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Liza Aizupiete, Managing Director of Fintelum – Interview Series

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Liza Aizupiete, Managing Director of Fintelum - Interview Series

Liza Aizupiete is the Managing Director at Fintelum, a European-based token launch (ICO and STO) platform.  Liza has extensive experience in traditional fund management, and is also an experienced blockchain entrepreneur, having successfully launched and raised capital (ICO) for Globitex where she was a Co-Founder and Managing Director.

 

RS: You’ve recently launched a company called Fintelum, can you tell us a bit more about what Fintelum does and what markets it serves.

LA:  Fintelum services can be summarised as follows:
– Primary token issuance
KYC/AML compliance
Smart contracts (utility and security tokens)
– Crypto funds co-custody
– Token transfer agency
– Corporate actions
– Secondary token OTC exchange desk

At Fintelum, we built a token launch platform to cater to token issuers in carrying out technically sound and compliant ICO/STO token sales. Fintelum is geared to provide services on the European soil for global clientele. The main services are compliance, crypto funds co-custody, and smart contracts. For security token industry, Fintelum serves as a token ownership transfer agent, ensuring secondary market by token OTC desk and provides ongoing blockchain-based corporate action services, such as voting, dividends and announcements.

 

RS: How does Fintelum differ from other token issuance companies?

LA: Fintelum’s unique selling points are:
– Integrated crypto multisig wallet services and funds co-custody
– Token transfer agency and OTC exchange desk
– Comprehensive on demand reporting

Fintelum was founded in 2018 and subsequently licensed by the Estonian FIU to provide services for crypto industry in compliance with EU AML laws. The main differentiators lie within the benefits Fintelum clients can have from a longtime team with experience in finance and building and running our own regulated cryptocurrency exchange.

For one, Fintelum features multi-currency cold/hot wallet management system with co-custodianship for added reliability. Issuers can be reassured that all technical, blockchain and compliance related work will be carried out with utmost care. For that we have built a comprehensive backoffice, where issuers can safely navigate and control their fundraise. From creating campaigns and programs to managing investor data and affiliates.

Another differentiator is our Ethereum based security token STO implementation and subsequent OTC desk. Fintelum is able to act as a token transfer agent, maintaining blockchain based capitalisation tables or shareholder registry for companies or other tokenised assets. We are creating unprecedented availability for eligible (whitelisted) peers to exchange both security and utility tokens.

For utility token, Fintelum differentiates with our systematic approach in KYC/AML compliance. There, after a successful fundraise, the issuers can rely on a comprehensive reporting system. All data collected and verified can be made available to banks and other financial institutions that would otherwise be unable to service a non-compliant enterprise. In fact we have several banks and payment service providers that can offer fiat services to Fintelum clients.

On the whole, Fintelum services pack-in some of the most crucial features to successfully launch a crypto fundraise. The issuers will still need to have their own local legal counsel and have a clear idea of their own marketing strategy, whereas Fintelum will do the rest. It is safe to say that Fintelum service package is the most comprehensive available on the market.

 

RS: You have extensive experience in fintech and funds, what reasons did you choose to start a token issuance company instead of some other type of crypto service or business?

LA: In short:
– Companies sought our know-how
– Understanding of the industry and technology
– Anticipation of the global change in the capital markets

After having successfully completed a EUR 10 million ICO fundraise, for our former company, several projects approached us to learn how crypto crowdfunding works. And as compliance and AML took precedence over anonymous crypto donations, we thought it natural to expand on our experience and institutional understanding how the capital markets will likely evolve. ICOs or utility tokens already made a historical mark on capital markets industry. Likewise, STOs or security tokens will continue reshaping capital markets and we are excited to precipitate this change with our new business.

 

RS: You previously did an ICO with your former company, Globitex, what did you learn from that ICO that can help token issuers on the Fintelum platform?

LA: Our advice:
– Find the right partners
– Work with professionals
– Grow your community

Our major takeaways from running an ICO was that it matters a lot at what stage your company is, what shareholders and partners you have and which service providers you choose for your fundraiser. You may have a wonderful idea, technically impeccable product. But you need professional service providers that will do everything else for your fundraise to actually happen.

