Bitcoin Group has announced that it will pursue an initial public offering or IPO in Australia and become the first Bitcoin company to offer its shares to the public in any such offering. The company says that it aims to raise AU$20m from the sale of 100 million shares at AU$0.20 a share, and trade on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).
In his statement Bitcoin Group’s chief executive, Sam Lee, said that he believes for Bitcoin businesses in the mining industry be taken seriously they need to first have the transparency, accountability and legitimacy of a listed company. Lee who also runs Bitcoins Reserve, an offshore cryptocurrency arbitrage fund says operations will be folded into Bitcoin Group.
As IPOs are subject to regulations, Bitcoin Group has announced its listing plans as Australia’s regulatory regime for digital currencies begins to take shape. For instance, earlier in August, the Australian Tax Office or ATO published guidance on the tax treatment of digital currencies for the first time and moved one step towards regulating the digital currency.
The ATO issued guidelines wherein it said that digital currencies could be subject to both capital gains and goods and services taxes, which according to it mean that buying Bitcoin on an Australian exchange, for example, would incur the additional 10% goods and services tax. Though the measure has been appreciated by Bitcoiners, it also received criticism.
Australia Moving Towards Bitcoin Regulation
Even Bitcoin Group which is now looking for listing with the ATO may face trouble following the guidelines from the statutory body. The company CEO Lee interprets the tax authority’s moves, despite the drawbacks in its tax treatment, as largely positive for Bitcoin companies there. However, he says that the ATO guidance from our point of view is workable.
He admitted that the guidelines are comprehensive and to have a clear position from the ATO is better than not having one at all. Though Bitcoin Group would claim the mantle of being the first company dealing in Bitcoin to make an IPO, it wouldn’t be the only public Bitcoin company as this credit goes to two other firms, DigitalBTC and Bitcoin Shop.
The two companies have shares traded publicly. However, they both achieved this through “backdoor listings”. If the IPO goes successful for Bitcoin Group which has already engaged with mining rig makers and signed an agreement with an electricity supplier in anticipation of starting its mining business, it will be huge for the company and the Bitcoin industry as well.
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