Athena Blockchain, a startup investment firm focused on tokenized investment products. is teaming up with FINRA-registered broker-dealer 303 Alternatives LLC to allow marketing and placement of its offerings in compliance with US regulations.
The acquisition puts the Chicago-based company on a firmer regulatory footing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and positions it to offer both traditional investment banking services and a broader range of blockchain-based securities.
The step also paves the way for Athena Blockchain to tap the business lines of the registered broker dealer to operate its contemplated US-oriented services in a regulatory compliant manner.
Effectively, both firms hope to see their regulated systems attract more professional and institutional investors to a market that has raised more than $4 billion in 2017.
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The move also comes just as the US Securities and Exchange Commission is seeking legitimate platforms to serve as trading venues for digital assets.
This topic has received much attention since the SEC made clear that any digital token with an income stream is a security, and furthermore that any entity that wants to become an ATS needs to register with the SEC as a broker-dealer and become a member of a self-regulating organization, such as FINRA.
Earlier in June, Coinbase announced that it is moving forward with a plan to acquire licensure that would allow it to begin offering blockchain-based securities and participate in the ICO market. The company has also acquired the broker-dealer Keystone Capital Corp, which is based in California.
Additionally, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Huobi, recently made a significant investment in OpenFinance Network (OFN), a trading exchange for tokenized securities.