What is Populous?
Populous is a peer-to-peer (P2P) platform that uses blockchain to provide small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) a more efficient way to participate in invoice financing.
Having a consistent cash flow is a serious problem with many SMEs. Late invoice payments cost small businesses in the United Kingdom over $2 billion each year in fees and missed opportunities.
Using invoice financing, businesses can sell their outstanding invoices at a discount to quickly free up some cash. The person buying the invoice effectively takes it over and receives the money when the client pays.
Populous uses blockchain technology, XBRL data, and the Altman Z-score formula (more on this later) to expand invoice financing globally and create an overall improved system.
In this Populous beginner’s guide, we’ll touch on:
- How does Populous work?
- Poken vs PPT (Populous Platform Token)
- Populous team
- Where to buy PPT
- Where to store PPT
- Additional Populous resources
How does Populous work?
On Populous, buyers and sellers exchange invoices through auctions using smart contracts. To sell an invoice, you first need to register your company. You then have a hold on your account until you receive approval from the Populous administrator.
Once the administrator approves you as a seller, you can submit an invoice and set a minimum sales goal. This also needs administrator approval.
XBRL (eXstensible Business Reporting Language)
Populous analyzes the credit risk of invoices by using the Altman Z-score formula on real-time XBRL data. This data is publicly available and includes business information such as the value of debtor’s, the amount of cash on hand, and the creditors that are due within a year.
Altman Z-score Formula
With the extracted XBRL data and the Altman Z-Score formula, the Populous team has created their own in-house credit rating system. Because of this, they have no need for an external credit agency which saves them a significant amount of time and money.
The Altman Z-score Formula is a financial modeling tool that determines three risk factors:
- Probability a business will be bankrupt within 2 years
- Whether the business will default on obligations
- Control measure for financial distress
Beyond evaluating invoices, Populous uses these two sets of data to target companies in need of cash flow and filter out business applicants who aren’t a good fit for the platform.
Whether the administrator rejects or approves the invoice sales inquiry is determined by the Altman Formula credit score.
The invoice auction begins once your invoice is approved, and it lasts for 24 hours. There are only three possible ways for an auction to end:
- A successful auction occurs, and a bid matches your sales goal within the 24-hour period
- 24 hours pass and no bid meets the sales goal requirement. In this situation, you can either accept the best bid available, cancel the auction, or restart the auction again.
- You terminate the auction early. When doing this, you can completely cancel the auction, or you can accept the best bid available.
Upon successful completion of an auction, the seller receives the funds from the buyer in the form of Pokens, the digital currency within the Populous platform. Sellers can then exchange these for fiat if they wish.
All buyers who lost the auction will have their funds returned to them. Cancelled auctions also result in the return of funds to buyers.
If you plan on buying invoices, you also need to get approval from the administrator before starting. You’re required to enter KYC information when buying invoices with fiat. However, these requirements don’t exist when purchasing using crypto, and you’re able to remain anonymous.
As a buyer, you can either establish bids on your own or be part of a bidding group. Bidding groups consist of individual bidders who enter an auction as one entity to make bids.
Poken vs PPT (Populous Platform Token)
Populous has two tokens, and it can be fairly easy to confuse the two.
Pokens are the internal currency of the Populous platform. Each Poken is pegged directly to the equivalent amount of fiat currency (e.g. in the U.K., 1 GBP Poken equals 1 GBP). These ERC-20 tokens are what you use to purchase invoices.
You can purchase Pokens directly on Populous with GBP, USD, EUR, and Yen. Other currencies will be converted to GBP using the London Stock Exchange exchange rate before purchasing the Pokens.
Pokens are an ERC-20 token and thus can be stored in any wallet that supports ERC-20 tokens.
PPT (Populous Platform Token)
PPT tokens were distributed during the Populous ICO and are primarily used as investment vehicles. Only about 53 million PPT will ever be in circulation.
Other than holding them, you can use your PPT to invest in invoices.
When you invest in an invoice using PPT, your tokens are put up as collateral for the investment. In exchange, you receive Pokens which Populous automatically uses to buy the invoice. Once the invoice is repaid, you receive the Pokens profit and your original PPT investment.
The Populous project is based in London and led by Stephen Williams. Williams previously founded Olympus Research, a company focused on commercial data and analytics for businesses.
There don’t appear to be any major Populous competitors in the blockchain space. The biggest challenge Populous will face is getting clients to switch from traditional invoice financing channels like MarketInvoice to their platform.
The incentive for invoice sellers to make the switch is simple: Populous is less expensive to use. Invoice buyers are incentivized to switch platforms because of the in-house credit rating system. Populous markets this system as a vast improvement to the current rating methods available.
The Populous team held their ICO in July of this year in which they raised over $10 million. After the ICO, the PPT price remained relatively stagnant between $2.00-$4.00 (~0.0005-0.0007 BTC) until November. Since then, it’s steadily risen to hit an all-time high around $48.00 (~0.00277 BTC).
A few important announcements seemed to have caused the recent increase in price. The team announced a partnership with Luxure Global Citizen, a company that sells ridiculously expensive items like Lamborghinis. That should lead to some pretty hefty invoices.
The Populous beta is also expected to be available before the end of the year helping to drive up the price. Lastly, the team announced an airdrop of a new token, PXT. You can use the PXT token to purchase more advanced features such as credit reports and analysis on the newly announced Populous Data Platform.
Where to buy PPT
PPT is a little bit tougher to purchase than most other large market cap cryptocurrencies. The token is primarily traded on EtherDelta – a decentralized exchange that can be difficult for new investors to use.
PPT was recently added to Binance and has been gaining popularity as a trading pair with Bitcoin and Ethereum. To get PPT on Binance, you need to first purchase Bitcoin or Ethereum. Gemini and GDAX are two solid options to do so.
Once you have either of those purchased, you can transfer them to Binance to exchange for PPT.
For a complete list of the exchanges where PPT is available, head over to CoinMarketCap.
Where to store PPT
You can expect that the Populous platform will also include a wallet for PPT tokens once it’s released.
Populous is a young project with a lot to prove. Although the team doesn’t have as much experience with blockchain technology as others, it’s a good sign that they’ve already formed a strategic partnership with a large scale client.
The beta release will be a big stepping stone for the team as excited investors will finally be able to try out the product.
The current market cap of the project is significantly higher than other cryptocurrency projects that are targeting much larger customer bases. The recent announcement of the Populous Data Platform is a strong move that may help to extend their market reach, though.
It looks like the team is still keeping a lot of the platform information under wraps until they release the beta. You should expect a lot of announcements and updates over the next few months once that occurs.
Additional Populous resources
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