【Blockchain in Korea】MLG Blockchain COO Brian Leiberman:The perception of STO in US
72days ago

0315.jpgCoinin is the Korean blockchain media headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, it relies on industry head resources and community advantages to form a huge influence on the media. It is known as an upgraded version of the blockchain field 36Kr.

Coinin recently launched the "Blockchain in Korea" series in South Korea, visiting the top blockchain practitioners in South Korea and promoting exchanges and cooperation between China and South Korea. In the new phase of "Blockchain in Korea", Coinin invited Brian Leiberman who is the COO of MLG Blockchain to talk about "The perception of STO in US."



Guest introduction


The 27th phase of the "Blockchain in Korea", Coinin's rotation host Tom Ku who is the head of Memorandum Capital Korea invited Brian Leiberman, the COO of MLG Blockchain to talk about "The perception of STO in US."


Brian Leiberman: COO of MLG Blockchain

Director of BlockHacks

Certified Bitcoin Professional

Head of Operations and BD at Guiker.com&Sonder





Tom Ku: You have extensive operation experience in several organizations. Now you became the COO of MLG Blockchain. Could you talk about the steps in this process? How did you connect with the blockchain?


Brian Leiberman: I was working for Budweiser/AB Inbev which was my first job out of university. Within 6 months I decided that the corporate world was not for me and I joined a company that at the time was called Flatbook. The goal was to build a large hospitality brand to compete with Airbnb and today they are quite successful having just raised over 100 million dollars in their latest funding round. 


After leaving Sonder, I went to join Guiker, which is a Chinese student housing platform where we were one of the first companies in Quebec to allow foreign nationals to sign a lease online. The end goal of the platform would be to have people invest into real estate as an asset class in a corwdfunding model and know that there will be a renter who uses the platform to ensure their investment is solid. All this while I was paying close attention to cryptocurrencies having been exposed to bitcoin in early 2014.


I always thought it would be very interesting for any of these real estate platforms, to have a way to crowdfund for specific units and then have a payment mechanism attached to the platform. After learning more about blockchain I figured that there would be something like this at some point using the technology. In early 2018 Joaquim Miro, one of the founders ofMLG Blockchain approached me and asked if I would be interested in joining the firm given my start-up experience and ability to manage large and complex organizations. I jumped right in and haven’t looked back. 2018 was an exciting year and I am excited for what 2019 will bring.


Tom Ku: MLG Blockchain focuses on accelerating blockchain adoption and transformation, could you introduce the MLG Blockchain in detail? How is the company’s current operation status?


Brian Leiberman:MLG Blockchain is a global venture creation and advisory firm with blockchain technology development and broker dealer capabilities. Headquartered in Toronto and New York City with a distributed team across 20+ countries, MLG Blockchain offers premium blockchain consulting services, with both regional and global representation for clients around the world.


MLG Blockchain consultants have experience that spans across a wide range in the blockchain industry. We have played an important role in taking over 20 tokensales to market, which solve problems in industries as diverse as media to the refugees crisis, and has resulted in over 200 million dollars raised. Our government and enterprise teams have worked alongside Fortune 100 enterprises and global governments to accelerate blockchain adoption and transformations within the enterprise or country and we have built blockchain products with various architectures including POC’s to production applications.


We are Blockchain and DLT agnostic and have experience with many blockchain fabrics including the Bitcoin Blockchain, Ethereum, Hyperledger, EOS, Ripple, Factom, Tron, Neo, Icon & Aion, among other protocols. We are also experienced working with many types of blockchain development and distributed ledger technology APIs, software frameworks, databases and devOps tools for testing and agile development.


We have the experience to speed up your team’s understanding of the blockchain and its potential opportunities to help you to create a blockchain strategy you can use today. We currently have around 20 full time employees and have offices in NYC, Montreal and Toronto.


Tom Ku:Thanks, Brian. Just a quick question, how is the current bear market affecting you guys? Do you see the current situation as an opportunity?


Brian Leiberman:I think so, with many market players leaving there is more opportunity for us. I also think this is a time where people who are still in the industry are bringing very good projects to market since they are still around.


Well, for right now, I am bullish on STO's. I think that this is a novel way of raising capital and that projects with good management teams have a unique opportunity.


I think investors are interested now in equity in projects over only tokens in a network. Exactly, we felt it was a strategic move to ensure compliant fundraising in the USA.


Tom Ku: Could you share your insight on the recent development of the US STO market with a focus on security-token projects? Is there any exmples?


Brian Leiberman:There have been a few projects that have already gone live such as the Bcap token that trades on Openfinance. Pretty exciting to see that there are live security tokens that are being traded even though the number of trades are small, I do expect this to increase in the coming year.


