Uphold and SALT Announce Platform Integration to Seamlessly Connect 1.65M Uphold Users to SALT’s Crypto-Backed Loans

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We’re excited to announce our partnership with Uphold — the leading digital money platform democratizing access to investments and payments using blockchain technology — to provide Uphold users with seamless cash or stablecoin loans using cryptocurrencies as collateral. Uphold users can now secure loans through SALT in as little as 24-hours against their holdings in Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Dash, and as of today, XRP. The integration of the two platforms provides enhanced access to liquidity, enabling users to unlock additional value in their holdings.

In addition to bringing leading credit solutions to Uphold users, we’ve integrated Uphold wallets into our platform, allowing the company’s large and rapidly growing user base to access Uphold’s products through their dashboard. The integration streamlines the lending experience for shared users through seamless collateral transfers and loan proceed payouts.

“SALT has given its users the flexibility to access loans using their cryptocurrency holdings. Our integration with the SALT platform allows us to grow our service offering and provides another real-world use case for Uphold members,” said Robin O’Connell, Chief Revenue Officer, Uphold.

With a crypto-backed loan from SALT, Uphold users can unlock liquidity from their crypto assets without having to sell them. Unlike traditional financial institutions, we allow customers to use their crypto assets as collateral to secure a cash (USD) or stablecoin loan in as little as 24 hours, providing them with the opportunity to reach their personal financial goals including but not limited to funding a large purchase, consolidating debt, or accessing working capital to scale their business.

When applying for a loan through SALT, Uphold users can customize their loan by choosing their preferred loan type, loan amount, duration, and Loan-to-Value (LTV) ratio with options ranging from 30%-70%. There are no credit or income checks required and no origination or prepayment fees. With a crypto-backed loan from SALT, Uphold users can keep their crypto and get cash.

“Uphold has built an impressive platform that provides a seamless on-ramp into the digital economy and a simple method to transact across diverse asset classes. We’re excited to bring our leading crypto-credit products to Uphold’s global customer base and enhance our borrower experience through a direct integration with Uphold wallets on our platform,” added Jarrett Abraham, Director of Corporate Development, SALT. “Together, we’ll provide ultimate flexibility for crypto holders who need access to liquidity across a range of crypto assets and fiat currencies. This is an exciting strategic partnership for us that helps further our mission to accelerate the world’s ability to embrace crypto assets and participate in the token economy.”

About Uphold Uphold is a digital money platform democratizing access to investments and payments using blockchain technology. With more than 1.5 million users globally, Uphold has powered ~$5.3bn in transactions (9/30/19). Uphold provides both retail customers and businesses worldwide with easy access to fiat and digital currencies, as well as precious metals. The San Francisco based firm is opening up global access to financial services that are either ‘hard to reach’ or simply not available in certain regions. Available through the web, iOS, and Android, Uphold is the only financial platform to publish its reserve holdings in real time. The company also has offices in New York, Portugal and London. More information can be found at www.uphold.com, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Uphold is registered with Fincen in the United States and is an EMD agent of an FCA licensed e-money institution in Europe. Uphold is not a lender, loan broker, or loan arranger and is not offering anyone advice or assistance in obtaining a loan.

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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The first card powered by your crypto,
not your credit score.

The first card powered by your crypto,
not your credit score.

Three SALT credit cards floating