A Canadian startup says it will enable customers to swap their holdings between gold bullion and bitcoins, and it plans an initial public offering next year.
BitGold Inc.'s website will go live in the first quarter, co-founder Roy Sebag said in an interview. The Toronto-based company will allow account holders to purchase bitcoins and exchange them for gold redeemable in various vaults around the world, as well as convert the metal back into the digital currency. Customers will also get a debit card, said Sebag, 29.
The company is trying to muscle in on traditional bullion dealers and gold-backed exchange-traded funds, two of the most popular ways for retail investors to get hold of physical gold.
"We're looking for this to be a scalable Internet platform," Sebag said. "It's a platform that looks and feels like a traditional online bank except its totally powered by gold."
BitGold recently raised C$3.5 million ($3 million) from investors including Soros Brothers Investments, PowerOne Capital Markets Ltd. and Sandstorm Gold Ltd. Sebag said his company may seek to raise about C$10 million to C$20 million in a Toronto IPO in the next three to six months.
Sebag is chief executive officer of Natural Resource Holdings Ltd., an Israeli investment company. His BitGold co- founder is Josh Crumb, a former senior metals strategist at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.