WonderFi continues to dazzle decentralized finance bulls — or at least it should. The company is nailing down a corner of the crypto market that has often been considered untameable; even Shark Tank judge and successful entrepreneur Kevin O’Leary refers to the space as “the wild west,” sprinkled with crypto “cowboys” testing the outer limits of regulation and compliance. Through WonderFi, investors like O’Leary are hoping to bring lawfulness to the space. In turn, they hope to make it a friendlier one for new investors. Today, CEO Ben Samaroo and his company are taking a huge step toward that goal. The company is bringing WNDR stock to trading floors in a first-of-its-kind public debut.
As Ben Samaroo and Kevin O’Leary explained to InvestorPlace, WonderFi is looking to bridge the educational gap between new investors and the complicated world of decentralized finance, or DeFi. It also hopes to help investors to maintain compliance and invest in this space within the regulations of their local government.
One of the biggest hang-ups for investors in the DeFi space is that it lacks organization and structure. Certain cryptos can only be held within certain wallets. Some currencies can only be bought on certain decentralized exchanges (DEXs), and they can only be staked on certain networks for passive income. WonderFi promises to aggregate these many different applications and tools into one convenient place. Additionally, it is adding tools to help DeFi investors track their portfolios. This makes it easier to evaluate success and ensure one is meeting regulatory requirements as regulation continues to grow as a factor within the space.
Soon, investors will have access to this product as the company prepares to launch its test product. But even sooner than that, they will have an opportunity to get exposure to DeFi through WNDR stock. That’s because this morning, the company is making its stock market debut.
WonderFi Lists on Upstart NEO Exchange in Public Trading Debut
Samaroo’s company is already highly successful within the DeFi space without even having its product on the market yet. Ahead of its beta launch, the company secured the financial and advisory assistance of renowned entrepreneurs Kevin O’Leary and Josh Richards, a Gen Z businessman with a vast online following.
Now, the company is keeping the success rolling as it reaches its first public listing. This morning, WonderFi debuted on the NEO Exchange. The Canadian platform already has a number of cutting-edge companies trading on its floors; WonderFi will share the trading floor with companies like psychedelic medicine play MindMed and hydrogen-battery manufacturer Alkaline Fuel Cell Corp. The stock will trade under the WNDR ticker.
As Samaroo told InvestorPlace, the listing is a huge moment for the company for a number of reasons. First, it will provide WonderFi with broader exposure to institutional capital. “Institutions want a compliant and transparent way to invest in DeFi,” says Samaroo. “There’s nothing really on the public market that gives you access to something like our platform. It’s a unique value proposition for public market investors, both institutional and retail.”
WNDR Stock Stands to Gain Retail Investor Support as a Unique Public Listing
Samaroo thinks this value proposition will attract more institutional investors, and indeed, it already has; crypto exchange giant FTX and its CEO Sam Bankman-Fried have completed a $5.5 million private placement in WNDR stock ahead of its public listing at a price of $1.05 per share.
However, Samaroo also believes it will attract more individual investors. “Our early backers were more from the crypto and DeFi crowd,” Samaroo says, “I think when we get into public markets there’s going to be a lot more interest from people that want to invest in new technology and are interested in the space, but don’t necessarily have a ton of background yet.”
Indeed, Samaroo revealed that investors in WNDR stock can gain exposure to DeFi even without downloading a wallet; WonderFi has DeFi assets on its own balance sheet, allowing investors to benefit from the company’s yields.
As a Cutting-Edge Exchange, NEO Is a Perfect Fit for WNDR Stock
So why NEO, and not the more well-known Nasdaq or New York Stock Exchange? According to Samaroo, the exchange’s reputation was a deciding factor. “NEO has been getting more traction in the last couple of years, and after talking to them and talking to other companies like MindMed that listed on the NEO, the exposure to institutional capital is a benefit there,” he says. “And I think the NEO has now established itself as the sort of ‘Nasdaq of Canada.’”
It certainly helps that NEO has taken great pains to establish itself in the Canadian market since its founding in 2015. NEO is a senior exchange — the highest level of reputability in the country — putting it in the same company as the Toronto Stock Exchange. As such, it requires more stringent financial reporting. Governance standards are much higher at this level as well.
This isn’t to say WonderFi is resting on its laurels at this high level; the company is seeking to expand its reach further. As Samaroo told InvestorPlace, the company is “racing toward a U.S. OTC listing.” “I think with DeFi, there’s a lot of pent-up demand and there’s not a lot of options for investors in the U.S.”
Reverse Takeover Listing Primes WonderFi for Mergers and Acquisitions
The company is coming public through a reverse takeover. Through this method of listing, a private company buys all the shares of a publicly traded company and relists it under the private company’s name. Samaroo says Canadian startups prefer this method as it leaves companies with better access to capital. He also says it primes the company for a series of mergers and acquisitions. WonderFi plans to take this route to expand its reach on the market.
“We see a lot of complementary technology that could be folded into our company. So having a public stock is a really powerful tool for a consolidation strategy,” Samaroo says. “A really good comparison is WELL Health — another company that has been extremely successful with that sort of strategy. They honed in on their core business model, launched it publicly and then went on a consolidation spree, basically. And it was their public stock that facilitated that.”