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Lithuania Ready to Lead the European Security Token Revolution

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The Baltic country of Lithuania seeks to become a major hub for security token activity across Europe. The country continues to welcome security token investments into their border with favorable regulations. In June, the country’s Minister of Finance, Vilius Sapoka, issued cryptocurrency and ICO guidelines. These helped Lithuania solidify its position as a top crypto country in Europe.

Lithuania managed to accomplish increased security token investment through a combination of factors. The Lithuanian Finance Ministry has long supported FinTech advancements. The country provides leadership in advanced IT infrastructure and alternative methods of accessing financing for startups.

In the About US section of Lithuania’s new crypto guidelines, Sapoka refers to the blockchain technology as a “phenomenon” that “cannot be ignored.” He also discussed the importance of minimizing the impact of this technology on the stability of current markets and reducing the ability of nefarious groups to use the technology to fund their organizations. Sapokja ends the section with a lighthearted joke referencing Lithuania as “#Litechnia.”

ICO & Crypto Guidelines

The Minister of Finance broke these guidelines down into four specific areas of importance. The four mentioned categories are regulation, taxation, accounting, and anti-money laundering (AML) / Combating Financing Terrorism (CFT).

Liuthuania ICO Guidelines via Ministry of Finance

Lithuania ICO Guidelines via Ministry of Finance

Regulatory

This section begins with a description of an initial coin offering (ICO). The guidelines go into an explanation of security tokens. According to the guidelines, you are subject to securities regulations if your tokens:

  1. Grant rights to the company management process.
  2. Entitle token holder to a share in company profits.
  3. Offer interest on the investment.
  4. Promise redemption for costs through token sales.

Those organizations that offer security tokens will be required by the Bank of Lithuania to provide name, brand, financial information, platform structure, and management environment prior to approval.

Taxation

The taxation section describes the asset class of cryptocurrencies. Here, the guidelines describe cryptocurrency as the same as fiat currency for the purpose of regulation. Additionally, the section states that certain types of tokens can fall under additional tax laws depending on their use. There is also a brief section on corporate vs personal crypto tax filing.

Interestingly, the guidelines place miners out of the taxation zone. That is unless they provide their mining services to others. Miners are tax exempt on the sale of mined cryptocurrency as well.

Accounting

This section explains how ICO earnings should be accounted for. Token owners can learn how to claim their earnings depending on the type of token they issue. In the opening section, token issuers learn how to record their earning in the profit/loss statement.

AML / CFT

In this text, it is explained that Lithuania plans to amend their AML and CFT laws to include virtual currency. It lists exchanges and wallets as the first area to receive amendment.

First STO

Lithuania is officially the first country in Europe to host a security token offering (STO). The DESICO project claims the title as the first EU STO and it is of significant importance that the developers behind the project choose Lithuania as their base. In a public interview, developers pointed out Lithuania’s strong framework and ICO regulations as the reason for choosing the country.

Bitcoin Baltics

Lithuania’s strong pro crypto stance makes the country an attractive option for blockchain investment firms. Lithuanian officials recognized the demand for more crypto regulation and made the necessary framework to facilitate growth. Now the country is poised to pioneer the security token revolution.

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David Hamilton is a full-time journalist and a long-time bitcoinist. He specializes in writing articles on the blockchain. His articles have been published in multiple bitcoin publications including bitcoinlightning.com

Security Token News

TokenSoft Extends Reach with ‘Global Markets’

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Broker / Dealer Acquisition

TokenSoft has announced the acquisition of a stake within an SEC registered broker / dealer.  As a result, this move will see ‘Marpine Securities’, rebranded as ‘TokenSoft Global Markets’.

Although the initial stake only equates to 20%, the option remains for TokenSoft to acquire the full 100% of Global Markets.  If desired, further acquisition is, however, contingent on the approval from industry regulators.

TokenSoft customers will have access to a variety of new services with the completion of this move. For instance, one such service will be for digital security issuers to now have hosting options. They can both manage and host an STO themselves, or through Global Markets. Beyond this, TokenSoft now gains the ability to refer custody solutions, exchanges, and more.

This move follows a trend being seen in the sector, as various companies are pushing to become true end-to-end solutions. TokenSoft is now one step ahead of most of their competition.

TokenSoft

Based out of San Francisco, California, TokenSoft finds itself as a leader within the digital security sector. Catering to customers like Andra Capital, Hedara HashGraph, and more, TokenSoft specializes in blockchain solutions. They provide customers with the platform and services needed to issue and manage digital securities.

TokenSoft CEO, Mason Borda, commented on the acquisition of Marpine Securities LLC. He stated, “As a result of rapidly growing interest in the security token market, we have been inundated with requests for broker-dealer support services that we historically have not been able to provide…We heard our clients, and now we’re answering. With this investment, we are building a one-stop-shop for digital asset issuance and management – enabling us to expand our security and compliance support to every stage of a digital asset’s lifecycle.”

TokenSoft Global Markets (Formerly Marpine Securities LLC)

With this acquisition, Marpine Securities LLC will now become known as TokenSoft Global Markets. Despite this move, The ‘Global Markets’ division of TokenSoft will continue to act independently from the ‘mother company’. The pair, however, will function with a shared vision, and seamless integration with one another.

