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Monthly Update

A Month in Review – July 2019

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month in review

Digital Securities

July was a healthy month for the digital securities sector.  We were greeted with, not only new STOs/DSOs, but the successful completion of others.  Read on to learn about these developments, as well as gain insight into industry players through our exclusive interviews.

Partnerships

In an on-going effort to provide clients with as well rounded an experience as possible, the sector remains rife with partnership announcements.  The following examples demonstrate the global reach of the sector as the companies call different continents home.
DigiMax & Entoro to Collaborate as Advisors on Digital Security Offering

Smartlands Teams Up with ECN CrowdCamp

Licensure / Regulations

While June brought us the announcement of Facebook;s Calibra project, July saw increased levels of scrutiny on the move.  The following articles discuss whether Libra tokens will ever launch, and the overall impressions gained from a meeting on Capitol Hill.

Will Facebook Subsidiary, Calibra, See the Light of Day?

Key Points from the Facebook Libra Senate Hearing

Talent Acquisition

While the SEC lost a key member of their team in Robert Cohen, various players in the digital securities sector onboarded talented individuals.  Vertalo and tZERO led the way in this regard.

Vertalo and tZERO See Influx of Talent as Multiple Hirings are Made

In Other News

Highlighting this month’s newsfeed were endeavours related to the real estate industry.  It is widely viewed that real estate is the perfect asset, which can stand to benefit from an influx of technology such as blockchain, due to being low in liquidity.  Various companies have made it their mission to tokenize real estate, resulting in some successes and some big announcements.

Luc Falempin, CEO of Tokeny, states, “We see real estate as one of the key asset classes that drives the adoption of tokenization. Tokenization brings the opportunity to a wider group of investors and in the long term will bring liquidity to an asset where it has been non-existent.”

Fundament Group to Issue €250 Million in Security Token Backed by German Real Estate

Luxembourg Home to Real Estate Sucessfully Tokenized through Tokeny

Interviews

Ed Tuohy, CEO of MERJ Exchange Limited

MERJ is a global financial exchange which is scheduled to launch digital assets and security token markets in the near future.  CEO, Ed Tuohy, took the time to discuss with securities.io what MERJ is bringing to the table. Read More

Mikko Ohtamaa, Cofounder & CTO of TokenMarket

TokenMarket is a Gibraltar based crowdfunding platform, with a focus on blockchain based ventures.  Cofounder and CTO, Mikko Ohtamaa, discussed his experience in the industry, and what TokenMarket has to offer clients. Read More

Education

The Need for Interoperability in Security Token Protocols

Alice Henshaw penned an article for securities.io discussing industry needs moving forward – mainly the need for interoperability.  With years of experience as a smart-contract engineer, working on projects such as Fluidity (AirSwap, DeFi), Alice has developed an intimiate knowledge of the hurdles faced by the digital securities sector.  Read her thoughts on why interoperability is crucial.

“Until we have an agreement between protocols on how investor information is stored and updated both on-chain and off-chain, there will remain significant friction throughout the registration and investment processes for all parties involved.”
Read More

Around the Web

U.S Lawmakers Are Realizing They Can’t Ban Bitcoin – Forbes

In this article, Forbes details a high-profile hearing, featuring Circle’s CEO, Jeremy Allaire, speaking on the importance of blockchain in front of congress.  During the course of this hearing, it became evident that lawmakers believe a ban on such technologies would be nearly impossible.

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Joshua Stoner is a multi-faceted working professional. He has a great interest in the revolutionary 'blockchain' technology. In addition to this, he is a licenced Paramedic in Nova Scotia, Canada. As such, he can provide emergency care/medicine to any situation necessitating it.

Monthly Update

A Month in Review – December 2019

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A Month in Review - December 2019

While December brought various highlights pertaining to digital securities, one that stands out is a recent proposal, put forth by the SEC.  The regulatory body has recognized a need to redefine/modernize the definition of what constitutes an accredited investor, and has set out to do just that.  Beyond these potential changes, we saw a flurry of activity, involving Japanese companies, becoming increasingly involved in the sector.

This edition of ‘The Digital’ looks at each of these developments, in addition to highlighting a few key articles provided by securities.io during this past month.

Transfer Agents

One of the various designations necessary for the digital securities sector to function, is a Transfer Agent.  Whether acting as an intermediary, issuing certificates, or dealing with lost certificates, their role is an important one.  December saw multiple companies look to attain this designation.
TokenSoft Subsidiary, DTAC LLC, looks to ‘Join the Party’ as a Transfer Agent

Vertalo Receives SEC Letter of Effectiveness

Raising Capital

As they continue marching forward, Ripple announced during December, that they have achieved a $10 billion valuation.  This was made possible through a successful $200 million series C, headlined by Tetragon, SBI Holdings, and Route 66 Ventures.

This announcement came at a time with Ripple still actively dealing with legal battles surrounding the purported illegal sale of securities.  Clearly this event has not swayed others’ beliefs in the company, as made evident with their aforementioned valuation.

