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.

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.

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.

UK Financial Watchdog Seeks Cryptocurrency Expert to Address EU Regulations

The United Kingdom’s major financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), is looking to hire a specialist with a cryptocurrency background.

Specifically, the FCA is seeking an intelligence associate with crypto expertise to address digital assets under the European Union’s 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive, the regulator said in a LinkedIn job posting on Feb. 6.

Also known as 5AMLD, the new law came into effect on Jan. 10 and represents a major effort to tackle money laundering and terrorism financing across Europe, as previously reported.

Expert will join the FCA’s core function team

While the United Kingdom finally exited the EU on Jan. 31, its government must still pay particular attention to the EU’s recently enforced cryptocurrency law. As such, the FCA is seeking to hire a cryptocurrency expert for its core function team – the intelligence team, which has become responsible for 5AMLD regulation of the crypto asset sector since January 2020.

According to the job posting, the key responsibilities of the position include intelligence support for supervision and enforcement, as well as processing applications for firms in the U.K.’s financial services industry.

The FCA and crypto

The FCA has been very active in crypto space as the regulator has approved operations of major crypto firms and carefully investigated the industry. In July 2019, the FCA announced that it will not regulate the two top cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin and Ether (ETH).

The FCA’s latest action regarding 5AMLD comes after the agency officially announced on Jan. 10 that it will start supervising Anti-Money Laundering compliance of cryptocurrency-related firms in the country. As recently reported by Cointelegraph, the FCA is planning to enforce a much more stringent set of rules for crypto firms.

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