Collateralized Real Estate
With investors continually seeking means of financial return, a trend has emerged surrounding U.S based real estate. This is the concept of ‘flipping’ a home/property.
The concept is simple – buy a home in disarray at a discount, strategically renovate, and sell the home for more than the cost of purchase and renovations. This model has proven quite lucrative, and shows no signs of going out of fashion.
OpenLTV has recognized this and developed a platform aimed towards giving investors access to such opportunities. This is made possible through the issuance of digital securities, which represent fractionalized ownership of real estate backed debt. These tokens are ERC-20 based, which means they are issued on the popular Ethereum network. With this being the most commonly used protocol, it is expected that support for secondary trading in future months should be supported.
OpenLTV indicates that through the use of its platform, investors can expect to generate returns in the 8-12% range per year.
Stablecoin of Choice
While investors have the ability to invest through the OpenLTV platform with cryptocurrency, a stablecoin of choice is needed to facilitate interest payments etc. OpenLTV has chosen PAXOS to be this stablecoin.
PAX tokens are ERC-20 based tokens, allowing for widespread support throughout the industry. Paxos issues monthly ‘attestation reports’, along with undergoing regular audits. These steps are taken to ensure transparency, allowing investors to verify that funds are indeed backed 1:1.
Upon announcing the launch of their platform, OpenLTV CEO, Kirill Bensonoff, took the time to issue the following statement.
“The OpenLTV platform will simultaneously allow us to tap into a global pool of investors and unused crypto-asset liquidity…We are thrilled to be partnering with the Paxos team to bring a long-standing and secure investment option in the real estate industry to the financial future.”
In addition to their issued statement, we reached out to OpenLTV for further comment on this development. The following is what CEO, Kirill Bensonoff, had to say.
Q: With the various stablecoin options available, why was PAXOS chosen to partner with?
A: “We have used PAX previously, and were impressed with what they have built. We were looking for a trusted company with regular audits that had verifiable 1:1 USD backing, and a great platform, and they were it.”
Q: How will clients benefit through use of the OpenLTV platform versus more traditional means of investing, such as REITs?
A: “There are a number of differences OpenLTV is issuing on the blockchain, where all transactions and interest payments are open and immutable, bringing a new level of trust and global access. Investors can choose what loans they want to back, unlike with a REIT, which makes all of the divisions and charges more costly. The loans offered on the OpenLTV platform will be short term and at a high-yield. This enables investors to avoid risk, shortens the time before they get their investments back to 12-24 months, and subjects them to less market volatility.”
OpenLTV is a Boston based company, which was founded in 2019. This young company has developed a platform allowing for qualified investors to gain exposure to U.S based real estate through fractionalized ownership.
Company operations are overseen by CEO, Kirill Bensonoff.
Paxos is a New York based company which was launched in 2012. The company states that their mission is ‘creating a global, frictionless economy’. This led to the development of Paxos Standard (PAX). These are digital tokens, which act as stablecoins pegged to the U.S dollar.
Company operations are overseen by CEO, Charles Cascarilla.
In Other News
While OpenLTV appears to be a promising platform through which investors can invest in debt-backed real estate, they are not the only ones to tackle this industry. Real estate has proven to be one of the most possible industries to be tackled by digital securities – and with good cause. The illiquidity, yet potential high-return of real estate makes it a perfect candidate for beneficial blockchain implementation. Here are a few examples of companies tackling real estate through digital securities.
META 1 Coin Threatens Securities.io with Litigation for Reporting on ICO Fraud
On August 4th, 2020 Securities.io was threatened with legal action by Robert Paul Dunlap, the legal advocate for META 1 Coin, the creator, owner, controller, and also one of the defendants in the Complaint filed by the SEC. The threat followed the publication of an article titled “SEC Files Charges Against ex-Senator David Schmidt” which was published on March 25, 2020.
Who is META 1 Coin?
META 1 Coin raised funds in April 2018 by performing an Initial Coin Offering (ICO). As described by an SEC filing META 1 COIN raised at least 4.48 million from over 150 investors in the United States and internationally.
