US Congress Debates Future of Real-World Asset Tokenization

US Congress Debates Future of Real-World Asset Tokenization


By Jakub Lazurek

06 Jun 2024 (about 1 month ago)

3 min read


US Congress examines real-world asset tokenization, highlighting diverse views on blockchain's potential and regulatory challenges in traditional finance.

On Wednesday, the US Financial Services House Committee held a hearing titled “Next Generation Infrastructure: How Tokenization of Real-World Assets Will Facilitate Efficient Markets.” The hearing aimed to discuss the need for more regulations to support the tokenization of real-world assets (RWA) and derivative products.

The hearing featured various experts discussing blockchain's potential and risks in traditional finance. Key participants included Carlos Domingo, Co-founder and CEO of Securitize, and Robert Morgan, CEO of the USDF Consortium, representing the tokenization industry. From the financial sector, Lilya Tessler, a Partner at Sidley Austin LLP, and Nadine Chakar, Global Head of Digital Assets at the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation, provided their insights. Prof. Hilary Allen from American University Washington College of Law offered an academic viewpoint.

During the session, witnesses and lawmakers shared different views on tokenization. Chairman French Hill emphasized its potential to integrate traditional finance with blockchain, promising better efficiency and lower costs. “Tokenization can leverage the efficiency and transparency of blockchains to modernize US markets. […] Blockchain can automate critical processes in financial transactions, leading to streamlined settlements and lower costs,” he said.

Lilya Tessler highlighted the digital representation of assets, suggesting that blockchain could improve processes with programmability and liquidity. Robert Morgan discussed how distributed ledger technology (DLT) could remove silos in the financial system. “Today’s financial infrastructure consists of siloed systems. Tokenization can break down these silos, enabling real-time collaboration among financial institutions,” Morgan explained.

Nadine Chakar supported the idea, stressing the need for interoperable infrastructures with built-in compliance. Carlos Domingo showcased Securitize’s role in modernizing private capital markets through tokenization, emphasizing the technology’s efficiency.

However, not all experts and lawmakers were optimistic. Congressman Brad Sherman and Professor Hilary Allen raised concerns about regulatory oversight and financial stability. Sherman questioned if tokenization could bypass current regulations, while Allen criticized public blockchains for inefficiencies and operational issues. “Public permissionless blockchains have inescapable inefficiencies and operational issues, making them unsuitable for real-world financial assets. […] Tokenization shouldn’t integrate real-world financial services with the crypto world,” Allen said.

Despite differing opinions, the hearing highlighted the ongoing debate about blockchain's role in traditional finance. Potential regulatory clarity from such discussions could pave the way for wider adoption of tokenization, especially in industries like real estate and securities.

As the debate continues, it’s clear that the finance industry is on the edge of a transformation. Industry leaders are exploring innovative uses of real-world asset tokenization.

Some major banks, like Citi, are exploring tokenization's potential. In a report, Tony McLaughlin, a Citi executive, explained that tokenization could revolutionize digital money by surpassing traditional account-based systems and creating networks of regulated liabilities. This innovation promises a new generation of digital money that is regulated, redeemable at par value, and legally owned by the holder.

In conclusion, the US Financial Services House Committee’s hearing on real-world asset tokenization brought together diverse expert opinions, highlighting both the potential benefits and challenges of integrating blockchain technology into traditional finance. While some see tokenization as a way to modernize and improve efficiency in financial markets, others worry about regulatory and stability issues. As the debate continues, the outcome could significantly influence the future of financial services and blockchain technology adoption in various industries.

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