How Upstream plans to disrupt the SPAC industry

The benefits of tokenized SPACs versus traditional SPACs for issuers and investors

4 min readApr 30, 2021

By Vanessa Malone

A few weeks ago, we announced that Horizon and MERJ Exchange are launching tokenized Special Purpose Acquisition Companies “SPACs” that will list on our joint venture ‘Upstream,’ the revolutionary stock exchange and trading app for digital securities.

Upstream offers the world’s first blockchain-based SPAC IPO marketplace, aiming to give investors of all levels direct access to listed SPAC IPOs using crypto in the form of USDC stablecoin or fiat.

As of April 30, 2021, the SPAC market cap has surpassed $100 Billion. Yet to date, the upside for SPACs has almost exclusively been offered to well-connected institutional investors. Upstream aims to change that with a marketplace built to provide issuers a cost effective way to list a SPAC and investors equitable access to the multi-billion-dollar SPAC market.

Key benefits for SPAC investors:

  • Tokenized SPACs will offer investors of all levels capital-protected investments with transparency enforced by the Ethereum blockchain.
  • Upstream maintains certain insurances and bankruptcy protections for cash and securities held by Upstream Members. Details here.
  • Investors will be able to participate in cutting-edge SPAC IPOs using USDC stablecoin or traditional fiat for added flexibility.
  • Traders will control tokenized shares and warrants directly on their smartphones and begin trading immediately following the IPO.
  • Once an acquisition is identified by a SPAC’s management team, shareholders will have the right to vote in the userfriendly app to approve or decline the acquisition.
  • All SPAC IPO funds will be held in secure, regulated, segregated custody accounts, and investors are guaranteed 100% of their investments returned if they decline the acquisition.

Key benefits for SPAC issuers

  • With next generation SPAC issuance and trading technology, SPAC Sponsors will benefit from significantly lower upfront IPO costs, no underwriter fees, and a sub-100-day time to IPO listing.
  • Upstream’s tokenized SPAC methodology is based on the blockchain ERC-20 standard used throughout the “DeFi” space by crypto investors.
  • Lowest risk capital outlay.
  • Potential for a wide investor pool with the ability to invest using crypto in the form of USDC stablecoin and fiat.
  • Joining the world’s first regulated securities exchange for tokenized SPACs.

Upstream is aiming to usher in the next generation of SPACs where all market participants have access, transparency, and security. The anticipated SPAC IPO sizes for the first tokenized SPACs on Upstream are US$25 million to US$100 million. Learn more at If you’re from a team of successful deal makers interested in launching a SPAC on Upstream, please reach us at

About Upstream:

Upstream, a MERJ Exchange Market, is a fully regulated global stock exchange for digital securities. Powered by Horizon’s proprietary matching engine technology, the exchange will enable investors to trade shares in SPACs, high-growth startups, and other unique asset classes directly from the app: Interested issuers can reach the team at

About MERJ:

MERJ Exchange operates Upstream as a fully regulated and licensed integrated securities exchange, clearing system, and depository for digital and non-digital securities. It is an affiliate of the World Federation of Exchanges, recognized by HM Revenue and Customs UK, a full member of the Association of National Numbering Agencies, and a Qualifying Foreign Exchange for OTC Markets in the US. MERJ is also a member of the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative.

About Horizon:

Horizon is a fintech company that builds and powers global securities exchanges with an integrated suite of software for compliant issuance, management, and secondary trading of securities. Our in-house solutions combine Wall Street and Silicon Valley to power the next generation of securities offerings and trading in the U.S. and globally:


+ USDC funds are custodied pursuant to the Liechtenstein Law on “Tokens and Trusted Technology Service Providers” as passed in Blockchain Act on October 3, 2019 and/or MERJ Depository and Registry Limited: Licensed securities facility (License No. SF001).

Upstream is a MERJ Exchange market. MERJ Exchange is a licensed Securities Exchange, an affiliate of the World Federation of Exchanges and full member of ANNA. MERJ supports global issuers of traditional and digital securities through the entire asset life cycle from issuance to trading, clearing, settlement and registry. It operates a fair and transparent marketplace in line with international best practice and principles of operations of financial markets. Upstream does not endorse or recommend any public or private securities bought or sold on its app. Upstream does not offer investment advice or recommendations of any kind. All services offered by Upstream are intended for self-directed clients who make their own investment decisions without aid or assistance from Upstream. Customers must comply with applicable law of their own jurisdiction. By accessing the site or app, you agreed to be bound by its terms of use and privacy policy. Company and security listings on Upstream are only suitable for investors who are familiar with and willing to accept the high risk associated with speculative investments, often in early and development stage companies. There can be no assurance the valuation of any particular company’s securities is accurate or in agreement with the market or industry comparative valuations. Investors must be able to afford market volatility and afford the loss of their investment. Companies listed on Upstream are subject to significant ongoing corporate obligations including, but not limited to disclosure, filings and notification requirements, as well compliance with applicable quantitative and qualitative listing standards.





A MERJ Exchange Market. Ethereum-powered trading app for digital securities and NFTs. Learn more at