New syndication player BTX to embrace digital age with instant trading platform
Micro shares to be start-up’s initial foray into racehorse ownership model
A new entrant with the backing of a cohort of thoroughbred and finance industry figures has launched into the crowded syndication market, believing that its unique use of blockchain technology and the development of a trading platform can bring a host of new players into Australian racing.
BTX, which is being fronted by Australian cricketer David Warner and will allow owners to buy micro shares in racehorses for as little as $80, was officially launched yesterday with initial support from leading trainers Ciaron Maher and Adelaide-based Will Clarken.
Former Coolmore employee Sam White, who has more recently also been part of the increasingly powerful Ciaron Maher Racing team in a bloodstock and sales role, is a partner in BTX and he has also taken on the role of head of industry and bloodstock sales for the start-up company.
A regular at the Australasian yearling sales, White has joined forces with Steve Piek, a former senior manager at big four accountancy firm Ernst & Young, and a number of other financial, technological, sports and bloodstock industry figures to form BTX.
Since yesterday’s launch, it is understood more trainers have expressed interest in being aligned with BTX ahead of the 2023 yearling sales. ASIC
“It’s revolutionary for horseracing as this is going to be the first tokenised ASIC-approved financial model in Australia,” White told ANZ Bloodstock News.
“Blockchain’s been recently used to organise the ticketing for UEFA for the Euros. Blockchain has proven popular for the development of fan-based token models throughout some of the major sporting organisations, including Barcelona, Paris St Germain, UEFA and the NBA, but this will be the first financially approved tokenised model in Australia.”
White acknowledged BTX’s microshare model was similar to that of established competitors MiRunners and MyRacehorse, both of which already have a strong presence in Australia, but believes BTX’s use of blockchain technology, and its dynamic trading platform, will bring a new dimension to the racehorse ownership experience.
“While your ownership will be represented as tokens – they’re bought using Australian dollars – and if your horse wins prize-money, then you’ll receive a prize-money dividend relative to your token value in the total unit trust and that will go into your digital wallet on the app in Australian dollars,” White said.
“An interesting part of it … is that the app will become a marketplace. People will be able to buy and sell their interest or tokens in the horse for a single race or on a permanent basis, and at a [potential] profit, so the ability to trade on the platform is the really unique proposition of BTX.”
The BTX trading platform is expected to be operational by the end of this year.
BTX is not the first to embrace blockchain technology, Iron Horse Global burst onto the Australian scene last year, with retired champion Hong Kong trainer John Moore an advocate of the business.
Its initial foray has borne fruits through the deeds of Lonhro Plate (Listed, 1000m) winning and Silver Slipper Stakes (Gr 2, 1100m) placed juvenile Cythera (I Am Invincible) purchased from the 2021 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale for $420,000.
To launch BTX, the company has purchased a stake in the Maher and David Eustace-trained Kettle Hill (Gleneagles), a lightly raced European import bought by Australian Bloodstock and Ronald Raushere for 150,000gns at last year’s Tattersalls Autumn Horses in Training Sale.
A winner of three of his eight starts, the northern hemisphere five-year-old Kettle Hill is yet to race in Australia but is in training in Victoria, while BTX is also offering shares in the Clarken-trained four-year-old Bleriot (Divine Prophet), a three-time winner and stakes-performed mare who is in training at Morphettville.
“Owners receive prize-money as a normal owner would. There’s three years training [fees] upfront, but that money is held in trust and only paid out [to meet costs] month by month,” White said.
“If the horse is sold as a four-year-old as a breeding prospect, for example, then they will receive a refund of training costs or insurance or anything that was planned for the full three-year period on a pro-rata basis and then they’ll get a proceeds of sale relative to their unit size.”
Other trainers have already expressed interest in being involved with BTX, which will derive income via selection and management fees as well as charging a small commission on tokens traded via the bespoke app.
“We’ll initially speculate on potential horses, but then we’ll also provide an opportunity for trainers to list their horses and sell down portions of their speculated yearlings from the sales and we’ll do that in partnership,” he said.
“We’ll work hand in hand with trainers to do pre-registrations whereby owners can commit micro shares towards trainers, which essentially becomes an order for a trainer, or trainers will purchase yearlings and then we’ll work with them on horses that fit and meet our criteria as horses that we want to be part of, so it won’t be open slather as they will be [sold] under PDS [regulations].
“Those horses have to pass the proper veterinary examinations and meet the criteria to receive a PDS like any other syndicated horse does.”
As well as gaining approval from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), BTX has also had its business model ticked off by Racing Australia.
Importantly, White said all token holders would need to provide identification prior to their initial purchase to ensure they were “fit and proper persons” who could comply with the rules of racing.
“You’ve got to upload a copy of your driver’s licence, you’ve got to upload a copy of your passport. There’s a full and regulatory process around approving owners and we’ve also got the power to immediately cancel someone’s registration if they’re deemed to be an unfit or improper person,” he said.
“The vision is that there will be an integration into OpenSea, the online [NFT and crypto collectibles] trading platform, if one [user is] looking to convert their crypto into cash or into tokens to buy a share, then they’re going to have to go through the same regulatory process and meet the rules of Racing Australia and verify themselves as fit and proper persons as required by ASIC.”