CoinDesk Consensus : Invest
In what is one of the larger events of the year, multiple notable speakers have gathered for CoinDesk Consensus : Invest. This 2018 iteration features the likes of ICE’s, Jeffrey Sprecher, Bakkt’s, Kelly Loeffler, and SEC Chairman, Jay Clayton.
The purpose of the event is to not only address the current climate of the industry, but to bring clarity on past and future events.
SEC Jay Clayton
Jay Clayton took the stage today, and once again reiterated his personal stance on various topics. Of course, one of the burning questions was regarding pending ETF applications. On this matter, Clayton brought up two longstanding issues that must be addressed before an approval occurs.
Manipulation free markets
- On this matter Clayton stated, “The prices retail investors are seeing are the prices they should rely on, and free from manipulation – not free from volatility, but free from manipulation…how that issue gets addressed, I don’t have a particular path. But it needs to be addressed”
- While there are numerous solutions believed to be entering the markets in the coming months, there is not much in the way of custody solutions today. The most notable solution talked about, belongs to that of industry stalwart, Coinbase.
Fraud is pervasive. If one area of the industry is affected, then it bleeds over to adjacent sectors. One of the hottest topic of recent weeks has been the SEC and their actions taken towards ICOs. To date, the SEC stands firm that the majority of ICOs are securities. Those that do not market their tokens as such, are committing security fraud. While they have no issue with that being the case, they fully expect for token issuers to remain compliant with pre-existing regulations.
With this strong stance, it is increasingly obvious that services such as Securitize, Polymath, Harbor, and more are vital. It is this group of companies that have recognized the shifting mentality due to the actions of the SEC. They are the ones paving the way for a future of regulatory compliant digital securities being commonplace.
On matters discussed, Jay Clayton was clear to relay that these are his personal stances, and that they do not necessarily reflect his team as a whole.
While Clayton noted that his stances were his own, it brought to mind recent statements of Hester Peirce. Just days ago, Peirce once again raised hopes of an ETF as she stated an eventual ETF is ‘definitely possible’. The full podcast can be heard HERE. Beyond talk of an ETF, matters regarding the state of securities is discussed. It is a thorough, interesting discussion that is worth a listen.
This comes months after Hester Peirce publically issued her notice of dissent. This letter fueled ETF hopefuls, as it became clear that not all at the SEC believed they were handling the situation in the ideal manner.
At the end of the day, the recent sentiment that new services brought to market on behalf of Bakkt and NASDAQ making an ETF more likely, is wishful thinking. While these products are important, they do nothing for the hurdles that Clayton raised.
This cycle is going in circles. Jay Clayton essentially just reiterated a stance that he has expressed for a long time now. Two things are clear – the SEC is not backing down on manipulation and definition of securities, and the market is in desperate need of more solutions like Securitize.
TokenSoft Extends Reach with ‘Global Markets’
Broker / Dealer Acquisition
TokenSoft has announced the acquisition of a stake within an SEC registered broker / dealer. As a result, this move will see ‘Marpine Securities’, rebranded as ‘TokenSoft Global Markets’.
Although the initial stake only equates to 20%, the option remains for TokenSoft to acquire the full 100% of Global Markets. If desired, further acquisition is, however, contingent on the approval from industry regulators.
TokenSoft customers will have access to a variety of new services with the completion of this move. For instance, one such service will be for digital security issuers to now have hosting options. They can both manage and host an STO themselves, or through Global Markets. Beyond this, TokenSoft now gains the ability to refer custody solutions, exchanges, and more.
This move follows a trend being seen in the sector, as various companies are pushing to become true end-to-end solutions. TokenSoft is now one step ahead of most of their competition.
Based out of San Francisco, California, TokenSoft finds itself as a leader within the digital security sector. Catering to customers like Andra Capital, Hedara HashGraph, and more, TokenSoft specializes in blockchain solutions. They provide customers with the platform and services needed to issue and manage digital securities.
TokenSoft CEO, Mason Borda, commented on the acquisition of Marpine Securities LLC. He stated, “As a result of rapidly growing interest in the security token market, we have been inundated with requests for broker-dealer support services that we historically have not been able to provide…We heard our clients, and now we’re answering. With this investment, we are building a one-stop-shop for digital asset issuance and management – enabling us to expand our security and compliance support to every stage of a digital asset’s lifecycle.”
TokenSoft Global Markets (Formerly Marpine Securities LLC)
With this acquisition, Marpine Securities LLC will now become known as TokenSoft Global Markets. Despite this move, The ‘Global Markets’ division of TokenSoft will continue to act independently from the ‘mother company’. The pair, however, will function with a shared vision, and seamless integration with one another.
TokenSoft’s Lawson Baker, Head of Project Zero, commented on the merger. He stated, “The new services offered by TokenSoft Global Markets will be fully integrated into our high touch customer experience…We are committed to providing our clients with everything they need to participate in the future of security tokens, and TokenSoft Global Markets is a reflection of that commitment.”
