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By Zach — 2 years ago
What are STO’s? The massive rise of ICOs throughout 2017 and early 2018 was unprecedented and brought about an entirely new method for raising enormous sums of funding in mere minutes. However, the sheer volume of ICOs that turned out to be scams, didn’t deliver on their promises, or ran out of funding before releasing a product led to the precipitous decline of the ICO in the latter half of 2018.
The power of blockchain-based tokens to create more flexible financial assets and instruments did not dissipate though. Decentralized finance (DeFi) is on the rise, with financial instruments from collateralized debt platforms to decentralized prediction markets materializing left and right.
One of the primary focuses of a DeFi landscape is the transition of conventional financial securities into digital tokens on a blockchain.
Commonly referred to as ‘security tokens,’ these assets are securities representing equity or debt with a digital wrapper around them — designed to provide a suite of advantages and flexibility to the assets.
Following in the footsteps of the ICO, the ‘Security Token Offering’ (STO) has garnered widespread attention as an ecosystem of investors, service providers, exchanges, and more jostle for position in a blossoming market. Security tokens have some intriguing prospects, and the STO presents a valuable tool for companies to issue digital assets on the blockchain.
WHAT IS A SECURITY?
A traditional financial security is a fungible instrument that holds value and can represent either debt or equity.
Securities as equity can represent ownership in a company (stock), where owners can profit from capital gains on the asset or even receive dividends payments in specific cases. Equity security holders can either be in public or private companies, and owners are usually entitled to some form of ownership in the company.
Securities representing debt is a representation of borrowed money, which must be paid back and is subject to various loan conditions. There are numerous types of debt securities including:
- Government bonds
- Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs)
- Collateralized Mortgage Obligations (CMOs)
- Corporate Bonds
- Certificate of Deposits
Debt security holders are typically authorized to receive interest payments on the principal loan amount, and they can be backed by several means — including collateralized and non-collateralized.
Securities play a significant role in finance and are more relevant to STOs in their ability to be leveraged for raising funding. Companies can raise enormous sums via Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) of equity when they go public, and governments can even issue municipal bonds to raise funds.
Public securities are traded on major stock exchanges and can be transferred between investors on secondary markets as assets.
SECURITY TOKENS AND SECURITY TOKEN OFFERINGS (STO’S)
Common misconceptions around security tokens are that they are different from securities. Although they exist on a blockchain, they are ostensibly securities, subject to the same regulations and case law precedence as traditional securities.
However, security tokens offer some unique advantages — particularly in improving secondary market liquidity, reduced compliance costs, automating trade restrictions, providing fractional ownership, and enabling asset interoperability.
STOs have opened an opportunity for businesses to raise funds by issuing digital security tokens to investors in a regulatory-compliant manner. The advantages exist for both the investor and the issuer, while also providing much better assurances against fraud compared to an ICO. Issuers can come from a variety of areas, including commercial real estate, venture capital firms, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
There is discussion around the semantics of what constitutes a ‘security token’ or a ‘tokenized security,’ but for all intents and purposes, STOs in this context focus on the launching of new security tokens and not tokenizing existing financial assets.
One of the most straightforward and beneficial applications of an STO is with an SME looking to raise funding when they cannot tap into commercial banking services. Parallel with the rise of other DeFi services, SMEs can access open financial services — issuing security tokens for investors to obtain on the blockchain. This has important consequences for lowering barriers to access for retail investors and concurrently providing powerful financial services to SMEs in local and regional areas where they have historically been limited in their financial capacities.
Additionally, SMEs issuing security tokens offer an excellent example for highlighting the multiple participants required in the security token ecosystem.
WHO PARTICIPATES IN THE SECURITY TOKEN ECOSYSTEM?
If an SME (i.e., Company A) wishes to issue security tokens representing equity in their company, they can do so with the help of multiple market participants including:
- Issuance Platforms
Company A can formally issue their security token to investors via an issuance platform. Well-known issuance platforms include Polymath and Harbor, which are integrated with service providers like custodians, broker-dealers, and legal/compliance entities to facilitate a secure and regulatory-compliant process.
