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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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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 – June 2020

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June provided us with a steady stream of developments, surrounding the digital securities sector.  We saw new regulations, new platforms and services, and the demise of various others.

Regulatory Advances and Findings

Multiple regulatory bodies made news in June.  This was first evident with the anticipated release of findings by the OSC, pertaining to the QuadrigaCX fiasco.  South of the border, the SEC was no stranger to making waves.  Not only did the Supreme Court weigh in on SEC capabilities, but news broke of the possible exodus of Chairman, Jay Clayton.

OSC Finds Extensive Evidence of Fraud/Theft by Gerald Cotten and QuadrigaCX

Supreme Court Reins in SEC on Disgorgement

SEC Chairman, Jay Clayton, Moving On?

Pivots and Bankruptcies 

Blockchain and digital securities are both in their infancy.  As such, companies developing services around each are still finding their footing.  This was on full display throughout June, as multiple companies announced either their imminent closure, or a pivoting focus.

Neufund Freezes Operations of Issuance Platform

SeedCX Refocuses Efforts on Settlement Service ‘Zero Hash’

Factom Inc. Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in Bid to Survive

Real Estate

DeFi continues to convince many that it is the first ‘killer app’ surrounding cryptocurrencies.  Various companies involved with digital securities are trying to emulate this success, and find the perfect implementation for the technology.  A few of these companies are banking on real estate being the perfect avenue for achieving this.

For examples of this, look no further than the recent actions of companies like Vertalo, Tokensoft, and Tokai Tokyo.

Real Estate Increasingly Popular within Digital Securities – Vertalo and Tokensoft each Launch New Platforms

Investment Activity in Japan Signals Interest in Digital Securitization

In The News

SeedInvest Makes the Best of a Bad Situation

We have touched on the effects of COVID-19 various times since the beginning of the pandemic.  While many have been hit hard by its effects, there are those that have made the best of a bad situation.  A prime example of this is the recent successes of crowdfunding platform SeedInvest.

“Unlike venture capital firms, online fundraising platforms are perfectly situated to help startups in the current, post-COVID-19 world we are in. Online fundraising platforms are not dependent on capital from a handful of pensions and endowments, but rather a large, diverse network of investors (SeedInvest has had over 350,000 investors register for example).” – Ryan Feit, CEO of SeedInvest

 Thought Leaders

Solving the Liquidity Puzzle for Security Tokens

Borys Pikalov, Head of Business Analytics at STOBox, took the time to pen his thoughts on what it will take for security tokens to realize their potential liquidity.  This insightful article elaborates on, not only what constitutes a security token, but why they are important, and how true liquidity can be achieved.

Interviews

Hirander Misra, Chairman of GMEX Group & SECDX

In this exclusive interview, we learn about the bevy of services on offer from each, GMEX Group and SECDX.  Whether discussing custodial services, or strategic investments, Hirander Misra sheds light on why, and how, each company is affecting change. Read More

Around the Web

Nasdaq’s New PLatform Backed by R3, Digital Asset, Symbiont and Microsoft May Not Be What Your Think It – Forbes

To date, much of development behind blockchain and digital securities has been achieved by smaller, flexible companies.  This is changing with time, though, as we are now seeing adoption among more established companies.  Forbes recently touched on this, and the various benefits behind tokenization, which have captivated the imaginations of companies like Microsoft.  Read More

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Monthly Update

A Month in Review – May 2020

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While operations are far from returning to the norm, May was the first month, since the onset of COVID-19, to really demonstrate a positive turn of events.  Many nations have seen cases peak, or even decline, at this point.

While the threat of COVID-19 appears to be diminishing, due to huge efforts made around the world, the lessons learned from the pandemic are as fresh as ever.  This was evident over the month of May, as many developments surrounding blockchain involved projects influenced by the pandemic.  One such example is a recognition by governments that CBDCs are, indeed, something needed moving forward.