We were very lucky with ours. We managed to raise EUR 10 million and closed our public sale in a matter of 24 hours. Not discounting the timing when we ran our campaign, it is also important to have a clear idea of whom you want to target as your investors and/or product users – your community. Because an ICO as well as STO campaign works inadvertently as a marketing campaign for your current or future product or service. And you need to invest the time and effort to reach out to your community, to show the world that your product exists and is worth investing in.

It is worth noting that STOs make more legal sense, but much less retail buzz. The times of raising hundreds of millions for a white paper ideas with no hard cap are definitely gone. But ICOs are not dead. I still anticipate some major utility tokens to be released this and next year. STOs on the other hand can work beautifully under crowdfunding law exceptions up to EUR 5-8 million, and above – according to the Prospectus Regulation (in July 2019 replacing the Directive) in Europe.

For the ICOs a fixed and guaranteed hard cap will add to the success and popularity of the fundraiser. With STOs, hard cap is replaced by clear legal rights and expectations.

 

RS: What types of companies do you think are best suited to launch an STO?

LA: In my view:
– Small or medium working businesses, ideally with revenue streams
– Global fund management companies with existing subscribers (investors)
– Real estate or financing projects with attractive interest rate offer
– Alternative energy projects with eco impact and good dividend prospect
– Gaming and sports with large retail following

Today, the potential buyer of an STO will need to overcome burdensome KYC/AML profiling process to be compliant with the sales of a security. And depending on the jurisdiction and the project offering, the pain levels may vary. But it is clear that investing in an STO or ICO today is much more complicated than just a year ago would have been, contributing towards a development of a utility token project. This is why the STO must be attractive enough an offer for the pain of investing. Indeed, for equity or debt tokens, an STO issuer needs to have a great proposition on the table to be able to attract investment.

 

RS: What types of companies would you personally like to see launch in the cryptocurrency space to help the industry as a whole reach wider adoption?

LA: I’d bet on:
– Sports and games
– Virtual reality
– Food

At Fintelum, we get disproportionally more enquires from real-estate related companies than from any other sectors. This is presently the case. And it may be due to the fact that real estate is a hard asset. Like commodities, precious metals, real estate is something people understand. Investing in complex equity schemes may require more sophistication and/or risk appetite. Whereas I would personally like to see utility tokens continue to persist. We have come across several great ideas. But the fear of the present downmarket poses resistance and unwillingness from the managers to delve into the process of launching a token.

The three categories, namely sports/games, VR and food industries are most appropriate for ICO type of fundraise, because of the loyal retail client base they all either have or have the potential of commanding. Finance as a sector has already been done, with caveats. It brought about institutional interests, and serious price volatility as a result. But, by tapping into the mass market though either of these industries, we may be able to sustain a steady and solid adoption rate.

 

RS: You’ve been a female entrepreneur in the cryptocurrency space for over three years, can you tell us about any benefits or challenges being female in a male-dominated field may have brought?

LA: I was born in Latvia and educated in Switzerland. According to Open Knowledge report by the World Bank, six economies—Belgium, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, Sweden and topping-off with Latvia —score 100 in the Women, Business and the Law index, meaning they give women and men equal legal rights in the measured areas, whereas Switzerland scores just marginally below at 97.50. In fact Latvia has the highest proportion of female executives in the entire EU, according to the latest EuroStat survey.

This shows that generally women should not be experiencing any difference or special challenges in the developed world economies. And it is no different in the nascent crypto space. Although the industry is predominantly male, the rules are the same for both genders. Hence, I have not felt particular challenges being a female entrepreneur. Indeed, the only challenges are mostly self imposed. This is because, by some gender bias, females tend to be more critical, especially of themselves. So, if anything, the challenges are self inflicted and are completely unrelated to external factors.

 

RS: Can you describe briefly what you think the next two years looks like for ICOs and STOs.

