An Impressive Raise
A variety of companies contributed to this funding. Most notably, Science Inc., and Morgan Creek Digital. Each of these companies has close ties with the digital securities sector, as they work towards the continued maturation of the industry.
With this funding, RealBlocks aims to continue development of their blockchain based real-estate platform. As a company, they have recognized the merits of digital securities backed by real world assets such as real-estate. As such, they aim to bring, not only accessibility, but liquidity to the real-estate market.
Upon release of the announcement, representatives from each company spoke on the matter. Here are a few words form those individuals:
Perrin Quarshie, Founder & CEO of RealBlocks, stated,
“With the support of our strategic investors, we’re accelerating development of our product and adoption of blockchain technology for real estate, an industry that previously hasn’t seen much innovation. This is a great opportunity to improve the investment experience for both sponsors and investors while also minimizing friction throughout the entirety of the process.”
Greg Gilman, Cofounder & Managing Director of Science Inc., stated,
“We invested in RealBlocks because this use of blockchain technology has real-world benefits that perfectly align with our investment model. We believe that the real estate market, like nearly all asset classes, will be increasingly data-driven and digitized or digitally native, and we look forward to building on our history of transformative companies.”
Anthony Pompliano, Founder & Partner of Morgan Creek Digital, stated,
“2019 is going to be an incredibly important year for blockchain projects. After years of experimentation and development, the market expects these companies to solve real problems now. RealBlocks is one of the teams that has a working product and has shown they can execute at a high level — that is one of the reasons why we are excited to invest. One of our core theses at Morgan Creek Digital has been that every stock, bond, currency, and commodity will be tokenized at some point in the future. RealBlocks has developed a solution that is going to help the best players in the real estate industry join the blockchain revolution.”
Those behind RealBlocks founded the company in 2017, with headquarters in New York. Above all, RealBlocks facilitates capital raising. They do so through the fusion of blockchain and real estate. Through the issuance of digital securities, RealBlocks draws the appeal of investors and security token issuers alike.
Company operations are spearheaded by founder, Perrin Quarshie – a graduate of both Georgia Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In their press release, Quarshie briefly described a few benefits of the RealBlocks platform. He stated, “Our platform also provides opportunities for post-issuance liquidity. Investors will be able to credit their platform wallets with Digital/Fiat Currency and then purchase tokens representing ownership of the underlying real estate via private placements. Through our platform, investors around the globe are afforded the ability to efficiently invest and fundraise for real estate offerings without the complications and excessive costs of public securities registration.”
Science Inc. is based out of Santa Monica. Above all, the company acts as a venture capital firm, investing in promising start-ups. Examples of these include companies such as DollarShaveClub, Science Blockchain, and others.
In addition to detailing funding events, we have also taken a look at Science Blockchain in past months. To learn more about this project, make sure to visit out token listings page HERE.
Morgan Creek Digital
Morgan Creek Digital is a newly founded arm of Morgan Creek Capital Management. While each branch acts as venture capital firms, this new arm specializes in blockchain and digital securities.
This branch was formed in early 2018, and is spearheaded by Anthony Pompliano – a prominent figure in the industry.
In Other News
The funding discussed here today continues a trend of interest toward companies developing the digital securities sector. Here is another examples of a successful funding event:
Investment Activity in Japan Signals Interest in Digital Securitization
All the pieces are falling into place for the digital securities market in Japan. One of the biggest traditional financial institutions in Japan, Tokai Tokyo Financial Holdings is advancing rapidly with its plans to digitize the financial services the company provides in a traditional sense.
New Investment in Blockchain Company by Tokai Tokyo
According to a Nikkei report, Tokai Tokyo completed a new investment in blockchain development company Hash Dash Holdings. Tokai Tokyo Financial Holdings will own 33% shares of the company, which is working on integrating the blockchain technology into the traditional financial industry. The aim is to enable the issuance of digital securities while providing investors with a trading service on their mobile devices.
Digital securitization is picking up steam as more traditional financial institutions dare into the digital asset space. With uncertainty looming over traditional markets, digital assets are piquing the interest of investors – and not only retail, but institutions are taking clear steps to be part of the paradigm shift. Tokai Tokyo’s efforts to build a digital securities exchange is an example of the latest venture into the field.
Per the report, Tokai Tokyo’s platform will tokenize securities, and will start with Japan’s real estate industry with plans to explore digitization of Intellectual Property assets as well as corporate bonds.
