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.
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.
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.
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,”
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.
— Carlos Domingo (@carlosdomingo) June 5, 2019
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.
- Harbor R-Token
- Polymath ST-20
- Securitize DS-20
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.
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.
AssetBlock Tokenizes $60 Million Real Estate Fund
This week has seen some dramatic events take place in the blockchain real estate sector. Notably, AssetBlock announced the tokenization of $60 million in real estate funds. The news demonstrates the further expansion of blockchain technology into the traditional real estate market, and AssetBlock’s desire to become a major player in the sector.
News first broke of the tokenization on September 17 via a BusinessWire press release. In the post, AssetBlock sheds some light on the strategies in place and how the company plans to disrupt the traditional markets.
AssetBlock Utilizes Algorand Blockchain
Uniquely, AssetBlock chose to tokenize the properties on the Proof-of-Stake blockchain – Algorand. The Algorand blockchain brings some interesting benefits to the table including compliance, global reach, and a strong team of experienced experts.
As such, the Algorand blockchain is built to be sustainable and governed by open operating standards. Another important point worth mentioning is that Algorand blocks finalize in seconds. In essence, this strategy makes it possible for investor participation globally and instantly.
As a Proof-of-Stake blockchain, the energy consumption is far less than a Proof-of-Work (PoW) blockchain such as Bitcoin. Algorand uses a proprietary version of PoS dubbed Pure Proof of Stake (PPoS). This protocol provides full participation while leaving users protected at all times. The system is able to achieve consensus without the need for a central authority making truly decentralized.
Lodging Capital Partners LCP
To make this advantageous maneuver, AssetBlock enlisted Lodging Capital Partners (LCP). LCP currently holds over $1.5 billion in international real estate. For their part, LCP provided the properties to be tokenized.
In this particular instance, AssetBlock chose to tokenize $60 million in luxury hotel properties. According to company executives, these properties are only available to blockchain investors.
AssetBlock – More Opportunities
Speaking on the decision, AssetBlock CEO, Mike Lidell touched on the importance of merging traditional and non-traditional investors in an efficient manner. He explained that this is the best way to create more opportunities for everyone in the market.
Additionally, Steve Kisielica, the Principal CIO of LCP described how the maneuver creates a new investment pool in the market. He also spoke on the responsibility companies have in terms of embracing new technology that simplifies the market.
AssetBlock officials are serious about getting these tokens out to investors. The company officially earmarked the token launch for mid-October.
Real Estate is Growing Digital
The company’s decision mirrors that of some of the biggest players in the game in some aspects. Just this week, Securities reported on Harbor tokenizing $100 million in real estate funds for much of the same reason.
You have to give it to AssetBlock for it’s out of the box thinking. Utilizing a Proof-of-Stake blockchain is a great way to avoid future issues related to energy consumption. You can expect this deal to boost the notoriety of all the firms involved, as well as the possibilities of using PoS blockchains for tokenized real estate.
TokenMarket Streamlining to Focus on Digital Securities
Today it was announced that PayRue has acquired a cryptocurrency exchange, developed by TokenMarket.
With PayRue already holding the appropriate licensing in Estonia to launch an exchange, it is expected that the service will go live sooner than later.
This move goes beyond simply taking control of a cryptocurrency exchange, however. The acquisition is part of a larger partnership which will see the pair of companies work to ensure future integration of services throughout their platforms. The companies state that this integration will benefit their client base, currently numbering over 200,000 and growing.
This acquisition caught our attention, specifically, due to the reasoning behind it. On the part of TokenMarket, this move was undertaken with the intent to focus their efforts more completely on the advancement of the digital securities sector.
Over the past few months, TokenMarket, has made it clear that this is where they believe the future lies, and are hitching themselves to the wagon. Whether undergoing their own STO, or working to develop services and obtain appropriate licensures, they are quickly setting themselves up to be a leader in the space.
Upon announcing the acquisition and re-focusing efforts discussed here today, representatives from each, PayRue and TokenMarket, took the time to comment. The following is what the CEO of each company had to say on the matter.