Those looking to take market share away from TokenSoft are numerous. For example, recent months have seen the rapid development of various companies looking to provide token issuers with end-to-end STO services. Recently we have covered multiple of these endeavours, as shown below.
Above all, with these moves being made, look for TokenSoft to continue their presence at the forefront of the digital security sector.
OpenFinance Network launches first U.S. Security Token Trading Platform
From Beta to Live
In a long awaited announcement, OpenFinance Network has indicated that their platform has gone live. In doing so, OFN becomes the first platform to facilitate the trading of digital securities within the United States.
Until this point, the project had been in beta – meaning it was a nearly finished product, being offered to only select users for the purpose of hashing out any remaining ‘bugs’.
By going live, OFN essentially heralds a new age of liquidity, efficiency and opportunity for investors. Secondary markets, representing a massive investor base, now allow for greater exposure of tokens distributed via STOs. It is this ability to openly trade that equates to high levels of liquidity.
This platform is what many competitors are marching towards. OpenFinance Network is the first one to achieve the goal.
Those that are interested in taking part in STOs, but are not accredited investors, should take solace. Use of the platform is open to both accredited, and non-accredited investors. This applies to both United States residents, as well as those outside of the nation’s borders.
Founded in 2017, OpenFinance Network is based out of Chicago, Illinois. Since launch, OFN has established themselves as an industry leader. Their specialties lay in their established framework for security token services.
Speaking on the live launch of OFN was company CEO, Juan Hernandez. He stated, “2018 is said to be the year of security tokens, but, for us, this is only the beginning…We are committed to supporting all levels of investors in participating in this burgeoning alternative asset ecosystem. As we continue to partner with more security token assets, we are able to offer people more opportunities for wealth generation.”
With their sights set on industry advancement, the sector should look very different during 2019. Already boasting a plethora of tokens for investors to trade, expect for OFN to continue this growth.
One of the more notable tokens to be traded on the platform is that of Blockchain Capital (BCAP). This was one of the industry’s first STOs to ever have been completed. This is just one example of some of the projects that can be found on OFN.
Read more on BCAP here.
Various industry leaders have commented on the progress made by OpenFinance Network. Here is what a few of them had to say:
CEO of Securitize, Carlos Domingo, says, “Security tokens, or digital securities, will only begin to make a meaningful contribution to the financial landscape when compliant trading can take place on a wide scale. We are proud to have partnered with OpenFinance Network to make this a reality.”
Co-Founder of Blockchain Capital, Brad Stephens, says “As creators of the world’s first security token, the BCAP, we are encouraged by the growth of the security token market and related infrastructure. We are excited to be partnering with OpenFinance Network that is enabling liquidity of security tokens in a regulatorily compliant way.”
BANKEX to Open Security Token Trading Platform
In addition to developing an STO/DSO framework, BANKEX has now announced the launch of a digital securities trading platform.
While multiple frameworks for the issuance and distribution process are in the works, few announcements have been made with regards to trading platforms.
The main benefits being offered by digital securities typically hinge around liquidity and efficiency. To achieve these sought after traits, retail investors must have access to secondary markets which host said tokens.
The planned trading platform by BANKEX will make these benefits a reality. With plans to facilitate trading for both utility and security tokens, the platform stands to appeal to a diverse crowd.
While various security token protocols are on the market, the BANKEX platform will initially support the following:
- Created by a quartet of blockchain developers
Each of these token standards are products of the Ethereum blockchain. They vary from the typical ERC-20 token by incorporating various features. These include, but are not limited to, facilitating KYC checks, adhering to AML, and more.
As of Oct. 30th, the exchange has launched with basic features. For now, trading is limited to BTC, LTC, ETH, BKX, and BCH. In time, expansion of supported coins will see the inclusion of security tokens.
Straight from the SEC, it has been said that a major hurdle within the blockchain industry is that of custody solutions. While various companies have indicated theirintent to create such services, very few have actually done so at this point in time.
Along with the launch of their trading platform, BANKEX also intends to offer custody services as well. This means that investors will be able to entrust their tokens to beheld by BANKEX in a safe manner. A safe manner implies practices such as insurance acquisition, cold storage, etc.
Instead of focusing on a subset of the digital securities industry, BANKEX intends to be a comprehensive platform. While this makes the hurdle towards widespread launch higher, it also raises their ceiling for potential as a platform.
If BANKEX is successful in what they want to achieve, investors will have no need to utilize outside services, thereby increasing the influence of BANKEX within the sector.
Founded in 2015, BANKEX is based out of New York, New York. They are a financial service company with self-described mission to… “Add liquidity to assets that have an underrated value due to the way that classic financial markets currently operate.”
Beyond the news of their intended platform launch, BANKEX recently made news as they were the recipient a Maltese VFA Licence. This opens the door to various financial services, which are detailed in a recent BANKEX blog post, HERE.
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