com.
Kendra Staggs, [email protected]
Yelena Osin, [email protected]
Cryptocurrency is a disruptor. Not only has it changed the way we conduct business, but it has changed the way we think. The most obvious manifestation of how cryptocurrency has disrupted our thought patterns is in the way we think about money — about who issues it, how to transact with it, how to put it to work and how to keep it safe. It also has changed the way we think about our government, our right to privacy and our financial freedom. What’s less obvious is how cryptocurrencies are disrupting the way we think about and participate in asset-based lending. The advent of Bitcoin catalyzed the creation of a myriad of cryptocurrencies, many of which became viewed as assets, yet at the time, there was no way for crypto investors to unlock the value of these assets without selling them. This is the problem SALT’s founders set out to solve in 2016 and in doing so successfully, made asset-based lending as we once knew it a thing of the past.
Creating a New Asset Class
As Bitcoin began to experience wider adoption following its release in 2009, it became clear that some investors were purchasing crypto to trade on a daily basis while others were choosing to invest long-term, viewing Bitcoin more as an asset than as a spendable currency. As more investors adopted this long position and began to think of cryptocurrencies as an asset class in their own right, the term “HODL” emerged in 2013 on a bitcoin-talk forum and has since become one of the most commonly used words in the crypto vernacular. This HODL culture has grown significantly over the years and has evolved to where investors are buying, selling and trading these assets not only for themselves but on behalf of others. This activity has taken the form of crypto portfolios and crypto funds, which offer access to this new asset class for individuals and allow them to diversify their portfolios while eliminating some of the overhead of learning how to purchase and safely hold cryptoassets. By providing a way to collateralize cryptoassets to secure a cash or stablecoin loan, SALT provides opportunities for individuals, businesses and capital providers to build and preserve wealth.
How to Lend Cryptoassets
As the first-ever crypto-backed lender, SALT has developed the technology and processes required to successfully lend against cryptoassets, giving borrowers a way to unlock the value of these assets without selling them. Take Bitcoin for example. It’s one of many cryptoassets we accept as collateral on our platform, yet it makes up more than 80% of the collateral securing our loan book.
What makes Bitcoin a strong form of collateral? The answer lies in Bitcoin’s combined characteristics. Like gold, Bitcoin is scarce, fungible, divisible, transferable and durable. It is also extremely liquid given it is traded on global exchanges every day. Additionally, as a decentralized asset, Bitcoin is highly secure. All of these properties make Bitcoin both a viable asset and a highly efficient form of collateral that has piqued the interest of some of the largest financial institutions in the world.
One thing to note is Bitcoin’s volatile nature, which can pose challenges specifically for the ABL market. However, SALT’s risk management technology effectively manages this volatility. Our technology includes real-time loan-to-value (LTV) monitoring, margin call and liquidation triggers, real-time notifications and the safekeeping of assets through institutional grade custody solutions. For example, our loan-to-value (LTV) monitoring system tracks the prices of assets 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, providing borrowers with the ability to monitor the health of their loan in real-time. If, during periods of heightened volatility, a borrower’s collateral declines in value and their LTV breaches our margin call threshold, we protect the borrower by issuing a margin call that prompts them to take action to restore the health of their loan. Actions borrowers may take include paying down principal or depositing additional collateral to recalibrate their LTV to an appropriate level (70%). If no action is taken and asset prices continue to decline, SALT has the ability and the right to liquidate collateral assets to preserve lender capital. The overcollateralized nature of our loans combined with our risk management technology and ability to liquidate assets enables us to protect the lender, and as a result, we’ve experienced zero losses of principal to date.
