Blockchain startup Currency.com officially launched its tokenized securities exchange in Belarus on Tuesday, January 15. The exchange allows traders to use cryptocurrency to purchase tokenized versions of shares and other traditional assets.
The platform will initially host over 150 tokenized securities, while working to eventually offer over 10,000, according to Currency.com's press release. The tokens will track the value of assets both in Belarus and abroad, reflecting the performance of an investor's shares at the "same economic costs and benefits" of traditional shares. The release explains:
"To offer theses capabilities, Currency.com leverages the technology of Capital.com, its sister platform regulated by the FCA (the UK's Financial Conduct Authority) and CySEC (Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission), to offer users access to a tokenised version of a contract for exchange of a specific equity, commodity, or index."
Currency.com says that the exchange is "fully compliant" with Belarus' Decree No. 8 ("On the Development of a Digital Economy"). In effect, the decree, implemented in 2017, legalized cryptocurrency in the country by providing legal context for cryptocurrency companies and ICOs.
Decree No. 8's anti-money laundering and "know your customer" laws will be enforced on the exchange through the supervision of the Belarus High Technologies Park. The HTP acts as a special economic zone within Belarus. Companies registered with the HTP can take advantage of the park's tax exemption and tax reduction statuses.
Belarus will allow transactions on the exchange to remain tax-free until 2023, according to a report in Reuters. The report also says the exchange received 2,000 applications for registrations within its first two hours. The application process is part of a verification procedure meant to guard against money laundering practices.
Currency.com called the exchange the "first fully-functional trading platform for tokenised securities," but its launch comes on the heels of the January 7 release of DX.Exchange.
Like Currency.com, the Estonia- and Israel-based tokenized exchange offers tokenized shares of 10 Nasdaq-listed companies, including Apple, Facebook, and Tesla. The virtual stocks are tokenized using the Ethereum blockchain, with each token backed by one regular company share, entitling holders to the same cash dividends as the real shares themselves.