School friends who went on to carve out successful careers in finance are taking what they describe as a “calculated risk” and launching an Isle of Man-based business which will manufacture physical bitcoins with long-term plans to distribute the coins on a worldwide basis.
“Bitcoin is becoming increasingly accepted as a standard digital currency and we hope to help establish the Isle of Man as a global hub for bitcoin enterprises, with proper controls and procedures so customers know their bitcoin keys are valid and have not been compromised,” said Adrian Forbes, a former pupil at the Buchan School and King William’s College.
Along with Richard Owusu-Awuah, he has co-founded TGBEX Limited (The Global Bitcoin Exchange) which was officially launched yesterday (Monday) and, for reasons of security, is based at an undisclosed location on the island.
The two, both aged 36, met while pupils at Stonyhurst College in Lancashire.
Adrian started his career with Deloitte’s on the island and has worked for a number of major financial institutions. Most recently he set up Citibank’s Private Equity Services as the head of operations for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Richard, an avid crypto-currency enthusiast and investor, began his career in investment banking at ING Barings and more recently as a risk consultant to the Bank of England.
“TGBEX offers the easiest and safest way to invest in bitcoin,” said Adrian who decided to set-up the company after he struggled to find a trustworthy and secure way to purchase a bitcoin for each of his children.
“It’s not without risk, but Richard and I firmly believe there is a very bright and strong future for bitcoin,” added Adrian. “We will manufacture and distribute physical bitcoins from the Isle of Man where the Government has already announced its intention to oversee and regulate the industry, something we fully support.
“I believe the potential for bitcoin is enormous and it could represent an opportunity for the island as big, if not bigger than e-gaming. A week in the bitcoin world is like a few months in the conventional financial world, things change so quickly. We see bitcoin as having the potential to drastically reduce transaction times and remittance costs in the future.
“It is already covered by Bloomberg and many major newswires. With the maximum number of bitcoins capped at 21 million, many already see it is a store of wealth, or an alternative investment asset. Bitcoin is a potential solution to money laundering, black market transactions and many other problems, as every transaction is a matter of public record, so common fears about the bitcoin are often due to a lack of understanding.”
The coins have been designed using special equipment to achieve a level of detail in the design that make them harder to copy. They are manufactured in various denominations, being individually numbered and secured using a specially designed multi-layered holographic security sticker. The coins are then encased in a protective capsule and presentation box along with a certificate of authenticity and booklet. Higher denomination coins of 10BTC, 20BTC & 50BTC coins are made in solid silver and come in a luxury presentation box.
“While bitcoin is a digital currency, we believe physical bitcoins provide a simple solution to storing bitcoins offline and an attractive product to those new to the technology. We’ve already found that people see physical bitcoins as a novelty, gift or collectable item as well as an investment. Our products are designed for longevity, so customers can retrieve bitcoins in future when they might be of a significant value,” said Richard.
He added: “Bitcoin is fast becoming a fact of life. Despite price volatility, bitcoins are being increasingly viewed as perhaps the ‘ultimate store of value’. The number of online and offline service and retail outlets accepting bitcoins continues to grow every day. Bitcoins can be sent across the globe in minutes and therefore almost eliminate transaction fees. We believe it has the potential to influence all aspects of everyday life and business.” ENDS
Photo - TGBEX Ltd co-founders Adrian Forbes (left) and Richard Owusu-Awuah with bitcoins in presentation boxes.