iSTOX admitted into MAS fintech sandbox

Capital markets platform iSTOX, designed by blockchain-based infrastructure firm ICHX Tech, has been admitted into the Monetary Authority of Singapore's (MAS) FinTech Regulatory Sandbox.

iSTOX has also set up a panel comprising law firms Allen & Gledhill, Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow, and Rajah & Tann to provide legal advice to issuers on iSTOX's digitised security structuring and issuance processes, according to a media statement yesterday.

The MAS sandbox allows financial institutions and fintech startups to experiment with promising financial products or services in a supportive environment.

It also includes safeguards to contain the consequences of failure and maintain the overall soundness of the financial system.

iSTOX incorporates blockchain and smart contract technology in its platform infrastructure. But it is not a cryptocurrency exchange as all issuances will be bought and sold using fiat currency.

ICHX Tech chief executive officer Danny Toe said joining the MAS sandbox is a key step towards its goal of building a "future-ready regulated capital markets platform".

iSTOX has been operating within the sandbox environment since May 1, and aims to graduate from it and transition into full operation by early next year.

After it brings on board the first batch of issuers and investors, ICHX Tech expects the first issuance of digitised securities within the sandbox environment to take place by the fourth quarter of this year. Trading of these digitised securities will start shortly after.

Accessibility is a key feature of iSTOX as it will connect accredited and institutional investors to investment opportunities not traditionally available outside a small, closed group of participants.

On its platform, any issuer - be it established companies, younger firms seeking growth capital, funds or private asset owners - will be able to use digitised security offerings as a new mechanism to tap capital markets and receive investments for an idea or venture they believe in, ICHX Tech said.

The Singapore Exchange and Temasek subsidiary Heliconia Capital Management invested in iSTOX in November. ICHX Tech was incubated by Singapore investment firm ICH Group.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 25, 2019, with the headline iSTOX admitted into MAS fintech sandbox. Subscribe