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June 28, 2024

Superstate & Tokenizing Real-World Assets (RWAs)

The recent REDeFiNE TOMORROW 2024 event served as a platform for leading DeFi experts to exchange visions and innovative ideas. One particularly noteworthy topic was the tokenization of real-world assets (RWAs) and their integration into the DeFi ecosystem. This revolutionary concept was further explored by Robert Leshner, CEO & co-founder of Superstate and Compound, in a discussion with Mukaya (Tai) Panich, CEO and Chief Venture & Investment Officer of SCB 10X. This article examines the concept and its potential impact on the DeFi world.


Superstate: Bridging Traditional and Decentralized Finance

Superstate is a pioneering force in revolutionizing finance by bridging the gap between off-chain assets, such as stocks, bonds, real estate and commodities, onto the blockchain ecosystem. The project aims to enable these assets to be easily utilized within DeFi protocols, opening up new opportunities for both investors and financial institutions.

The Time for Tokenizing Real-World Assets (RWAs) Is Now

Leshner believes that the current factors and environment are highly favorable for the tokenization of real-world assets, citing three key supporting factors:

  1. Increased institutional acceptance and technical expertise: There is growing interest and potential from financial institutions to participate in on-chain assets.

  2. Favorable macroeconomic environment: High interest rates make real-world assets (RWAs) more attractive than stablecoins.

  3. Mature DeFi protocols: The DeFi ecosystem is robust enough to securely support billions of dollars worth of off-chain assets.

Superstate's Innovative Approach

  • Superstate launched its first product, a tokenized short-term US Treasury bond fund, which differs from traditional mutual funds.
  • This product features a token ownership structure recorded on the Ethereum blockchain, differentiating it from other tokenized funds in the United States. This approach ensures superior security and stability for investors.

Regulatory Compliance Alongside Integrating Tokenized Assets into DeFi Protocols

Superstate prioritizes regulatory compliance alongside the integration of tokenized assets into DeFi protocols.

Leshner mentioned the challenge of integrating data between traditional accounting systems used by financial institutions with token-based accounting systems on the blockchain. Superstate's current product, a tokenized US Treasury bond fund, relies solely on token-based data, meaning the token serves as the sole source of truth regarding ownership. However, it's important to note that only qualified investors are allowed to participate.

Superstate and Registered Funds: A Forward-Looking Regulatory Evolution

  • Superstate aims to create a registered fund in the United States that utilizes both traditional documentation and blockchain tokens as sources of verification. However, regulatory approval for products where tokens are the sole source of verification remains a challenge at present.
  • Leshner envisions a future where on-chain transfer agents become a reality in the future as legislators and regulators gain a deeper understanding of how tokens function. Additionally, he suggests the possibility of a hybrid system that combines traditional transfer agents with blockchain-based systems.

Potential and Growth of the RWAs Market

  • The market for tokenized US Treasury funds has experienced significant growth, expanding tenfold from the previous year to $1.3 billion.
  • Despite its impressive growth, Leshner emphasizes that the RWAs market is still in its early stages, with various companies exploring diverse approaches to asset and token management.
  • Leshner expects increased composability between RWAs and DeFi protocols as the market grows from $1 billion to $10 billion and beyond
  • This growth will attract a wide range of investors beyond financial institutions, the initial adopters. The digital token market will become more liquid, offering a wider variety of assets and appealing to other types of investors as well.

Overcoming Regulatory Challenges

Regulatory challenges remain a significant obstacle to RWAs adoption, as different countries have varying legal frameworks. The United States, in particular, has a notably problematic legal and regulatory process. However, Leshner remains optimistic and has observed initial signs of positive change in the United States.

Interesting Prospects for Asset Tokenization in the Near Future

  • Leshner believes that low-risk, yield-generating assets are the sweet spot for tokenization in the near future. 
  • He expects to see tokenized equity index funds, real estate, and commodity indices emerge as core asset building blocks on-chain.

Advice for Traditional Financial Companies Interested in the RWAs Market

For traditional financial companies interested in tokenizing real-world assets (RWAs), Leshner recommends staying informed through industry media and starting to explore the currently small but rapidly growing RWAs market.

A Market of Transformation That Can Yield Tremendous Value

The growth of the RWAs market, integrated with DeFi protocols, has the potential to yield trillions of dollars worth of real-world assets. This could revolutionize traditional finance, expanding the scope and capabilities of DeFi.

RWAs Pave the Way for a Bright Future for DeFi and Web3

If the regulatory landscape evolves favorably and more institutional investors adopt RWAs, tokenization of real-world assets is likely to become a key driver of growth and innovation in the DeFi and Web3 space.


Superstate, co-founded by Robert Leshner, aims to bring real-world, off-chain assets onto the blockchain for use in DeFi protocols. They envision a future where all types of assets, such as stocks, bonds, real estate and commodities, can be used in DeFi. The current environment is considered ideal for tokenization due to increased interest from financial institutions in crypto, stable interest rates in the macroeconomic landscape, and the growing robustness of DeFi protocols.

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