Banking Investment News

Securities numbering agency sets up task force for digital assets

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Today, The Association of National Numbering Agencies (ANNA) announced a task force to examine the use of International Securities Identification Numbers (ISIN) for digital assets. These include tokens, cryptocurrencies and blockchain applications in the financial markets industry.

ANNA is a global governing body working with National Numbering Agencies, such as stock exchanges or central banks, in 120 countries. These organizations are responsible for issuing ISINs to financial instruments under the guidelines of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). ISINs are unique identifiers for securities, recognized internationally.

“With digital assets emerging as a new investment class, the availability of quality, standardized reference data will serve as the foundation for a trusted token market,” said Uwe Meyer, Executive Director and Secretariat at ANNA.

The goal of the task force is to assess the role and scope of ISINs for digital asset identification. It will also provide recommendations on the potential benefits of standardizing IDs for those such as asset-backed stablecoins, utility tokens, and hybrid tokens. Considering ANNA’s international role in securities, this task force may herald a new acceptance of tokenized assets in the conventional investment sphere.

Manuel Alonso, Convenor of the ANNA Technology Task Force said: “Potential institutional participants in the digital token ecosystem will need accurate, reliable, quality data attributes to make appropriate investment and trading decisions; much like participants in traditional financial markets have today. Issuers of digital tokens are in urgent need of trusted, machine-readable, ISO identifiers and related standards. We have set up the Technology Taskforce to assess the role that ISINs may take to help this process.”

Several ICOs have come under scrutiny from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for violating the securities law. The SEC has been quite rigid about cryptocurrencies and tokens, while other groups have been asking for new rules and regulations for them. For instance, commissioner Hester Peirce suggested that a safe harbor for digital assets would avoid them being classed as securities. But they would need standardization and identifiers like ISINs.

Many organizations are working on developing standards for blockchain. Last month, Moody’s highlighted the role of the ISO as the driving force for blockchain standards, saying they would benefit securitization. Meanwhile, the ISO is also working on a standard ISO307 for blockchain and distributed ledger technologies.