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German Financial Group to Launch Crypto Index Funds for Institutional and Retail Investors

Iconiq Funds, the asset management arm of Germany-based Iconiq Holding — the team behind the ICO and token sale accelerator program Iconiq Lab — is launching a series of digital asset index funds beginning in Q4 2018, the company announced on Aug. 17, 2018. Investment into crypto assets will become available through traditional and regulated financial vehicles, such as exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and exchange-traded notes (ETNs).

The first digital asset index fund is planned to be launched under Maltese jurisdiction as a Professional Investor Fund (PIF). It is currently under review by Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA).

The company claims the “diversified exposure to the digital assets market” as a key selling point for this new series of instruments. An investment fund essentially hides the intricacies of crypto assets from its participant, offering participation in a selected group of tokens. An investor expects that, even if some tokens of the group won’t perform well, the growth of others will compensate for it.

Iconiq Funds says the company will offer its financial products under the supervision of a governmental watchdog — such as MFSA for Malta. The team explains that, for many conservative investors, the lack of regulatory oversight was a key reason to avoid exposure to crypto assets.  

Maximilian Lautenschläger, Iconiq Holding’s managing partner, believes that such investment vehicles could help bring new capital to the crypto industry from the traditional financial markets. “Iconiq’s aim is to make ICOs and crypto investments accessible to institutional investors, family offices and retail investors. Only through such regulated vehicles can we open the doors for the trillions of capital from institutional markets to enter crypto.” Lautenschläger said, according to the announcement.

Later, Iconiq Funds also plans to offer other financial products suited for traditional investors’ demands, such as crypto index exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and notes (ETNs) in 2019.

Digital asset management token

The company says that Iconiq Funds is not merely a traditional asset management firm that started trading in crypto. It is, rather, a part of a larger, community-driven ecosystem that Iconiq Holding has built around its own token, ICNQ — initially released by Iconiq Lab. The ICNQ token functions as a “decentralized VC club membership instrument.” According to Iconiq Funds, its holders receive access to presales of companies graduating Iconiq Lab’s token sale accelerator program. It can also be used as a voucher instrument for payments within the asset management ecosystem created by Iconiq.

“We have successfully positioned the ICNQ token as the token for digital asset management,” said Iconiq Holdings CEO Patrick Lowry. “ICNQ tokens can now be redeemed in our ecosystem for products and services provided by Iconiq Holding companies, including by our digital asset index funds to pay asset management fees to the fund manager, Iconiq Funds. We are excited to add this new value-driver to the ICNQ economy, with many more to come for the benefit of our community.”

According to the internal memo Cointelegraph had access to, Iconiq Holding will be selling up to 10 million remaining ICNQ tokens, with a public token sale taking place on the Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange Grid in October 2018. The ICNQ token will then be traded on Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange after the sale, with more exchanges to come.

Iconiq says it plans to capitalize on opening the crypto marketplace to a completely different, and much more powerful class of investors, which may bring “a tectonic change” to the crypto market. Also, it hopes the ICNQ token itself will have the potential to become a kind of derivative instrument that would reflect the influx of the virtually unlimited capital from the outside world of traditional finance into the much smaller crypto ecosystem.

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Security Firm Guardtime Unveils Crypto Asset Storage Product

Data security firm Guardtime and blockchain startup Metaco have jointly launched a new cryptocurrency asset management.

Dubbed “Silo,” the product was unveiled in Geneva earlier this week in a bid to provide a storage solution for investors in digital assets. It combines software developed by Metaco and “anti-tamper” hardware developed by Guardtime.

Silo is being pitched as a way to safely store assets, with a particular focus on the finance and banking space. Silo is one of a number of products launched in recent months catering to this subset, which is perhaps unsurprising given the increasing profile of cryptocurrencies as a new kind of asset class.

In statements, Adrien Treccani, CEO of Metaco, positioned the launch against the backdrop of the cybersecurity challenges around cryptocurrencies, as evidenced by the colorful history of hacks and scams involving the tech.

“SILO, built exclusively for financial firms, solves this problem and allows individuals to trade cryptocurrencies with true peace of mind while extending the role of banks as custodians into the future,” he remarked.

The product marks the latest foray into blockchain for GuardTime, which in the past has inked partnerships with the U.S. Navy as well as firms like Ericsson that focus on applications of the tech.

Row of lockboxes image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.

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Swiss City of Zug Backs Blockchain Asset Trade Group

The government of the Canton of Zug is supporting a newly launched trade group that aims to promote the use of blockchain technology in the asset management industry.

Announced during the first annual M-0 blockchain conference in Switzerland’s “Crypto Valley,” the Multichain Asset Management Association (MAMA) comprises of 20 companies at inauguration, including Melonport, ConsenSys uPort, Virtual Capital Ventures, Bitcoin Suisse and Crypto Fund AG, among others.

With the support from Canton of Zug’s Department of Economic Affairs, the group’s establishing members feature asset management firms, financial institutions and service providers in the blockchain industry. According to a press release, MAMA aims to achieve its aims by promoting blockchain security, defining industry standards and advancing industry-wide best practices, among other objectives.

Mona El Isa, co-founder and CEO of Melonport, said in a statement:

“We created MAMA to facilitate a forum for leaders across all industries to discuss, plan and engage with one another to drive innovation and positive change in the asset management industry as we build out this technology together in the coming years.”

The effort highlights blockchain’s growing footprint within Switzerland, both in terms of cryptocurrencies as well as applications of the tech beyond currency.

For example, Zug began accepting cryptocurrency payments for government services back in 2016 – a move followed by the municipality of Chiasso in September.

Zug image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.