Preparing to launch STO usually consists of several key points:
1. Forming the backbone of the project team: management, developers, marketers and advisors. The names of the key players need to be announced in advance, because it is investors who look at them first - the idea of the project is secondary.
2. Selection of the type of token and its functions: dividend payments, ownership of the asset, company share, access to the blockchain functionality, and the like.
3. Calculation of the amount needed to finance the project, that is, you need to decide on the soft cap and hard cap. This will affect whether it is necessary to register the issue of security tokens with the SEC and how exactly to do it.
4. Development of a marketing campaign and promotion methods.
5. Website development and formation of technical documentation.
6. Company registration and offer compilation.
In addition, it is also desirable to take the first steps in the development - to create a MVP. Its presence is important for large investors, since they will see what they are investing in.
This increases the credibility of the project.
Azbit project provided MVP before the sale of tokens
If there is no MVP, you need a project concept
: a screen map, an algorithm for interacting with users, design patterns, and the like. Investors will not invest in "words"
Step 2: Registration STO in SEC
At the time of this writing this article (November 2018), the SEC does not have separate rules and laws to regulate the cryptocurrency market and the blockchain. The prescriptions of the regulator describe the general rules for the market as a whole and the primary proposals, the tokens of which, according to Howey Test, fall into the category of security, must comply with them.
Thus, the fifth section of the Securities Act of 1933 obliges issuers of securities to register with the SEC. An application for registration must be submitted before STO is launched. Initial placement can be carried out only after confirmation of the validity of the application.
The form of registration statement
is divided into two parts:
1. Prospectus - a document with data on STO, which must be provided to everyone who buys or plans to buy a security token. It is necessary to indicate the key information about the issuer: field of activity, economic condition, management structure, financial results and risks. The prospectus must contain real financial statements.
2. Additional data to be transferred to the SEC without their announcement to market participants, intermediaries and potential investors.
Sample form S-1 can be used by all STO initiators. For information on how to enter financial data, see SX posture. The introduction of non-financial information is described in the SK posture. In addition to these data, the STO initiator is obliged to provide all the information that is needed so that information about the issuer and its offer “does not mislead” the regulator and potential investors.
SEC rules allow developing and some small public companies to disclose information according to simplified rules, which are spelled out in Art. №8 of S-X posture and part (a)(19) Securities Act of 1933. Small public companies are companies with annual revenues not exceeding $50 million, most of whose shares are owned by “ordinary” investors: not insiders, not management, not shareholders, whose share exceeds 5%.
Application for registration in SEC is submitted through EDGAR. To use this system of the issuer, you must have a central index key (CIK) with access codes - login and passwords. They are obtained after entering key data on the issuer on a special page and submitting identification data: a notarized printout of the ID form. This document can be sent to SEC as a PDF file via the Internet.
Exceptions to the rules
In some cases, STO initiators have the right to full or partial exemption from the need to register the issue of security tokens. This is possible if the issuer is subject to the rules indicated in the following documents.
Table A+. Implies submission to the SEC of the form A-1, which gives the right to conduct small placements without registration under the JOBS law, which divides the table of A into two levels:
1. FIrst level to raise amounts up to $20 million;
2. Second level to raise amounts up to $50 million.
Common to both levels are the requirements for data disclosure and compliance with the offering memorandum. An additional requirement for the second level is an independent financial audit and the provision of periodic SEC reporting. Non-accredited investors can invest a maximum of 10% of their annual income in such projects. Crowdsale initiators who need up to $ 20 million are entitled to use any level of Table A+.
Table D. In this case, rules No. 504 and No. 506 are used. According to rule No. 504, the STO initiator can submit an application to the SEC using Form В if he plans to raise up to $5 million, provided that the tokens are “frozen” within a year after the end of the crowdsale.
Rule No. 506 is divided into two sublevels:
1. №506(b) — a ban on advertising and promotion of a crowdsale among a wide audience in exchange for the opportunity to participate in financing up to 35 “complex” and unlimited number of accredited. The issuer is obliged to disclose information about his condition, management and provide risk analysis.
2. №506(c) — advertising is allowed, but only accredited investors can participate.
