NEW YORK, Oct. 16, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — tZERO, the global leader in blockchain innovation for capital markets, today announced it has completed the issuance of preferred tZERO security tokens. Tokens were issued to investors who had fully funded signed agreements for future equity (SAFEs) prior to the August 6, 2018 close of the company’s Security Token Offering (STO). tZERO raised $134 million from over 1,000 global investors during its STO.
“This is one of the first Security Token Offerings on a decentralized public network, and was conducted in full compliance with the U.S. securities laws,” said tZERO CEO Saum Noursalehi. “This is an exciting milestone for tZERO, and we are even more enthusiastic about the opportunities this will create for private and public companies wishing to raise capital through security token offerings, and for investors who wish to trade those securities.”
tZERO deployed its token contract, minted its security tokens, and issued into a tZERO custodial wallet on behalf of investors on October 12, 2018. To ensure compliance with federal securities law and regulations, and in accordance with the terms of the tokens themselves, the tokens will be locked up in the custodial wallet until January 10, 2019 (90 days after issuance). After the 90-day period expires, tZERO intends on offering holders the opportunity to trade tokens, pursuant to private resale transactions, with other accredited investors on a platform that tZERO is in the process of developing with a broker-dealer partner. In addition, tZERO intends that new investors who are accredited will also be able to open an account to buy tokens following the 90-day period.
“The issuance of the world’s first public cryptosecurity, OSTKP, in 2016 was tZERO’s Chuck Yeager moment: we broke the speed of sound by introducing the concept of real-time trade settlement. Today marks our Yuri Gagarin moment, where we leave behind the confines of the known world of traditional capital markets and take the first steps towards a new market powered by blockchain,” said Patrick M. Byrne, tZERO executive chairman and the CEO and founder of Overstock.com(NASDAQ:OSTK). “My humblest thanks to all the colleagues and investors that have shared our belief in a system of securities trading based on trust, transparency, and integrity through cryptography-based technologies, rather than one that relies on the mercy of middlemen who may not have the investors’ best interest at heart (and who may even, at times, be bent on mischief).”
tZERO also plans to designate an approved trading platform by August 6, 2019, one year after consummation of the STO, so holders may then resell their tokens to non-accredited investors. tZERO also plans to register the securities to enable secondary trading in more robust trading environments, such as the domestic (USA) exchange it is building in partnership with BOX Digital Markets, as well as international securities exchanges.
tZERO was founded in 2014 with the goal of utilizing blockchain technology to revolutionize Wall Street so that financial processes could become less beholden to traditional institutional market structures and the mischief and financial instability they have been known, on occasion, to permit. tZERO is a portfolio company of Medici Ventures, Overstock.com’s blockchain subsidiary. For more information on tZERO, please visit: tZERO.com.
Alexandra Sotiropoulos, +1-212-754-5615
Overstock Public Relations, +1-801-947-3564
tZERO Group, Inc. (“tZERO”) is a majority owned subsidiary of Overstock.com, focusing on the development and commercialization of financial technology (FinTech) based on cryptographically-secured, decentralized ledgers – more commonly known as blockchain technologies. Since its inception, tZERO has pioneered the effort to bring greater efficiency and transparency to capital markets through the integration of blockchain technology.
Overstock.com, Inc. Common Shares (NASDAQ:OSTK) / Series A Preferred (Medici Ventures’ tZERO platform: OSTKP) / Series B Preferred (OTCQX:OSTBP) is an online retailer based in Salt Lake City, Utah that sells a broad range of products at low prices, including furniture, décor, rugs, bedding, and home improvement. In addition to home goods, Overstock.com offers a variety of products including jewelry, electronics, apparel, and more, as well as a marketplace providing customers access to hundreds of thousands of products from third-party sellers. Additional stores include Pet Adoptions and Worldstock.com dedicated to selling artisan-crafted products from around the world. Forbes ranked Overstock in its list of the Top 100 Most Trustworthy Companies in 2014. Overstock regularly posts information about the company and other related matters under Investor Relations on its website, http://www.overstock.com.
O, Overstock.com, O.com, Club O, Main Street Revolution, and Worldstock are registered trademarks of Overstock.com, Inc. O.biz and Space Shift are also trademarks of Overstock.com, Inc. Other service marks, trademarks and trade names which may be referred to herein are the property of their respective owners.
This press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Such forward-looking statements include all statements other than statements of historical fact. Additional information regarding factors that could materially affect results and the accuracy of the forward-looking statements contained herein may be found in the company’s Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2018, which was filed with the SEC on August 9, 2018, and any subsequent filings with the SEC.
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