In Monday’s dispatch, we looked at how folks are turning art into digital tokens and selling them on exchanges.
These assets are called non-fungible tokens… or NFTs for short.
And they’re drawing in big bucks.
Sales of NFTs soared to $10.7 billion in the July-to-September quarter this year.
That’s up more than eightfold from the previous quarter.
And the tokenization of art is just the tip of the iceberg.
As our tech expert, Jeff Brown, explains it…
Picture a world where you can buy stocks, bonds, options, and cryptocurrencies… even stakes in pieces of art, collectibles, and real estate… through the same exchange 24/7.
Tokenization will change the way we invest, own property, and grow our wealth. This will be more consequential than the creation of the first publicly traded stock more than 400 years ago. And we’re still just getting started.
So today, we’ll continue our deep dive into the tokenization megatrend.
As you’ll see, it could unlock a staggering $2 quadrillion – or $2,000 trillion – of wealth.
But before we look to the future, we need to first understand the past.
The city was teeming with people from all over the Dutch Empire.
The Dutch had colonial footholds in what are now Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Iran, Pakistan, Brazil, the Virgin Islands, Tobago, and South Africa.
And a financial revolution was afoot to manage the empire’s trade.
Up until this time, all businesses had been privately held. So all profits went to insiders.
But in 1602, the Dutch did something different.
The government chartered a trading and supply-chain megacorporation called the Dutch East India Company.
It built ships. It hired sailors to sail them. It also hired a private army to protect them. Then it sent out merchants and traders to buy spices from East India, coffee from Indonesia, sugarcane from Formosa (now Taiwan), and wine from South Africa.
And it didn’t stay in private hands.
That’s short for initial public offering.
The Dutch East India Company raised money to finance its operations by offering shares to Dutch citizens.
These shares gave folks ownership stakes in the company… and entitled them to a portion of its profits.
Shareholders could then trade these stakes on a public exchange called the Amsterdam Stock Exchange.
This changed everything. Jeff…
Before then, nobody knew what a public stock was. The bulk of global wealth was private. Then one simple idea changed the world… Let’s split our company into small pieces and sell them to the public.
We take it for granted now. But 400 years ago, this was a technological breakthrough. It was the first time in history somebody could own a fraction of a company.
Only this time, it’s even more momentous.
Instead of unlocking the wealth of just publicly listed companies… tokenization will unlock wealth across the economy.
Back to Jeff…
Tokenization allows us to apply the same idea behind stocks – owning pieces of companies – to the entire world. Because this technology allows almost anything on Earth to become tradeable.
Imagine investing a few hundred dollars to get fractional ownership in a vintage Ferrari… or a slice of a new commercial office building… or a stake in the winning horse at the Kentucky Derby.
It’s hard for us to wrap our heads around an idea this new and this transformative. But tokenization will soon let everyday investors buy stakes in assets that have historically been off-limits to them.
So what is tokenization? And how does it work?
Tokens representing stakes in art, cars, real estate, and racehorses are similar to cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin (BTC).
Jeff’s paid-up Near Future Report readers can read all about it here. But in short, tokenization converts any asset into a digital token that’s usable on a blockchain application.
You can buy these tokens on an exchange and store them in a digital wallet like with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies… only they represent specific assets instead of currencies.
Something similar already exists outside of blockchain tech.
Today, when you buy a stock or a bond, an electronic certificate tracks it. That’s a type of token that represents legal ownership of that security.
When you buy a house, you get another form of token – a deed – to show you own it.
You can even buy fractional shares in vintage cars, art, and racehorses via the existing financial system.
But tokenization on a blockchain has three major benefits…
It boosts liquidity
As you’ll know if you’ve ever tried to sell a house, they can take a long time to buy and sell. In Wall Street-speak, housing isn’t a very “liquid” market.
By tokenizing real estate and other hard-to-trade assets and listing them on exchanges, you can make them accessible to a wider group of investors.
This brings more investors into markets that used to be only thinly traded.
It cuts out middlemen
As Daily Cut regulars know, blockchains are decentralized. So they don’t need middlemen – real estate agents, brokers, notaries, etc. – to verify transactions.
This makes for a more streamlined, more cost-efficient way to transfer value.
It increases transparency
Blockchains are public ledgers. So you can easily and reliably trace a crypto token’s provenance and transaction history. Blockchains are also tamperproof, which further boosts reliability.
Before the Dutch held the first IPO in 1602, the stock market didn’t exist. So the value of all public stocks was zero.
Today, all the stocks in the world are worth close to $90 trillion.
And as Jeff has been showing his readers, a similar transformation is happening today. A market that didn’t exist before is being born.
But unlike public stocks – which give investors access to a “public economy” – this new market has the potential to also unlock the world’s private economy.
All told, Jeff and his team calculate that $2.1 quadrillion is at stake.
That’s 48 times bigger than today’s stock market.
It’s the world’s second-largest crypto by market cap. And it runs on the Ethereum blockchain.
That’s the same blockchain where the majority of NFT transactions are happening…
And Jeff says it will be a top choice to support new tokenization projects.
Other blockchains will compete with Ethereum. But that’s the blue chip in the space right now. So it’s easy to buy… even if you have no prior crypto experience.
A great place to start is Coinbase.com. It’s one of the world’s biggest crypto exchanges. Just head there and open an account. Then you can go ahead and exchange your dollars for ETH.
It’s much simpler than you might imagine.
And if Jeff is right, ether will be one of the biggest beneficiaries as tokenization becomes part of everyday life.
October 6, 2021