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A Month in Review – September 2019

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month in review

Digital Securities

While September brought us a decent share of positive news surrounding digital securities, it also saw the culmination of various charges levied by the SEC.  This edition of ‘The Digital’ highlights a few of these instances, in addition to exclusive interviews from industry participants.

Partnerships

Building on an August which saw Vertalo establish partnerships with both, Prime Trust and InvestReady, they continued their expansion into September.  This continuing work, notably, saw the Texas based company integrate insurance services provided by Assurely.
Vertalo Integrates Insurance Software ‘TigerMark’ by Assurely

Spotlighting

While various banks have been dabbling in blockchain for years, this month saw multiple large European banks take large steps forward.  While Spanish bank, Santander, was trialing ETH based bond issuance, Germany’s Boerse Stuttgart launched a digital exchange to search the industry.
Santander Completes Fully Digitized $20M Bond Settlement

Boerse Stuttgart Launches Digital Exchange

Licensure

With industry competitor, Securitize, recieving their ‘transfer agent’ approval last month, U.S. based Harbor had no intention of being left behind.  In mid-September, the issuance platform was successfully designated a Broker/Dealer.  This new title brings various benefits, allowing for new avenues of expansion to be explored by Harbor.

Harbor Square Investments Approved as Broker/Dealer

Down But Not Out

Last month, we touched on the battles being fought by tZERO,, and we will continue to do so here, as the situation has continued to evolve.  While August saw the loss of major investments, along with a CEO, September brought accusations of nefarious activity and lawsuits.

Overstock.com Executives Face Securities Fraud Lawsuit

In Other News

Kik Hunkers Down for Fight with SEC – Shuts Down Messaging App

As the SEC continues to chase down potential offenders, one target has decided to fight back.  Kik, has taken bold moves this past month, as they looks to streamline their operations by shutting down their messenger app.  This is being done to channel their resources towards their fight with the SEC.

The team spoke on the impact this case is having, stating, “These are hard decisions. Kik is one of the largest apps in the US. It has industry leading engagement and is growing again. Over 100 employees and their families will be impacted. People who have poured their hearts and souls into Kik and Kin for over a decade.” Read Here

SEC Zeroes in on ICOBox Activity, Filing Multiple Charges

The SEC has shown that they are not just interested in giant ICOs and large companies.  They have no issue filing charges against anyone committing infractions.  In this instance, their target was ICOBox, and their 2017 ICO.

Michele Wein Layne, of the SEC, stated, “By ignoring the registration requirements of the federal securities laws, ICOBox and Evdokimov exposed investors to investments, which are now virtually worthless, without providing information that is critical to making informed investment decisions.”  Read Here

Interviews

Daniel Liebau, Founder of Lightbulb Capital

In this exclusive interview, we speak with Daniel Liebau.  A multi-faceted individual, Daniel Liebau is not only the Founder of Singapore based Lightbulb Capital, but a Ph.D. candidate, and University lecturer, among other accolades. Read More

Myles Milston, CEO of Globacap 

In this interview, Myles Milston shares his views on the industry, while providing various insights into the goals of Globacap. Read More

Moresh Kokane, CEO of Konkrete 

Here, Moresh Kokane touches on real estate, and how digital securities stand to change the industry. Read More

Education

Titles and Designations Among Industry Participants

We shared this article last month, when Securitize was approved as a transfer agent.  It is still as relevant as ever this month, with Harbor becoming an approved broker/dealer.  This article gives a brief description on what some of these titles and designations entail. Read Here

Around the Web

NBA Rules Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie Can’t Convert Contract into Digital Investment – Bleacher Report

This piece comes from a popular sports outlet, speaking on the NBA and their stance on the tokenization of player contracts.  Blockchain enthusiast, Spencer Dinwiddie, is determined to achieve his goal in doing so. 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.

Security Token News

VeVue Signs Partnerswith CBX for Token Launch

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VeVue Partners with CBX Exchange for STO

The blockchain-based social media platform, VeVue announced plans to host an STO in the coming weeks. The company intends to expand the platform’s capabilities with the funds raised. Now content creators have a more lucrative alternative to consider moving forward.

