Feeling Insecure About Security Token Offerings? Tour De Crypto Co-Founder Offers Sage [Legal] Advice
The cryptocurrency market last year meant that there were un/fortunately busy times to be had for investors and CEOs out there. The same is so true for the likes of Blake Rizzo, and he has been making sure that not even a crypto winter can chill his burning drive.
Rizzo's job history reads like an extensive menu in an overburdened restaurant, but that's by no means inhibited his ability in any of these capacities. Along with his ongoing responsibilities within the Charity organization – Tour De Crypto – which helps to provide much needed educational services to charities in the world, as well as the general population, when it comes to do with cryptocurrencies.
Along with this new altruistic institute, Rizzo has been hard at work with the Houston Blockchain Alliance as its executive director, providing legal counsel and advice to the team within the Litecoin Foundation, as well as operating as both a charity advisor and attorney for the decentralized platform that provides blockchain technologies and combines it with current innovations within social media – Rapids.
Now, with all of those various hats on the top of his head, you would think that there wouldn't be enough space to dab your profusely sweating brow, much less put on another one – and that's where we'd be wrong.
Along with all of these duties, Rizzo is working to offer legal counsel and advice to whoever is out there in need of it, Blak has since announced that he is opening a new law firm, one that has its eyes distinctly set on the ever-morphing, evolving, and innovating world that is blockchain. As someone whose specialty sits firmly in the blockchain world as a blockchain and digital security attorney, his firm's specialties consist of digital currencies, the tokenization of assets, and, a very recent addition to the blockchain world – Security Token Offerings (STOs).
A Bright [Legal] Torch In the Dark [Crypto] Jungle
Before he had managed to become thoroughly engrossed in the world of cryptocurrencies two years ago, Rizzo had a substantial amount of experience under his belt, with two decades practicing law, with even more experience in representing, and litigating on behalf of high-stakes, multi-million dollar organization on the platform of commercial and bankruptcy litigations.
Among his extensive portfolio of cases, some of them include litigation regarding securities, breaches of fiduciary duty, as well as deception with regards to trading practices. Now, for any other kind of lawyer, this would be their career path from that day henceforth, but Blake's burgeoning curiosity when it came to the world of cryptocurrency would have him walking down a tunnel and towards the bright light of blockchain and crypto.
It is during this period of his life that Rizzo went through what he went on to describe an epiphany of ‘life-changing' proportions, taking place during the World Crypto Conference of 2018. It was only as the last sessions of the event were underway, along with the beginning of the #CryptoKindness party, which took Rizzo into the bowels of the Omnia Night Club in the opulent Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
Rizzo would bring himself onto a lofty balcony overlooking the night sky of the ‘up and atom town' along with the team that would be known as the Tour De Crypto team, he looked off to the surrounding asphalt outstretch, specifically the Paris Casino Eiffel tower.
“As I stared off into the distance, it became clear to me that I was destined to completely immerse myself into the industry ,”
“It was at that moment that I decided to open my own law firm to focus on blockchain and digital securities work.”
From getting off the plane and returning to his practice on Monday, he made it clear to his partners two things – one being that he enjoyed the conference, the second being that he would be leaving the firm.
Since then, Rizzo went on to specify the fundamental objective behind his legal company – and that would be to help new and existing clients get through the whole process of establishing the blockchain based company, effectively create and market that same project, and finally go on to launch a Security Token Offering that adheres to the regulatory requirements attached to STOs.
“We’ve been through many failed ICOs and outright scams that tarnished the market,”
Rizzo went on to state that we can easily compare the STO market at the moment to the climate involved in the post-Pets.com age of the internet.
“Sound legal advice in the STO market is desperately needed and it’s exciting to be in on the ground floor of the most disruptive – and ultimately more powerful – technological shift since the internet.”
Security Tokens – The Next Step? Or A Sideways Move For Crypto?
