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MAS Awards Sygnum ‘Capital Markets Services (CMS)’ Licence

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Access Granted

It was recently announced that Sygnum, a regulated digital asset bank, has received new licensure from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). The licensure awarded to the company is a Capital Markets Services (CMS) license.

While the company maintains headquarters within Switzerland, it maintains close ties to Singapore through talent and operational offices.

Capital Market Services Licence

Within the nation of Singapore, a company that wishes to provide services which fall under the purview of the Securities and Futures Act, a Capital Markets Services (CMS) licence is required.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore lists the following activities as being regulated – requiring such a licence.

  • Dealing in capital markets products
  • Advising on corporate finance
  • Fund management
  • Real estate investment trust management
  • Product financing
  • Providing credit rating services
  • Providing custodial services for securities

With Sygnum eyeing a soon-to-launch ‘multi manager fund’ based on global digital assets, the issuance of a CMS licence is crucial. With this step out of the way, the company indicates that they can now look forward to their branches in both Switzerland and Singapore, operating and benefiting in unison.

Blockchain Hubs

By now, blockchain enthusiasts will have noticed that there are a few countries clearly leading the way forward with regards to the nascent technology.

With regards to digital securities, two of these nations are Switzerland and Singapore. Each of these countries have established themselves as hubs for innovation, through the issuance of clear regulatory guidelines, and support for industry participants. This has even led to many using the moniker ‘crypto valley’, when referring to companies based within a specific region of Switzerland known for friendly regulation.

Sygnum is in an especially strong position to establish themselves, as they now hold licensure within both of these leading nations. This should provide the company with the opportunity for great flexibility and diversity among their offerings/services.

Commentary

Upon announcing their success in attaining a CMS licence, multiple representatives from Sygnum took the time to comment. The following statements elaborate on the development.

Stefan Mueller, Head of Asset Management at Sygnum, stated,

“The CMS licence is an important milestone to establishing our asset management arm, leveraging the vibrant financial environment in Singapore. This is complementary to our banking services in Switzerland and will also benefit our Swiss institutional and private qualified investor clients.”

Mathias Imbach, CEO of Sygnum, stated,

“Our dual location – in Singapore and Switzerland – is one of the cornerstones of our strategy. This is reflected across team, advisory council, board of directors as well as investor base. All have been instrumental in our achievements so far across both countries.”

Sygnum

Operating out of Zurich ‘Crypto Valley’, Switzerland, Sygnum is a global digital asset bank. Above all, the company works to provide financial services to the digital securities sector. These services include, but are not limited to, brokerage accounts, payment gateways, and more.

CEO, Mathias Imbach, currently oversees company operations.

FINMA

The Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA), is a Swiss regulatory body. The purpose/role of FINMA is to ensure fair and transparent activity among participants within financial markets.

MAS

The Monetary Authority of Singapore is, not only the nation’s central bank, but also the acting regulator overseeing the financial sector. Much like FINMA, they are tasked with ensuring fair and transparent markets.

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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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BitGo Works Towards ‘Full-Stack Solution’ with Harbor Acquisition

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Acquisition

With roots in custodial services surrounding digital assets, BitGo has established themselves as an industry mainstay since their 2013 launch.  In the time since, the team behind the Californian company has managed to expand their offerings, growing with the industry it serves.

BitGo has clearly recognised a major shift in the world of blockchain, as digital securities have captured the interest of investors and companies, alike.  Not content with complacency, BitGo has just announced the acquisition of digital securities tokenization platform, Harbor.

On the surface, this move may have caught some by surprise.  When looking closer, however, this isn’t necessarily the case.  BitGo has shown a proclivity for acquisitions in the past, which have each expanded their services in a direct manner.  The pairing of BitGo and Harbor is one that dates back multiple years, as the companies have long worked with one another.

Through their complimentary services, pre-existing relationship, and past actions, the deal looks closer to obvious than a surprise.

At the time of writing, financial details surrounding this acquisition have not been made available.

Services Inherited

As stated, BitGo has shown a proclivity for strategic acquisitions.  Each of their past acquisitions have provided the company access to new capabilities, which are then able to be offered to clientele in an increasingly comprehensive platform.  This acquisition is no different.

Following this development, this list touches on just a few designations now held by BitGo.

Clearly, as made evident from this comprehensive list of designations, BitGo is well on their way to achieving their goal of offering what it calls a ‘full-stack solution for digital securities’.

