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Cetif Advisory Together with Reply, Fireblocks and Linklaters to build the first ecosystem for Institutional DeFi in Italy and Europe

Edited by Reply.com
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Edited by Reply.com

Cetif Advisory - consulting spinoff of Cetif, a research center ofUniversità Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan - continues the journey of studying and concretely experimenting with Security Tokens, extending the scope of analysis of this innovative type of financial instrument to the fast-growing context of Decentralized Finance (DeFi) and, in particular, to the emerging context of Institutional DeFi.

From the collaboration of Cetif Advisory as leader and promoter, with partners Fireblocks platform enabler, Reply for the development of the technological solution and Linklaters for legal and tax support, the ecosystem project Institutional DeFi For Security Token was launched, with the aim of creating the first Italian ecosystem for the experimentation of Institutional DeFi, enhancing the Security Token tool for the secondary market. 

Cetif Advisory led the collaboration between digital asset direct custody platform Fireblocks, technology developer Reply, and legal and tax advisor Linklaters to launch the Institutional DeFi for Security Token ecosystem, with the goal of enhancing the Security Token tool for the secondary market.

DeFi is an innovative financial trend based on decentralized protocols (enabled by Blockchain permissionless technology and smart contracts) that aim to replicate existing financial services in an inclusive and transparent manner. However, right now DeFi services are mainly adopted by retail investors who operate in a natively deregulated environment without protections and are exposed to significant risks. In order to also enable institutional figures to act in this typically unregulated and permissionless environment, platforms are being developed that allow institutions to interact within DeFi while meeting stringent regulatory compliance requirements. 

The purpose of the Institutional DeFi ecosystem project is to develop a platform that enables institutional players to act in this environment within the guidelines and regulatory requirements, while offering their clients financial services typical of the DeFi ecosystem, drastically limiting risk and maintaining significant returns, while respecting all stakeholders.

A survey on the topic of DeFi conducted by Cetif Advisory , with leading financial institutions-between June and October 2022-indicates that the DeFi paradigm has been actively analyzed for at least a year (81 percent), is by no means considered a transitory or overrated phenomenon (81 percent), and for the entire sample the main obstacle toward approaching and adopting DeFi is the lack of regulatory framing. 

Confirming the focus on DeFi, almost all financial institutions surveyed believe that not studying DeFi means losing a strategic advantage (92 percent). At the same time, 100% agree that DeFi will enable industry innovation and create new financial services, and 92% see DeFi as a tool for creating new business models.

The more than 20 institutions that participated in the survey also shared that the use cases of greatest interest for early concrete experiments with a view to Institutional DeFi are custody services and decentralized exchange using AMM and Liquidity Pool.

Following the valuable indications that emerged from the research, Cetif Advisory together with Fireblocks, Reply and Linklaters, kicked off the ecosystem project Institutional DeFi for Security Token unique of its kind in Italy and Europe, involving some of the most important banks, SGRs and players in the Italian financial landscape such as: AcomeA SGR - Gimme 5, Euromobiliare AM SGR, Banca Mediolanum, Banca Sella, Banca Popolare di Sondrio, Credem, Hype, Intesa Sanpaolo and Mediobanca. The project remains open to the entry of any other interested financial institutions in the next two months.

"We believe it is vitally important to create the conditions so that DeFi can become a safe and open operating environment for supervised entities as well ," explained Imanuel Baharier, General Manager of Cetif Advisory , " We believe that there can be tremendous benefits for the entire financial system from such an opening, in terms of safety and security for Institutional and professional operators and in terms of opportunity, balance and resilience for the entire system.

Initial co-design meetings are currently underway with participants of the platform, which will be tested in an ecosystemic and precompetitive manner starting in September 2023.