Choosing a Crypto-Backed Lender
SALT’s business model is attractive to crypto investors (e.g. traders and asset managers) and businesses (e.g. mining operations and exchanges) for a few reasons. First, we provide access to liquidity, offering loans ranging from $5,000 to the millions. Typical use cases include businesses seeking working capital to fund operational costs and large capital expenditures, or investors seeking leverage, diversification or risk management. Second, since our model is asset-based and requires overcollateralization, we do not rely on a borrower’s credit profile and can fund loans within 24 to 48 hours, assuming the borrower meets our strict AML/KYC requirements. Third, customers know their assets are safely and securely held with institutional-grade custody providers for the duration of their loan. Fourth, our loan process is straightforward and customizable. We allow borrowers to lend against a single cryptoasset or a portfolio of cryptoassets and offer flexible loan terms, including durations ranging from three to 12 months, LTVs up to 60% for individual loans or up to 70% for business loans, and competitive interest rates ranging from 5% to 12% depending on the borrower’s jurisdiction, loan amount and LTV. While we are no longer the only crypto-backed lender in the world, we are one of the few that incorporate a human element into our business model. Unlike completely automated lenders, SALT offers both phone and online support, and assigns each customer a loan support specialist at the time of loan origination. These human touches positively impact a borrower’s experience with the platform; they know that by choosing SALT, they will always have the option to speak with someone about their financial needs.
The Evolution of the Crypto Market and Tokenization
Since SALT’s founding in 2016, the crypto lending market has grown exponentially. According to a report from Credmark, the crypto lending market reached $8 billion in total lifetime loan originations as of Q4/19 and has since surpassed $10 billion following Q1/20. These numbers not only indicate the growing demand for liquidity among crypto holders but also the growing interest among capital providers to get involved in the crypto market. For example, we’ve witnessed an influx of both crypto native (BitGo Prime and Genesis Capital) and traditional financial institutions (Silvergate) that provide leverage and liquidity vehicles at the institutional level.
Another thing to consider regarding the evolution of the crypto market is that as the world becomes tokenized, the very definition of the term “crypto market” is changing. With the emergence of companies like Paxos and Harbor, we’re beginning to see increased tokenization of real-world assets like gold and real estate. At SALT we already accept Pax Gold (a gold-backed cryptoasset) as collateral on our platform and our vision for the future goes well beyond our current collateral scope.
The Role of Alternative Investments
As crypto becomes more widely accepted, a growing number of people are assessing their own risk profiles and determining the best way for them to participate in the crypto market. For those with lower risk profiles, the market has evolved in recent years to offer individuals or businesses indirect exposure to this new asset class. As previously mentioned, crypto portfolios and crypto funds are part of this evolution along with alternative investment companies like Cadence (portfolio company of Coinbase Ventures). Cadence is a securitization platform for private credit that grants access to exclusive high yield, short term investments traditionally reserved for institutions. In February 2020, we partnered with Cadence to offer prospective investors the opportunity to gain exposure to cash flows associated with a portfolio of underlying loans collateralized by cryptoassets. The first note of $500,000 was oversubscribed in five days and we have since worked with Cadence to issue $2.9 million in notes to investors to date. As more companies like Cadence provide structure, liquidity and indirect exposure to alternative asset classes like crypto, we expect to see even greater demand from investors seeking attractive risk adjusted returns.
Opportunities for Institutional Investors
There’s no doubt cryptocurrency has changed the way we think about asset-based lending. It has formed a new asset class and also has catalyzed the trend of broader tokenization — a trend that will inevitably expand the universe of collateral options and have a meaningful impact on the ABL industry. If you’re a decision maker at an institution and are interested in learning more, email [email protected] to discuss opportunities to build and preserve wealth in this rapidly evolving industry.
How Financial Firms Navigate the Markets to Grow in Any Climate
SALT was featured on Adroll’s blog alongside Catch Benefits and Hippo Insurance. Learn how we’re navigating the markets and changing the way people interact with money in the full blog post here.
