Blossom Finance announces open enrollment for Islamic microfinance fund will accept Bitcoin and Ethereum from investors; funds invested will receive profit sharing from cooperative Islamic microfinance in Indonesia via partnership with PBMT Ventura.
JAKARTA, Indonesia. April 24, 2018 – Investors seeking socially responsible opportunities have a new option: today Blossom Finance announced its first publicly available microfinance fund. Investors will receive profit sharing from Blossom’s network of microfinance partners in Central Java, which in turn will use the funds for micro-businesses - especially traditional market sellers – to meet the increased demand during the upcoming Ramadan holiday. Investors have the option to invest a range of cryptocurrency options including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum via Blossom’s US Delaware based fund; the fund will also accept regular US Dollar investments.
For information about investing, visit: blossomfinance.com
Local Microfinance Partnerships
“We’ve spent the last few years developing a network and making key partnerships in Indonesia. Our partnership with PBMT – which is a fully licensed venture capital company in Indonesia – allows us to help some of the best microfinance institutions in the world. We’re truly inspired by the work these teams are doing in Central Java, and we’re thrilled to open up the fund to public investment,” said Matthew J. Martin, CEO of Blossom Finance.
“Ramadan is by far the busiest season for most BMTs within our network. Local businesses experience a huge surge in demand for financing coinciding with the holiday. Funds from Blossom Finance’s platform will help BMTs in our network meet that season demand for working capital,” said Jamil Abbas, a General Manager at PBMT Ventura.
Using Blossom’s platform, investors help Indonesian microfinance institutions that fund micro-businesses with the goal of reducing regional poverty. In exchange, investors receive a quarterly or monthly profit sharing payment. Prior to this public release, Blossom Finance was in private beta since May of 2015 to test its platform.
Hybrid Model: Profitable Social Enterprise
Blossom’s current fund is focused exclusively on microfinance institutions that follow the “BMT” (Baital Mal wat Tamwil) model of Islamic microfinance. BMT branches provide community-based savings products to encourage wealth growth within the community and offer commercial financing to local businesses. These savings and financing products typically serve marginalized segments of society, often termed “unbanked” or “under-banked” – and many of the businesses they serve fall below conventional bank thresholds. In turn, the BMT uses a portion of the commercial returns to invest into “profitable social enterprise” aimed at solving local problems.
Upwards of 90% of BMT cooperative members that receive financing go on to become depositors with savings accounts at BMT. Unlike conventional banks in Indonesia that charge a monthly fee, most BMTs charge no account maintenance fees, but instead share profits from financing activities with their depositors.
“We’re huge proponents of the BMT model in Indonesia. When you go around with one of these BMT agents into the community and you see the relationship between the agent and the cooperative members you begin to understand that this model is something special - it’s a totally different model of banking unlike anything in the conventional banking realm” said Martin. “The loan sharks hate this model because it’s gradually putting them out of business.”
BMT Fastabiq is one such BMT group that excels in creating profitable social enterprise for the benefit of the poor within the community. Noticing the buildup of rubbish, BMT Fastabiq started a waste collection business that uses motorcycle trucks to pick up garbage for proper disposal, and turned over this profitable business over to local residents in need of jobs.
Recognizing a need for a wholesale grocery distributor to support locally owned “warung” - home-based convenience stores that are a common feature of Indonesian life. BMT Fastabiq opened their own warehouse and wholesaler outlet that - in addition to typical stocks - also features plenty of locally produced products (pictured here). The business is organized as a cooperative, meaning it’s owned and operated by and for the benefit of the community.
Cryptocurrency Meets Islamic Finance
Blossom’s first public fund will also accept several popular cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum. “What we do is truly global by nature, so naturally it makes sense to leverage the world’s first truly global currencies,” said Mr. Martin, CEO of Blossom Finance. “We use Bitcoin and Ethereum to transfer money globally more cheaply and quickly than the banks can do it. And we get much more competitive exchange rates this way.”
A recent research paper published by Blossom Finance concluded that Bitcoin principally meets the Islamic definition of money under Shariah rules and that it’s permissible for Muslims to use Bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies as a medium of exchange and method of payment. However, Blossom’s paper cautions Muslims against speculative investments in cryptocurrency and especially advised to use extreme caution with ICOs since many lack clarity.
“Investing in Blossom’s microfinance fund helps traditional market sellers to earn an honest living by supplying food and necessities for daily life,” added Martin. “Muslims should focus on productive, real-world economic activity – not merely playing with exchange rates.”
Using Blossom’s technology platform, international investors earn a commercial return through profit sharing with microfinance institutions that create and grow micro-enterprise aimed at reducing poverty. Blossom’s partner institutions use the “BMT” model which combines profitable investment activity with profitable social enterprise aimed at solving local problems in society by building self-sustaining businesses. Blossom Labs, Inc. is a US Delaware Corporation.
For more info about Blossom, visit blossomfinance.com
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About PBMT Ventura
PT Permodalan BMT Ventura is a non-bank financial institution in Indonesia that provides financial services for micro and small entrepreneurs via the BMT network. Other products include technical assistance, research, innovation, and networking.
For more info about PBMT Ventura, visit www.pbmt-ventura.co.id