The Australian securities exchange (ASX) is preparing to publicly trade shares of the Bitcoin Group on February 9th, under the BCG handle. Bitcoin Group currently operates 6,000 "mining" rigs spread across seven international locations (though mostly in China where the cost of electricity is most affordable). The company hopes to raise more than $20 million on the sale of 100 million, $0.20 shares during its initial public offering.
The BCG hopes that bitcoin's ability to be converted into any existing currency and immediately reused will help solidify its legitimacy as a viable monetary platform. "Every day more stores are adopting bitcoin as a preferred payment method over systems such as Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal, as merchants don't need to pay any transaction fees to receive bitcoin," Bitcoin Group CEO Sam Lee told ZDnet.
What's more, the company's upcoming IPO should further validate Bitcoin in the eyes of investors. "It's about giving ourselves and the industry accountability and legitimacy; people often doubt whether our industry is 'real' as bitcoin has been declared dead many times over," Lee continued. "Unlike private companies, however, listed companies have a higher level of compliance; audited numbers will assist us in educating people interested in our industry with facts, not fiction."
Australia isn't the only country to take a long, hard look at Bitcoin and its underlying blockchain technology. A number of banks have called for its use, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has brought cryptocurrency under its jurisdiction and the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) now allows companies to issue shares using blockchain tech (essentially what the ASX is doing here).
The ASX is already considering converting its current settlement and clearing system with one based on Bitcoin's blockchain function. The exchange should complete the transition by the end of the year.