The Growing World of Security Token Protocols
Security tokens are one of the fastest growing sectors in the cryptomarket. These tokens allow companies to remain government compliant and utilize blockchain technology to enable more secure business transactions. As the security token market expands, more security token protocols become available to the public.
The Right Token for the Job
Security tokens contain regulatory protocol directly within their coding. This self-contained script is perfect for use in tokenization scenarios. When a token represents ownership rights to a piece of property, revenue sharing, security or other regulated item, security tokens are the only option.
Security token adoption increased significantly in the last few months. Currently, Security tokens make up around 6.54 percent of the total crypto market according to a recent study provided by Hashgard. Service tokens account for the largest percentage of the market at 49.05 percent, followed by utility tokens (25.3%), and hybrid tokens (12.47%). Another report published by ICORating showed that STO growth climbed 1.66 percent during Q3 2018. At the same time, utility token issuance decreased by 10 percent.
Security token protocols come in a lot of different styles nowadays and depending on the functionality of the security token in question, certain protocols are better suited to handle the tasks. Consequently, this need for function-specific security tokens ushered in a wave of new security token protocols.
Polymath‘s ST-20 protocol was one of the first security token standards to enter the market. The token features integrated KYC (Know Your Customer) and AML (Anti-MoneyLaundering) mechanisms. Polymath users can issue customized security tokens directly through the platform using the simplistic interface. What makes the ST-20 unique is that the token is issued on Polymaths custom built blockchain.
The token is hugely popular as Polymath is one of the largest security token launch platforms available to the public. The company was the first firm to launch a global security token conference. As an early entry to the security token race, Polymath wanted to take all the regulatory shortcomings of the ERC-20 protocol and give companies a more secure alternative. The firm succeeded in creating a widely used security token standard.
SFT (Secured Financial Transaction Protocol)
The SFT protocol entered the market on November 28, 2018. This security token protocol uses Solidity. Solidity is a programming language used by Ethereum developers. SFT tokens live on the Ethereum blockchain.
This protocol features many of the robust and modular features found in the popular ERC-20 protocol such as easy smart contract programming.SFT tokens enable the tokenization of debt and equity-based securities.
German-based Hyperlink Capital entered the market on July 1, 2018. The development team created the SFT protocol for their digital securities platform which is intended to expand adoption of blockchain-based capital markets. The company has a history of activity in the blockchain space. Recently, Hyperlink Capital’s focus is on tokenized securities.
News of the ERC-1450 protocol entered the market in November 2018 via a medium post by StartEngineFounder Howard Marks. This protocol was developed for creating digital stock certificates. The company behind the protocol, StartEngine Secure, seeks to offer entrepreneurs democratized access to funding.
StartEngine Secure entered the blockchain sector in2012 shortly after the signing into law of the Jumpstart Our Business StartupsAct which was an effort to provide access to more capital for startups. The platform features full transparency and a registered transfer agent updates ownership details in accordance with securities laws. The data is published via the Ethereum blockchain.
CAT-20 / CAT – 721
The CAT-20 and CAT-721 protocols are the world’s first multi-ledger security tokens. These tokens can be transferred across blockchains including Ethereum, Ripple, EoS, GoChain, and Stellar. Tokens issued on CAT-20 and CAT-721 protocols support Securrency‘s full suite of token issuance tools.
Washington-based Securrency entered the market in2015. The Securrency platform features an automated source of funds verification system and an easy to learn user interface. Additionally, the company behind the protocol, Securrency, employs a Service and Rules engine which maintains compliance across secondary market trading.
The DS protocol is an open-source development infrastructure designed around the needs of the security token industry. TheDS Protocol is open-source and designed to support third-party applications. Tokens issued on this protocol reside on the Ethereum blockchain.
Securitize issued the DS Protocol on Jun 5th, 2018 via a press release. DS includes integrated compliance and registry services. Also, token holders receive regular updates about relevant events via their tokens. The DSProtocol focuses on creating more liquidity within the security token arena.
The R-token standard entered the market on February 6th, 2018. R-tokens are ERC-20 tokens with built-in regulatory smart contracts. The regulatory services of these tokens configure to meet the needs of the issuer. The R-token standard features integrated KYC, AML, and taxation services.
Harbor developed the R-token protocol for use within their popular token issuance platform. In April 2018 Harbor successfully raised $28 million to further development into their tokenized securities platform.
The SRC20 protocol allows users to tokenize any item. The protocol is a cryptographic standard with integrated governance. Users can tokenize securities, buildings, farms, businesses, hedge funds, and even ownership in development projects. The flexibility of the SRC20 token is its strong point.
