SGX, Heliconia invest in blockchain-based capital markets platform iSTOX

A Singapore Exchange logo sits outside their head office in Singapore April 22, 2015. REUTERS/Edgar Su/Files

iSTOX, a blockchain-based capital markets platform, has secured an undisclosed amount of investment from Singapore Exchange (SGX) and Temasek-subsidiary Heliconia Capital Management, the company announced today.

No specific amount was disclosed in the announcement but iSTOX said SGX and Heliconia made “key investments”. iSTOX is operated by ICHX Tech, a blockchain-based infrastructure company incubated by Singapore investment firm ICH Group. Public filings seen by TechinAsia, however, said SGX and Heliconia Capital Management contributed about $730,000 each for a 6.67 per cent stake in iStox.

On its website, ICHX Tech said iSTOX is a capital markets platform that “harnesses the capabilities of blockchain technology to extend the boundaries of existing capital markets and create new opportunities for capital fundraising” through the use of Security Token Offerings (STOs).

“An STO allows an issuer to raise capital through the iSTOX platform and is defined as a security under the Securities and Futures Act… it also allow for fractional ownership of assets, potentially enabling issuers to build a broader, more diversified investor base,” according to the announcement.

Currently, ICHX Tech is working towards being regulated and licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) as the first Recognised Market Operator to offer issuance and trading of STOs. The iSTOX platform will go live once the requisite MAS licenses have been obtained.

ICHX Tech clarifies that iSTOX is not a cryptocurrency exchange as all issuances will be bought and sold using fiat currency.

“The iSTOX platform was developed in anticipation of how the capital markets sector will evolve in the future. The demands of the next generation of investors and issuers will be different, and this calls for a shift in how we should approach the process of capital funding,” said ICHX Tech CEO Danny Toe.

SGX’s investment in iSTOX is part of Singapore’s efforts to position itself as a world-class financial hub, according to SGX executive vice president and head of equities & fixed income Chew Sutat.

“We need innovative solutions that push boundaries and set new benchmarks. We believe this new platform by iSTOX will add to the vibrancy of Singapore’s capital market ecosystem, providing more options for issuers and investors alike,” Sutat said.

Sutat and Chua Kim Leng, former Special Advisor (Financial Supervision) and Assistant Managing Director at MAS, have been appointed to the ICHX Tech Board of Directors following the investment.

A number of Singapore firms have recently raised funds through token offering. Among them is fintech firm Rate, which raised $15 million in a token offering through its blockchain project Rate3 from investors including Matrix Partners China.

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