A CEO’s Perspective: ‘What I’ve Learned From Building A Tokenization Platform’

A CEO’s Perspective: ‘What I’ve Learned From Building A Tokenization Platform’

When I co-founded Elitium in 2017, our mission was to create a platform that delivered a ‘next-level luxury experience’ enhanced by blockchain technology. At the time, we didn’t have a precise idea of what next-level luxury would entail.

When I co-founded Elitium in 2017, our mission was to create a platform that delivered a _‘next-level luxury experience_’ enhanced by blockchain technology.

At the time, we didn’t have a precise idea of what next-level luxury would entail. 

We just knew — thanks to the success of a crypto-payments solution built by my Elitium co-founder for Boatsters Black, another of my companies — that blockchain could enable a better experience in the luxury sector (an industry that’s been traditionally shy of innovation).

Over the last three years, the concept behind Elitium has become more concrete.

In no small part thanks to the many conversations I’ve had with people across luxury, finance, and technology — with each new encounter sparking a fresh idea.

One of these conversations happened during an event hosted by Boatsters at the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix.

I was chatting to a long-time friend named Jimmy, the owner of a 72m superyacht; we talked about The Serenity; I answered questions about Elitium.

At some point, the conversation shifted onto a thought:

—”What if we could somehow connect Jimmy’s yacht to the [utility token we had created at Elitium_](https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/elitium/?ref=hackernoon.com)?”_

That was the first time I had ever considered looking into tokenization.

It Was Time To Learn — And Quickly

After all, The Serenity is a valuable asset. 

It reflects the next-level luxury concept and, given it has an extremely profitable business model, it might have presented a compelling investment opportunity for early-adopters of the Elitium platform.

Moreover, early 2019 had seen the emergence of the ‘security token’ concept: of using the blockchain and cryptocurrency to create digital shares in real-world goods.

So Jimmy and I decided to research if we could use EUM to tokenize his yacht, selling a percentage of his stake to release capital — and redirecting a percentage of the yacht’s profits to token holders.

Then came our first big lesson.

**There’s no way to link an asset — like a yacht — to an existing utility token. **

Securities law dictates you have to create a separate security token every time you run a new digital share offering.

So I had a new mission.

I needed to find a white-label platform we could use to turn his yacht into a standalone security token. Six months of research led me to Switzerland, then across the USA.

I looked into every tokenization platform I could find — and my efforts culminated in three more insights:

  • Existing solutions were expensive
  • Most platforms were hard to navigate
  • Every option lacked at least one key feature

There was only one thing left to consider.

If we really wanted to turn our idea into a reality, we might have to build our own solution.

But as I looked into the commercial side, I came to a conclusion. No matter the prestige of an asset like a yacht, its value will always decrease owing to depreciation.

Few investors will buy digital shares in an asset that’s only going to decline in value, even if the earnings-based dividends are secure — so Jimmy and I put our ‘yacht on the blockchain’ idea on hold.

But the tokenization concept burned like an ember in my mind.

I needed to find an asset with real financial prospects that could allow me to create a genuinely engaging tokenization proposition. Three months more research, and I finally settled on real estate.

"...Why real estate?" you ask

Well, because bricks in the ground developments (like luxury resorts in exclusive locations) offer the potential to deliver both capital growth and dividend payments.

There was the offer — now, it was time to get on and build.

tokenization-top-story luxury cryptocurrency good-company blockchain

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