This edition of ‘The Digital’ highlights a few examples of this, along with a few industry developments seen throughout May.

Regulatory Advances

Growth surrounding digital securities has long been stymied by a lack of regulatory clarity.  This, however, is fast becoming an argument of the past.  This month alone, we saw nations stretching from the Caribbean to Asia, doing their part to facilitate sector growth.

RBI Clarifies Crypto Banking Regulations in India

Taiwan Publishes New Security Token Regulations

New Framework Passes in Cayman Islands Addressing Virtual Assets

 

Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC)

With inefficiencies brought to light by COVID-19, nations around the globe are working to upgrade their operations, with the release of a CBDC.  May saw multiple examples of this in, both, France and Austria.

France’s Central Bank completes Security Issuance with Digital Euros

Raiffeisen Bank Cooperating with Billion in Pilot of CBDC

 

Libra

Due to being a product of Facebook, the Libra project has, understandably, garnered the attention of a massive audience.  While the road has been bumpy, on route to where they stand now, this has not prevented progress from being made on the project.

Where April saw multiple additions to the Libra Association, May brought the announcement of the project’s first CEO being appointed.  In addition to this, Calibra underwent a re-branding, and is now known as ‘Novi’.

Facebook’s Libra Wallet, Calibra, Rebrands to ‘Novi Financial’

Libra Project Appoints First CEO – Stuart Levey

 

In The News

TON Project Shutters its Doors as the SEC Prevails

After waging a months-long battle against the SEC, Telegram made the decision to throw in the towel.  In the process of doing so, Telegram CEO, Pavel Durov released a condemning perspective of the United States. Read Here

“…we, the people outside the US, can vote for our presidents and elect our parliaments, but we are still dependent on the United States when it comes to finance and technology (luckily not coffee). The US can use its control over the dollar and the global financial system to shut down any bank or bank account in the world. It can use its control over Apple and Google to remove apps from the App Store and Google Play.

So yes, it is true that other countries do not have full sovereignty over what to allow on their territory. Unfortunately, we – the 96% of the world’s population living elsewhere – are dependent on decision makers elected by the 4% living in the US.”– Pavel Durov, CEO of Telegram

 

DTCC Unveils Two Security Token Research Platforms

After experiencing multiple shutdowns, due to COVID-19, it was made apparent to the DTCC that a change to their operations was needed.  May saw this realization result in the DTCC announcing multiple programs, built to study the efficacy of blockchain, in settlement process.  Read Here

 “The private markets are ripe for increased levels of automation and lack much of the infrastructure that has supported the public markets for decades…Project Whitney presents an exciting opportunity to leverage emerging technologies and develop completely new solutions from the ground up.” – Jennifer Peve, Managing Director at the DTCC

Interviews

Andrew Adcock, CEO of Crowd for Angels

In this exclusive interview, we discussed the benefits made possible through equity crowdfunding.  Further to this, Andrew elaborated on what Crowd for Angels is doing to push the sector forward. Read More

Around the Web

Why Central Bank Digital Currencies are Good News for Blockchain Adoption – Forbes

As nations continue toying with the idea of a CBDC, Forbes touched on a future in which these assets stand to help the adoption of blockchain.  While some believe CBDCs will eliminate a need for assets, such as Bitcoin, there are various reasons why they may just help it instead.  Can such assets co-exist?  Read More

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Monthly Update

A Month in Review – April 2020

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As the world continues to make progress in the fight against COVID-19, the appeal of digital securities continues to grow.  This is, in great part, due to a diminishment of VC activity being seen, resulting in an increased interest in alternative means of capital generation.

This edition of ‘The Digital’ highlights a few examples of this, along with a few illuminating interviews, completed throughout April.

 

Secondary Markets

One of the more commonly anticipated benefits associated with digital securities is the advent of secondary markets, due to the liquidity which they will, potentially, provide.

April ended as a mixed bag, with regards to secondary markets.  While leading U.S. platform, OFN, struggles with their financials, Canadian based, TokenGX, was given the greenlight for their next endeavour.

