On my future-minded podcast Metaverse, I was recently joined by Daniel Coheur, co-founder and chief commercial officer at Tokeny Solutions, a Luxembourg-based company that advises clients how to benefit from adopting blockchain technology. Their mission is to increase business efficiency, enforce global compliance obligations, automation and competitive advantage – this year, they were voted number one in Luxembourg’s ‘Top FinTech Startups.’ Before Tokeny, Daniel worked for a variety of different companies across the start-up and tech sectors such as Melio and Syniverse Technologies.
In our conversation, we touched on how Daniel found his way into blockchain, and he explained how utility tokens translate to real-life use and how Tokeny facilitates compliance. Essentially, Bitcoin is a permissionless blockchain, but in finance, there are far more conditions than just delivery versus payment – each country has specific rules and conditions with which one must comply. Tokeny came up with the standard called a T-Rex, which replaces the permissionless transfer function on an ERC 20, allowing them to service any type of asset in any type of legislation with any form of regulation.
We covered the complexities Tokeny had to address in working with Monaco, which has highly-regulated, specific rules for compliance. It was key for their government to be able to control transfers and ensure full visibility on token holders, so in addition to the T-Rex, Tokeny developed a solution that enabled the government to identify market participants on the blockchain. Adding an identity system to the blockchain enables the government to identify the country of residence or any form of restriction that could apply to investors, ensuring compliance in what could otherwise be the digital Wild West.
Looking towards wider adoption and the future of the industry, Daniel asserted the importance of ridding the space of acronyms to ensure this new technology is attractive to the general public, as transparency is key. He stressed that we need to make it easier for more people to invest in blockchain, and how we need to educate the public, which in general doesn’t fully understand how the blockchain works – but there’s always a learning curve with new technologies.
Pivoting to NFTs, Daniel noted their potential to revolutionise the way copyrights are enforced and collected, which is especially important to musical artists, who under current old-fashioned methods are unlikely to get much revenue. He expanded on blockchain’s potential more broadly to completely alter the way we do business, and drastically impact the world of finance, as it will remove all the intermediaries we’re accustomed to working through in our present system, which was developed to be secure by not sharing information. This digitalisation of the financial ecosystem, in Daniel’s option, is the “next big thing” – but this will require big changes in infrastructure, both in large companies that are often resistant to change and in governments.
When asked about the role of government in the crypto revolution, Daniel quipped that the old adage holds – it’s “better to ask for forgiveness than permission.” Given the rapid pace of technological advancement, it’s up to regulators to meet this changing space as it evolves. Surprisingly, he notes how quickly legislation is being adapted to account for these changes. Flexibility and the willingness to change is going to be key to those who want to keep up with the proverbial Joneses.
As usual, we concluded with some views towards what’s next: Daniel believes we’ll see business models continue to evolve, integrating more ways to preserve value for digital assets. He posits we’re likely to see a lot of positions for Chief Blockchain Officer opening up in big companies soon.
It was exciting to learn about Daniel’s cutting-edge work in bringing blockchain to the finance world. To hear more of our conversation, you can listen to the episode here.