An Australian just became a billionaire after investing in a crazy crypto company that's still losing millions

Oz The Great and Powerful/ Facebook

Australian man James Gilbert is now technically a billionaire after Bitcoin’s unprecedented price surge this week.

According to a report in Bloomberg, Gilbert is the largest shareholder in US-based Crypto Co, a company listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange which invests in digital currencies.

The company’s stock price climbed by 76% overnight which saw its market capitalisation swell to $US2.9 billion, of which Gilbert’s stake is now worth $US1.1 billion.

Source: NASDAQ

Crypto Co’s website says Gilbert is a former Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of The Year nominee, who has successfully launched online startups including LivingSocial Australia & New Zealand and

The overnight rise in the company’s stock price was based on the value of 7,062 shares which changed hands in over-the-counter trading — just a fractional 0.04% of the 19.6 million shares outstanding.

Amid this week’s unprecendented surge in Bitcoin prices, stock in Crypto Co has seen an eight-fold increase in the value of its stock to $US149.

That follows the sale of shares by company insiders for just $US7 last Friday, according to documents filed with the US Securities & Exchange Commission.

The company’s filings on the NASDAQ stock exchange show it reported revenue for the September quarter of $487,692, “primarily reflecting a net realised gain on investment in cryptocurrency”.

“Total operating expenses were $US1,688,941 which included stock-based compensation of $US1,083,224. The operating loss was $US1,201,249. The third quarter net loss was $US1,507,073,” the company said.

James Gilbert/ Linkedin

The filings show that as at September 30 2017, the company had net assets of $US3.6 million.

“This is not the kind of attention we wanted,” the company’s CEO Michael Poutre told Bloomberg. “We want attention to be on the work we’re doing.”

In statements accompanying Crypto Co’s Q3 filings, Poutre said the company aimed to be one of the first listed entities to invest in digital currencies within existing regulatory frameworks.

“The Crypto Company’s intention to show that one can be operating in this brand new field of technology, and do so as good corporate citizens – honoring the spirit and the letter of the laws that were designed to protect investors,” Poutre said.

“We believe we are one of, if not the first, fully reporting, publicly traded companies to report an audited, diversified portfolio of digital assets.”

A short time ago, Bitcoin was trading at above $US16,500 on the Bitfinex exchange, as exchanges struggle to deal with demand.

Earlier this week, reports suggested that a $US11 million Bitcoin investment by the Winklevoss twins in 2013 was now worth over $US1 billion, and that was when prices were just $US11,500.

Ahead of the launch of Bitcoin futures on Monday at 11am AEDT, some industry leaders are concerned about a lack of consultation which could leave clearing houses carrying excess risk in the volatile market.

NOW READ: Cboe’s bitcoin futures market goes live Monday — but some of Wall Street’s biggest banks are sitting it out

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