Luxembourg House of Financial Technology and Centre for Finance, Technology and Entrepreneurship Launch a Digital Finance Academy

The Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LHoFT), a dedicated Fintech center focused on promoting the development of innovative financial services, and the Centre for Finance, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CFTE) are establishing the Luxembourg Academy of Digital Finance.

According to a release shared with CrowdFund Insider, the academy will focus on assisting  financial institutions in upskilling their workers on Fintech. The academy will also help finance professionals gain a better understanding of the evolving Fintech industry.

The launch of the Luxembourg Academy of Digital Finance was revealed on November 13, 2019 at the Singapore Fintech Festival.

The academy will cover the latest developments in blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), and crypto  asset management. It will also cover Regtech, Insurtech, and cybersecurity.

As noted in the release:

“By launching the program, the centre aims to transform Luxembourg’s financial institutions to digital and, therefore, strengthen the region’s leading financial centre position.”

Luxembourg is a leading Eurozone financial hub and houses the world’s second-largest investment fund. There are 135 banks that have established operations in the European country.

Upskilling employees is a common response to the digital transformation of the traditional banking sector, a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) 2019 report noted. Banks throughout the world have invested in their employees in order to “prepare for the Fintech revolution,” the release stated.

As mentioned in PwC’s report, around 42% of survey respondents “decide to conduct significant retraining to close a potential skill gap in their organizations.”

There were over 50,000 participants from 130 different countries at the Singapore Fintech Festival. As noted in the release, the memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by Nasir Zubairi, CEO at LHoFT, and CFTE co-founders Huy Nguyen Trieu and Tram Anh Nguyen.

Tram Anh Nguyen remarked:

“The launch of the Luxembourg Academy of Digital Finance is an important milestone for upskilling the financial service industry. We are delighted to be partnering with LHoFT to deliver on this critical mission of keeping people at the centre of technology transformation.”

Nasir Zubairi stated:

“Change is inevitable and digital is the core driver in financial services. Understanding the digital ecosystem and the value it can deliver to business and customers is critical  Our partnership with the leading digital education provider for financial technology, CFTE, will help ensure everyone in our Luxembourg institutions is energised and sees the potential that Fintech can deliver to their work and develop their careers.”

Tokeny and Black Manta Capital Join to Launch Compliant STO Platform for Europe

Black Manta Capital Partners and Tokeny have formed a partnership to build a “fully compliant Multi-STO-Platform.” for Europe. It is important to note that the Black Manta Investment Platform is operated by BMCP’s ​Berlin (BMCP GmbH) which has reportedly received its license within the MiFID II regime by the German financial regulator BaFin, this past summer.

The two companies plan to launch the security token offering platform which is fully compliant and available to both retail and professional investors. According to a company release, the security token offerings will range from real estate projects, SMEs, and later-stage firms as well as tokenized commodities and funds. In brief, the STO platform plans to offer the full stack of digital assets which are securities or commodities.

Luxembourg based Tokeny received the backing of Euronext earlier this year when the exchange operator purchased a 23.5% stake in the blockchain platform. The investment is an important validation of Tokeny’s vision. Euronext is the largest stock exchange in continental Europe with approximately €4.1 trillion in market capitalization.

Black Manta Capital Partners, based in Luxembourg, is described as a “one-stop agency for all technical, financial, and legal aspects of Tokenization.”

Tokeny is expected to provide a white label tokenization platform while Black Manta Capital will provide compliance and investor protection as a regulated Financial Services Institution within the European Union.

Luc Falempin, CEO of Tokeny, explained that the partnership with Black Manta allows the two entities to each focus on what they do both. Tokeny will provide the institutional-grade tokenization solutions while BMCP builds out its investor community.

Christian Platzer, Co-Founder of BMCP​, stated:

“​Tokeny Solutions is one of the top global technology providers in tokenization. Having worked closely with the Tokeny Solutions team for several months, we can say: we speak the same language when it comes to the prospects for our industry and together we could not be more positive about the opportunities for security tokenization in Europe and around the world.​”

BMCP also selected Tokeny Solutions for its previously announced T-REX token standard for tokenized securities. The security token standard is designed to ensure compliant transferability including identity management, validation certificates and a transfer manager. The T-Rex standard is a validator system that is designed to facilitate trading on multiple exchanges and is compliant by design.

Here is the Letter Seeking Additional Information on Why Revolut Pulled its e-Money License in Luxembourg

As was reported earlier this week, Revolut has decided to pass on its application for an e-Money license in Luxembourg. The decision was ostensibly made because Revolut has already received a passportable license in Lithuania and it is in the process of pursuing regulatory approval in Ireland. Speaking with Delano, a Revolut spokesperson explained they “decided to explore the creation of a payments and technology hub in the Republic of Ireland, which is well known for its technology focus and talent pool.”

Over the years, Ireland has become a leading European tech hub with big names like Apple setting up operations. The Irish tech sector is said to employ over 37,000 people generating €35 billion in exports annually. Tech friendly Ireland may make more sense for the digital bank.

In March of this year, London based Fintech Soldo, a payment and spend management services, was awarded an e-Money license from Ireland’s Central Bank. Other Fintechs have done the same.

Spawned by the original article in the Telegraph that uncovered Revolut’s decision to withdraw the e-Money license in Luxembourg, MP Laurent Mosar has formally requested that the Minister of Finance clarify as to exactly why the application was withdrawn.

Mosar asks, referencing the original article in the Telegraph (translated):

In this context, I would like to ask the following questions to the Minister of Finance

    • Can the Minister confirm this information?
    • Why did this company withdraw its application for approval in Luxembourg?
    • Is this withdrawal definitive?

The Minister is legally compelled to respond within a month.

