On October 1, 2021, ITSA held its general assembly, elected a new executive board and decided on a new strategic alignment for 2022 that will facilitate the acceptance of ITSA’s market standards on a global level. For the upcoming year, the focus will be on the security token market and the continuously expanding DeFi sector. The regulatory requirements for security tokens are high, creating the need for profound market standards such as ITIN and ITC to clearly identify and classify the respective assets. The DeFi sector, on the other hand, has been growing at a rapid pace since its emergence, shaping a completely new type of financial services. However, the rapid expansion and the increasing interchain operability has led to an opaque and hard to navigate market that requires transparency to protect consumers and to help institutions to get a grip on the newly offered services. Therefore, ITSA will engage with both markets to acquire the necessary feedback to evolve the standardization projects and to distribute them among market participants.
This year was a great deal for the general acceptance of ITSA’s market standards. The International Token Identification Number (ITIN) has been integrated into several projects including the securitization platform TOKO, which uses the identifier to uniquely identify the issued securities. The cooperation with DLA Piper and BCW has had a major impact on the overall functionality of the ITIN since it required the support of new distributed ledgers such as Hedera Hashgraph, Algorand, and Stellar. For the upcoming year, additional relevant ledgers will be continuously added to the ITIN in order to support a diverse ecosystem for the issuance of security tokens. Furthermore, the recently developed API, which connects ITSA’s active members with the Tokenbase, allows issuance platforms to automatically assign ITINs and ITC classifications to their respective tokens. The usability of the API has also led to the integration of the ITIN and the ITC in automated product information sheets in on-chain asset management platforms like Enzyme.Finance. Active members of ITSA can issue their desired funds on the platform and simultaneously assign ITINs and ITC classifications. The automation of the process relies on the publicly available on-chain data that can be accessed through third-party services that connect clients with the relevant smart contracts. In 2022, ITSA will closely cooperate with our members to improve the existing infrastructure and the overall functionality of the offered services. This also includes a feature for creating token lists by the issuer itself, providing a great opportunity to create trust among users and platforms.
Figure 1: Automated product information sheet with ITIN and ITC assignment
If you want to learn more about ITIN and Tokenbase, check out our Github repository and our public Tokenbase website. The Github repository can be accessed via https://github.com/itsaglobal/itin and the Tokenbase via https://api.itsa.global/search-tokens.
This year, the International Token Classification (ITC) framework has been extended by four additional dimensions, which marks the biggest expansion since its inception three years ago. The four new dimensions split into two economic, one legal and one technological dimension.
For the economic dimensions, the ITC working group decided upon the Type of Maximum Supply and the Mode of Origination. The Type of Maximum Supply distinguishes between flexible and fixed maximum supplies. Ethereum’s move to burn the base fee of every transaction has created a deflationary force, which counters the inflation of the newly issued Ether tokens that have been awarded to the miners for the creation of new blocks. Since the introduction of the burn process, Ethereum’s issuance of new tokens has drastically slowed down and even created deflationary tendencies on particular days. The more dynamic approach regarding the maximum supply of tokens showcases how the market develops and novel economic concepts find use. The second economic dimension, the Mode of Origination, focuses on the primary issuance of a token. While a first analysis of the top 50 tokens by market capitalization has proven that token sales are the most prominent form for token allocations, alternative types like airdrops or the wrapping of tokens have surged with the expansion of DeFi and the increasing interoperability of ecosystems like Avalanche, Solana and Fantom.
The new technological dimension Consensus Mechanism focuses on the consensus type for the underlying ledger. Yet, Proof-of-Work and Proof-of-Stake have been among the most prominent consensus mechanisms due to their high level of security and decentralization. However, apart from Proof-based Consensus Mechanisms, Voting-based Consensus Mechanisms like Cosmos’ Tendermint, Honey Badger’s BFT and Fantom’s aBFT enjoy growing acceptance. Voting-based consensus mechanisms are not entirely new, they have been used since the 1980s. Nevertheless, the quest for more scalability has created an emerging interest in their functionality which convinced ITSA to offer clarity in that regard.
