News Fix: More Access to Private Markets on the Way

Things are looking up for our members. The Securities and Exchange Commission wants to make it easier for retail investors to access the private markets. It’s worried that as more and more companies stay private longer (like Uber and Airbnb), “mom and pop” investors miss out on key opportunities. So it’s looking for ways to give retail investors more quality opportunities (beyond equity crowdfunding) to access the private markets.

How does the SEC plan to do this? It’s going to issue a “concept paper” that will outline proposed rule changes. Then the public will get a chance to comment on them. Hopefully after that the new rules will go into effect (The Wall Street Journal).

The equity crowdfunding community isn’t waiting for the SEC to create better investment opportunities for retail investors, though. One of our favorite crowdfunding portals, Republic, just announced an agreement that will give you access to a wider variety of startups to invest in.

Republic has partnered with Seedrs, an extremely successful British equity crowdfunding portal, to allow British and European startups seeking funding on Seedrs to also raise money in the United States through Republic. This is a huge win for American investors, who will now be able to access a much wider range of high-quality deals (Private Equity Wire).

That’s a great way to start a long weekend. Now, to the News Fix!

CBOE Eyeing Ethereum Futures

The Chicago Board Options Exchange is looking to offer ethereum futures contracts for trading by the end of the year. Gemini will be the underlying exchange for the contracts. CBOE already uses Gemini for its bitcoin futures contracts. The decision to add ethereum futures contracts is yet another sign of pent-up demand for crypto among institutional investors (Coin Telegraph).

Indiegogo Debuts Security Tokens

The American initial coin offering (ICO) isn’t dead. It’s just evolving. And embracing SEC regulations.

Security tokens are tradable securities pegged to underlying assets. One potential use for a security token is to allow investors to own an equity stake in an asset. And that’s exactly what popular crowdfunding site Indiegogo is doing with REIT Aspen Digital, which owns the St. Regis Resort.

Only accredited investors (with individual annual income of $200,000 or joint income of $300,000 for two straight years) can purchase these securities right now. But the fact that Indiegogo is facilitating this type of raise is a big deal. Crypto is evolving. It’s adapting. And there’s more to come. (CNBC)

EU Finance Ministers to Discuss Crypto

Normally, the News Fix wouldn’t worry about crypto being on the agenda at a European Union meeting. There’s plenty of support for the crypto community in several EU countries, with Malta leading the way from a regulatory and policy standpoint. But Bloomberg managed to sneak a peek at the agenda for the September 7 meeting between the EU’s finance ministers in Vienna, and it’s mostly focused on crypto’s role in anti-money-laundering, tax evasion and the funding of terrorism (Bloomberg).

Addressing these issues is critically important. But so is creating an environment that allows new technologies like cryptocurrencies to thrive. And we’re not going to see much of that in this meeting.

Politicians seem to be stuck on the anti-crime treadmill when it comes to crypto. That needs to change. We’ll keep an eye out for any statement or news that might affect prices.

And Finally…

Huobi, a popular crypto exchange in Asia, looks like it’s interested in going public. It has bought up about 66% of the shares of Pantronics Holdings, which is publicly traded on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. This sets the scene for a reverse takeover, where a private company takes over a public company – thus avoiding the lengthy process of going public itself (CoinDesk).

And that’s your News Fix.

Good investing,

Vin Narayanan
Senior Managing Editor, Early Investing