Developers for issuance platforms also work on standardized token interfaces (i.e., ST-20 for Polymath and R-Token for Harbor) that hard-code regulatory parameters into token contracts such as explicit trading restrictions. Standardized token interfaces for security tokens also enable interoperability of assets, which has positive downstream effects in secondary market liquidity and reduced friction in token trading.
Custodians are popular for storing digital tokens in secure cold-storage –, particularly with institutions. BitGo is one of the most established digital asset custodians, and custodians often partner with exchanges or issuance platforms.
Exchanges exist for investors to trade security tokens, enabling better access to capital, enhanced secondary liquidity, and democratized investor access to securities. tZero is a high-profile exchange that recently went live, backed by Overstock. Company A’s security tokens can trade on exchanges like tZero where investors undergo KYC/AML verification. Some exchanges can even operate as issuance platforms as well.
As an SME, Company A’s security tokens can be offered to retail investors who are largely precluded from SME investment opportunities due to various barriers of entry. However, democratizing such access to security tokens can help SMEs raise funding from local communities, providing a compelling boon for small enterprises and assisting in the growth of local businesses.
Open financial frameworks like Mt. Pelerin even seek to provide SME marketplaces for entities like Company A to tap into broad, open financial services on the blockchain.
Other applications of security tokens — which are already underway today — include commercial real estate investments funds (i.e., REITs) that reduce high investment minimums and even enable concepts like fractionalized ownership to emerge. Harbor has already hosted an STO for a South Carolina residential building with a significantly reduced investment minimum compared to typical rates.
STOS VS ICOS
Overall, STOs eliminate instances of fraud with ICOs and offer legitimate securities to a wider range of investors with better efficiency, interoperability, and liquidity than conventional securities. STOs are backed by actual assets while ICOs were primarily predicated on ‘utility tokens,’ with no underlying collateral and were not protected by securities law.
STOs also offer advantages over IPOs. They are cheaper and can encompass a much broader range of assets — such as fractionalized ownership in high-value art pieces or investment funds. Banking and brokerage fees are also drastically reduced via automation with launching an STO compared to an IPO.
It is important to note that although STOs fall under securities laws in the U.S., there are legal nuances to the launching of security tokens as they are based on a novel technology. Several countries outside the U.S. have also already banned STOs — including China and South Korea.
In the U.S., investors are pumping vast sums of money into the security token landscape as the role for participants in the young ecosystem continues to actualize. Evaluating which markets emerge as the most popular in the early stages of security tokens should reveal which sectors STOs afford the best advantages. Both SMEs and REITs are clearcut applications of STOs, but there are numerous other opportunities available for the issuance of security tokens that are practical, cheaper, and regulatory compliant.
WHAT ARE STO’s – CONCLUSION
ICOs were a novel concept, fueling crazy speculation of altcoins during their prominence at the end of 2017, but the industry has become more discerning since then. As ICOs have faltered, security tokens have emerged as a prudent use case of blockchain technology at the convergence of conventional financial instruments and digital assets.
DeFi is on the rise, and security tokens are poised to play an integral part in the broader transition to an open financial system.
What do you think of STO’s? Do you think they are here to stay? Let me know in the comments!
The Crypto Renegade
NOTE: This post may contain affiliate links. This adds no cost to you but it helps me focus on giving as much value as possible in every single post by being compensated for recommending products that help people succeed.Post Views: 20
By Zach — 2 years ago
In this article, I’m going to address how to check what the bitcoin fees are for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Not many people think about the “fees” when sending their first bitcoin transaction, as it’s just so exhilarating that you can transact value without permission from a bank or other institution.
This is really a minute detail, however the fees for sending a bitcoin transaction back in 2017 was upwards of 75$ when it was at it’s peak. This means you need to be able to determine if the fees are a “fair” price at a moments notice and if it will significantly cost you to move your bitcoin.
Luckily, there are a few different resources you can use to check not only what the current bitcoin fees are, but also check out the fees for other cryptocurrencies and Ethereum as well. Additionally, you need to be able to determine what the cost structure is and if you can pay more for a priority transaction. Well, I’m here to break it all down for you. Let’s get started with the #1 resource I use on a regular basis to check the current fees for sending bitcoin in a transaction!
