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.
VeVue Signs Partnerswith CBX for Token Launch
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.
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.
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.
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.
CFTC Labels Ether 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!