BTCjam Can Help You Consolidate Debt

Note: This is the English translated version of a blog post originally directed to  our growing  Brazilian community. If you speak Portuguese, check out our original post.

I’m in debt, what can I do?

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My last article described how BTCjam generally works and provided some tips to help you get a loan with us. Now let’s get into more detail about how BTCjam can be a useful tool to help you consolidate your debts at lower interest rates.

This subject is increasingly relevant given that Brazil has some of the highest interest rates in the world. In fact, Brazil currently holds the record for the highest interest on credit cards in the world.

Current interest rates in Brazil

Based on a study conducted by Proteste that included 108 credit cards from 12 financial institutions, a regular Brazilian paid in July 2015 on average an interest rate of 378.76% for their credit card debt. The runner-up in this disastrous ranking is Colombia with 62.51%. In other words, Brazilian credit cards charge more than five times the interest charged in Colombia, and more than nine times the amount charged by the country in third place–Peru.

In Brazil, credit cards charge 14% per month while in the United States it is only 14% per year! With the average American income being five times higher than that of Brazil’s, the disparity in interest rates is shocking.

It’s not just credit card interest that is high in Brazil; overdraft interest is also exorbitant. According to Procon São Paulo, the average interest rate charged by banks on overdraft is reaching 11.49% per month – the highest in 10 years. Even the other kinds of loans, that are usually cheaper exceed the average of 6% per month.

Why are interest rates in Brazil so high?

Several economists have analyzed this question and the answer is not conclusive. There are many elements that make up the interest that is charged to the consumer, but we can summarize them as four main factors: the bank’s profit margin, tax, competition and default.

For those who are curious, I will explain the following:

  • Profit margin: Banks, like any business, have shareholders who invest in the company in exchange for a return. Banks seek profit to remunerate such shareholders with dividends.
  • Taxes: Governments not only tax the citizens, but also companies. The more banks are taxed, the more interest they charge. The Brazilian government is known to be a bloated machine that finances its expenses by charging high taxes.
  • Competition: The five largest Brazilian banks control 80% of the credit. Cases like this where there is low competition do not incentivize price drops (e.g. interest rate drops). Banks are protected by legislation and financial demands that drive away startups seeking innovative solutions to improve services for consumers.
  • Default: As a rule, the more defaults, the greater the interest. There is no national credit system in Brazil like in the US, so generally Brazilians pay higher interest rates to cover the defaulters’ failure to pay. This creates a vicious cycle since increasing interest rates generates more defaults, and more defaults create higher interest rates… BTCjam has developed its own credit system so that people pay fair interest rates that are in accordance with their ability to pay. Learn more about how BTCjam works.

The concept of debt consolidation

Raise your hand if you never entered the overdraft! I have definitely overdrafted my bank account in the past. I remember looking at my statement day after day, and to see the growing debt was distressing to say the least (just a note: Brazilian banks charges interest on a daily basis). I clearly remember a trip to Miami where I got carried away with the low prices. I ended up spending more than I could afford and when the bill came around, I could not pay it off so I paid the minimum balance. The following month I had to pay 14% on the debt I procured!

Sometimes an initial debt generates a snowball of  people getting another loan to pay the initial one. The result: people end up putting too much of their income towards the repayment installments that follow. To help people get out of this vicious cycle, one of the solutions is to exchange the most expensive debts (those that charge high interest rates) for a cheaper debt (with lower interest rates). This operation is called Debt Consolidation.

Debt consolidation is the solution to paying less interest

Instead of paying 14% per month on a credit card or 10% on overdraft, it can be preferable to borrow at BTCjam where borrowers pay an average of 6% per month!

For example, by consolidating a debt of $5,000 with 14% interest per month in 12 installments to a debt at 6% interest per month could save you $280 per month, or $3,400 in total. Recalling that the original debt was only $5000 (i.e. consolidating your debt) allows you to save 64% on the original debt!

Conclusion (TL;DR)

I hope you benefited from this introduction to the concept of Debt Consolidation for those who did not know, and from the explanation of how BTCjam helps people repay their debt with lower interest rates than banks or credit card companies.

Do not waste time; get a loan now on BTCjam and see how we can be of great help in paying your debt by saving on interest. If you know someone with debt, recommend BTCjam.