News of the company’s intentions first broke via an October 14 press release. In the post, the company announces its new strategy and partnership. As part of the firm’s new crowdfunding approach, VeVue partnered with the hugely popular CBX exchange.

CBX Exchange

For its part, CBX will be responsible for the sales, token issuance, and distribution of the VUE token. CBX is one of the largest crypto exchanges based in the Middle East. The firm operates a fully compliant EU exchange. Developers integrated both AML and KYC protocols directly into its trading platform.

VeVue via Homepage

VeVue via Homepage

CBX recently launched a campaign with Alibaba competitor GoJoyin in which the platform secured over $10 million in funding. The experience gained in this campaign will be critical for VeVue STO’s success.

VUE STO

The VeVue STO will commence on October 28, 2019, at 4 pm PST. Interestingly, the event is scheduled to only last 48 hours. CBX intends to issue 5 million VUE tokens to qualified non-US investors. Vevue also announced that there will only be 100 million VUE tokens in total available to investors. Of these tokens, 35 million are reserved for investor purchases.

Vevue and CBX Unique Strategy

CBX and Vevue have a unique strategy for their crowdfunding efforts. The company intends to host an STO monthly moving forward. Additionally, these auctions will be Dutch-style. Basically, the official token price is set after taking in all bids.

Highest-Price VeVue STO

This strategy enables the firm to receive the highest price for the total offering. For example, investors place their bids which include the price and quantity they desire. The firm will then accept the top 5 million bids for the tokens.

VUE Token Benefits

VUE token holders receive a portion of gross revenue collected via the VeVue social media app. Consequently, investors actively earn from VeVue’s ecosystem. The App provides content creators with a revenue-generating outlet. Here, users can create and monetize content such as videos easily.

VeVue Transaction Fees

Vevue charges a 5% transaction fee on the monetized content. This fee then enters into the dividend pool from which STO investors receive payments daily. Importantly, dividends are paid in VUE tokens. This unique strategy encourages users to create high-quality content to earn more tokens.

Next Level Social Media

Traditional social media doesn’t allow users the opportunity to earn from their content contributions.  In fact, the current social media giants provide content creators with zero payment for their efforts.

Social Media Heat

VeVue’s timing is impeccable as social media giants such as Facebook continue to confront lawmakers over a myriad of concerns. Facebook, in particular, appears to be in the target of regulators after announcing plans to issue its own native cryptocurrency called the Libra.

A Better Social Media Alternative

VeVue appears to have unlocked a better way to social media for everyone. Providing users with an opportunity to earn tokens for their content is a smart concept that has proved to be a great alternative in the past. You can expect to hear more from VeVue in the coming weeks as its STOs hit the market.

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CFTC Labels Ether a Commodity

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Ether is a Commodity

The crypto community got some exciting news this week after the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman stated that Ether (ETH) is a commodity. The news follows similarly worded statements from SEC officials in the past.

The news came via an Oct 10 statement from acting CFTC Chairman Heath Tarbert. In the post, the Chairman announced that he believes Ether is not a security at this time. The news comes at a critical point in Ethereum’s development.

The news is a huge win for the Ethereum community. Currently, Ethereum is the second-largest cryptocurrency in the world by market cap ($20 billion). The ruling is important because it means Ether falls under CFTC regulations and not SEC securities regulations. Consequently, the decision allows financial institutions to offer a wide array of new products and open up entirely new markets moving forward.

Ether Futures and Derivatives

In the past analysts pointed out that the Ether derivatives market suffered due to the lack of transparency. Tarbert now says that you can expect to see both Ether futures and derivatives markets in the very near future. Surprisingly, he stated that these financial tools would hit the market in less than a year.