Alongside Tokai Tokyo, other shareholders are the founder of Hash Dash and ICH X Tech, the company operating iSTOX. With this venture, the goal is to issue digital securities powered by blockchain technology and trade these on iSTOX, the digital security exchange based in Singapore.
The iSTOX exchange also has previous strong ties with Tokai Tokyo, as the latter had announced a $4.5 million investment in ICH X Tech just seven months ago in November 2019.
As reported, the iSTOX digital exchange was part of the MAS Fintech Sandbox program undergone by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and was one of the select successful products. The motivation behind the investment was to make digital securities on the iSTOX platform available to Japanese investors; this being possible through the brokerage capabilities of Tokai Tokyo Financial Holdings.
If at the time, the digital securities exchange was a sandbox, it has since become a recognized market operator with a capital market services license. Other iSTOX investors included the Singapore Exchange (SGX), state-owned Temasek’s investment firm Heliconia Capital, and Hanwha Asset Management.
Asian countries have been known to be at the forefront of the digital asset industry – starting off with a dominant presence in the mining industry to having a lot of cryptocurrency exchange platforms across different countries and a population eager to experiment with novel cryptocurrencies.
Japanese Companies Bringing Digital Securitization Closer to Mainstream
In the past few years, Japanese companies have also been actively seeking opportunities to enter the digital securitization space. SBI Holdings has been long making the headlines in the industry with their collaboration with Ripple and XRP.
In the past year, Nomura and Nomura Research Institute started the BOOSTRY platform, which focuses on securities and bonds issuance. Tokenization platform Securitize already created a Japanese real estate investment platform, receiving funding from numerous high profile Japanese investment firms.
While Tokai Tokyo Financial Holdings is almost a century old company with deep roots in the traditional financial markets, the company is determined to adapt to changing market conditions.
In December, Tokai Tokyo made an investment of 500 million yen ($4.7 million) in Huobi Japan, the popular crypto exchange licensed in Japan. In order to execute their vision of becoming an “advanced financial integrated group”, Tokai Tokyo is focused on meeting consumer needs by deploying leading technologies from FinTech and the cryptocurrency space, according to the company’s press release at the time.
Further in the press release it was stated:
Also, in March Tokai Tokyo became a member of Japan Security Token Offering Association, a self-regulatory organization for STOs.
The intent from the Japanese financial giant is clear and it looks like the company is making it a priority to have a strong foothold in the digital securitization industry.
Overall, it’s a natural and likely necessary progression that financial institutions have to consider, seeing that in the next decade digital securities may become the prevalent financial products that investors look for.
Real Estate Increasingly Popular within Digital Securities – Vertalo and Tokensoft each Launch New Platforms
On The Hunt
Blockchain based endeavours, such as cryptocurrencies, are only now beginning to grasp where they can thrive. It has taken a decade, but there are finally a crop of ‘killer applications’ being developed. This is most recently evident through the growth of decentralized finance (DeFi).
Digital securities are a step behind cryptocurrencies, and are still in the searching phase. With the sector first being distinguished only a few years ago, it is still in its infancy. In time, will it be tokenized art that catches on? Or maybe it will be supercars?
Multiple companies believe that they have determined the best use case for digital securities, and their accompanying services – Real Estate.
There are a variety of reasons which make real estate the perfect asset class to undergo restructuring with digital securities.
- Traditionally, real estate suffers from low-liquidity
- High fees and various ‘middlemen’
- Restrictive access
While each of these issues may not stand out as being blatantly detrimental, they most certainly hold back the potential of an industry, ripe for change.
Through the use and implementation of digital securities, each of these points can be addressed. In doing so, opportunities will arise where there were none before; All the while, giving more people access to a newly liquid asset class.
To learn more about why digital securities and real estate are a perfect fit, check out Vertalo’s FAQ on the subject HERE.
In the past week, we have seen two big announcements surrounding digital securities and real estate. These have come from a pair of U.S. based companies, each quickly becoming leaders within their space – Austin based, Vertalo, and San Francisco based, TokenSoft.
Vertalo Real Estate
An influx of digital securities into real estate has shown enough promise, that Vertalo has just formed/launched an entire new branch of their company named Vertalo Real Estate (VRE).
In order to hit the ground running, Vertalo hired the full team at Advantage Blockchain. With this experienced team spearheading the new endeavour, there will, surely, be new and positive developments announced in the coming months.
