A campaign to gain members and crowdfunding for a new bitcoin exchange has been launched by a New York-based company called Atlas Inc. It claims to use software that it describes as already being battle tested and to have Wall Street trading experts on its staff.
According to the campaign video, its software has already been used for large volume trading. It thinks this will give it an edge over other exchanges that have suffered long backlogs of trades due to spikes in trading volume. It calls the software the "Atlas web-based workstation". However, it does not identify the so-called battle-tested software that it is using as a trading engine.
The Indiegogo campaign includes a development roadmap that indicates Atlas is still at its first phase of "beta testing with simulated trading" and launching the actual funding campaign. Provided the company get the required funding, the next phase will allow users to fund their accounts in bitcoin only; funding with US dollars will come in the next phase. Following that, Atlas hopes to launch APIs for integration with professional traders, hedge funds and market makers.
Another key aspect to Atlas is that it is aiming to be fully compliant with US regulations. However, this isn't as simple as it sounds. We recently spoke with Jesse Powel who is the CEO of Kraken, another upcoming bitcoin exchange, and he told us:
It's very difficult. That money transmission piece does make it very difficult to operate just because the process is so long. Every state has their own definition of money transmitter, even their own definition of money itself. They have their own set of requirements for getting licensed, their own application process. A different set of fees. It feels like a gruelling task to go after all of these licenses. It would cost at least a million dollars to do it. You would need to have huge capital reserves, and it would take you at least a year and a half. There are states like California that seem to just deny you arbitrarily, and they won't tell you why they have denied you. It's a difficult process, and the biggest problem is the amount of time it takes to do it. There's enough money, and enough investors interested in the space that if it were just a matter of money it wouldn't be a problem. It is the fact that it will take you a year and a half to actually do this and get the responses from states, so there's some things you can do in the meantime like try to find some kind of agency agreement with someone who already has the licenses. Or work with a bank for an agency agreement, because federally chartered banks have an exemption from the money transmission rules.
Atlas says that if it reaches its first funding goal of $25,000, it will use the funds for further campaigns to increase the public awareness of bitcoin (including the role of exchanges) and to complete development of its exchange to allow for live trading. If it reaches its second level of $50,000 or more, then it will develop further features and engage in "lobbying to help formulate the regulations that might govern the bitcoin community".
At the time of writing, Atlas has raised just $25 of its $25,000 goal, and the campaign has 45 days to raise the rest. Other funding incentives for Indiegogo members include various lifetime membership statuses and a contribution of $15 will enable you to take part in the beta phase.