A blockchain-centered company has gone public on the stock market.
Following a $20 million capital raise and reverse merger, digital finance company Diginex's stock has listed on the Nasdaq exchange under the ticker EQOS.
Diginex is "the first Nasdaq-listed company that covers the full virtual currency ecosystem," Diginex CEO Richard Byworth told Cointelegraph in an interview. "I think this is hugely important for the development of the industry. Prior to this, you've pretty much only had exposure to direct crypto assets via ETF-like structures," he said, mentioning products such as those offered by Grayscale.
Diginex is the parent of a number of different crypto and blockchain-focused entities, including crypto exchange Equos, and Digivault — the company's digital asset custody wing. Equos opened just recently, on July 30.
Diginex is involved in many areas of the crypto and blockchain space and Byworth believes it represents a way to invest in the overall crypto space via the mainstream U.S. stock market.
"Now you finally have a picks and shovels trade for the entire asset class."
"Having that on the public markets is hugely differentiating," he added. "It's a really nice exposure diversification for a portfolio that's focused on this asset class."
Back in the 1800s, Americans flocked west in search of gold, and needed to buy picks and shovels to unearth the precious metal. Consequently, it was a safer bet to the own pick and shovel companies, which made tremendous profits during this era, rather than to search for gold itself, the results of which were less consistent. Diginex is like a modern-day pick and shovel company, according to Byworth.
In addition to its exchange, custody solution, asset management and multi-venue trading platform, Diginex also boasts involvement with digital securities.
Diginex took an indirect approach to going public as a listed company, going through a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC — a classification referring to "blank-check companies that are formed for the purpose of merging or acquiring other companies," as explained in a TechCrunch article.
Diginex merged with 8i Enterprises, a SPAC that is already publicly traded. As of the reverse merger and listing today, 8i Enterprises Acquisition Corporation now goes by the name Diginex. Today essentially serves as the inaugural trading day for EQOS, formerly known under the ticker JFK (the company traded as 8i Enterprises before the reverse merger).
Diginex's public debut has been years in the making. Plans for the reverse merger hit headlines in July 2019. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, gave the reverse merger and public Nasdaq listing a green light in February 2020.