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Anyone’s personal efforts will seem insignificant in the face of the tide of the times, so at any time, everything should follow the tide of the time, otherwise it will be buried in the torrent of the times. Explorers of STO (Security Token Offering) should pay more attention to the trend, to avoid risks and take advantages of it.
In the previous articles, I think that STO (Security Token Offering), as a global financial practice, is moving in the right direction with the increasingly clear regulations. Relevant policy on digital currencies issued by the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong in earlier Nov. also demonstrated this. However, as a new thing, it will not go smoothly. Any change in the policy level (policy is the greatest risk STO faces) will have a butterfly effect. Even some non-direct policies, such as the technology innovation board, which will be introduced by the Chinese capital market, have triggered concerns on STO among many people. They even believe that STO will be hit hard in China as a result of the technology innovation board.
In fact, the roll-out of the technology innovation board has only an objective impact on STO, and we don’t know how many related initiatives will be issued in the future. As the Sino-US trade war continues to ferment, the two countries rebuild bilateral relationships, which will definitely change pattern worldwide. Combined with the economic (financial) crisis in 2018, once over 10 years, it may significantly change the financial system worldwide. As a practitioner, “You cannot just walk with your head down, but have to look up at the stars.” Before studying the specific STO implementation paths and rules, you must know the trend of the times first. Otherwise, it may just be doing nothing, or even clearing away at once.
We need to know why China introduces the technology innovation board to better analyze and predict influences of technology innovation board on STO. We need to know that, despite the fact that China has not yet issued relevant policies on STO, China and the US, as the world’s two largest economies, are almost the same in attitude and practices for financial regulation, that is penetrating supervision, rather than sand-box supervision; We also need to know how to make the most favorable choice between the penetrating and sand-box supervision for practitioners who have entered or are preparing to enter the STO field, which is not only about the future development, but also the current survival.
I. Origination of technology innovation board and its relationship with STO
A week ago on Nov. 5, at the opening ceremony of the first China International Import Expo held at National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai), chairman announced to establish the technology innovation board on Shanghai Stock Exchange and test the registration system. This is one important measure of China to continue to deepen the reform and expand new intersections at the background of the depressed global capitals and the long-term Sino-US trade. It has a far-reaching influence on China’s capital market and on STO, which is a financial practice.
1. As a national strategy, the technology innovation board has the important attribute of the top-level design, which will gather more resources, get the green access, expand the direct financing, and benefit innovative companies to have a negative influence for the relatively grass-roots STO in a short term.
At present, China’s capital market has formed a multi-level capital market system, which includes main board, second-board market, new three-board and regional stock trading market. The establishment of the technology innovation board at Shanghai Stock Exchange will enrich the capital market system and bring great changes to the ecosystem of the entire capital market. FANG Xinghai, Vice Chairman of Shanghai Stock Exchange, recently says that Shanghai Stock Exchange is accelerating implementation of the relevant rules of the technology innovation board. The technology innovation board and registration system must be carried out. Many industry giants, including MIUI chairman LEI Jun, have also expressed their supports.
This top-down support and the positive response from the Internet community and the investment community are not owned by STO, which owns grass-root attributes. It can be imagined that, with supports of policies, the two main attributes of the technology innovation board - contents inspiring companies to make innovations and the form of registration system, will help cutting-edge technology companies easier gain financing and enter the capital market. This will definitely have a shunting effect on STO with similar attributes.
2. The main function of STO, as a financial practice of asset securitization, is to broaden the financing access, reduce financing costs and improve liquidity, which is very similar with the technology innovation board’s original intention. Its relationship with the technology innovation board is not a deadly enemy, but a complementary relationship that can be integrated with each other.
The technology innovation board and STO are essentially incremental reforms. The technology innovation board is designed to complement the shortages of innovations in service technology in the China’s capital market, while STO can not only provide capital supports for blockchain companies, but also significantly improve the global liquidity of traditional assets through the borderless and natural token financial attributes of blockchain, and linking off-chain assets to chain, bringing new opportunities to the capital market. The focus of the technology innovation board and STO is to provide better supports for high-tech start-ups through the capital market. They are not in conflict.
It’s not my guess. Let’s look at recent policies and tendency in China. When determining to launch the technology innovation board, the People’s Bank of China issued a research report of 20,000 words on blockchain, explaining in detail what blockchain can do and what it cannot do. This could even be considered a quasi-official voice before issuing related policies; Securities and Futures Commission and even higher-level officials, have repeatedly expressed that they hope China’s capital market to attract more foreign capitals, to increase long-term capitals and improve liquidity; the domestic Internet giants, such as BAT, has already implemented blockchain and even explored the economics of token. According to various signs, compatibility and strong regulation should be the main direction of the future capital market reforms and practices.
XIAO Lei, having deep knowledge in the fields of traditional securities and blockchain, considers that STO will have more targets, but at present it is difficult to leave the centralized exchange system, so the technology innovation board may increase attention from regulatory agencies to all kinds of digital assets, and they even may leverage the blockchain technology to assist in regulation.
I agree with XIAO Lei’s opinion. Both STO and the technology innovation board are tentative, and play a positive role in helping capital market provide supports for the high-tech start-ups. Although they are different from each other and their innovation ways are different, they are not the opposite enemy, and they can co-exist. The essential attributes of STO - asset securitization + securities token may be introduced into the new technology innovation board. It is possible to implement the “Technology Innovation Board + STO” model.