Ripple Attains $10 Billion Valuation after $200 Million Series C

Japanese Expansion 

November saw increased levels of Japanese activity, with December serving to continue this trend.  Both, key investments and acquisitions, based in Japan specifically caught our eye.

Huobi Japan Secures $4.6M from Tokai Tokyo

Securitize Increases Ties to Japan through First Acquisition

In The News

A Global Perspective

With the end of December marking not only the end of the year, but the decade, we thought it a perfect time to gauge industry sentiment.  The following articles represent a short series, in which we provided a questionnaire to CEOs from companies surrounding the world.

Through these insights, it is clear that, while there is work to be done, there is positivity abound with, both, a 2 and 5 year perspective – regardless of location.

Julian Kwan, CEO of InvestaX, and one of the participants in this series, summed up their expectations for the sector in the coming years.

“In 2 years many institutions will have issued their first digital security, in 5 years there will be no new company set up in paper form anymore and every security offering will be digital as smart governments migrate company set up and management to distributed ledgers removing the need for any paper.”

Asia – InvestaX

Africa – MERJ

Europe – Fintelum

North America – Vertalo

United Kingdom – Smartlands

Interviews

Derek Schloss, Director of Strategy for Security Token Academy

After a recent contribution to our ‘Thought Leaders’ series, by Derek, we thought it prudent to learn more about, both, himself and Security Token Academy.  This discussion does just that, in addition to touching on the subtleties behind the various forms of crowdfunding.  Read More

Oliver Siah, CEO of Fraxtor Capital

In this exclusive interview, we learn about, not only Fraxtor and real estate, but Oliver himself.  From acting as a seasoned Singaporean Air Force Officer, to investing in real estate, Oliver possessed a unique and diverse background, sure to help in the success of Fraxtor. Read More

Christian Platzer, Managing Partner of Black Manta Capital

From the rationality behind the Black Manta name, to their relationships with various European entities, this interview sheds light on it all.  Check it out to learn a bit more about this young company. Read More

Education

Under Scrutiny: How to Pass Due Diligence as a Blockchain Project

Our latest entry into our ‘Thought Leaders’ series, sees repeat contributor, Gene Deyev, elaborate on what due diligence entails.  From Legal, Technical, and Business considerations, the process may be more in-depth than many realize. Read Here

Around the Web

SEC Proposes to Update Accredited Investor Definition to Increase Access to Investments – Securities and Exchange Commission

With the ongoing development of next-gen technologies, many have called for an update to antiquated industry definitions; an update which better reflects current markets and their participants.

This call was heard, as the SEC announced a proposal put forth which would greatly change who we deem an accredited investor.  In doing so, digital securities may soon see a new crop of investors gain access to the sector.  Read More

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Monthly Update

A Month in Review – November 2019

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Digital Securities

November was a month with more ups than downs.  While a tokenized real estate project fell through, there were various examples of strategic investments; Investments which will see international expansion into countries like Japan.  In this monthly recap, we look at both sides of the coin, while highlighting a few of this month’s exclusive commentary from industry insiders.

Partnerships

For the promise of increased liquidity surrounding digital securities to come true, there need to be exchanges which support the assets.  This partnership looks to begin solving this, as Uniswap will facilitate secondary markets for RealT and their RealTokens.
RealT Announces Partnership with Uniswap Exchange

Strategic Investments + Raising Capital

Strategic investments can help a company expedite expansion, through acquiring foreign companies which already hold certain licensure.  They can also be viewed as an opportunity for investors, who are looking to gain exposure to companies which have the potential to influence their respective industries.  November saw OpenFinance announce their search for funding, along with BnkToTheFuture looking to make a splash in U.S. markets.

OpenFinance Seeks to Raise $50 Million

BnkToTheFuture Eyes U.S. Based STOs through BMO Capital Investment

Japanese Expansion

For the past few months, there appeared to be flurries of activity regarding expansion within certain regions.  While October saw an emphasis on European expansion, November saw the same within Japan.  This was made evident through companies, such as Tokai Tokyo and Securitize, increasing their presence within the nation.

Tokai Tokyo Financial Holdings to Bring Digital Securities to Japan

Securitize to Expand within Japan after Recent Investment

In The News

UKJT Views Digital Assets as Property under Current Regulations

As regulatory clarity is finally being afforded, companies can begin to tailor their actions, moving forward, with compliance in mind.  One of the more recent examples of an important decision shared with the industry, was that of the UKJT and their viewing digital securities as property.

Smartlands, an issuance platform operating in the UK, saw their CMO, Yaroslava Tkalich, comment on the development.

