London's first listed bitcoin company is coming and investors are 'curious'

A worker holds a sign at the first bitcoin retail store open in Hong Kong on February 28, 2014 in Hong Kong. Asia Nexgen, a Hong Kong based bitcoin exchange has launched a physical store enabling customers to purchase bitcoin and store it in their digital bitcoin wallets. Bitcoin Group HK and Hong Kong Bitcoin ATM plan to launch bitcoin 'ATM's machines in the area. in 2008 Bitcoin was launched as an alternative currency, with the commodity boasting the ability to be transferred without the need of the traditional monetary banking system. (Photo by )Lam Yik Fei/Getty ImagesA worker holds a sign at the first bitcoin retail store open in Hong Kong on February 28, 2014 in Hong Kong.

Bitcoin and blockchain focused company Coinsilium is planning to list its shares on London’s junior stock market AIM later this summer, making it the first bitcoin company to IPO in Britain and one of just a handful in the world.

Coinsilium invests in, incubates, and advises companies that work with bitcoin or the blockchain, the software that underpins bitcoin. The software generates the currency, allows transactions to take place, and makes a permanent, public record of all exchanges.

Bitcoin crashed and burned last year after a string of bad stories, such as the collapse of exchange MtGox and reports that Bitcoin was the worst investment of last year. Most investors and fintech enthusiasts I speak to these days are pretty much over the cryptocurrency.

But what they are excited about is the blockchain. Banks are increasingly interested in how this type of technology can be applied to traditional finance.

Coinsilium’s CEO Eddy Travia told Business Insider that the company is now focusing on blockchain and it is hoping to capitalise on the current interest in the technology.

He doesn’t think it’s too early to take such cutting edge technology to public markets, saying: “In a way I hope it’s a little bit too advanced so we make a little bit more of a statement and open some people’s eyes. We don’t have resistance when we talk to investors. They’re curious and interested.

“There is a little of education of course, putting facts and putting news into context regarding blockchain and cryptocurrencies. But the reception has been good and a lot of people are starting to contact us, of course now more than before because we just announced the coming IPO.”

Coinsilium, which is based in London near Edgware Road, plans to raise £3 million ($US4.6 million) listing on AIM, the stock market for small companies run by the London Stock Exchange.

Travia said: “I’ve been doing VC and private equity for over 10 years now so I’ve looked at AIM for other projects. AIM is a very successful growth market.

“The other reason we looked at AIM is because our directors had some experience and because it’s in London, which has this progressive and positive attitude to cryptocurrencies. We felt that it was a good idea to do it in London. From a regulatory point of view we talked to the Bank of England, we’ve talked to people in Westminster.”

Only a handful bitcoin companies have listed globally — bitcoin miner digitalBTC is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange for example — but Travia said Coinsilium don’t care about breaking new ground. He says: “We’re not really focused on that. We’re focused on doing the IPO but it doesn’t really matter if we’re the first or not.”

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