Mikael Olofsson, CEO of PayRue, stated,
“Working with TokenMarket on a cryptocurrency trading platform is an exciting development for PayRue. Some may see the exchange market as crowded, but our view is that regulated decentralised exchanges are the next evolution and very few companies are prepared for this. We believe that our users will benefit from the security and transparency that centralised exchanges are currently failing to deliver, as showcased with the continuous hacks and fake trading volume”
Ransu Salovaara, CEO at TokenMarket, stated,
“We are excited to work with PayRue as we believe there will be a monumental shift to regulated wallets and exchanges. This partnership allows us to put all our focus on token issuance and the tokenised securities market, which we expect will be a billion dollar business in the coming years.”
Speaking with Mikko
We recently had the pleasure of completing an exclusive interview with the Chief Technology Officer of TokenMarket – Mikko Ohtamaa. In this interview, Mikko, discusses, not only his own foray into blockchain, but the future of TokenMarket within the industry.
Founded in 2017, TokenMarket is a crowdfunding platform based out of Gibraltar. Their efforts are focused on the development of the digital securities sector, through the use of blockchain technologies. To date, TokenMarket has assisted various companies’ complete successful token sales. This includes Storj, Ethos, and more.
CEO, Ransu Salovaara, currently oversees company operations.
Operating out of London, England, PayRue is a tech company which offers services surrounding cryptocurrencies. This includes a mobile payment app, along with the acquired capabilities discussed here today.
CEO, Mikael Olofsson, currently oversees company operations.
In Other News
To date, we have detailed developments pertaining to TokenMarket on various occasions. The following articles elaborate on a few of their developments from the past year.
WORBLI Looks to Make STOs More Affordable
This week, the World Blockchain Initiative – WORBLI – announced plans to revolutionize the STO sector. To accomplish this monumental task, the firm plans to create the world’s most cost-effective and pro-developer blockchain ecosystem to date. The news signals a key shift in strategy by smaller firms, as well as, a continued interest by companies seeking a blockchain-based IPO alternative.
World Blockchain Initiative WORBLI
The WORBLI platform is an STO ecosystem which allows businesses to share in the firm’s extensive library of decentralized apps (Dapps) without the need to hire custom developers. Think of WORBLI as kind of like a blockchain a la carte. In this manner, users can pick exactly what services they require and integrate these services without creating a large workload.
According to WORBLI executives, the platform’s design enables endless possibilities for future developers. For example, a client can add GEO Fencing to their security token. This feature ensures that the token never is sold outside the compliance region.
Identity-based Financial Tiers
Another cool feature is the ability to utilize identity-based financial tiers. You can compartmentalize your STO and only allow certain investors the ability to participate in particular investments. This feature allows firms to better market services to accredited-investors without cutting out smaller contributors.
WORBLI Works on Any Blockchain
Perhaps the most impressive feature of the WORBLI platform is that it can function on any blockchain. Allowing users to choose their favorite blockchain is a smart way to facilitate market integration, and gain trust from users.
In a recent post, WORBLI developers spoke on the rising costs associated with traditional IPOs. Notably, the company pointed out that soon, only mega-corporations will have the capital to host one. To add to the point, developers also spoke on the recent closures of numerous blockchain firms after the institution of more expensive regulatory framework derailed their budgets.
However, one of the most interesting points covered in the post was the fact that these costs also stifle innovation. This innovation is critical for the development of the digital economy. This is why WARBLI set out to create a platform that delivers STO services at an affordable rate in the first place.
WARBLI Network Expands
Most recently, WORLI made headlines after partnering with a blockchain-based digital content timestamp platform called WordProof. WordProof allows content creators to prove ownership of their creations easily and with the validity of the blockchain.
Another noteworthy partnership WORBLI made is with EDNA. EDNA is a DNA firm that seeks to bring more transparency to the DNA market. Currently, DNA firms have little accountability. This lack of transparency has led to a rise in public concern about the use of their DNA after the testing ends.
WORBLI Has a Smart Strategy
WORBLI seems to have a new approach to the STO market. The fact that users can utilize their favorite blockchain could be a big draw for businesses familiar with cryptocurrencies. For now, the firm looks to become a major force in the space.