ICO Review: Viva Network
The Viva Network is a blockchain-based home loan financing network. Their goal is to decentralize mortgage financing by utilizing smart contracts to crowdfund home loans, as well as connect borrowers and investors in their ecosystem.
Viva Network’s eventual mission is to give access to borrowers around the world. Whether that means an American looking for a good rate on a home in Columbia or a Columbian looking for a better lending institution than what’s local, both are on equal footing. An ICO that has already raised $727,767 with a hard cap of $3,867,810, Viva Network is trying to make an impact on a massive industy and their approach to doing so seems promising.
The Viva Network has three main users at play:
- People who want a mortgage
- Private investors, who are looking to invest in real estate markets around the world
- Mortgage arbitrageurs, or individuals trying to borrow against current assets to invest.
At their core, these actors very much mirror the current mortgage market. However, it’s how the Viva Network serves them where we start to see a difference.
Viva Network lists three components as core offerings:
This is a fundamental feature of residential home buying and investment where the loans get financed. Their approach takes the same rigorous steps you’d expect for such a major purchase, including applying, verification, appraisal, title search, terms, and approval.
Residential Property Valuations
The Viva Network is creating a product called the Real Value 2.0, which is a proprietary home valuation software that aims to be unbiased. Using an algorithm that incorporates AI and current market data into an evaluation, their hope is that it can automate this globally as the main component of their system.
Finally, given the Viva Network’s mission to offer lending across the globe, one of the most fascinating pieces they’ve developed is a transparent and open credit scoring system. Their hope is to automate by creating a system that (as noted in their white paper) uses “robotics, concrete code, and machine learning that will develop through time to be a self-regulated, transparent, convenient, and accurate assessment of creditworthiness, asset value, and geopolitical risk.” Of course, before any of that can happen they must build their initial credit system.
Their credit system will have users receive what’s called a “V-ID,” which is a transparent and trackable digital identification. With this, users will be able to build their profile (also called a V-Score), regardless of the country or credit agency. The V-Score will look into aspects of your creditworthiness with different qualifications than a FICO credit score, focusing on education, employment, and challenging any previous complaints (i.e., something that should have fallen off their score).
One thing Viva Network admits is their limited scalability at this time; their model isn’t ready for complete global decentralization quite yet, which is why they want to implement Viva Hubs. These are going to be local offices or representatives that will be responsible for helping with regulatory requirements from country-to-country. They hope to have these offices in markets that are attractive for risk-adjusted returns. Showing they have a pretty good understanding of just how huge an operation this will be. This is one reason, they’ve shown so much promise as an ICO.
Fractional Mortgage Shares
Fractional Mortgage Shares is the meat-and-potatoes of the Viva Network and how the lending process on the blockchain will actually work. Each loan will be divided into 100,000 individual Fractionalized Mortgage Shares (FMS) which then go to the Network Platform for crowdfunding. If successful, the loan is listed as a security on the FMS Exchange. There’s a marketplace for both crowdfunding, as well as overall securities.
During the fundraising process, the FMS is converted to VIVA tokens which are then held in a stable digital currency (i.e., USD) if the sale fails, investors will get returns close to the original amount invested. All-in-all, the simple structure of this makes sense and looks promising, however, that’s not to say there aren’t key factors you should note.
A Couple Things To Consider
The market Viva Network is looking to tackle is massive, which means development is going to take quite a bit of time, perhaps even decades. While that’s not to say it isn’t a great idea to invest, you’re talking about not only automating aspects like value assessment and adhering with local laws but also elements such as KYC/AML and preventing money laundering and fraud. Viva Network is looking to take an industry that’s been developing for centuries and offer a completely new solution, but if they do it right, it could pay off tremendously down the road.
So far, The Viva Network has done an exceptional job with their development. They look to have thought through a lot of the most important aspects, have developed and brought on an extensive team and advisory panel, and could develop products that could change real estate regardless of whether their company becomes a household name. If you’re willing to be a believer and are in it for the long-haul, then this is a great ICO to explore. Plus, with a $3.8 million ask right now, they have a pretty realistic idea of timeline development. Overall, take a shot with them if you feel this is the future of the mortgage industry; it could be well-worth the wait.
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