How tokenization is transforming real-world assets on the blockchain

Our world is full of untapped real-world assets. From real estate, gold reserves, fine art to agriculture, tangible items have been difficult to subdivide or physically transfer. So investors have traded these assets on paper, which is slow, complicated and expensive. These trades are also more difficult to track due to the regulatory nature of paper transactions, especially when it involves cross-border legislation.

Tokenization is a revolutionary new process, where real-world assets become digital tokens on the blockchain. By switching to a digital system, investors can liquefy real-world assets while retaining the characteristics of the asset.

Why Tokenize “Real World” Assets?
Blockchain tokenization is forged through smart contracts and allows for the secure transfer of real-world assets such as property or vintage cars. By dividing these assets into digital tokens, which are equivalent to the value of the real world asset, the blockchain makes it possible to trade without third-party brokers, as its encrypted transactions are immutable.

Until recently, there have been no go-to platforms for tokenizing real-world assets, and with the emergence of new marketplaces, the access to liquidity is now endless. The opportunity tokenization offers private wealth managers, and high net investors cannot be overstated. The World Economic Forum predicts that over the next ten years, 10% of the world’s GDP will be stored in crypto assets.

That means an astonishing $10 trillion of financial products and services will become digital tokens.

What are blockchain “security tokens”?

Security tokens on the blockchain are a liquidized form of a real-world asset, commodity (like those representing money) or intangible items (i.e., a Hollywood’s star brand name or copyrights).

Tokens allow investors to have security, speed, and ease of transfer, secured behind a real-world asset. While this is not necessarily a new concept, it’s certainly evolved after the advent of blockchain and tokenization. It’s now much easier to trade and exchange liquidized real-world assets than in the past.

Many investors already own lucrative illiquid assets — whether its real estate or agriculture to traditional investment products such as bonds or venture capital. One aspect of the tokenization process is allowing investors to trade previously fixed assets that until recently have been difficult and costly to purchase.

How does it work?
Let’s say an investor wants to tokenize a luxury hotel; they can create a tradable security token and put the hotel into a legally binding trust. After the hotel has gone into liquidity it will have multiple token holders, who now collectively own the asset. The hotel’s security tokens are then stored on a blockchain smart contract and served as collateral. If multiple investors co-own the hotel, then the smart contract becomes ‘multi-signature.’ Smart contracts are an algorithmic software license, which verifies the terms and conditions, in a conflict-free manner without third-party interference.

The token holders’ agreement will be encrypted and distributed equally, so their legally binding agreement cannot be lost or changed without their permission. Changes can only take place when both or all stakeholders agree on a given matter, which will help cement trust and security amongst investors.

Key benefits of tokenization

  • Investors can trade real-world assets that due to their low liquidity would have been difficult to exchange in the past.
  • Tokens enhance the liquidity of previously hard assets with real estate being the prime example, with its low liquidity and large share of the global asset market.
  • Asset tokenization reduces barriers and will attract new investors through fractional ownership, as they can own a percentage of a real-world asset and repackage it with traditional bonds or hedge funds to resell in crypto marketplaces.
  • Tokenization increases portfolio diversification and spreads risk as investors can now co-own multiple assets at once.
  • Tokenization is a seamless process and speeds up previously difficult and costly trades by reducing administrative expenses through self-authorizing smart contracts, improving the speed of settlements.

Tokenization promises to democratize and open up investment to new parties, and unlike many cryptocurrencies, it has the security of having real-world assets behind them. Going forward, security tokens, as a tradable asset, will play a transformative role in wealth management firms for years to come.

