Partnership to offer U.S. issuers secondary trading liquidity on the next generation digital exchange & trading app
By Vanessa Malone
Yesterday, we announced that Horizon has partnered with SEC-registered transfer agent Vertalo!¹
The partnership authorizes Vertalo to list U.S. issuers on the Upstream global stock exchange, giving issuers a seamless path to secondary trading on the next generation digital exchange and trading app for crowdfunded securities.
Vertalo, the Cayman subsidiary of US-based SeriesX, has supported the digital securities community with its industry-leading lifecycle management solutions since May 2018. This agreement enables Vertalo to expand its securities lifecycle offering through to a regulated secondary trading marketplace.
Expected Q1 2021, Upstream is a joint venture between Horizon and MERJ Exchange,² an affiliate of the World Federation of Exchanges, which is set to be one of the first exchanges dedicated to the $4.9-billion-dollar global equity crowdfunding market.³ Upstream will list crowdfunding issuers in addition to supporting IPOs, STOs, and secondary listings for fan-driven asset classes related to international athletes, musicians and entertainers.
What’s the significance of the partnership?
We believe that our partnership with Vertalo to streamline U.S. issuer access to Upstream’s innovative market is part of a timely movement against naked short-selling and towards improved liquidity for private assets and investors who are currently underserved.
For the last few weeks, in true Main Street versus Wall Street fashion, the world witnessed the everyday investor take a stand against Wall Street by pumping the stock prices of GameStop (GME) and various others to counter Wall Street hedge funds that were shorting the stocks.
The trading restrictions on the retail investor community while hedge funds were able to freely buy and sell the same stock worked to re-ignite the rally cry for the democratization of finance. It also put the spotlight on the importance of increasing equitable access to capital markets for both issuers and investors.
We believe Upstream represents the next generation of trading and offers issuers and investors of all levels access to a market that is fair by design, not just attested to by a company slogan.
Unlike Alternative Trading Systems (ATSs) which are private marketplaces for order matching, Upstream is a regulated stock exchange open to the public and offers real time, live trading from a user-friendly retail trading app.
Traders are also given direct access to the exchange. The market features a public orderbook with best bids and offers transparently displayed in real-time on the Ethereum blockchain. Upstream’s fully lit order-book ensures that “dark liquidity” cannot erode trading conditions for its users. We believe this leads to better price discovery, narrower spreads and best execution across all order sizes. Upstream’s orderbook is driven by the investor community rather than many of today’s retail marketplaces where pricing relies on market makers and routing order flow.⁴
Further, Upstream’s user-centric trading technology and monitored liquidity pools ensure that predatory market practices like short-selling are proactively prevented.
Upstream is now accepting IPOs and secondary trading listing at https://upstream.exchange. Interested transfer agents, registrars, brokers, and other crowdfunding community participants can reach the Upstream team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quotes from management:
Horizon CEO Brian Collins shared, “We are thrilled to add Vertalo to Horizon’s list of authorized U.S. transfer agents. Upstream gives direct exchange access to Vertalo issuers looking to reach a new retail audience, and supply exit-liquidity for their shareholders.”
Vertalo CEO and Co-Founder Dave Hendricks says, “We look forward to expanding our transfer agent and cap table management solutions to more issuers and giving our investor community access to Upstream’s exciting new retail exchange that’s squarely aimed at unlocking liquidity in the multi-billion-dollar U.S. crowdfunding industry. This partnership between Vertalo and Horizon is part of a growing movement against naked short-selling and towards improved liquidity for private assets and investors who are currently underserved by a system that excludes thousands of companies that are seeking alternatives to traditional M&A or unicorn-first IPO liquidity.”