The world’s first bank to issue its shares on a distributed ledger

Sygnum has successfully tokenized its shares, becoming the world’s first bank to issue its shares on a distributed ledger. Tokenization of its own shares lays the foundation for their future public offering, which includes a potential dual listing in partnership with SIX Digital Exchange (SDX).

In a world’s first for a bank, Sygnum today announced the successful tokenization of its own shares using its in-house tokenization platform, Desygnate. Put simply, this means that digital representations of their shares, together with associated legal rights and obligations, have been created and are immutably accounted for on a distributed ledger.

Share tokenization: a fully-regulated, efficient model to raise capital

With tokenization, Sygnum’s share registry will continuously and automatically update itself whenever capital increases or share transfers occur, allowing the bank to manage primary and secondary market transactions in a fully digital manner. This eliminates the need for buyers to inform the bank to manually update its shareholder registry, and does away with lengthy cash settlement processes, thus minimizing counterparty risk. This also eliminates the administrative burden of written form requirements for the transfer of shares between buyers and sellers, facilitating faster and more efficient secondary market transactions.

This milestone was achieved using their own institutional-grade tokenization platform, Desygnate. The platform aims to provide corporates a fully regulated, efficient and potentially more inclusive model to raise capital as compared to traditional options, such as IPOs. Desygnate has been designed to be fully compatible with the new Swiss DLT law which enters into force from February 2021.

This successful tokenization also lays the foundation for Sygnum to eventually go public. For its future public offering, Sygnum is currently exploring several strategies in its home markets of Switzerland and Singapore, including a potential dual listing with ecosystem partner SIX Digital Exchange (SDX) in Zurich, and also with the Singapore-based digital exchange partnership between SDX and SBI Digital Asset Holdings.

Reimagining client and shareholder engagement models

Aside from the advantages outlined above in handling primary and secondary market transactions, the Swiss bank will also leverage the smart contract capabilities of its tokenized shares to enable the full potential of stakeholder relationships. For example, Sygnum could reward long-term shareholders and clients with tokenized micro-shares via a micro-shares program, encouraging closer engagement and incentivising them to refer new investors and clients. These shares can be viewed in a consolidated wealth report in each shareholder’s segregated bank account, alongside cash deposits, cryptocurrencies, other asset tokens as well as their settlement token, the Digital CHF.

This demonstrates the potential for distributed ledger technology to add value beyond what traditional securities can provide, transforming clients and business partners into engaged co-owners.

“We are excited to be the first bank in the world to tokenize our shares. This is an important milestone towards fulfilling our mission of creating more direct and efficient access to ownership and value. This includes new engagement models with our clients and partners, and ultimately providing liquidity for our trusted shareholders.” – Mathias Imbach, Sygnum Bank AG Co-Founder & Group CEO Designate

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