Financing and factoring have traditionally been a business reserved for banks, wealthy individuals and institutions, with some rare exceptions. In late 2018, Hiveterminal became one of these rare exceptions: a blockchain based invoice-financing platform that creates a peer-to-peer invoice-financing network for invoice sellers and buyers. On the one side, the platform allows small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to get instant liquidity. On the other, it gives private investors the chance to fund those SMEs’ unpaid invoices, potentially getting high investment returns.
Using blockchain technology, Hiveterminal cuts costs, automates processes and eliminates invoice duplication to open up new sources of financial liquidity to small businesses, creating high-return investment opportunities for invoice buyers in the process.
I have been following Hiveterminal and its progress since the very start, just after the ICO phase had completed in the summer of 2017. I liked the idea and the good opportunities to be made available for private investors — I really wanted to try this new investment option as soon as the platform had launched. According to the example provided on the website, investors can gain a significant 36% ROI (IRR), depending on their risk appetite. This potential gain could be higher if the decision is taken to invest in riskier invoices, and lower if the invoices funded are owed to debtors with a better credit profile.
Use the Hiveterminal to find an investment opportunity that suits your risk appetite. For example, if you buy a €100 invoice with 90 days’ maturity for a 9% discount, the invoice buyer pays €91 to the invoice owner, and the 1% fee to be paid in HVN, making a profit of €8.09.
These percentages are a dream for private savers and cannot be obtained with a standard bank account or similar products… so I wanted to try it out. In this blog, I will describe my experience about purchasing my first invoice on the Hiveterminal and all the steps taken:
- Register and verify as an Invoice Buyer (official guide);
- Deposit funds to your account: HVN tokens and euros;
- Add a bank account for withdrawal of funds;
- Browse the market for invoices;
- Purchase an invoice at a discount;
- Receive the full amount by the invoice due date.
I will skip the registration and verification step because it falls outside the scope of this blog. This process is completely described in full detail, with step-by-step instructions, in the official blog here: How to Become an Invoice Buyer at Hiveterminal.
Depositing funds to your account
Ok, so you have successfully created and verified your account at Hiveterminal… cool, let’s go to the market to buy an invoice! But, first thing’s first — we need to deposit 1,500 HVN tokens to access the market. Also, euros are required to buy invoices and HVN tokens are required to pay the 1% fee. HVN will also be required to purchase additional services such as credit, audit and reports, but these will come in later versions of Hiveterminal.
We can quickly verify our balance in the header of every page in the platform. There we can see 4 balances:
- Total — shows the total amount of funds currently associated with your Hiveterminal account.
- Available — shows the amount of funds available for purchasing invoices on the platform.
- Awaiting — shows the amount of expected returns yet to be paid by your debtors (the invoice payers).
- HVN — shows the amount of HVN tokens currently loaded up on your Hiveterminal account.
It is quick and simple to deposit HVN tokens and euros to Hiveterminal. Depositing HVN requires nothing more than a token transfer from one wallet to another. For depositing euros, SEPA transfers are the best choice for European citizens: fast and free. Wire transfers are available for everyone, but is the only option available to people living outside the EU.
Depositing HVN tokens
In my opinion, this is faster and easier than sending euros to your Hiveterminal account, at least for people who have some familiarity with crypto, blockchain and tokens. Since no bank intermediary is involved in the transfer, it usually takes just a couple of minutes.
Usually, there are 3 steps to this process:
- Buy your HVN tokens on an exchange (HitBTC, Lykke, Livecoin and others);
- Withdraw your tokens to your personal wallet;
- Send the tokens to your Hiveterminal account.
Regarding points 1 and 2, I suggest reading the official documentation prepared by the Hiveterminal team:
Now let’s focus on point 3: how to send your HVN tokens to your Hiveterminal account. This is no different from a standard transaction on the Ethereum network, as simple as sending any other ERC20 token from one address to another. The first thing to do is open the Deposit → HVN page on Hiveterminal and Generate a New Address.
After generating the new address, all I had to do was send the HVN tokens required to that address. In my case, I sent HVN 1,500 to the new HVN address on my Hiveterminal account from my personal wallet. I used MyEtherWallet and it took around 4 minutes to receive the 30 confirmations required by the platform. I then waited a couple of minutes more and received the confirmation email from Hiveterminal. In all, it took around 10 minutes for the tokens to be credited to my account.
Depositing euros: Wire or SEPA transfers
So far Hiveterminal provides two ways to deposit euros to your account: SEPA and wire transfer. In my opinion, if you live in the European Union then the best way to deposit euros is through SEPA transactions: free in most cases (depending on the fees your bank charges) and fast (one-business-day-long transfers).
