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A Look at Europe’s Security Token Legislation

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Liechtenstein via TripSavvy

Europe continues to see more counties taking a pro-crypto stance. Countries such as the UK, Switzerland, and Malta, have already made huge strides towards furthering their respective positions in the market. While there are many contributing factors behind these moves, the introduction of security tokens has played a huge roll in these countries decision.

Security tokens allow for the digitization of traditional investments. This method is called tokenization. Tokenized assets are considered more stable than traditional cryptocurrencies by most countries. Currently, security tokens fall under the EU’s MiFIDII regulations.

MiFID II

The EU instituted MiFID II regulations on January 3, 2018. This legislative framework provides investors with added protections. Additionally, MiFID II regulations improve the functionality and efficiency of the market. The legislation is a follow up to the original MiFID (Markets in Financial Directive) regulations which have been in operation since November 2007.

Liechtenstein

The sixth smallest country in the world, Liechtenstein continues to develop their blockchain sector at an impressive rate. Despite being only 62 square miles in total, this tiny country ranks among the highest in terms of GDP per capita. In October 2018, the country released a public draft titled the “National Blockchain Act.”

The document highlighted the counties desire to further their blockchain aspirations. The move was quickly followed by an announcement by the country’s Union Bank AG. Here, the bank described their intention to be the first regulated bank issuing a security token. The bank looks to create a token for interbank activities such as transferring large amounts of funds internationally.

Germany

Germany does not consider cryptocurrencies as financial instruments. In September 2018, the country determined that Bitcoin traders don’t need any licensing and that trading cryptocurrency should remain legal. This was a major ruling in favor of crypto investors. This ruling meant that crypto investors did not need to adhere to Germany’s securities regulations.

Berlin via City Break

Berlin via City Break

In December 2018, Germany’s second largest stock exchange announced plans to launch a crypto token exchange. The Boerse Stuttgart Group partnered with the local Fintech firm SolarisBank to make the project a reality. The exchange’s release date is Q3 2019. According to developers, a variety of cryptocurrencies including utility, security, and exchange tokens will be hosted.

Switzerland

Switzerland has long been a financial epicenter in Europe. Swiss officials are keen on extending their financial influence into the blockchain sector. The country recently opened a blockchain business sector dubbed the Crypto Valley. Here, blockchain startups receive reduced taxes and other benefits provided by the Swiss government.

Aside from financial benefits, Swiss-based blockchain firms benefit greatly from the country’s clear cut blockchain regulations. The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) breaks tokens into four distinct categories. These categories include asset, payment, utility, and hybrid tokens.

Estonia

Estonia was among the first EU members to legalize crypto activities. The country already approved over 900 crypto licenses since changing regulations last year. Those licensed include a variety of crypto businesses such as exchanges, startups,  and blockchain tech firms. Around 400 of the licenses issued belonged to crypto wallet providers according to recent reports.

Estonia managed to go from the poorest country in the EU to a thriving economy through a combination of factors. Tax incentives, a friendly business environment, and easy licensing procedures all contributed to the country’s rise in the blockchain sector. Today, Estonia is one of the most STO friendly countries in the world.

Malta

Malta continues to be a driving crypto force in the region. This country took the crypto reigns through a combination of factors. Malta was the first country in the world to provide a solid regulatory framework for crypto investors and ICOs. The government is pro-active in recruiting new startups to their market.

Today, Malta is one of the best locations in the world to launch your STO. The country already is home to numerous large crypto platforms. The worlds largest crypto exchange by volume, Binance, partnered with the Maltese Stock Exchange (MSX) in September of last year. The two plan to build a new security token exchange within the country in the coming months.

UK

The UK currently does not have crypto regulations in place. The country continues to research the cryptomarket with regulators claiming that it could be years before proper regulatory guidelines can be developed. In March 2018, the countries Crypto assets Taskforce issued a report in which cryptocurrencies were listed in three distinct classes. These classes include security tokens, utility tokens, and exchange tokens.

Currently, the UK crypto debate continues. The British Business Federation Authority (BBFA) released a report in which they detailed how bad regulations would hinder growth in the sector much more than “no regulations at all.” As it stands today, the UK has a strong blockchain community with analysts predicting future growth in this sector.

France

France took a much different approach regarding cryptocurrency firms. The Authorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) released ICO guidelines last year. The new regulations require all ICOs to provide full transparency regarding their offerings. Companies must define their tokens use prior to approval. This demand is required so that officials can determine what type of token the company plans to issue.

France’s stance on ICOs is mimicked by a plethora of other countries around the globe. By making all ICOs operate in full disclosure, the country managed to simultaneously welcome STOs while reducing the number of ICOs in operation. STOs provide a much safer way for investors to participate in blockchain fundraising raising campaigns.

EU Security Tokens are On the Rise

Now that you have a better understanding of the cryptocurrency regulations currently under development in Europe, it’s easy to see why countries like Malta have invested so much into their blockchain sector.