SRC20 operates on the SWARM platform. The SWARM platform incentivizes users for their positive contributions. The platform learns from your fundraising campaigns and uses the data to facilitate a more user-friendly experience every time you start a new campaign.
The tZERO protocol integrates the benefits of blockchain technology into the existing market systems. ThetZERO platform will one day facilitate both the issuances and easy trading of security tokens. The developers seek to create the first national securities exchange specifically designed for security tokens.
tZERO is the direct result of a strategic partnership with BOX Digital Markets. Earlier in the year tZERO filed an SEC form D. Form D is required by companies that seek to issue securities. IF the form is approved, tZERO would be the first SEC regulated security token issuance/trading platform in the cryptospace.
More Security Token Protocols on the Horizon
The Security token sector is just heating up and you can expect many more entries into the market as the year wraps up. Companies want the benefits of blockchain technology and security tokens provide these features without worry. It will be interesting to see how each of these protocols fair in the coming months as the market’s competition increases.
Validity Labs Joins the International Token Standardization Association ITSA
This week, the Swiss-based blockchain educational and infrastructure platform, Validity Labs confirmed the firm joined The International Token Standardization Association (ITSA). The decision to join the ITSA comes at a crucial stage of the EU’s STO regulatory development. The move demonstrates a further push for a more robust framework to support the expanding security token sector.
Validity Labs is one of the leading providers of blockchain-based decentralized applications in the region. The firm gained notoriety as an early mover when it entered the market back in 2015. At that time, the firm was the first blockchain education company in Switzerland.
Validity Labs – A Premier Blockchain Service Provider
Since then, Validity Labs assisted numerous developers and startups with educational and technical support. This support included hands-on workshops that covered a wide range of blockchain-related subjects. These topics include subjects like learning to program smart-contracts. Additionally, the firm provided educational classes for legal professionals, issuers, accountants and asset managers.
Today, Validity Labs is one of the premier platforms for blockchain-powered decentralized applications. Importantly, the firm now offers end-to-end STO implementation services with the goal to bridge the line between technology and legal compliance within the sector.
International Token Standardization Association (ITSA)
ITSA is a Non-profit German law association that specializes in token taxonomy. Token taxonomy is the identification, classification, and analysis of blockchain-based tokens. As such, the group is a leading voice for the promotion, development, and implementation of comprehensive security token market standards.
Token taxonomy continues to be a hot point of discussion within the market. Recently, regulators started prosecuting tokens that they believe violated the current securities laws. As more regulations come into place, a token’s classification can have a huge impact on the overall liquidity, profitability, and functionality a token possesses. Consequently, a token’s profitability depends on its classification in many instances.
ITSA Sees Growth
ITSA continues to see expansion in the EU market. To date, the firm includes some of the biggest names in both the finance and blockchain spaces. For example, the group already works with a host of universities including the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, University of Mainz, TU Munich, and the UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies in London.
Additionally, the group secured many important bank members over the last two years. These organizations include. Commerzbank’s Main Incubator, Bank Frick, MME, Börse Stuttgart, Bundesverband Deutscher Banken, and the German Investment Funds Association BVI).
ITSA Prepares for the Digitized Economy.
Importantly, ITSA provides startups with a plethora of helpful information. Startups can seek out support and know-how in the areas of blockchain-enabled solutions, decentralized applications, tokenization, and security token offerings. To date, the group already has helped startups SolarisBank, CryptoTax, and Ambrosus achieve growth.
Validity Labs – A Bright Future
The decision to join the ITSA was a smart maneuver. On top of all of the technical and legal support the firm now has access to, they also are a part of a huge network of blockchain professionals. This network will help Validity Labs achieve its lofty goals in the market.
Agora Innovation Secures Funding for IVE.ONE Platform
This week, the security token issuance platform, Agora Innovation announced that the firm successfully completed a seven-digit pre-series A investment round. Notably, the main investor was FinLab EOS VC. Now, Agora Innovation is set to expand its capabilities. Specifically, Agora seeks to launch its highly-anticipated IVE.ONE security token ecosystem in the coming weeks. The news showcases more demand for tokenization platforms within the EU and Asian markets, as well as, a major milestone for the IVE.ONE team.
IVE.ONE is a regulated issuing and investment platform for trading tokenized securities. Importantly, the platform enables the global trading of digitized securities within the legal framework of a specific region. The use of blockchain technology provides more efficiency in the sector because it enables developers to integrate compliance mechanisms directly into the platform’s tokens.