“As the first-ever UK-based platform specialising in tokenising the real economy assets on the Stellar blockchain, Smartlands enjoys substantial footing on the issue; with the clarification by a panel of judges and legal specialists, our almost two-year headstart turns into a major strategic advantage for years to come.”  Read Here

Vertalo Demonstrates Ease of Tokenization with Inaugural Webinar

There will come a point in time when companies, developing their solutions for the digital securities sector, will need to go live.  With much of the industry in a developmental stage, there is a perceived lack of simplicity among solutions.  Vertalo recently set out to dispel this notion, with a demonstration on how to tokenize assets through their platform. Read Here

Interviews

Masha & Xenia Vyazemskaya, Founders of ValueTokenized

In this exclusive interview, we speak with Masha and Xenia Vyazemskaya.  They are a duo who cofounded ValueTokenized, in addition to hosting a popular blockchain oriented podcast.  This discussion touches on both their expectations for the future, and the current industry’s current state. Read More

Aaron Kaplan, CEO of Prometheum

Here, we had an exclusive conversation with Aaron Kaplan, where the features and decisions driving Prometheum were touched on.  From a custom Alternative Trading System, to Smart Security Tokens, learn what Prometheum is all about. Read More

Education

Firsthand Overview of Digital Securities Legislation in Malta

Our latest entry into our ‘Thought Leaders’ series, sees Gene Deyev delve into the regulatory climate surrounding digital securities within the nation of Malta. Read Here

What are Digital Securities?

Real estate, venture capital, hedge funds, debt instruments, and more.  What constitutes a digital security? And what benefits can they afford? Read Here

Around the Web

Tokenized Real Estate Falters as another Hyped Deal Falls Apart – CoinDesk

While tokenized real estate holds great potential, there was bound to be a few hiccups along the way, as the industry found its footing.  One such hiccup was experienced recently, as a proposed deal between Fluidity and Propellr fell through.  While unfortunate, digital securities march forward.  Read More

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Monthly Update

A Month in Review – October 2019

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Digital Securities

October was a positive month for the digital securities sector.  It has become increasingly apparent that Europe is leading the charge in the development, and adoption, of services revolving around digital securities.  This edition of ‘The Digital’ highlights some of these EU based developments, as well as a few key interviews from industry leaders such as tZERO CEO, Saum Noursalehi.

Partnerships

Keeping on point with European influence within the sector, October saw Canadian based, DigiMax, partner with German based, Black Manta Capital.  This alliance was forged with the specific goal of DigiMax to expand operations across the Atlantic.  DigiMax looks to utilize licensure held by Black Manta to facilitate this expansion.

DigiMax Eyes European Expansion through Black Manta Partnership

Tokenized Real Estate

Not content on transforming digital securities in North America, alone, tZERO looks to expand their influence into the United Kingdom.  This path begins with their newly announced partnership with Alliance Investments.  This move, which will see a 180 unit luxury property tokenized, is being heralded as the first of many moves expected to see $640 million worth of future real estate tokenized.

Two-Way Street

While European based developments dominated October, there were examples of companies expanding across the pond in the other direction.  A prime example of this is the decision by London based, Smartlands, to enter the United States.  This move, made possible through a partnership with IIP Securities, is simply one step towards the eventual global expansion of this promising company.

In Other News

As Support Dwindles, Will Libra Flame Out?
With continued pushback from, both, U.S. and European based regulators, many have begun to doubt the viability of Facebook’s Libra project.  This fear and doubt has led to various early backers removing their support for the endeavour, despite remaining optimistic for its future.
 
One company removing their support is Stripe, which stated,  “Stripe is supportive of projects that aim to make online commerce more accessible for people around the world. Libra has this potential. We will follow its progress closely and remain open to working with the Libra Association at a later stage.”  Read Here
Industry Participants Finding Footing within Evolving Digital Securities Sector
With the nascency of the digital securities sector, it should come as no surprise that many companies are still finding their place in the industry.  Much like Libra experiencing hurdles on their road to adoption, a variety of companies have seen high level talent switches as they adapt and grow. Read Here

Interviews

Saum Noursalehi, CEO of tZERO
In this exclusive interview, we speak with Saum Noursalehi.  A seasoned professional, Noursalehi is the former President of Overstock, and current CEO of industry stalwart, tZERO.  This discussion touches on, not only his personal journey, but the past and future goals of tZERO. Read More
Paul Claudius, CEO of BlockState 
In this interview, Paul Claudius discusses the various sectors which digital securities stand to transform, and the role that BlockState will play in this. Read More
Philip Moustakis, Counsel at Seward & Kissel LLP 
Here, Philip Moustakis shares his approach towards digital securities, molded through experience as former senior counsel at the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. Read More

Education

The Howey Test: The Fine Line Between a Security Token and a Utility Token
In a contribution to our ‘Thought Leaders’ series, Constantin Kogan took the time to elaborate on key, and subtle, differentiators between what constitutes a security vs utility token. Read Here
Sufficient Decentralization and Security Tokens

With the SEC coming to various settlements with companies in October, Derek Schloss takes a closer look at their stance and interpretations of these situations.  How did these events vary, and what does it mean moving forward? Read Here

Around the Web

The Global Digital Securities Ecosystem – A comprehensive study of the market (2019) – BlockState
In an analysis of over 200 companies involved with digital securities, Germany based, BlockState, shared their findings with the world.  This study indicated that, while not far behind, the United States does indeed trail European nations in the development and acceptance of the digital securities sector. Read More
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