About the Author
Gregory Van den Bergh: The inventor of China’s first robo-advisor system, Gregory, an Oxford and Harvard Graduate with experience in Private Wealth Management, including one of the largest hedge funds in the world. Gregory is co-founder and CEO of Bankorus, the first AI-powered crypto-wealth management platform built using blockchain technology. For more information, please visit: https://www.bankorus.com/


How tokenization is transforming real-world assets on the blockchain was originally published in Fintech Weekly Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Subscribe to our weekly newsletter was originally published in Fintech Weekly Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Regulators should help, not hinder, the rise of virtual currencies

The news that the G20, the grouping of leading economies of the world, has decided to start monitoring virtual currencies has put some cryptocurrency enthusiasts in a spin.

by Antoni Trenchev, Nexo

The Financial Stability Board, led by Bank of England governor Mark Carney, which makes recommendations to the G20, announced this week (Mon July 16) that it has put forward a framework for monitoring cryptocurrency assets. It has presented a list of metrics that the board says “should help to identify and mitigate risks to consumer and investor protection, market integrity, and potentially to financial stability”.

The monitoring efforts will focus on crypto assets’ price volatility, the size and growth of initial coin offerings (ICOs), crypto’s wider use in payments and institutional exposure, as well as the market’s volatility when compared to gold, currencies and equities.

While crypto-anarchists baulk at any interference from traditional regulators or authorities, virtual currencies need wider understanding and hopefully, acceptance, if they are to emerge from the shadows. This is true of any new technology. Growth accelerates when they become mainstream, rather than, as crypto currencies are now, the occasional butt of bankers’ jokes.

And the fact remains that there have been Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) that have not delivered on their promises, creating neither a realistic product nor value for investors. It is heartening that the G20 has not been advised to crack down on blockchain currencies, commenting instead “that crypto-assets do not pose a material risk to global financial stability at this time it recognizes the need for vigilant monitoring in light of the speed of market developments.”

While many tokens are worthless, there are a few that have gained currency among investors. Bitcoin and Ethereum are the best-known tokens and are becoming recognised as currencies in their own right.

A new generation of fintech companies are bridging the gap between the crypto world and the financial system. These companies are bringing the benefits of blockchain to a more traditional world. An acceptance of the technology, greater liquidity, and an embrace of the opportunities will benefit both virtual and fiat currency holders.

These hybrid companies typically issue another class of token, known as security tokens, and these are increasingly viewed like stocks and shares. Many believe that these security tokens, rather than the blockchain currencies, will become the conduit for Wall Street capital to enter the digital token space.

For this to happen, investors need more clarity from regulators and the G20 move is a positive first step in this direction. Some countries have gone even further.

South Korea and Thailand are at the forefront in becoming safe havens for digital assets. Thailand has approved seven digital coins to trade in the local market, while South Korea is developing a local banking regulation model.

Cryptocurrency and blockchain — two words never heard by central bankers less than five years ago — are becoming mainstream, heard even in the corridors of the Bank of England.

Greater liquidity and transparency will greatly reduce the risk associated with digital currencies. It will also be a boon for the major players. The G20’s introduction of a monitoring framework is an important first step towards public confidence in the trade of security tokens.

Antoni Trenchev is a founder and managing partner of Nexo, the first instant crypto-backed lender


Regulators should help, not hinder, the rise of virtual currencies was originally published in Fintech Weekly Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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A much needed reality check about blockchain

Blockchain is often upheld as a disruptive revolution that will dramatically change the way we conduct transactions on the internet. Its rise has generated somewhat of a ‘buzz’ throughout the technological landscape and many claim it will transform the financial industry and potentially the world.

by NashTech

However, despite the hype, there hasn’t been much in terms of genuine risk-taking, nor have we seen much of the revolution that was promised. Blockchain’s popularity could be described as Abraham Maslow’s hammer; ‘if it’s the only tool you have, you have to treat everything as if it were a nail’. In this case, while blockchain is a new and unexplored territory, it’s wise to resist the urge to delve in head first. Instead, decision makers should carefully evaluate the potential capabilities of blockchain and decide if it’s the right ‘tool’ for the job.

With everyone eager to be a pioneer and an early adopter of blockchain, rollout pilots have been rushed and have developed from fear to necessity. While innovation shouldn’t be hindered, those who are eager to implement such technology should give themselves a much-needed reality check.

There is no denying that blockchain has enormous, transformative potential. It is currently shaking up the finance sector and multiple other industries ranging from healthcare, energy and automotive and has many benefits to businesses, such as:

A good example of a company reaping the benefits of blockchain is Belgium’s Port of Antwerp, who have recently teamed up with T-Mining on a pilot project. They are currently using blockchain technology to make container handling more efficient and secure.

