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Security token offerings (STOs for short) are fundraising tools that are similar to ICOs and are quickly gaining a lot of popularity in the business world. The difference between the ICOs and the STOs is that there are specific regulations that hold token issuers accountable when actions are taken.
The STOs are different than the utility tokens as they generate specific security tokens that operate completely within legal boundaries and are digital assets.
The Security Token
In order to properly understand what an STO is and the associated requirements, we have to first understand what the security token is.
The token is official security in the event that profit is expected from the effort put in by others. When an ICO does not follow specific regulations, penalties appear. In the event that all regulations are met, tokens become highly usable.
At the core, a security token is a contract, an investment that shows legal ownership of a digital or physical asset, like ETFs, real estate and so on. Ownership has to be verified through the use of blockchain technology and even KYC (Know Your Business) technology. When ownership is verified, the holder of the security token is allowed to:
- Trade tokens in exchange for other assets.
- Store tokens in another wallet.
- Use tokens as collateral in the event a loan is desired.
A security token’s true value can be found in how ownership is redefined. Assets can be democratized and then distributed among people. As an example, instead of one person owning a single gold coin, which is really expensive for most people, 1000 people can own different fractions of the coin.
Security Token Regulations
Security tokens are almost always subject to strict federal security regulations. Because of this, compliance always exists. In the US, three regulations have to be respected by security tokens: D, A+ and S.
Regulation D is all about checking investors to be accredited. At the same time, provided information during solicitation has to be completely free from misleading or false statements.
Regulation A+ is an exemption that allows creators to offer security that is SEC-approved to investors that are non-accredited. This is possible through general solicitation of up to $50 million.
Regulation S is activated in the event that the STO appears in a country that is not the USA. In this case, registration requirements that are needed for the US companies do not have to be respected. Even so, the creators have to follow security regulations that are issued by the country where tokens are to be executed.
Keep in mind that all the regulations mentioned above are just summaries and there are many other things that could be mentioned. There are some really strict regulations and laws that are associated with STOs and blockchain technology. Because of this, you need to get deeper and analyze everything that is associated with STO compliance. In so many situations people invest without knowing anything about the company they choose. This is a huge mistake. You should only invest when you are sure the STO respects all mandatory regulations.
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Many organizations find it difficult to keep on top of the increasing amount of records their organisation generates. In order to keep up to date with the fast paced digital world and shift from paper records to digital ones, it is crucial for businesses to implement a recordkeeping policy and utilize a records management system (RMS) to support that policy. An RMS is a specific software solution fit for the purpose of controlling organizational records, which is a requirement of every business, regardless of their size (consider tax returns, financial statements and employment records). Government organisations have an even higher standard of recordkeeping to ensure transparency to the public.
The Benefits of a Records Management System
Implementing a records management system offers many benefits to organisations. An effective RMS will make it easier to locate documents and records, thereby improving operational efficiency. When information is more readily available, it provides decision makers with more data to make better business decisions. A records management system will also provide a further layer of security to protect organisational data, which will help to prevent accidental data breaches and the risk of being hacked. The system will provide a backup of information in case of a disaster and will help organisations to comply with their legislative recordkeeping responsibilities.
Another key feature that makes a records management system the tool of choice for managing records, is the ability to apply classification and retention and disposal policies. Most organisations tend to over save their information for fear or deleting it prematurely. This in itself can cause its own set of risks by making too much information available in the event of a litigation. Therefore, appropriately disposing of records when its due is imperative; functionality that every RMS offers.
Many of the latest solutions such as HP TRIM records management, come with an advanced set of features such as scanning for digitization of records, audit trails for metadata requirements, zero-footprint web browser accessibility, integration with key line-of-business applications such as Office 365 and SharePoint, data encryption for improved information security, and workflow capabilities to support business process automation.
The Benefits of a Records Management Policy
A records management policy lays the foundation for an effective records management in organisations. The policy will demonstrate to employees and stakeholders that managing records is important and a requirement of all employees. It will provide a statement of intentions and mandate that underpins the records management program, and will provide a framework for procedures, business rules and retention and disposal schedules.
Major Elements That Must Be Covered in a Records Management Policy
When developing a records management policy, approach the project in a systematic manner. Develop a project plan and gain support from senior management. This is an important step as projects that don’t have support are often ignored and lose traction. Consult staff at all levels as well as stakeholders, as they will more often than not, have helpful insights and recommendations. Take time to research and understand current business practices, organisational challenges, legislative requirements and existing policies.
An effective policy is thorough but concise, making it easy to understand the organisation’s stance on records management, and what is expected of the entire team. The following elements of records management policy should be considered as a starting point for your policy’s development.
- Purpose – State the purpose and who has authorised the policy
- Scope – The kinds of records that are covered by this policy and where responsibilities lie
- Goals and Objectives – Ensure they are clearly defined so that employees understand why records management is important
- Rationale – Communicate the motivation and justification for the policy and an ideal area to list applicable standards and legislation
- Define terms – This will ensure everyone uses and understands the same language relating to records management
- Policy requirements or procedures – This is the nitty gritty of the policy, where procedures are laid out
- Responsibilities – Assigning responsibilities according to organisational role will help to establish accountability
Records management is one of the most complicated and increasingly important duty that companies faces. Every business needs to stay ahead of the regulatory and technology curves to ensure their recordkeeping is as efficient as possible. Implementing a records management policy and system such as HP TRIM to support it, will help to jumpstart your efforts.
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Launching a tech startup for the first time is a daunting undertaking. There is so much to learn! However, it is a well-trodden path and the knowledge and processes are out there to guide the new founder. Here are just five of the ways to fast-track to a successful launch;
Startup Academies– There are many academies for startups, mainly in the main startup hotspots. Some of them make a modest charge, others like Dreamstake Academy, are free to attend. It is a great way to learn the ropes from experts in subjects like Product Development, Business Modelling, Business Plans, Legals and Accounting.
Forums – Share a question on a forum and you will find that other entrepreneurs will be happy to share their experience with you, mostly. You’ll no doubt get you fair share of snark, but there are a lot of helpful people as well.
Mentors and investors – They say that if you want investment, ask for advice. If you want advice, ask for investment! I wouldn’t advise the latter, but investors and mentors are a great source of advice and early discussions with them can build relationships that later bring funding.
Libraries – The larger business libraries are often the best centralised resource for market research. The British Library – Business and IP Centre provides a great free service to entrepreneurs, from legalities of business types to share splitting, good spreadsheet practice to IP claims.
Other founders – There is nothing better than talking to someone who has been there and done it before. It is extremely useful to study the successes and failures of other internet entrepreneurs. It is especially useful to learn from mistakes. Attend events such as Startup Stories to hear of experiences first-hand.
Remember that doing a startup is a journey with a series of logical steps and the critical success factors are well defined. They can therefore be learned. Too many startup founders try to re-invent the wheel rather than focus on launching their own venture using tried and tested methodologies. Don’t be afraid to ask, there are always others willing to offer advice.
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