Mosar is a member of parliament for the Christian Social People’s Party. Earlier this year, Mosar queried the Luxembourg government on Revolut following an earlier report in the Telegraph that alleged “lax compliance controls.”

Revolut is one of the leading digital banks in Europe that has grown quite rapidly. But the rapid growth has been accompanied by some growing pains along the way. A Fintech Unicorn, Revolut has set its sights on expanding beyond European borders including into North America.


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Digital Bank Revolut Gives Up on Luxembourg e-Money License

Revolut has decided to withdraw its application for an e-Money license in Luxembourg, according to a report in the Telegraph. The application was originally filed in September of 2018. Revolut was said to make the decision following the approval of two financial services licenses from Lithuania that will allow the digital bank to “passport” its services across the European Union. Additionally, Revolut has filed for a similar license in EU member state Ireland.

According to Delano, the Luxembourg Financial Sector Supervisory Commission (CSSF) indicated that Revolut pulled the application on July 25th but did not provide additional details as to why the application was withdrawn. A Revolut spokesperson told the news outlet:

“Following the successful completion of the review in Lithuania, our focus remains on building out our local banking team there. As recently reported, we have also decided to explore the creation of a payments and technology hub in the Republic of Ireland, which is well known for its technology focus and talent pool. Our investments in both these European countries has been driven by what is in the best interests of our 7 million customers. We’re excited to be working with some of the most highly regarded tech and financial services talent in both these countries.”

It was also reported that the application was withdrawn due to questions regarding compliance issues by Chamber of Deputies MP Laurent Mosar. A formal letter was said to be filed this week by Mosar requesting further details from the Luxembourg Minister of Finance, Pierre Graamegna, as to why the license was withdrawn. A response is legally required within a months time.

Revolut is a leading UK based digital challenger bank. The Fintech bank has grown rapidly both in the UK and across Europe and has recently expanded into Australia. A US digital banking service is expected later this year.

The rapid growth has not come without challenges as Revolut has endured a bumpy road at times regarding questions around compliance issues such as KYC and AML requirements. Revolut reported the creation of a global licensing team in January of 2019 to better manage the complex demands of adhering to banking regulations across various international jurisdictions.

 

Former Polymath Exec Joins Tokeny Solutions as APAC Head of Business Development

Tokeny Solutions, a tokenization platform,  has hired Heslin Kim as Head of Business Development APAC. Heslin was previously at Polymath. Tokeny recently received the backing of Euronext, the Eurozone’s largest stock exchange, a significant strategic investment.

Kim said he was thrilled to be joining Tokeny Solutions.

“After spending the last two years fully immersed within the digital securities space, it became searingly apparent that most companies are acting in a reactive manner and one that has lacked the long term strategy to build the required infrastructure with institutional partnerships. Tokeny Solutions is at the forefront of execution and after extensive discussions and due diligence, I have the utmost confidence in the team and, even more so, the leadership, to provide the keystone technologies that will foster the growth of industry best practices globally. My experience in educating firms and institutions on the benefits of this new technology, along with the support of my new team, will enable the digital securities industry to thrive in traditional capital markets across the Asia-Pacific region.”

Asia has continued to experience a relatively robust crypto market. Mulitple European countries have moved forward with bespoke regulation to facilitate digital asset issuance and trading. Tokeny, based in Luxembourg, provides an end to end issuance and management platform for tokenized assets.  Tokeny reports it has issued multiple tokenized offerings across five continents with further security offerings imminent.

Lendable Partners With Credit Suisse to Launch Luxembourg Fund

London-based Fintech platform Lendable has reportedly teamed up with Credit Suisse to launch a new Luxembourg Fund. According to AltFi, the fund will initially provide up to £225 million of financing into the UK consumer market. The launch of the fund comes just one month after Lendable received a £200 million funding line from Goldman Sachs Private Capital.

While sharing more details about the fund, Lendable Chief Capital Officer, Rory McHugh, revealed to the media outlet:

“This fund lets professional investors access the same investment opportunity currently available only to the largest institutional investors. We also look forward to meeting with other fintech and consumer credit platforms seeking debt finance as we grow the asset management side of this business.”

Lendable claims to be one of the fastest-growing consumer online lenders in Europe.

The Fintech has also received a £500 million funding line from NatWest Markets, Waterfall and Varadero.

According to their website, Lendable can provide up to £20,000 in credit to UK consumers at an interest rate ranging from 6% to 49.9%.

Supported by Tokeny, Property Token SA in Luxembourg Launches Security Token Offering Backed by Real Estate

A security token offering backed by real estate has been launched by Property Token SA in Luxembourg. This is the first STO issuance in the Grand Duchy.

The digital offering has been completed with the support of Tokeny Solutions, a law firm and consulting firm in the blockchain sector.

Based in Luxembourg as well, Tokeny Solutions is a Fintech that recently announced fundraising from Euronext.

The property backed tokens are said to be securely stored in a “zero electronic” physical vault provided by Coinplus, another start-up located in Luxembourg. A minimum investment of €1000 was required.

Additional details were not available at the time of this report.

Investors will benefit from the income generated and the eventual capital gain when reselling the property.

The process of “digital securitization” has allowed a group of private investors to hold tokens which provide rights attached to a high-standing building located in the Grand Duchy, in the heart of Belval.

“We see real estate as one of the key asset classes that drives the adoption of tokenization. Tokenization brings the opportunity to a wider group of investors and in the long term will bring liquidity to an asset where it has been non-existent,” commented Luc Falempin, CEO of Tokeny Solutions.

A secondary exchange listing is in the works so investors will be able to access liquidity.

Tokeny states that a future real estate program that will be “tokenized” has already been identified and will be made public before year-end.

