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Tokenization: Countries Leading The Cause

Oct 30, 2020

Introduction 

In our previous article, we explored Asset Tokenization‘s uses, benefits, and challenges. Security token products (STO’s) are identified as one of the greatest innovations of the digital assets market. This distinctive approach enables companies to simply monitor, allocate and regulate their activities operating with blockchain technology. Legal standards remain a main concern for issuers and traders of global security tokens. Some countries tend to fare better than others in applying tokenization and blockchain technology. Below we explored six countries leading the cause for tokenization services. 

Switzerland

Equipped with a rich heritage of financial security, strong privacy laws and pragmatic authorities, Switzerland [1] is a natural choice for developing blockchain companies. With over 900 projects [2] and the world’s ‘cryptocurrency hub’, it has managed to pass several business-friendly laws and amendments that set clear rules for technology development. A few well-known projects on tokenization include Tokenestate (a self-issue security token), Mt Pelerin and SwissRealCoin (Real estate security token). Nonetheless, its main attraction is the country’s exchange ‘SDX’ (SIX Digital Exchange), a fully integrated issuance, trading, settlement and custody infrastructure for digital assets, regulated by FINMA. Given its good track record of established cryptocurrency projects, the country may become a hub in the field of tokenized security in the next few years. This fact can be further leveraged by one of the most promising financial service token developments: Ethereum and Tezos. Both are decentralized blockchains that permit the development of public applications and smart contracts, allow and help every idea on decentralization to be carried out in the most efficient way possible and have chosen its foundations to be located in Zug, Switzerland.

USA

Likewise, supported by the world’s most heavy-handed regulator (SEC) and a battle-tested legal framework for securities that includes a large body of case law, the United States is undoubtedly a major player in Blockchain technology and tokenization. In order to tokenize U.S. real estate properties, systems such as RealT [3] enable tokenizing property ownership in the United States, preserving all legal rights and protections that are offered by traditional ownership of real estate. As the home of the world’s leading hedge fund investor base, the United States [4] has the largest institutional shareholder funds. Due to the early implementation of innovative technology in the industry, the country is recognized as a leading region in the tokenized solutions market. Future case examples may include CoinList and venues Kraken and Coinbase, exchanges that currently have no securities listed but are in a position to funnel liquidity into such projects in the near future. Likewise, distinct finance-friendly states include Delaware and Wyoming. Although Delaware is a state known for its low corporate tax environment, it has yet to establish a legal framework for digital assets. Wyoming, on the other hand, has passed over a dozen blockchain-friendly laws to facilitate transactions involving digital assets, up to March 2019 [5].

Canada 

Canada’s low energy cost, high internet speeds, and favorable regulations are expanding its technology sector. Despite high compliance costs, the country has a stable legal system and the prospect of licenses for exchanges dealing with token securities are highly accessible. Along with it, in the finance industry, the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) launched a blockchain-based clearing house, that would ‘allow companies to issue conventional equity and debt using a digital token representing a share in a business’ [6]. 

Luxembourg 

Recognized for its pragmatic legal and regulatory approach, Luxembourg continues to ensure its attractiveness as an important hub for financial services operations. The current regulatory structure does not precisely deal with the legal treatment of digital tokens. However, the situation in Luxembourg is aligned with the EU’s vision, given that several regulations are based on the European Union’s legal framework. The country is known as one of the most blockchain-friendly nations [10]. 

Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein has taken an important step towards blockchain technology. The adoption of new regulations aims to expand investor protection, prevent money laundering and establish economic clarity. The law verifies that Liechtenstein will be the first country in history to have comprehensive regulation of the token economy by regulating civil law issues in relation to the protection of customers and assets, as well as establishing satisfactory supervision of the various service providers in the token economy [11]. 

