Upstream, strategic partnerships, NFTs, & more

By Vanessa Malone

From the launch of Upstream to our notable strategic partnership announcements, Horizon is positioning itself to revolutionize trading with blockchain technology.

As we approach 2022, we want to first look back at our biggest accomplishments from 2021 that led us to this key moment in our company’s growth plan.

February 12 — Horizon authorizes SEC-regulated transfer agent Vertalo to list issuers on the Upstream global stock exchange

Horizon partnered with SEC-registered transfer agent, Vertalo, to offer U.S. issuers secondary trading liquidity on Upstream.

The partnership authorizes Vertalo to list U.S. issuers on Upstream, giving issuers a seamless path to secondary trading on the next generation digital exchange and trading app.

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.

February 23— Liquidity for the crowdfunding market webinar with the Crowdfunding Professional Association, CfPA

Crowdfunding pioneer and Horizon President, Mark Elenowitz; and JOBS Act lawyer and Crowdie Advisors Principal, Maureen L. Murat, Esq., hosted a webinar to discuss progress for the crowdfunding industry, the legislation that has created opportunities and roadblocks, and how Horizon’s trading technology unlocks liquidity in the market.

Over the last few years, billions have been invested in crowdfunded offerings, yet no exchange has existed to provide exit-liquidity. Upstream provides the first secondary market for crowdfunded securities to trade in real-time from a user-friendly trading app.

Upstream is accepting listing applications from existing issuers who have completed their offerings on crowdfunding platforms around the world, and who are looking to provide exit-liquidity to their shareholders and offer their shares to a whole new set of fans, investors, and traders. Register interest at

March 5 — Debenture trading platform launches in Brazil using Horizon’s blockchain technology

Through a licensing agreement with global financial group, Piemonte Holding, Horizon built the A-rated Brazilian financial institution a first of its kind bond issuance and secondary exchange for its private investors which is live today.

It enables Piemonte’s private investors to trade about R$150 million in debentures and investment fund units entirely on the Ethereum blockchain. This also offers qualified investors liquidity potential prior to bond maturity, a unique offering.

April 2 —Horizon’s fan engagement platform, Global Fan Exchange, launches

Global Fan Exchange “GFX” is a next generation fan engagement platform giving athletes, teams, musicians, and entertainers the opportunity to leverage their personal brands to fund their ventures. 

Celebrities work with Horizon to create Special Purpose Vehicles (“SPVs”) on GFX and Upstream which gives fans the opportunity to invest, drive awareness, and own a piece of unique ventures.

Artists leverage their social media presence to help spread investment opportunities to fans while Horizon supports issuers through the corporate, compliance, and offering requirements.

Using Upstream, fans can trade shares with other fans from around the world for as little as $25, receive potential dividends and royalties, and purchase memorabilia as NFTs (non-fungible tokens).

July 7— Pitbull joins Horizon’s music division as a strategic advisor

Grammy-winning, international superstar Armando Christian Pérez, aka Pitbull, joined Horizon’s music division.

As a strategic advisor, Pitbull brings global exposure potential to Upstream and Horizon’s innovative methodology which empowers musicians with the tools to fund their ventures with crowdfunded capital from fans who’ll become brand ambassadors with a vested interest in the artists’ success.

As a Grammy-winning artist, education advocate, and entrepreneur with dozens of international number ones, hundreds of gold and platinum certifications, single sales of over 80M, and cumulative views above 15B; Pitbull offers invaluable experience and key relationships to help drive Horizon and Upstream’s growth initiatives across the music industry.

July 20 — Horizon partners with SME 360 to launch sports and entertainment investment opportunities from Asia Pacific 

Horizon has formed a strategic partnership with Sports Media and Entertainment 360 “SME 360” which aims to bring investment opportunities across Asia Pacific to fans on GFX and Upstream.

The partnership will offer celebrities and professional sport franchises including football clubs, cricket teams, motorsports teams and more the tools to raise capital from fans who will in turn own an equity stake in the ventures.

Capital raised for sports teams can be deployed to hire new talent, attract sponsors, fund a match or race; and capital raised for celebrities can be used to accelerate a new business idea, sell a percent of their music royalty, re-record their masters, fund their next tour, and create memorabilia NFTs (non-fungible tokens).

August 4— Horizon partners with Timbaland’s ‘Beatclub’

Horizon has partnered with Grammy Award-winning Producer Timbaland and Gary Marella’s highly anticipated beat-selling marketplace, Beatclub.

