Uulala first company to win ICO approval
Uulala, a fintech company with a social mission, has become the first applicant to win approval to launch an initial coin offering in Bermuda under the island's new regulatory regime.
The announcement was made at the Bermuda Executive Forum in Miami yesterday, from where Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security with responsibility for ICT Policy and Innovation, said it was “the start of a new era for Bermuda”.
Uulala is a mission-driven organisation, which aims to facilitate the financial inclusion of the underbanked and unbanked population by providing access to financial tools.
Owned predominantly by Latinos, the company's target users are Latinos without access to mainstream financial services.
Oscar Garcia, Uulala's chief executive officer, told The Royal Gazette from Miami that the company was looking to raise up to $50 million in its sale of tokens, with the process starting within two or three weeks. The firm had already raised $10 million privately, he added.
Mr Garcia said: “We are looking at operating from Bermuda. The Bacardi story resonated with us — a group of Cuban Latinos who went to Bermuda and established their headquarters there. We are looking at doing something similar.”
Mr Garcia added that Uulala had been attracted by Bermuda's strong reputation as a financial centre and the process of approval for its ICO licence had taken four months and had involved stringent due diligence of the company and its principals.
“Bermuda is known as a financial hub and it is very forward-thinking on blockchain and fintech,” Mr Garcia said.
“They have a reputation of being excellent regulatory stewards and we thought that would be a better fit for us than a jurisdiction where we could say ‘we're good', they'd believe us and give us approval in three weeks.”
Mr Garcia added: “It is an honour to be the first company to meet the Bermuda standard. We look forward to being ambassadors for this global financial hub in the blockchain and fintech space as we accomplish our mission of helping millions of underserved.”
Mr Caines said: “When you consider the commercial opportunities, and also how it will change life for people in Latin America through this new platform for lending, it represents a dynamic shift for our age.
“I'm so excited Bermuda has the opportunity to partner with Uulala in this endeavour, our jurisdiction's first ICO. It marks a fintech milestone and ushers in a new era for the island.”
Uulala has created a decentralised peer-to-peer network to load cash into the digital economy. Once users have loaded in funds, they instantly have access to a virtual MasterCard to participate in eCommerce or other purchase means. Users can send payments cross borders, pay their bills or top up their mobile phone minutes all within the mobile app.
The Uulala platform is a unique system that tracks all financial activities and combines that with blockchain technology to show an immutable ledger with the level of creditworthiness a user possesses.
Uulala has attracted global partnerships with organisations that have an aligned mission to impact the lives of the underserved, those partners include the likes of Humanity 2.0 and Laudato Si'.