While the ICO market often looks like a Las Vegas casino rather than an intelligent investment decision, there are some projects, like DESICO, with its Security Token Offering (STO), that aim to both protect its investors as well as providing value to the crypto-space as a whole.
In its major announcement today, tokenized securities startup, DESICO, has outlined the plan to offer its STO, introducing its native DESI tokens.
Welcome to a Secure, Compliant Ecosystem
Over the past few months, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has opened the regulatory doors to addressing this space, making it that much more important for companies to adhere to the current regulations in place.
“By raising money via the securities sale ourselves, we are showcasing that our platform to issue and trade security tokens is legally compliant and easy to use. This will demonstrate to our clients how to issue their security tokens in the future.” – Laimonas Noreika, CEO of DESICO.
DESICO, operating in both Paris, France and Vilnius, Lithuania under Lithuanian crowdfunding regulations, is offering a platform that allows for the issuance and active trading of tokenized securities that is in compliance with European Union (EU) member state law.
Born out of the collaborations with Lithuanian regulators, the company’s choice of its location is extremely strategic. DESICO’s business model of issuing and trading tonekized securities has already been endorsed by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of the Economy of the Republic of Lithuania.
Regulated Tokenized Securities For Retail, Accredited, and Institutional Investors
By announcing its support in complying with EU member state law, DESICO will help to provide a safe and legally compliant solution for STO investments, something unheard of until now. While there are a number of legally compliant STOs in the market, the biggest advantage DESICO brings, is that it is one of very few made accessible to retail investors.
Pursuant to current laws, only U.S. investors are required to be accredited. However, DESICO allows U.S. companies to add the additional $5.75 million USD from non-US retail investors to their security offering.
While most platforms are limiting access to institutional and accredited investors, DESICO creates an opportunity for projects to access said amount per year from Main Street investors.
Breaking Down the System
The total nominal value of DESICO security tokens emission is set at $44,361,793. Due to the laws applicable to STOs issued in Lithuania, the numerical scale of publicly available tokens for retail investors during the DESICO STO is set at $5,750,000 during the period of November 7th 2018 to November 7th 2019.
The remainder of tokens will be offered to institutional investors at nominal price, while providing a lower price to retail investors. DESICO guarantees that all investors will have the same rights when acquiring DESI tokens.
The DESICO security token offering will be divided into two stages:
- November 7th – November 16th 2018: The DESI security token pre-sale. $1,000,000 hard cap. Discount offered to all investors – 15%.
- January 14th – January 25th 2019: The DESI security token crowdsale.Remainder of the tokens will be offered to investors with hard cap of $5,750,000.
The DESI security token will be classified as a Revenue Participation Note (RPN), with quarterly payouts to investors. This type of security token does not constitute as ownership of DESICO. Instead, token owners will receive 12.5% of the total revenue created by DESICO. The total number of DESI security tokens represents a revenue share of 12.5% of DESICO’s total revenue. The number of tokens held by the investor determines how much of that 12.5% of revenue is paid out to the token holder.
The DESI security token price per-token:
- Pre Sale – $0.98
- Crowdsale Part 1 – $1.07
- Crowdsale Part 2 – $1.09
- Hard Cap Price – $1.15
The minimum investment for retail investors will be $230. Accredited investors will have a minimum investment requirement of $143,750 with no cap on their maximum investment.
DESICO will operate under a joint venture with crowdfunding, brokerage, and e-money license holders. There will be no cap on revenue payouts for token holders.
All investors will have to go through Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) procedures in order to acquire DESI security tokens.
Equity Tokens vs Security Tokens
Learning the differences between equity tokens vs security tokens is a smart way to better your overall crypto investment strategy. While most crypto investors are familiar with traditional utility tokens such as Ethereum, both security, and equity tokens are fairly new to the space. These tokens vary from utility tokens in many different ways.
Protect Your Investment
Different tokens have different legal regulations. Currently, equity, debt, and security tokens fall under standard securities transaction laws, whereas, utility, currency, and asset tokens do not require SEC approval. Let’s take a moment to examine some key differences between equity tokens vs security tokens.
Know the Difference – Security Tokens
According to the SEC, one can perform the “Howey Test” to determine if a token falls under securities regulations. The Howie test is a series of questions that include:
- Did You Invest Money?
- Do You Expect Profit?
- Did You Invest in a Common Enterprise?
- Are Profits dependent on a Third-parties Effort?
