If it were a competition, BnkToTheFuture would be a shoo-in for “most meta business plan” of 2017. To wit, the company is building a blockchain-based trading system for selling and trading stakes in blockchain companies in a play to capture a subset of investors who are growing increasingly wary of the sketchy ICO market.
A firm called BnkToTheFuture plans to open a market in the second quarter that will let investors trade equity stakes in companies involved with the blockchain, the transaction-tracking technology that underpins digital currencies like bitcoin. BnkToTheFuture will use a blockchain ledger to keep record of those investments for clients.
While the blockchain tech sector is certainly still in its infancy, there’s little doubt that investors are interested in finding more reputable ways to facilitate investing in blockchain. Presently, the booming market for ICOs, which has seen more than $3.5 billion raised this year, has proven to be rife with incompetence and even outright fraud.
Some of the largest and most widely anticipated ICOs are already floundering with their tokens rapidly losing value, and even drawing lawsuits, in some cases.
Given the lack of honest brokers – and explosion of self-dealing – in the existing market for investing in blockchain solutions, there’s reason to believe BnkToTheFuture’s projection that it will soon facilitated more than 50% of private investments in the space.
“By year-end, we could have 50 percent of the major companies in the sector on our platform,” Chief Executive Officer Simon Dixon said in a phone interview.
As Bloomberg explains, the blockchain is a digital ledger for recording transactions in a secure and transparent manner. The technology is expected to revolutionize industries ranging from finance, to supply chain management to even boring old title insurance, as we recently pointed out.
BnkToTheFuture has already helped some 45,000 accredited investors from around the world invest more than $200 million, Bloomberg reports. It has allowed investors to buy equity in more than 100 companies and projects, including ethereum and storj. The company is planning to implement a blockchain-based ledger to record and facilitate these transactions – something it says it will implement by the second quarter.
It’s worth noting that BnkToTheFuture – despite its implicit challenge to the existing ICO market – is itself an ICO. The company plans to issue a token next year with which customers can pay BnkToTheFuture for deal analysis, due diligence and investor relations. BnkToTheFuture hopes to raise as much as $33 million in an initial coin offering planned for next February. The largest ICO’s have raised more than $200 million. Indeed, some self-styled ICO “experts” have advised their audience that raising $100 million in an ICO can be more trouble than its worth.
As more regulators crack down on the ICO market – China has banned it entirely, and the SEC has opened civil actions against several accused ICO fraudsters – investors could migrate to BnkToTheFuture’s platform. To be sure, the product has not yet launched, and if ICOs like Tezos are any guide, investors in ICOs shouldn’t count their chickens before they hatch, so to speak.
BnkToTheFuture is registered in the Cayman Islands, and holds a stake in a broker-dealer. The company holds equity in several established digital-currency exchanges, including Bitstamp and Kraken.
According to Kyle Samani, managing partner at Multicoin Capital Management, a crypto hedge fund, BnkToTheFuture is already a hit in Asia.
“Their investment opportunities are vetted quite extensively and it seems only very few get accepted judging from the amount of investments that pass through their platform,” Majid Shah, the co-founder of CoinSchedule and a longtime user of BnkToTheFuture, said in an email. “I would say they provide a lower-return but lower-risk way of investing into the blockchain space, whereas ICOs are more high return, high risk.”
However, BnkToTheFuture isn't the only company trying to legitimize ICOs: Overstock.com saw its shares pop back in September after revealing that it is building a platform for launching and trading ICOs.