This month saw the release of the QRC Blockchain Sentiment Survey. This annual survey is mailed out to over 200,000 professionals globally. The results are then used by firms globally to better understand the market sentiment. This year, 1,871 blockchain professionals participated in the survey.
Notably, this is the second year the study was conducted. The original survey released in October 2018. Not surprisingly, this year’s study had some interesting revelations. Most importantly, the overall market consensus is a feeling of rebound. Researchers discovered that investors are less weary of blockchain-based systems across the entire business sector.
Libra Boosted Confidence
In total 40% of survey takers felt “very confident” about ICO and STO adoption. The prior study put participants at a more neutral outlook on the industry. Facebook’s Libra announcement attributed the most to the boost in market confidence. When broken into regions, the most confident investors lived in North America. South America came in second place.
QRC Blockchain Sentiment Survey Interesting Finds
The surveyed revealed that there are fewer institutional investors in the market at this time than in 2018. The same data showed the sentiment amongst institutional investors as neutral. This is a stark improvement over last year’s survey which pegged institutional investor’s sentiment at “extreme caution.”
Also, the survey showed Hong Kong has the most crypto investors per capita. Despite the larger number of crypto investors, the study lists Hong Kong investors as “extremely cautious” about the market. Opposingly, Singapore has the most aggressive crypto investors.
When asked if they feel regulations help the crypto space, those surveyed responded across the board evenly. Regionalizing the question showed that North Americans don’t believe regulation helped the space at all. Reversely, Singaporean and Middle Eastern investors believe the opposite. These investors find regulations to help “a great deal.” African investors were split on the question.
QRC Blockchain Sentiment Survey – STO
This year’s study included a section dedicated to STO questions. In this section of the survey, it asks “How familiar are you with the STO process?” Surveyors were split across the board, with the majority responding “somewhat familiar.” Notably, North Americans responded “extremely familiar” more than any other region.
The survey then divided the question’s answers into the professional classes listed prior. Here the study found that CEOs and other senior officers are “somewhat or very familiar” with STOs. Mid-level management responded overwhelmingly with “not familiar.” Interestingly, licensed dealers and brokers ranked as the least familiar with the STO fundraising strategy.
Researchers attribute these responses directly to the level of investment each business category enjoys. CEOs are usually experienced investors with time to learn new investment strategies. Whereas, senior management enjoys some investments but for the most part, their career consumes their attention. Middle management doesn’t have any time, and less capital, to develop a new investment strategy.
Most Wanted Traits
When asked as tech startups what type of traits or important factors the company would seek in an STO advisor, the responses shifted from last year’s results as well. Those surveyed last year put looking for “experienced” advisors as the primary trait. This year’s study saw “technical expertise” become the most sought after trait.
There are many reasons for this shift. As the regulatory framework comes into place for the STO industry, startups are able to focus more on the technical aspects of their project, rather than unanswered legal questions.
Interestingly, the 2018 study found “price and fees” as the second most important advisor concern. This year’s study put “connection to investors” as the second most important. Even more interesting is that, both Hong Kong and Singapore placed “connections to investors” above “technical expertise”.
In North America, “experience” ranked top. This response is telling as the US doesn’t have a strong regulatory framework in place yet. South America placed “connections to top talent” as its most desirable trait, followed by “technical expertise.” The EU and UK put “network” first. Following this line of thought, “connections to investors” was the second.
QRC Blockchain Sentiment Survey
This year’s QRC Blockchain Sentiment Survey included a wide scope of blockchain professionals. This year’s participants break down into five business class categories. The first class is CEOs. This class includes founders, principal, and partners. In total this class made up 30% of the participants.
Senior Management was the next largest group of participants at 14%. This group includes VPs, Directors, and SVPs. Specialists and associates made up 9% of the total surveyed. The smallest group to participate was those in marketing and sales (5%) and investors (4%).
QRC Blockchain Sentiment Survey Global Participation
This year, North American participants made up 28% of those surveyed. European participants were 18%, followed by Middle Eastern blockchain professional at 9%. Both Asian (23%) and African (17%) participant levels outnumbered South American (3%).
Core Capabilities Vary
The report goes on to explain that each region’s core capabilities differ significantly. Basically, your location plays a major role in your ability to host STOs or any blockchain-based business successfully. The paper recommends that advisory firms use the findings to customize a marketing campaign to fit their region accordingly.
The QRC Blockchain Sentiment Survey is one of the most accurate studies in the sector. The firm estimates a margin of error +/- 2.98%. Researchers considered possible reasons for the positive response levels this survey.
