Security tokens are digital representations of securities (like debt, equity, or real estate) on a blockchain. Much like traditional securities, security tokens are subject to regulation and need to conform to strict compliance standards.
By leveraging blockchain technology, security tokens (or digital securities, as they’re sometimes called) allow for many traditionally cumbersome and highly manual processes to be automated, and provide a golden source of truth that all parties can depend on.
The traditional securities lifecycle is very inefficient, which limits scale, cuts into profit, and constrains product offerings for banks, broker-dealers, asset managers, issuers and investors alike.
Digitizing securities on the blockchain can bring benefits including:
Learn how a blockchain built for digital securities can help enable these benefits by reading the Polymesh Pillar Series.
Polymath Token Studio is a self-service application that allows users to create, issue, and manage security tokens through a simple, intuitive interface.
Token Studio lets issuers configure their token in a few simple but important clicks, by making choices about divisibility, ownership and transfer restrictions, and more. Once the issuer has input preferences and restrictions, the system automates their enforcement.
We built Token Studio on Ethereum as a means of market testing the need for a compliance-focused tokenization solution. It’s been used to create over 200 tokens, but after seeing traction and learning from other market participants, we identified the need for a purpose-built blockchain to drive industry adoption. The next-generation TokenStudio on the Polymesh blockchain is currently available on testnet.
To learn more about Polymath TokenStudio, visit our page for security token issuers.
Polymath provides technology to create and manage digital securities, but like any piece of tech, it relies on the user to set the terms and rules that need to be enforced. Polymath doesn’t provide any guidance or services around the issuing, buying or selling of securities.
Unlike rigid all-in-one platforms, Polymath’s token creation and management technology integrates smoothly with a large ecosystem of custodians, broker-dealers, legal firms, cap table management providers, token sale platforms, KYC/AML providers and others so that issuers can create a bespoke solution.
This best-of-breed approach bypasses the scalability and customization issues that can come with all-in-one solutions and lets each issuer create a logical and compliant process, regardless of their asset, goals or jurisdictional requirements.
Polymath’s white label solution allows broker-dealers, banks, and asset managers to integrate Polymath’s technology into their broader offerings. It lets them use Polymath’s technology for token creation, issuance, management and corporate actions, while branding and customizing the process and experience for their clients.
Read this case study to get the details on how Marketlend implemented Polymath’s white label solution in a matter of weeks.
Polymesh is an institutional-grade permissioned blockchain built specifically for regulated assets. It streamlines antiquated processes and opens the door to new financial instruments by solving regulatory challenges around identity, compliance, confidentiality, and governance through key design principles built into the base layer of the chain, rather than as external add-ons.
Learn more about Polymesh.
When it comes to creating and managing digital securities, Polymesh’s specificity gives it (and the applications built on it) a distinct advantage over those using general-purpose blockchains.
Node operators (or simply operators) run a program that verifies the mathematics associated with transactions and puts transactions into blocks. They do not ensure that transactions comply with securities regulation (that’s done by the compliance rules built into the security token).
Permissioned node operators are one of the aspects that makes Polymesh different from general-purpose blockchains. Transactions involving securities need to be written to the blockchain by known, trusted entities but most blockchains allow pseudonymous entities to author blocks. On Polymesh, only permissioned capital market participants that meet specific criteria can write transactions.
Polymesh is a proof-of-stake chain built using Parity’s Substrate framework. To secure the chain, operators and stakers work together. Stakers economically back the operators of their choice and both are then rewarded or fined based on the operator’s performance.
Learn how and why to become a node operator on Polymesh.
The early security token industry lacked standardization, so every security token was built differently. This created unnecessary friction where every market participant — especially custodians and exchanges — needed to perform not only business due diligence on every token they supported, but also technical due diligence.
To tackle this problem, Polymath proposed a unified standard for security tokens on Ethereum, with the goal of ensuring a token’s code met specific requirements and organizations could integrate it without costly and time-consuming technical due diligence. This standard, ERC 1400, is a collection of other standards integral to creating a security token and has since been adopted by organizations including ConsenSys and BNP Paribas.
ERC 1400 was built on Polymath’s earlier ST20 protocol and Polymath Token Studio creates tokens using the standard. It also laid the foundation for Polymesh.
Learn more about ERC 1400.
The race toward market standardization isn’t about one standard winning over another; instead, the shift from a marketplace full of bespoke security tokens to a more homogenized approach provides clarity, guidance, and best practices for market participants. Developed with this belief in mind, ERC 1400 has evolved from a single ERC to a library of security token standards that each represent a different facet of the lifecycle, trading, and management of securities on Ethereum.
These standards are self-contained but can be combined in different ways to reflect the specifics of the asset class and jurisdictions across the globe, while still remaining interoperable across the ecosystem. ERC 1400 can apply off-chain data to transactions to include necessary real-world input and authorization, and because ERC 1400 smart contracts are modular by design, issuers on Token Studio can go back and make changes to rules and configurations without having to create a brand new token.
On general purpose blockchains, digital assets are programmed using smart contracts and as a result, custodians, exchanges and other market participants have to integrate each asset into their environment individually.
By contrast, assets on Polymeshare created at the protocol layer. What that means is that instead of having to create a smart contract for each asset, the issuer creates the token natively on Polymesh. As a result, no additional standard is needed to ensure that tokens are created consistently. What’s more, market participants can integrate once with the Polymesh blockchain and then quickly onboard new assets without having to set up each one individually.
Our experience with ERC 1400 and with its many proponents has allowed us to refine requirements for security tokens and gather feedback on market needs. While the standard goes a long way towards making Ethereum more suitable for securities, there are still gaps in functionality and scalability.
ERC 1400 goes a long way towards making Ethereum more suitable for securities, but as a general purpose chain, there are still gaps in functionality and scalability. Our experience with the standard and with its many proponents has allowed us to refine requirements for security tokens and gather feedback on market needs. Polymesh is a blockchain we are building specifically for security tokens. It uses ERC 1400 as a foundation and layers in additional capabilities around identity, compliance, confidentiality, and governance.