San Francisco-based company, Harbor, has announced announced the securing of $28 million in new investment, led by Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund. The round table also included the participation of Andreessen Horowitz and crypto investment firms Pantera Capital and Craft Ventures. Harbor had already secured $10 million in funding in February, and it has so far collected $40 million in total.
Speaking to CoinDesk, Harbor’s president and general counsel, Joshua Stein, said that the company will use the funding to further develop its Ethereum-based R-Token platform, which he said offers “compliance at the token level”.
We think there’s going be a far greater appetite for owning real-world assets using the blockchain,
The company says it will use part of the funds to expand the development team for fast results. Stein exuded confidence that Harbor would be able to roll out its platform for securities issuers and licensed broker-dealers this summer, having secured the necessary funding.
Stein suggested that Harbor was able to attract prominent investors partly because the company has gained significant traction since its inception. He explained that there are lots of dollars in terms of real estate assets which would be beneficial to many people if they are tokenized in order to open up the economic value.
Stein’s words were echoed by Pantera Capital’s Joey Krug. He said,
With Harbor, we could see things like funds tokenizing LP interest for illiquid asset classes, marrying the liquidity of markets with the illiquidity of the underlying assets owned by the fund. The infrastructure Harbor is building will unlock a range of new possibilities for capital markets,
Tokenizing Real-World Assets
Harbor aims wants to change the snail’s pace at which real estate transactions move in the US and the rest of the world in general. Harbor aims to take hard-to-trade assets like real estate and private equity and use blockchain technology to turn them into tokenized securities that comply with SEC regulations.
In essence, this means that the protocol tokenizes real-world assets and uses Ethereum smart contracts to ensure that investors can execute trades, only if they satisfy pertinent regulations, such as know your customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) requirements.
Normally, businesses have to be very careful about who they let buy these securities because they’re liable for a 20-year prison sentence if they violate SEC law. With Harbor, a white list of eligible owners is established by an outside law firm that takes responsibility, and Harbor’s smart contracts refuse to process an illegal sale. Harbor effectively implements securities law compliance like Know-Your-Customer and anti-fraud / mone -laundering into the tokens themselves, so trades can happen instantaneously without legal assistance on every sale.
Harbor is hoping to launch this Regulated Token (R-Token) system with its first client this summer. The tokens are ERC-20 compatible, so they can be sold on lots of cryptocurrency exchanges and stored in popular wallets.
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