LA: The coming years will be a slow recovery from the ICO exuberance that culminated in the years 2017-18. It will be a recovery and maturing of the cryptocurrency and crypto assets industry, where STO will have an important place, setting precedents across jurisdictions.

ICOs had reached unprecedented 10-fold returns on investment, raising in excess of USD 20 billion in funding, in the years combined. The crypto fundraising will continue, but it will happen in a more professional way; more law-abiding manner; hopefully, innovative at the same time.

It would be unfortunate, if the law makers decided that we don’t actually need innovation, and that the existing system is good enough as it is. My hope is that competition will increase, and the barriers of entry will not be disproportionally raised. So the new entrants and innovators can have a chance of their lifetime to actually make the word a better place.

 

RS: Is there anything else you would like to share with the readers?

LA: To inaugurate the launch of Fintelum services, I invite potential token issuers to take part in our Easter arrangement. From 21 March to 21 April 2019, Fintelum will wave half the onboarding fee to all eligible token issuers who come through during this time.

Contact Fintelum here to launch your compliant ICO or STO token sale.

In addition, to energetic self-starters, using the hashtag #TokeniseYourAssets in your social media will help land an internship and work opportunity with Fintelum.

Contact Fintelum at info@fintelum.com for more information.

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Rebecca has a keen attention to detail and is an investment analyst and entrepreneur. Some early investments include Spotify and Lyft.

Blockchains

Vogemann Raises Investment Capital with Its First STO

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Vogemann Raises Investment Capital with Its First STO

The shipping company Vogemann based in Hamburg, Germany issued its first digital security with the help of blockchain technology.

The total issued volume for the security token offering (STO) is 50 million US dollars (USD). The securities sales prospect was approved by the FMA Financial Supervision Authority Liechtenstein on July 3 and the sale had started on July 9.

In its mission to lower CO2 emissions and transition to an environmentally sustainable model, the Vogemann shipping company decided to raise capital for the acquisition of “green” bulker transports.

Digital Security Issuance for Green Ship Tokens

According to the sales prospect, the raised capital will be used to purchase bulk carriers with their own board cranes. Bulkers transport raw materials such as grain, fertilizer, coal, ores, minerals, steel and forest products – this type of transport generating over half of the global maritime transport.

Jens-Michael Arndt, managing partner of H. Vogemann Reederei GmbH & Co. KG, explains the acquisition profile:

“We are particularly targeting so-called ‘Green Ships’. They offer the ideal combination of increased energy efficiency with reduced emission values. This not only makes them more environmentally friendly, but also ensures lower fuel costs and higher charter rates”.

According to Vogemann, worldwide there are currently only two bulkers in the handy-size segment up to 40,000 tons, which meet the highest requirements for CO2 emissions. Both ships of the so-called ‘Green Dolphin’ class were built for Vogemann and were put in service in 2019.

Vogemann’s decision to pursue a digital security issuance aligns with the company’s plan to invest in future-oriented ships.

Markus Lange, managing partner of Vogemann had further reinforced the company’s willingness to try new financing options and the emergence of STOs became a realistic alternative now:

“We have always been open to new financing methods,” “A security token offering is the logical continuation of our financing strategy.”

The digital security was issued under the name Green Ship Tokens. An investment in Green Ship Tokens brings together environmental protection and investment opportunities in the best way.

What is the Green Ship Token?

The Vogemann Green Ship Tokens are digital securities in the form of tokenized profit participation rights with a fixed annual return. The raised capital is invested in new or modern used bulkers, which are employed in the company’s operations.

According to the security offering documentation, the tokenized participation rights exclusively grant contractual creditor rights to the bearer and explicitly no shareholder rights.

From a technical point of view, the issuance of the tokens took place on the Ethereum blockchain. Investors benefit from a fully digitized investment process. While interested investors only need an internet connection to participate, they are still subject to a verification process as accredited investors in accordance with the applied law.