Researchers believe part of the reason that responses were more optimistic this survey is the fact that there was a clear separation between blockchain tech and ICO question. Today’s market terminology is better understood than a year ago when STOs and ICOs were less differentiated.
Also, researchers noted the BTC bull run at the time of the survey. Surveyors attributed the run to a combination of factors. Of these, Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency would be the most influential.
QRC HK Limited
QRC HK Limited is located in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong. The firm specializes in data collection and examination. The survey lists Al Leong as the Head of Customer Success and as the firm’s contact regarding survey questions.
You can expect this survey to help guide countless blockchain professionals this year. The insight provided allows for an overall better understanding of the trajectory of the market.
Tokeny Makes the FinTech 50
The popular tokenization platform, Tokeny made it on this year’s FinTech 50. The news places Tokeny in an exclusive class of movers and shakers in the marketplace. Also, it showcases Tokeny’s dedication to simplifying the tokenization process for the EU market.
Tokeny making the FinTech 50 is a huge accomplishment for the firm. The FinTech 50 recognizes the top FinTech firms across Europe. Companies that make the list tend to see a boost in activity directly afterward. Unlike most awards, the FinTech 50 is not an actual award per se. There are no actual winners chosen from the list. Instead, the list is kind of like a whos-who of businesses to watch in the coming months. The list is meant to showcases disruptive and newly developed strategies and technologies in the market, and the firms which employ them. Making the FinTech 50 places Tokeny in a unique category amongst the competition.
To make the consideration, a firm must utilize game-changing technology to progress the financial markets. Not surprisingly, Tokeny does exactly that. Tokeny is a cloud-based platform which allows for the issuance of compliant tokenized assets. Developers sought to make the platform as seamless as possible. To do so, the platform incorporates several interesting features.
For one, companies can opt for a white-label strategy. In this manner, the investment process is more familiar to participants. The platform also features full AML and KYC integration. Both of these features allow Tokeny to maintain full compliance throughout the tokenization, issuance, and trading processes.
Versatility is another important feature that the platform’s developers incorporated. Unlike most tokenization platforms, Tokeny allows investors and businesses to utilize multiple currencies. This flexibility makes it easier for global investors to participate in crowdfunding campaigns with confidence.
FinTech 50 – A Big Deal
The FinTech 50 list is a big deal in the sector. This year was the seventh year running. Each year the event draws more viewers, impressions, and attendees than the previous. Last year’s event received over 60,000 views. Also, the event had a reach on Twitter of over 5 million accounts in just 3 days.
Who are the FinTech 50 Judges?
Perhaps the most interesting fact about the FinTech 50 is how the judges are chosen. Every year, the list seeks out a panel of international judges to help decide what businesses mak -the-cut. These individuals are selected because they are industry leaders in their own right. Consequently, the list includes some of the most notable names in FinTech. This year was no different.
Tokenize All these Awards
This isn’t the first time Tokeny received accolades for its market contributions. The firm received the coveted Fintech 2019 award in June as well. Award presenters choose Tokeny from 194 applicants from 33 countries.
FinTech Winners Tracked
Interestingly, FinTech list makers have their funding tracked for a year following the listing to see how the companies develop. In this manner, the lists can assess their decisions. Notably, the 2018 FinTech firms listed raised around $2.5 billion.
Tokeny – A Bright Future
With all the recognition Tokeny garnished this year, it’s no surprise the platform continues to see rapid expansion. As Europe’s security token sector develops, Tokeny’s market positioning will strengthen even more. You can expect to see these innovative minds push the boundaries of FinTech to the next level.
Vertalo Integrates Insurance Software ‘TigerMark’ by Assurely
Today, digital securities specialists, Vertalo, and Insurance specialists, Assurely, have announced the formation of a strategic partnership. This alliance will see Vertalo integrate software, known as TigerMark, into their platform.
The integration will provide Vertalo clients with increased security, as they will now have the option to insure DSOs taking place on the platform.
This product, formerly known as ‘CrowdProtector’, functions with two primary goals aimed toward the tokenization process.
- Protect Token Issuers
- Regardless of how well thought out, and structured, a DSO may be, there always remains the potential for an investor to become disillusioned with a company. TigerMark protects token issuers from potential lawsuits brought forth by said investors.
- Protect Token Investors
- One of the main draws towards DSO/STOs, is the oversight and necessary compliance with regulations. TigerMark works to protect investors, by ensuring that token issuers remain in line, and transparent with their regulatory obligations.
The CEO of each Vertalo, and Assurely, took the time upon announcing their partnership, to comment on the development. The following is what each had to say on how the sector will benefit from this move.