In all other cases, wire transfers are the only option available for depositing euros to Hiveterminal, at least for now. The platform uses TransferWise’s service: it allows users to send money by using bank or credit/debit card transfers. It is a similar service to PayPal but specializes in international transfers. It can be faster than using SEPA transactions (using credit cards) but will almost certainly be more expensive. To find out more about the fees and how to send money, I suggest having a look at the TransferWise website.
What about me?
I live in Europe and did not want to pay additional fees. Therefore I decided to send my euros to my Hiveterminal account by using a SEPA transaction. It is very simple to set up this kind of transfer using my home banking service but, in order to avoid any kind of possible issue, I followed the instructions listed in the “Funds” page on the Hiveterminal website. The most important point to note is the reference number. This is what helps match your deposit to your Hiveterminal account. In other words, every transfer labeled with your reference number that is credited to the Hiveterminal bank account will automatically be credited to your Hiveterminal account.
Make sure you fill in all the SEPA transfer fields (account owner, IBAN, etc.) and don’t forget to include the reference code in both Reference and Comment fields when submitting the transfer. The last thing to watch out for is the sender account’s owner name: as stated in the summary page on the platform, the name of the bank account holder must match the name of the Hiveterminal user account holder.
Now let’s have a look at my deposit transfer. I ordered the SEPA transfer on Friday, 7 December and it was credited to Hiveterminal’s bank account on the following Monday, 10 December, as stated in the bank receipt: the transfer took one business day. My funds were credited to my account at around 16.00 hrs (CET) that same day. The deposit was credited so quickly thanks to the reference number I provided in both the comment and reference fields.
We can now verify our balance in the page header on the Hiveterminal website.
Add a bank account for withdrawal
Now that I have deposited the minimum HVN amount required to access the market and search for invoices, I can see the warning message about the bank account required to be able to purchase invoices. The next step is to assign a bank account in order to be ready to withdraw my euros when requested.
First let’s open the page under Funds → Withdrawal → EURO menu. Then click on “Add New Bank Account” link and fill in all the fields following the set of instructions in the page. There is only one prefilled value (the name of the bank account holder must match the name of the Hiveterminal user account holder who is withdrawing the funds) — the other fields must be entered manually. All the data required can be found easily by contacting your bank or by browsing your home banking service. After accurately filling in all the fields and clicking ‘submit’, the bank account just created will be set as the default option for withdrawals.
N.B. On top of the popup there is a SEPA image: I do not know if its appearance depends on where I live (Italy belongs to the SEPA zone) or if there is some kind of constraint about bank accounts for withdrawals. In my case, I had no difficulties but buyers outside of the EU should check on this topic with Hiveterminal support.
Browse the Market
The Market page is where we can view and buy the invoices currently listed for sale on Hiveterminal. Unfortunately there are not many invoices on the market right now, and it has been empty for many days but the sales and marketing teams are working hard to onboard as many businesses as possible.
In order to assist invoice buyers in narrowing down the selection of invoices being sold, Hiveterminal offers a set of filters in the “Filter” section such as industry, price and rating. To find out more about how to search for invoices that fit your specific needs, I suggest reading the official documentation about the Market module.
To open the market view just click on the market icon on the right side menu. The platform will load all the invoices currently up for sale, and then it is simply up to buyers to find the invoice that best fits their risk appetite. When I opened the market view, there was just one invoice available so I had no choice but to buy that one.
When clicking on the invoice, Hiveterminal provides some details such as the issue date, due date, invoice amount, currency and the administrative fee (to be paid using HVN tokens). In order to protect the identity of the SME (the invoice seller), its identity is made available to the invoice buyer only after the invoice has been purchased.
Hiveterminal provides us with an invoice rating for each invoice: this serves as a visual representation of Hiveterminal’s risk calculation for a specific invoice, accounting for both the invoice seller’s and its debtor’s financial circumstances. The only invoice on the market (the one I bought) had a global rating of 56%. Users can see the rating details by clicking on the percentage: the platform provides buyers with a popup that shows the ratings for the seller and payer individually. This feature helps buyers further when choosing the invoices they want to invest in, depending on their risk appetite.
In my case, it was very straightforward choosing which invoice to purchase because I bought the first and only one available on the Hiveterminal platform. The invoice seller offered this invoice on the market at a discounted price of EUR 702.11 (4.08% off). The total amount of EUR 732.00 will be paid to the buyer (which was me) on the due date, which is 2 February 2018 (payment terms of 30 days). That means that the gross return on my investment is EUR 29.89 (around 4.26%), a significant amount in this short period of time (30 days) and an IRR of around 51%. I still have to pay the 1% fee using my HVN tokens: the euro amount is EUR 7.02, which is equivalent to HVN 1,335.17566314, as clearly indicated in the invoice detail view. My net gain on the date the payment is made to me will be approx. EUR 22.87.