In order to raise funds misleading claims were made. These were some of the claims:
- They owned $1 billion in art insured against loss by a surety bond, and later, that META 1 owned $2 billion in gold assets;
- KPMG, one of the largest independent financial audit firms in the world, was auditing Meta1’s gold assets;
- Meta1 formed its own investment bank and developed its own digital currency exchange;
- the Coin is safe and risk-free and will never lose value;
- Each Coin, sold for either $22.22 or $44.44 would in two years be worth $50,000—up to a 224,923% return—as a “very conservative value.”
Unfortunately many investors did not perform adequate due diligence as the SEC claims the tokens were backed by nothing.
The letter received by META 1 accused the SEC and Securities.io of being fraudulent, below are some of the accusations/threats and our responses.
If SECURITIES.io was to do any due diligence at all you would know it was a fictitious story fabricated by the SEC in order to make all digital assets look fraudulent.
Our response: Securities.io has the responsibility of reporting on both legitimate projects, and fraudulent projects. Every time an investor is taken advantage with false claims whether it is the form of an ICO, or other fraudulent behavior, it destroys the credibility of the industry. We also believe in the credibility and the mission of the SEC which is stated as “The mission of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation”.
So time will tell if SECURITIES.io is really about digital assets or just another STATE run publisher of malicious defamation.
Our response: Perhaps this is pushing a conspiracy theory or an agenda of being owned and controlled by a deep state. Either way, Securities.io is NOT owned in part or in whole by any government entity in any jurisdiction.
Today is August 4th 3:25 EST 2020 and a claim will be made in 24 hours and It will decimate SECURITIES.io if the named article is not immediately removed.
Our Response: This has been noted. We have fact checked the original article and it remains accurate.
Additionally, I am ordering a follow-up update of the facts regarding the validity or META 1 Coin
Our Response: We have updated the article to reflect new information regarding the fraud behind the initial ICO raise. We were unaware that information was missing, thank you for notifying us of this. Whenever we are notified of errors in reporting we take corrective action.
Unfortunately, the digital assets industry continues to result in many operators that are taking advantage of the naivety of investors. It is our responsibility to report on this unethical behavior and to report on any actions taken against these rogue operators by the SEC or other government entities. We will continue with our mission.
Polymath Launches ‘Token Studio 2.0’ on ‘Polymesh’ Digital Securities Blockchain
Token issuer Polymath has had a busy few weeks. Just over one month ago, the digital securities pioneer announced the launch of Aldebaran – the first iteration and testnet of the Polymesh blockchain. Now Polymath has announced version 2.0 of its ‘Token Studio’, a suite of token services, which now runs on the Polymesh blockchain.
When Polymath uses the term ‘Token Studio’, it is referring to a suite of services, which allows clients to create, issue, and manage digital securities – a vital part of Polymath’s goal to simplify token creation.
— Polymath (@PolymathNetwork) August 1, 2020
The first iteration of Polymath’s Token Studio was based on the Ethereum blockchain. With the development and pivot towards the use of Polymesh, a new Token Studio was needed – one that was designed for this purpose-built blockchain.
With the launch of this version of Token Studio, Polymath has now opened up the ability for clients to trial its capabilities on the recently released Polymesh testnet ‘Aldebaran’.
Polymath notes that by utilizing Token Studio on the Polymesh blockchain, clients will benefit in various ways.
- Clients have the ability to create digital securities tailored to their needs – this includes asset type, ticker symbols, asset identifiers, etc.
- Built-in services including KYC checks. This ensures that only appropriate investors can gain access to digital securities created through the use of Polymesh.
- Arguably, the biggest draw towards a purpose-built blockchain is the ability to integrate stringent compliance measures – a necessity when dealing with digital securities. This means that, regardless of jurisdiction, token issues can be assured that their issuances remain in full compliance with securities regulations.
With Token Studio simplifying the creation and issuance process, there should be nothing holding back companies from creating compliant digital securities on the Polymesh blockchain. The timing of the Polymesh-based Token Studio is ideal; anticipated security token exchange Archax previously announced support for Polymesh tokens when it launches.
