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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
A Month in Review – March 2020
March has, unfortunately, been a dark month for the world. Nary an industry remains, that has not felt the effects of COVID-19. Despite this, there were select events over the past few weeks that brought positivity, as the world of digital securities and blockchain marches forward. This edition of ‘The Digital’ highlights a few of the interviews we’ve completed over the preceding weeks, in addition to a look at how COVID-19 has influenced the sector.
Partnerships + Upgrades
As an SEC regulated security token issuance platform, high hopes are held for TokenSoft. Led by a strong team, this Californian company caught our attention on multiple occasions in March. First, for their noteworthy partnership with ‘Hub Security’. Secondly, they managed to develop and launch an upgraded wallet, in an effort to provide users with an intuitive and flexible experience.
Strategic Investments + Raising Capital
While asset classes, such as real estate, have dominated capital generation events thus far in the digital securities sector, there are an increasing number of ’boutique’ offerings. March saw two examples of this, as new events surrounding Bourbon and eco-friendly chocolate took the stage.
From around the world, banks are recognizing that, not only are cryptocurrencies not going away, but that they hold real merit. March saw both, the Reserve Bank of India and The Bank of Canada, take varying stances towards them. While India’s central bank continues their fight to suppress the technology, Canada appears on the edge of potential adoption, through their own CBDC.
In The News
The COVID-19 Effect
As the global pandemic known as COVID-19 continues to play out, we took a look at a few of the ways the virus has affected blockchain and digital securities. From designating essential services, to reallocating mining resources, and the suspension of services – change is afoot.
Vertalo CEO, Dave Hendricks, didn’t mince words when commenting on the recent decision by the DTCC to suspend handling of paper-based certificates.
“It’s time for issuers and investors, especially with respect to private assets, to effect digital transformation and improve the resiliency and response time of securities transactions. Only fully digital transfer agents like Vertalo are capable of this sort of step-function improvement.” Read Here
‘The Runway Fund’ Looks to Provide Relief for Start-Ups Impacted by COVID-19
While difficult times often lead to innovation, and the advent of new technologies, there are many that suffer greatly. Young companies, not yet fully established, are particularly susceptible. Thankfully, there are those that have extended a helping hand, through the creation of a new relief fund.
“Whether you were about to close a funding round, or sign your first revenue deal, we know that COVID-19 has caused unanticipated disruptions and delays that may force you to take some tough decisions and maybe even to shut down.
Our goal is to help you through this tough time and to maximize your chances of survival.” Read Here
Paolo Ardoino, CTO of Bitfinex and Tether
With the volatility recently seen in basically every market, stablecoins have established themselves as more important than ever. We were fortunate to have completed this exclusive interview with Paolo Ardoino, CTO of Tether and Bitfinex. While competition for Tether has grown greatly in the past year, this stablecoin remains one of the world’s most popular. Their endurance as a popular choice, is no doubt due to constant innovation – such as the potential for future upgrades including the Lightning Network, and more. Read More
Adam Vaziri, CEO of Blockpass
KYC and AML are critical procedures, required to be completed by basically every reputable company. As such, there is a definite demand for services which facilitate the processes. Enter Blockpass – A company led by Adam Vaziri, set on specializing in Identity services. Read More
Marko Hafez, President and CEO of Blockstation
This promising Canadian startup has managed to establish various strategic relationships with regulated stock exchanges. In this exclusive conversation, we speak with Blockstation CEO, Marko Hafez, and learn more about his experience, and how Blockstation found themselves where they are today. Read More
HODL Your Hoopla Over SEC Changes for Exempt Offerings
The first, in a pair of contributions by Matthew Unger (Founder of iComply), examines his take on recent proposals put forth by the SEC. Should we be excited for potential changes to exempt offerings? Or are we getting ahead of ourselves? Read Here
Why EU Blacklisting the Cayman Islands Matters for the STO Industry
In a second contribution, Matthew Unger of iComply, took a closer looks at the recent treatment of Cayman Islands based companies by the EU. Is the treatment warranted? How can companies ensure their AML practices are up to snuff? Read Here
Around the Web
South Korea Passes One of the World’s First Comprehensive Cryptocurrency Laws – Techcrunch
While many nations remain undecided on their stance towards cryptocurrencies, South Korea continues to march to the beat of their own drum. March saw the tech-savvy nation pass new laws pertaining to these virtual assets, potentially providing other nations with a blueprint of feasible approaches. Read More
A Month in Review – February 2020
Now that we are firmly entrenched in 2020, we are beginning to see companies follow through on their plans for the new year. The month of February brought us news of various high-profile acquisitions, in addition to developments pertaining to, both, Facebook and the U.S. Presidential race.
This edition of ‘The Digital’ looks to shed light on a few key developments, as well as highlight a series of informative interviews – headlined by SEC Commissioner, Hester Peirce.
With the SEC taking a firm stance towards companies issuing what could, potentially, be deemed securities, industry participants were excited when Commissioner Peirce put forth a unique proposal. This time-limited exemption would allow for new interpretations, on which assets become subject to SEC regulation.
Sales and Acquisitions
Digital securities are not for everyone. This was made clear in February, as a pair of companies underwent big moves. However, for every seller, there must be a buyer. While Circle continues to sell off their various branches of operation, BitGo made a large splash by acquiring tokenization platform, Harbor.
BitGo Works Towards ‘Full-Stack Solution’ with Harbor Acquisition
A hot start for Facebook’s ‘Libra’, saw the endeavour backed by various high-profile companies. While regulatory pressure resulted in these companies leaving the founding group, the tides may have shifted, yet again.
This shift may be spurred on by news of Shopify joining the Libra project. Will more companies follow suit?
