Australia’s longest-running cryptocurrency exchange is selling equity
Australians can now buy a stake in Bit Trade for as little as $475, thanks to equity crowdfunding.
Equity crowdfunding is a relatively new addition to the finance world, coming along only in the last few years. It's a way for everyday traders to buy a share in companies they believe in, and for those companies to raise funds from a larger and more diverse group of people.
Rather than seeking heavy investment from a small handful of venture capital firms, it's about going for small contributions from a much wider range of buyers. It intends to be a win-win for equity buyers and sellers. The former can get access to investments that would otherwise have too high a barrier for entry, and companies get a potentially more flexible and convenient way of raising funds.
Customers as investors
It's also a unique way of connecting businesses to its customers. Rather than that straightforward customer-service provider relationship, it creates a system where the customers can be financially invested in the success of a company whose services they use, and which they believe in.
It goes the other way too, and businesses can appreciate that many of the customers they interact with every day might be legal company shareholders.
The company in this case is Bit Trade, a venerable fixture of Australia's cryptocurrency exchange scene, which has been in operation since 2013. It's aiming to raise funds through the Equitise equity crowdfunding platform, whose previous fintech fundraising successes include the Xinja neobank (raised over $2 million) and others.
"Interest in bitcoin hasn't died down over the years and Equitise is giving investors the chance to gain a foothold in exciting or emerging industries like the world of cryptocurrencies," said Equitise co-founder Jonny Wilkinson. "This equity crowdfunding campaign is the first time in Australia that everyday investors can help shape the future of wealth by backing an innovative company like Bit Trade who are at the forefront of the smart securities market."
"At Bit Trade, we're excited by the opportunity to help launch Australia's premier gateway for the future of investment through the new asset class of smart securities," Bit Trade managing director and co-founder Jonathon Miller said. "It doesn't matter if you're crypto curious or crypto serious, our platform's accessible to both individuals and institutions and we're really excited to be able to throw down the gauntlet and be the first Aussie digital exchange to open up our doors to everyday investors."
A match made in blockchain
Cryptocurrencies are in part about the idea of democratising wealth, and they aim to lower the bar to investing, moving money and more. In that way, crypto exchanges and equity crowdfunding might be a natural match.
Similar efforts have been taken by some of the world's top exchanges. Binance, for example, got off the ground by launching its own ICO for the Binance Coin (BNB). But rather than being direct legal equity, the Binance Coin is simply a digital token that you can use as a currency, or for various utilities on the Binance exchange. In this way it's theoretically designed to gain more value as the Binance exchange grows, but is still highly subject to speculative market forces and doesn't actually give holders a share in the Binance platform.
However, in this case, everyday Australians can buy an actual share of the Bit Trade exchange.
"We’re passionate about building the next generation of wealth and we see that future being in cryptocurrencies. As a first mover, Bit Trade is also on the verge of announcing an exciting partnership with an innovative Australian education provider to help support early stage entrepreneurs and encourage wider spread adoption," Miller said.
Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author holds ETH, IOTA, ICX, XLM and BTC.