TokenGX Gets Greenlight to Develop Secondary Trading Platform for Canadian Markets

OpenFinance Network ‘OFN’, to De-List Assets Unless Issuers Step-Up

 

Strategic Investments + Raising Capital

As consumer bases becoming increasingly educated, companies with a focus on social impact investing will see their appeal grow.  EFFV has recognized this, and announced an upcoming STO, structured to fuel their growth in ‘green’ endeavours.

Along with this, April saw tZERO successfully land a $5 million investment.  The company indicates plans to use this funding for the expansion of services within Asia.

tZERO Secures $5M to Expand Asian Operations

Earth First Food Ventures (EFFV) – Social Impact Investing within FoodTech

 

Stablecoins

One of the hottest forms of digital assets is, without a doubt, Stablecoins.  These assets have garnered the attention of many, to the point that Facebook is developing their very own variant.  This past month saw development, not only surrounding Libra, but insights provided from, both, politicians and researchers.

California Berkeley Haas Blockchain Initiative Researchers Issue New Stablecoin Study

Yet to be Quenched, Libra Still Being Forged through Criticisms and Growth

 

In The News

Playing in the ‘Tokenization Sandbox’ with Vertalo

With the digital securities sector being multiple years old, at this point, the time has come for companies to begin pushing for real adoption.  Vertalo has recognized this, and recently announced multiple efforts to do just that.  The most recent of which is the launch of, what they call, a ‘Tokenization Sandbox’.

Vertalo CEO, Dave Hendricks, spoke on the purpose of their Tokenization Sandbox, and why it is needed.

“The Vertalo Sandbox Program is an innovation that is designed to reduce obstacles to digital asset transformation and to empower market participants…In order to create confidence in the digital transformation programs, we need to move past expensive services for commodity transactions such as token issuance.”  Read Here

 

Mr. Wonderful Aligns Efforts with Equity Crowdfunding Platform, ‘StartEngine

Determined to continue growing, and provide their clientele with unmatched opportunities, StartEngine was successful in attracting new talent to their team, this past month.  Joining the team is none other than Kevin O’Leary, aka Mr. Wonderful.

Kevin O’Leary spoke on why he decided to make the jump into crowdfunding with StartEngine.

“With the coronavirus pandemic causing economic uncertainty, startups and small businesses are having an incredibly hard time accessing capital, so you’re going to see a material increase in interest in crowdfunding companies like StartEngine that are solving that problem…We’re going to look back on this period as the start of the rise of equity crowdfunding, and I think it’s an industry that StartEngine is going to win.” Read Here

 

Interviews

Jim Dowd, Founder & Managing Director of North Capital Private Securities

In this exclusive interview, we discussed the recent launch of a new ATS, supporting a variety of assets, including digital securities.  This development marks an important step forward, at a pivotal time, when investors are looking for such services. Read More

Nick Bhargava, Cofounder of GROUNDFLOOR

As the cofounder of real-estate focused crowdfunding platform, GROUNDFLOOR, Nick Bhargava has unique insights into the JOBs Act.  In this discussion, we highlight industry needs, moving forward, as well as what GROUNDFLOOR has to offer. Read More

Benjamin Tsai, President & Managing Partner of Wave Financial

Between their upcoming ‘Kentucky Whiskey Fund’, and their investments in companies like Securitize and Vertalo, Wave Financial is clearly ‘all-in’ on digital securities.  Peruse our discussion with Ben Tsai, as he elaborates on why this is. Read More

 

Around the Web

Instant Access: Easy, Secure and Compliant Peer-to-Peer Transactions of Digital Securities – Securitize

With many digital security focused exchanges still working to get off the ground, Securitize has developed, and launched, a new means of buying/selling these assets.  This capability comes through the use of technologies such as ‘Atomic Swaps’, eliminating the need for third party facilitators.  Read More

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