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Tokenized stocks are derivatives in the form of digital coins or tokens that are pegged to publicly traded stocks. Essentially, they are cryptocurrency tokens that correlate to the price of real stocks, such as Uber, Facebook, Tesla and Netflix, that are normally traded on a stock exchange. Tokenized stocks bridge the gap between traditional stock markets and cryptocurrency markets by allowing cryptocurrency traders to trade stock derivatives on cryptocurrency exchanges without needing to use a traditional stockbroker.
Tokenized stocks have the following unique properties:
To better understand how tokenized stocks work, think of a tokenized stock as an ordinary equity share you would buy in a publicly listed company. The only difference is that these stocks are in the form of digital tokens.
If you bought a company's stock from an exchange, or during the company's initial public offering (IPO), you would receive the shares in your brokerage account. The process is the same for tokenized stocks, except that because tokenized stocks are blockchain-based, they are purchased through a cryptocurrency exchange.
In most cases, a custodian and an investment institution are involved in the process of making a token from an equity stock. The investment institution is responsible for purchasing the underlying stock and the custodian keeps it as a reserve. Based on the shares preserved in reserve, tokens are issued on a blockchain platform. Each token's price is tied to the value of the reserved shares.
The tokens are then listed on a cryptocurrency exchange so investors can purchase them and begin trading. When an investor purchases the tokenized shares, they indirectly become owners of part of the equity stock locked in reserve.
Be mindful though that not all tokenized stocks are represented by the same amount of real-world shares. This is especially true for decentralized (DeFi) platforms like Synthetix and Mirror Protocol, which only track the price of stocks. Make sure to do your due diligence before purchasing tokenized stocks so that you know exactly what you are getting.
Tokenized stocks are a good option for any investor who is ready to move beyond cryptocurrencies into the traditional finance markets. Investors who are unable to acquire a stockbroker account, or find the process too complicated, can also venture into trading tokenized stocks to gain experience in the traditional equity markets.
Tokenized stocks can also improve market access and provide flexibility to users who find it difficult to purchase fully paid-up shares.
You must also live in an area that allows you to purchase and trade tokenized stocks, which is still a legal grey area in some regions.
If your country of residence allows you to trade tokenized stocks, here are some of the top platforms you can use to purchase these digital assets.
Bittrex is a well-known cryptocurrency exchange that has been in operation since 2014.
Bittrex issues tokenized stocks in association with a Switzerland-based asset-tokenization platform known as DigitalAssets.AG.
All the tokenized stocks issued on Bittrex are backed by actual equity shares that are kept in reserve by DigitalAssets.AG.
Features of tokenized stocks on Bittrex include the following:
Bitpanda is a crypto exchange that also offers tokenized stocks known as Bitpanda stocks. Bitpanda works with Bitpanda Financial Services, which holds the actual equity stocks.
Features of Bitpanda stocks include the following:
Mirror Protocol is a decentralized (DeFi) platform that offers synthetic tokens. These assets, which are known as mAssets, mirror the value of real-world assets, although the synthetic tokens are not backed by the real-world assets they mirror.
In the place of a reserve of actual stocks, Mirror has a collateralized debt position (CDP). Any user who mints an mAsset (known as a miner) provides collateral in the network. The platform maintains a minimum CDP ratio of 150%. Below this ratio, the collateral is liquidated and paid back to the miner.
Features of mAssets include the following:
Synthetix is an Ethereum-based blockchain protocol for synthetic assets known as Synths. Synths track the value of real-world assets, but they are not backed by those assets. For instance, Synthetic Netflix stocks would behave like real Netflix stocks, but there would be no Netflix stock put in reserve to back the synthetic ones.
Synthetix works like Mirror Protocol, except in Synthetix, there is unlimited liquidity instead of a collateralized debt position.
Features of Synths in the Synthetix network include the following:
Use the table below to compare exchanges that trade tokenized stocks on features, fees, coins and payment methods.
Tokenized stocks present people who are unable to invest in real-world equity shares with the opportunity to benefit from the shares. They also allow investors who would not ordinarily be able to afford shares in high-profile companies to buy fractions of digital shares that represent the real shares. They are therefore able to invest what they can afford.
That being said, it is your responsibility as an investor to ensure the credibility of the reserve or collateral asset basis on which the tokenized stocks you are purchasing have been issued. Also, ensure that you are allowed to purchase tokenized stocks where you live and that the crypto exchange or platform you wish to use supports users from your area.
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