Luxembourg House of Financial Technology Member Payconiq Secures €20 Million Through Latest Investment Round to Continue Further Development

Payconiq, a Luxembourg-based fintech, announced this week it secured €20 million through its latest investment round led by its existing shareholders. Founded in 2014, the mobile payments platform claims it has built a sustainable ecosystem through an open-API approach and flexible microservices, focusing on consumers, merchants, and banks. The startup is also a member of the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology. 

“We’re a European payments FinTech active in BeNeLux. With the support of major European banks, we lead the transformation of the mobile payment industry through an open-API approach and flexible micro-services.”

While sharing more details about the company, Duke Prins, CEO of Payconiq, stated:

“At Payconiq, we believe that every person owning a bank account and a smartphone is entitled to be part of the digital journey – no need of a credit card for that! We wanted to keep it simple and safe and we found a way of doing it while using what is already available. We’re actually using banks’ secure infrastructure to provide everyone in Europe with a simple, mobile solution for payments.”

Payconiq also claims that more than 60,000 merchants across Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands use its secure, plug-and-play platform. The company added:

“Payconiq’s surprisingly simple mobile payments provide a full omnichannel experience based on the existing bank infrastructure. Users only need a bank account and a smartphone to securely pay their friends, their invoices, instore or online shopping.”

European Exchange Euronext Invests in Tokenization Platform Tokeny Solutions, Buys 23.5% Ownership Stake

Euronext, a leading European securities exchange has subscribed to the entire €5 million capital increase of tokenization platform Tokeny Solutions, according to a release. The investment gives Euronext a 23.5% stake in the blockchain platform.

At the end of March, Euronext had approximately 1,300 listed issuers worth €3.5 trillion in market capitalization.

Euronext currently offers equities, FX, ETFs, warrants & certificates, bonds, derivatives, commodities, and Indices. It seems that, in the future, Euronext will be listing digital assets on their marketplace.

Tokeny Solutions is a platform that provides issuers a one-stop shop for the issuance and management of digital securities. Their “T-REX protocol” is designed to integrate compliance obligations into the digital asset smart contract, to create tokens which are compliant by design.

Based in Luxembourg, Tokeny is a Fintech that claims to be the market leader in delivering an institutional grade platform for tradable digital assets/security tokens. This includes assets such as tokenized loans, structured notes, equity, and other funds.

Tokeny reports that it has issued multiple tokenized offerings across five continents with further security offerings in the queue today.

For Euronext, this gives the traditional exchange a solid entry point into the regulated digital asset sector.

Tokeny Solutions will now allow Euronext to onboard a digital asset team that is established in the emerging digital asset sector. Euronext sees the investment as an opportunity to “broaden its client base towards private companies and investment firms.”

Euronext said it is convinced about the new tech and is committed to developing solutions that continue to serve its clients and ecosystem going forward as securities migrate to a digital ecosystem.

Reports Says Security Tokens are the Future But Needs a Well Defined Regulatory Framework

This falls under the category of recently discovered as this report by Deloitte Luxembourg was released several months ago. But while much of what the authors have to say will come as accepted gospel to industry advocates, Deloitte makes a few interesting points.

The Deloitte report on crypto-assets, and more specifically security tokens, acknowledges that the ecosystem is very much evolving. The authors pose the question as to whether or not security tokens are the securities of tomorrow. They very much believe it is:

“In our view, the answer is yes. The security token is the security of the future. European and local authorities now acknowledge that DLT platforms and security tokens can provide clear added value in terms of transparency, efficiency and enhanced reporting/oversight.”

But this new type of digital asset can only thrive in an environment that incorporates “a well-defined regulatory framework.”

“This is a prerequisite if we are to establish a trusted, transparent, and resilient environment that serves regulators and investors alike … To fully leverage DLT and security token opportunities, we need to view DLT not simply as a new type of “database” but rather as a new way to organize the security value chain from issuance to custody. This is clearly one of the main challenges we face, as we will have to break away from the sequential centralized value chain model and embrace a distributed ledger model where participants can access the same information at the same time.”

This optimistic opinion is joined by the fact that there remain many persistent questions as DLT [distributed ledger technology] continues to adapt and evolve.

As do some other industry participants do, the authors see “permissioned ledgers” as leading the charge when it comes to the financial services industry. Additionally, the authors clarify the three different types of digital assets: security tokens, payment tokens and utility tokens – and some tokens may be all three (just like the Swiss have said).

Regarding security tokens offerings, the paper states that:

“STO represents an innovative new opportunity for issuers and investors involved in the primary market. STO can be more organized in a more standardized and efficient way.”

As securities catch up with the times, crypto assets can benefit from the “smart contract” ability to automatically conform to regulations, such as KYC and AML, terms and conditions, and regulatory transparency – or Regtech. This regulatory transparency should help incentivize regulators pursuit of a robust digital asset ecosystem.

These qualities may be used for debt, equity, property but also for more esoteric assets such as intellectual property and much more.

There are risks and challenges to all of this. The cornucopia of regulatory agencies and policymakers have yet to define a well-lit path. Change is hard. The European regulatory framework is in the works but this will take some time.

“We believe that the success and the development of the security token will also, and primarily depend on, compliance with key securities regulations. This is fundamental to winning the trust and confidence of authorities and investors and providing them with the transparency they expect.”

The authors describe DLT as starting as a niche in Fintech to emerging as a “disruptive force re-shaping the securities business model.”

Looking into their crystal ball, Deloitte sees several possible futures for security tokens – some incorporate a good amount of chaos as innovation is never simple and not a binary process. But in the end, it is up to the regulators – along with industry participants – to define how society will benefit from the new technology:

“Without a recognized regulatory framework, the security token will not be able to develop in a sustainable way … Security tokens have to comply with the existing transferable securities definition and the related regulations established over the last 10 years in order to gain the trust of investors and regulators. These different elements will ensure that there are deep pockets in the event of failure and that the distance between current and future legal environments is not too large, as these deep pockets may already have the necessary licenses to operate and the standing to put their money on the line. The only issue is ensuring that often-outdated systems are nimble enough to adapt.”

