“Because this is all new, most regulators don’t understand, “ says Olga Feldmeier, CEO of blockchain startup, Smart Valor.”Those regulators that do have the knowledge will enable the creation of crypto-finance hubs.”
An alumnus of the UBS banking group, Feldmeier has latterly pitched her entrepreneurial tent on what she describes as the intersection between banking and the rapidly evolving world of blockchain-enabled finance. To be more precise, her company – currently based in Switzerland – is focused on enabling ‘high net worth’ individuals to purchase assets using blockchain- administered tokens that can subsequently be bought or sold in a secondary marketplace.
Beyond The Bitcoin
The current vertiginous rise in the value of Bitcoins – a single unit is now worth upwards of $12,000 – has sparked a new wave of interest in virtual currencies. But blockchain enabled finance is no longer simply about placing virtual currencies into digital wallets and waiting for their value to rise. Beyond the current crop of headlines, blockchain is changing how businesses and individuals transact and invest.
And as Feldmeier points out, Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)- a variation on the crypto-currency theme – are already making it possible for businesses to raise cash from investors, without borrowing or issuing shares. According to some estimates, businesses have secured around $2bn in cash by issuing ‘tokens’ which can then be exchanged for services. In simple terms, that means an investor might buy a fixed amount of tokens to support the launch of a new cloud-delivered service. Once the company is up and running, the tokens confer the right access agreed services as they come online. It’s a concept that isn’t a million miles away from the rewards crowdfunding, but crucially the tokens also have a value of their own and can be traded for virtual currencies our used as currencies themselves.
“ICOs Are The Tip Of The Iceberg”