UK Startup Takes Billion-Dollar Tokenization Plan Stateside


Smartlands is betting on a billion-dollar tokenization vision with a new broker-dealer partnership to make it happen.

The British digital tokenization firm is now working with IIP Securities, an international banking consultancy based in New York, as it prepares to bring its security token crowdfunding model stateside.

The alliance provides Smartlands access to IIP Securities’ broker-dealer license – a critical element for complying with U.S. regulatory framework and one that has proven difficult, but not impossible, for digital asset firms to win on their own.

With the license secured, Smartlands CEO Ilia Obraztsov told CoinDesk that his firm will keep building out its global tokenized investments platform on the stellar network.

“Our goal is to tokenize one billion dollars in assets by 2024.” Obraztsov said. “On this road the United States is the next step.”

For asset-holders interested in fractionalized ownership Smartlands’ UK efforts may provide a roadmap. In June the company launched one of Britain’s early real estate tokenization projects, crowdfunding about £1 million for a student housing complex.

That listing is projected to yield investors about 15% annually. Obraztsov said modest returns on low-risk assets will continue to be Smartlands’ target as it moves beyond real estate. Green energy, commodities and late-stage startups are all being considered, Obraztsov said.

Smartlands had already been working under UK regulators’ approval and its partnership with IIP Securities only clears one barrier to U.S. entry. Both firms will gin up on local regulatory framework in the coming months. They intend to launch in the U.S. in Spring 2020.

Crowded playing field

Smartlands wants to build a “one-stop shop” for security token issuance, marketing and exchange in the US, Obraztsov said. Many other companies want to do the same.

In the past year a handful of high-profile crypto-focused firms have moved towards securing broker-dealer licensing, including the Winklevoss-controlled Gemini exchange and Harbor, which recently gained regulator approval.

“Harbor’s securing a broker-dealer license was a huge step forward for the security token landscape,” Obraztsov said. He welcomes the competition.

“We think property rights market is really huge, in the hundreds of trillions. There is room for everybody.”

Smartlands’ developers mostly work out of Vilnius, Lithuania, and Kiev, Ukraine, where IIP’s holding company is also headquartered. Galyna Danylenko, PR Lead for Smartlands, said the company would build out a New York team soon.

Ilia Obraztsov image via Smartlands

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