Meet the winner of Blockchain Start-up of the year
ICO and STO full stack platform provider, ICO Malta, won the prestigious Malta Blockchain Summit “Startup of the Year Award.” ICO Launch Malta is the leading provider of turnkey ICO and STO launch solutions on the Blockchain Island, Europe’s leading hub of blockchain innovation. We caught up with ICO Malta CEO, Jan Sammut, after he received the award.
ICO Malta won the Malta Blockchain Summit “Startup of the Year Award.” What can you tell us about that?
We were, of course, proud to simply be nominated for Malta Blockchain Start-up of the Year award. ICO Launch Malta faced, alongside our able competitors, an expert panel of 30 plus judges with many years of combined experience in the crypto space. They came together at the Malta Blockchain Awards to judge the most innovative and successful crypto startups in Malta. The team at ICO Launch Malta is incredibly proud that we won. The best start-up award marks a significant milestone in our journey towards being the best token offering platform provider not only in Malta but in the whole of Europe. We want to thank the judges at Malta Blockchain Awards for recognising our innovation and achievements in the DLT space.
ICO Malta is gaining a reputation as the go-to service for ICO and STO launch services. How did you get to this point?
Well, first of all, we have a stellar team of in-house Solidity developers, marketing specialists, web devs, lawyers, and biz dev specialists. Beyond that, ICO Launch Malta is a truly full-service ICO/STO launch platform. Moreover, a big advantage is that we are, of course, located in Malta with its strong and crypto-friendly regulatory structure.
Please outline what you mean by a “full stack” or “turnkey” token offering platform.
ICO Malta takes a project from concept to hard cap. We do the tokenomic modeling, following which our Solidity developers develop the token and smart contracts that govern the sale. We create robust KYC/AML protocols and secure multi-signature wallets where the funds will go. We can do that part in as little as 15 business days, which is quite amazing. ICO Malta performs the legal review of the token model and white paper. We help execute company incorporation with a legal documentation and bank setup. We can introduce our client to our institutional investor pool. We create the investor and admin dashboards. We implement high-end branding that includes creation of a website that converts visitors into investors. So ICO Launch Malta manages every aspect of the project, from company formation to token sales to an exchange listing.
Tell us about your dev team and the token launch platform they’ve created.
Blockchain technology is pushing the envelope far beyond Satoshi Nakamoto’s initial use case as a global cash alternative. ICO Malta’s software makes life easier for token issuers, investors, and developers. So, as mainstream adoption of STOs grows, we provide the infrastructure that enables asset owners to liquidate and sell tokenised shares of their previously illiquid assets, with partially automated KYC/AML compliance. Investors can invest easily and safely. Our blockchain developers can innovate custom solutions built on our underlying turnkey platform. My partner, Alex Anter and I, launched the first ICO ever to be run out of Malta two years ago. Alex is now our tech lead. He is a brilliant smart contract developer, and he led the coding of our token launch platforms.
Can you tell us more about how ICO Malta develops an optimal tokenomic blueprint?
Alex has a keen and intuitive sense of exactly how to work out the best tokenomic structure to put in place a balanced and easily leveraged incentivisation arrangement for the security token issuing company, investors, and customers to best achieve the goals of a particular STO project. Tokenomics dictate the behaviour of a token in the platform it inhabits . A well designed tokenomic ecosystem will, of course, maximise the likelihood of token value appreciation. It must do that by incentivising good behaviour among all parties participating on the token’s platform. It is equally important to design the tokenomics so that there are strong and stable disincentives for those who may otherwise act maliciously. Once all that is master planned and tested, it is pretty easy to work out a token price and hard cap based on deflation that provides both the token issuer and investors with a token that gains value over time.
There are many blockchain use cases. Can you explain why ICO Malta is focusing much of its attention on STOs?
The potential for the security token offering space appears to be enormous, but is yet to be proven. Mechanisms for raising capital haven’t evolved much for many years. However, with the invention of the security token offering and the security token itself, we may be eyeing a multi-trillion dollar addressable market. The obvious, quickly growing need is regulatory-compliant STO solutions, for which ICO Malta implements custom solutions which undergo regulatory approval. Security tokens represent value that creates a promise of payments of dividends, and the ability to liquidate the equitized asset for the asset owner. This makes them subject to security law regulation, in which Malta has taken the lead worldwide. If ICO Malta and others can help make the security token a mainstream financial instrument, equity markets could be transformed. Every type of equity can potentially be tokenized, freeing up liquidity in normally illiquid assets, and allowing asset owners to raise capital for further investment and expansion.
So you see the market moving away from utility ICOs and towards security ICOs?
In general, yes, and probably in a big way. Utility token use cases and utility token valuations are often quite vague, and, as you can see in the ongoing bearish crypto market, investors are rapidly moving away from perceived or real risk. The market’s perception of utility token ICOs has shifted to the negative. That may change at some point when strong and battle-tested use cases become the norm. Our requirements for considering working with a utility token launch client is a white paper with a clear, positive legal opinion, a sense-check of the fitness of the client, technical viability of the project, proper valuation of the project, and proper raise targets and token and funds allocation. The number of traditional ICOs happening in any one month will drop. New ones may arise, and their hard caps may be quite high. However, the launching of ICO projects built on weak or unproven use cases is not a sustainable model.
So STOs are going to attract more traditional players?
Yes, that looks to be where we are headed. ICO Malta has shifted focus to securitised token offerings. We still offer utility ICOs to clients with strong use cases that will likely benefit significantly from the network effect of a well-designed token ecosystem rather than a traditional VC raise. Our shift of focus to STOs grants our clients with established and profitable businesses the option of running what are essentially bond or stock offerings on the blockchain without giving up equity, voting rights or any board seats. An issuing company that is collateralizing an asset that lends itself to an excellent tokenomic use case that can benefit immensely from the blockchain’s decentralised architecture and network effects. The majority of enquiries we are now receiving are from the traditional financial sector, such as banks, hedge funds, and other enterprise-level businesses. We are also getting inquiries from UHNW clients interested in fractional ownership tokens for things like real estate, hotel resorts, and yachts.
Let’s finish with your views on what sort of industry maturation we are likely to see over the next few years.
There will be two sweeping changes. Firstly, there will be magnitudes of order scaling gains for some cryptocurrencies and other digital assets. And secondly, the spotlight will move from utility token offerings to security token offerings with a rapidly increasing influx of sustainable enterprise level investment.
Jan Sammut is a veteran ICO advisor. As one of the most crypto-knowledgeable people in Malta, Jan Sammut’s opinion carries much weight with locals as well as the extended European crypto community. Jan ran Malta’s first ICO and launched Europe’s first MiFID 2 compliant security token offering. Jan is a fixture on the European blockchain conference tour and advisor to ICOs with market caps exceeding $1B.