NewsBTC recently got a chance to speak with Simon Dixon, the founder of online investment platform BnkToTheFuture.com. Dixon opened up about his views on the future of financial innovation, and how their initiative can effectively arrange capitals to promote secure and fast global banking. Here is some of the excerpts from our conversation:
Yashu: Tell us a little bit about BnkToTheFuture and what motivated its launch.
Simon: BnkToTheFuture is an online investment platform where investors can invest in financial innovation and the future of technology. It was built because we believe the future of finance looks significantly different from today. And in building this future, the traditional sources of finance may not necessarily be there, simply because new technologies are disrupting them. We figured that investors would want to be able to invest in the financial innovation that is happening at the moment. So we build a platform whereby qualifying investors are able to invest in lots of different financial products that are centered around the future of finance.
For example: we have funds, payouts daily dividends simply because we do it in Bitcoin; we can program it rather than waiting a year to pay dividends; investors can receive dividends everyday in real time. We have companies that are building next generation financial products and you can invest directly into these startups. The main motivation for it is to really build a place where financial technology businesses can accumulate funds, and investors can use the same platform to build their investment portfolio in this disruptive asset class called financial innovation.
Crowdfunding or investment platforms don’t represent a fresh concept; we have many online platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo for supporting new startups. How is BnkToTheFuture different from them?
BnkToTheFuture is not a crowdfunding platform. If you take a platform like Kickstarter, they allow anyone to contribute a very small amount of money in exchange of a reward. And hundreds and thousands of people there can tip in small amounts in order to get that product going. And they receive some kind of reward. BnkToTheFuture, on the other hand, is an online investment platform where we have a community of around 14,500 professional investors who are looking to invest in financial innovation products, and are also looking to develop a very diverse portfolio. So they normally invest a few thousands in some cases, so basically there is no crowd — only a syndicate of professional investors co-investing with other professional investors.
Why investors should invest in Bitcoin and startups centered on the blockchain technology?
Bitcoin is not just a currency or commodity; it is more like a technology that makes money programmable. And when you make money programmable, the implications on every single financial product are vast. The reason that we like Bitcoin, especially when we have a whole new range of blockchain products available, is that it’s the largest and the most secure supercomputer in the world. It is functioning and working incredibly well; the transferring of value from A to B anywhere in the world with a very little cost — its impeccable.
We believe that in the next 5-10 years Bitcoin will be used to power some of the significant and powerful finance applications. And we believe that anyone investing at this moment is technically an early adopter, which means that there is a relatively higher risk but also a much higher potential return. If this innovation escalates to the level we believe it will, it will bring a lot of returns for early adopters.
And what’s your experience regarding attracting investors? Does BnkToTheFuture have any success story to share?
Yes! This year we had over $35 million invested in companies via our platform. We have raised finance for BitReserve, which has now rebranded to Uphold; it is one of the most promising companies in the financial sector, for it allows users to move money— and for free — from person to person regardless of geological barriers. It is a very interesting market in our opinion.
We launched Bitcoin Capital; it is a fund which invests in financial innovation run by myself and Max Keiser. And that has been paying investors dividends every day in Bitcoin. Other projects that have been very popular is ShapeShift which allows anyone to convert one digital asset into another within moments without needing them to create an account. The implications of that is that in the future you can take a precious metal like Gold which can be put into a digital asset, and can be switched with another digital asset without any friction.
These are the things which are very hard to see right now. But in the future, imagine how anyone can pay with anything they want.
Also, we have launched a Bitcoin mining company IPO where we put together a fund to invest in it. The stock market has a long history of mining stocks (oil and gold mining), we now have mining stocks for Bitcoin where investors can invest through a public market. We have played our part in contributing towards raising some of the early stage fundings, which means investors are able to invest the same way financial institutions do.
We have got so many case studies we are proud of.
And what would your advise to young entrepreneurs be?— the ones still untouched by Bitcoin — so that they come and build these “next-generation” applications?
Every single part of one of the most richest sectors in the world — banking and finance — is about to be broken and taken up by lots of mini entrepreneurs who now are able to replace the existing models with small applications. With one step at a time, these young entrepreneurs will take small profits away from centralized banking institutions thanks to the applications they will build on the top of Bitcoin and blockchain. And that opportunity is available to anyone who want to put together a good team.
With regards to funding, these young entrepreneurs now have the sources to raise investments that were not available before. If its an early stage idea then you have got a lot of crowdfunding platforms. But as you progress, they can come to BnkToTheFuture which has got a rich hub of investors that are interested in investing in financial innovation.
So where we are about to move right now is the de-institutionalization of all financial products. And in the future, people will be using money based upon their values rather than their geography or where they were born. And now we have a global marketplace which is going through some regulatory challenges because regulations are based upon geographies. But with one step at a time, we’re gonna see a more inclusive financial system – like we have never seen before.
What are your plans for the future?
We would like to participate in this next wave of financial innovation. We are very much more passionate about working with the businesses and providing investment opportunities to promote financial disruption. We don’t want this innovation be used by old banks to make it cheaper for them to commit the types of crimes we have seen them commit over the last few years. We want to see disruption in financial markets now the technology is available that can only lead to a better deal for consumers and more competitive environment in finance.
Thanks for speaking to us Simon