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Custodianship – A Look at Various Industry Solutions

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Custodianship - A Look at Various Industry Solutions

Industry Hurdles – Custodianship

In under two years, the state of custodianship within blockchain has grown by leaps and bounds. A mere eighteen months ago publications were posting about ‘The sad state of crypto custody’. Six months after that, custody solutions were noted as a rapidly developing innovation within the industry.

A major driving factor behind the development seen, with regards to custodianship, is due to the narrative of ‘institutional capital’ entering the world of crypto. If this is to occur, they will require trusted companies to provide this service.

Today, various companies which recognized the lack of solutions in the industry have launched, and established beginning levels of adoption. The following are a few of these companies, and what they are bringing to the table.

Anchorage

In a recent, and promising, bit of news, payment processing giant, VISA, Blockchain Capital, and others, invested $40 million USD into a blockchain based custodial solution – Anchorage. This raise represented a Series B, with the company previously raising $16 million in their Series A mere months ago.

This young, promising, company has taken a different approach to providing a safe haven for digital assets. Rather than using passwords and usernames, the platform relies on a mix of human and artificial intelligence to verify transactions on whitelisted devices.

Anchorage has stated that, in time, their platform will support all forms of digital assets. This versatility, and interest in the sector shown by companies like VISA, points to a bright future.

Unbound Tech

One of the most anticipated digital securities exchange launches of 2019, is the upcoming Archax Exchange. With a projected launch in Q4 of 2019, it is imperative for Archax to establish all of the necessary partnerships and services sooner than later. The latest puzzle piece to fall in to place would be the decision to utilize custodial services, offered by Unbound Tech.

Unbound Tech, which operates out of New York, has developed a DLT based platform which breaks up and stores data among various parties. This is done with the intention of eliminating a single point of weakness within a storage network. No doubt, their innovative, and polished, platform led to this strategic partnership.

Copper

The rise of digital securities has also resulted in the rise of numerous issuance platforms. In order to remain appealing to their clients, each of these platforms must either offer their clients direct access to a custodial service, or redirect them to a third party.

One of the most promising issuance platforms, SWARM, has experienced better adoption than most, to date. Not offering any ‘in-house’ custodial service, SWARM established a strategic partnership with U.K. based, Copper.

Copper provides institutional grade custodianship through the use of a practice called ‘air-gapping’. This simply refers to the practice of ensuring their cold storage devices are, not only not connected to the internet, but not connected to any other device which maintains an internet connection.

Upon establishing their alliance, SWARM Cofounder Philipp Pieper, had high praise for Copper. He stated, “The integration between Copper and SWARM is a great fit due to the compatibility of our technologies as well as our teams…Copper provides the level of institutional grade security and convenience that is absolutely essential for the adoption of digital securities by institutional investors and retail market,”

Coinbase

Love them or hate them, Coinbase remains at the forefront of the blockchain industry. This means that when their custodial solution, ‘Coinbase Custody’ announced support for their first digital security, it represented an important step.

The reason this step is an important one can be broken down various ways, but is primarily positive, due to the increased exposure which Coinbase will afford the nascent digital securities sector. Most participants in the world of blockchain are well versed in ICOs, but have not necessarily been exposed to STOs and DSOs. Support of assets issued through these capital generation events, by an industry leader, is most definitely a step forward.

Carlos Domingo, CEO of Securitize, tweeted at the time of this announcement.

TokenSoft Knox Wallet

TokenSoft has been one of the busiest companies within the digital securities sector throughout 2019. One of their various steps forward, came through their various custodial solutions for clientele. While the company has formed an alliance with Coinbase Custody, TokenSoft has developed their own solution for those interested.

‘Knox Wallet’ is the name of this offering.  It is a mobile custody solution, which brings full support for various digital security protocols.

Knox provides its users with security through the use of various tactics. These include cold storage, role-based access control, and cryptographic authentications.

While Knox remains in beta, it has the potential to become a key player in the digital securities sector.  It remains one of the only mobile based custody solution to support the asset class.

Continued Growth

An entire subset of the blockchain industry was essentially birthed from nothing, in less than two years.  It has since grown into a promising grouping of service providers. While time and development move slowly in the moment, reflecting on growth within blockchain shows fantastic speed of development, wherever you look.

The companies discussed here today are essentially writing the custodial solution blueprint on the fly. As these industry trailblazers demonstrate what works, and what doesn’t, we should continue to see increasingly polished solutions presented. One such example may prove to be the upcoming Facebook project, Calibra.

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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.

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Canadian Companies Involved in Digital Securities

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July 1st represents Canada Day in the Great White North.  As such, we thought that a quick look at a few Canadian companies involved in digital securities would be appropriate today.