Ether Creator Vitalik Buterin via Medium

Ether Creator Vitalik Buterin via Medium

Transformative Token

According to the Chairman, Ether is a case of a transformative token. Basically, the token started as a security during the ICO event. At that time the enterprise was playing a controlling role over the digital asset. As time progressed, the Ethereum enterprise faded to the background as the cryptocurrency decentralized. Now the token serves as a utility.

Reverse Securities

Additionally, Tarbert described the reverse scenario in which a utility token slowly develops into a security. In this situation, you start off with a fully decentralized organization. Over time, the enterprise steps back in to take more control. Consequently, this creates a scenario where investors seek profits from the efforts of others. Now the token is a security.

Notably, SEC officials stated that they do not consider Ether a security in its current state. However, both the SEC and CFTC did point out that during the company’s ICO, Ether acted as a security. Luckily the SEC declined to fine the Ethereum development team for its ICO.

Bitcoin is a Commodity

Falling along this line of thought, Tarbert explained that Bitcoin is also a commodity. This statement coincides with the SEC’s decision to decline to label Bitcoin as a security. Analysts consider these actions as a precursor to this week’s news.

PoW to PoS

Also, Ethereum developers announced a shift from the Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus algorithm to a more energy-efficient alternative, a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. PoS systems don’t require your PC to do heavy computations. Instead, users earn rewards for “staking” tokens in their wallets. In this manner, PoS tokens use far fewer resources.

Ether Moving Forward

The Ethereum community has much to celebrate moving forward. The cryptocurrency continues to see development across the entire sector. You can expect to see the Ethereum community expand as more ETH-based products enter the market in the coming months.

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SEC Seeks Input on ‘Boston Securities Token Exchange (BSTX)’ Proposal

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SEC Seeks Input on 'Boston Securities Token Exchange (BSTX)' Proposal

Launching Markets – BSTX

The Boston Securities and Token Exchange (BSTX) has recently filed a proposal for various rule changes with the SEC. These changes would allow for BSTX to launch what would be the market’s first digital exchange supporting full-fledged digital securities.

Joint Filing

The Boston Securities and Token Exchange is a by-product of a partnership between tZERO and BOX Digital. This pairing of companies launched the joint venture in mid-2018, with the intent to develop the first fully regulated digital exchange in the U.S.

BSTX is expected to utilize blockchain technology provided by tZERO, while BOX representatives work towards establishing regulatory clearance. With each providing different areas of expertise to BSTX, both tZERO and BOX have made it clear that this is a joint venture, with each having a 50% say.

Rule Change

The proposed rule change discussed here dates back to late June, 2019. At the time of the filing, it was viewed as having the potential to create a ‘rulebook’ for the operation of such exchanges in the United States. Only now, months later, is the SEC making the filing available for public commentary.

A few of the noteworthy attributes of their proposed exchange are as follows:

  • Asset ownership recorded using a private blockchain
  • Trading enabled through use of BSTX tokens
  • Whitelisted clients

At the initial time of its filing, we took a brief look at BSTX and their plans, including the use of an in-house token developed by the exchange.

Boston Security Token Exchange (BTSX) Seeks SEC Rule Change

Commentary

In their filing, made public by the SEC, the BSTX begins by outlining their plans and intentions for the proposed exchange.

“BSTX would operate a fully automated, price/time priority execution system for the trading of “security tokens,” which would be equity securities that meet BSTX listing standards and for which ancillary records of ownership would be able to be created and maintained using distributed ledger (or “blockchain”) technology.”

Boston Securities and Token Exchange (BSTX)

Operating within the United States, BSTX is a proposed digital securities exchange, which was founded in 2018. The company looks to become the first exchange of its kind, supporting full-fledged digital securities.

CEO, Lisa Fall, currently oversees company operations.

In Other News

Whether it be through the backing of others, or through their own endeavours, tZERO remains hard at work, establishing the digital securities sector.

We were recently fortunate enough to have interviewed tZERO CEO, Saum Noursaheli. In this exclusive interview we discuss past and future events pertaining to the company. Make sure to check out the following interview to learn more!

Interview Series – Saum Noursaheli, CEO of tZERO

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