Last, we have the legal dimension Taxes, which follows the OECD guidelines for the taxation of virtual currencies and differentiates between Conventional Assets Tokens and New Asset Tokens. Conventional Asset Tokens entail tokenized securities such as equity and debt but also Pegged-Payment Tokens like Tether or USD Coin. New Asset Tokens on the other hand comprise the asset class of true cryptocurrencies like Ethereum or Bitcoin. Bitcoin, however, could now also be seen as a Conventional Asset Token since it has become legal tender in El Salvador, making it an official foreign exchange for third countries.
For next year, ITSA will engage in talks with its members to decide on newly added dimensions and Categories/Subcategories/Classes/Subclasses. If you are interested in contributing to the process of developing the ITC, you are always welcome to participate in the ITC working group. To do so, send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The current version of the ITC can be accessed via the following link: https://bit.ly/3uHfxc5.
The entire ITSA family wants to thank the resigning board members for their great efforts in shaping our association and welcomes the new board members! We are happy to announce that Prof. Ferreira from Portugal has been the first woman assigned to the Executive Board and that with her and Nils Bundi from Switzerland, the Executive Board has become more international. This is an important step towards diversifying ITSA and establishing the association as a global player.
Figure 2: The newly elected Executive Board of ITSA
Prof. Philipp Sandner is head of the Frankfurt School Blockchain Center (FSBC) at the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management. His expertise includes blockchain technology in general, crypto assets such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, the digital programmable Euro, tokenization of assets and rights and digital identity. The FSBC advises financial organizations, industrial corporations and startups concerning their blockchain activities.
Prof. Agata Ferreira is an assistant professor at the Warsaw University of Technology and a guest professor at a number of other academic institutions. She studied law in four different jurisdictions, under common and civil law systems. Agata practiced law in the U.K. financial sector for over a decade in a leading law firm and in an investment bank. She is a member of a panel of experts at the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum and a member of an advisory council for Blockchain for Europe.
Constantin Ketz has been the driving force behind ITSA since its inception. He laid the groundwork for the ITIN and ITC and shaped the association’s image fundamentally. His expertise includes public policies, tokenized securities, market standards and DeFi. He is active in the ISO working group and represents ITSA in the product advisory committee of the Digital Token Identifier Foundation. In addition, he is co-founder of the technology-driven securities structuring, issuance and servicing platform Cadeia Capital.
Peter Eulberg is CEO & Co-Founder of Anyblock Analytics, a blockchain solution provider that helps businesses to integrate blockchain in their business processes by providing methods, tools and data. Moreover, his company has been a founding association of the popular Ethereum sidechain xDai chain and has supported ITSA in building the necessary IT infrastructure. His expertise will be beneficial for the strategic alignment of our projects as well as their implementation.
Nils Bundi is CPO & Co-Founder of atpar, a provider of frictionless API to a complex set of technologies which reduces time to market to an absolute minimum. Atpar’s services help to automate and scale the servicing of digital securities across asset classes. Nils is the driving force behind the ITIN and developed the technological foundation of the Uniform Token Locator. His expertise enabled the success of the ITIN as a globally applied identifier.
Klaus Himmer is Co-Founder of CryptoTax. As assistant manager at KPMG Germany, he advised banks, investment management companies and other financial service providers on questions of product and corporate taxation. Since 2017 Klaus Himmer has been a tax expert at the Blockchain Center of Frankfurt School of Finance & Management as well as an active member of several national and international industry associations. In addition, he works as a tax associate at Flick Gocke Schaumburg and is an advisor at Blockchain Founders Group.
Benjamin Horvath is managing director of BLOCKROCKET, an accelerator for blockchain startups that offers an exclusive ecosystem to help startups, corporates, and investors to leverage the potential of blockchain technology, through shared co-working spaces across multiple cities in the DACH region. He is an integral part of Berlin’s venture capital space and has successfully funded several blockchain startups that shape today’s blockchain ecosystem.
The International Token Standardization Association (ITSA) e.V. is a not-for-profit association of German law that aims at promoting the development and implementation of comprehensive market standards for the identification, classification, and analysis of DLT- and blockchain-based cryptographic tokens. As an independent industry membership body, ITSA unites over 100 international associated founding members from various interest groups. In order to increase transparency and safety on global token markets, ITSA currently develops and implements the International Token Identification Number (ITIN) as a market standard for the identification of cryptographic tokens, the International Token Classification (ITC) as a standard framework for the classification of cryptographic tokens according to their inherent characteristics. ITSA then adds the identified and classified token to the world’s largest register for tokens in our Tokenbase.
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