II. Both China and the US will choose the penetrating supervision on STO
The military view of “Those who do not seek to last forever are not able to do so for a while; those who do not seek the overall situation are not able to seek a territory” is also applicable to the business. The introduction of the technology innovation board, as well as a series of relevant signs in China, have had a great impact on STO, but we want know that as a global financial practice, STO is not subject to a country’s policies and practices, so we should look at trends from a higher and global perspective.
Recently, one famous people gave his own interpretation and pre-judgment on the current world pattern and the economic trend: Henry Paulson, Chairman of Paulson Foundation and the 74th Treasury Secretary of the US, said that the Sino-US pattern had entered a new stage of reconstruction. Although the complete unhooking between two countries’ economy is not so impossible to lead to the economic iron curtain, the risks remain. Technological Balkanization as a result of the pattern reconstruction, that is, each country develops their own technology and technological standards, further threatens the global innovation and competitiveness of companies, and it has already happened.
A large part of the global economy will no longer allow free flow of funds and goods, if the unhooking of goods, funds, technology and personnel continue. This is the most fatal beat to STO, because asset securitization + securities token of STO is designed to solve the problem of free circulation of assets. If it is restricted by policies, the living space of STO projects will be greatly affected.
As we can know from the regulatory policy of STO, in fact, the US leverages the penetrating supervision on STO, and even the entire financial system: all projects to issue STO shall be in accordance with the relevant regulations or exemption regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission, which have put in place relevant provisions for investors and the financing amount. This is very different from the sand-box supervision in the UK, Singapore and Hong Kong, etc.
So far, China has not introduced any relevant policy or regulation on STO, but looking from the emphasis of the country on treating the financial industry and the improving practices, the country will definitely leverage the penetrating supervision, rather than the sand-box supervision, in the future, when it permits STO.
This means that for STO practitioners, if they hope to develop projects between the two major countries: China and the US, they must adapt to this strict penetrating supervision and comply with their policies and the national will behind it. For example, most of the existing STO projects in the US comply with the exemption terms. Once stock exchanges, including NASDAQ, really join in, game rules may be changed. China’s technology innovation board may use securities token as a pilot in the future.
It is also worth noting that over the past year, Internet giant in China, such as BAT, and commercial giants at Wall Street, have arranged the business. Compared with the relatively grass-roots start-ups beginning with the blockchain business, these giants have the undisputed advantages in talent, user, capital and scenario. Combined with the tendency of policies, they will undoubtedly be leading in the technology innovation board or STO. For the start-ups beginning with the blockchain business, if they want to carry out STO in both countries, they should not only considers the issue on the penetrating supervision, but also accurately identify its own role. It is much possible for them to become one of the Internet giants or capital magnates.
III. Opportunities for STO under the sand-box mechanism
The economic crisis and capital winter ten years ago have not only changed the world’s financial structure and order, but also led to the renewal in the entire business world. New-generation Internet giants, including Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Alibaba and Tencent, have gradually replaced the old-generation giants, such as Microsoft and IBM. Bitcoin was born at that time.
Accordingly, for start-ups in the blockchain field, it is not impossible to complete the transformation with STO, a financial practice. This is because there is the sand-box supervision, which is relatively looser and more inclusive, in addition to the penetrating supervision in China and the US.
The concept of “Regulatory Sandbox” was first introduced by the British Government in Mar. 2015. In accordance with the definition by Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the “Regulatory Sandbox” is a “Safe Space”, in which, financial technology companies can test its innovative financial products, services, business models and marketing methods, without having to be immediately bound by the regulatory rules when the associated activities encounter problems.
It can be said that the sand-box supervision, through actively and reasonably easing supervision rules, reduces the rule obstacles to the innovations of financial technology, and encourages more innovative solutions to be proactively turned into reality from idea. This approach in the UK is followed by many other countries and regions, such as Australia, Canada, Singapore, and Hong Kong, which has recently issued the policy.
For innovative blockchain companies, once the restrictions are removed, it will show a great explosive potential, because they have a very special advantage compared with the Internet giants and capital magnates: a batch of blockchain talents, idealistic entrepreneurs, early potential investment funds, as well as the deep-rooted blockchain thought. These are not owned by non-blockchain practitioners and are difficult to make up in a short term.
So, start-ups with bigger dreams and ambitious goals can explore STO in countries and regions, where the sand-box supervision is implemented. With the relatively looser sand-box supervision policies, the only thing practitioners need to do is to completely run through all sections of STO, and turn asset securitization + securities token from the concept level into the practical level. It is especially important that over the past year, at the background of digital currency speculation recession, the second-level market has taken on a bad reputation, so STO needs to demonstrate itself in the first-level market. Only by doing so, it can be recognized by countries and governments, trusted by investors and understood and gradually accepted by citizens.
(To be continued)
The chief executive of Bitcoin exchange First Meta Exchange was found dead in her apartment in Singapore last week.. Suicide could be a factor in the death of Autumn Radtke, 28, according to local ... A young American woman who ran the First Meta bitcoin exchange was found dead in her Singapore apartment last week. Police are investigating the “unnatural death”. Autumn Radtke was found on the morning of February 26 after Police received an emergency call from an apartment building. The CEO of a virtual currency exchange was found dead near her home in Singapore. A police spokesman said Thursday that initial investigations indicated there was no suspicion of "foul play" in the Feb. 26 death, meaning officers do not suspect murder. SINGAPORE (AP) — The American CEO of a virtual currency exchange was found dead near her home in Singapore. A police spokesman said Thursday that initial investigations indicated there was no suspicion of "foul play" in the Feb. 26 death of 28-year-old Autumn Radtke, meaning officers do not suspect murder. The American CEO of First Meta, a virtual currency exchange that deals with Bitcoin, was found dead outside her home in Singapore late last month, according to newly released domestic media reports.
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