TokenSoft’s Lawson Baker, Head of Project Zero, commented on the merger. He stated, “The new services offered by TokenSoft Global Markets will be fully integrated into our high touch customer experience…We are committed to providing our clients with everything they need to participate in the future of security tokens, and TokenSoft Global Markets is a reflection of that commitment.”

Competition

Those looking to take market share away from TokenSoft are numerous. For example, recent months have seen the rapid development of various companies looking to provide token issuers with end-to-end STO services. Recently we have covered multiple of these endeavours, as shown below.

Above all, with these moves being made, look for TokenSoft to continue their presence at the forefront of the digital security sector.

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OpenFinance Network launches first U.S. Security Token Trading Platform

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From Beta to Live

In a long awaited announcement, OpenFinance Network has indicated that their platform has gone live.  In doing so, OFN becomes the first platform to facilitate the trading of digital securities within the United States.

Until this point, the project had been in beta – meaning it was a nearly finished product, being offered to only select users for the purpose of hashing out any remaining ‘bugs’.

By going live, OFN essentially heralds a new age of liquidity, efficiency and opportunity for investors.  Secondary markets, representing a massive investor base, now allow for greater exposure of tokens distributed via STOs.  It is this ability to openly trade that equates to high levels of liquidity.

This platform is what many competitors are marching towards.  OpenFinance Network is the first one to achieve the goal.

Those that are interested in taking part in STOs, but are not accredited investors, should take solace.  Use of the platform is open to both accredited, and non-accredited investors.  This applies to both United States residents, as well as those outside of the nation’s borders.

OpenFinance Network

Founded in 2017, OpenFinance Network is based out of Chicago, Illinois.  Since launch, OFN has established themselves as an industry leader.  Their specialties lay in their established framework for security token services.

Speaking on the live launch of OFN was company CEO, Juan HernandezHe stated, “2018 is said to be the year of security tokens, but, for us, this is only the beginning…We are committed to supporting all levels of investors in participating in this burgeoning alternative asset ecosystem. As we continue to partner with more security token assets, we are able to offer people more opportunities for wealth generation.”

With their sights set on industry advancement, the sector should look very different during 2019.  Already boasting a plethora of tokens for investors to trade, expect for OFN to continue this growth.

One of the more notable tokens to be traded on the platform is that of Blockchain Capital (BCAP).  This was one of the industry’s first STOs to ever have been completed.  This is just one example of some of the projects that can be found on OFN.

Read more on BCAP here.

Commentary

Various industry leaders have commented on the progress made by OpenFinance Network.  Here is what a few of them had to say:

CEO of Securitize, Carlos Domingo, says, “Security tokens, or digital securities, will only begin to make a meaningful contribution to the financial landscape when compliant trading can take place on a wide scale. We are proud to have partnered with OpenFinance Network to make this a reality.”

Co-Founder of Blockchain Capital, Brad Stephens, says “As creators of the world’s first security token, the BCAP, we are encouraged by the growth of the security token market and related infrastructure. We are excited to be partnering with OpenFinance Network that is enabling liquidity of security tokens in a regulatorily compliant way.”

 

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BANKEX to Open Security Token Trading Platform

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BANKEX Platform

In addition to developing an STO/DSO framework, BANKEX has now announced the launch of a digital securities trading platform.

While multiple frameworks for the issuance and distribution process are in the works, few announcements have been made with regards to trading platforms.

 The main benefits being offered by digital securities typically hinge around liquidity and efficiency.  To achieve these sought after traits, retail investors must have access to secondary markets which host said tokens.

The planned trading platform by BANKEX will make these benefits a reality.  With plans to facilitate trading for both utility and security tokens, the platform stands to appeal to a diverse crowd.

While various security token protocols are on the market, the BANKEX platform will initially support the following:

Each of these token standards are products of the Ethereum blockchain.  They vary from the typical ERC-20 token by incorporating various features. These include, but are not limited to, facilitating KYC checks, adhering to AML, and more.

As of Oct. 30th, the exchange has launched with basic features. For now, trading is limited to BTC, LTC, ETH, BKX, and BCH.  In time, expansion of supported coins will see the inclusion of security tokens.

Custody

Straight from the SEC, it has been said that a major hurdle within the blockchain industry is that of custody solutions.  While various companies have indicated theirintent to create such services, very few have actually done so at this point in time.

Along with the launch of their trading platform, BANKEX also intends to offer custody services as well. This means that investors will be able to entrust their tokens to beheld by BANKEX in a safe manner.  A safe manner implies practices such as insurance acquisition, cold storage, etc.

End-To-End

Instead of focusing on a subset of the digital securities industry, BANKEX intends to be a comprehensive platform.  While this makes the hurdle towards widespread launch higher, it also raises their ceiling for potential as a platform. 

If BANKEX is successful in what they want to achieve, investors will have no need to utilize outside services, thereby increasing the influence of BANKEX within the sector.

BANKEX

Founded in 2015, BANKEX is based out of New York, New York.  They are a financial service company with self-described mission to… “Add liquidity to assets that have an underrated value due to the way that classic financial markets currently operate.”

Beyond the news of their intended platform launch, BANKEX recently made news as they were the recipient a Maltese VFA Licence.  This opens the door to various financial services, which are detailed in a recent BANKEX blog post, HERE.

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