One of the main concerns for developers of the IVE.ONE platform was scalability. Scalability continues to plague Proof-of-Work blockchains such as Bitcoin. In order for large blockchain adoption to increase, projects need to emerge with the highest scalability possible. As such, IVE.ONE utilizes a unique dual-blockchain setup. The platform can accommodate both ERC20 and EOSIO blockchain tokens.
IVE.ONE promises to deliver some unique and powerful tools to the market. The platform enables advanced tokenization and investments into regulated securities. On top of the tokenization benefits, the firm also provides a proprietary verified digital identities system.
This system utilizes a blockchain verification system to link users to their respective blockchain wallet addresses. Once linked, the platform employs a rule engine to ensure all the tokens remain aligned with the varying national regulatory requirements set forth.
Agora Innovation – Dual Blockchain Approach
Discussing the new platform’s capabilities, Evgeny Matershev, Agora Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer described the excitement felt by developers after gaining access to the EOS blockchain. Matershev described how the dual-blockchain approach provides greater flexibility for issuers and investors. Additionally, he spoke on how recent updates to EOSIO can ensure the future scalability of the entire project.
Also, Phong Dao, Agora Co-Founder, and CEO chimed in on the status of the project. He described how his firm utilized a seed investment from HTGF one year ago to bring the project to fruition. Notably, he touted how the project provides a better ecosystem for digital assets on the blockchain
Dao explained that the firm will now expand marketing and sales activities into the Asian market. He also stated that the eventual goal is to expand into the EU within the coming year. Lastly, he spoke on the firm’s next moves. These maneuvers include an STO scheduled for the second quarter of 2020.
FinLab EOS VC
Importantly, FinLab EOS VC was the main investor during this funding round. FinLab EOS VC is one of the first and largest investors focused specifically on financial services technologies in the EU market. Also, Stefan Schütze, Managing Director of FinLab EOS VC Fund spoke on how the platform incorporates a complete and automated regulatory framework with an easy to navigate interface.
IVE.ONE is Set to Launch
Considering the added usability and functionality IVE.ONE promises to investors and issuers, there are sure to be some significant advantages over the competition. You can expect to hear more about this exciting project as the launch date approaches.
Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) Prepares Blockchain Clearing System Launch
This week, executives from the Australian Securities Exchange ASX made some encouraging statements regarding the firm’s shift towards blockchain technology. The company has spent several years contemplating how to best upgrade its current outdated clearing and settlement system – CHESS. Now, thanks to a team of ingenuitive developers, the entire Australian securities market will now enjoy more efficiency, transparency, and security.
Importantly, ASX was one of the first major securities firms to embrace blockchain technology in the country. Over the last few years, the company shifted its attention to tokenization and security tokens. These technologies are far more efficient than the current business systems in place.
Discussing the upgrade in a recent interview, ASX CEO, Dominic Stevens described the excitement surrounding the entire project. He explained how the new system provides the entire industry with a more streamlined alternative. Specifically, Stevens touted the improved clearing and settlement times the system boasts.
Traditionally, clearing and settlement can take upwards to a week to complete. This delay is due to the involvement of a host of third-party verification systems. All of which add to the total costs of the transaction. In comparison, tokenized securities can settle in hours because they operate in a trustless manner that requires no other verification.
Stevens also spoke on the power of risk management and process automation that the new system brings to the market. In terms of risk management, security tokens create liquidity in the sector. As such, this liquidity provides investors with more options. Additionally, smart contracts provide issuers with the ability to integrate certain processes and regulatory requirements directly into a token’s protocol.
In order to create a new clearing system that could accomplish all the required tasks, ASX made a strategic partnership with the US-based firm Digital Asset (DA). For its part, DA agreed to create and manage the blockchain underpinnings of the platform.
DA is a blockchain infrastructure provider that serves enterprise-level clientele. The firm is well-recognized in the sector. Previously, DA made global headlines after the firm secured $35 million in Series C financing from ASX in December 2019. Today, you can see that funding went to good use.
ASX Prepares to Launch New System
According to company documentation, ASX seeks to begin industry testing as early as July 2020. Unfortunately, the firm provided no additional information as to exactly how, and who would participate, in the new system’s launch.
The land down under continues to shine in the blockchain realm. Ever since government officials proclaimed cryptocurrency legal way back in 2017, the entire industry has experienced growth. Today, Australia holds the registration to 312 exchanges.
ASX – Taking the Australian Blockchain Market to New Heights
This latest news is sure to spark the interests of securities firms globally. Many of these firms have been on the fence regarding blockchain integration. For now, ASX is set to take a leading role in the global market pending a successful launch of its new clearing system.