The world is built on a giant $256 trillion pile of assets. Everything from property to art, to stocks to oil. Blockchain wants to change all that. This collection explores the industries being disrupted, by whom, and what that means for both consumers and enterprises. We've delved deep into the tokenized world to uncover the people, the projects and the potential of this technology to change capital forever.
Through “tokenization”—the act of converting real-world or digital assets into a token coded with its own contract requirements and rules—Web3 companies are rethinking our relationship to ownership. Blockchain technology, which eliminates the expensive middlemen (banks, brokerages, agents) in finance, coupled with tokenization, makes it cheap and efficient to create fractional shares in virtually anything.
This new way of doing business allows assets to be broken down into a nearly infinite number of pieces, and transferred peer-to-peer, eliminating the various inefficiencies that come from the legacy financial system.
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During that time, entrepreneurs started raising money through the sale of crypto tokens that were representations of physical, or already digital, assets. These included intellectual property, stocks, real estate, and art, among others.
The term “token” came to be synonymous with “coin,” and was used to refer to native cryptocurrencies, such as ether, that kept these blockchains functioning. We explore this idea in greater detail.
Today, the term tokenization is often used without specifying whether the process is being carried out by a native token, or a non-native token—and that can cause confusion.
Adam B Levine, an old-school bitcoin evangelist and creator of the Let’s Talk Bitcoin podcast network, agrees that the language in this nascent industry can be a bit opaque. Watch here for his nuanced explanation of the token space.
Levine has one of the better working definitions of crypto tokens. He’s also one of the first entrepreneurs to create a crypto token, way before the mad rush of Ethereum-based tokens in 2017-18.
In early 2014, Levine launched LTBCoin, a crypto token tied to bitcoin.
Listen here as Levine talks about building the token back when the infrastructure was lacking. What he learned is crucial for any Web3 entrepreneur building a token-based company.
Music, an industry famed for its sluggishness when it comes to new technology, is getting a much-needed upgrade. Entrepreneurs like Alexander Attar are building a platform that’ll help upend the industry (again), connecting fans directly to the musicians they love. That not only allows artists to reap more of the rewards, it also offers some new benefits as well.
Check out our exploration of the new music service, Ujo.
While many crypto token providers are using blockchains in an effort to eliminate middlemen, lowering costs and untangling the complex web of third parties, New York City-based 55 is using tokenization in a different way.
The company created a new type of token sale—a so-called “asset token onboarding”–which allows people wanting to purchase collectible streetwear items to signal their interest in the asset before it goes on sale. Because streetwear has become such a hot commodity, these items usually sell out within minutes and are then resold for huge markups, but 55 acquires the item and continues to offer it at retail cost.
Read and watch as executives at 55 explain the business model, and how crypto tokens are just the right technology for improving the flow of fashion assets.
We headed over to 55’s offices in New York, as well as the Supreme store in the city to find out how the company is helping sneakerheads get hold of their favorite brands.
Fascinated by 55’s new kind of token sale, the “asset token onboarding,” we spoke to Geoff Shearer, director of marketing and community for the startup, who explains how this innovative new system works.
There are definitely areas however, where blockchain isn’t the answer.
Treum co-founder Tyler Mulvihill explains how vertically integrated businesses don’t need blockchain’s immutable accounting functionality. Still, supply chains are an area that blockchain has proven time and again it’s worth. That’s why we spoke to Treum about its “proof of provenance” that allows its customers to keep track of their toke of choice.
We sat down with Mulvihill to explore weed supply chains in detail. Hear how his company has found a way to make blockchain help customers, and suppliers know more about where their goods come from.
So who are these fanatics of crypto tokenization? They’re people who have spent nearly every waking hour diving down the rabbit hole—and they’re betting it all on building next-generation businesses on the blockchain.
Luc Falempin just wanted to invest in a few shares of Google stock. But he found that the traditional Wall Street way of buying stock was rife with delays and high fees. So he turned his attention to the budding, crypto-token industry—and built a business around spinning up tokenized securities.
Read about his journey into crypto, and why he believes security tokens are the next frontier.
CryptoKitties, the viral, Ethereum-based game for collecting and breeding digital cats (and sometimes ducks or dragons) started a revolution in tokenization. They helped establish a standard for non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, which are digital assets that are unique and not divisible.
Indifferent to interacting with bitcoin through exchange trading, Alan Carr was immediately obsessed with CryptoKitties. He turned that obsession into a job, and now, as the senior product designer at Axiom Zen, the company behind the game, spends his time working to make the digital kitty cats even more compelling.
Gaming is a fascinating use case for crypto tokenization for Adam B. Levine as well. The old-school crypto educator and creator of the Let’s Talk Bitcoin podcast network would like to see the traditional video game industry become a little more decentralized, via NFTs. Watch here.
Now you’ve read their stories, you must be ready to become a token entrepreneur?
This step-by-step guide to tokenizing an asset with crypto—from ideation, to MVP, to whitepaper to investment—will help you get there.