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Blockchain securities issuance platform obtains approval from FINRA

Wed, 21 Aug 2019, 07:33 am UTC

The Financial Industry Regulatory authority (FINRA), a self-regulatory organization (SRO) in the United States, has approved the membership application of IOI Capital and Markets (IOICM), an SEC registered broker-dealer and a wholly owned subsidiary of iownit capital and markets.

With this approval, the firm would be able to serve as a placement agent for digital private securities issued on the blockchain-based platform developed and operated by its parent company.

Built on a permissioned Hyperledger Fabric blockchain, the platform is accessible through the website.

According to a press release dated August 20, the platform has been in development since July 2017 and aims to bring the latest technology to private securities markets. It has been purpose-built to allow issuance of private securities such as equities, debt or other financial instruments in a regulatory-compliant manner while providing a broad range of functionalities to investors, issuers and financial services intermediaries.

“Our platform has been built from the ground up over the past two years to completely digitize the securities issuance, asset lifecycle management and secondary trading processes to create a more efficient market,” IOICM co-founder and CEO Rashad Kurbanov said. “We believe our platform will reduce friction in the market and reduce costs for all market participants, while importantly providing appropriate investor protections.”

Speaking with CoinDesk, Kurbanov said that it took 18 months for his firm to obtain the approval, instead of the usual 6 to 9 months normally needed by broker-dealers, as it had to prove to FINRA that IOI’s business practices adhere to regulatory requirements.

“As any new technology being introduced in financial markets, blockchain had to be thoroughly evaluated by the regulators to ensure its application in compliance with regulations that made the U.S. capital markets envy of the world,” he said. “We spent a significant amount of time with FINRA and SEC staff on productive discussions working through the use of distributed ledger technology and how it can be implemented to provide a convenient yet secure platform.”

Kurbanov clarified that the platform is targeted only for institutional and accredited investors and will provide tools for seamless investment process, information sharing, and portfolio management.

He told CoinDesk that the company plans to launch the blockchain-based securities issuance platform early next month.

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