The Daily Dig for Tuesday, May 20

Today’s Daily Dig has a little bit of everything, including details on Richard Branson investing in cryptocurrency and crowdfunding, along with an audacious plan to reap billions from the taxpayer.

Community banks survived thanks to agricultural loans post-recession

The continued urbanization of America depleted populations in many counties, which would seemingly damage many community banks.  Indeed that happened to some, but those who engaged in a high percentage of agricultural loans did quite well for themselves, reports Micheal Ide.

Hedge funders plan to take over Fannie and Freddie

Now that the danger is over, four hedge fund managers want Uncle Sam to essentially give them Fannie and Freddie so they can reap large profits, a logic used successfully after the fall of the U.S.S.R..  It’s incredibly shallow but it might work, says Matthew Yglesias.

Branson big on Bitcoin

Billionaire Richard Branson has invested in BitPay, a Bitcoin startup based in Atlanta.  Urvaksh Karkaria tells why.

Federal agency says Bitcoin could be ‘boon’ for the economy

The Federal Advisory Council consults with the U.S. Federal Reserve on most issues under their aegis.  In a debate on May 9, they stated Bitcoin could do more good than harm to the U.S. and global economies.  Pete Rizzo has the details.

Funding Circle adds experience with appointment of executive trio

U.K. peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle hired three new Business Development Managers, moves which could position the company for substantial growth, suggests Beth Fisher.

P2P growth attracting institutions that were supposed to be competitors, changes and scrutiny ensue

Peer-to-peer lending was born thanks to frustration with establishment institutions.  Once successful, they attracted those very entities they were designed to thrive against.  Institutional participation has forced the industry to take additional steps to keep the peer in P2P, writes Tracy Alloway and Elaine Moore.

Indiegogo raises money from heavy hitters

Richard Branson, along with current or former executives from eBay, Google X and PayPal, have invested in crowdfunding site Indiegogo.  Jillian D’Onfro provides background.

Canadian banks taking a bath in the Caribbean 

For many years Canadian banks, including RBC and TD, have made big dollars in the Caribbean, but now that the region’s economy is in trouble, the gravy train may have left the station for good, says John Greenwood.

Crowdtilt launches stripped down service

Sell Something is Crowdtilt’s new no frills service, where it is one product, one campaign.  Eric Blattberg explains.

Tevat aims to connect Kenyan businesses with locals and expats

Add Kenya to the list of countries that wants to be able to crowdfund startups.  Agatha Nduku tells the story of Tevat, who hopes to pioneer this space.