After all, a true friend does not let a friend struggle.

Saiba Sobre Consolidação de Crédito

Note: This is another blog post is directed to our Brazilian community. Feel free to read our English version if you want 😉

Estou endividado, e agora?

Não se desespere se está endividado

Não se desespere se está endividado

Meu último artigo foi sobre como o BTCjam funciona em termos gerais e algumas dicas para aumentar as chances de conseguir um empréstimo conosco. Esse artigo tem outro objetivo, o de explicar um dos melhores usos da ferramenta: ajudar as pessoas a quitarem dívidas pegando um empréstimo no BTCjam a juros mais baixos.

Esse assunto é cada vez mais pertinente, dado que o Brasil o país com maiores juros do mundo. Para ter uma ideia, é o campeão mundial isolado em juros no cartão de crédito.

Atuais taxas de juros no Brasil

Conforme levantamento da Proteste com base em 108 cartões de 12 instituições financeiras, o brasileiro pagou em julho de 2015 na média 378,76% de juros no crédito rotativo. O segundo colocado nesse ranking nefasto é a Colômbia, com 62,51%. Ou seja, no Brasil se cobra mais de 5 vezes os juros cobrados na Colômbia e mais de 9 vezes o cobrado no Peru, terceiro colocado.

Enquanto no Brasil a taxa de juros que o cartão de crédito cobra é 14% ao mês, a taxa cobrada nos Estados Unidos é de 14%, mas ao ano! Isso significa que um brasileiro paga num único mês os juros que um americano paga em 12 meses! E a renda do americano médio é 5 vezes maior que a do brasileiro…

Não são só os juros no cartão de crédito que são tão altos no Brasil. Os juros do cheque especial também são exorbitantes. Segundo o Procon de São Paulo, a média da taxa de juros que bancos cobram no cheque especial é a maior em 10 anos, chegando a 11,49% ao mês. Mesmo modalidades de empréstimos mais baratas ultrapassam na média 6% ao mês.

Porque os juros no Brasil são tão altos?

Afinal, porque os juros no Brasil são tão maiores do que no resto do mundo? Diversos economistas analisaram essa questão e a resposta não é conclusiva. São vários elementos que compõe os juros cobrados do consumidor, mas podemos resumi-los em quatro principais: margem de lucro do banco, impostos, competição e inadimplência. A seguir vou explicar um por um para quem tiver curiosidade:

  • Margem de lucro: como qualquer empresa, os bancos tem acionistas que investiram na empresa em troca de retorno. Bancos visam lucro para remunerarem tais acionistas com dividendos.
  • Impostos: Governos taxam não só os cidadãos como as empresas. Quanto mais imposto, mais juros o banco cobra das pessoas. Sabidamente o governo brasileiro é uma máquina inchada e precisa se financiar cobrando altos impostos da sociedade.
  • Competição: Os cinco maiores bancos brasileiros controlam 80% do crédito. Cenários de pouca competição como esse não favorecem a queda de preços (nesse caso juros). Bancos são protegidos por legislações engessadas e por demandas financeiras que afugentam startups que buscam soluções inovadoras para melhorar os serviços prestados aos consumidores.
  • Inadimplência: Via de regra, quanto mais inadimplentes, maior os juros. Como no Brasil não há qualquer sistema nacional de crédito positivo, os adimplentes pagam juros maiores para cobrirem a falta de pagamento dos inadimplentes. Isto que cria um ciclo vicioso, uma vez que os juros aumentam gerando mais inadimplentes, inadimplentes que causam mais aumento da taxa de juros, gerando mais inadimplentes… O BTCjam desenvolveu seu próprio sistema de crédito positivo de modo a que pessoas paguem taxas de juros mais justas, conforme sua capacidade de pagamento. Saiba mais sobre como o BTCjam funciona.

O conceito de Consolidação de Débito

Levanta a mão quem nunca entrou no cheque especial! Eu já entrei, e várias vezes. Aquela sensação de olhar o extrato, dia após dia e ver o débito crescendo era angustiante. E aquela dívida no cartão de crédito? Me lembro claramente uma viagem que fiz para Miami e me empolguei com os preços baixos. Acabei gastando mais do que podia arcar quando veio a fatura e não consegui pagar tudo. No mês seguinte a dívida veio corrigida em mais de 14%!

