Real World Assets Could Be the Growth Catalyst DeFi Needs, Experts Say

Crypto industry leaders see a growing trend toward linking real-world assets with digital tokens.

Illustration of a man leaning on some coins, with cars and gold bars on his sides.
  • CoinBase report says tokenized real-world assets could be a catalyst for DeFi growth.
  • Earlier, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin urged developers to explore integrating real-world assets in DeFi.
  • Asset-backed token platform LumiShare secured $3.2 million in an investment round led by Abu Dhabi Sheikh MBA Al Nahyan.

Tokenized real-world assets could be the next big thing for DeFi, a report by CoinBase suggests. Its views echo other crypto experts, including Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin.

In a report titled 2023 Crypto Market Outlook, Coinbase revealed its view on where the DeFi space will go next.

“Looking ahead, we believe the evolution of the crypto ecosystem is putting subjects like tokenization, permissioned DeFi, and web3 front and center,” the report wrote.


Asset tokenization refers to a process where traditional securities and assets are converted into digital tokens. These tokens can then be bought, sold, transferred, and used in complex financial operations on blockchain networks.

The operation allows users to tokenize and use real-world assets (RWA) such as stocks, bonds, commodities, precious metals, and more in DeFi applications.

“For some institutions, tokenization is a less risky way of having crypto exposure compared to investing directly in tokens,” the report writes.


The idea of tokenizing RWA is not new. However, it has gained significant traction in recent months among financial institutions, according to CoinBase. These institutions view it as a way of dealing with “inefficiencies inherent in traditional securities settlement.”

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) seem particularly suited for tokenizing non-fungible assets such as real estate and physical collectibles.

“We are seeing a greater variety of use cases for non-fungible tokens outside of art, like using NFTs to certify and authenticate RWA or as ENS domain names,” the report continued.

Vitalik Buterin Urges Developers to Look into Asset Tokenization

Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin recently urged developers to explore integrating real-world assets into DeFi applications. Buterin sees the application of real-world asset tokenization in stablecoins.

Earlier this month, Buterin shared his views on where the Ethereum ecosystem will go. One of the areas he pointed out as exciting was that of stablecoins. Notably, he believes real-world assets will back one segment of stablecoins.

“I see the stablecoin design space as basically being split into three different categories: centralized stablecoins, DAO-governed real-world-asset backed stablecoins and governance-minimized crypto-backed stablecoins,” he said.

These “DAO-governed RWA-backed stablecoins” could offer significant benefits to traders. They will scale better than the underlying assets, and their decentralized nature will boost trust.

“Such stablecoins could combine enough robustness, censorship resistance, scale and economic practicality to satisfy the needs of a large number of real-world crypto users,” Buterin said.

The idea is not without its challenges, however. Buterin added that this would require “real-world legal work to develop robust issuers” and engineering robust DAO protocols.

LumiShare Secures $3.2 Million for Real-World Asset Tokenization

The industry is moving towards tokenized assets. Confirmation of that trend came with the latest funding round of one RWA-backed token platform.

Earlier this month, the Dubai-based firm LumiShare secured $3.2 million in an investment round led by a Sheik of the Abu Dhabi Royal Family. Sheikh Mohamed Bin Ahmed Bin Hamadan Al Nahyan said he would invest $2.2 million in the venture.  

LumiShare is an asset-backed NFT marketplace for tokenized real assets. Its platform will allow users to tokenize real estate, mines, agriculture, and more.

Tokenization is all about transparency, said Ben Sharon, Co-Founder and CEO of LumiShare. He believes that tokenized assets will be one of the major asset classes going forward.

“The FTX crash really highlighted the need for transparency in the crypto space,” Sharon said. “Transparency was one of the original values of crypto. That’s something the industry has to take seriously going forward,” he added.

H.E Ahmed Elmetwally, CEO of Sheikh Mohamed Bin Ahmed Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan’s private office, said transparency is top of mind when investing in crypto projects.

The $SRG token will be backed by physical gold and technology to demonstrate its commitment to tokenization. LumiShare will use the $3.2 million raised to buy gold reserves stored at a bank in Abu-Dhabi. The company will hold physical gold equivalent to a percentage of the token’s all-time high market cap. The goal is to limit the potential downside for the token, as gold reserves would secure LumiShare’s $SRG token.

On the other hand, the token will feature a burn mechanism and staking. These will allow the token to absorb the potential upside from its asset-backed NFT marketplace. Sharon hopes that this dual approach will attract more risk-averse investors in the space.

On the Flipside

  • Despite the enthusiasm for asset tokenization, some risks are associated with them. These include regulatory compliance, centralization risks, and risks associated with hacks and errors.
  • Moreover, there is a risk of bad actors using RWA tokenization for regulatory arbitrage. The relatively less regulated RWA token market could be comparatively risky for investors.

Why You Should Care

Tokenizing real-world assets could help boost the utility of DeFi applications. This could help expand the decentralized technology space.

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

David Marsanic

David Marsanic is a journalist for DailyCoin who covers the intersection of crypto, traditional finance, and government. He focuses on institutionalized crypto entities like major cryptocurrency exchanges and Solana, breaking down complex topics into easy-to-understand writing. David's prior experience as a business journalist at various crypto and traditional news sites has enabled him to maintain a critical approach to news while adhering to high journalistic integrity standards.