September 2021 | Cashlink is one of the pioneers in the field of holistic tokenisation solutions. The Frankfurt-based FinTech is actively shaping the future of the blockchain-based capital market and has accompanied numerous renowned Security Token Offerings (STO). As part of the partnership between the winner of the FinTech Germany Award 2020 and neoFIN, Cashlink co-founder and CEO Michael Duttlinger answers our questions.
neoFIN: Hi Michael, thank you for answering our questions!! Would you like to briefly introduce yourself and your career?
Michael Duttlinger: Hi, thanks for the invitation! And yes, of course – I have been passionately interested in entrepreneurship and innovation ever since I can remember. I was already intensively involved with these topics during my industrial engineering studies at KIT, which ultimately led me to where I am today.
neoFIN: How did you get involved with blockchain and what fascinates you about tokenisation?
Michael: As a technology-savvy founder, I have always been fascinated by the possibilities of the blockchain. Fed up with paper-based, slow and expensive central registers like the trade register, we were one of the pioneers to tokenise our own company first – to give investors a simple, digital stake in us that is also easily transferable. This was the first tokenised profit participation right in Germany.
We realised that tokenisation was going to become a huge market. And above all that players in the financial industry would have a need for tokenisation infrastructure. What particularly fascinated me then, and still does, is the diversity of tokenisation. If you look at the development of Cashlinks, you can see that everything is possible. From corporate participation to our current end-to-end software-as-a-service solution for tokenised securities.
neoFIN: Let’s move on to your company. What exactly does Cashlink do and how do you differentiate yourselves from the competition?
Michael: As I told you earlier, Cashlink offers holistic tokenisation solutions. We provide our customers with all the tools, services and licences they need. The result is an easy and regulated access to the blockchain-based capital market 2.0. Here, we work in particular with banks and investment platforms, i.e. with a B2B2X approach. As a matter of principle, we only count traditional capital market participants among our competitors – where the difference is obvious. But this should not be misunderstood. Our goal is not to replace the old world. It is rather to complement their services and core businesses in order to offer an improved solution to end clients. In addition, we help our clients to secure a leading position in the DLT-based capital market.
neoFIN: Along the way, you have indeed made an impressive pivot from payment service provider in 2018. How did that come about?
Michael: Due to regulatory conditions, the market environment in the payment sector changed significantly – we quickly realised that blockchain would create a much more attractive market with better opportunities for us. The topic of tokenisation was then the complete game-changer. After initially focusing purely on issuing tokenised company shares, we gradually moved from niche to niche. So we climbed the ladder of tokenisation products – until we arrived at our current product. The whole journey has shown us again that you have to be flexible as a startup because the capital landscape is constantly changing. So the pivot wasn’t that big of a surprise.
neoFIN: Since then, you have realised numerous well-known STOs, such as Tomorrow or BTC-Echo. Inevitable question: Where do you see the STO market in the next five to ten years? Will digital securities completely replace the classic share at some point?
Michael: Yes, there have been some really exciting projects. I think that in the next five to ten years, the traditional securities account will be replaced by blockchain-based custody. Distributed ledger technology has permanently changed the capital market. The new Electronic Securities Act (eWpG) in particular is making a significant contribution to this development. The German government also spoke precisely of a new law for shares that can be issued electronically. So it won’t remain mere mind games. We at Cashlink will definitely be at the forefront of developments and help shape the whole thing in Germany.
neoFIN: Thank you very much for your input and good luck!
Michael: Thank you and here’s to good cooperation!