The issuance and investing platform www.greenshiptoken.com is based on Ive.One, which was developed by the Frankfurt-based FinTech Agora Innovation GmbH for digital security issuance with the help of blockchain technology. The capital market regulatory support is provided by attorney Lutz Auffenberg, LL.M. from  Fin Law, Frankfurt, a law firm specialized in the tokenization of financial instruments.

Key data of the Green Ship Token issuance:

Issue volume:

50 million tokens worth USD 1 per token

ISIN:

DE000A2P1QZ6

LEI:

894500T8PAD7RD1QI83

Interest rate:

8% p.a. + plus profit sharing of 50/50 between investors and issuer, insofar as the economic success of the issuer permits.

Minimum investment amount:

USD 1,000

Premium:

2%.

Duration:

Up to 15 years

Investment:

www.greenshiptoken.com

Issuer:

Vogemann Green Ship Token, Hamburg

Coordination/Sales:

Neofin Hamburg GmbH, Hamburg

Trailblazing the Digital Issuance Process

The issuance of the Green Ship Token to raise capital for investment purposes represents a monumental step and could be an example other corporations may follow.

The security issuance is taking place within the applied securities law and is subject to certain verifications, nonetheless the digital issuance process makes it much easier both for issuers and investors.

It’s not yet a fully “open” financing alternative as a couple of countries are barred from participating – most notably USA and China. Still, the issuance on the Ethereum blockchain opens up the investment opportunity to many more investors and enables a much easier trading process.

Will this open the gates for other companies to follow down the same path or is the digital issuance process at this stage not attractive enough for issuers yet?

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Digital Securities

Kaspersky Give Two Thumbs Up to Tokeny’s ‘T-REX’ Security

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Kaspersky Give Two Thumbs Up to Tokeny's 'T-REX' Security

Two Thumbs Up

Popular digital asset solution provider, Tokeny, has recently had cybersecurity experts, at Kaspersky, assess the validity of their security claims surrounding T-REX.  The result? Two thumbs up.

This assessment is an important endorsement for Tokeny.  Anyone can claim to have the most secure framework around – proving it is a different story.  By turning to a respected third-party, such as Kaspersky, Tokeny provides validity to their claims, and clout to their offering in T-REX.

Commentary

Upon announcing the results generated by Kaspersky, representatives from each company took the time to comment.

Svetlana Shubina, Business Development Manager at Kaspersky, stated,

“Our team of experts review the code line-by-line documenting any issues as they are discovered.  The source code is well crafted and follows security practices compliant with the architecture described in the whitepaper.  Thereby we confirm smart-contract business-description and the architecture corresponds to the functionality in the code.”

Luc Falempin, CEO of Tokeny, stated,

“We are working with financial instruments and with partners that require the highest level of security.  In this respect we know how important it is to have a third party analyse and assess the implementation of our token standard.  We’re very pleased to say it received the highest rating possible.”

First Look

When released in 2018, TREX – which stands for Token for Regulated EXchange- was the first framework of its kind.

In the time since its launch, Tokeny indicates that it has seen its clients grow to over 35.  These clients have contributed towards greater than $27B worth of assets undergoing tokenization with the help of Tokeny.

Tokeny Releases TREX – The First Public Framework for STOs

Snowball of Success

Success at Tokeny appears to be snowballing.  Only weeks ago, we were reporting on the adoption of their services by the nation of Monaco.  This adoption comes at a key time, as Monaco is actively looking to ramp up their efforts surrounding support for security tokens and STOs.

Monaco Chooses Tokeny as Sole Provider for Tokenization Services

Tokeny

Founded in 2017, Tokeny maintains operations in Luxembourg.  Tokeny has grown significantly since launch, now offering a comprehensive suite of services, tailored towards tokenization.

CEO, Luc Falempin, currently oversees company operations.

Kaspersky

Founded in 1997, Kaspersky is headquartered in Moscow, Russia.  Since it’s launch, Kaspersky has become one of the world’s most popular cybersecurity firms.

CEO, Eugene Kaspersky, currently oversees company operations.

