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Archax gets UK FCA license for tokenized digital assets exchange

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Today Archax announced it received a license from UK regulator, the FCA. The startup aims to work with financial institutions to issue and list tokenized digital assets on its UK exchange.

The FCA license covers an exchange where at least 50% of issuers are small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as custody and brokerage. The company says it has 35 issuances in its pipeline and will launch later this year.

It’s using R3’s enterprise blockchain technology for post trade and has a partnership with Aquis for its matching engine.

Archax announcement

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Archax today announced becoming the first ever FCA regulated digital securities exchange and custodian in the UK. This important milestone for the emerging global digital securities ecosystem means, for the first time, digital issuances from across the world will be able to trade on an FCA authorised secondary market and institutions will have access to a credible regulated trading venue on which to engage with the digital securities space. At the same time, Archax has also become the first ever company to receive its FCA cryptoasset registration, and therefore become a fully compliant VASP (Virtual Asset Service Provider). This FCA registration was introduced earlier this year as part of the amended Money Laundering Regulations (5MLD) and is now mandatory for all cryptoasset firms.

David Lester, former Chief Strategy Officer of the London Stock Exchange Group and Advisor and Non-Executive Director at Archax, comments: “In the current global economic climate, providing new, efficient ways for small and medium sized businesses to access capital is key. Blockchain and tokenisation are innovations that can empower more frictionless and transparent markets which, combined with an FCA regulated exchange like Archax, can deliver what capital providers, business leaders and founders now really need. The launch of the Archax exchange will help bring the institutional and digital asset communities closer together, and open up a new era for the global financial markets space.”

Built by a team with deep traditional financial markets experience, Archax has been designed from the ground up to be a global, regulated, digital asset exchange targeted at institutions. Using class-leading matching engine technology and market surveillance from Aquis, and R3’s private, permissioned Corda blockchain for post-trade, Archax can easily integrate into existing trading workflows and delivers instantaneous real-time settlement. Archax’s FCA regulated exchange status will also give institutions the confidence that all the controls and processes needed and expected are in place.

Archax has been regulated by the FCA as an SME Growth Market, which means it can provide new efficient primary channels for capital raising, as well as a secondary market for digital instruments to trade. The authorisation covers three key areas: MTF (Multilateral Trading Facility) permissions, to allow it to operate the first ever regulated digital securities marketplace in London; CASS custody permissions, to allow it to offer a regulated custody service for both digital assets and client cash; and brokerage permissions, to allow it to face off to the widest range of participants.

Graham Rodford, CEO at Archax, adds: “We have been talking to the FCA for a while and the application process has been a tough journey, but we are pleased to have now achieved our first significant milestone as we prepare to launch the UK’s first FCA regulated digital securities exchange later this year. Our technology partners are second to none, we have a pipeline of 35 digital issuances in place, and we are signing up global brokers and market makers ready for go-live. This is an exciting moment for Archax and a great step in the evolution and legitimacy of digital securities globally.”

Digital securities take real-world assets, such as equity, debt or funds, and tokenise them using blockchain technology. This not only modernises and simplifies the capital raising process via disintermediation and removing frictions, but also helps facilitate liquidity in assets that are currently hard to trade. Digital securities also enable democratised participation through genuine fractional ownership and the creation of global secondary markets.

“Digitally native assets are not just about new financial instruments. They will also revolutionise all existing traditional financial markets in time too. They bring huge efficiencies from activities happening ‘on chain’, which will particularly benefit the post-trade space”, concludes Rodford.