As a blog devoted to numbers and statistics, in TodoCrowdlending we always enjoy bringing here the authors of the most prominent reports on the lending market and investments in general. Today we have with us Viacheslav Chvoro, The Head of the Analytical Centre of Robo.cash, one of the most successful crowdlending platforms in this 2021.
- Welcome to TodoCrowdlending, Viacheslav! I have read with great interest your report on the Top assets to look at in 2021 (link) and first of all let me start with a direct question often asked by my readers: After all the calamities we saw in 2020, do you still think P2P lending is a great long-term asset to have in a diversified portfolio?
Hello, Jesús! Thank you for your feedback on our report. I am glad that this topic has aroused such interest.
At the time of recession, investors tend to consider P2P lending as a trustworthy long-term alternative to other assets. As for Robo.cash, within the past six months, the demand for long-term loans has been growing by an average of 19,7%.
The low entry threshold, lesser volatility compared to stock markets and high returns make P2P lending a solid investment tool.
The 2020 crisis was a test of resistance for the whole market. The strongest and most reliable platforms continued to comply with the requirements serving their investors and now mostly occupy leading positions in the market. By getting through the pandemic, these platforms were able to develop a strong strategy and get a better understanding of how to act in the situation of uncertainties to ensure safe investing for their clients.
- In 2021 we have seen Robo.cash becoming one of the most popular and trusted platforms in Europe, with a great solid performance even during the worst of the pandemic… Which factors do you think are critical when choosing the platform to invest in P2P lending?
First and foremost is transparency. A reliable platform normally offers clear investment terms and publishes audited financial reports on a regular basis. Next is providing a buyback guarantee that protects investors from default loans and ensures that investors keep earning interest. The growing number of investors consider it vital when choosing a platform. It is important how the guarantee is enforced and regulated and whether it applies to all loans on the platform. Likewise important is the model of collaboration with loan originators, how the platform organizes the work and what form of reporting is provided by lenders. And last but not least is experience – how the platforms are dealing with the uncertainties of the crisis.
- Going back to the report, it is fairly surprising seeing gold as the top number 1 asset for 2021, even surpassing crowdlending and cryptocurrencies. Which are the reasons for this?, do you see a price above 1600 euros per ounce by the end of 2021?
The leading position is a reflection of a few factors. Most notable ones are a stable behavior in a crisis year; strong growth over the past couple of years; reputation of an asset that most likely never be depreciated; and high liquidity. If we take a look at the stock market fluctuations in the long run, we see that they have increased six times since 2000. Gold is a traditional “safe haven”, which makes it an excellent option for long-term investment with minimal risks. Such an asset is in great demand today, when the market is highly turbulent.
As for the usual price of 1.6 thousand euros per ounce, gold has started this year with a tight mark (1.56 thousand euros). The milestone seems quite manageable, especially considering that it was already reached last year against the backdrop of the coronavirus crisis. Now that a number of countries are entering another wave of crisis, the demand for a reliable conservative investment is unlikely to decrease.
- Talking about cryptocurrencies, we have seen bitcoin soar up to prices above 60000 euros per coin only to see it falling back to merely above 30000 euros, what is your forecast for 2021?, do you see it as a long term investment or more an speculative short term instrument?
In addition to Bitcoin, we also considered Ethereum and Litecoin. The global decline in the popularity of “physical” assets and the general trend towards digitalization strengthened the position of cryptocurrency and provoked further growth in stock prices.
However, last month, Bitcoin collapsed amid a regulatory crackdown in China and big headlines from Tesla about suspending sales of electric vehicles for crypto. Even though the value of blockchain tech is vulnerable to the media backdrop, we highly value Bitcoin due to its prices. Despite the news, they are still higher than they were at the beginning of the year.
Both inflation and the increasing digitization contribute to a positive scenario of Bitcoin’s consolidation, keeping it in a noticeable plus by the end of the year. Nonetheless, digital currency remains a relatively risky and unpredictable asset when it comes to the safe investment portfolio for a given long-term period. Given that, P2P investments are much more reliable.
- There are some people that are actually replacing their gold allocations to bitcoin allocations in their portfolio… can bitcoin really replace gold as the store of value of the future?
Indeed, some analysts forecast a gradual transformation of Bitcoin into “digital gold” and some investors are already trying cryptocurrency as a long-term storage of value. Deflationary nature, transparency and low transaction fees speak in favor of the asset. On the other hand, there are a number of concerns that prevent cryptocurrencies from gaining a foothold in the image of a mature asset for long-term investment strategy. These include total virtuality, very high volatility, regulatory uncertainty and the high risk of fraudulent activity.
I think the key factor here is a so-called “zeitgeist”. In the next 10-15 years, Bitcoin and similar projects will strengthen their position due to the trend towards digitalization. In this perspective, it seems logical that gold and other physical assets will lose ground. But this process has not yet started because there are many obstacles. The main one is that Gold has thousands of years of history in its favor, “authenticity” and trust from a large audience. It’s similar to the current situation with traditional banking. Despite the fact that it’s been increasingly displaced by the digital financial services, physical banks will remain in demand among certain audiences for a considerable period of time.
- OK, going back to crowd-investments, in your report there is a clear difference between P2P investment in consumer loans and P2P investment in business loans, and it seems according to your data that the first one has more potential than the second one in 2021, could you elaborate on this?
Business can be more vulnerable to the effects of the socio-economic crisis that we have seen over the last year and are still seeing today. The lack of transparency in some business models and their sensitivity to the unpredictable global economic environment make investment in businesses less attractive.
Consumer loans are more transparent, as the population has an increased need for additional financing. Last year, the change of both types of assets during the peak period of crisis confirmed that the consumer loans segment performed better. Although these assets share many traits, such as minimization of risks by buyback guarantee feature, an affordable entry threshold, ease of management, etc., we still place consumer P2P loans above P2P investments in business loans. This is confirmed by the performance of both assets at the peak of the crisis last year.
- Looking a bit beyond 2021… what is your forecast in the P2P investment niche for 2022?, shall we continue to see a recovery trend from 2020 or are there any dark clouds in the horizon that may hinder this upward path?
As for the European P2P lending market, it is on the rise now. We predict that the consumer segment will fully recover by the end of 2021. Expansion of most local platforms outside Europe is risky, as it requires certain experience. But those platforms that are already present in the global market have good prospects for further expansion. There are some inevitable risks of the uncertainty to the P2P lending market as a whole. The scale of the events like the COVID-19, lockdowns is not under our control. The important thing is that we are able to deal with difficulties in market turbulence. We have developed an anti-crisis strategy that has proved to be successful. We assure that it will help Robo.cash to continue serving its clients effectively and to scale its current operation to greater results.
Thanks very much for your time, Viacheslav!