Hedgeable has announced an ambitious plan to give one free bitcoin to every interested investor who enrolls in its Plus Program, a promotion the company emphasizes is available to "every person in America".
Founded in 2009, the VC-backed asset management startup aims to "democratize" access to advanced investing platforms, bringing exposure to new and potentially lucrative asset classes like bitcoin to those who it considers everyday investors.
Hedgeable CEO and co-founder Michael Kane sought to frame the somewhat exaggerated announcement as one that best expresses its core vision: that every American should have access to potentially high-reward asset classes such as bitcoin.
Kane told CoinDesk:
"We want everyone in America to own bitcoin as they do dollars, so we're talking to people who don't own bitcoin now but want it. There are millions of people who read about this, think this is very innovative, but there's no one that holds their hand to help them do this."
Kane indicated that while high net-worth individuals currently have access to bitcoin through hedge funds, family offices and other outlets, it is seeking to bring exposure to this asset class down market, to those who might consider it alongside a more traditional investment vehicle such as an IRA or 401(k).
The promotion is part of a multi-stage rollout of bitcoin services at the company, which has integrated its platform with bitcoin services provider Coinbase.
The company's Plus Program requires a minimum $25,000 investment, and associated fees can be paid with bitcoin. Bitcoin investments are currently not available with its $5,000 basic investment program.
375 million investors
"The average client with us has $250,000, that's actually the average account size in America. However, if you have $200,000, you're really in the dark, most high-quality investment solutions are $250,000 and up," he said.
While bullish on the industry, Hedgeable acknowledges the risk associated with bitcoin in its available materials, though it suggests its expertise can reduce any potential downside.
In spite of this, however, Kane believes that bitcoin could be a beneficial addition to the portfolio of Hedgeable's clients, providing a valuable hedge given the risks he sees inherent in investments overly focused on US dollars.
"There are 375 million investors in the US and all of their holdings are in US dollars. This is the only country in the world where that's the case," Kane said.
Focus on education
Kane stressed that while Hedgeable wants to provide convenience to its clients, the startup also plans to offer education to those who want to learn about bitcoin before allocating some of their holdings to the investment.
Key to this mission will be increasing the exposure it provides to clients who express an interest in bitcoin, something it plans to do in ways that go beyond simply providing educational materials.
"We'll be launching a bitcoin center in January, so that will be retail investor focused," Kane said. "That's really what we're about, democratizing, educating."
As for how the company will pay for any new bitcoin it purchases, Kane suggested that both company earnings and its VC investments could be used toward the promotion.
"There's no issue for us," he said. "If there's 1,000 people, we have no issue in funding that."
Invest America image via Shutterstock