Read Adroll’s full blog post here
ICYMI: SALT Announces Justin English as Chief Executive Officer
In case you missed it, we recently announced that Justin English has been named chief executive officer at Salt Blockchain Inc., parent company to SALT Lending. Co-presidents Rob Odell and Dustin Hull, who have been working together for the past six months to fill the CEO role and onboard English, will remain co-presidents and will continue to support SALT in their respective roles as chief product officer and chief financial officer.
Read the full announcement here.
Creative Wealth Preservation with Blockchain Center
Our CPO Rob Odell joined Blockchain Center’s VR Crypto Mondays to talk with their CEO about crypto lending and creative ways to preserve your wealth.
Watch their full discussion here.
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Black Lives Matter
As operations at SALT carry on, it is not lost on us, as a company nor as individuals, that Black Americans continue to fight for racial justice. We are committed to hearing, learning from, and supporting our Black customers & communities in this fight for a more inclusive world.
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Need something new to binge watch?
Catch up on Season 2 of Worth Your SALT to see our discussions with industry leaders including Bill Barhydt, Shira Frank, David Chaum, and many more.
CoinTelegraph: French Court Moves the BTC Chess Piece — How Will Regulators Respond?
“France is the 7th largest economy in the world by GDP, so it certainly is likely to influence other markets, especially in the EU, initially. In such a new and emerging market and technology like Bitcoin, regulators around the world do look to how other countries’ regulators are viewing cryptocurrencies. So, any ruling France makes will be closely observed by regulators worldwide.”
— Rob Odell, co-president and chief product officer, SALT
For full text article, click here.
Crypto Chat: Q&A with Dustin Hull, Co-President & CFO, SALTAs one of Cadence’s latest originator partners, we sat down with Brian Guerra of Cadence to discuss SALT’s business and how we’re able to contribute to Cadence’s efforts to give investors exposure to private credit assets linked to cryptocurrency. For full Q&A, click here.
Finance Magnates: Coronavirus & Crypto Lending: Could the Crisis Bring New Clients?
“Crypto-backed lenders are likely faring better than other crypto businesses during the global pandemic, as they offer a way for crypto holders to get cash without having to sell their cryptoassets.”
— Rob Odell, co-president and chief product officer, SALT
For full text article, click here.
Updated Sign-up Process
Our 2-step verification process has been updated to make it faster and easier for you to complete the sign-up process and explore our platform. Learn more about the update by logging into your account.
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We at SALT want to take a moment to address the market volatility and global uncertainty stemming from COVID-19. We understand this level of uncertainty can be stressful and want to reaffirm that we’re taking the necessary steps to keep our employees and your assets safe.
Even as SALT employees have been asked to work from home for the foreseeable future, our support team will remain available 24/7. We’ve implemented our contingency plan for instances like this to ensure there will be no lapses in our customer service.
While we cannot predict what the market will do, we want to ensure you’re aware of the actions you can take NOW to protect your loan:
- Deposit additional collateral — by depositing additional collateral now, you can lower your loan-to-value ratio (LTV) so that your loan and your collateral are better positioned to withstand a large dip in the market.
- Add a stable cryptoasset — by adding stable assets like USDC, TUSD, or PAX or by adding gold-backed PAXG as collateral, you can offset market volatility and make your loan less susceptible to downward trends.
- Make an additional payment — by paying down an additional amount on your loan, you can bring your LTV down to help reduce risk of liquidation.
- Turn on notifications — if you have not already done so, we strongly encourage you to log into your account, go to your notification settings and turn on all notifications. Then log into your account via our mobile app to activate push notifications. This will help you stay up to date on the health of your loan in real time so that you can take immediate action as needed.
Taking any of the above steps will help protect your loan against market volatility. However, in the event of a severe market downturn like the one that took place on March 12, 2020, we want you to know your options for quickly restoring the health of your loan. Our blog post on what to expect when your collateral is on the decline offers additional details on how to manage your loan during a market downturn.*
And remember, in the midst of this global pandemic, your own health and safety should be your top priority. Here are some tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on:
- How to prevent: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html
- What to do if you feel sick: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/steps-When-sick.html
- Prepare yourself: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/protect/prepare.html
*This content is meant to educate and inform but should not be taken as financial or investment advice. Trading and investing in cryptocurrencies (also called digital or virtual currencies, cryptoassets, altcoins and so on) involves substantial risk of loss and is not suitable for every investor.
