Global financial and technology company Abra is expanding its operations in the Philippines with the launch of a new feature in its mobile application that allows users in the country and in more than 150 countries to invest in fractional shares of traditional US stocks and exchange-traded funds using bitcoin.
“The app is live in more than 150 countries. The top two countries for us so far is the US and the Philippines. We are also doing more marketing in other countries as well to expand our business,” Bill Barhydt, the founder and chief executive of Abra, told reporters in a news briefing.
“Investing in financial markets is a basic tool to build personal wealth. Yet outside of the United States, most of the world’s population is not invested in financial assets or markets due to issues of access and affordability,” he said.
“Abra addresses this global inequality by allowing more people to have a stake in financial markets. The focus of this launch is to make financial markets of the developed world more accessible and affordable to those in emerging economies,” Barhydt said.
The company launched the new mobile feature, which allows Filipinos to invest in US stocks.
“The interest is way higher here so far than the other countries. There’s higher GDP [gross domestic product] per person here, which means higher investment income,” Barhydt said.
Abra makes investing in US stocks affordable for everyone with a fractionalized investment model of $5 minimum per investment.
Just as investors can own a fraction of a bitcoin, they can now use Abra to own fractions of high-priced stocks and ETFs. As a special launch promotion, Abra will be offering $0 trading fees for the rest of 2019 on stock and ETF investments.
Bitcoin is a digital currency that uses the blockchain technology to facilitate secure, public and anonymous transactions.
Global investors outside the United States can now fractionally invest in more than 50 stock and ETF products, including popular stocks like Tesla, Uber, Apple, Amazon, Google, Netflix and Berkshire Hathaway.
Abra also plans to offer Philippine stocks in the future. “We want to offer every major equity market for all and so our plans is to get them one at a time,” Barhydt said.
The most in-demand stocks are in the US, Europe and China.
Abra is a non-custodial platform unlike crypto exchanges or wallets that operate like traditional banks. This means the funds are stored on the bitcoin blockchain, making the transactions more secure and private than centralized databases used by most crypto exchanges and wallets.
Abra is backed up by American Express Ventures, First Round Capital, Foxconn Technology Group, Arbor Ventures, Lerer Hippeau, RRE Ventures, Silver 8 Capital and many others.