The Evolution of the Security Token Industry

In the ever-developing world of capital markets, capital fundraising has evolved significantly. The security token is the next evolution in capital markets, and after many years of painstaking infrastructure development, the industry is finally catching up to its associated sister, cryptocurrency.

Capital raising has evolved rapidly over the years, originating from traditional stock markets in Wall Street. Subsequently, it moved onto less conventional methods, such as crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, which is a different evolution of the same concept. So different, that the layperson would not associate Kickstarter with the stock market at all.

The Evolution of Crowdfunding

One of the newer and more creative innovations in the ever-evolving landscape of capital markets and crowdfunding was derived from the birth of Bitcoin and Ethereum. These innovations allowed blockchain enabled technology platforms to develop ecosystems where tokens were minted - to provide some sort of utility, or just a pure token for their native platform. Such initial coin offerings (ICO) enabled entrepreneurs to raise money globally from potential users of their products while simultaneously achieve market fit.

This phenomenon created a new wave of funding into the markets as companies were able to raise millions overnight with a theoretical “whitepaper” while with little to no development done on the project. In this overnight, unregulated industry, funding became much cheaper and easier than raising money through the traditional debt/equity markets.

In any industry where funding is so easily attained, naturally people came flocking to the new Mecca. This, coupled with a lack of regulatory oversight, of course, attracted sharks that sensed an opportunity to abuse the easy money and lack of regulation. By the end of 2017, the number of ICO scams had increased exponentially, with 80% of ICOs being scams. This led to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) stepping in to take a more active stance towards the industry, targeting companies that the SEC deemed as securities rather than utility tokens.

Enter the Howey Test: Given the heightened scrutiny by regulators, companies started to place more emphasis on consulting with leading law firms to determine whether a coin was a utility or a security.

Under the test, a coin is considered a security if a coin holds any of the characteristics below:

The Birth of Security Token Offerings

The utility of a coin was essential, given that most crypto exchanges did not have security broker/dealer or exchange licenses to trade tokens that were classified as securities.

As the number of failed ICOs continued to rise, regulatory scrutiny also began to pick up. Security token offerings (STO) became the natural evolution of the ICOs.

The security token offerings made more sense legally, but due to the lack of infrastructure and trading capabilities, this created less of a buzz for the retail crowd. Given the lack of trading venues, individuals were neither able to realize profits immediately. Similarly, given the nascent stage of the industry, proper licensed STO custodians had not been set up to accommodate the nature of these securities.

Due to these factors, the growth of the STO industry had been stifled and took a backseat over the last few years while its sister asset, cryptocurrency, continues to soar to new heights.

Fast forwarding to 2021

The current potential of growth for the STO industry far outweighs all other asset classes with the total addressable private market valuation, valued at USD 7.5 trillion. Despite the complete lack of infrastructure throughout its lifetime, STOs are still growing at a rapid pace of 59% CAGR.

In recent years, more STO platforms have taken note of this growth and established STO exchanges globally such as InvestaX, OSL & Archax. The infrastructure of the current STO market is finally starting to come together with licensed broker/dealers, exchanges, and custodians starting operations.

Security tokens are not going anywhere and are here to stay. The creation of STOs greatly improves the efficiencies of traditional securities and allows for infinite programmable possibilities. STOs are the future and we expect the market to continue to grow exponentially.

However, despite the rapid infrastructure developments over recent years, the STO ecosystem is still incomplete and is missing a liquidity solution.

IX Swap is the final piece of the puzzle that is needed to close the infrastructure loop to propel this industry to greater heights…

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IX Swap is the last infrastructure piece needed to bring life to the security token/tokenized stock industry. IX Swap will revolutionize the STO/TSO industry and is the liquidity solution for all STO/TSO exchanges globally, bridging the gap between CeFi and DeFi.

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