As the global economy continues along the path of digitization, there is much to be gained for the country able to become the epicenter of this technological revolution. Hopefully, more countries around the globe will realize the importance of these developments and how they affect the future of global economics in major ways. For now, the race is on to see which European country is able to take the lead in the blockchain economy.

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David Hamilton is a full-time journalist and a long-time bitcoinist. He specializes in writing articles on the blockchain. His articles have been published in multiple bitcoin publications including Bitcoinlightning.com

Security Token News

Tokeny Makes the FinTech 50

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Tokeny Makes FinTech 50 2019 List

The popular tokenization platform, Tokeny made it on this year’s FinTech 50. The news places Tokeny in an exclusive class of movers and shakers in the marketplace. Also, it showcases Tokeny’s dedication to simplifying the tokenization process for the EU market.

FinTech 50

Tokeny making the FinTech 50 is a huge accomplishment for the firm. The FinTech 50 recognizes the top FinTech firms across Europe. Companies that make the list tend to see a boost in activity directly afterward. Unlike most awards, the FinTech 50 is not an actual award per se. There are no actual winners chosen from the list. Instead, the list is kind of like a whos-who of businesses to watch in the coming months. The list is meant to showcases disruptive and newly developed strategies and technologies in the market, and the firms which employ them. Making the FinTech 50 places Tokeny in a unique category amongst the competition.

Innovation

To make the consideration, a firm must utilize game-changing technology to progress the financial markets. Not surprisingly, Tokeny does exactly that. Tokeny is a cloud-based platform which allows for the issuance of compliant tokenized assets. Developers sought to make the platform as seamless as possible. To do so, the platform incorporates several interesting features.

Tokeny via Homepage

Tokeny via Homepage

For one, companies can opt for a white-label strategy. In this manner, the investment process is more familiar to participants. The platform also features full AML and KYC integration. Both of these features allow Tokeny to maintain full compliance throughout the tokenization, issuance, and trading processes.

Versatility

Versatility is another important feature that the platform’s developers incorporated. Unlike most tokenization platforms, Tokeny allows investors and businesses to utilize multiple currencies. This flexibility makes it easier for global investors to participate in crowdfunding campaigns with confidence.

FinTech 50 – A Big Deal

The FinTech 50 list is a big deal in the sector. This year was the seventh year running. Each year the event draws more viewers, impressions, and attendees than the previous. Last year’s event received over 60,000 views. Also, the event had a reach on Twitter of over 5 million accounts in just 3 days.

Who are the FinTech 50 Judges?

Perhaps the most interesting fact about the FinTech 50 is how the judges are chosen. Every year, the list seeks out a panel of international judges to help decide what businesses mak -the-cut. These individuals are selected because they are industry leaders in their own right. Consequently, the list includes some of the most notable names in FinTech. This year was no different.

Tokenize All these Awards

This isn’t the first time Tokeny received accolades for its market contributions. The firm received the coveted Fintech 2019 award in June as well. Award presenters choose Tokeny from 194 applicants from 33 countries.

FinTech Winners Tracked

Interestingly, FinTech list makers have their funding tracked for a year following the listing to see how the companies develop. In this manner, the lists can assess their decisions. Notably, the 2018 FinTech firms listed raised around $2.5 billion.

Tokeny – A Bright Future

With all the recognition Tokeny garnished this year, it’s no surprise the platform continues to see rapid expansion. As Europe’s security token sector develops, Tokeny’s market positioning will strengthen even more. You can expect to see these innovative minds push the boundaries of FinTech to the next level.

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Vertalo Integrates Insurance Software ‘TigerMark’ by Assurely

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tigermark

Product Integration

Today, digital securities specialists, Vertalo, and Insurance specialists, Assurely, have announced the formation of a strategic partnership.  This alliance will see Vertalo integrate software, known as TigerMark, into their platform.

The integration will provide Vertalo clients with increased security, as they will now have the option to insure DSOs taking place on the platform.

TigerMark

This product, formerly known as ‘CrowdProtector’, functions with two primary goals aimed toward the tokenization process.

  • Protect Token Issuers
    • Regardless of how well thought out, and structured, a DSO may be, there always remains the potential for an investor to become disillusioned with a company. TigerMark protects token issuers from potential lawsuits brought forth by said investors.
  • Protect Token Investors
    • One of the main draws towards DSO/STOs, is the oversight and necessary compliance with regulations. TigerMark works to protect investors, by ensuring that token issuers remain in line, and transparent with their regulatory obligations.

Commentary

The CEO of each Vertalo, and Assurely, took the time upon announcing their partnership, to comment on the development. The following is what each had to say on how the sector will benefit from this move.

