It will soon be possible to buy shares anonymously and securely anywhere in the world via cryptocurrency. And for smaller investors, shares of shares will be available, all for almost no transaction fees. TechCrunch Shanghai exhibitor, Russian startup Zeus Exchange, has registered in Singapore and become licensed in Cyprus to trade shares using the smart asset blockchain—the world’s first—developed by Singapore-based foundation, NEM. The not-for-profit foundation is developing its systems in China. The framework that Zeus Exchange will use could be particularly successful in China due to it allowing access to exchanges all around the world via Cyprus. Plus anonymously, and at small scale.

China is the only country in the world where individuals investors far exceed institutional traders: their trades make up 80% of the country’s $7.6 trillion market. They are the most active traders in the world and skeptical of funds as managers in the past have been known to engage in unethical manipulation of the market.

The process behind Zeus is somewhat complicated. An institutional investor that is holding a share of a company for the long term can effectively rent it out for a fee for a fixed term. The broker then uses this real share as the basis for creating a crypto asset which can be bought by clients of the broker via NEM’s blockchain ledger system and cryptocurrencies such as BTC, ETH, ZEM. When the exchange becomes fully functional in March 2018, it will effectively be able to decentralize a stock exchange.

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Frank Hersey

Frank Hersey is a Beijing-based tech reporter who's been coming to China since 2001. He tries to go beyond the headlines to explain the context and impact of developments in China's tech sector. Get in...