Founded by Timbaland and Gary Marella, Beatclub enables artists to create music from beats crafted by Timbaland and other super-producers like Mike WiLL Made-It, Cash Money AP, Mike Dean, Tainy, J. Cole, Federico Vindver, Larrance Dopson, Tommy Brown and other A-list creators. Beatclub also recently partnered with both the National Hockey League (NHL) and Red Bull to provide custom music experiences.

The partnership aims to bring first-of-their kind investment and regulated trading opportunities to fans globally while empowering the music creator community with the tools to drive funding and next level fan engagement to their music. First deals are expected to go live next year in 2022.

“Integrating with Beatclub, a platform with thousands of the top producers, writers and artists gives us unprecedented access to the music industry. Our collaboration will enable us to bring innovative music ownership, NFT services, and regulated trading opportunities to our growing fan-investor community.”

— Mark Elenowitz, Horizon President

October 27 — Upstream officially launches for novel digital assets, securities and NFTs

Upstream, a MERJ Exchange Market powered by Horizon’s proprietary blockchain technology suite, proudly introduces a revolutionary global marketplace for digital assets, securities, and NFTs to trade on the Ethereum blockchain.

Upstream launches with investment and formal partnerships from high-profile artists and entertainers, each bringing a wide-ranging network of potential fan-driven IPOs and NFT opportunities across music, entertainment, and sports, with exclusive NFT drops expected in the months ahead.

Fan-driven IPOs sourced from strategic partnerships will be available on Upstream for the global community to own an equity stake celebrity ventures and then trade with other fans, something that has never been done before on a national securities exchange. 

October 27 — FRESH KILLS IPO launches on Upstream

The first fan-driven IPO available on Upstream is for Jennifer Esposito’s FRESH KILLS, the first feature film financed and traded on a global stock exchange.¹

Actress Jennifer Esposito makes her directorial debut with the independent feature film, a gripping drama that tells the story of the loyal women of an organized crime family that dominated some of the boroughs of New York City in the late 20th century.

Anyone outside the United States and Canada 18 and over may buy the Fresh Kills’ securities through the Upstream app using PayPal, USDC stablecoin, or traditional bank payments. These shares become available to trade with other non-U.S. based investors on the Upstream app after the IPO closes.

Additionally, accredited investors²” in the United States may purchase Fresh Kills’ securities sold in an offering exempt from the registration requirements set forth in the Securities Act of 1933 pursuant to a Regulation D, Rule 506(c) offering.

Apart from purchasing FRESH KILLS’ securities, fans in the United States and worldwide can support the FRESH KILLS film and movement by purchasing “FRESH NFTs” which feature exciting opportunities related to the film, as well as images, videos, or content from the film, cast and crew.

December 3 — One-stop-shop NFT marketplace on Upstream

Minting and trading NFTs on Upstream’s fully regulated exchange introduces what we believe to be the next evolution of Ethereum layer-2 NFT trading. Upstream offers a true one-stop-shop for creating and selling NFTs with no third-party integrations and no blockchain knowledge needed. We also believe participating in a regulated NFT environment offers an array of benefits to creators and traders compared to existing NFT marketplaces.

Because Upstream onboarding includes identity verification, anti-money laundering (AML) and copyright protection, buyers and sellers are safeguarded. Upstream supports NFTs tied to high-profile athlete and celebrity IPOs that may list on Upstream, so it was critical to include measures that protect personal brands and their fans. This also creates a safe and secure NFT ecosystem for our community to transact in throughout the NFTs’ lifecycles. 

Upstream operates as a layer-2 Ethereum rollup with no gas fee for its users, no funding fee, no cryptocurrency exchange fee, no NFT bid fee, no NFT transfer fee for winning bids, and no ACH withdrawal fees to a U.S. bank. So, on Upstream, a trader could fund with $100, and buy an NFT for $100 with zero fees

Upstream only charges creators/sellers a $1 NFT auction fee, and only upon sale will sellers pay a 2% sales commission, constituting some of the lowest creator/seller fees in the NFT space.

December 10— Eco-friendly exchange 

As a company built on Ethereum, Horizon has always been forward thinking when building out its blockchain trading technology to address scalability, gas fees, and our environmental impact.

Upstream is a layer 2 solution, so we address scalability and other Ethereum pain points by taking transactions off of the Mainnet while maintaining the decentralized security model that layer 1 provides. Layer 2 solutions also increase throughput (transaction speed) and reduce gas fees, which leads to significantly lower energy usage.