It was during the last few years within the cryptocurrency market that we have seen a new stage of funding coming to space, and that being Security Tokens.
In stark comparison to the more conventional, and unsurprisingly controversial world of Initial Coin Offerings (ICO), this system of funding involving the issuance of utility tokens to an investor in exchange for the capital they provide. In contrast, a Security Token Offering is a token that provides a legitimate stake within the business or a certain amount of shares in the profits for the various token holders.
As we begin to see an uptick in the amount of alternative funding methods increasing, including Security Token Offerings, ICOs have been undergoing a slow yet steady decline in popularity as a means of funding since the 2017 hype. This is largely down to the proverbial Crypto Winter that follows after the long prodigious summer. The United States Securities and Exchange Commission, which has been leading crackdowns on surreptitious blockchain projects, while pushing others towards STOs.
There has been so much of a steady lean over towards STOs that, according to the founder of Elevated District Media, Michael Nye, who went onto Twitter to state:
“Listening to people pitch their STO’s right now. It sounds exactly like the 2017 ICO pitches.”
Nye's phrase has been met with an otherwise mixed audience, with some embracing the creative destruction that comes with the newfound rise of STOs, others are quite dubious as to what it means for the prospect of raising funds for blockchain initiatives.
While there is a split audience, there are more than enough out there that believe that these STOs will be able to provide, not only a significant amount of growth for the industry as a whole, while also adhering to the legal frameworks set out by the likes of the United States.
It is also believed that these tokenizes securities has all of the potential to blossom into a trillion dollar market, one of its boosters being Rizzo.
“The STO market is in its infancy right now,” he said. “This is no longer the ICO wild west. Companies must seek sound legal advice and assistance to make sure they are regulatorily-compliant throughout the entire process. Like many others, I do believe tokenised securities will evolve into a trillion dollar industry, but right now we must focus on infrastructure.”
Rizzo provides a range of services to his extensive list of clients. Some of which include offering them regular updates with regards to the developments within the Securities and Exchange Commission as well as the Commodities Futures and Trading Commission (CFTC).
Rizzo also goes on to state that the provision of these updates, along with advice on Know Your Customer and Anti Money Laundering compliance, whitepaper reviews, which include marketing materials, press releases, including offering an extensive review of business plans.
“When launching an STO, it’s important to hire a lawyer that understand tokenomics, is up-to-date on the quickly changing regulations and has access to the right platforms and people,”
Keeping Himself Well Occupied
With twenty years of more conventional legal experience, as well as a number of years in the blockchain and cryptocurrency market, Rizzo has managed to establish a significant number of relationships with highly influential individuals within the space, all of which he proves more than capable of bringing them to bear for his clients.
“I have assembled a great team of CPAs, marketers, and publicists from the blockchain and cryptocurrency space ready to help our clients take the fully compliant route to tokenization,”
When taking into consideration the fact that the blockchain and cryptocurrency market is a relatively young, and highly innovative marketplace, Rizzo makes it clear that it is a challenge in order to truly understand the level of work that he will receive from any number of industry professionals, startups and projects, but he is no concerns when it comes to the fact that he believes that there a number of STO deals coming up this year, with more to come.
“In the first month at my new firm, I began discussions with seven different groups about the tokenisation process,”
he told Crypto Briefing.
“Although the projects are in different stages, they all understand the need for a regulatorily compliant STO. I think the sentiment is the same across the industry and I imagine STO work being the linchpin for my firm.”
Along with all of this, Rizzo has been involved in talks with a number of people operating in Houston, Texas, with the aim of forming a total one-stop shop for token creators, as well as technical development, fundraising and compliance with the SEC.
Security Tokens have been gaining a significant enough regulatory scrutiny, there will never really be a shortage of potential clients seeking out some form of legal counsel, business guidance and understanding of the regulatory landscape.
If we thought that the average working week for Blake Rizzo was an intense one, then he will certainly be more than busy with this.