Bitcoin financial services company First Global Credit, Inc. has expanded its offering with customers now able to invest in a range of stocks listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).
Launched in 2014 First Global Credit offers users the ability to use Bitcoin as a collateral margin to trade traditional equities.
The company delivers the service by using a derivative product called a total return swap (TRS), a swap agreement in which one party makes payments based on a set rate, either fixed or variable, while the other party makes payments based on the return of an underlying asset, which includes both the income it generates and any capital gains.
If that doesn’t make a lot of sense to you, in effect it allows First Global to buy or short shares on behalf of their customers, with any profit or loss coming from the positions being settled in Bitcoin.
The new announcement means that in addition to offering stocks from the United States, customers will now have access to highly traded shares from the LSE including Barclays Bank, Vodafone, Telecom Plus and others.
“The best way to serve our customers is to provide choice,” First Global Communications Director Marcie Terman said in a statement. “We already offer a good mix of tech, entertainment, internet and health care stocks and while we offer several ETFs which cover geographic growth areas like Brazil, Russia, China and Mexico, until now choices were limited to the American markets. First Global supports customers from all continents (excepting Antarctica) and it is our plan to offer equity trading from a wide range of countries starting with the United Kingdom, where we have a concentration of clients.”
Terman also disclosed that First Global now has over 1300 registered clients on the platform trading close to $2 million worth of stocks a month.
While margin trading is hardly a new idea, First Global offering the service for those who hold Bitcoin is a clever idea.
The company does more than just trading services though and also offers debt instruments, interest bearing accounts, manager directed funds, merchant services and currency exchanges, essentially a full-service merchant bank but one dedicated to servicing the Bitcoin community.
“We recognize that Bitcoins have value and we will empower our clients so they can use Bitcoins just as they would Fiat currency; to increase the value of their investment portfolios,” the company notes on its about page, and it’s a noble goal at that.
A full list of their services can be found here.