How to purchase invoices
Once you have your euro and HVN funds available on your account and have found the most appropriate invoice for your risk appetite, buying invoices really takes just a couple of clicks.
Summing up the steps, this is what happened when I bought my invoice:
- I clicked on the buy button in the market view;
- A popup opened with additional information about the invoice being sold;
- I clicked the buy button again to start the purchasing process;
- A confirmation popup opened and then I clicked on the “buy now” button.
At this point, the Hiveterminal platform processed the purchase showing an indeterminate progress-bar on top of the page. This step took a few minutes because the platform was communicating with the blockchain network (Ethereum), updating the invoice details such as its new owner. In my case, the purchasing process took around 10–15 minutes and I received a notification email when the whole process had successfully completed.
I have to say this waiting period was a little bit strange because I did not know for sure if I really had bought that invoice. There was no flag confirming that I had successfully bought it. Thankfully, I had the opportunity to discuss the invoice purchase with a fellow member of the Hiveterminal community and discovered that they could no longer see the invoice on the market. However, I was still able to see it in “pending” status and that was a clue to indicate that I really was the buyer. I think this step in the process should be improved, providing additional feedback to the buyer in order to provide further reassurance after clicking the buy button.
Once the blockchain network had “confirmed” the invoice purchase, the platform removed it from the market and added it to my portfolio: I could see the invoice I had just bought under the “open” tab.
At the same time, the platform updated the balance in the page header. The available amount is just under EUR 300 and the awaiting amount is EUR 732 (the invoice amount). The former refers to the funds you can use on the platform while the latter is the locked one, awaiting payment. The last amount refers to the HVN tokens on your account: the platform automatically removed the fee amount from my balance.
Receipt and invoice
Once the invoice was in my portfolio, I could view two important documents: Invoice file and Notice of Assignment (a kind of receipt). The former is hidden due to privacy settings, while the latter is generated using the buyer’s data. Both documents are available when the purchasing process is completed.
For reasons of confidentiality I decided not to share the invoice in this blog because there was too much data available about the issuer and debtor. The Notice of Assignment is the receipt and contains the detail about the purchase: who bought the invoice, the identity of the seller and the payer, and instructions on how to pay the amount by the due date, i.e. my bank account details.
The other important section is the Instructions paragraph. This is the content:
- This Notice of Assignment should be sent to the invoice payer within two business days of the execution of the Trade Agreement through Hiveterminal.
- If there are any security providers, they should be notified of the assignment of the invoice receivable in the same way.
- To obtain proof of delivery, this Notice of Assignment should be sent via registered mail to the last known address of the invoice payer and, if applicable, security providers.
- Any proof of delivery should be sent to the invoice buyer my email. The invoice seller must keep original proofs of delivery, or at least certified copies thereof, until all obligations originating in, or in relation to the assignment of the invoice receivable, are performed.
- If no proof of delivery is obtained from the invoice payer or security provider within two business days of the sending of the Notice of Assignment, the invoice seller should notify the invoice buyer by email of this fact without undue delay.
- For more information, please visit our website at www.hiveterminal.com, and view our Hiveterminal Terms and Conditions, or write to us at: email@example.com.
In my opinion, those two documents are important and should be stored in a safe place.
Receive the full amount by the invoice due date
Since I have only just bought the invoice and it was my first time, I cannot say much right now about that. The full amount will be credited to my bank account by the due date, 2 February 2019, which is 30 days after the purchasing date, 3 January 2019. Until then we just have to wait.
UPDATE: Invoice full payment
The debtor paid me back on January 30, 3 days earlier than invoice due date. The transaction has run smoothly with no issue.
It was my first experience purchasing invoices on the Hiveterminal platform and it also was the first invoice ever sold there. It has been an honour for me and a great day for the Hiveterminal team. Congrats to everyone!
I preferred not to wait for payment in order to complete and publish this blog about my experience purchasing invoices on the Hiveterminal platform because I have been asked so much about it. I will publish a further blog about the payment step as soon as I receive the funds.
I hope it will be useful for other buyers who use Hiveterminal. If you have any questions about my experience, I would be glad to help.
N.B. This blog is not an official guide and represents my own experience of using Hiveterminal. In the event of any doubts, ambiguities or issues, the relevant Hiveterminal documentation shall prevail. For any questions, please read the official documentation or contact the Hiveterminal support team.