Updated to reflect that $1 million net worth restrictions only apply in the US.
Crypto exchange Kraken will soon be selling stock via “Bnk to the Future,” a regulation-compliant investment platform that lets let accredited investors buy shares in cryptocurrency companies.
Investors registered on Bnk to the Future’s platform will have to deposit $1,000 minimum, and have until June 20 to invest in the San Francisco-based exchange, which bills itself as the second biggest, outside of China.
Nominally, Kraken’s fundraise is targeting anyone who can cough up a minimum of $1,000, but the Bnk’s rules for accredited investors are more restrictive. An observer on Reddit who attempted the registration process noted that putative investors—at least those based in the U.S.—must have a net worth exceeding $1 million or a yearly income exceeding $200,000.
Bnk to the Future, for its part, allows investors to buy shares in a “Special Purpose Vehicle,” in which a subsidiary company is set up to create a sort of arm’s length entity that offers a number of pros—and cons—to investors.
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On the up side, it protects investors should the holding company go bankrupt. On the down side, SPVs allow financial controllers to “mask crucial information from investors who may not be aware of a company’s complete financial situation,” according to Investopedia, which noted that the notorious energy company Enron misused an SPV to catastrophic effect.
Per Bnk to the Future’s website, $769 million has been invested through its platform so far. The venerable Richard Branson, a friend of its UK-based founder Simon Dixon, sang the Bnk’s praises in an interview with the Telegraph.