The future of digital asset securitization with Smart Valor’s Olga Feldmeier
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The future of digital asset securitization with Smart Valor’s Olga Feldmeier

Over the next few weeks, we will continue sharing our series of conversations with founders and technologists at Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal. To hear more, subscribe to all those conversations on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify, or via RSS on your podcast app of choice.

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Security tokens — that is, digital versions of financial securities — and the exchanges where they are traded are driving a new, decentralized way model of asset exchange. To understand this new financial infrastructure, we spoke with Smart Valor co-founder and CEO Olga Feldmeier during the Web Summit conference in Lisbon for the What’s NEXT podcast.

Olga has embarked on a mission to enable the securitization of digital assets in a simple and easy way using blockchain technology. Her vision is to go beyond cryptocurrencies and turn real-world assets, such as real estate, into token-based digital assets that can be exchanged.

A new digital asset exchange
The securitization and exchange of digital assets can open new possibilities for international money transfers. “If you were to send me money from the US to Switzerland it will probably take three or four days, costing us a fortune,” Olga said.

She predicts cryptocurrencies that run on a decentralized network will speed up the process. “What this means is money travels instantly. If you send me a Bitcoin, I’ll have it in several minutes,” she said.

But cryptocurrencies have a problem in their current incarnation: Their value can be highly volatile. The solution, Olga said, are stable coins that offer the stability of fiat currencies and the decentralized benefits virtual currencies provide. “That means that you can send me money instantly with no volatility and almost zero cost,” she said.

Alternative funding options for startups
That’s not all. Olga also predicted that secure and decentralized trading of digital assets will change decades-old funding models. She illustrated the change with an example of a young startup company that’s growing, but not yet ready for an IPO.

According to Olga, cryptocurrency and tokenization will provide new ways for companies to raise money. “We can help companies issue their shares in the form of a token,” she said. “Tokens can be distributed globally among its followers or investors. Tokens are also on the blockchain, so it’s easily transferable instantly. I can send it to you and you can have it in a second. Not the same as a share that I sell to my bank, who exchanges it to your bank, which takes three-plus days and costs a lot of money.”

Tokens provide a peer-to-peer platform for transferring ownership of any asset. “The advantage is they become liquid,” Olga said. “You can have a liquid market of financial rights in a company that is alternative to IPO or exchanges.”

From banking to crypto
Olga, who worked at Barclays Investment Bank in London and UBS in Switzerland, said that traditional banks no longer view cryptocurrency companies as a threat. “Now a lot of banks work with crypto companies, ” she said. “Look at us, We were incubated in Thomson Reuters. One of the largest financial information companies. So I think the future will be a lot more collaborative between those two camps.”

Explaining the rationale behind these collaborations, she added that “what banks don’t have, we have.” The new ecosystem could enable exchanges to use blockchain network infrastructure to provide financial and banking services. And that’s a big deal, said Olga.

Regulatory hurdles
Olga expects opposition to blockchain networks to come from some countries, particularly those with corrupt governments.

“[They] abuse their people through hyperinflation and try to prevent an outflow of capital,” she said, “This is the reason why a lot of countries are trying to prohibit Bitcoin. The point is, they can’t do anything about it. They can prohibit it, but computers are running on decentralized networks.”

That said, Olga expects decentralized technologies to reach the new markets in third world nations that currently have no banking services. Moreover, she predicted a future where, if not cryptocurrencies, some kind of electronic currency exchange technology will scale worldwide.

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