Commentary

Upon announcing BitGo’s acquisition of Harbor, representatives from each company took the time to comment.

Mike Belshe, CEO of BitGo, stated,

“Our vision has always been bigger than wallets and custody and acquiring Harbor furthers BitGo’s vision of building a new digital infrastructure for financial services…We believe participants will ultimately need trusted, full-stack solutions for digital currencies and now BitGo is well positioned to address institutional requirements as the market develops.”

Josh Stein, CEO of Harbor, stated,

“BitGo has been an important partner since Harbor inception. We’ve worked closely together to integrate BitGo Business Wallets and BitGo Custody into Harbor’s services…Harbor provides BitGo with a complementary technology stack for the lifecycle of digital securities, as well as important service capabilities through our digital assets broker-dealer and transfer agent subsidiaries.”

BitGo

Founded in 2013, BitGo maintains headquarters in Palo Alto, California.  The company has developed into a full spectrum service provider for the blockchain industry.  The company indicates that its operations now span over 50 countries.  Furthermore, they facilitate over $15 billion in crypto-transaction on a monthly basis.

CEO, Mike Belshe, currently oversees company operations.

Harbor

Founded in 2017, Harbor is a United States based company, which specializes as a tokenization platform.  The team at Harbor, notably, developed the ‘R-Token’ standard – tailor built to serve digital securities.

CEO, Josh Stein, oversaw operations prior to acquisition.  It is believed that BitGo will retain Stein in some capacity.

Changing of the Guards

The development discussed here today marks, not the first, but one of several major acquisitions seen in the blockchain industry over the past few months.

Only days ago, we were reporting on the potential upcoming sale of SeedInvest – a crowdfunding platform operated and owned by Circle.  This expected sale is taking place after Circle made the decision to re-focus their efforts, specifically on stablecoins, rather than exchanges, tokenization, etc.

Circle Attempts to Sell SeedInvest, Doubling Down on Stablecoins

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

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Custodial specialist, Copper, has recently announced the successful completion of their Series A round of funding.

The team at Copper has indicated that the funds raised during this event will be put to use in two key areas.

  • Global expansion
    • Specifically North America and Asia
  • Product development
    • Investment options targets towards institutional clients

The Details

The completion of their Series A came in to the tune of $8 million.  These funds bring the total raised, to date, by Copper up to, roughly, $9.3 million.

In order to raise the $8 million, Copper saw the participation of multiple companies with high hopes in what they look to achieve.  Contributors are as follows:

  • Target Global
  • LocalGlobe
  • MMC Ventures

Commentary

Upon announcing the results of their Series A, Dmitry Tokarev, CEO of Copper, took the time to comment.  He stated,

Copper was always designed to be a global offering. Since 2017, we have seen many crypto custody solutions emerge that don’t fully meet the needs of institutions. Instead, they have built for an institutional framework that doesn’t exist yet, and is unlikely ever to, leaving institutions discouraged…Our Walled Garden and Prime Brokerage infrastructure truly looks after the security and trading needs of institutions, regardless of their investment strategies and goals. We are seeing volumes increase as our clients see the advantage of our prime brokerage solution, which allows them to make transactions across many trading venues securely and efficiently.”

He continued,

“This venture funding round is a real vote of confidence from investors. Their support will allow us to accelerate our scale up, hiring teams in key regions and introducing new products and services to better meet their needs.”

Custodianship

As the digital securities sector grows, an increasing amount of participants will require secure, trusted, services for storing their assets.  As a result, the custodianship of digital assets has been noted as an important area in which development must take place.

While Copper remains one of the more promising outfits looking to tackle the issues surrounding custody, there remain various competitors developing alongside them.  For example, the following article takes a brief look at some of the leading offerings in the market today, including Coinbase, TokenSoft, Anchorage, Unbound Tech, and of course – Copper.

Custodianship – A Look at Various Industry Solutions

Copper

Founded in 2018, Copper, maintains operations in London, United Kingdom.  Above all, Copper specializes in offering services tailored around the custodianship of digital assets.

CEO, Dmitry Tokarev, currently oversees company operations.

In Other News

There is a clear growing interest in digital assets, and the services surrounding them.  This has been made obvious by multiple successful Series A raises in recent months – Demonstrating a strong belief in the future of blockchain based endeavours.  The following are just a few examples of these successful capital generation events.