Recently we announced the support for Dash as collateral for loans, a feature we were excited to release given the demand from you along with the cryptocurrency’s potential to further financial inclusion around the globe.
Our VP of Product and Marketing, Rob Odell, recently spoke with Dash News about the platform, noting that $100,000 worth of Dash could secure a loan up to $70,000 — perfect for situations where you require cash but are reluctant to sell your cryptocurrency.
Rob qualifies the addition of Dash as “one of the most innovative inclusions that we’ve worked on since the launch of the platform.” We’ve integrated it in such a way that, while custody of the Dash itself is delegated to our platform, you retain the masternode rights so you can continue to earn payouts and voting rights from staking. With comprehensive insurance and the benefit of not commingling assets, this further ensures that SALT can provide you with highly secure storage options — something that may be more convenient and less risky than taking custody into your own hands.
This ability for you to maintain your masternode status, while utilizing your assets as collateral is an industry-first, and Rob dives into this further with Joël.
Listen to the full interview for more details and follow these step-by-step instructions to custody or borrow against your Dash with us and still run your masternode.
Having participated this week in the ADC Global Blockchain Summit held in conjunction with the South Australian Government and the Australian Digital Commerce Association (ADCA) in Adelaide, SALT is actively incorporating its technology services into the burgeoning Australian market. With a particular focus on strategies and practical applications for business growth via blockchain technologies and systems, SALT spoke to the Summit’s key topics from experience intersecting business, public policy, and the regulatory environment.
Australia has demonstrated a keen interest in developing its blockchain industry. The Ministry for Industry, Science and Technology today announced a blockchain roadmap with AU$100,000 in federal funding for “regulation, skills and capacity building, innovation, investment, and international competitiveness and collaboration.” Working directly with blockchain businesses at the ADC Summit, SALT is deploying its Software as a Service packages, which allow traditional companies to easily add cryptocurrency and blockchain offerings into their product portfolio including lending technology, wallets, monitoring, and blockchain analysis. With Australia’s continued commitment to developing blockchain services responsibly, SALT looks forward to working with interested parties and stakeholders across the Australian market to bring their vision into reality.
Crypto companies looking for extra liquidity to expand their businesses, such as exchanges or mining companies, can join SALT and apply for a crypto-backed loan.
As SALT continues to grow, we remain focused on further expanding our technology products, allowing both crypto and traditional companies to integrate blockchain services into their software stacks.
2018 was quite the year for SALT.
Between two public product launches, 32 event appearances, and the addition of new collateral types and jurisdictions, there’s no doubt we’ve accomplished a lot this year. When reflecting on how we did it, a few factors come to mind.
For one, we drank a ton of coffee (not literally but it was a lot) and even more La Croix. We also communicated a lot more — not only with each other, but with our community.
And most importantly, we grew. Not just in terms of our jurisdictions and team members but also in terms of our brand and vision.
For SALT, 2019 will be the year of expansion.
We know that crypto-backed lending is at our core and we’re proud of the business we’ve built. As we continue to maintain and grow our lending business, we’re also excited to expand our financial offerings to include products beyond lending.
On top of that, we believe in fostering the adoption of blockchain technology and that means making it more accessible. Right now, the use of this emerging technology seems to be limited to those who are experts in the blockchain space. We’re solving for this by developing a suite of applications that will enable businesses of all sizes — whether they are already in the blockchain space or are looking to enter it — to leverage this technology in a way that benefits them and their customers.
In 2019 we are focused on further building out these two components of the business and we’re excited for what that means for our company, you, and the future of finance.