By employing blockchain, they can securely digitise transactions between terminals, carriers, forwarders, shippers and drivers without interference from mediators. This is creating a much more streamline production system.

Furthermore, through replacing the paper-based system with blockchain, and using a distributed ledger model, transactions can proceed with only the agreement of all participating parties, resulting in the reduction of the need for redundant communications or documentation and diminishing the possibility of fraud or unauthorised handlings.

The reality of blockchain

While we acknowledge the evident benefits of blockchain technology businesses should keep in mind at its most basic, blockchain is an alternative application of .NET and not a ‘one fits all’ magic solution.

2018 will be a crucial year when determining blockchain’s future, development and longevity. Currently blockchain is the ‘hot topic’ of the moment and spending is high, with IDC calming there will be $2.1 billion spent globally on blockchain during the year. Moreover, LinkedIn is reporting a 3x rise in the number of blockchain job offers.

Furthermore, one Juniper Research survey that reached out to over 400 company founders, managers, executives, and other officials, discovered 6 out of 10 large corporations are considering employing blockchain technology and some are actively developing their own applications. But therein lies the problem, many blockchain journeys are in their infancies. This makes discussion about their benefits hypothetical and therefore hard to measure.

Tim Swanson, head of research at R3CEV points out further problems with blockchain technology. He recognises many companies are trying to create their own specific blockchains, thus defeating one of the key benefits of the technology; the decentralised network, “There have been a few different start-ups trying to create basically their own blockchains with specific use-cases. In our view we feel that kind of defeats the purpose of having a network itself because it just recreates silos.”

In saying that, an SAP survey of 200 senior business leaders, supply chain managers, innovation /strategy officers and business analysts, shows that demand for blockchain is high. According to the survey 92% view blockchain as a big opportunity and 96% believe blockchain will improve compliance of companies. However, the same survey revealed only 3% were currently using blockchain in a project today. This demonstrates how blockchain is viewed as a system of trust but currently there remains a great deal of caution and lack of pioneering.

No-one can deny the possibilities of blockchain. However, as with other forms of technology, it does come with its limitations. As well as this, lack of understanding of blockchain’s purpose outside of the banking industry impedes investment and explorations of ideas.

One of blockchain’s main downfalls is the lack of current scalability. The longer a specific blockchain is in use, the longer its chain gets. This leads to an increased need for storage infrastructure across its full network nodes that store a copy of the chain.

Furthermore, as blockchain is praised for its decentralised, peer-to-peer network, there are often complications that go alongside this structure. First, the blockchain network is only aware of what is inside the network itself, any outside information is not considered and would need to be manually integrated into the network. This leads to the issue of where responsibility lies for general maintenance of the network.

Another downside can be the implementation of blockchain and what the subsequent cultural implications could be. Estimations from William Mougayar suggest blockchain is about 80% business process change and 20% technology implementation. While most blockchain codes are open source and run on low-cost hardware and public clouds, the full integration of blockchains into existing environments requires both extensive resources and expertise.

This puts pressure on businesses to ask questions such as:

  • Who is my thought leader?
  • What does blockchain implementation mean culturally?
  • How do I increase understanding on every tier?
  • What are my contemporaries doing?

Blockchain technologies, like the systems and tools users need to interact with them, require IT maintenance and support. Therefore, seeking the support of a third party is recommended to alleviate some of the stresses and strains associated with adopting new technology.

There is no denying that blockchain is a game-changer for many industries, but it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of new technology. As highlighted in 3 W’s of digital readiness, it is paramount to ensure implementation is not solely, ‘technology for technology’s sake’.

Loan Pham, NashTech Technical Director gives her thoughts on the ‘hype’ surrounding blockchain, “Despite having attracted an enormous amount of attention during its past “hype” phase, practical applications of blockchain are still rather limited, because it is quite an overwhelming breakthrough to most, and there still are concerns about the existing Blockchain-based platforms that need to be addressed, such as those security issues that have been talked about lately.”