Securitize Receives Backing from Sony

Horizon Globex Shakes Up the Team, While Hosting a Successful Series A

Securrency Pulls in $17.75 During Successful Series A

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Smartlands Begins Realignment with Eyes on Liechtenstein Blockchain Act

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Smartlands Begins Realignment with Eyes on Liechtenstein Blockchain Act

A Diverse Framework

Like any forward thinking company, tokenization platform, Smartlands, is in a constant state of growth.  This means pivoting with developments seen in the digital securities sector, in an effort to continue providing their clientele with the best experience possible.

With this in mind, the team at Smartlands recently announced that they would be looking to capitalize on friendly regulation, towards tokenization, put forth by Liechtenstein.

The company states that they are looking to ‘revise and expand legal framework’.  Furthermore, they will ‘base future projects on Liechtenstein Law’.

Ilia Obraztsov, CEO of Smartlands, elaborates,

“We remain believers in crowdfunding…but dwelling on our past successes is not in Smartlands’ book. We’re excited about the possibilities the Liechtenstein Blockchain Act presents to investors and issuers in regards to direct tokenisation of any asset using blockchain tokens as containers for any assets. Armed with cutting-edge legislation for investment funds, the Liechtenstein jurisdiction is ideal for structuring basically any financial product on blockchain there may be. Liechtenstein SICAVs (or open-ended funds) are industry standard and one of the most popular types of funds in the EU. SICAVs can be used as umbrella funds for multiple sub-funds. Such structure provides an efficient and fast way to introduce new investment ideas and opportunities on blockchain in one of the most prestigious fund jurisdictions. It is possible to tokenise any assets with a dedicated sub-fund.”

Platform Alignment

News of a platform ‘realignment’ surrounding Smartlands was first divulged by the team in early 2020.  While 2019 was a year of great growth for the digital securities sector, it, unfortunately, did not live up to the expectations of many.

Looking to realize this growth, in 2020, Smartlands announced this realignment of their actions, to better serve high-net worth individuals, firm, etc. – as opposed to the retail investor.  This, however, does not mean that the company is also pivoting away completely from retail based crowdfunding.

Yaroslava Tkalich, CMO of Smartlands, states,

“Crowdfunding is a very exciting area of fundraising, particularly in the UK with the country’s dense financial markets and tight regulations. Those preconditions allow us to involve all types of retail investors in campaigns for tokenised shares in virtually any asset class.”

High Hopes

The ‘Token and TT Service Provider Act; TVTG’ or ‘Liechtenstein Blockchain Act’, which has resulted in Smartlands rethinking their strategies, was originally announced by the Liechtenstein government in mid-2018.  The framework established through its implementation, however, only recently came into effect in January 2020.

The act was specifically structured by the Liechtenstein government, to allow for expected growth in the world of blockchain.  This meant writing an Act that while broad, would still allow for appropriate protections to be put into place.

At the time of its announcement, the Liechtenstein government stated,

“Because of the rapid pace of development of blockchain technology and its areas of application, it is very important to draft a law abstractly enough to ensure that it remains applicable for subsequent technology generations. That is why the term “transaction systems based on trustworthy technologies (TT systems)” is used for blockchain systems in this law. Due to the enormous potential of blockchain as a basic technology, the Government has decided to create a legal basis for the areas of application of the token economy and not only to regulate current applications, in particular crypto-currencies or initial coin offerings (ICOs). The goal is to ensure that a new law does not have to be created for every case of application, but also to create legal certainty for the many cases which are only just beginning to emerge in practice and are likely to develop in the near future. However, the Government is leaving open the option of regulating applications close to the financial market in a further step.”

The flexibility afforded through this Act is expected to attract many companies, similar to Smartlands, throughout the coming year, as they look to tokenize basically anything and everything.  Smartlands is simply one of the first to publically announce their intent.

Smartlands

Founded in 2017, Smartlands maintains operations in London, England.  Above all, Smartlands acts as a tokenization platform, operating under the watch of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

CEO, Ilia Obraztsov, currently oversees company operations.

In Other News

Beyond growth in their market approach, Smartlands has been hard at work on, not only viable consumer products, but the tokenization of real estate projects.  The following articles are examples of each of these.

Smartee Looks to Change the Way Investors Store, Use, and Access, Digital Assets

Tokenizing London Penthouses and Greek Island Villas

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