Dave Hendricks, CEO of Vertalo, stated,
“Mainstream adoption of digital assets has been hindered by complicated token issuances and wallets designed for experts, leaving many waiting on the sidelines for a better user experience. Because of usability challenges and sub-par offerings, most investors haven’t had the confidence to invest in new digital offerings, despite their promised gains and liquidity. Through Vertalo’s partnership and integration with Assurely, both issuers and investors can now have more confidence that their investments in these new digital instruments are backed by the power of insurance, protected against simple administrative errors or unfortunate malfeasance.”
David Carpentier, CEO of Assurely, stated,
“Partnering with Vertalo is a significant step the digital assets industry and for Assurely Integrating our products and process with Vertalo allows us to continue to increase the trust, confidence, and safety of investing in digital assets. We are able to deploy an instantaneous, automated, and application-free insurance purchasing process that customizes risk products to what is needed, when it is needed. It is a powerful partnership and we are thrilled to contribute to Vertalo’s mission of advancing this industry for the benefit of all stakeholders involved.”
Speaking with Dave
We were recently fortunate to have completed an exclusive interview with Vertalo CEO, Dave Hendricks. In this discussion, Dave touches on various aspects of Vertalo and their suite of services. Check out the interview below to learn more about the company and their offerings.
Founded in 2017, Vertalo is a Texas based company. While this young company began their journey into digital securities as ‘cap-table’ specialists, their purview has continued to grow through software development, and the forging of various strategic partnerships.
CEO, Dave Hendricks, currently oversees company operations.
Founded in 2016, Assurely maintains headquarters in New York. In the time since their formation, the company has strived to provide products which merge traditional insurance options with blockchain technologies.
CEO, David Carpentier, currently oversees company operations.
In Other News
For those looking to learn a bit more about TigerMark, make sure to check out this following article. TigerMark was originally released under the name ‘CrowdProtector’. While the name has changed, the mission has not, and as seen here today, adoption is beginning to occur.
Overstock to End Stock Lockup Early – OSTKO
This week, Overstock.com announced revisions to its Series A-1 Preferred Stock (OSTKO). The firm wants to drop trading restrictions and allow investors to trade OSTKO shares immediately. This pioneering strategy provides liquidity to investors in a manner that wasn’t possible before the advent of blockchain tech.
Eliminate Rule 144 – OSTKO
All traditional shares require a six-month lockup period to be compliant with SEC Rule 144. During this period a series of processes occur to finalize the purchase. Overstock automated these procedures via smart contracts. Now the company seeks SEC approval to eliminate the need to adhere to Rule 144 in this instance.
The Original OSTKO Launch Date
The original record date for the OSTKO launch was September 23, but company executives postponed the date to push their new strategy. Now, Overstock plans to announce the new record date sometime in the next two months.
The new tokenized shares will be slightly different than their traditional counterparts. For example, Overstock’s board approved a conversion rate of one digital series A-1 preferred stock to ten shares in common stocks. Interestingly, the company chose to make the new stock only available via the Dinosaur Financial Group brokerage platform.
The Dinosaur Financial Group is also a partner with tZERO, Overstock’s blockchain subsidiary. In both instances, the Dinosaur Financial Group functions as the broker-dealer. Basically, the firm provides brokerage accounts for investors seeking to trade these digital assets.
Discussing the partnership at that time, Dinosaur’s Managing Director of Equity, Elliot Grossman described his company’s pride in being a pioneer in the industry. He said that the technology has the potential to create “disruptive changes for issuance, trading, and settlement in capital markets.” Today, Grossman is the CEO of tZERO.
Speaking on the OSTKO shares, Overstock’s Interim CEO, Jonathon Johnson discussed the interest seen from broker-dealers, regulators, and shareholders. He called the technology groundbreaking before touting integrated compliance and investor protections.
Most importantly, Johnson explained that blockchain technology improves the overall investor experience. He also described the tech as having an “enormous potential to transform society for the better.”
Slow Short Selling
It was Overstock’s ex-CEO, Patrick Byrne who first thought up the idea of tokenizing shares. Ironically, the strategy originated as a way to stop ramped short selling of their stock. Byrne claims a well-organized group of fraudsters targeted Overstock for the last year via these short sales attacks.
The short sellers seemed to only work with dollars so the plan to tokenize worked great. That was until early this week when Morgan Stanly and JPMorgan started accepting fiat payments for the tokenized stock. The news caused an investor frenzy that sent Overstock shares down 40% from a recent 52-week high.
Overstock is Full Blockchain
It’s interesting to see how Overstock uses its blockchain know-how to navigate the market-scape. In this case, the use of blockchain to stop short sales attacks resulted in the development of a better investor experience. You can expect to see more from these innovative developers in the coming weeks as OSTKO goes live.