Arbitrade property boost after token’s slide
News that Arbitrade has bought Victoria Hall for its global headquarters comes as the company's crypto token “dignity” languishes near an all-time low.
The announcement that the cryptocurrency exchange and coin company has acquired the vacant seven-storey property that was previously on the market for $6.5 million, was welcomed by David Burt.
Job opportunities that include training and employment openings for Bermudians, were mentioned by Arbitrade when it announced the property acquisition.
The Premier's positive reaction will come as a fillip for Arbitrade after the months-long decline of its dignity token.
Arbitrade intends to renovate Victoria Hall, on Victoria Street, and transform it into its global head office and digital asset exchange.
The company stated it will begin hiring once its subsidiary, Arbitrade Exchange (Bermuda) Ltd, has been licensed under Bermuda's Digital Asset Business Act.
Mr Burt said the news of the purchase showed the company's commitment to Bermuda. The Premier added: “Having submitted their application to purchase the building and subsequently passing all financial and background checks, it must be noted that the Registrar of Companies had no objections and the Chamber of Commerce have expressed their support.
“We thank Arbitrade for this tangible sign of commitment to Bermuda and look forward to further announcements as the island continues to set the pace for the world in fintech.”
The property acquisition was announced in a statement from Len Schutzman, chairman of Arbitrade. He said: “This purchase represents Arbitrade's commitment to Bermuda as the world's leading jurisdiction in the digital asset space. The company now proposes to make plans to renovate the building to house its global head office digital asset exchange.”
Attempts by The Royal Gazette to contact the company directly to gain more information were unsuccessful yesterday. Calls to its US-based media partner, Creative Management Partners, which has offices listed in New York and Beverly Hills, ended up at an anonymous automated voicemail service, apparently in Massachusetts, while an e-mail bounced back undelivered.
Arbitrade made unusual claims about its future plans when it announced in June that it planned to make Bermuda its home. At the time, the company's home address was the upstairs floor of the former dress shop in a small community in Ontario.
It said it was buying Victoria Hall, and spoke of having access to $10 billion of gold and precious metal bullion to back five crypto tokens. One of those tokens is dignity, which is frequently shortened to DIG. Arbitrade said it eventually plans to back each of the three billion dignity tokens with $1 worth of bullion.
Dignity has been on a rollercoaster ride since April, peaking in early May when it was valued around 29 cents on Coinmarketcap. Last night it was valued at 3½ cents. Data on the website shows that there are currently around 523 million dignity tokens in circulation. The Livecoin digital exchange, the primary platform where dignity is traded, was hit by technical issues in September that resulted in trading of dignity being restricted for a short period of time.
At Arbitrade's June conference call, where no questions were allowed, the company's founder Troy Hogg began by defending himself against social media and online attacks. He then mentioned that the company, in partnership with Sion Trading FZE out of Dubai — which he described as “the only licensed gold trader on the Dubai Gold Exchange” — would be granted $10 billion worth of physical gold to be used to back its tokens. It was claimed that gold, silver, platinum and palladium bullion would be shipped to Bermuda where it would be held in a vault.
Enquiries by The Royal Gazette subsequently revealed that Sion Trading was not a member of the Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange and had no affiliation or relationship with it.
However, a company called Sion Trading FZE holds a commercial licence in the Ras Al Khaimah economic zone, United Arab Emirates. There is no gold exchange in Ras Al Khaimah. Sion's activity is listed as trading non-manufactured precious metals. Its address is a “flexi desk” at the Rakex Business Zone.
During its June announcement, Arbitrade said it will donate $1 million to the Government to help pay for the refurbishment and launch of a fintech co-working incubator space in Hamilton, and expressed a desire to donate a further $125,000 to a variety of projects including the Mirrors programme, Family Centre, an Alice programme for active shooter preparedness in schools and charities, and a gang violence reduction proposal that is to include gang members being paid to work on chicken farms.
In his statement yesterday, Mr Schutzman said: “Once its subsidiary, Arbitrade Exchange (Bermuda) Ltd is licensed under the Digital Asset Business Act 2018, it intends to commence its hiring process, which will create numerous training and employment opportunities for Bermudians.
“Arbitrade Ltd is very excited about developing its long-term partnership with Bermuda for all Bermudians.”
The directors register in Bermuda lists three Arbitrade entities: Arbitrade Ltd, Arbitrade Exchange (Bermuda) Ltd, and Arbitrade Property Holdings Ltd.