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11 Jan, 2018 14:27

Goldman of crypto: Billionaire bitcoin buff to launch first cryptocurrency ‘merchant bank’

Goldman of crypto: Billionaire bitcoin buff to launch first cryptocurrency ‘merchant bank’

Billionaire Michael Novogratz has unveiled plans to launch a full-service merchant bank dedicated to cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based ventures, with the aim of getting listed on Canada’s TSX Venture Exchange.

The Wall Street trader is planning to raise $200 million if the initial public offering (IPO) of his company is successful. The firm, named Galaxy Digital, is building a “best-in-class, full-service, institutional-quality merchant banking business in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space,” according to Novogratz, as quoted by Bloomberg.

Galaxy Digital will reportedly focus on such areas as trading, principal investing, asset management and advisory work. Novogratz, a former chief investment officer for Fortress, describes the new enterprise as the Goldman Sachs of crypto, according to a person familiar with his plans, according to Bloomberg.

The venture will not offer any services to US residents, according to the press release.

The bitcoin investment guru is also planning to buy Canadian crypto startup First Coin Capital Corp. Then, it is expected to merge with a Canadian shell company, Bradmer Pharmaceuticals. The entity will be used to raise $201 million in a private placement of stock next month.

The entrepreneur is reportedly spending practically all of his crypto investments - nearly $400 million of bitcoin, ether, initial coin offerings and stakes in several digital startups – on Galaxy.

The merchant bank is the most ambitious project to emerge in the midst of current cryptocurrency fever. In December, Novogratz rejected the idea of launching his much-anticipated crypto hedge fund, citing unfavorable market conditions.

The billionaire, who has been very bullish on cryptocurrencies over the past year, once predicted that bitcoin would be worth $40,000 by 2019. Novogratz said investors are putting money into cryptocurrencies due to the lack of trust in financial institutions following the 2008 economic meltdown.