While current leaders in the DLT sector strive to disrupt the analog incumbents these early leaders may end up being fodder for what’s to come. Innovation in the securities industry is inevitable. DLT is the catalyst for this innovation to occur.

The Deloitte Paper Are token assets the securities of tomorrow?  is embedded below.


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Tokeny Aligns with DLA Piper to Provide Blockchain Compliance Solutions

Tokeny, the Luxembourg-based fintech compliant tokenization platform delivering institutional grade solutions in the issuance, lifecycle management and secondary trading of security tokens, has partnered with global law firm DLA Piper. Hedera Hashgraph recently cited DLA Piper as first members of the Hedera Hashgraph Governing Council, a group which guides changes to the software run by Hedera distributed nodes over time. The Digital Securities Alliance (DSA) seeks to mark a significant development in the ecosystem in bridging the gap between the most advanced blockchain set of solutions and global securities regulations that have existed for decades.

“For the digital securities ecosystem to develop it’s essential for institutional investors to commit significant capital. By establishing this unique relationship with one of the world’s leading law firms, we are creating the right infrastructure and opening up a tremendous opportunity for institutional involvement,” explained Tokeny CEO Luc Falempin. “Institutions can finally invest in digital assets knowing the offering has respected the necessary regulations. The Digital Securities Alliance resembles a best of both worlds approach, as it is one thing to know what laws to respect but it’s another actually enforcing those rules on the blockchain.”

[easy-tweet tweet=”.@TokenySolutions and @DLA_Piper Celebrate New Partnership. The Digital Securities Alliance aims to transform capital markets by bridging the gap between the #blockchain and #legal worlds. #compliance ” template=”light”]

Digital Securities Alliance aims to make membership beneficial from an innovative and common offer. Issuers will have the opportunity to work with a framework that has been proven, where costs are controlled and with leading players in the blockchain and legal industries.

“Technology is now providing tremendous opportunities for law firms to improve the way we offer professional services to clients. This is increasingly relevant in providing cost efficient cross-border solutions to small and large cap businesses looking to access capital to develop their business offering,” stated DLA Piper International Group Head of Finance & Projects and International Co-Head of the Blockchain and Digital Assets Martin Bartlam. “Working with a technology provider to structure a compliant legal offering is a great way to open up capital markets and enable businesses to access capital in a low cost and efficient way.”

Tokeny said that the joint offer will hand issuers a competitive proposal for the full documentation and compliant workflows for the country of issuance and up to ten countries of distribution, with the full end-to-end technology solutions needed for a Digital Security Offering.

“There is a growing awareness amongst traditional financial players that blockchain technology will transform the infrastructure in capital markets,” added Falempin. “Of course, those that come from a DLT background have believed this for a long time, but we’re now seeing traditional players sharing the same opinion. This partnership is a manifestation of that shared belief.”

[easy-tweet tweet=”Update: @TokenySolutions and @DLA_Piper Celebrate New Partnership and The Digital Securities Alliance #blockchain #compliance” template=”light”]

Tokeny utilizes the T-REX (Token for Regulated EXchanges) infrastructure to ensure compliance from the issuance of digital securities to their lifecycle management, providing tech solutions to onboard investors, manage securities transfers and corporate actions with regards to KYC and AML compliance checks, ensuring all participants are eligible for the investment.

In early March Tokeny began a “cooperation” with Lition, a scalable public-private blockchain with deletable data features made for commercial products. The platforms work together to tokenize securities in a “fully legally compliant way,” including the ability to protect and delete private data, while preserving typical features of a blockchain like immutability and security.

Falempin also shared insight regarding this partnership,

“We are incredibly excited to be utilising the T-REX and working with Lition and VR Bank in this genuinely first-of-a-kind technical demonstration of an offering…The advantages of using blockchain technology in the issuance of securities are overwhelming. Those benefits are starting to be recognised by regulated institutions and this initiative is proof of that recognition. What has held this technology back from institutional adoption is the lack of compliance and regulation. This is the exactly why we developed the T-REX. This standard allows for the compliant trading of digital securities by enabling issuers to control transfers and ensures investors meet the obligations in each jurisdiction the assets are distributed in.”

At the end of March Tokeny established a partnership with Archax, the forthcoming institutional tokenized securities exchange based in London, a partnership which will formalize the platforms’ relationship and ensure security tokens issued by Tokeny will have the opportunity to be listed on the Archax exchange.

China: WeiyangX Fintech Review

Winners of the 2018 Global Fintech Venture Competition Announced in Beijing

The winners of the 2018 Global Fintech Venture Competition were officially announced at the 3rd China Fintech Conference on January 20, 2019. The 2018 Global Fintech Venture Competition was initiated by Tsinghua IFR, jointly sponsored by 51 Credit Card and 100 Partner, with WeiyangX.com as its official media.

