One of the leading tokenization platforms, Harbor announced this week that they successfully tokenized $100 million in real estate funds. The firm tokenized four major funds with the goal to increase liquidity for investors. The move showcases growing interest by investors towards more liquid alternative investments.
As part of the tokenization, Harbor provides investors with access to an iCAP-branded platform and private marketplace for secondary transfers. Here, investors can trade their securities in full compliance with the SEC. Speaking on the decision, Harbor’s CEO, Josh Stein described the maneuver as the natural evolution.
The tokenized real estate fund includes a mash-up of 17 broker-dealers, a myriad of placement agents, and approximately 1,100 private investors. Importantly, iCAP Equity is the fund’s manager.
iCAP's CEO, Chris Christenson spoke on the decision in detail in a recent interview. Here he explained why it was important to create the best investment experience possible for his clients. In his words, the best way to accomplish this monumental task was “providing liquidity for them.”
Harbor Tokenizes Funds on Ethereum Blockchain
Harbor chose Ethereum's ERC-20 standard for the tokenization of the funds. Importantly, the ERC- 20 token standard is the most popular in use today.
More than Issuance
Stein envisions Harbor as more than just an issuance platform. Now, the company seeks to provide businesses with a solid tokenization infrastructure. In this manner, companies can tokenize their existing assets.
Stein explained that the demand for newly issued tokens was far less than previously expected. Interestingly, Harbor noticed that ICO investors were of the speculative nature versus more traditional alternative investments.
Tokenizing Existing Assets
Notably, Harbor discovered that tokenizing the cap tables of existing assets provides a clear benefit to everyone involved – sponsors, placement agents, and investors. They are also more geared towards the traditional investment community.
Harbor Tokenizes Shares to Add Liquidity to the Market
Traditionally, securities investors agree upon a multi-year lockup. Basically, you can't sell your shares until an agreed-upon date. The problem here is that in many instances, investors need to access those funds for certain reasons prior to the agreed-upon date.
In the traditional system, an investor would have to wait out the years until granted sales access or find an investor willing to take over the waiting period. Harbor's platform does away with this nonsense and allows investors to trade their tokenized shares as soon as the SEC mandatory one year lockup period ends.
Experience Equals Lessons
Like any true pioneer, hard lessons were part of the learning process. Last year, Harbor attempted to issue tokenized shares in an apartment building. While the concept was solid, discrepancies arose between the mortgage lender. In the end, the deal was scrapped before launch.
Harbor Tokenizes the World
Harbor appears to have the flexibility and forward-thinking needed to adjust to the ever-changing crypto landscape. You can expect to see more major players in the tokenization sector begin to duplicate this strategy in the coming months. For now, Harbor appears to be a step ahead of the curve.