Global multi-asset investment platform eToro has today announced that it has acquired Firmo, for an undisclosed amount. Firmo enables smart contracts for derivatives to be securely enabled on any major blockchain.
Commenting on the news Yoni Assia, Co-founder and CEO of eToro, said: “The acquisition of Firmo will enable eToro to accelerate the growth of our tokenized assets offering. Blockchain and the tokenization of assets will play a major role in the future of finance. We believe that in time all investible assets will be tokenized and that we will see the greatest transfer of wealth ever onto the blockchain.“
eToro was founded in 2007 with the vision of opening up the global markets so that everyone can trade and invest in a simple and transparent way. While this core vision remains the same, new technology namely blockchain, means that the eToro business has, and will continue to, evolve.
Yoni Assia continued: “While our expansion has been largely organic to date, as the eToro business continues to grow we are on the lookout to acquire businesses which will help us stay at the forefront of fintech innovation. We believe that the market is particularly exciting at the moment.“
The Firmo team will act as an internal innovation unit tasked with bringing to life the goal of tokenizing all assets on eToro. This will involve research and development of infrastructure for the representation of assets and the execution of trade processes on blockchain infrastructure.
Dr. Omri Ross, CEO and Founder of Firmo , said: “The advent of crypto and the blockchain technology that underpins it has driven an explosion in financial innovation, however, a number of challenges are preventing mass adoption and integration into legacy infrastructure. Our goal is to enable our users to trade any asset globally with instant settlement by tokenizing assets and executing all essential trade processes on the blockchain.“
Firmo’s underlying technology provides a platform to securely deploy financial contracts and can work with any blockchain. They have developed a formally verified, domain-specific contract language ‘FirmoLang’ which, with the support of Firmo’s compiler can be translated onto a number of blockchain platforms such as Ethereum, EOS or NEO.
Yoni Assia said: “The Firmo team has done ground-breaking work in developing practical applications for blockchain technology which will facilitate friction-less global trading. The adoption of smart contracts on the blockchain increases trust and transparency in financial services. We are incredibly proud and excited that they will be joining the eToro family. We believe that together we have a very bright future and look forward to pursuing our shared goal to become the first truly global service provider allowing people to trade, invest and save.“
Earn.re Welcomes Pinnacle Storage Properties as Project Sponsor
Earn.re, the blockchain-based commercial real estate (CRE) financing platform, today announced that Pinnacle Storage Properties LLC has become a project sponsor and early adopter of its technology. As a project sponsor, Pinnacle Storage Properties intends to list more than $100 million of self-storage projects on the Earn.re platform over the course of 12 months commencing in late 2019.
Based in Katy, Texas, Pinnacle Storage Properties is a privately held national acquirer, developer, owner and operator of self-storage facilities with a portfolio of 20 properties totaling more than 1 million square feet of rentable self-storage space.
“We’re pleased to have secured the commitment of an experienced sponsor with a strong track record of success and increasing momentum,” said Aaron Lohmann, CEO, Earn.re. “By becoming an early adopter of Earn.re, Pinnacle Storage Properties will enjoy enhanced transactional certainty, speed, liquidity and transparency when financing projects in the future.”
“We recognize the potential of Earn.re to become a major disruptive force by bringing liquidity to what is traditionally an illiquid asset class. Self-storage investors typically wait a long time to see a return, and sponsors have to deal with compliance challenges along the way,” said John Manes, CEO, Pinnacle Storage Properties. “The ability to trade CRE security tokens like stocks or bonds will add flexibility and speed to an industry that has historically moved pretty slowly in terms of completing transactions.”
Designed to connect lenders and accredited investors directly with project sponsors, Earn.re is building a platform that offers debt and equity investment opportunities to Earn.re participants. Earn.re generates a security token—a virtual contract—that represents a fractional ownership stake in a debt or equity instrument verified within the blockchain. Each token is programmed to automatically compute and distribute returns to investors’ private crypto wallets.
Once created, Earn Debt and Earn Equity tokens can be traded on the Earn.re exchange, just as stocks and bonds are traded, in one of the CRE industry’s first digital secondary markets for debt and equity securities. Through the exchange, Earn.re will bring liquidity to CRE financing in compliance with regulatory requirements.
The Earn.re platform is built on the Ethereum public blockchain and provides users with a secure means of investing in U.S. CRE with full transparency and in compliance with U.S. securities and data privacy laws. It will offer debt and equity securities backed by nearly every property type, including retail, multi-family, self-storage, hospitality, industrial and government. Through Earn.re security tokens, investment documents such as deeds, mortgages, notes, shareholder agreements and more are attached digitally to the blockchain.
