Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX) issued its token and has startups knocking on its door to conduct their own initial coin offerings. But GBX has yet to establish the sort of governance frameworks that it highlighted last year, when DigFin reported on its ambition to become the world’s ICO “global haven”.
GBX, an arm of Gibraltar Stock Exchange, completed its own ICO in January, as managing director and owner Nick Cowan had envisioned. The Rock token (RKT) ICO raised $6 million, topping up a $21 million presale in December. Together the financing comes close to the $30 million cap GBX had announced.
The Rock tokens will enable users to access other ICOs to be listed on GBX.
The whitepaper accompanying the ICO described GBX as designed only for utility tokens and as a high-quality marketplace.
The Gibraltar Financial Services Commission has also published rules-based regulations for distributed-ledger technology. It lays out principles such as the need for protecting client assets and effective corporate governance arrangements, but without any details.
GBX is now operating a market, while GSX, the traditional exchange, is live with a means to tokenize its listed funds and debt instruments. GBX also has fund services, corporate services and business solutions operating for tokens (the institution avoids the term crypto-currency, as the regulator recognizes utility tokens as commercial products, not as securities).
The whitepaper also says authorities will require governance over token-related investment and product advice, or any personal recommendations.
But Brian Tang, managing director at the Asia Capital Markets Institute, says governance at GBX has a ways to go. It has yet to outline many of the areas that Cowan and his advisors talked up in November 2017, when they began marketing the exchange.
It will require guidelines on delegation and outsourcing, codes of conduct, measures on introductions and solicitations, and rules on the independence of gatekeepers and the safeguarding of third-party assets, among other things.
“Their new legislation, when it’s finalized, should not trigger a race to the bottom, but a race to the top,” Tang said.
Such rules are necessary to protect investors and separate GBX from other crypto exchanges. But issuer interest seems high: speaking at a marketing event in March, Cowan says about 200 companies have asked about applying to launch an ICO through GBX.