Crowdfunding website Indiegogo is expanding its cryptocurrency offering to allow companies to sell new asset-backed digital tokens classed as securities.
The company’s new service is hosting a sale of digital tokens on behalf of luxury ski resort St Regis, in Aspen, Colorado, with the cryptocurrencies being issued by a real estate investment trust (REIT) called Aspen Digital.
The development follows Indiegogo’s push into the initial coin offering (ICO) market in December, where start-ups sell new digital coins in exchange for established cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether.
The serious investing side of Indiegogo’s offering is a small portion of its overall business. But co-founder Slava Rubin said the firm is “hoping to see continued growth if this is what the market demands.”
“We have been working on our blockchain offering for a while now,” Rubin told CNBC in a phone interview. “It really goes back to our original vision where we wanted to democratize access to capital and bring investment all kinds of people around America and the world.”
Blockchain is the technology that underpins numerous cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. It maintains a continuously growing digital ledger of all cryptocurrency transactions, across a decentralized network of computers.
The company is working with crypto brokerage start-up Templum to offer the securities tokens, called “Aspen Coins,” to investors. With the first offering of its kind on the platform, investors will be able to indirectly own an equity stake in the REIT Aspen Digital, which owns the St Regis resort, Indiegogo said. Investors will be able to purchase the digital assets with U.S. dollars, bitcoin and ether, the digital token of the Ethereum blockchain.
The sale is similar to a crowdfunding method in the cryptocurrency industry known as an initial coin offering (ICO), where blockchainstart-ups raise capital by selling new digital assets. Except, in this case, the sale comes under regulatory provisions, according to Indiegogo.