Photo: MyOutlets chairman Ronnie Faizal Tan and Danny Ee, advisor to HLD Technology's Haladinar token offering, at MyOutlets Global Halal Hub in Singapore on June 21, 2018. Salaam Gateway/Emmy Abdul Alim
*This story has been amended to clarify the text throughout that HLD Technology Pte Ltd, and not MyOutlets, has launched the Haladinar token
The team behind Singapore’s only all halal-certified supermarket launched on July 4 an initial offering of a new token for Haladinar, a planned blockchain-based marketplace.
HLD Technology Pte Ltd hopes to raise the equivalent of $86 million from the sale of 600 million new Haladinar tokens that will be supplied over three placements – the current private round, pre-ICO and public ICO.
The decentralised marketplace is scheduled to start early next year after conclusion of the token offering.
MyOutlets chairman Ronnie Faizal Tan told Salaam Gateway he is confident that people will participate in the token offering because of his plans for the halal decentralised marketplace as well as because of his five-year track record building the business.
“The marketplace that I have built offline already has a proven record. Most of the suppliers that I have, they have to come not only with products that are halal-certified, they also have to give me a halal certificate,” Tan told Salaam Gateway.
UTILTY TOKENS, REGULATIONS
The Haladinar token is run and managed by Singapore-based HLD Technology Pte Ltd.
The private placement of the Haladinar token is transacted in U.S. dollars and Singapore dollars, and the latter two will exchange Bitcoin and Ether with the new tokens.
HLD Technology has called the token offering an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), which may confuse some into believing the token is a security that is a tradable asset.
While the Haladinar tokens will be used within the planned Ethereum blockchain-based marketplace, HLD is not guaranteeing price appreciation or return on investment.
“[Haladinar] is purely a utility token with its ecosystem use and a medium of exchange within the ecosystem. Thus, we do not guarantee any price appreciation of tokens and any return of investment in buying this Haladinar token,” Danny Ee, advisor to HLD Technology, told Salaam Gateway.
Ee stressed that Haladinar is a utility token and not a security token.
“There are strict guidelines regarding security tokens according to Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) regulations,” said Ee.
In November 2017, the MAS issued guidance on the application of securities laws in relation to offers or issues of digital tokens in the country. Tokens that qualify as securities would fall under the securities laws administered by MAS.
A utility token can be marketed, sold and traded in Singapore without the need to comply with MAS’s security regulations. It is a digital token that can be used to purchase goods or services and in the case of Haladinar, it has true use value inside its own marketplace.
For people buying the Haladinar token during the offering period, they would do so in anticipation of its utility when the marketplace is deployed, according to Ee.
The Haladinar token sale agreement specifies: “Although Haladinar tokens may be tradable in the future, they are not an investment, currency, security, commodity, a swap on a currency, security or commodity, or any other kind of financial instrument, and does not represent an interest in [the company].”
“By the time it is available on exchanges for trading, the market force of demand and supply will determine its intrinsic value. Based on inflation and its ecosystem and market potentials, the value will eventually reach a higher market cap,” said Ee.
Singapore’s central bank keeps a close watch on digital token and coin offerings. On May 24, the MAS issued a warning to eight digital token exchanges in Singapore to not facilitate trading in digital tokens that are securities or futures contracts without the regulator’s authorisation.
MAS Assistant Managing Director (Capital Markets) Lee Boon Ngiap said at the time that the regulator does not see a need to restrict digital token exchanges and digital token offerings but it will keep a close watch and “take firm action” should any breach securities laws.
However, he warned in the statement: “The public should be aware that there is no regulatory safeguard if they choose to trade on unregulated digital token exchanges or invest in digital tokens that fall outside the remit of MAS’ rules.”
The Haladinar token will be used only within its own Ethereum blockchain-based marketplace.
“A lot of technology has been developed for decentralised marketplaces, or are in the process of being developed for decentralised marketplaces. What they did not foresee is: where are you going to get the anchor merchants and tenants to create a whole ecosystem to get everybody into it, how is the token going to be fully utilised if there’s no vibrancy, if there’s no ecosystem to create a hub of activity?” Ee told Salaam Gateway.
“Using the experience of the physical brick-and-mortar store and MyOutlets’s e-commerce (Haladeen) website that is currently in place, we want to take a step further, outside of Singapore, to establish virtual stores in major cities in full collaboration with local partners,” added Ee.
The Haladinar marketplace plans to serve business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C) and consumer-to-consumer (C2C).
“When we look at the whole ICO and the funds that we’re going to raise, part of the strategy is also to either partner with local partners to create a brick-and-mortar store or we will probably have to get involved heavily, as the anchor tenant, for the whole global marketplace,” added Ee.
60 percent of the targeted $86 million funds raised from the offer of tokens will be split equally between technical development and business development and marketing, 20 percent will go to operating expenses, and the remaining 20 percent allocated equally to reserves and costs covering administration, compliance and finance.
The planned marketplace will be based on a smart contract platform and will also include crypto wallets, Know Your Client (KYC) capabilities, global pre-paid cards, logistics partnerships, a payment system and multi-cryptocurrency wallet.
All listings within the Haladinar marketplace are free. Its revenue model will include advertising for buyers and sellers, a Shariah-compliant exchange, and an auction facility for pre-owned or high-value goods.
The plan has been outlined in a whitepaper launched with the token offering.
MyOutlets was established in April 2013 and in the following year opened an all halal-certified minimarket in Singapore. It consolidated its brick-and-mortar business into a 10,000-square foot supermarket it opened in late 2016.
The company has also made a push regionally. It runs one supermarket in Malaysia and through joint ventures it has set up three outlets in Japan and one in South Korea. It also exports to China through a joint venture with a local Chinese company.
MyOutlets also has a presence online with its e-marketplace called Haladeen that it launched in February last year. Tan told Salaam Gateway Haladeen has around 110,000 registered users.
Tan is projecting revenue of 36.5 million Singapore dollars ($26.8 million) this year for its combined domestic and international business. According to him, the company made around 12 million Singapore dollars last year, of which around 5.8 million Singapore dollars was earned locally.
He attributes the higher projected turnover for this year to the scheduled opening of two more outlets in Singapore in September and a bigger volume of exports to Malaysia, Japan and China.
Tan’s goal is to provide the blockchain-based marketplace for the world, saying that current halal e-commerce platforms, such as Malaysia’s DagangHalal and Zilzar, are not comprehensive in their services.
“The majority of services are not on the halal platforms. They are not platforms that I see can grow globally. Every country, for example, Turkey, has its own halal e-commerce. There is no standard, like for example Alibaba,” said Tan.
“Ultimately, the main intention for this whole exercise is: how can we bring halal products to the ummah?” Tan said.
“This is my main intention.”
($1 = 1.35 Singapore dollars)
(Reporting by Emmy Abdul Alim; Editing by Seban Scaria email@example.com)
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