Hong Kong-based startup Gatecoin today launched their proprietary Bitcoin trading platform. The new exchange allows users to buy and sell bitcoin using Hong Kong Dollars, U.S. Dollars, or Euros. Additionally, the company offers a world first, a MasterCard backed by Bitcoin.
“We’ve spent 2 years developing a bank grade trading platform,” stated Gatecoin President and Co-Founder Aurelien Menant. “The system employs encryption throughout, 2 factor authentication, and multisig cold storage wallets.”
Gatecoin has partnered with European and North American banking partners to provide clients trading in Euros and U.S. Dollars with secure segregated accounts. Fiat currency accounts and Bitcoin accounts are separate and not commingled. Gatecoin clients can buy and sell Bitcoin using either market or limit orders. The company is also looking at offering additional altcoins in the future. The company blog also states they will be implementing the Ripple protocol in the next few weeks.
Gatecoin has partnered with Aerapay to offer MasterCard services to Gatecoin clients. MasterCards will be issued in either tradition fiat currency form or backed by Bitcoin. “The Bitcoin backed MasterCard has a Bitcoin wallet built into it,” explained Menant. “When the customer uses the card to make a purchase, the necessary amount of Bitcoin is sold at market prices to cover the expense. This means users can keep their money in Bitcoin but still use it to make purchases nominated in traditional currencies, at any place that accepts MasterCard.”
Customers can add fiat currency to their accounts using either wire transfers or OKPay. To reduce transfer times and costs, the company has set up partnerships with 40 banks on 5 continents.
To make owning Bitcoin simpler, Gatecoin provides their customers hardware wallets from Ledger. The Ledger wallets are USB-based smartcard wallets that provide improved security and a convenient option to paper wallets. Gatecoin is the distributor for Ledger wallets in Asia.
Gatecoin is a self-funded startup. They were incubated jointly by the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park and Tsinghua University in Beijing. The company also won Best StartUp in East Asia at the 2014 Talent Unleashed competition. Menant has a background in banking and finance and has worked previously with BNP Paribas, JP Morgan, and Societe Generale in their offices in Paris, London and Hong Kong.
The company is licensed as a Money Service Operator in Hong Kong and, according to Menant, is in the process of obtaining MSB licensing in the U.S. and Europe. The company promises regular third party audits, but has yet to release details.
This article was written by Ric Shreves, co-founder of Coin Academy.