Enfim, é quase certo que você já passou por uma situação semelhante, não é verdade? Por vezes, uma dívida gera outra e mais outra e quando a pessoa vê está encalacrada com várias dívidas e comprometendo grande parte de sua renda só para pagar as parcelas. Para ajudar a sair desse ciclo, uma das soluções é trocar as dívidas mais custosas (as que cobram juros altos) por uma única dívida mais barata (com juros menores). Essa operação tem o nome de Consolidação de Débito.

Qual seria a solução para pagar menos juros?

Saia do ciclo de dívidas consolidando seus débitos

Saia do ciclo de dívidas consolidando seus débitos

A resposta à pergunta acima é Consolidação de Débito. Em vez de pagar 14% ao mês para o cartão de crédito ou então 10% no cheque especial, é preferível fazer um empréstimo no BTCjam, onde tomadores pagam em média 6% ao mês e economizar muito em juros. Num exemplo de uma dívida de R$5 mil com juros de 14% ao mês com 12 parcelas, ao consolidar a dívida com juros de 6% ao mês, a economia gerada passa de R$280 por mês ou R$3.400 no total. Lembrando que á dívida original era de apenas R$5 mil, ou seja, consolidar a dívida permite se economizar 64% da dívida original!

Conclusão (TL:DR)

Espero que tenham gostado do artigo. Tentei apresentar o conceito de Consolidação de Débito para quem não o conhecia e explicar como o BTCjam ajuda as pessoas a conseguirem quitar suas dívidas com juros mais baixos que em bancos ou operadoras de cartão de crédito.

Não perca tempo, simule um empréstimo agora no BTCjam e veja como podemos ser de grande ajuda a pagar sua dívida economizando em juros. Se você conhece alguém com dívidas, recomende o BTCjam. Afinal, quem é amigo de verdade não deixa amigos em dificuldade.

Ofir’s Four Rules for Successful Bitcoin Investments

Today we are pleased to have a guest post here on the BTCjam blog courtesy of Ofir Beigel. Ofir is an Entrepreneur, Bitcoin lover and blogger at 99Bitcoins.com. His site is a great resource covering many awesome topics with the Bitcoin industry. You can follow Ofir on twitter here: @ofirbeigel

My 4 rules for successful Bitcoin investments  

If you’re investing with Bitcoin by buying and holding long term, – you’re doing it wrong. Today I’ll try to explain four basic rules that I follow in order to maximize my Bitcoin investment potential.

It has been almost a year since I got acquainted with BTCJam and now I realize how little I knew about Bitcoin investments back then. Keep in mind – what is written in this post is my own personal opinion about investing and you can choose to accept it or reject it, but never do anything just because “someone said so”, always understand the motive for your actions.

  1. Diversify your Bitcoin portfolio

I have many currencies I deal with, and for each currency I have a different portfolio. For example, for US dollars I have some of my money invested in stocks, bonds and some in Bitcoins. Under this portfolio Bitcoin will be considered as a stock, mainly due to the fluctuating exchange rate and the fact that I do not get a steady stream of income out of it.

If I look at my Bitcoin investment portfolio, just buying and holding the currency itself would be considered as normal “cash” and my cash wouldn’t be bringing in any return. It’s the equivalent of just keeping your money at the bank without investing it.

When investing in BTCjam under this portfolio I consider the investment to be a corporate bond with a specific BTCjam rating.

If I wanted to invest in stocks under my Bitcoin portfolio I’d need to find a company that is valued in Bitcoins and not in USD. However, I don’t see any reason to do so as BTCjam’s investments yield competitive returns.

Since I earn a substantial amount of my income in Bitcoin I have to make sure I make the most out of it. Here are some of the things I do:

  • Keep a certain of my Bitcoins in the form of the currency itself (cash)
  • Invest some of my Bitcoins in BTCjam so they will continue to grow (bonds)
  • Exchange a portion of my Bitcoins to USD (another type of low risk investment)

Interestingly, BTCjam also saw the importance of diversification and received feedback that they acted on – with the launch of AutoInvest feature about a week ago. Instead of having to browse individual listings, an investor can easily diversify in 100 loans with specific quality and term parameters! One button diversification, now that is an EASY button.  But if you are the investor who wants to control which specific loans get invested in, and want to understand how to do that effectively – read on.

