Startups duo seeks €19m in ICO for crypto exchange

Two Irish entrepreneurs Joe Haslam and Conor O’Connor are seeking up to €19m in an initial coin offering, ahead of the launch next month of Local Token Exchange (LTE), a decentralised cryptocurrency exchange they have founded that makes it easier for people to trade various types of the digital currencies.

The pair, who are based in Spain, previously founded hotel booking app Hot Hotels in 2012.

It continues to operate after they raised €1.8m in seed funding and were accepted into a US tech startup accelerator, Techstars, in 2015.

Corkman Haslam lectures in entrepreneurship and scaling up businesses at the IE Business school in Madrid. O’Connor, who is from Wicklow, previously sold a hotel booking business to Norwegian group Schibsted.

“Most crypto transactions at the moment take place on centralised exchanges. Our approach is peer-to-peer and it democratises the process. Our transactions take place using smart contracts and Escrow. There are very few decentralised exchanges currently operating,” said O’Connor.

“We aim to enable trading in over 100 cryptocurrencies by the end of the year. Most exchanges allow a lot fewer. It’s estimated that there were up to 30,000 ICOs last year, while there are currently up to 1,000 per month,” he added.

The money raised will be used for development, marketing and maintenance, he said. LTE currently employs a team of nine, which it aims to double, and has six advisers.

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