Real world assets into digital assets

I was asked a question about how to represent non-fungible assets on the Blockchain. The question was specifically about how to model a fund that owns agricultural land on the Blockchain, but other assets like real-estate, livestock, etc are also possible.

The most obvious answer are security tokens. In 2018 there was the whole utility token vs. security token debacle, where everybody tried to prove that they are not a security token. The legal ramifications in the US around security tokens are a different story though, so we won’t get into it.

A few companies have embraced the concepts and are providing platforms to create STOs (Security Tokens Offerings). The most know one is https://polymath.network/, but there are others like https://www.securitize.io/ and https://tokenestate.io/.

Some of the properties of an agricultural fund would require a new type of token, one that is not fungible. Non-fungible tokens can be represented on the Ethereum blockchain using the ERC721 standard. This is a relatively new standard, but there are a few platforms that are building using it. 0xcert.org are doing a great job: https://0xcert.org/news/fungible-vs-non-fungible-tokens-on-the-blockchain

In terms of agricultural land in particular, there is already a project that does exactly what I was asked, and it’s called: https://www.fieldcoin.io. There is also a new consensus system being build around the idea of unspoofable GPS (Proof of Location): https://blog.foam.space/introduction-to-proof-of-location-6b4c77928022.

Meridio.co is working on a great platform for real-estate. Think about owning a percentage of a flat/house and getting rent based on the ownership: https://medium.com/meridio/meridio-spotlight-francisco-inchauste-designer-e5e7c08e2bb5. With the Blockchain technology you are going to be able to own a square foot of an apartment or building.

Building a platform that would help with managing investor shares for an agricultural fund on the Blockchain would have benefits right away, as well as open up a lot of possibilities. If you can document the property on a Blockchain, provide ownership, and tokenise it, then you can then use the tokens as collateral for loans: https://medium.com/coinmonks/collateralizing-rural-loans-with-non-fungible-tokens-2f1e2dd718dc.

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