Start-ups that choose registration under the norms of Table D do not pass registration, but they must notify the SEC of the issue of securities using Form D. This must be done within 15 days after the conclusion of the first investment transaction for the purchase of tokens.
Crowdfunding (CF). Applicable with the participation of business angels - investors who invest in the project in exchange for the company's share. According to this rule, both accredited and non-accredited investors can participate.
Rules to follow when registering by CF Table:
1. Amount attracted - up to 1,070,000 dollars per year.
2. All transactions go through an SEC online intermediary.
3. Capital that a private investor can invest in a project is limited by the size of its assets and income.
4. It is necessary to disclose information about the issuer to potential investors and the regulator.
5. Purchased tokens must be “frozen” during the year.
Information disclosure takes place through the filing of a Form C in the SEC instance through EDGAR. This includes information such as company name and address, type of tokens and size of the issue, date of completion of the crowdsale and the amount you plan to raise with STO.
Table S. It is used to protect investors from the United States who invest in overseas projects. This application provides the following requirements for STO:
1. The sale of tokens is carried out within the framework of an “offshore” contract: the seller has the prerequisites to believe that the counterparty is outside the United States or the transaction is concluded on an offshore trading platform, for example, on the Eurobond market and a number of foreign offshore exchanges. Which exchange is offshore, and which is not - decides the SEC.
2. The issuer, the seller and their representatives do not carry out targeted actions to sell tokens in the United States, which also means a total ban on STO advertising targeted at investors from the United States.
Table S is used both in the case of primary and secondary sale of tokens. If it is applied, the issuer is obliged to submit quarterly reports to the SEC using forms: 10-QSB, 10-Q, 10-KSB and 10-K.
The model of the investment agreement Simple Agreement for Future Tokens (SAFT) at the end of 2017 was described by lawyer Marco Santori and the Protocol team. In their opinion, SAFT is not something new, but a little-known model of crowdsale, which has been used in the market for a long time. The financing mechanism for startups through SAFT is:
1. The company enters into a contract with investors, under which the latter finance the project in exchange for the right to receive a certain number of tokens after completion of the development. At this stage, tokens are not emitted, which does not relieve the developer from the obligation to register with the SEC.
2. Developers use investment capital to create a blockchain, application, or other software product. This may take months and years of development. Tokens are still not emitted.
3. Upon the completion of the development, the issue of securuty or utillity tokens is initiated, which arrive in the wallets of investors and the development team. Investors can use tokens to access the blockchain functionality or simply dump them to the exchange for financial gain.
4. The development team can also use tokens at their discretion.
The SAFT contract is considered closed after investors have received the agreed number of tokens. How much they turned out to be profitable or in demand - it does not matter, unless it is agreed in advance.
Step 3: Platform Selection
For launching STO is needed an infrastructure that ensures the safety of emissions and complies with legal regulations at times that concern openness of information and verification of investors through KYC / AML procedures. Such a platform can be created by yourself, but it is easier and cheaper to use ready-made solutions:
1. The platform uses ST-20 standard tokens for securitization of bonds, assets or shares on the blockchain. Polymath serves as a hub that connects KYC / AML developers, investors and suppliers.
2. Platform for launching STO based on the Ethereum blockchain. It is based on an adjustable system token (R-token), which allows you to tokenize any business after passing the On-chain Regulator Service.
3. Blockchain platform for STO, issuing and managing security tokens throughout their life, as well as for keeping one-on-one developers with investors through smart contracts.
The presented platforms are not the best or most reliable. These are just examples of where you can initiate STO launch in the same way as on Ethereum, EOS, Neo and other platforms that provide opportunities to launch ICO.
Step 4: Pre-announcement
The team begins to promote the project, telling the public about their idea with the help of white paper, yellow paper and road map. These documents describe what developers want to achieve, how it will be done and what benefits users and potential investors will receive.
Soft cap and hard cap of MOBU startup
At this stage, STO initiators are looking for opportunities to promote the project in the profile press
, as well as on those sites that are popular with major investors and prominent economists: Forbes, The Economist, The Financial Times, Business Week and others