To date, Canada has been one of the leading countries surrounding anything blockchain related.  We have seen government adoption, the creation of Ethereum, the first Bitcoin fund listed on a major exchange, and rumblings of a potential central bank digital currency.  The following are a few examples of Canadian based endeavours.

Bank of Canada

The Bank of Canada is one of the few of its kind to release official statements regarding the release of a CBDC.  It has been established that, while there are no immediate plans for the release of a CBDC, the bank fully intends on being prepared for this, eventuality.  This was first made apparent through job postings, such as ‘CBDC Project Manager’, but later through direct commentary.

In recent weeks, the Bank of Canada has gone so far as releasing an ‘analytical note’, which discusses the privacy needs of a potential CBDC.  While they note that the goal is to attain privacy, akin to what cash affords its users, currently technology, such as zero-knowledge proofs, are not appropriate, and that both maturation and national-scale implementation first need to occur.

While it may be years before a Canadian CBDC is actually launched, the Bank of Canada is at least making sure the nation is ready for that day.

Blockstation

Operating out of Toronto, Blockstation is a young company, rife with potential.  The team behind Blockstation has developed a suite of services which leverage blockchain technology.  These services were built to allow “…the traditional financial ecosystem to get in on digital assets, including Bitcoin, Ether, and Tokenized IPOs (Security Token Offerings, or STOs)”

The hard work that went in to establishing these capabilities has not gone unnoticed, as Blockstation has successfully partnered with multiple stock exchanges.  One such pilot will soon see the launch of at least 4 tokenized IPOs on the Jamaica Stock Exchange.

To learn about Blockstation in more detail, make sure to peruse our exclusive interview with CEO, Marko Hafez.

Interview Series – Marko Hafez, CEO of Blockstation

TokenGX

This Canadian outfit has recently received the greenlight by the regulatory body ‘Ontario Securities Commission (OSC)’, for the launch of a secondary marketplace.

Dubbed FreedomX, this anticipated marketplace will be one of the first of its kind in Canada.  It will offer a home for digital securities to actively be traded, providing higher levels of asset liquidity in the process.

Beyond just operating a regulated secondary marketplace, TokenGX is also working to establish, and deploy, a stablecoin.  This will be utilized as the primary means of settlement on FreedomX, and would be tethered to the Canadian Dollar.

Canadian Stablecorp

On the topic of stablecoins, a pair of Canadian Companies (3iQ and Mavennet) have joined forces to create ‘Canada Stablecorp’.

The first release by Canada Stablecorp is known as QCAD.  This is a CAD backed digital asset, which was structured as such for 3 main reasons.

  1. Provide its users with easy access to a digital asset, which can provide a reprieve from market volatility.
  2. Give Canadians a ‘home-grown’ variant; A trait which should appeal to Canadian investors looking to support Canadian companies.
  3. Leveraging the strength, and stability, of CAD. The Canadian dollar is typically accepted on a world stage, and benefits from a nation which typically remains removed from divisive world events.

While QCAD has not established itself to the extent shown by Tether, GUSD, and USDC, the potential is there.

Onwards and Upwards

Unfortunately, not all of the promising companies coming out of Canada could be discussed here today.  Those discussed represent a fraction of the activity taking place in the great white north.

If one thing is clear from this activity, it is that Canada has been/is playing an important role in the forwarding of blockchain and the digital securities sector.

Happy Canada Day!

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Monaco Chooses Tokeny as Sole Provider for Tokenization Services

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Sole Provider

Tokeny Solutions has just announced that they have become the sole provider of tokenization services for Monaco.

While a tiny nation, endorsement and usage from the Government of Monaco is a huge step for Tokeny;  It validates the work they have been doing, and the potential of what they are yet to achieve.

MOU

As it stands, the agreement between Monaco and Tokeny exists as a memorandum of understanding (MOU).  While not a binding contract, the MOU essentially means that formal documents have been signed by each of the parties, indicating their intent to work together.

Commentary

Upon announcing this new development, representatives from each, Tokeny and the Principality of Monaco, took the time to comment.

Luc Falempin, CEO of Tokeny Solutions, stated,

“The lack of high quality tokenized assets has been a stumbling block in the tokenization industry. With the mandatory label, projects selected by the Principality of Monaco will be easily recognized by investors as serious and quality investment opportunities. Then, the rights of investors will be guaranteed by their onchain identity. For the issuer, AML and KYC will be automatically enforced in any transfer.”

Frédéric Genta, Delegate for Digital of affairs Chief Digital Officer of the Principality of Monaco, stated,

“Monaco is moving towards its ambition to become a funding nation for progress with our STO framework. Two key milestones were achieved; a dedicated STO law was voted by the National Council and we are welcoming Tokeny to the Principality to operate our STOs.”

More than Promise

News of this newly established MOU goes beyond just promise, though.  Tokeny has announced that they already have companies lined up, waiting to capitalize on their services and friendly regulations.