The contest lasted more than two months and attracted more than 300 projects. After the online preliminary review and regional finals of Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Beijing, 40 companies were selected for the final competition. The judging panel consists of nearly 20 leading venture capital experts in the financial technology field. Based on the business model, team strength and external strength, the judging panel selected the top ten enterprises in this competition. They are: Shuidi, Tigerobo, Orange Financial, Leapstack, XunceTech, Ekuaibao, Valurise Health Solutions, AlphaInsight, RiceQuant and Insgeek. (Source: WeiyangX)

Alipay Expands into the Russian Market

According to a report by Sputnik on January 22, Alipay had started cooperating with Tinkoff Bank, which provides acquiring services for SMEs. This cooperation will help Alipay to cover thousands of retail outlets in various cities in Russia that are popular with Chinese tourists. According to reports, there are more than 25,000 stores accepted Alipay payment in Russia, including grocery retail stores, luxury retail stores, department stores, as well as duty-free shops in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other cities. The report pointed out that the majority of Alipay users in Russia are Chinese tourists, Chinese citizens of business travel, foreign employees and Chinese students of Russian universities are also active users of the payment system. (Source: cankaoxiaoxi)

Beijing Fintech Industry Association Establishes Consumer Protection Center

On January 23rd, Beijing Fintech Industry Association announced to establish a Fintech Consumer Protection Center. The purpose of this new entity is to promote the implementation of fintech asset management alliance practice, accelerate resource utilization and industrial information sharing, combat malicious escape and debt, protect the legitimate rights and interests of lenders and maintain the healthy development of alternative finance in Beijing. In the future, as a complementary force of the association, the center will connect alliance resources, increase research in big data, artificial intelligence, debt collection and Internet arbitration, to build a green, efficient, and compliant asset disposal path that delivers positive energy to the industry. (Source: STCN)

Alipay Obtains Electronic Currency License in Luxembourg

Alipay, a financial technology company owned by Alibaba, has obtained an electronic money license in Luxembourg. With this license, Alipay will be able to offer service to the European market. Previously, Alipay had established a licensed entity in London. With the new PSD2 license, Alipay can not only serve customers across Europe, but also connect Chinese users with online and offline retailers in EU countries. (Source: ennews)


 

The above is a weekly synopsis of the biggest stories in Fintech from China provided by WeiyangX.

WeiyangX is the most influential website focusing on Fintech in China. The site covers the latest news, industry data analysis, business practices, and in-depth fintech cases in fintech. WeiyangX is incubated by Fintech Lab. Founded by Tsinghua University’s People’s Bank of China (PBC) School of Finance in 2012, the Fintech Lab is the first and leading research entity dedicated to leading best practices, promoting interdisciplinary innovation, and encouraging entrepreneurship in the field of fintech through scientific research and innovative project incubation.

VNX Exchange and University of Luxembourg Partner on Market Ecosystem for Digital Assets

Platform for tokenized venture capital assets, VNX Exchange, has partnered with the University of Luxembourg’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT). The partnership is said to create a new standard of security for the digital assets ecosystem.

VNX Exchange says that custody has been the missing piece of the crypto market ecosystem that keeps institutional investors out. The partnership expects to address that gap while dramatically lowering cost.

Alexander Tkachenko, VNX Exchange founder and CEO, says they are creating a secure and regulatory compliant marketplace for the transparent trading of tokens representing digital assets:

“… we aim to introduce modern security mechanisms that could totally secure our platform and could impact the global cybersecurity market. We expect that the results of our cooperation with an institution as specialized as the University’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust will reduce global expense on security by as much as 50% of the current forecasts.”

The partnership between SnT and VNX may help better position Luxembourg as a recognised financial center and Fintech hub. The hope is that collaboration will contribute to placing the country at the forefront of security creation for digital assets in Europe and beyond.

The two parties will design new IT frameworks facilitating the secure exchange of digital assets on blockchain networks. The research will also assess several distributed ledger tech architectures.

Dr. Radu State, an expert in network security at SnT, describes the partnership as an original use case for blockchain:

“Working with VNX Exchange, we can provide IT solutions that will establish VNX as a global leader in its sector. Broadly, we need to address two aspects – protecting against criminals who might try to hack the system to steal money or information, and guaranteeing compliance with anti-money laundering and KYC regulations. Traditional systems, where you have a user interface, a database, and a networking level to coordinate them, have been around for a long time, so we know how to protect them.”

Tkachenko added:

 “I believe that blockchain technology is the next big step in the financial sector’s evolution. This evolution will require three things: regulatory clarity, investor protection, and compatibility with current market standards. We hope that this partnership will make major strides in securing all three.”

Blockchain Bundesverband Announces European Blockchain Think Tank, Will Present EU Token Regulation Paper

The Blockchain Bundesverband, an association for the promotion of blockchain technology in Germany, has announced a new think tank for token regulation. “thinkBLOCKtank” will release a joint paper supported by various European countries entitled EU Token Regulation as the group seeks to drive the regulatory status of token offerings. A public event has been scheduled to take place in Luxembourg on November 28th to present the token regulation document.

The blockchain think tank, a Luxembourg based non-profit organization, says it will bring leading professionals, lawyers and academics from European countries together. The group aims to provide high quality research, policy recommendations, and analysis on a full range of issues concerning Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) / blockchain, cryptocurrencies and crypto-assets.

The soon to be released paper builds on an earlier paper issued by the Finance Working Group of Blockchain Bundesverband, the German Blockchain association, in February 2018.

The “EU Token Regulation Paper” is described as a pan-European effort to guided the application of laws on the issuance of tokens in a number of European jurisdictions.

In addition to an evaluation of current token regulations in the EU, a detailed analysis will bbe provided for individual countries such as England & Wales, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, and Poland.

Interested parties may register here.

The meeting will take place on November 28 at 630PM. The location of the meeting is The Office, 
29 Boulevard Grande-Duchesse Charlotte, 
L-1331 Luxembourg.

