Real-World Asset Summit 2023: A Reflection

By Christie Chapman, Director of Marketing at Centrifuge

On September 19th, Centrifuge hosted the inaugural Real-World Asset Summit in Brooklyn, New York. A first of its kind, the event united leading TradFi C-Levels, DeFi Founders, VCs, and crypto reporters at the William Vale.

Focused exclusively on the intersection of tokenization, credit, and crypto, the Real-World Asset Summit was built upon one collective goal: to shape the future of the tokenized real-world asset industry.

With thanks to our 350+ guests, 15 sponsors, and 55 world-class speakers – ParaFi’s Ben Forman, Base’s Jesse Pollack, and CoinShares’s Meltem Demirors to name a few – we, collectively, did exactly that.

The main stage at the Summit
The main stage at the Summit

Key insights from the Real-World Asset Summit

Reflecting on a full day of panels and networking that covered topics spanning regulation, stablecoins, institutional adoption, and much more, Centrifuge co-founder, Lucas Vogelsang shared his own hot takes from the day:

  • The potential in real-world assets is undeniable, but the complexity lies in the execution.

  • Tokenization alone doesn't ensure liquidity; it hinges on demand.

  • The TAM today is the $150 billion worth of stablecoins onchain. Stablecoin supply has decreased as users seek offchain yield, but not everyone prefers this route.

  • Three current real-world asset buyers include:

    • DAOs & protocol treasuries: They lack traditional banking access and are a captive audience.

    • Funds and crypto-native institutions: They seek onchain liquidity due to slow and cumbersome fiat on/offramps.

    • Crypto-native high-net-worth individuals: Banking issues and simplicity make onchain purchases appealing.

  • The current market seeks products closest to stablecoins with low risk and high liquidity, like T-Bills and MMFs.

  • Tokenized T-Bills, MMF ETFs, and similar "boring" assets are gaining traction as they offer a straightforward mainstream use case for real-world assets. More complex products may follow suit but are less immediate.

  • After tokenization, the focus shifts to building market infrastructure for these assets, enabling lending, trading, and more using DeFi.

  • Secondary markets for onchain assets can outshine their TradFi counterparts, especially with easier lending options. The possibilities with real-world assets onchain are vast and diverse.

  • It's still early days for real-world assets onchain, but the consensus is that "real-world assets" will eventually simply be "assets."

The prevailing sentiment among all in attendance was that the world is getting serious about real-world assets.

The foyer at the Summit
The foyer at the Summit

Beyond just noise, it was clear from the day’s dynamic conversations and energy that we have transitioned into a more pragmatic mindset centered on problem-solving and genuine progress through collaborative effort – a mindset that is crucial for the next phase of institutional adoption.

If the 2023 Real-World Asset Summit taught us one thing, it’s that bridging the gap between the TradFi and DeFi worlds remains the only way to fix finance and create a more equitable system. And that events like these are the most effective, if not the only, way to merge these two audiences in order to do so.

Closing out the Summit on the roof
Closing out the Summit on the roof

Last but not least, a huge thank you to our valued partners: Anemoy, Arbitrum, Base, Coinbase, BlockTower, Circle, Chronicle, Huma, Galaxy, Kinto, Mauve, Polkadot, PV01, Provenance, and Steakhouse Financial.

The Real-World Asset Summit 2023 would not be possible without your partnership. We look forward to returning to NYC in 2024.

Check out our YouTube playlist to catch up with all the session recordings from the day.

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