Securities Tokens

The Official Guide To Tokenized Securities

Every new technology breakthrough allows entrepreneurs to either build new things or improve old things. One of the most important technology advancements in recent history is blockchain — officially defined as a digital ledger where transactions made in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are recorded chronologically and publicly.

Blockchain has allowed for the creation of cryptocurrencies or “tokens” (which they will be called throughout this piece). According to the Swiss regulatory body FINMA, tokens can have three functions: Payment Tokens, Utility Tokens, or Asset Tokens (Security Tokens).

Payment Tokens are used as a means of currency or payment and Utility Tokens are intended to provide digital access to an application or service. While those are both interesting, this guide will serve to explain Security Tokens, the regulation that governs them, along with the advantages & disadvantages they bring. This is intended to be a living document that will be updated from time to time with new resources, regulatory rulings, and other pertinent information.

What is a Security Token?

Security Tokens are digital assets subject to federal security regulations. In layman terms, they are the intersection of digital assets (tokens) with traditional financial products — a new technology improving old things.

If cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are considered “programmable money” then you can consider Security Tokens a version of “programmable ownership.” This means that any asset with ownership can and will be tokenized (public & private equities, debt, real estate, etc).

Why are Security Tokens Important?

Security Tokens bring a number of improvements to traditional financial products by removing the middleman from investment transactions (usually some form of a banker). The removal of middlemen leads to lower fees, faster deal execution, free market exposure, larger potential investor base, automated service functions, and lack of financial institution manipulation.

Lower Fees — Many fees associated with financial transactions are derived from payments owed to middlemen (bankers, etc). Security Tokens remove the need for most bankers which reduces fees, and smart contracts may one day decrease the reliance on lawyers as well. These smart contracts will reduce the complexity, costs and paperwork with managing securities (collecting signatures, wiring of funds, mailing of distribution checks, collection of W-2s, Sending K-9s, etc).

Faster deal execution — The more people involved in a deal, the longer it usually takes to execute. When Security Tokens remove middlemen from investment transactions, they enable accelerated timelines for issuers to successfully offer their security. Additionally, immediate trade settlement on the secondary market for Security Tokens will become an attractive advantage for issuers & investors too.

Free market exposure — Most investment transactions today lack exposure to a global investor base. For example, it is hard for investors in Asia to invest in private US companies or real estate. With Security Tokens, asset owners simply market their deals to anyone with an internet connection (within regulatory limits). This free market exposure should lead to a significant change in asset valuations since any asset that is not exposed to a free market is mispriced.

Larger investor base — When asset owners can present deals to anyone with an internet connection, the potential investor base is drastically increased. For example, would you rather show your investment opportunity to only US accredited investors & institutions or every potential investor in the world? Competition is healthy and a long-term net good for financial markets.

Automated service functions — Lawyers are less middlemen and more service providers in most transactions. With Security Tokens, issuers will begin to use smart contracts to automate the service provider function through software. This doesn’t mean that lawyers will disappear, but rather that their role will be more advisory based.

Lack of financial institution manipulation — This is a complex topic that is sure to be controversial. The short explanation is the likelihood for corruption and manipulation by financial institutions is decreased if those institutions are removed from the investment transaction process.

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Disclaimer: Information contained herein is provided without considering your personal circumstances, therefore should not be construed as financial advice, investment recommendation or an offer of, or solicitation for, any transactions in securities tokens or any other cryptocurrencies.