She goes on to encourage businesses to devote efforts to the development of blockchain, “Regardless, the Blockchain technology is undeniably the foundation for upcoming radical changes in different areas, from economy to society, thanks to its built-in quality of integrity, legitimacy and transparency. It is just a matter of time for the Blockchain-based platforms and implementations to get solidified, and for Blockchain’s nature of breakthrough becomes more comprehensible to, and eventually embraced by the majority. I believe that Blockchain-based applications will soon go full bloom in a year or two.”


A much needed reality check about blockchain was originally published in Fintech Weekly Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Mobile order-ahead tackles new markets in U.K. retail payments

Mobile order-ahead payment schemes are set to transform the U.K. retail industry over the next few years with leading payments providers and high street businesses vying to capitalize on this emerging digital trend. The new market has grown rapidly in popularity in the U.S. since 2015, instigated by quick service giants such as Starbucks, Domino’s, Taco Bell and, most recently, McDonald’s — companies which have all developed technology to provide order-ahead payment services through their mobile apps. Such is the pace of progress that Business Insider estimated order-ahead payments to…

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Blockchain is becoming a thing, as people are relying on it to get energy for their homes

Blockchain has been gaining a lot of traction in recent years, being featured with increasing frequency, in ever more mainstream outlets — gaining awareness and adepts in the process. Articles written about it all have one thing in common — the universal appeal and praise of the technology shine through.

by Armand Doru Domuta, CEO, Restart Energy

Currently and for the foreseeable future, blockchain keeps on expanding and evolving — continuously so, to the point of becoming a phenomenon. Yet, the surface of its vast potential has only been scratched so far. This has led to more resources being dedicated towards the further development thereof and the research pertaining to unlocking further benefits of the technology in our day to day lives, in almost all sectors of a modern economy.

By improving visibility and increasing awareness regarding blockchain, early adopters and scholars alike are striving to help people worldwide understand the technology well enough so that they themselves can start to evaluate, examine, adopt, and modify it according to their own needs. This fosters an innovative ecosystem around the technology, as more exposure brings with it more innovation and unexpected synergies.

One of the most relevant areas in which blockchain can make a difference and help our planet is through renewables in the energy sector, specifically through the yet-untapped potential of prosumers. Green energy has the long-term potential to reduce greenhouses gases as well as dependence on fossil fuels — as long as it is the majority or, even better, the only category of fuels used.

Our current model of energy distribution is heavily manipulated by a centralized and regulated model that is quite old at this point, as well as not very efficient; leading to a substantial chunk of energy being wasted through the pipelines by the time it reaches its intended target(s). In recent years, many nations have moved towards a deregulated energy market model, moving past the ancient way of handling an energy ecosystem. The centralization of energy ecosystems is also being challenged, this time by a combination of smart grids and blockchain technology, that promises to reduce dependence on single monolithic structures and distribute the responsibility and benefits of the grid to the users, now prosumers, themselves.

Residents that become prosumers, will be able to contribute to the market by selling their surplus energy to consumers instead of the local utility company. An increase in the development of more residential installations would be desirable, as in the future this will lead to a more competitive energy market and more choices of renewable sources will become available to consumers everywhere.

At its core, the idea of producing more energy than you require and then selling it to the grid will revolutionize the energy sector, once coupled with blockchain, if it can be done on a localized, efficient scale. If we can encourage consumers to create their own energy and gain independence in the process, then we can expect to create a future in which one day we can create a sustainable world, based on affordable energy for all — energy poverty would be a thing of a less enlightened past. In such a futuristic scenario we could also encounter friends, neighbours, and local community members trading energy with one another, and perhaps bringing them closer together in the process — all benefiting from the ease of use of streamlined blockchain ecosystems combined with smart grid technology and smart meters, allowing prosumers to sustain a thriving local energy economy.

Author bio
Armand Doru Domuta is the CEO of Restart Energy and President of the Blockchain Association of Romania. He has scaled Restart Energy in the last 10 years into a diversified energy company and developed over 500 energy projects.


Blockchain is becoming a thing, as people are relying on it to get energy for their homes was originally published in Fintech Weekly Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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