Over the past several months our business development team has mainly focused on getting regulatory approvals in various jurisdictions for Uvas.com, a digital securities exchange developed by ATLANT, to offer its services to clients globally. By getting into fintech regulatory sandboxes and the GFIN initiative, we ticked a few boxes and paved the way for kickstarting UVAS in a single jurisdiction (initially), with the intention to grow as regulators better understand digital securities business, associated risks, and benefits, as well as impact UVAS could have on the emerging capital markets landscape. Although the 2020 pandemic somewhat shifted timelines for most regulators, we continue our work on getting approvals to launch UVAS in 2021. Even though most regulators we are talking to currently impose major restrictions and limitations on our most basic desired business model, we are conducting major education campaigns with several of them, to explain the benefits of tokenized securities, and try to make things work.
On the development front, our exchange engineering team has worked extensively on bringing institutional-grade features to UVAS so that we are able to accommodate institutional clients after getting approvals, and at the same time satisfy stringent regulatory requirements pertaining both to institutions and retail. We want to share our progress, key milestones and achievements, in terms of the platform’s technology & functionality:
As most institutional players that we have been discussing UVAS with have demonstrated a strong interest in basket trading (similar to index or ETF), hedging, as well as trading futures on indexes and options with digital assets as underlyings, we decided to make support for derivatives trading one of our top priorities for 2021. Based on prevalence of derivatives in traditional finance, from the trading volume and notional outstanding perspective, and the recent success of derivatives trading platforms in the crypto space, we believe that derivatives market can bring more added value to Uvas.com users, being one of the most desired features we received feedback on, from potential customers and institutional investors. Classic futures, perpetual futures, and European style cash-settled options had been developed internally for UVAS as a part of the derivatives epic we’ve been working on, over the past months. Essential modules including Risk Management, Liquidation Engine, Index Service had been implemented to allow for derivatives launch at UVAS as these are critical components integral for a derivatives market to properly function.
As an integral part of the derivatives epic, we put together a mechanism for an automated REPO market to work as part of the UVAS Exchange. REPO stands for Repurchase Agreement and is a form of short-term borrowing of securities or any other assets used to provide temporary lending opportunities that help to fund ongoing operations. In money markets it is a special instrument involving the purchase of securities with the agreement to sell them back at a specific date, usually for a higher price. This implies an interest paid to a lender who provides an asset to a borrower for a one-day period (daily REPO) with the exchange such as UVAS ensuring that REPO terms stand until the end of the agreement. UVAS intends to use the newly developed REPO market to make short-term borrowing available to customers willing to trade either spot instruments, futures or options. In brief, this will help enable shorting of securities in a compliant way, with collateral, as well as establish short term interest rates for digital assets.
Over the last few months we have been working on additional Exchange APIs apart from the existing FIX API, for UVAS to offer feature-rich connectivity options to external parties such as brokers, regulators, and other capital market participants. We have successfully designed and implemented REST and JSON-RPC APIs offering various public and private exchange methods, with support for multiple transport protocols (HTTP and WebSocket).
For those not familiar with the context, UVAS FIX API had been implemented in the previous development iterations with FIX protocol versions 4.4 and 5.0 currently supported by the Platform, as reflected in UVAS FIX API docs.
We have further enhanced compliance modules at UVAS, introducing additional risk criteria and risk factors apart from standard Country/IP checks. We believe that digital asset and securities business, especially one as global as ours, requires an exceptionally structured and nuanced compliance workflow, with multi-factor risk assessment at its core. The newly developed GeoIP & Compliance modules will help UVAS identify and eliminate potential threats well in advance to having to deal with bad actors. To keep current, we are also conducting further research in this area, partially with the help of major global compliance solution providers and their databases which we believe will boost UVAS’ security and credibility.
ATLANT Web Components
As mentioned in past Dev Updates, we made an effort to isolate a widget dashboard structure and create a standalone widget library. The resulting package dubbed WidgetStack has essentially become a dashboard widget mechanism and has been utilized by UVAS’ customer-facing part (front-end) since then. We have continued our work on this component to include not only the widgeting functionality but also most common front-end components used in ATLANT projects, which yielded the refined front-end library with common UI Kit components used at UVAS today. It is our intention for additions and enhancements to this library to soon appear in the production environment.
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With regards to Karta.com, a peer-to-peer rentals marketplace by ATLANT, we have successfully passed several important milestones over the past months, with most notable ones being:
We have added a rather unique feature called ‘Switches’, allowing guests to switch homes during their stay in a particular location, to get the best price and value for money. This feature has been inspired by multi-leg flights, which enable double-digit percent savings for travelers willing to switch flights on their way to their destination. For KARTA hosts, this is beneficial as it helps them fill the so-called ‘gaps’ — dates which remain empty on their booking calendar. Hosts are often ready to give special offers and discounts for these days — hence the discount & cost savings can be passed onto the guests willing to make these dates a part of their ‘Switch’. KARTA aims to dynamically match and combine these opportunities based on location, distance and guest preferences, to connect more hosts with guests looking for savvy options.
Pay-in and mass-payout provider integration
As KARTA facilitates both payments from guests and payouts to hosts, it has always been a priority to partner with and integrate pay-in and mass-payout providers. Key requirements when it comes to financial service companies offering such products are track record and proven reliability as well as capability of operating globally, with as many countries and currencies covered as possible. We have successfully partnered with Stripe, TransferWise and are in the process with several other financial service providers to both acquire inbound payments and process outbound payments in most global currencies, so that KARTA could be your go-to service wherever you choose to go.
Properly arranging search results is critical to any travel service and KARTA is no exception. We’ve done a lot of research and development on this front in an effort to bring the most relevant and cost effective options for guests searching for accommodation on KARTA. Multiple criteria are taken into consideration when processing a user search request to return a properly ordered set of available options with optional filters such as various preferences and switches/single home offers. Our smart engine tries to be predictive and anticipate the user’s current situation — deciding which kind of accommodations to show first, or whether a user could benefit from home switching for particular dates is done on the fly. Of course, we will be further refining KARTA’s home-grown smart search engine, and optimizing it with big-data once it is live.
Listing Provider Integration
As you may know, KARTA’s business model is similar to that of Airbnb or VRBO, meaning that when searching for offers we intend to target our own inventory, that is, an internal database of listings created by KARTA hosts. This differentiates us from the travel aggregator business model, where available offers are requested on demand from multiple external suppliers, mainly so called ‘bed banks’ and OTAs. From a business perspective, a diverse inventory portfolio with reasonable prices is key to KARTA’s success, which is something not trivial to achieve for new players or startups. Because of this, we partnered with several players in the bed bank and OTA space and kicked off API integrations to bootstrap KARTA from the very beginning, due to our currently modest size of own inventory of accomodations.
KARTA on mobile
We successfully released Karta.com mobile app for Android into Google Play, with the alpha version currently available to subscribers. At the moment, KARTA app is almost as feature rich as the web version, and allows not only searching for stays & performing bookings as a guest, but also managing properties and all of the booking request flows as a host.
Although the pandemic is not over yet and we’ve been trying to avoid announcing any specific launch dates, KARTA is closer to launch than many might think, with the project team mainly working on building out external inventory, a major remaining prerequisite to launching the service globally and also finalizing legal matters, as KARTA is a marketplace, and thus touches EU Payment Services Directive (PSD2).
ATLANT is a revolutionary global real estate platform enabling tokenization of real estate ownership and P2P rentals. The rapidly growing ATLANT team is both distributed and global. For additional details please visit https://atlant.io