Real-World Asset Tokenization Done in Switzerland
Asset tokenization, is the space where traditional assets and digital tokens intercept to allow issuers to build completely new financial products and investors to participate in new ways.
Even if there’s still some way to go, there has been a lot of progress made in the digital asset space to enable tokenization of real-world assets. Testament to this is also the recent announcement from SEBA, a Swiss regulated banking entity.
Founded with a mission to bring closer traditional finance and digital assets, the digital bank has now signalled that it’s entering the asset tokenization space. In this regard SEBA aims to develop innovative solutions where their clients can issue and manage financial assets on multiple blockchain protocols and make these easily accessible to investors.
The digital bank is no stranger to digital assets, as it already offers a suite of services around these, from digital custody to trading, transaction banking as well as crypto-collateralized lending.
SEBA as a regulated entity, follows a fully compliant path in order to target large institutions. The Swiss financial institution wants to work with banks, professional investors, family offices, asset managers and other blockchain companies.
As such, the bank’s entrance in the space is accompanied by a partnership with Digital Asset Shared Ledger (DASL) which is built on the enterprise blockchain Corda.
SEBA Partnering with Liquidity Network DASL
The bank will leverage the Digital Asset Shared Ledger (DASL) to expand its services which is a liquidity network for digital assets. DASL facilitates the transfer of digital assets across the public Corda network which is a peer-to-peer network of DLT nodes, enabling interoperability across multiple systems, apps, and processes.
As a result, this partnership will allow SEBA to provide institutional clients the ability to issue and invest in digital securities representing financial instruments on the Corda network.
DASL’s securities offering includes several capabilities including issuance, portfolio management, asset servicing, clearing and settlement – all powered by distributed ledger technology (DLT). Furthermore DASL’s network capabilities are fully compliant with securities regulations.
The bank already has several services for their clients that relate to digital assets, and asset tokenization will be offered as a complement to SEBA’s Custody, Asset Management and Trading product.
As part of the asset tokenization offering, according to SEBA’s description, clients will be able to tokenize fiat and precious metals, alternative assets like real estate and commodities as well as explore tokenized ecosystems of companies with products (as utility tokens) and conduct security token offerings.
SEBA will create a wallet for onboarded custody customers, issue digital securities and distribute them to wealth management and other investor networks. In partnering with DASL, SEBA relies on the team’s experience building critical infrastructure for financial institutions.
A Partnership for Further Development
While still at an inception phase, the partnership may bring further product generation and liquidity creation over time, where DASL will support SEBA Bank’s strategy to be a partner to institutions.
Matthew Alexander, Head Tokenization at SEBA Bank, explains how important it is to build a trusted platform for the adoption of digital asset securitization:
“Widespread adoption of Digital Assets and securities by institutions requires trusted venues for distribution and for secondary trading and liquidity. DASL provides SEBA with an immediate and secure platform for our Digital Securities product range. We look forward to combining our strengths with those of DASL to further enhance our client solutions and services.”
“We are delighted to partner with SEBA Bank and bring them onto the public Corda Network with DASL.DASL provides an accelerator to the digital capital markets for SEBA’s institutional clients.” stated Richard Crook, Founder DASL.
Over the last two years, SEBA has made notable strides in the digital asset space. The Swiss crypto bank managed to significantly expand its products and services to the institutional market. Earlier this year, SEBA also raised $100 million in funding six months after receiving the banking license in August 2019.
Opening up the door for asset tokenization to institutions is one of the key aspects to widespread adoption of digital assets on a large scale. Once institutions that follow rigorous compliance measures can issue, manage, and trade digital asset securities, it could open the floodgates for interest from a wide variety of investors on a global scale. This could be a critical point that kickstarts the transition from traditional asset securitization to all-digital.
Traditional Banks Ramp Up Custodial Services for Digital Assets
In recent weeks, we have seen an increase in the adoption of blockchain services, among traditional banks. First, U.S. based banks were given the green light to custody cryptocurrencies by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). Now, we learn that one of the largest banks in South Korea, KB Kookmin Bank, is already working to develop similar services.
With regard to South Korea, the plan is for KB Kookmin Bank to begin offering custodial services for digital assets. This is a group effort involving the following companies,
This collaboration is particularly noteworthy, as KB Kookmin Bank is not just any old bank. They are currently the largest bank in South Korea. Moves made by a bank of this stature are followed closely by many. Although KB Kookmin Bank and its partners may be first to the table, expect to see others take a seat in the near future.
Future Asset Expansion
While initial services will centre on the custody of cryptocurrencies, it is believed that this support will eventually grow, encompassing various types of digital assets. More specifically, it is expected that in time, these custodial services will support digital securities.
In commentary released by Hashed, this expansion of supported assets was touched upon. Hashed states that through this collaboration, participants anticipate, “…that the digital asset industry will not only involve cryptocurrencies, but also other traditional assets such as real estate, artwork, and other reified rights that will be issued and traded on blockchain platforms.”
Although cryptocurrencies stand to benefit first, the development of such custodial services has the potential to transform and usher forth new growth among the digital securities sector.
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
In the weeks preceding the news surrounding KB Kookmin Bank and its forthcoming custodial service, we saw the OCC release of an interpretive letter on the subject.
In this letter, the OCC breaks down, not only what digital assets are, but how banks can support the growing use. The OCC summarized its stance, stating,
“The OCC recognizes that, as the financial markets become increasingly technological, there will likely be increasing need for banks and other service providers to leverage new technology and innovative ways to provide traditional services on behalf of customers. By providing such services, banks can continue to fulfill the financial intermediation function they have historically played in providing payment, loan and deposit services.”
“…we conclude a national bank may provide these cryptocurrency custody services on behalf of customers, including by holding the unique cryptographic keys associated with cryptocurrency. This letter also reaffirms the OCC’s position that national banks may provide permissible banking services to any lawful business they choose, including cryptocurrency businesses, so long as they effectively manage the risks and comply with applicable law.”
Which came first, the chicken? Or the egg? This old saying could easily be applied to the current world of blockchain. Are these traditional banks jumping on board the train due to the recent resurgence being seen in the sector? Or is the sector surging due to banks jumping on board. Regardless of the answer, signs of blockchain adoption within traditional industries is a definite positive.
Hopefully, this swing in sentiment among banks continues to gain momentum, as banks have not always viewed digital assets in a positive light. Only months ago, we were reporting on difficulties being faced by German companies, as they were refused services by traditional banks.
KB Kookmin Bank
Founded in 2000, KB Kookmin Bank maintains operations in Seoul, South Korea. Since launch, KB Kookmin Bank has grown to employ over 25,000, while providing customers on a global scale with access to commercial banking services.
CEO, Hur Yin, currently oversees company operations.
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)
The OCC is a U.S. based regulatory body, tasked with supervising national banks. This supervision is undertaken with the goal of ensuring fair and transparent financial services to all customers.
Acting Comptroller, Brian P. Brooks, currently oversees operations at the OCC.
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.