Republic is one of the top platforms for crowdfunding. Since 2016, when Congress legalized this form of financing, the company has facilitated the funding of over $120 million.
Yet Republic is not just about investing in early stage companies. Over the years, it has expanded into other categories, such as blockchain and cryptocurrency investments.
And yes, the opportunity does look substantial. According to Fortune Business Insights, spending on blockchain technology is forecast to go from $1.6 billion in 2017 to $21.1 billion by the end of 2025. That’s a compound annual growth rate of 38.4%. Keep in mind that a myriad of mega-cap tech companies — like International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) — continue to invest aggressively in this segment. But of course, there are also many venture-backed startups that are targeting the opportunity.
In fact, Republic has created its own crypto division, which provides a full-stack platform. The company has tokenization, airdrop, accreditation and advisory services. All of this is available for both public and private sales of investments.
Republic will also soon launch tokens for the Algorand blockchain that makes it possible for investors to share in the profits across all the equity crowdfunding deals.
So to learn more about the crypto initiatives at Republic, I had a chance to interview the company’s CEO and co-founder, Kendrick Nguyen. Before launching his startup, he worked as a securities attorney and served as the general counsel at AngelList.
So here’s what he had to say.
Kendrick Nguyen on Blockchain and Crypto
Taulli: What are some of Republic’s innovations regarding blockchain and crypto?
Nguyen: I founded Republic Crypto in 2017 to provide a compliant way for everyday investors to gain exposure and invest in the crypto market. I also helped co-found CoinList, one of the leading token sale investment platforms, and advised some of the most well-known projects in the space. Since then, Republic has pioneered many first-in-class compliant products in the blockchain industry including the Token DPA, Airdrops, Sharedrops, and now the Republic Note.
Taulli: Can you provide some background on the launch of the digital profit-sharing token on the Algorand blockchain? Why is this important?
Nguyen: The Republic Note is built on Algorand, a layer one blockchain that was founded by a Turing award-winning MIT professor. Ownership of the Republic Note is tracked and verifiable on the Algorand blockchain. Algorand offers us a strong technical solution that allows us to (i) make micro-distributions to tens and hundreds of thousands of people efficiently and securely and (ii) track identity and ownership of the Republic Note in accordance with certain KYC/AML requirements. We also plan to launch a wrapped token on the Binance chain when feasible.
Taulli: What advantages does Republic bring to the blockchain/crypto space?
Nguyen: Republic is the largest private investment platform, with more than 700,000 members and over $120 million deployed across 200+ startups in the last 4 years. The kicker here is that Republic allows anyone (accredited and non-accredited) to invest in startups, thereby democratizing the private investing landscape. The Republic Note is the first digital asset of its kind. By being directly linked to the Republic investment platform, Republic Note holders will be able to share in our profits when startups and private equities that raise with Republic get acquired or go public.
Taulli: What do you see as the future of blockchain and digital currencies?
Nguyen: We see a future where blockchain technology will do to private investing what email has done to sending letters. Border-less, efficient payment and transfers of value will create a more robust market where everyone, anywhere in the world will be able to invest in any type of company or asset near instantly.
Investing through equity and real estate crowdfunding or asset tokenization requires a high degree of risk tolerance. Despite what individual companies may promise, there’s always the chance of losing a portion, or the entirety, of your investment. These risks include:
1) Greater chance of failure
2) Risk of fraudulent activity
3) Lack of liquidity
4) Economic downturns
5) Dearth of investor education
Read more: Private Investing Risks
Tom Taulli (@ttaulli) is an advisor and author of various books and online courses about technology, including Artificial Intelligence Basics, The Robotic Process Automation Handbook and Learn Python Super Fast. He is also the founder of WebIPO, which was one of the first platforms for public offerings during the 1990s. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.