On Monday, one of the largest banks in the world announced that over the course of 2018 it settled $250 billion in foreign exchange trades using an internally developed blockchain platform that, among other benefits, allowed the bank to verify settlement without external confirmation. Meanwhile, a major Swiss investment bank announced that it is launching a cryptocurrency custody service targeted at institutional market participants. In the commodities markets, the blockchain-based commodities trading platform Vakt, which runs on the Quorum blockchain, has added a major U.S.-based multinational energy company to its platform and industry consortium. On Jan. 10, cryptoasset index provider Bitwise Asset Management filed a registration statement with the SEC seeking approval for a physically held bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). According to a press release, the proposed ETF will differ from prior ETF proposals because it will use regulated third-party custodians to hold its physical bitcoin.

According to reports, late last week the security token trading platform tZERO announced that it has begun releasing security tokens into the custody of investors who purchased the tokens during a private offering completed in August 2018. Another announcement this week stated that the Aspencoin, a securitized token associated with the St. Regis Aspen Resort, will be migrated to the Securitize platform to enable trades across multiple exchanges. In Europe, the Belarus-based blockchain technology company Currency.com issued a press release claiming to have launched "the world's first fully-functional trading platform for tokenised securities." According to the press release, the platform will offer "a tokenised version of a contract for exchange of a specific equity, commodity or index."

In recently published findings, a study by MarketWatch searched the SEC's Edgar database and identified 287 Form D filings that contained key terms indicating that funds raised from accredited investors involved an initial coin offering (ICO). The study estimated the total value of Reg D exempt ICO-related fundraising events at $8.7 billion for the year 2018. Another study recently published by BitMEX analyzed ICO tokens issued to members of ICO teams. The study found that the total value of tokens held by ICO team members has declined from $24 billion to $5 billion, due mostly to falling market prices for the tokens.

To read more about the topics covered in this week's post, please see the following:

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.