Among the talent coming on board from Advantage is RECM President, Gary Brandeis. In this new position Brandeis will operate as the President of Vertalo Real Estate.
This new branch is described as being “focused on transforming ownership structures for the commercial real estate market…throughout the United States.”
While initial focus may remain on commercial opportunities, the end goal is to expand into real estate opportunities of all sizes.
“…the hiring of the Advantage Blockchain team reflects the dramatic increase in interest from commercial real estate owners for increased efficiency and secondary liquidity. Vertalo has always considered commercial real estate – and eventually residential portfolios of all sizes – to be an ideal target market for digital transformation.”
TokenSoft Real Estate
Much like Vertalo, the merits of digital securities merging with real estate has not escaped the attention of TokenSoft. This young company has just announced the launch of a ‘private label marketplace for real estate’.
The purpose of this new platform is a simple, but lofty, goal – enable secondary sales of real estate based private equity. Beyond secondary sales, Tokensoft offers a full suite of services made possible through partnerships with companies, such as Signature Bank and Inveniam Capital Partners
“Real estate investments like these are traditionally illiquid for several years. Leveraging a combination of regulatory automation by use of the blockchain, we’ve been able to bring a much needed liquidity solution to market.”
In Other News
To learn more about why such importance is placed on liquidity, make sure to peruse Borys Pikalov’s thoughts in the following article.
Vertalo to Underpin Tokenization Effort Surrounding RECM Portfolio
$300 million worth of real estate assets will be, potentially, tokenized in the coming months. These assets are part of a pair of investment funds managed by Real Estate Capital Management (RECM).
- Advantage Blockchain
- Prime Trust
This group of companies, each working together, will provide their own areas of expertise. Vertalo will facilitate tokenization through use of the Tezos blockchain and act as a digital transfer agent, while tZERO will provide liquidity via secondary markets and act as a broker/dealer. Advantage Blockchain, meanwhile, will act as a marketing and consulting firm, and Prime Trust will provide custodial and settlement services.
This joint effort is slated to begin by focusing their efforts on an initial $90 million worth of real estate- leaving $210 million in untapped potential for the near future.
Two notable properties to be first up, include hotels located in, both, the United States and Costa Rica.
Blockchain of Choice
Increasingly, the digital securities sector is moving towards utilizing Tezos for undertaking, such as the one discussed here today. Reasoning behind this often point to increased versatility provided by the blockchain through highly programmable smart contracts.
This shift has caught our attention in the past. It was only months ago that Vertalo, themselves, announced their decision to follow suit.
Upon announcing this endeavour, RECM President, Gary Grandeis, took the time to elaborate. He stated,
“Real estate is the perfect industry to take advantage of the newest innovations with those companies transitioning us to digital platforms and flexible ownership structures having the largest impact. Advantage Blockchain is focused on bringing breakthrough financial technology solutions to commercial real estate owners.
“As a Pennsylvania-based commercial real estate owner and developer, Real Estate Capital Management is working with Advantage to identify and implement real estate tokenization solutions with the goal of increasing ownership efficiencies and creating real estate liquidity where it hasn’t existed before. Real Estate Capital Management looks forward to being a leader in this space and is excited to work with both the Advantage Blockchain and Vertalo teams.”
Founded in 2017, Advantage Blockchain maintains operations in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Above all, the team at Advantage Blockchain works to ‘unlock new value for businesses by providing strategies and solutions centered around cutting edge revenue creation’.
CEO, Dylan Rhodes, currently oversees company operations.
Operating out of Austin, Texas, Vertalo was founded in 2017. In the time since, this company has managed to establish themselves as a clear leader with the burgeoning digital securities sector. Beginning as cap-table specialists, Vertalo has expanded their areas of expertise to become a diverse service provider.
CEO, Dave Hendricks, currently oversees company operations.
A product of Medici Ventures, tZERO describes their goal as ‘enabling the market to create and trade digital securities using blockchain technologies’. This has led tZERO to develope a fast growing secondary market, providing liquidity for digital securities.
CEO, Saum Noursalehi, currently oversees company operations.
In Other News
In recent weeks Tezos has generated buzz on various occasions. This is, not only, in part due to the recent adoption being seen through the digital securities sector, but due to the potential closing of a turbulent chapter in its history. The following articles take a look at both of these.