Malta 

The curious case of Malta. It is a small nation known for its passion for blockchain due to embracing this technology from the start, not only in terms of security token regulation [7], but also in the broader blockchain field. In addition, by submitting security tokens in Malta, multinational companies have contributed to establishing the region’s reputation as an investment destination. Last year it became the world’s first country to establish official regulations for cryptocurrencies. With the publication of the consultation document on the Security Token Offering MFSA Capital Markets Strategy [8] and also by calling the specialist community to deliver feedback, the state encouraged the improvement of digital securities. Unfortunately, every major advance that it has carried out does not seem to have the expected outcome, given that almost 70% of firms have given up on getting licensed in blockchain services in the region [9].

Conclusion 

The above list is not exhaustive and as tokenization services continue to expand, new markets will start embracing the possibilities and regulations related to blockchain. Some states, as the ones mentioned above, will reap the benefits of having a head-start in this industry and be the go-to markets for tokenization solutions. 

As a blockchain technology integrator based in Switzerland with global ambitions, Scalable Solutions is building bridges towards the new world of digital assets through state-of-the-art white-label solutions and a wide range of innovative value-added services, including tokenization. Get in touch with us here to find out more.

 

 

References:

[1] EY (2019), Tokenization of assets. Volume I, 2020. https://assets.ey.com/content/dam/ey-sites/ey-com/en_ch/topics/blockchain/ey-tokenization-of-assets-broschure-final.pdf

[2] Musharraf, Mohammad. “New Swiss Laws Provide Solid Ground for Blockchain and Crypto.” Cointelegraph, Cointelegraph, 10 Sept. 2020, cointelegraph.com/news/new-swiss-laws-provide-solid-ground-for-blockchain-and-crypto. 

[3] RealT, Inc., 15 Oct. 2020, realt.co/. 

[4] “Token Issuers.” Securities.io, www.securities.io/businesses/token-issuers/?skey=USA. 

[5] “Wyoming’s New Frontier for Blockchain and Digital Assets.” MGA, 20 Mar. 2019, masur.com/lawtalk/wyomings-new-frontier-for-blockchain-and-digital-assets/. 

[6] “Canadian Securities Exchange Launching Blockchain-Based Clearing House, Challenging TMX | CBC News.” CBCnews, CBC/Radio Canada, 13 Feb. 2018, www.cbc.ca/news/business/cse-tmx-blockchain-clearing-exchange-1.4533814. 

[7] Passed 3 legislations on July 2018: “Malta: Europe’s First ‘Blockchain Island’.” 150sec, 5 Aug. 2019, 150sec.com/malta-europe-first-blockchain-island/11979/. 

[8] Security Token Offering MFSA Capital Markets Strategy

[9] “Malta’s Cryptocurrency Flop: 70% of Firms Have given up on Getting Licensed.” MaltaToday.com.mt, 24 Apr. 2020,  www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/101920/maltas_blockchain_flop_70_of_crypto_firms_have_given_up. 

[10] “Are Token Assets The Securities Of Tomorrow?” https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/lu/Documents/technology/lu-are-token-assets-the-securities-tomorrow.pdf

[11] Dünser, Thomas. “The Liechtenstein Blockchain-Act.” Ecri.eu, Government of Liechtenstein,12 Mar. 2019, www.ecri.eu/system/tdf/thomas_duenser_1.pdf?file=1&type=node&id=155&force=0. 

 

General Sources: 

Bank of Canada (2018), Jasper Phase III, Securities settlement using distributed ledger technology, October. https://www.payments.ca/sites/default/files/jasper_phase_iii_whitepaper_final_0.pdf

Capital Markets and Technology Association (CMTA) (2018), Blueprint for the tokenization of shares of Swiss corporations using the distributed ledger technology, October, http://www.cmta.ch/wpcontent/uploads/CMTA-Blueprint-for-the-tokenization-of-shares-of-Swiss-corporations-1.pdf

Thomson, Andrew. “Top 10 Companies Innovating in Tokenization of Assets.” VentureRadar, 19 Sept. 2019, blog.ventureradar.com/2019/09/19/top-10-companies-innovating-in-tokenization-of-assets/. 

 

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