What Is A Security Token Offering STO?

In the UK, security tokens are qualified as special investments and fall under the Regulated Activities Order and within the regulatory area of the FCA. In its Guidance on Cryptoassets, the FCA defines security tokens as cryptoassets that grant holders rights and obligations similar to traditional financial instruments. The country has also developed the Virtual Financial Assets Act, under which it makes use of a financial instrument test to assess investments and determine whether they can be tokenized. Properly organized initial coin offerings are a smart and cost-effective way of issuing tokens for community-based projects. In 2019, for example, ICOs managed to raise $14.8 billion for the cryptocurrency industry, which is undeniably impressive. Exchanges that want to offer security token trading need to fully comply with regulations, including extensive investigations into token listings, data sharing, and investor onboarding procedures.

In several countries, STO issuers qualify for available regulatory exemptions offered by securities laws. For example, Germany, Liechtenstein, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United States have disclosure exemptions in place for offerings below a certain issue size threshold. To explore what determines STO success, one must first understand the features of an STO. In this section, we begin by providing a working definition of a security token and clarifying how it differentiates from both utility and payment tokens.

Bridging the gap between crowdfunding and regulation in blockchain

If you take an existing asset and wrap it in a token, it is a tokenized security. As such, security tokens are generally considered an improvement over ICOs. They address the fundamental flaws surrounding utility token sales and have the potential to improve traditional securities. Security token offerings are meant to be a regulatory compliant https://www.globalcloudteam.com/ alternative to regular token sales. They aim to correct perceived inequalities on the investor side, such as granting security token holders rights to dividends or other predefined revenue streams. But, it is to be kept in mind that the STO is still a relatively new concept as the infrastructure around security tokens is still in its infancy.

sto blockchain

However, an STO largely relates to the tokenization of new securities since an STO is a primary market — that is, the tokenization process is combined with a capital raising process. An investment product is bought by investors sto development company with the expectation of a profit. However, the underlying securities do not always include an income-generating component as it is the case for some fund units (fund tokens) or derivatives (other security tokens).

Asset-backed Tokens

Another disclosure choice is whether or not to have a presence in mass-market communication channels through which issuers can disseminate timely information to investors. We use an indicator variable to identify those STOs that have a Telegram presence. Telegram is a major platform commonly used by ICOs (and STOs) to communicate with investors.Footnote 22 Table 5 reports that 36% of STOs use GitHub, while 64% are present on Telegram. Creating a website is essential to introduce and sell the security tokens to crypto investors. You should have a website that can run securely and handle loads of numerous requests at the time. It is true that the process can seem complicated, but there are a lot of benefits that accompany a security token issuance.

sto blockchain

Not only do we assist in choosing a representation model — from asset-backed, equity, or security token to stablecoin — but we also analyze related legal intricacies. Bitbond conducted the first STO with a BaFin approved securities prospectus in Germany in 2019. The BB1 token was issued by Bitbond Finance which is a subsidiary of Bitbond. The token created represents a corporate bond of Bitbond that issues 1% interest on the invested amount every quarter and additionally pays a variable coupon based on the profits of Bitbond Finance. The capital raised was used to further drive the growth of Bitbond activities through the financing of working capital to the entity.


On the whole, security token offerings are currently one of the most widespread fundraising methods used by present-day blockchain startups and they have been welcomed in a lot of countries worldwide. The critical difference between the two is that security tokens are newly issued securities that function on distributed ledger while tokenized securities are just token representations of already existing financial products. Basically, if you issued a new financial product with security features, it is a security token.

  • This allows investors to act on new information quickly and stay in an advantageous position.
  • 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.
  • Security token offerings have established themselves as an efficient and highly secure means of generating capital, and there is no question that this state-of-the-art technology is here to stay.
  • Blockchain’s value comes in the form of its role in permanence, security, and transparency — each of them is imperative to confidence, trust, safety, market efficiency, and soundness.
  • Company A can formally issue their security token to investors via an issuance platform.
  • By making use of blockchain technology, security tokens facilitate the automation of cumbersome manual processes and offer a reliable, secure source of truth that all parties can rely on.

Our perusal of STOs reveals that one-third of them could not be considered as STOs in the strict sense. Instead, they either turned out to be stablecoins, or ICOs disguised as STOs — that is, utility tokens sold as securities due to regulatory uncertainty. We document that the STO market developed after the ICO market bubble concluded STO activity intensified end of 2018 onwards. Although STOs primarily originate from the United States, we observe that other countries with accommodating securities laws (e.g., Singapore and Switzerland) also attract a large number of STOs.

How To Determine if a Token Is A Security?

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. Common misperceptions 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. With PixelPlex cross-disciplinary know-how, you’ll be putting your security token offerings on the right track from the outset.

Once you have complied with all process requirements, an STO is legally approved in all other countries. PixelPlex is here to help you use security token services to innovatively revamp your business, no matter its intricacies. Ask us to build a tailored STO platform — we’ll ensure it sits well with your infrastructure while you swiftly reach your specific goals. No need to deal with the lack of technical know-how related to developing products on blockchain technology. It is a user-friendly interface, allowing users to leverage the potential of blockchain and tokenization, without needing to write a single line of code.

What is the difference between an ICO and STO?

A token should fulfill the above properties if it is to be launched successfully and add more value to a project. Located in the Mediterranean, Malta has been eager to make blockchain and cryptocurrency advances. In fact, crypto solutions and blockchain have been so widely embraced here that Malta is dubbed the “Blockchain Island”. Investors globally have shifted their focus from the once-so-cool ICOs into STOs because of the multiple advantages that the latter offer. As a result, we can see that the number of STO launches globally is on the rise and more and more companies and individuals alike have opted for STOs. However, if you live outside of the US, the accredited investor rule does not apply to you, and you can participate in most STOs.

sto blockchain

While the literature has succeeded in providing many insights about the success and failure in both crowdfunding and ICO markets, much less is known about the STO market. In this paper, we attempt to fill this gap by providing an exploratory analysis of STOs. We hand-collect variables on investor rights that capture the ownership and control features attached to security tokens.

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Descriptive statistics reveal that investors are granted voting rights in 15% of STOs, representing 28% of equity tokens in our sample. This suggests that STO issuers tend to insulate themselves from outside control, consistent with recent trends in IPOs (Aggarwal et al., 2021). We account for this by constructing an indicator variable, No cashflow rights.

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