The St Regis Aspen deal is another good example of a real estate STO that has come to market successfully. I think a lot of STO's will be either real estate, debt or equity. Some may even be art!


Tom Ku: How is the perception of STO in the US? Do people regard is as another initial coin offering or do they perceive it as an alternative to IPO? Please discuss movements that demonstrate the potential of STO in the US. For example, the entry of major institutional investors.


Brian Leiberman:I think people understand that it is not an initial coin offering as the functions of the business looking to raise capital are different than in an initial coin offering. Generally there is a claim, to equity, asset or a financial instrument which was not the case with an initial coin offering.


I think that is a sign of more things to come in the space as traditional financing starts to get disrupted by this new approach.


Tom Ku: Can you share some insight regarding the actions of US institutional investors?


Currently large institutions are waiting on the sidelines curious about what is going to happen next, but if you look at fidelity, they are going to start offering bitcoin and they are one of the largest asset managers in the world. So naturally I think that there will be some significant movement in the space.


Tom Ku: How do you see the US regulation shaping up for STO? The US seems to be pretty slow in implementing regulations for STO. Do you think US will lose its competitive advantage as being the current financial hub by acting slow on STO?


Brian Leiberman:I think that the SEC is being cautious in its approach and whatever they rule will likely become industry standard globally. Therefore, I think that it makes sense that they are taking their time with this one given the magnitude of the opportunity. I think that the US is a strong enough financial market that their approach to regulating STO’s while slow, will not ultimately affect their global financial hub status.


I think its also worth mentioning that the idea that the SEC would regulate a new financial product in a 6-12 month period, is typical of regulatory bodies, as for them, ruling on something like this in 1-2 year period would be considered fast.


I think liquidity in the secondary market place is what everyone is wondering about. Though, I think with good projects with good returns the market will create it self.


Right, in my opinion it will be about sourcing good projects that people are interested in that give good returns.


Ultimately we are competing against all the other websites out there that promise alternative financial products.


Tom Ku: What are your perceived risks of STO and how do you think they can be resolved? For example, in case of real-estate securitization, there’s a risk of disconnect between the ownership represented by security tokens and the ownership manifested by real-estate certificates.


Brian Leiberman:There is a potential risk for fraud in the STO space, in terms of fraud there is a layer of risk that the retail market may be exposed to as their ability to do due dilligence on the structural ownership is limited.


However, if platforms that trade the tokens enforce stronger rules and regulations like in traditional financial markets, that may help mitigate the risks.


I think that platforms will be able to help in ensuring that tokens that they issue, or trade on their ATS are heavily looked into to ensure that folks are being compliant and that no fraud or selling away is occuring.


Defintetly, I actually think regulators will enfore blockchain based trading as settlement is quicker and transactions can be tracked more efficiently. I think you will see in due time it become the law actually.


Tom Ku: Recently, the co-founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin posted a tweet comparing BTC and XRP and he believes that XRP is a better option than BTC. How do you consider this opinion?


Brian Leiberman:I think each has its own use case so it would depend on how you would use it and what you are looking to accomplish ultimately.


Tom Ku: What is the latest activities and future plan of MLG Blockchain? In what ways does MLG Blockchain hope to cooperate with projects or institutions in China and South Korea?


Brian Leiberman:MLG blockchain has been focusing on developing our broker dealer capabilities as well as our roadshows. We are looking for top tier asian projects to bring to our investor network in North America and are always looking to partner with the best projects from the region. Over the next year or so we plan to continue to develop our business globally and expand into key markets.


Tom Ku: As a well-known person of the American blockchain, you may know a lot of outstanding practitioners in the blockchain industry. "Blockchain in Korea" interview program is launched by [Coinin], is dedicated to exploring high-quality Korean and Chinese projects and practitioners. Could you recommend three honored guests to our program?


Brian Leiberman: I would talk to Michael Zavet from Hyperion a security token exchange and issuance platform. Greg Keough CEO of Finova Financial, they have a very interesting opinions about STO. And I also recommend Yubo Ruan from 8 Ddecimal capital.


Q&A Session


Q1: Since you provided consultancy to a lot of projects, what are main issues that those blockchain companies facing with?


Brian Leiberman:I think right now it’s the user base. Many projects need to have users, just like any other successful technology company. Also the UI/UX for a lot of the dapps need improvement.


STO is more like traditional markets. KYC, Custody, infrastructure. Those are cool things projects are trying to tackle.


Q2: What are features of projects that US investor prefer and more likely to invest?


Brian Leiberman:I think right now on STO there is a big interest in asset backed tokens or businesses like lending that are generating cash flows and yield. Real estate as well is a key theme to look for in 2019! Yes, e sports is going to be big in general, well see how the STO market reacts to that. I think it will be positive.

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