Crowdfunding in the crosshairs?

December 21 2016

AKA shocks, regulation, fallacy of ‘5 sigma’ events & Crowd-Funding:

  • Q: If ‘five sigma’ events should only happen 1 in 3.5m times, why are they so frequent?
  • A: Because there is no normal distribution.
  • A: And we suffer from over-optimism, wilful blind spots, call it what you will.
  • A: And regulators, politicians etc. may interfere, they may not have read the script.
  • A: And there may be a lemming-like belief that the worst can never happen.

Yet it not-infrequently does – cases below happened just this week in just this sector:

  • CFD (betting) operators were hit Monday when legislation was proposed in the UK
  • They were clobbered again when similar moves kicked off in Germany
  • UK domestic betting companies fell when FOBT restrictions were proposed
  • Asian gaming stocks fell when ATM daily limits in Macau were rumoured


  • Betting stocks are friendless when it matters. But that’s enough about them.
  • Also friendless when the chips are down, may be some other ‘disrupters’
  • Remember politicians may grandstand & punters have votes, companies don’t.

Lateral Thinking – Implication for Crowd-Funding etc.:

  • The FT suggests P2P lending & crowdfunding (here) may be curbed
  • It says there is ‘evidence of consumer detriment’.

Small (but consistent) consumer losses will still prompt investigation:

  • Lotteries (small bet, extremely long odds) are heavily-regulated.
  • There is evidence that punters will pay the same for 1/10k or 1/1m odds.
  • Crowdfunding features crazy valuations, lack of liquidity, unclear exit routes, risks etc.
  • Customers & punters (a.k.a. ‘investors’) may therefore ‘need saving from themselves’
  • And politicians like to tinker so take a step back, fault the logic
  • Legislation may be on its way. It may even happen before the first high-profile failures…