The first example of which, is IceBreaker.  This production company hopes to leverage the benefits of hosting an STO, in order to fund and monetize content such as films and exhibits.  IceBreaker is spearheaded by, Acadamy award winning filmmaker, Luc Jacquet.

He commented on plans at IceBreaker, stating,

“IceBreaker intends to leverage blockchain technology to facilitate the financing of meaningful content production while retaining all associated rights enabling new monetization opportunities via films, exhibitions, etc. March of the Penguins and the subsequent Antarctica exhibition have demonstrated that the model can be a profitable one making it appealing to investors while preserving the freedom to express my creativity and promoting the virtuous value of the projects I carry”.

Monaco

With a population of roughly 40,000, and a geographical footprint of just <1sq mile, Monaco holds the title of the second smallest country on Earth.  Despite this, it remains one of the wealthiest nations, as well, with over 30% of the population being millionaires.

Tokeny

Founded in 2017, Tokeny is based out of Luxembourg.  Above all, the team at Tokeny has been working to develop, and spur adoption of, a suite of services tailored towards the digital securities sector.

CEO, Luc Falempin, currently oversees company operations.

Speaking with Luc

If interested in learning more about Tokeny, and what the company has to offer, make sure to peruse our past interview with CEO, Luc Falempin.  In this discussion Luc Falempin touches on his personal discovery of blockchain, and what makes Tokeny special.

Interview Series – Luc Falempin

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Real Estate

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

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On The Hunt

Blockchain based endeavours, such as cryptocurrencies, are only now beginning to grasp where they can thrive.  It has taken a decade, but there are finally a crop of ‘killer applications’ being developed.  This is most recently evident through the growth of decentralized finance (DeFi).

Digital securities are a step behind cryptocurrencies, and are still in the searching phase.  With the sector first being distinguished only a few years ago, it is still in its infancy.  In time, will it be tokenized art that catches on? Or maybe it will be supercars?

Multiple companies believe that they have determined the best use case for digital securities, and their accompanying services – Real Estate.

Prime Candidate

There are a variety of reasons which make real estate the perfect asset class to undergo restructuring with digital securities.

  • Traditionally, real estate suffers from low-liquidity
  • High fees and various ‘middlemen’
  • Restrictive access

While each of these issues may not stand out as being blatantly detrimental, they most certainly hold back the potential of an industry, ripe for change.

Through the use and implementation of digital securities, each of these points can be addressed.  In doing so, opportunities will arise where there were none before; All the while, giving more people access to a newly liquid asset class.

To learn more about why digital securities and real estate are a perfect fit, check out Vertalo’s FAQ on the subject HERE.

The Players

In the past week, we have seen two big announcements surrounding digital securities and real estate.  These have come from a pair of U.S. based companies, each quickly becoming leaders within their space – Austin based, Vertalo, and San Francisco based, TokenSoft.

Vertalo Real Estate

An influx of digital securities into real estate has shown enough promise, that Vertalo has just formed/launched an entire new branch of their company named Vertalo Real Estate (VRE).

In order to hit the ground running, Vertalo hired the full team at Advantage Blockchain.  With this experienced team spearheading the new endeavour, there will, surely, be new and positive developments announced in the coming months.

Among the talent coming on board from Advantage is RECM President, Gary Brandeis.  In this new position Brandeis will operate as the President of Vertalo Real Estate.

This new branch is described as being “focused on transforming ownership structures for the commercial real estate market…throughout the United States.”

While initial focus may remain on commercial opportunities, the end goal is to expand into real estate opportunities of all sizes.

Dave Hendricks, CEO of Vertalo, states,

“…the hiring of the Advantage Blockchain team reflects the dramatic increase in interest from commercial real estate owners for increased efficiency and secondary liquidity.  Vertalo has always considered commercial real estate – and eventually residential portfolios of all sizes – to be an ideal target market for digital transformation.”

TokenSoft Real Estate

Much like Vertalo, the merits of digital securities merging with real estate has not escaped the attention of TokenSoft.  This young company has just announced the launch of a ‘private label marketplace for real estate’.

The purpose of this new platform is a simple, but lofty, goal – enable secondary sales of real estate based private equity.  Beyond secondary sales, Tokensoft offers a full suite of services made possible through partnerships with companies, such as Signature Bank and Inveniam Capital Partners

Mason Borda, CEO of Tokensoft, states,

“Real estate investments like these are traditionally illiquid for several years. Leveraging a combination of regulatory automation by use of the blockchain, we’ve been able to bring a much needed liquidity solution to market.”

In Other News

To learn more about why such importance is placed on liquidity, make sure to peruse Borys Pikalov’s thoughts in the following article.

Solving the Liquidity Puzzle for Security Tokens

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