In Other News

For those interested in Tokeny, a great way to learn about the company is to go back and see where they came from, and what their original goals were.  To this end, make sure to peruse our past interview with Tokeny CEO, Luc Falempin.  In this discussion, Luc touches on, both, what Tokeny hopes to achieve, and how they will achieve it.

Interview Series – Luc Falempin, CEO of Tokeny Solutions

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Digital Securities

Copper to Securitize Custom Indices with ‘Catalyst’

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catalyst

Copper Catalyst

Over the past few years, one thing has been made clear within digital securities.  This would be a need to develop services which ‘bridge the gap’ between traditional markets, and those of the future.  Simply creating new services and offerings will not, necessarily, spur adoption.  Rather, by providing an easy transition for those already enveloped in financial markets, seems to be a more prudent path to follow.

With this in mind, Copper has announced the creation, and launch, of a new service, dubbed ‘Copper Catalyst’.

Simply put, Copper describes Catalyst as providing the ability to ‘enable crypto funds to create and issue securities on digital assets rapidly, and cost-effectively’.

What does it do? And How?

Catalyst allows for institutional investors to gain access/exposure to cryptocurrencies – all while removing the need for self-storage.  This is done through the use of actively-managed certificates (AMCs).  As a result, by using AMCs, Copper is enabling cryptocurrency indices to be treated as clearable securities.

Bringing even greater appeal to Catalyst, is the use of Swiss ISINs – meaning the securities will be fully bankable (easily converted to cash).  As a result, access will be provided through various regulated European exchanges.

To date, Catalyst is the only service of its kind.  Depending on its success, there will surely be competitors that arise in the future.

ISIN

ISIN is short for ‘International Securities Identification Number’.  These numbers are attached to specific issuances of stock, and provide information on the underlying product.

Think of an ISIN as being similar to a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) on your automobile.  When decoded, a VIN will provide information, such as date of manufacturing, options, and etcetera.  Similarly, when decoded, an ISIN will provide information, such as a stock identifier, issuance country, etc.

An ISIN is used primarily to identify the underlying product, reducing the risk of various forms of fraud.

Cost Savings

Beyond offering the various capabilities discussed above, Copper notes another major draw towards Catalyst – cost savings.

They attribute this cost savings, primarily, to the ‘initial and on-going regulatory compliance’.  By offering various services, surrounding KYC/AML, trade management, and more, Copper surmises that clients will save, both, time and money.  For example, they provide the following comparisons between utilizing the Catalyst suite vs. independent sourcing of services.

Catalyst

  • £25K
  • Completion in days

Independent

  • £100K+
  • Completion in months

Commentary

Upon announcing the launch of Catalyst, Copper CEO, Dmitry Tokarev, took the time to comment.  He states,

“The crypto fund industry has shown enormously promising growth over the last decade, with impressive strategies and excellent return for investors. But it is no secret that there has been a clear barrier to their graduation into the investment mainstream: the lack of feasible securitisation options. With sky-high costs and extensive compliance issues associated with most available structures, there is a gulf between traditional financial markets and this next generation of funds: a gulf that Copper Catalyst will bridge.”

Growing Suite

With the launch of Catalyst, Copper now has a well-rounded suite of services.  The following are just a few examples.

As this product suite rounds in to form, Copper has the potential to become a leader in a sector rife with potential.

Series A

The development, and launch, of Catalyst is a promising sign.  It shows that Copper is not squandering their recently completed Series A.

We recently covered the success of this funding round, as Copper was able to generate $8M in investments through a variety of companies.  To learn more about this round, and those that participated, make sure to peruse the following article.

Custodial Specialists ‘Copper’ Draws $8M in Investments through Series A

Copper

Founded in 2018, Copper maintains headquarters in London, UK.  Above all, the team at Copper is working to develop a comprehensive suite of services, tailored towards digital assets.

CEO, Dmitry Tokarev, currently oversees company operations.

Past Looks

While their services have expanded well beyond simply that of custody, this is certainly an area of speciality for the company.  Over the past year, we have touched on various instances of adoption, including that of SWARM, as they turned to Copper to custody security tokens.

Copper to Provide Security Token Custodial Services to SWARM

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