If you have been following bitcoin news then you have no doubt heard about Golix. When news spread that bitcoin was trading at a premium in Zimbabwe reference was made to Golix, the platform where the bitcoin trade was and is happening.
Golix however is more than just a bitcoin exchange, it is a cryptocurrency exchange or platform where various other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum are traded. Bitcoin just happens to be the most popular. Golix actually had to rebrand from BitFinance when they made the move from being just a bitcoin exchange.
Golix is the only such exchange in Zimbabwe but it is not necessarily the only way one can get their hands on cryptocurrencies. There is a peer to peer platform called LocalBitcoins for example where prices are usually lower than those quoted on Golix.
Golix has grown to trade over $1 million worth of bitcoin last month and daily volumes have reached about 8 bitcoins, which is worth around $160,000.
Now the company is looking to expand further into Africa and seeks to raise money to fund that expansion. Golix will be looking at countries like South Africa and Nigeria which have the potential to give the company traction.
The company is planning an initial coin offering (ICO) which is expected to raise at least $10 million (this figure is yet to be verified.)
The best way to understand what an ICO is, is to compare it to an Initial Public Offering (IPO). In an IPO, a company issues (sells) shares and gets funding in return. Those who purchase the shares become shareholders (part-owners) in the company. The money they use to purchase the shares is used by the company to fund a project or whatever they intended to use the funds for.
An ICO is both similar and different. Whilst IPOs are generally the same, ICOs can differ significantly. An ICO may sell a right of ownership or royalties to a project.
Instead of shares, an ICO usually issues digital tokens or virtual coins. Funders can purchase the digital tokens using either cryptocurrencies like bitcoin or fiat currencies like the USD.
The virtual coins (digital tokens) represent a stake in the company and are not cryptocurrency. By investing in the ICO you would be betting on the company, Golix, not investing in a new cryptocurrency.
Just like shares, the value of the digital tokens will depend on the performance of the company. If the company, Golix in this case, performs well the tokens will appreciate in value. The tokens can usually be sold on exchanges as well just like shares.
For Golix, an ICO may be the only viable option to raise funds. For a company to raise funds through an IPO, very stringent requirements have to be met first. Certain disclosures have to be made and these are reviewed by independent parties. All this is done to protect the investors, making sure investors get the clearest of pictures of where the company stands before investing.
An ICO, on the other hand, is not regulated because there is no law as regards cryptocurrencies in Zimbabwe. Golix will issue a whitepaper giving details about the company and also what it intends to use the funds for.
As you can see, an ICO is riskier for the investor than an IPO. Despite the risk, ICOs are becoming popular around the world. The year 2017 saw a lot of successful ICOs and a few fraudulent ones as well. Extra due diligence is therefore needed when dealing with an ICO.
Golix is yet to give details on the intended ICO but as soon as that’s available we will be sharing. If you are to invest now is the time to do your research on the company.
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