If you answer yes to these questions, you are investing in a security token. Security token holders do not have any ownership rights to the entity they invested in. Instead, they are guaranteed a percentage of the profits generated from the entity. Security tokens come in many forms:
- Digital Mutual Funds
- Digital ETFs
- Non-equity Investments Against Capital
Additionally, security tokens cannot be transferred without meeting certain regulations. These regulations include AML and KYC requirements. This makes security tokens less liquidable than their utility token counterparts that can be traded anonymously.
Notable Security Token Platforms
There are a number of notable security token platforms operating in the cryptospace today. Polymath, Securitize, and Harbor are three of the most established platforms available today. Each offers enterprise users an easy option to issue and maintain security tokens.
Security Token Protocols
Security tokens contain their regulatory compliance directly within their protocol. By including these regulations in the tokens smart contract, token issuers can guarantee their product remains compliant throughout all stages of its lifecycle. Below are the most popular security token protocols currently in use.
ERC-1400 / ERC-1404
The ERC-1400 entered the market in December 2018. This protocol is the brainchild of Polymath’s development team and Stephane Gosselin. Develops knew that if they could utilize a varied ERC-20 protocol that this would allow for the greatest amount of interoperability within the market. The ERC-20 protocol is by far the most widely used utility token issuance standard available.
The team sought to create a security token standard that could function on the Ethereum blockchain. Additionally, the team wanted a protocol that contained no partitions. Today, the ERC-1400 standard is used by many firms globally.
ST-20 – Polymath
Polymath took their concept a step further when they created the ST-20 protocol. The ST-20 token standard functions similar to the ERC-1400 but with one main advantage, ST-20 tokens are able to remain compliant when traded on decentralized exchanges (DEX). Polymath proved this theory earlier in the month via a test with the DEX Loopring.
DS-Token – Securitize
The DS-token standard is the brainchild of the popular token issuance platform Securitize. Securitize utilizes a Compliance Service to ensure that their tokens are handled in a legal manner. The tokens must get approval from this on-chain registry to verify investor status before executing any trades. This means all DS-token holders have an identifying hash.
Secondary market compliance continues to be a hot button topic in the industry. Just this month, the DTCC released a paper outlining how these secondary market concerns need to be addressed to ensure fair market practices. Currently, the DTCC is the third-party custodial exchange for traditional securities markets. The firm replaced the old paper transfer methods used in the 1970s. Last year, the DTCC handled over four-quadrillion in securities transactions in the US alone.
Equity tokens function more like a traditional stock asset. In other words, equity token holders possess some form of ownership in their investments. Their tokens represent how much ownership percentage they actually have. In most instances, equity tokens represent a third-party asset, property, or venture. Equity tokens come in many forms:
- Options Contracts
- Tokenized Real Estate
- Tokenized Ventures
Equity tokens continue to see the most use in real estate crowdfunding platforms such as Atlant. These platforms allow investors to spread their funds more freely across the market. Real estate equity tokens represent a share of ownership in a particular property. This strategy enables investors to join multiple investments with less capital. Additionally, these platforms lower the entry bar for real estate investments and facilitate more market activity.
Equity Tokens vs Security Tokens Standards
Currently, equity tokens share the same protocols as security tokens, but in the near future, you can expect to see equity token specific standards emerge. For the time being, security token protocols can perform all the necessary functions required by equity tokens. Additionally, ERC-based equity tokens gain a bit more interoperability when compared to what a future equity token standard might include.
Notable Equity Token Projects
One of the most publicized equity token projects entered the market in October 2018 under the name Media Shower. The Media Shower platform enables companies to create and issue equity tokens. Speaking on the venture, Media Shower’s CEO, John Hargrave explained how the concept opens the doors for new investment opportunities on all levels.
SEC vs ICO
The SEC started cracking down on the ICO market in 2017 after it revealed that it believed that most offerings were really tokenized securities. Failure to seek SEC approval when dealing with security tokens can result in hefty fines and even jail time. Since that time, there have been multiple highly publicized cases, with many currently underway.
In most instances, the SEC went after these firms for selling securities illegally. Company officials paid fines and were forced to return investors funds. In one instance, a company by the name of Gladius was able to avoid major fines by self-reporting their ICO. Consequently, the firm returned all investor funds as part of the deal.
Equity vs Security Tokens – Brothers from Another Mother
Each token type provides you with a unique investment opportunity. Be sure to consider your options fully. Also, always keep in mind that both equity and security tokens require approval prior to any transactions. These requirements can affect your ability to trade these tokens in the secondary market.
More to Come
For now, the cryptospace continues to grow as the advantages of blockchain technology continue to be better understood by traditional investment firms. You can expect to see more standards and token types emerge as these trends continue.
