This is an excerpt. To hear the full interview, click the Soundcloud or YouTube links.
Asset tokenization is becoming an increasingly popular phenomenon in the fintech sphere. The practice is bringing an increasing amount of institutional investors into the blockchain space.
Finance Magnates spoke to Moshe Joshua, Chief Product Officer at Blackmoon, about his company’s unique philosophy around asset tokenization, creativity in the blockchain space, and whether or not blockchain is the ultimate answer.
’Not Everything Will be Tokenized’
Moshe said that there is “absolutely no doubt” in his mind that the majority of assets will one day run on a tokenized system. “I’m 100 percent committed to not only buying into that prophecy, but also making it happen.”
However, “I don’t want to say that everything will be tokenized,” he added. “There’s a fallacy in the environment that we’re seeing today, which is that people don’t [ask themselves] a very important question–the question is, ‘why blockchain? Companies come out, and they just don’t ask themselves: ‘why are we using blockchain?’”
Moshe explained that this is important to ask because as blockchain technology stands at this present moment, “[blockchain] is harder to work with [than existing systems]. It’s onerous. It’s very hard to find developers who can work in Solidity and actually build complicated systems.”
“There are latency objectives that are not being met,” he said. “There are throughput objectives that are not being met. There are a lot of reasons–there are more reasons not to use blockchain, and just to build your own system…it’ll work better, cheaper, faster that way than to build a blockchain-based system.
“I think people today are not asking themselves enough: ‘what am I doing that actually requires blockchain, that if I don’t use blockchain then I can’t build my business model the way I want to do it? I think that’s really lost on everybody.
Blackmoon is Focused on Tokenization of Assets with ‘Intrinsic Value’
“When we look at what Blackmoon is doing,” Moshe said, “we have to “split up the ‘money-pie’ of the world into two different facets: financial products that expire and those things that don’t. If you look at the things that don’t expire, you’re really only looking at two slices: you’re looking at equities and currency. Everything else has an expiration on it.”
“That differential is really where things get their value from. When you look at equity and currency–I call them inflatable objects, because they get their value through inflation–if the price goes higher, everybody makes money. Whereas those things that expire, they gain their value intrinsically through decay.”
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“So, Blackmoon is tokenizing fund investments–those things that have intrinsic value,” he explained. “Now, hedge funds are in this weird gray area in that border between those things that expire and those that don’t. Because ultimately, you’re buying equity in a hedge fund as a fractional owner of that fund. But the truth is that because I can create and redeem my investment, and I can bring money into the fund and out of the fund, grants [the fund] intrinsic value.
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“So it’s not only expiration that grants things intrinsic value–it’s also redemption,” he said. “Those are the products that Blackmoon is focused on.
He said that this is what sets Blackmoon apart from other blockchain-based platforms for asset tokenization. “When you think of a lot of the other tokenization platforms that are working in a similar regulatory environment…they are all focused on equity-based issuances, whereas Blackmoon is more focused on intrinsically-valued issuances.”
Asset Tokenization is the ‘Second Wave’ of Blockchain’s Journey to the Mainstream
“When it comes to the tokenization of financial instruments,” he continued, “I just see it as the second wave of blockchain mainstreaming itself. The first wave really comes from idea that the whitepaper of Bitcoin showed the world that you can create a digital object that is not copyable, and by maintaining that standard of non-duplication from a digital object standard–one that’s internet-based–I think that shows everybody that you can create a denominator of value…and that denominator is fixed, or at least, it’s controlled.
“The next wave (that we’re seeing right now) is the idea of tokenization.” However, “there’s something lost on everybody as it relates to blockchain and finance, in that when you think of creativity as a programmer technologist–most companies (like social networks and what not) can be creative as they want. ‘What should we do? What would be a useful experience for our users?’”
“Everybody comes up with all these wacky ideas, and then they roll it back, and they self-regulate about what [they] should not do. A good example would be Facebook not allowing porn–they could do it if they wanted to, but they don’t for self-regulatory purposes because of the brand’s protection or whatnot.
“I think that within the financial arena, it’s the exact opposite,” he said. “You have this toolbox with all this functionality on the technical side, but we’re having to squeeze it into a box–it’s a square peg in a round hole that doesn’t really fit. More importantly, we have more functionality than the box of regulation allows.”
He argued that this is what’s holding the industry back. “So, it’s very limiting, meaning that we’re starting to use blockchain with a straitjacket.
However, “I see that as an opportunity, because I realize that we’ve brought it to the edge of what the financial arena of regulatory compliance allows us to, and then as that box expands–which it will–we’ll just be ready. It’ll be immediately applicable.”