Before I jump down there, I wanted to provide you with a free resource for protecting your cryptocurrency and it’s a free e-book I recently wrote and you can obtain it for free on my website here at the top right corner in an orange button. “5 Best Ways To Secure Your Cryptocurrency” is available to download now! Go grab it!
HOW TO CHECK BITCOIN FEES ON BITCOINFEES.INFO
Bitcoinfees.info is one of the best resources to check real-time bitcoin fees and what amount of time you would need to wait for your transaction to be confirmed for that fee. For example, it will let you know what the estimated fee is if you want it confirmed in the next block (10 mins), within the next 3 blocks (30 mins), or next 6 blocks (60 mins).
As you wait longer the fees will go down, but not drastically. To provide a frame of reference, the current fees at the time of this writing is $2.17 USD fee for having my transaction in the next block and $0.78 cents in the next 6 blocks.
This varies and fluctuates and is determined by the demand in volume and what specific mining pools are charging and maintaining a competitive marketplace. Why are there fees if they receive a block reward already? Well, to put it frankly, because they can.
Bitcoin miners are the groups of people that use their hash power to ensure the transaction is not only confirmed, but that it’s also safe and secure. It is a necessary component for the network and ecosystem to flourish and maintain economic incentive.
This site also shows your daily, monthly, and yearly averages in the form of charts and graphs to show you how this progresses overtime. They also consider that the average bitcoin transaction is 250 satoshis per byte large for measuring these averages. This also includes the basis of the 1 MB blocks that the current block size represents and would not relate to the fees for the lightning network.
HOW TO CHECK BITCOIN FEES ON COINBASE
The fees charged by Coinbase are pretty low. But they can add up, especially if you use the service often. You will see the buying and selling fees we described above.
There may also be fixed and variable fees depending on the amount of the transaction. And when your purchases are smaller, there is a flat fee charged.
Here are the flat fees for the smaller transactions:
- If you are buying or selling in the amount of $10.99 or less, the fee is $0.99
- If you are buying or selling between $11 and 26.49, the fee is $1.49
- If you are buying or selling from $26.50 to $51.99, the fee is $1.99
- If you are buying or selling from $52 to $78.05, the fee is $2.99
This is a fairly low and tiered system, but as you can see, this fee is for Coinbase and does not include any miner fees or network fees. So please keep in mind that that you will need to add the two totals together in order to find out what you will actually be paying.
HOW TO CHECK ETHEREUM FEES
For ETH, I typically go to ETH Gas Station for this information as it’s the most real-time and accurate in my experience. When sending Ether in a transaction, it uses a component of fees known as “Gas”. What is gas? It’s essentially a fraction of Ethereum that is required to pay for the transaction and is typically much cheaper than bitcoin transaction fees. This also applies to ERC-20 tokens and security tokens as well as they are built on top of the Ethereum network.
This has several other tools to estimate transactions for a specific block and also if you want it applied to s specific smart contract on the network. It includes anything else you may need to know including what mining pools are currently verifying on the network, what the estimated wait time is to have your transaction included in a specific block, and also how full or empty these blocks are.
All in all, this is the only resource I need when trying to estimate how much I will be paying in fees and the only other resource I might use is the specific block explorer I would use in order to verify the status of my transaction. For those of you who do not know what a block explorer is, it is basically a way for you to check the status of your transaction and how many confirmations it’s received before it’s delivered to the recipient.
Overall, these are the most common resources you will use to check the transaction fees for bitcoin and Ethereum as these are the largest networks by volume and therefore, the most likely to be used when sending crypto. You can also check each individual blockchain if you want to determine what the fees are for, say “Monero” for example.
In the event I want to know what the estimated fees for that example would be to attempt a transaction when sending from my hot wallet, or I would simply use google and include the “coins name + transaction fees” to get the most accurate result. These examples hopefully clarify some of the questions that surround how much you will pay in fees at an given time on these popular coins and networks. Until next time…
What are your favorite resources to check crypto transaction fees? Sound off in the comments below!
The Crypto Renegade
NOTE: This post may contain affiliate links. This adds no cost to you but it helps me focus on giving as much value as possible in every single post by being compensated for recommending products that help people succeed.Post Views: 27