Indiegogo now moving into security tokens, starting with Aspen Coin
Tokenised real estate. Or more technically, crypto shares in a real estate investment trust.
Crowdfunding has taken off in the last decade, with companies like Indiegogo, Kickstarter, GoFundMe, Patreon and many more all coming into their own, with focuses on different areas like medical bills, or the sponsoring of entrepreneurial ideas.
But many of them are also prime for disruption from new advances like cryptocurrency micropayments or adequate national health care systems which prevent people from needing to turn their diseases into performance art just to survive.
But Indiegogo, it seems, intends to be the one doing the disrupting.
"We have always strived to foster innovation and provide our users access to some of the most novel and interesting products and ideas from around the world. With the blockchain revolution fully underway, we are excited about the world-changing impact and potential of security tokens," said Indiegogo co founder Slava Rubin.
The first offering might not be a world changing idea, but it could be a solid test run.
"Our goal is to provide an access point to our growing network of millions of customers and and opportunity to own a fragmented interest in the St. Regis Aspen Resort," Rubin said.
That's what the coin does. Its ownership signifies an investment in the resort itself, or more specifically the real estate investment trust (REIT) in which the resort is held, operated by an investment firm called Elevated Returns.
Aspen Coin can be bought and sold like any other cryptocurrency and holders may be entitled to dividends from the REIT earnings. Other than that, it doesn't have any perks.
As a share of a REIT, rather than just tokenised real estate itself, Aspen Coin is technically and legally a security token. For US residents to participate they need to be an accredited investor, but overseas anyone (within reason and all other restrictions such as the $10,000 minimum buy) can participate even if they're not an accredited investor. The selling itself is being handled by an SEC-registered alternative trading system called Templum Markets.
The goal of legally offering security tokens is a hot area in cryptocurrency right now and it's always interesting to see how different projects approach the hefty legal obligations that accompany it. In this case it's being done similarly to any other traditional investment, to accredited investors and through appropriately registered companies. Aspen Coin is still a cryptocurrency though, and carries all the benefits that entails, such as programmability and easier trading.
"Security token offerings are the investment tool of the future, a mechanism designed to store wealth by utilizing income-producing digital assets," said Stephane de Baets, founder and president of Elevated Returns. "By allowing access to investing in traditional assets like real estate, we are creating a new opportunity for investors to explore an ownership stake in something previously only accessible to private investors and high net worth individuals."
So, Elevated Returns owns the Aspen Resort and the REIT, while Templum Markets is doing the token sale itself. Where does Indiegogo fit in?
"Indiegogo is a well known and trusted name in alternative funding and cryptocurrency, making them an incredible partner for us to leverage their influence, experience and global audience," de Baetes says candidly.
It's a valid point. One of the big changes promised by cryptocurrency and asset tokenisation is the ability to make big investments, like a share in a prestigious hotel, more accessible to everyone.
Going through Indiegogo undoubtedly lets these firms cast a much wider net than they would otherwise and bring these new kinds of offerings to speculators who might otherwise just not see it.
Disclosure: At the time of writing the author holds ETH, IOTA, ICX, VET, XLM, BTC, ADA