Business to business (B2B) payments can often become a complexity for companies, and improper invoice management can result in a number of detrimental effects on operations. The following staggering statistics were uncovered from a recent survey of small businesses in the United States:
- 33% say that maintaining cash flow is the greatest challenge to business profitability.
- 22.5% say collecting outstanding invoices is the biggest business challenge.
- More than 1/3 of B2B receivables aren’t paid on time and B2B businesses lose almost 52% of the value of their receivables when not paid within 90 days of due date.
Clearly, proper invoicing is a critical element of a well-run business, and there need to be solutions developed to help account for the inherent difficulties surrounding timely receivables. One blockchain project looking to develop such solutions is Populous, a global P2P (peer-to-peer) invoice discounting platform built on blockchain technology. Through Populous, buyers and sellers exchange invoices via auctions using smart contracts, effectively enabling businesses to sell their outstanding invoices at a discount to quickly free up some cash. The party purchasing the invoice takes it over and receives the money when the client pays.
Interested in Populous? Here’s a quick rundown of the project:
Platform & Development
The Populous platform connects business owners with invoice buyers on a global scale by leveraging the blockchain via XBRL data, Altman Z-score formula, smart contracts and stable fiat-pegged tokens. Here’s a breakdown of the major elements that make up the Populous system:
XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) data: Global standard for exchanging business information and is freely available to anyone. Populous will use XBRL to define and exchange financial information through extensive analytics. These financial data insights flag opportunity/risk to reduce the costs of short-term funding of invoices.
Altman Z-score formula: Provides insights into business risks, including the likelihood of financial distress and bankruptcy. Populous will leverage Z-score, and XBRL, to bypass the need to use third-party credit reference agencies.
Smart contracts: Prevents fraud since the smart contract will not allow invoices that have already been financed to receive duplicate financing. Therefore, a smart contract acts as a built-in protective layer on a blockchain ledger.
Stable flat-pegged token (Pokens): The flow of funds within the platform are made possible through the use of custom stable currency tokens called Pokens (ERC-20 tokens). Pokens are pegged 1:1 with the national government currencies involved in a given transaction and can be exchanged to fiat or Populous Platform Tokens (PPT).
Once approved, sellers are able to list their invoices for auction for 24 hours. If a bidder (or bidder group) purchases the invoice, the seller receives the funds from the buyer in the form of Pokens. If no bids are posted or acceptable to the seller, the auction will end and the seller has the option to restart the process. Once invoices are repaid by sellers, the principal and added interest earned is transferred back to the buyer.
On May 1st, 2018, the Populous beta will go live, allowing a select few PPT holders to trade live invoices from real companies. According to Populous, PPT holders must first pledge their PPT for Poke prior to being able to purchase a pre-selected single invoice on the platform.
The Populous team is led by CEO Stephen Williams, who has a background in market and business analytics. The project has at least 5 developers covering the full stack and has outsourced their PR and marketing.
Populous (PPT) currently has a market cap of ~$575 million with a circulating supply of 37,004,027 PPT and a total supply of 53,252,246 PPT.
Populous is hoping to solve a real issue facing businesses while targeting an almost $2 trillion dollar global market. However, big hurdles exist as Populous will need to work to switch offer enough incentives for businesses to move away from existing invoice financing channels. We will watch the release of their beta closely to better understand the project’s growth potential.
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Disclaimer: The author(s) of this article may have a position in one or more of the securities mentioned above. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice. Always conduct your own due diligence before making investments.