Independent Reserve, officially announced the opening of its new exchange based in Sydney, Australia. CEO Adam Tepper said Independent Reserve would add a valuable source of liquidity to the growing global Bitcoin market. In a pre-launch survey with almost 450 people around the world, Independent Reserve found that while only 8 % had used Bitcoin, more than half felt they understood Bitcoin and over 75 % definitely or possibly planned to find out more in the near future.
Independent Reserve’s Bitcoin Use Survey was conducted with 442 consumers aged between 18 and 74, 44% female and 56% male. 20% of respondents said they definitely planned to use Bitcoin in the future, while 60 % said they possibly would.
“The use and ownership of Bitcoins is growing steadily, and those who use them or are interested in using them want a safe, secure place to buy, sell and store them,” he said. “Our team has a solid background in finance as well as IT, bringing the rigour of a financial services framework to the new Bitcoin industry.
“Our proprietary technology includes many levels of safeguards to ensure users are well protected. We have the last mover advantage, and have spent thousands of hours on R&D and learning from other venues to make sure our platform is completely robust,” he said.
Around the world, regulators, central banks and tax offices have been looking at Bitcoin, with some new regulation emerging. In Australia, the tax office announced In August that it would treat Bitcoin as an asset, while in New Zealand the Reserve Bank has simply stated that Bitcoin owners and operators don’t need its approval. Independent Reserve Advisory Board Chairman, Michael Go, said the regulation of Bitcoin was a welcome development for the industry.
“The fact that regulators and industry watchdogs are taking Bitcoin seriously is an excellent thing,” he said. “With increased regulation and vigilance comes improvements in the quality and safety of the industry as a whole, which is something we very much welcome. Bitcoin is an important form of payment for millions of people now, with very significant companies like Dell accepting them as payment, prices shown on Bloomberg terminals and Bitcoin ATMs opening every week. It’s really positive to see the ongoing legitimisation of the Bitcoin environment and its operators.”
Unlike some local venues, Independent Reserve does not charge GST on transactions. CTO Adrian Przelozny said the company strongly believed that Australians should not be penalised for the use of Bitcoin. “We provide an open marketplace for buyers and sellers to meet – we don’t buy or sell Bitcoin in its own right,” he said. “Therefore we are not required to collect GST on the value of Bitcoin traded. We do include GST as part of the brokerage fee charged to Australian customers, but we absorb that cost.”
Independent Reserve will run and maintain its platform from its Sydney base, as Australia offers an ideal environment for Independent Reserve to operate, according to Tepper. “Australia is politically stable with a strong regulatory regime,” he said. “We have spoken consistently with ASIC and the ATO as Independent Reserve has developed, as well as had the company audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers. We’re very comfortable that we have the right settings here to ensure its safety and success.”
Independent Reserve servers are securely located at two Tier 3 data centres in Sydney, allowing for
synchronous replication of all data across both locations in real-time to ensure zero data loss. The market has a fully configured production environment ready to use to should the need arise. Independent Reserve data is signed and encrypted multiple times using geographically dispersed keys, spread across four data centers and the market utilises cold storage to hold the majority of Bitcoins completely offline.
Independent Reserve charges a flat fee of 0.5% on all trades, however it is open to negotiation with market makers and heavy volume traders. Independent Reserve is funded by a group of private investors in Australia and Asia, who share a common vision to take Bitcoin to the next level.