In The News
A Candidate’s Plan
The Presidential Race is heating up, with a few key front runners. One of these fitting the bill is Mike Bloomberg. As such, we should pay attention to the promises being made by his platform, as they may soon represent the goals of a nation.
In their pitch, the Bloomberg platform directly addresses the lack of clear framework surrounding digital assets, and the need for change.
“Mike will promote healthy competition in financial services by creating a “regulatory sandbox” where startups can test concepts, and by providing a clear regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies.”
Delving deeper, the platform notes,
“Cryptocurrencies have become an asset class worth hundreds of billions of dollars, yet regulatory oversight remains fragmented and undeveloped. For all the promise of the blockchain, Bitcoin and initial coin offerings, there’s also plenty of hype, fraud and criminal activity. Mike will work with regulators to provide clearer rules of the game by:
- Clarifying responsibility for overseeing cryptocurrencies.
- Providing a framework for initial coin offerings, by defining when tokens are and are not securities.
- Protecting consumers from cryptocurrency-related fraud.
- Clarifying how investments in cryptocurrencies will be taxed.
- Defining capital and other requirements for financial institutions holding cryptocurrencies”
Hester Peirce, Commissioner at the SEC
We were fortunate to have completed this interview with the popular SEC Commissioner, Hester Peirce. In this interview, we learn more about Commissioner Peirce’s views on issues plaguing the digital securities sector, and what companies can do to avoid them. Read More
“I think we are trying to come to a place where we can make it easier for people who are trying to do the right thing to do it in a way that is compliant with our rules that also achieves their objectives, that’s the place that I want to get to. It will never be particularly simple because our securities laws can be really difficult, but we can certainly make it easier than it is now.”
Matthew Unger, CEO of iComply Investor Services
Matthew Le Merle, Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Fifth Era, and Keiretsu Capital
With decades of experience investing in start-ups, Matthew Le Merle has a wealth of knowledge to share. He does just that in our February conversation surrounding digital securities. Read More
Regulated Digital Assets Take Over in 2020
Aaron Kaplan, Co-CEO of Prometheum, took the time to share his thoughts on the state of digital securities in 2020. Here we learn what the industry possibly has to look forward to, with regards to government regulations and more. Read Here
Around the Web
Malta Financial Services Authority – Feedback Statement to the Consultation Document on Security Token Offering
With a self-professed goal of becoming a ‘blockchain island’, Malta has taken some important steps forward. February saw the MFSA release a summary of their feedback period surrounding potential framework and regulations to be imposed upon the burgeoning sector. Read More
A Month in Review – January 2020
With 2019 closing out with optimism abound, surrounding digital securities, we fully expect 2020 to be an action packed year. The month of January hasn’t disappointed. Over the past few weeks, we have, not only seen multiple tokenization projects announced, but had the pleasure of completing various exclusive interviews.
This edition of ‘The Digital’ looks to shed light on a few key developments, as well as highlight the contributions of various CEOs.
While a common name when discussing Bitcoin, Jack Dorsey recently caught the attention of those involved with a more focused niche – digital securities. This attention came as his company, Square, was successfully awarded a new patent, describing a new form of payment network; a network which supports digital securities.
Square Awarded Patent for Payment Network Supporting Securities
Pantera Capital, WisdomTree Investments, and Abu Dhabi Investment Office – These are just a few of the contributing companies to a Series A recently held by Securrency.
With these contributors, Securrency looks to continue the development of their non-specific blockchain framework; the goal of which is to unlock ‘global liquidity’ of digital securities.
In The News
A Continuing Crackdown
In order for the world of blockchain to continue moving in a positive direction, the bad actors within the space need to be identified and removed. Illegal activity does nothing but paint the nascent technology in a poor light.
The SEC is, perhaps, doing more than any to achieve this purge, and hold industry participants accountable for their actions. This was made abundantly clear this past month as we were greeted with various developments surrounding fines and warnings being levied by the regulatory body.
In their warning surrounding IEOs, the SEC was very clear on the associated dangers.
“The federal laws and regulations governing registered national securities exchanges and ATSs are designed to protect investors and prevent fraudulent and manipulative trading practices. Many online trading platforms may give the misimpression to investors that they are registered or meet the regulatory requirements for a national securities exchange or ATS, and therefore may lack the investor protections that a national securities exchange or an ATS provide to investors.”
Luka Gubo, CEO of Blocktrade
In this discussion, Luka Gubo touches on his beginnings during the ‘great financial crisis’, and how this led to the creation of Blocktrade. He further delves into what Blocktrade is doing to improve European capital markets. Read More
Dan Doney, CEO of Securrency
With Securrency recently closing out a successful Series A, we were able to catch Dan Doney at the perfect time. This interview touches on, not only products offered, but the importance of their investors, and future plans for Securrency moving forward. Read More
Darius Liu, COO of iSTOX
In this exclusive interview, Darius Liu took the time to share, not only his personal background and experiences, but the philosophies which drive iSTOX.
“We believe that DLT and smart contract technology will open new worlds of possibilities when it comes to how investing works.” Read More
Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) Address Crypto-Assets within Regulatory Framework
A recurring theme surrounding digital securities and blockchain based endeavours involves a perceived lack of clarity on regulation. Looking to address this, the Canadian Securities Administrators took the time, this past month, to educate the public on how securities law apply to these new forms of assets. Read Here
Around the Web
Smartlands Сooperates with London Strategic Consulting to Assess Digital Securities Space in the UK
Tokenization platform, Smartlands, is a leader within the United Kingdom’s digital securities sector. The team at Smartlands thought it prudent to gauge the market in an effort to put their best foot forward, going into 2020. The result was a thorough, and informative, assessment of the sector, spearheaded by consulting firm, ‘London Strategic Consulting’. Read More