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We recently released the our second edition of the annual ‘Who’s Who Guide’ for 2024, a comprehensive report aiming to map out the entire real world asset tokenization ecosystem. The 2024 edition lists all they key categories of players in the industry while taking notice of the recent trend of institutional adoption, additionally the report includes various articles diving into prominent topics in the space and we’d like to share those with you. You can view the entire report and download your free copy here.

By Michael Juul Rugaard

I don’t know if Mr Larry Fink is a nice guy. But what I do know is that he is the co-founder and CEO of BlackRock, which happens to be the world’s largest asset manager, with more than 10 trillion USD under management. In this capacity, Fink is a heavyweight in the capital market, and people listen to whatever he says. In January, he said this in a CNBC interview:

”Let me be clear. I think ETFs are step one in the technological revolution in the financial market. Step two is going to be the tokenization of every financial asset. And to me, that’s where we believe we are going.”

Since I am a huge fan of tokenization, I tend to smile and send warm thoughts whenever someone publicly states that tokenization is about to become a megatrend. So thank you, Mr Fink, for your statement – and thank you for taking one step further two months later into the tokenization of real-world assets (RWAs) by breaking the story that BlackRock, assisted by Securitize, had filed an application with the SEC for the establishing of a fund named BlackRock USD Institutional Digital Liquidity Fund Ltd., which would be tokenized.

BlackRock is certainly not the first major financial player to stress the promising future of asset tokenization – and not the first to tokenize a fund. JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Société Générale, and Deutsche Bank, to mention a few, have all made statements in favour of tokenization in the previous year.

However, every time one of these heavyweights makes a move, it creates waves. And like some independent force of gravity, it tends to pull smaller players along and move the market automatically. Whether this is good or bad depends on the case and who you ask, but don’t for one moment believe that the BlackRocks of the world make any significant moves just for the greater good. They are in it for the money, and actually, this only makes me smile even more in this particular case because it, better than anything, showcases the potential of asset tokenization – and undoubtedly encourages others to analyse the possible use cases of this new technology.

Before getting overly happy, we should probably ask if this means that the heavyweights are about to take over the asset tokenization industry. Well, let’s quickly look at history before answering this question.

Tokenization certainly wasn’t a brainchild of the big financial players. On the contrary, the scepticism towards anything related to blockchain technology was explicit for a long time before the winds started to shift. The asset tokenization and security tokens industry rose like a regulated phoenix from the ashes of the anarchic ICO era, and over about six years, it has become the industry we know today – with the wide variety of players you can find listed in this Who’s Who Guide.

It wasn’t until around 2022 that the first institutional financial players started to show serious interest in tokenization and security tokens. Only then did they realise that by tokenizing the billions of dollars worth of assets these companies manage and trade daily, they could save vast amounts of money in process optimization and automation.

The motivation for these players was certainly not to disrupt the financial industry and the investment market fundamentally. It was not to follow in Satoshi Nakamoto’s footsteps and make a big DeFi dream come true. It was straightforward to save costs which, of course, means earning more money and making the stakeholders happy.

No grand visions here to complicate things; no high-flying promises of financial inclusion and democratisation of the global investment markets; and no bedtime stories about total decentralisation of financial power. Only a rational and cool calculation concluding that tokenization is damn good for business. That’s all, and that’s more than enough.

Let me repeat my question from earlier: Where does that leave the rest of us? Are the big players’ entrance good or bad for the market as such and for the not so-big players and their clients?

Luckily, this is where things ascend into a higher unity. You may be afraid of the sources of power a company like BlackRock have at their disposal and how they may be able to influence politics, regulation and more in specific directions if they want to.

However, let’s, for a moment, try to turn things upside down and consider the big players more as ambassadors for the rest of the market. The fact is that if we want to experience a full-scale take-off of the revolution of tokenization, we need high-energy launch vehicles to accelerate market uptake by raising awareness, curiosity, and interest among the common market players and by showing what’s possible through practical demonstrations.

This is precisely what JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Society Generalé, Deutsche Bank, BlackRock and others have started to do – draw attention to the regulated part of the token economy, show in practice what the technology is capable of and how it can benefit businesses saving time and money. In a time where famous Influencers are the new gods, there’s little doubt that positive appraisals of the potential of tokenization by people like Larry Fink, Jamie Dimon, and David Solomon are capable of moving the needle.

Asset tokenization is the new killer app in blockchain because tokenization is applicable in so many different contexts, industries, and markets. Tokenization is relevant for all asset classes. It is relevant for small startups as well as for the world’s largest companies. It is relevant for all continents and countries regardless of economy and stage of development.

This is not one homogenous market which a small group of investment banks and asset management companies could control if they wanted to. As it stands now, there will be plenty of room for thousands and thousands of innovative players of all sizes from all corners of the world. And let’s just be happy that the big boys are now efficiently helping advertise for a good cause.

Read other stories: Industry Overview: Navigate the Asset Tokenization Landscape with The Tokenizer’s 2024 Who’s Who Guide

BlackRock Leads $47 Million Funding Round for Securitize


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