State Street on Blockchain: The Trickle of Digital Assets Will Soon Turn Into A Flood

October 4, 2019 | Digital Assets, Latest News, News

State Street, the huge custody bank which holds assets of over $30 trillion, may soon see a flood of blockchain-based digital assets.

According to Jay Biancamano, State Street’s head of digital assets and blockchain in capital markets, historically illiquid assets may soon use the blockchain to become more liquid. Blockchain technology will enable investors to add ‘tokens’ of real estate, intellectual property, paintings, and even wine to portfolios.

“We’re seeing assets start to become digitized,” says Jay Biancamano, on Fortune’s show Balancing the Ledger. “Trickle, trickle, trickle—and then we believe there will be a flood.”

State Street on blockchain: History could repeat itself

The shift of asset recording to the blockchain would have a historical similarity to another transition decades ago. That was the move from physical paper assets, such as coupon clippings and stock certificates, to an electronic, dematerialized recording system.

“We believe the same thing is going to happen with digital assets,” said Biancamano. “It’s going to be a little bit slower process,” though. “As digital assets start to gain a foothold in the asset management industry, we need to be prepared.”

State Street: It’s not about cryptocurrencies

Though digitally recorded assets such as currencies, wine, and paintings make for good copy, it is the blockchain-based representation of traditional asset classes such as stocks, bonds, and gold that interests State Street more.

Even real estate, which has been a traditionally illiquid asset class.

“When you buy real estate, it’s very draconian. It takes days, weeks, sometimes months to settle a transaction,” Biancamano says. On a blockchain, a similar transaction could take mere minutes. “That democratizes it,” Biancamano adds.

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