  1. Conduct ample research before investing in someone

I never invest in something I don’t know about. Luckily enough since I’ve been running 99Bitcoins for 2 years now I know a lot about Bitcoin. That’s why when I come to chose an investment I usually look at the following:

Expected Yield and Rate – Most people would prefer to get the highest yield they can. I personally believe that people who have super high yields have a serious risk of not paying back their loan. On the BTC platform the lowest yield I could currently find was 22% and the highest was 37%.

You’ll notice there is a high correlation between the Yield on an investment and the low BTCjam rating of a user. Even though I’m not aware of the whole process a user goes through in order to get the BTCjam rating I’m sure this means something.

I tend to go for a low-middle yields knowing that for shorter term loans there is the be

The user profile – People who are serious about getting their investment and actually repaying it will take care of their profile. Here are some of the things I look out for:

  • The user’s profile picture – nothing spells trouble more than a blank profile picture.
  • Has this user repaid previous loans – I never invest with someone who hasn’t repaid a considerable amount of money in loans in the past.
  • User credentials – Has the user connected his Facebook profile, LinkedIn profile and other profiles to BTCjam. If so it means he is open about his identity which is a positive indicator.
  • How long has this user been a member of BTCjam – I shy away from users who joined in the past 3 months.
  • BTCjam’s rating – This will usually correlate with my own findings about the profile but I treat this as a second opinion to validate my research.
  • What is the investment for – If there is no detailed description for the investment I will not invest. An important question that should be answered is what will the investment be used for.

Here’s an example of my latest investment – you can take a look at the profile and detailed description.

OFIR - img1

  1. Never invest more than you can afford to lose

Probably the most important guideline of them all – Never invest an amount that is crucial for your survival. I’m a believer in Bitcoin but still I keep only a fraction of my entire wealth in it – why ? Because it’s too risky not too.

Whenever I enter a risky investment (e.g. Bitcoin) I try to imagine how would I react if I lost all of it. If the thought is too scary, I just don’t do it – or I lower the investment amount.

Bitcoin is a risky business, and BTCjam investments make it even riskier by lending it to strangers – but if done wisely, these investments can grow your Bitcoin wealth over time.

  1. If you don’t find any good investment – don’t invest!

Sometimes you just won’t be able to find someone that matches your criteria. In this case you’re better off not investing and checking back to see if there are new investment opportunities in a few days or so.

There are so many scammers out there and Bitcoin is still an extremely risky business. For example, in my initial review of BTCjam I also cover a Bitcoin investment website called “Bitcoin Trader”. That site later on turned out to be a HYIP and many users (myself included) lost their money. There is no such thing as “easy money”, make sure to conduct proper research.

To conclude, I believe that if you follow these guidelines your chances for success will increase dramatically. Please remember that this is based on my own personal opinion and experience (I have no formal investment certification). I recently finished getting back a loan on BTCjam and just invested in a new one with a larger amount of money.

Hopefully this one will go well also and I can move on to additional investments and update you about them as well. If you have your own investment tips please feel free to leave them in the comment section below, I’d love to hear them.

BTCjam mentioned in The Guardian: Are virtual currencies a plus for poor countries?

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March 9, 2015The Guardian

ZF Could you tell me a bit about the story of BitPesa? How did you come into being?

ER Sure. I came to Kenya in 2009 to work as a microfinance rating analyst and what you saw was the institutions that successfully incorporated mobile money is their operating expense figures suddenly started to plummet. So, it was a really exciting time seeing this new technology have real change in the way businesses can be built and structured. You know, when I explain bitcoin to people back home in the US or here at my other home in Kenya, I find they get it at the same level. Here they just say oh, an international M-Pesa, and back home they’re like, oh OK, it’s sort of like PayPal but not really. So it’s interesting to see how quickly it’s picked up here.

EM My name is Eliud Mungai, I am a Kenyan entrepreneur. Bitcoins I’ve been using since October 2014. BitPesa, I started using in December. I started using it for speculative stuff, buying bitcoins and just checking on the price to see how it’s moving and then I discovered about a platform called BTCjam, it aided in my micro-lending, I actually do micro-lending on the side, so I got into this platform and I found another valuable use for my bitcoins. So once I started using BTCjam and the trading became the conversion of the bitcoins to Kenya shillings frequent, that’s when I started using BitPesa.