Founding members consist of:

  • Prof. Dr. Heribert Anzinger
  • Monique Bachner
  • Audrey Rouach Baverel
  • Andrea Bianconi
  • Jeff Braun
  • Gina Conheady
  • Jacek Czarnecki
  • Boika Deleva
  • Natalie Eichler
  • Christian Ellul
  • Tina Ehrke-Rabel
  • Joey Garcia
  • Jonathan Garcia
  • Dr. Christoph Gringel
  • Dr. Sven Hildebrandt
  • Klaus Himmer
  • Iwona Karasek-Wojciechowicz
  • Dr. Sebastian Keding
  • Thomas Kulnigg
  • Dilmun Leach
  • Lennart Lorenz
  • Dr. Ian M. Maywald
  • Dr. Andreas Mätzler
  • Stephan D. Meyer
  • Alvaro Garrido Mesa
  • Stefan Michaelsen
  • Dr. Luka Müller Studer
  • Thomas Nägele
  • Anne-Marie Nicolas
  • Nejc Novak
  • Daniel Resas
  • Tobias Seidl
  • Alireza Siadat
  • Dr. Nina-Luisa Siedler
  • Elfriede Sixt
  • Dr. Arthur Stadler
  • Matthew Suter
  • Melvin Tjon Akon
  • Catarina Veloso
  • Dr. Oliver Völkel, LL.M.
  • Dr. Thorsten Voss
  • Marcin Zarakowski

Luxembourg House of Fintech Launches Catapult, Targeting Fintech Companies in Africa

The Luxembourg House of Fintech (LHoFT) is launching a new initiative which focuses on Fintech companies in Africa seeking to boost financial inclusion. “Catapult – Inclusion Africa” is described as a Fintech tool to provide access to financial services to the under banked or those completely excluded from services.

Nasir Zubairi, CEO of the LHoFT Foundation, said their program is the first home grown program of the Foundation to focus on Financial Inclusion.

“Luxembourg is the microfinance centre for Europe and sustainable finance is a core priority of Government; it therefore makes sense to capitalise on the fantastic ecosystem and support available here to welcome these outstanding Fintech companies focusing on financial inclusion. We are very excited to welcome the participants in few weeks’ time and we and our partners are looking forward to the positive outcomes of this program.”

The LHoFT Foundation says it believes that Fintech is crucial to advancing financial inclusion, empowering groups that have been left behind by the traditional financial system. Whether it’s providing access to capital for rural farmers, point of sale technology for underbanked merchants, or specialised insurance products, the impact of entrepreneurship and access to finance is vital to improve lives.

Catapult is a one week program of Fintech startup development, designed by the LHoFT Foundation. The group works with Fintech companies from South Africa, Uganda, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania and others.

Catapult: Inclusion Africa will take place between the 5th and 9th of November at the LHoFT and is sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign & European Affairs – Directorate for Development and Humanitarian affairs and PwC Luxembourg.

The program is said to include sessions on business mapping, scaling business, understanding and evaluating metrics, investability, risk and capital, legal and marketing.

Romain Schneider, Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs calles inclusive finance key to allowing people, especially women, to break the cycle of poverty.

“Today, one of the main changes we see in this sector is the development of digital financial services. Through its striving fintech sector, Luxembourg has a lot to offer in this area. Therefore, exchanges between the LHoFT and the broader microfinance ecosystem with upcoming African financial technology companies can facilitate positive and inclusive change.”

The LHoFT Foundation has identified the following “qualified” Fintech startups:

AKABOXI LIMITED – Uganda

Akaboxi provides rural communities with a more secure way of keeping smallholder farmers’ savings managed and monitored by the use of a digital and inclusive system, replacing the rudimentary way of keeping money in boxes and in people’s homes.

Akiba Digital – South Africa

Akiba is a mobile savings app that helps tech savvy millennials save using alternative and behavioural data. The gamified savings experience makes it fun and rewarding, with an AI bot that’s there to educate, nudge and provide insights to our savers to ensure they realise their goals.

BitValley – Luxembourg

Luxembourg Fintech award’s winner for Financial Inclusion, IBISA is a risk-sharing microinsurance alternative targeting small farmers worldwide. IBISA is based on a peer-to-peer architecture supported by blockchain and Earth Observation technology.

Four One Financial Services Limited – Uganda

Four One Financial Services Limited’s offerings include the first micro-pension scheme, followed by building the Mayicard Platform which makes access to healthcare insurance and/or prepayments and access to assets like land and housing possible.

Inclusivity Solutions – South Africa – inclusivitysolutions.com

Inclusivity Solutions designs, builds and operates digital insurance solutions for emerging markets with the aim of protecting and enhancing the quality of life of vulnerable people. It provides complete solutions to introduce and grow sustainable inclusive insurance markets.

Koosmik Corp – Luxembourg

Koosmik provides a mobile banking application to the young or more generally unbanked population in Western Africa. Users get a free mobile wallet as a hub of services: cash deposit and withdrawal points, bills payment, mobile payment, social credit, insurance or remittance.

MaTontine Senegal – Senegal

MaTontine provides access to small loans and a range of financial services like micro-insurance for the financially excluded in Francophone Africa. Trying to solve the large and complex problem of how to lend small amounts profitably and at scale to the millions of financially responsible Africans.

NALA – Tanzania

NALA is a mobile money application offering a single, unified wallet for transactions that functions without a data connection over 2G signal and providing users with an accurate breakdown of their spending habits.

OKO – Israel

OKO creates and distributes affordable crop insurance products for smallholder farmers in emerging markets. They use satellite imagery and localised weather information to automatically compensate the insured farmers when they identify that they have been affected by a loss of production.

Ovamba Solutions – United States

Ovamba provides short-term capital to micro, small and medium sized businesses in Africa, emerging markets and the GCC for trade, inventory purchases and growth. The capital is provided by International investors from the US, U.K. and Japan.

Refuge Network – Malta

Refuge Network is a multidimensional financial ecosystem built on blockchain that uses proven business models of e-commerce and investments to connect displaced and marginalized communities to the global economy.