Archax Gears up for Launch with Quod Financial
Today, a forth coming digital securities exchange, Archax, has announced a partnership with Quod Financial. This pairing will see Archax turn to Quod Financial for various services, ranging from smart-order routing, trade automation, to order management and more.
These services are made available through integration with Quod Financial’s ‘Adaptive Execution Platform’. Capabilities made possible through this platform will allow for Archax to effectively deliver their product to institutional investors this coming year. If they achieve this goal, Archax will become – with the help of Quod Financial – one of the first offerings of its type seen in the industry.
In their press release, representatives from both companies took the time to elaborate on the development.
“Archax will be the first venue to bring digital asset trading into the mainstream financial community. Existing crypto venues have been primarily retail driven, and so it has been incredibly challenging for our buy-side and sell-side clients to include any form of blockchain-based instruments in their portfolios as they have lacked a regulated and stable venue. Given the rigorous selection process, we are proud to have been selected for this market-changing project to bring both digital assets as well as our data-driven execution intelligence to a wider audience.”
“We wanted to find a best-of-breed partner with an established and proven trading platform used by both the buy-side and sell-side. And one that was ready to handle the complexities of digital assets. Quod’s open, scalable and robust platform fitted the bill perfectly and we are happy to be able to offer it to clients as one of the ways of accessing our exchange…A key decision when evaluating technology providers from the traditional world was to find a platform that could be fully customised to support the new and developing security token space. Quod’s design, using industry standard architecture, allows easier customisation when required. That, coupled with their experience of handling high throughput trading for many tier-one banks and an array of other established regulated clients, made them an ideal partner.”
Quod Financial is an established company specializing in capital markets. Since their launch in 2004, the company has expanded from London to maintaining offices in New York, Paris, Hong Kong, and Dubai.
Company operations are overseen by CEO, Ali Pichvai.
This London based company was founded in 2018 by Graham Rodford, Matthew Pollard, and Andrew Flatt. The company is aiming for a 2019 launch of their platform, designed to act as an exchange for digital securities.
In Other News
Archax, in particular, has found themselves in our news feed various times in past months. They have had an impressive development period, resulting in investments from SPiCE VC among others. Check out the articles below to learn a little more about Archax.
seriesOne to Utilize ST-20 Standard by Polymath
Various companies have made announcements detailing intended usage of token standards lately. As the development of various crowdfunding platforms in the digital securities sector continues, the time has come for many to choose what they feel is the most promising standard. With this in mind, seriesOne has just announced that they have partnered with Polymath.
This partnership will see seriesOne utilize the ST-20 token standard to issue and manage digital securities. The ST-20 protocol is based off of the Ethereum blockchain, and will allow for seriesOne to maintain compliance with global regulations governing the industry.
The Future is ST-20
For seriesOne, it was a simple choice to settle on ST-20. This token standard was one of the first to be developed specifically with digital securities in mind. As such, Polymath has had more time than most to develop, hone, and market their offering. This effort has seen the standard adopted by various companies, with seriesOne being the most recent.
In their press release, the CEOs of each company took the time to express their thoughts on the announced partnership.
“Investors around the world trust Polymath, which was fundamental to our decision to work together…We are confident that working with the Polymath team using the ST-20 protocol will enhance the process of raising capital on our platform.”
“Polymath is proud to work with innovative partners like seriesOne, who has fulfilled a specific demand for a turnkey financing portal for any fundraising process…We are thrilled to be the chosen technology standard for the seriesOne platform, and we look forward to demonstrating yet again how industry can work together to set a standard for creating and managing a successful Security Token Offering (STO).”
seriesOne is a crowdfunding platform, which specializes in the issuance, distribution, and management of digital securities. Through their platform, issuers are able to effectively, and efficiently, host security token offerings. The company is based out of Miami, and was founded in 2013.
Polymath is a Canadian company, which maintains headquarters in Toronto. The company was established in 2017, and is spearheaded by CEO, Kevin North.
To date, Polymath and their token standards remain one of the most adopted solutions in the young world of digital securities. Their own utility token is available for trading on various industry leading cryptocurrency exchanges such as Poloniex and Bittrex.
In Other News
Each of these companies discussed here today have found their way into our headlines in recent months. For a look at what they have been up to recently, make sure to check out the few articles listed below!
- Equity Tokens vs Security Tokens March 20, 2019
- Archax Gears up for Launch with Quod Financial March 20, 2019
- seriesOne to Utilize ST-20 Standard by Polymath March 20, 2019
- Assurely presents the CrowdProtector March 19, 2019
- Verseon to use BlockRules Platform for Upcoming Security Token Offering March 18, 2019