Dave Hendricks, CEO of Vertalo, stated,

“Mainstream adoption of digital assets has been hindered by complicated token issuances and wallets designed for experts, leaving many waiting on the sidelines for a better user experience. Because of usability challenges and sub-par offerings, most investors haven’t had the confidence to invest in new digital offerings, despite their promised gains and liquidity. Through Vertalo’s partnership and integration with Assurely, both issuers and investors can now have more confidence that their investments in these new digital instruments are backed by the power of insurance, protected against simple administrative errors or unfortunate malfeasance.”

David Carpentier, CEO of Assurely, stated,

“Partnering with Vertalo is a significant step the digital assets industry and for Assurely Integrating our products and process with Vertalo allows us to continue to increase the trust, confidence, and safety of investing in digital assets.  We are able to deploy an instantaneous, automated, and application-free insurance purchasing process that customizes risk products to what is needed, when it is needed.  It is a powerful partnership and we are thrilled to contribute to Vertalo’s mission of advancing this industry for the benefit of all stakeholders involved.”

Speaking with Dave

We were recently fortunate to have completed an exclusive interview with Vertalo CEO, Dave Hendricks. In this discussion, Dave touches on various aspects of Vertalo and their suite of services. Check out the interview below to learn more about the company and their offerings.

Interview Series – Dave Hendricks, CEO of Vertalo

Vertalo

Founded in 2017, Vertalo is a Texas based company. While this young company began their journey into digital securities as ‘cap-table’ specialists, their purview has continued to grow through software development, and the forging of various strategic partnerships.

CEO, Dave Hendricks, currently oversees company operations.

Assurely

Founded in 2016, Assurely maintains headquarters in New York. In the time since their formation, the company has strived to provide products which merge traditional insurance options with blockchain technologies.

CEO, David Carpentier, currently oversees company operations.

In Other News

For those looking to learn a bit more about TigerMark, make sure to check out this following article. TigerMark was originally released under the name ‘CrowdProtector’. While the name has changed, the mission has not, and as seen here today, adoption is beginning to occur.

Assurely Presents the ‘CrowdProtector’

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Overstock to End Stock Lockup Early – OSTKO

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Overstock wants to End Series A-1 Stock Lockup Early - OSTKO

This week, Overstock.com announced revisions to its Series A-1 Preferred Stock (OSTKO). The firm wants to drop trading restrictions and allow investors to trade OSTKO shares immediately. This pioneering strategy provides liquidity to investors in a manner that wasn’t possible before the advent of blockchain tech.

Eliminate Rule 144 – OSTKO

All traditional shares require a six-month lockup period to be compliant with SEC Rule 144. During this period a series of processes occur to finalize the purchase. Overstock automated these procedures via smart contracts. Now the company seeks SEC approval to eliminate the need to adhere to Rule 144 in this instance.

The Original OSTKO Launch Date

The original record date for the OSTKO launch was September 23, but company executives postponed the date to push their new strategy. Now, Overstock plans to announce the new record date sometime in the next two months.

OSTKO

The new tokenized shares will be slightly different than their traditional counterparts. For example, Overstock’s board approved a conversion rate of one digital series A-1 preferred stock to ten shares in common stocks. Interestingly, the company chose to make the new stock only available via the Dinosaur Financial Group brokerage platform.

The Dinosaur Financial Group is also a partner with tZERO, Overstock’s blockchain subsidiary.  In both instances, the Dinosaur Financial Group functions as the broker-dealer. Basically, the firm provides brokerage accounts for investors seeking to trade these digital assets.

Dinosaur Finacial Group via Homepage - OSTKO

Dinosaur Finacial Group via Homepage – OSTKO

Discussing the partnership at that time, Dinosaur’s Managing Director of Equity, Elliot Grossman described his company’s pride in being a pioneer in the industry. He said that the technology has the potential to create “disruptive changes for issuance, trading, and settlement in capital markets.” Today, Grossman is the CEO of tZERO.

Interests Rising

Speaking on the OSTKO shares, Overstock’s Interim CEO, Jonathon Johnson discussed the interest seen from broker-dealers, regulators, and shareholders. He called the technology groundbreaking before touting integrated compliance and investor protections.

Most importantly, Johnson explained that blockchain technology improves the overall investor experience. He also described the tech as having an “enormous potential to transform society for the better.”

Slow Short Selling

It was Overstock’s ex-CEO, Patrick Byrne who first thought up the idea of tokenizing shares. Ironically, the strategy originated as a way to stop ramped short selling of their stock. Byrne claims a well-organized group of fraudsters targeted Overstock for the last year via these short sales attacks.

The short sellers seemed to only work with dollars so the plan to tokenize worked great.  That was until early this week when Morgan Stanly and JPMorgan started accepting fiat payments for the tokenized stock.  The news caused an investor frenzy that sent Overstock shares down 40% from a recent 52-week high.

Overstock is Full Blockchain

It’s interesting to see how Overstock uses its blockchain know-how to navigate the market-scape. In this case, the use of blockchain to stop short sales attacks resulted in the development of a better investor experience. You can expect to see more from these innovative developers in the coming weeks as OSTKO goes live.

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