SmartTeller LTD – Nigeria

A digital banking platform for Financial cooperatives, smartTeller is bringing access to digital financial services to the unbanked and underbanked by providing cooperatives and microfinance institutions the all-inclusive tool to provide unbanked and underbanked standard financial services.

Vouch Digital Limited – Uganda

Vouch Digital builds an online verified digital supply chain platform that among other things helps simplify the distribution of cash in form of digital vouchers meant for purchasing goods or services such as hermetic storage, seeds, fertilizers, medical equipment, oil and gas among others.

WeCashUp – Cameroon / France

WeCashUp enables merchants to accept and disburse payments in Cash, Mobile Money, Bank Mobile wallets, Bank Cards and Crypto-currencies on their web or mobile apps in the 54 African countries via a single API integration.

€50M STO: It’s the Tokeny Mash, It’s a Blockchain Pay Later Smash

‘Tis the Halloween season… Luxembourg-based Tokeny and Mash have partnered to launch €50 million STO. Mash Group PLC, a FinTech50 business specializing in consumer lending and pay later solutions, has partnered with Tokeny to support its Security Token Offering as part of its €50M equity round.

“As we looked at delivering Europe’s first STO, it was critical we worked with the right team. One of the great things about Tokeny is the talent they bring to the table, it’s not just about blockchain, it’s about fundamentally understanding the implications for digital securities,” opined Mash CEO James Hickson. “We’ve been hugely impressed, not only with the platform but the partnership and approach that Tokeny have brought to the table.”

Pre-registration has begun for the STO, part of Mash’s broader equity round, with the round closing in December 2018.  Launched in 2007, Mash is also partnering with DLA Piper UK LLP as legal adviser and has selected Deloitte to support AML and KYC requirements.

“Mash is a visionary in identifying the issuance of security tokens on the blockchain as a new way to reach investors. This is completely in line with Tokeny’s vision to deliver an end-to-end technology platform supporting the issuance and management of security tokens on the Ethereum blockchain,” observed Tokeny CEO Luc Falempin. “We aim at shielding the issuer from the technicalities of the blockchain and making the subscription process as simple as possible for their investors.”

Security Tokens offer many benefits, said Mash, and are expected to make up 10% of global GDP – roughly $8 trillion by 2024. Tokenized securities represent assets – such as equity, debt/loans, or investment funds and reflect an expectation of future cash flows resulting from the activity of the issuer. Security tokens are therefore subject to financial security regulations, just like any other security.

[easy-tweet tweet=”€50 million #STO! @Tokeny powers @MashComOfficial equity #tokenization@TheFinTech50 business #blockchain #crypto #Securitytokens”]

Crowdfund Insider reached out to the CEOs to share further insight on the STO process, how the funding will be used and, more broadly, on exciting shifts in the sector.

“Running a security token offering is a challenge because the traditional finance industry is not ready yet,” noted Falempin regarding the STO market. “As you would expect in such a nascent market, there is a great deal of education to be doing before it comes anywhere close to reaching its potential. By launching Europe’s first STO in a well established top FinTech business, we hope this will go some way in educating new audiences.”

As for shifts in shifts in the sector, Falempin told Crowdfund Insider:

“In Europe, we’re leading the way thanks to proactive initiatives from regulators and a wish to the make the EU an innovative hub. This gives Tokeny a huge opportunity to build solid foundations and create an infrastructure of affiliates to ensure every security token is fully regulated. Partnering with key players and companies that share the same vision of leading the tokenization era is fundamental within such a new market. We are sure this is the first of many regulated STOs in Europe.”

[easy-tweet tweet=”‘In Europe, we’re leading the way thanks to proactive initiatives from regulators and a wish to the make the EU an innovative hub.’ @Tokeny #fintech #blockchain”]

Last week, Tokeny partnered with Blocktade.com, a trading facility for Crypto Assets, Crypto Traded Indices and other blockchain related financial instruments to move the platforms’ vision of tokenized securities trading forward.

Consolidation: Crypto Exchange Bitstamp Acquired

Bitstamp, a Luxembourg based crypto exchanged, has been acquired. Revealed in a blog post today, the crypto operation reported that NXMH, a Belgium-based investment company, had purchased the exchange for an undisclosed sum.

Bitstamp founder and CEO Nejc Kodrič said the platform has been pursued by potential acquirers for quite some time. This time with NXMH, the decided the time was right:

“The reason why we finally decided to sell the company is a combination of the quality of the buyer, the quality of the offer and the fact that the industry is at a point where consolidation makes sense. A major factor in agreeing to the sale is that the mission, leadership and vision of the company remains the same.”

Kodrič assured his audience that Bitstamp would continue with business as usual.

“We do anticipate that this acquisition will strengthen Bitstamp’s positioning for growth, which will provide opportunities to better serve our customers. Customers should not have any concerns about their accounts or changes to the way we operate.”

Kodrič called the purchase a logical next step.

Bitstamp is one of the oldest exchanges in Europe. According to CoinMarketCap, Bitstamp is ranked in the top 30 crypto exchanges.

But digital asset exchanges are going through a period of change. Regulations are finally catching up to the largely unregulated sector of finance. More compliance will mean higher costs. The acquisition of Bitstamp is most likely foreshadowing a period of consolidation within the sector where better capitalized platforms, or ones that form smart partnerships, are the ones that will come out on top. Meanwhile, traditional exchanges are quickly moving in.

Tokeny & Blocktrade.com Align to Build STO Ecosystem

Tokeny, a tokenization platform, has partnered with Blocktrade.com, a trading facility for Crypto Assets, Crypto Traded Indices and other blockchain related financial instruments. Last month, Neufund, Europe’s first security token issuance platform, partnered with Liechtenstein-based Blocktrade to provide additional liquidity in security tokens.