Artprice: The “Toulouse Caravaggio” Acquired Privately
The public sale was scheduled for Thursday, 27 June at 18:00, Toulouse time. According to the Sale Conditions, anyone interested in acquiring the painting had to “register as a bidder at least 15 days before the sale.” As thierry Ehrmann explains, that meant that since 13 June at the very least, all the potential bidders were known to the sellers. And, as Julius Caesar would have said… the die is now thrown.
Because… no less than 48 hours before the public sale was due to take place, the sale has been cancelled! A private transaction has been concluded. “An offer that we had no choice but to communicate to the owners of the painting,” says the official statement which provides a very concise explanation: “The fact that the offer comes from a collector with close connections to a major museum convinced the sellers to accept it.”
This is undoubtedly a very happy ending for everyone involved, not to mention the sellers the art expert who discovered the work, Eric Turquin, and auctioneer Marc Labarbe. The undisclosed amount apparently readily confirms that the work is indeed an authentic Caravaggio, and the buyer, anonymous, but close enough to the world’s most prestigious museums, is apparently committed to ensuring painting will very soon be exhibited in one of the planet’s top museums. It could be any museum in the world… except the Louvre, which turned its back on the painting… “An attitude that, for me personally, was difficult to digest,” confessed Eric Turquin to the French magazine Le Point. The official statement says: “Purchased by a foreign collector, [the painting] will leave France.” Its ultimate destination was the sellers’ second biggest concern, after its sale price of course… Otherwise a deal would certainly have been struck directly with a major museum.
From the sellers’ point of view, this is the best possible outcome. In terms of transparency, it’s a total and singular reversal of the situation. The sellers promised a “authentic” public sale, i.e. a sale that was 100% public, with no reserve price and broadcast live on internet so that everyone and anyone could participate in the auction. The final price was going to allow the Market to decide on the painting’s authenticity… but the curtain has fallen even before it went up… and the amount of the transaction will remain forever confidential.
Last Monday, on 17 June, Sotheby’s announced its withdrawal from the public sphere. A week later, the most anticipated work of the year has suddenly done more or less the same. For Artprice, the two cases strongly suggest that the Art Market is seeking a certain discretion. In the sales catalogue, Eric Turquin thanked his collaborators: “I wish to thank my expert colleagues, the restorers, the framers, the bankers, the insurers, the photographers and the transporters, etc. who have scrupulously respected their professional confidentiality obligations and allowed us to work in a calm and collected manner.”
After five years of work, research and determination, “this painting will go to one of the best museums in the world. And for me that was essential,” concludes Eric Turquin.
Given the importance of this work in art historical terms, Artprice promises to track the reappearance of this painting – a painting that, as of today, no longer needs to be referred to as the “The Toulouse Caravaggio” – and to shed as much light as possible on this private sale, concluded just hours before an auction that had all the makings of a truly historic event. Artprice’s consistent and long-standing efforts to bring transparency to the Art Market are more than ever justified.
TransPerfect Announces New Transcend Integration With True Digital Dossier’s Blockchain Technology
TransPerfect, the world’s largest provider of language and technology solutions for global business, and distributed ledger firm True Digital Dossier (TDD) today announced a partnership to integrate TDD’s new blockchain technology with TransPerfect’s virtual data room (VDR) tool, TransCEND, for the mortgage, art, energy, regulatory, and supply chain sectors.
This partnership is the first integration of blockchain technology with VDRs on a global scale. Branded under the TDD “Digital Dossier” name, the service aims to help professionals prevent lost revenue from poor due diligence and poor record keeping. It will serve markets where the value of assets, such as a mortgage or work of art, is tied to the quality of their information packages.
VDRs are online document platforms that compress the time for M&A transactions by allowing concurrent document review by unacquainted parties. Customers can manage, read, write, execute, search, audit, and access documents in the secure, collaborative environment. By integrating blockchain technology, owners can now embed a “digital fingerprint” in documents, creating a long-term tracking system for an asset’s paper trail and ensuring protection from data tampering.
“By combining TDD with TransCEND, we can create long-term trust in business and the world,” said Rob Chepak, CEO at True Digital Dossier. “Data rooms are brilliant for document sharing but mainly reserved for corporate finance. Distributed ledgers help networks of people secure information. Put them together, and we see game-changing applications that can benefit due diligence professionals in many markets.”
Phil Shawe, TransPerfect President and CEO, remarked, “Security and tracking are key elements of both VDRs and blockchain technology. They are a natural pairing that will promote more secure, reliable, and trusted transactions between parties.”
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