Finally, almost a week after BPS Technology informed the world that they had negotiated a secret exclusive edorsement of their technology for the next 15 years, IRTA has confirmed this with an email to selected members of the industry. There is still no mention of this stunning agreement on the IRTA website yet*, so here is the formal announcement from IRTA, in full:
UPDATE: IRTA emailed this announcement to selected members of the industry and no notification was made to the public. After I blogged the announcement the notice was quickly placed on the www.irta.com website. It was then removed from public view and is not now visible. Why would IRTA not want it visible any more? This bahaviour makes Mickey Mouse look like a genius and raises more questions about the way the secret deal was struck (if indeed it even was properly ratified by the IRTA Global Board); the way the whole saga was handled and the competence and integrity of the perpetrators of the nonsense!
IRTA UPDATE REGARDING BPS TECHNOLOGY LIMITED/BARTERCARD IPO
IRTA’s wholly owned subsidiary, Universal Currency Clearinghouse, Inc. (UC), has operated as a successful global inter-exchange clearinghouse platform for trade exchanges for seventeen years.
UC was conceived as a strategic advancement in the industry that would allow barter companies to trade through a common currency thereby increasing the trade volume of all participants and also operate to attract many more businesses to the barter model worldwide.
In the last seventeen years the barter software industry has grown, providing barter exchanges a large choice of software platforms to choose from, many of which provide their own version of inter-exchange currencies. These inter-exchange currencies in effect compete with UC, thereby further splintering the industry, which is counter to UC’s original goal of providing a true universal trading currency to unify the industry.
During the last seventeen years UC has leased its barter software platform from various software companies, no different than a typical barter exchange.
In the last four years UC has explored creating its own software and examined other cooperative arrangements with existing software companies. The first goal of this process was to find the best possible software for UC. The second goal was to provide an “API Hub” that would link all the barter software’s to the UC system, thereby fulfilling UC’s original vision of unifying the barter industry through the UC platform.
UC talked with virtually every barter software company in the world and accepted proposals from numerous software companies in the last four years. Several proposals were pursued to the draft agreement stage and one proposal was consummated in 2013 which resulted in UC shifting its platform for a six-month “test-run.” Unfortunately, that software ultimately was not chosen as a long-term platform for UC, and UC determined that it needed to re-examined other options.
UC and IRTA have insisted that any prospective new software provider for UC should have the financial resources to provide ongoing first-rate technological improvements to the software so as to constantly be at the forefront of the technology curve.
In the judgment of the IRTA Global Board of Directors, the existing Bartercard software, combined with the financial resources resulting from a successful IPO through BPS Technology, would provide UC the best opportunity to utilize and recommend a highly advanced technology solution to the industry. Additionally, the strict governance standards requirements of a separate independent publicly listed company would insure members’ data will always be protected.
As a result, the IRTA Global Board of Directors approved moving forward with a contingent contract with BPS Technology for an initial five year term with two potential additional five year terms, but only if both parties elect to continue for the extra five-year terms. The agreement would become effective only if and when the BPS Technology IPO was successfully completed by August 31, 2014.
The BPS/IRTA/UC software initiative is still a work in progress. And because the contract is of contingent nature and does not commence without a successful IPO, IRTA and UC were waiting to receive evidence of a successful IPO before making any announcements about the project. However, IRTA and UC have been advised by BPS that the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) has approved its prospectus having met and passed all the strict legal and accounting requirements that comes with a listing, and the IPO is open effective today, August 5, 2014.
The terms and conditions of the BPS Technology agreement are similar to the draft agreements that IRTA/UC had previously negotiated with other industry software vendors, (including its existing software vendor), which for various reasons did not come to fruition. All those software companies supported UC/IRTA’s vision of a system unified by common technology and software when they were the company being seriously considered by UC/IRTA.
If the BPS/IRTA/UC agreement becomes operable, neither UC or IRTA will be in the software business. Per the agreement with BPS Technology, IRTA and UC will recommend and endorse the BPS software as long as BPS continues to modernize and improve the software in a manner consistent with technological changes in the industry. Participation on the BPS platform will not be a requirement of membership in IRTA or UC, all industry members are free to select whatever software they conclude is best for their company. Additionally, industry members will be able to seamlessly tie-into the UC platform to make UC sales and purchases, even if they are on software different than UC’s software.
If the BPS IPO is not successful, UC and IRTA will continue to negotiate with all interested barter industry software companies to accomplish its goal of providing a sound platform for UC and a mechanism to unify and increase trading for the entire global barter industry.
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I will be starting my commentary on this deal shortly when I attempt to separate the spin from the facts.
It is my opinion that this is a ‘shonky’ deal and this News Alert from IRTA does not present a full and accurate picture of the situation. It will be in IRTA Members interest to be on HIGH ALERT and would be well advised to monitor this blog for the next few months.
* IRTA’s website UPDATED now.