ZF At this point bitcoin isn’t that well known in Africa. How do you plan to deal with that?

ER Well, we’ve been building a community here in Kenya, which is exciting, so in early 2014 we would have weekly or monthly meet-ups where there’d be like three people, five people, but pretty soon by six months in we had a kick-off event with 120 people.

EM BitPesa, I use it let’s say like two times in a week. The biggest transactions I’ve done with it is for conversion, I’ve been able to get a loan to fund my retail business from BTCjam and I was able to convert, because it was a big bitcoin amount, I was able to convert it choosing BitPesa into Kenya shillings. And also now because I refer a lot of my customers who have been lending to BTCjam the amount that they need to be lent I convert it to bitcoin, so I use BitPesa on a weekly basis because I usually try to get at least two customers in a week, I convert their Kenya shillings to bitcoin so that I can lend to my customers.

BTCjam featured in Blockchain from O’Reilly Books

BTCjamBlockchainBook

There is a clear need for an analog to and innovation around traditional financial products and services for Bitcoin– for example, Bitcoin savings accounts and lending (perhaps through user-selected rules regarding fractional reserve levels).  BTCjam (https://btcjam.com/) is an example of such decentralized blockchain-based peer-to-peer lending.

Purchase Blockchain from O’Reilly Books at Amazon.com

BTCjam mentioned in CheapAir’s People of Bitcoin

People of Bitcoin  The Mad Maverick   CheapAir

Q: Can you share a bit about who inspires you in the Bitcoin space?

A: I’ve  recently been inspired by Celso Pitta, the CEO of BTCjam. Celso had credit problems in college and the credit system in his home country of Brazil is profoundly unfair, charging borrowers 200% interest for a standard loan. Celso was motivated by these troubles to found BTCjam, which is a new peer-to-peer bitcoin lending website that allows anyone on Earth to give or take a loan in Bitcoin. It’s a really exciting idea and I think using bitcoin to fund loans could really expand access to credit and improve the world. I believe in this so much so that I’ve recently joined BTCjam as their Community Manager. I’m very excited about BTCjam.

CheapAir, People of Bitcoin: The “Mad Maverick”

Need a down payment for a new car?  Get a loan on BTCjam!

BTCJam Car Loan

Tony first heard about BTCjam at a Bitcoin Meetup group in Los Angeles.  He liked the idea of P2P Lending right away.  It reminded him of the “freedom philosophy” that excited him about Bitcoin in the first place.

Back in June of 2011, Tony’s friend sent him an article about “fake internet money”, but the more Tony read about Bitcoin, the less it seemed like a fake and the more it seemed like something that could transform the banking system.  Tony read everything he could about Bitcoin until one day it just clicked – and he’s been buying, spending and promoting Bitcoin ever since.

In July, Tony ran into trouble.  His old car suddenly broke down.  He needed a new car immediately to get to work and to see his new girlfriend and without one, Tony could lose his job and maybe even his girlfriend.  Tony knew what to do.  He turned to BTCjam and created a loan listing to borrow money for a nice down payment for a pre-owned car. With BTCjam’s low rates for borrowers, he would actually save money in the long run, by borrowing money for his down payment at a lower interest rate than most banks would have lended it to him.

Tony’s loan funded quickly.  His loan funded easily because he completed his BTCjam profile and received personal referrals from his friends.  He was diligent in responding to comments from investors and was honest about himself in his loan description.  He explained his plans to buy the car in detail and how he would pay his loan back.  Tony is an open book and we think it was key in helping investors confidently investing in his loan.

Once his loan funded, Tony had no problems converting the Bitcoin into dollars and withdrawing it for the down payment on his car.  Tony purchased a sporty dark blue 2013 Ford Focus hatchback, and he says it’s a lot of fun.  We can also confirm that it’s been nine months since he got his loan on BTCjam and Tony still has the car, the job and the girlfriend!  Way to go Tony.  Thanks for borrowing with BTCjam…  and thanks to the investors of BTCjam for funding Tony’s loan!

Until Next Time….  Keep on Jamming!

If you need bitcoin, borrow bitcoin on BTCjam!  If you want to invest, invest on BTCjam!