Tokeny CEO Luc Falempin explained why Blocktrade partnership makes sense:

“At Tokeny we enable the issuance of security tokens that are fully compliant and compatible with exchanges in the ecosystem. Listing tokens on a secure and regulated trading platform is of utmost importance to our clients and partnering with Blocktrade.com realizes this vision of tokenized securities trading.”

Luxembourg-based Tokeny indicated that the platform is building an infrastructure of partners to ensure every security token issued is fully regulated. Tokeny’s TREX infrastructure -Token for Regulated EXchanges- is designed to ensure this uniformity and compliance in the trading of every issued security token.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Howdy Partner! @Blocktradecom & @tokenyICO #Tokenization #SecurityTokens #STO #ICO @LukaGubo #fintech #crypto”]

Tokeny’s solution aims to leverage blockchain technology and couple it with traditional securities world experience to make the participation of any contributor in an STO transparent, accessible and completely secure. On the platform, Tokeny investors are guided through the necessary steps, including the necessary KYC and AML compliance checks, ensuring participants are eligible for the investment on the platform. Dividends, voting, announcements, investor validation and other corporate events can all be managed from the Tokeny platform by the issuer or his/her agent.

“We are proud to sign the agreement with Tokeny,” stated Blocktrade.com CEO Luka Gubo.  “They are an important partner who share our vision to change the future of finance and make the capital markets fairer and more accessible to everyone. Furthermore, we both work with strict compliance and we believe this will accelerate the path to the wider adoption of crypto assets.”

Blocktrade opened trading for BTT/ETH trading pair this week; users may deposit BTT and start trading.

In a recent interview with Lattice80, Gubo discussed BTT tokens:

“BTT tokens are quite unique as after they are used for payment of the service, they are ‘burnt’, meaning, they can be used only once and then disappear from circulation by being sent to an Ethereum wallet from where they can’t be moved again.”

He also explained how Blocktrade.com works:

“[Y]ou can open a trading account and start trading with a user-friendly interface to our exchange with possibility to trade cryptocurrencies and later also security tokens, crypto funds and other tokenized assets. But this front-end is only a small part of the whole system that we are building – as an exchange, we operate a central limit order book and a matching engine, with reliable and performant APIs that connect to it. Anyone can build on those APIs to create their own interface to the exchange or even leverage our order management system. What is important for institutional members of Blocktrade (brokers, investment banks, etc.) is that we have created a seamless clearing and settlement system where we can guarantee the efficient and fast settlement between members.”

Corviglia Capital Launches $500 Million Fintech Fund to Back Late Stage Companies in Europe

Corviglia Capital Fund, created by two European entrepreneurs – Petr Šmída and Cezary Smorszczewski, has announced  a$500 million Fintech focused fund to back later stage Fintech companies. Corviglia says it intends to deploy half of the fund in the first three years.

Šmída has a spent more than 25 years in global banking. He is a co-founder ENERN, an Eastern European/DACH VC firm. Previously, Šmída worked as a private investor and served as an execuive in different financial services companies.  Šmída worked at GE Capital where he was a Senior VP  of Consumer Finance.

Smorszczewski, another finance veteran, has worked at a number of Polish banks and serving on the supervisory boards of several financial & technology companies. He is the the co-founder and former deputy-CEO of Alior Bank (2007-2013), the first Polish Fintech unicorn, which IPO’ed on the Warsaw Exchange for 2.1 billion zlotys ($673 million). He is the co-founder and former CEO/Managing Partner of Private Equity Managers (2014-2016), a firm that specialises in Fintech within the CEE/CIS/DACH regions.

Šmída commented on the fund stating banking and financial services is entering a period of unprecedented change.

“We decided to set up Corviglia Capital Fund to find those very entrepreneurs and invest in their growth,” said Šmída.

Smorszczewski said that his experience with Alior made him decide to support the next generation of founders and companies revolutionising the financial sector.

The Corviglia Capital Fund will be geographically agnostic and a long-term investor in late-stage Fintech companies. The fund expects to make minority investments with tickets ranging from $10 to $50 million.

Luxembourg based VNX Crypto Exchange Partners with NEM

VNX Exchange, a trading platform for tokenized VC assets, has partnered with NEM.

Founded by CEO Alexander Tkachenko in 2017, Luxembourg-based VNX Exchange is seeking to create a regulatory-compliant marketplace to link investors and venture capitalists in search of liquidity. VNX Exchange is a member of the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LHoFT), Infrachain and APSI (L’Association des Professionnels de la Société de l’Information), and is said to be working closely with key European capital market institutions and advisors to develop an industry-leading platform that will open the VC market to new global investors.

This new partnership expects to develop protocols and standards for operating security tokens on the NEM blockchain through their entire life cycle.

NEM has a permissioned, private blockchain that is described as delivering “industry-leading transaction rates for international ledgers.”

VNX Exchange and NEM area also working to develop a liquidity program to incentivize VC funds investing in startups involved in the NEM ecosystem.

VC funds will be able to participate in initial coin offerings / security token offerings on the VNX platform. XEM (NEM) will be offered as one of the currencies on the VNX platform.

“Our partnership with NEM and the opportunities it introduces for the security token ecosystem worldwide are extremely encouraging,” said Tkachenko. “We believe that tokenized assets are the future of capital markets, and that blockchain offers tremendous opportunities to improve how financial markets, especially private ones, operate.”

Kristof Van de Reck, Interim President for the NEM.io Foundation, said that he sees projects like this as bridging the gap between mainstream finance and the crypto world.

“This partnership gives us the ability to learn more about regulatory compliance specific to our technology, and ensures NEM remains at the tip of the spear with regards to security token offering. We also look forward to growing NEM’s ecosystem by leveraging VNX’s platform.”