Upstream traders don’t have high gas fees to worry about. In fact, Upstream doesn’t charge traders any layer 2 gas fees. Instead, Upstream is and continues to remain carbon neutral. Our systems spend a little PoW ETH on Ethereum in order to execute our layer 2 rollup transactions, however, we only mine our ETH during the day using power supplied by our 36 solar panels. Any excess energy captured from the day is transferred to a 10kWh battery in order to continue mining our ETH as the sun goes down.

As Ethereum continues to improve, scale and complete its merge with its ultra-low carbon footprint proof-of-stake beacon chain, we will continue to do our part in remaining eco-conscious as we rollout the next generation of layer 2 NFT minting, IPOs and trading on Ethereum.

December 17 — Upstream enables traditional equities to be bought using USDC stablecoin for the first time through dual listings

Upstream announced it is offering dual listing capability to U.S. NASDAQ and over the counter (OTC) market issuers and international stock exchanges including EURONEXT, TSX, and CSE. 

Through dual listing, Upstream aims to unlock liquidity and enhance price discovery for issuers by connecting to a wider potential investor pool, including the growing crypto community, who may now trade traditional equities using USDC stablecoin for the first time on a userfriendly trading app. In addition to USDC, investors can purchase U.S. and international equities using PayPal, credit and debit cards, and USD.

Interested issuers can get started today at or contact Upstream at with any questions.

“Upstream has created the ability for digital currency to be used to buy U.S. and International equities, representing the first time that traditional equities can be bought using USDC stablecoin. We believe Upstream supports the future of global trading that forward-thinking issuers are after, bringing them into the digital age with a real-time trading app that harnesses the efficiency of crypto markets.”

— Horizon President Mark Elenowitz. 


We are very proud of what the Horizon team has accomplished in 2021. We expect to hit the ground running in 2022 with first of their kind NFTs, dual listings, and fan-driven IPOs coming in the new year. Upstream and its capabilities as a next generation exchange and trading app has only begun to take shape.

Connect with Horizon on social (Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook) and join our newsletter at to be one of the first to hear about milestones and opportunities.


1 The securities the Company is offering, where permitted by law, are shares of its Series A Convertible Preferred Stock.
2 Accredited Investor as defined in Rule 501(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended. Restricted securities sold pursuant to the Reg D 506(c) offering will not be eligible to trade immediately and will need to be held for at least one year before sale or transfer, with limited exceptions.

About Upstream

Upstream, a MERJ Exchange Market, is a fully regulated global stock exchange for digital securities. Powered by Horizon’s proprietary matching engine technology, the exchange enables investors to trade shares in IPOs, crowdfunded companies, U.S. and international dual listed equities, SPACs and celebrity ventures directly from the app Interested issuers can reach the team at

About Horizon

Horizon is a fintech company that builds and powers global securities exchanges with an integrated suite of software for compliant issuance, management, and secondary trading of securities. Their in-house solutions combine Wall Street and Silicon Valley to power the next generation of securities offerings and trading in the U.S. and globally. Learn more at


This blog shall not constitute an offer to sell securities or the solicitation of an offer to buy securities in any jurisdiction where such offer or solicitation is not permitted. U.S. investors are not permitted to trade in Upstream listed securities. U.S. and Canadian citizens will only be able to trade in a security they currently own that has listed on upstream for liquidation only.

Upstream is a MERJ Exchange market. MERJ Exchange is a licensed Securities Exchange, an affiliate of the World Federation of Exchanges and full member of ANNA. MERJ supports global issuers of traditional and digital securities through the entire asset life cycle from issuance to trading, clearing, settlement and registry. It operates a fair and transparent marketplace in line with international best practice and principles of operations of financial markets. Upstream does not endorse or recommend any public or private securities bought or sold on its app. Upstream does not offer investment advice or recommendations of any kind. All brokerage services offered by Upstream are intended for self-directed clients who make their own investment decisions without aid or assistance from Upstream. All customers are subject to the rules and regulations of their jurisdiction. By accessing the site or app, you agreed to be bound by its terms of use and privacy policy. Company and security listings on Upstream are only suitable for investors who are familiar with and willing to accept the high risk associated with speculative investments, often in early and development stage companies. There can be no assurance the valuation of any particular company’s securities is accurate or in agreement with the market or industry comparative valuations. Investors must be able to afford market volatility and afford the loss of their investment. Companies listed on Upstream are subject to significant ongoing corporate obligations including, but not limited to disclosure, filings and notification requirements, as well compliance with applicable quantitative and qualitative listing standards.

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