Peer-to-peer is so much more than file swapping. It’s people helping people is what it is.
Prosper, America’s first people-to-people lending marketplace, was created to make consumer lending more financially and socially rewarding for everyone.
The way Prosper works is intuitive to people who have used eBay. Instead of listing and bidding on items, people list and bid on loans using Prosper’s online auction platform.
People who want to lend set the minimum interest rate they are willing to earn and bid in increments of $50 to $25,000 on loan listings they select. People who lend can easily diversify using “standing orders”, which automatically make many small loans to different borrowers.
Business Week calls it a bold idea, bound to attract some naysayers. BW also makes the citizen empowerment point here:
It could also turn anyone with a little money into a banker. Potentially, lenders can earn an annualized 6%-and-up in monthly interest payments from a range of borrowers, providing an addition to stocks, bonds, real estate and the like. People who have money can invest directly in other people and diversify their investments.
Stanford Business School grad, Chris Larsen, who co-founded online loan broker E-Loan, makes his second big play with Prosper.
Prosper launched Feb. 13th, 2006.