In the constellation, Taurus, the brightest star is Aldebaran – commonly referred to as the ‘bulls-eye’. This is an apt name for a company that utilizes a bull as its mascot and represents a bright spot within the digital securities sector.
Aldebaran represents the first testnet of the purpose-built Polymesh blockchain. Polymath has spoken on the rationality behind creating a project such as this, stating,
“The most important learning has been that security tokens cannot gain adoption and acceptance from regulators and institutions with a general-purpose blockchain; security tokens need something more specialized that addresses the foremost concerns of governance, confidentiality, identity, and compliance.”
For holders of Polymath’s ‘POLY’ tokens, a bridging service has been created to convert these assets to ‘POLYX’ – A token with similar functionality, but based on the Polymesh blockchain, rather than Ethereum. Along with this bridging service, Polymath will soon be launching a Polymesh wallet – providing a way to safely store these assets, while supporting staking capabilities.
The next version of the Polymesh testnet is expected to launch in Q4 of 2020, with the full mainnet launch in Q1 of 2021.
Founded in 2017, Polymath is a service provider for the digital securities sector, with operations based in Toronto, Canada. To date, Polymath has helped facilitate the creation of hundreds of digital securities.
In Other News
Polymath is not the only company to note the need for purpose-built digital security solutions. We have recently taken a closer look at another example of this, as NEM gears up for the launch of its offering, ‘Symbol’.
Make sure to peruse our recent interview with NEM Ventures Managing Director, Dave Hodgson. Here, we learn more about Symbol, and why such a solution is needed.
‘Mrs. Antonia’ Scam Preys on 1M Clients Affected by ePayments FCA Imposed Lockdown
Twitter hacks, news outlet impersonations, Ponzi schemes, and now ‘Mrs. Antonia’ – the world is rife with scams, perpetrated by criminals looking to prey on the naïve.
In this new scam, it appears that bad actors are looking to prey on those that have already endured trying times.
Users of payment processing platform, ePayments, which have had their funds frozen, are being contacted by a person or group posing as ‘Mrs. Antonia’. In these instances, ‘Mrs. Antonia’ promises the affected ePayments clients that they can help ‘unfreeze’ their funds – this, however, is a lie. The person or people behind the scam go as far as creating fake testimonials from people claiming that ‘Mrs. Antonia’ did indeed help them.
Unfortunately, Mrs. Antonia does not exist, and she cannot help. The actions of these criminals have prompted ePayments to release a statement, informing their clients of this scam.
“PLEASE be aware – this is a scam. We are unable to release any customer funds at present and so any claims by any third parties of this nature are not true.”
For months now, over 1 million clients of payment processor, ePayments, have had access to their funds revoked, due to a Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) imposed lockdown. To this day, the reasoning behind these measures is not fully known, aside from lapses found in ePayments anti-money laundering (AML) procedures.
With this lockdown extended for months now, it is understandable that those affected are growing impatient. As a result, many account holders might just be swayed by the promises made by these criminals.
Upon addressing the situation, ePayments has attempted to ease the fears of its clients by stating,
“We recognise that time has elapsed since we suspended business and we are truly sorry that we have put you, our customers, in this position. We wish to assure you once again that your funds are still safeguarded as normal.”
Sadly, we must all be vigilant, and on guard for scams. They are increasingly prevalent, as we increase our reliance on technology, with the ePayments situation simply being one example.
The world of blockchain is no stranger to scams, and has resulted in multiple which were staggering in size.
- $4 billion stolen through Ponzi scheme
- $6 billion defrauded from investors
- Recently arrested 27 individuals connected with the scam
These two scams alone affected millions of investors, defrauding them of roughly $10 billion. While actions have been taken in an attempt to hold the offenders accountable for their actions, the sad truth is that the vast majority of those affected will never see their funds again.
Founded in 2010, ePayments is a global payments processor based out of the United Kingdom. Through its services, ePayments has amassed over 1million clients, representing 100 countries.
CEO, Mikhail Rymanov, currently oversees company operations.
*Upon contacting ePayments for commentary, no response was received*