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.
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.
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 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.
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 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 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 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.
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 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.
Vtoken Exchange Celebrates SEC Filing in Time Square
The largest decentralized exchange in the world, Vtoken, obtained its SEC filing from the United States Treasury Department this week. The firm took to the world-famous NASDAQ billboard in Time Square to celebrate the move. This is the second time the company graced this iconic attraction seen by millions. Also, the move symbolizes further blockchain integration into traditional securities markets.
Speaking on these developments, Vtoken’s Chief Advisor to the Asia Pacific Region explained how his firm plans to cultivate a robust blockchain ecosystem. He took moment to discuss recent global developments in the security token space. Specifically, he touched on how both Chinese and American markets experienced a huge surge in blockchain-based firms.
The Vtoken combines the regulatory protections found in the traditional securities markets with the efficiency of a blockchain -based system. The company offers transfer agents flexible solutions to many of the current issues plaguing the securities markets.
For example, traditional securities can take three days for trades to complete. This delay leaves investors in a less than optimal position. In contrast, Vtoken’s blockchain-based system can complete trades in a matter of hours. Consequently, the platform enables a more nimble trading experience.
Real World Experience
Vtoken is a unique hybrid of technology, compliance, experience, and professional customer service. The firm handles a wide range of clients but specializes in Regulation A transactions. To date, Vtoken’s clients include NASDAQ, NYSE, OTC-listed firms, IPO-issuers, and private investors.
Vtoken’s strategy is unique in that the firm created a complete blockchain ecosystem. Here, investors can get all the information they need to host a compliant STO. The company offers a full range of solutions for both enterprise and private investors. These services include pre and post token issuance and management, smart contract programming, and ownership protection.
The latter feature is unique to V-token. This functionality allows investors to restore lost or stolen tokens, an option not usually available in the blockchain space. More importantly, Vtoken is now in a very exclusive class of decentralized exchanges registered with the SEC.
Vtoken shares many of its core developers with Ripple. Additionally, Vtoken utilizes graphene underlying technology. The token has a trading gateway that is similar to Stellar Lumens. This enables the platform to maintain optimal transaction speeds. Currently, Vtoken can process transactions faster than the third-generation crypto EOS.
Last month, Vtoken made headlines after forming a strategic partnership with blockchain payment platform PayDex. The PayDex platform functions on Vtoken’s public blockchain. The system provides global crypto settlement with support for BTC, ETH, VToken, USDT, VRT, YEC, EOS, LTC, and VUST. PayDex seeks to bring crypto payments to the masses through a simplistic mobile interface.
Vtoken’s all-inclusive approach to the market is crucial to its overall strategy. V-Token provides users with everything they need to become a player in the security token market. You can expect to see this firm continue to make headlines s the platform expands in the coming months.
AlphaPoint and Elevated Returns to Develop Secondary Market
‘Making Illiquid Assets Liquid’ – That is the guiding sentiment behind AlphaPoint, a young company which utilizes blockchain to facilitate tokenization.
This idea is one step closer to becoming a reality, as AlphaPoint has just announced a partnership with Elevated Returns – A forward thinking company which specializes in real-estate.
In this announcement, the pair has indicated that they will be developing a secondary market for trading digital securities backed by real-estate. It is through secondary markets that traditionally illiquid assets, such as real-estate, will become easily tradable – all the while opening up fractionalized ownership, and opportunity for exposure to retail investors.
Elevated Returns will focus these efforts on Asian markets, following their expansion into the region roughly one month ago. At the time, the company acquired a large share in a Thai broker-dealer – a move allowing for them to commence operations through previously attained licensure.
“Elevated Returns prides itself on our reputation as a pioneer in the digital securities space. To that effect, we have a policy to partner with the best in class companies across industry verticals; AlphaPoint’s technology solutions for unlocking digital asset liquidity are unparalleled. Having already demonstrated the capability to integrate with the token standard that we are developing on the Tezos blockchain, AlphaPoint was the clear choice to facilitate the adoption of our tokenized real estate initiatives.”
AlphaPoint is a United States based company that was founded in 2013. With their sights set on ‘making illiquid assets liquid’, AlphaPoint has successfully serviced global customer through their various service offerings.
Since opening their doors, AlphaPoint has seen their diligent work towards growth land them customers in 5 continents, to date.
Company operations are overseen by CEO, Salil Donde.
Elevated Returns is a United States based company, which specializes in investments surrounding real-estate. Recognizing the potential of digital securities, Elevated Returns operates with a goal of acquiring assets viable for tokenization.
One such example was the noteworthy tokenization of the St. Regis Resort; A high-end ski resort that successfully sold digital securities representing ownership within the resort, becoming one of the first to do so.
Company operations are overseen by President, Stephane De Baets.
In Other News
We have detailed developments pertaining to both AlphaPoint and Elevated Returns in the past few months. Check out the following articles to learn a bit more about what each of these companies has been up to in this time.
Due Diligence Process Delays tZERO Investment
In this statement, they indicate that while this investment is on-going, further delay is unavoidable. After initially setting a mid-April deadline, the due diligence process is simply more time consuming than initially thought.
In the update, distributed to its shareholders, Patrick Byrne expressed praise for Makara, while commenting on the tenuous nature of the deal and reassuring readers at the same time. The following are a few excerpts from this statement, highlighting these sentiments.
‘Makara’s due diligence has progressed, and in the course of its due diligence Makara has proven to be a professional and serious fund. Still, the parties will not have a definitive deal in place by the mid-April target.’
‘tZERO plans to continue facilitating Makara’s diligence, but is not under any exclusivity with Makara or GSR and has retained advisors to pursue parallel alternatives. We will update shareholders after tZERO signs definitive documents.’
‘Our retail firm is recovering more dramatically than I anticipated and discussed during our Q4 2018 earnings call. In addition, tZERO is on track to introduce the products described in that phone call. Our intense focus on execution is paying off.’
This news may be slightly disheartening, as it represents, not the first, but second hiccup in the investment process. Despite this setback, tZERO has been on a tear over the last year. They are not being held back by this process.
tZERO has their hands in many pots, with endeavours resulting in the launch of a trailblazing secondary market for digital securities. Beyond this, tZERO has seen progress through adoption, and the awarding of patents.
Founder, Patrick Byrne, has reiterated his strong belief in digital securities multiple times over the past year. He has gone so far as to shift his entire focus from Overstock to tZERO and its ongoing development. Unmoved by ‘crypto winter’, Patrick Byrne has, in the past, commented to The Wall Street Journal, on the potential of tZERO. He stated, “I don’t care whether tZERO is losing $2 million a month…We think we’ve got cold fusion on the blockchain side.”
In Other News
tZERO is a regular in our news feed, as they have been pivotal in establishing the digital securities sector in its infancy. Below are a few articles detailing past developments pertaining to this impressive and important company.
- Vtoken Exchange Celebrates SEC Filing in Time Square April 20, 2019
- AlphaPoint and Elevated Returns to Develop Secondary Market April 19, 2019
- Due Diligence Process Delays tZERO Investment April 18, 2019
- Brian Collins, CEO at Horizon Globex – Interview Series April 18, 2019
- ST8 Launched in an Effort to Help French SMEs April 17, 2019