New blockchain platform seeks to take shipowning to the masses.
Project also aims to help small and medium sized shipowners securing financing.
February 4th, 2018 19:06 GMT by Andy Pierce Published in FINANCE
Former DVB man Mitul Dave and two business partners are behind a new platform which is employing blockchain technology with the aim to open the door for seafarers and others to become shipowners.
Shipowner.io is being promoted as the world’s first distributed ledger platform allowing the participation in the capital financing of shipping assets and services.
Shipping’s cryptocurrency pioneers look beyond Bitcoin
Dave, formerly of DVB and GE Capital, says the platform has been launched to assist small to medium sized owners in securing finance for vessels while allowing traders to buy stakes in ships for $100 or less.
“Think of it like Tesco,” he said. “You can go into the store and pick off the shelf a fraction of an LNG carrier or a chemical tanker.
“The next day it you wake up and decide you don’t like chemical tankers you can sell and buy a share of a bulk carrier.”
Unlike Bitcoin, Dave says those holding his ship tokens will be able to own a stake in tangible assets.
Like investors in the Norwegian KS system, once the platform’s online customers have been verified, they will have full access to the ships’ details, contract coverage and other relevant information.
And unlike funds seeking to invest in shipping, Shipowner.io’s exchange will give its investors the opportunity to exit immediately, Dave adds.
Dave, who went to sea early in his career, suggests the world’s 250,000 seafarers will be among his target market as investors, alongside traders in Ethereum and other cryptocurrency.
“We have an opportunity to bring the future to shipping,” he said, reasoning that it is important to get the next generation interested in the industry.
Following testing, the first 25 million token live phase is set to be launched in the coming weeks, with the project then unfolding in three further stages.
Longer term, according to a statement announcing the new venture, the target is to finance $14bn of assets and services by 2023.
Dave, who has former DVB colleague Riaz Khan on board as an advisory board member, says that several shipowners have expressed an interest in the platform.
It comes at a time when conventional lenders are focusing on large companies rather than small and medium sized owners, who can in some cases have a better business model, he continued.
Dave suggested the cost base will be 10 to 50 times lower than working with banks, helped by the technology, increasing transparency and removing the need for the number on intermediaries involved in a typical shipping deal today.
Dave is the co-founder of AlphaSeas Group and was head of marine business risks at GE Capital after holding research and corporate finance positions at DVB.
Erdal Uludag and Captain Vinil Gupta are the other co-founders of Shipowner.io, which is backed by AlphaSeas.