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What Are Real World Assets (RWA) in Crypto?

By Romeo F.
19 Nov 2023
6 min read

Crypto Real-World Assets involve the conversion of tangible, physical assets into digital tokens recorded on a blockchain or distributed ledger. This groundbreaking process, known as tokenization, allows for the representation of real-world assets in a secure and decentralized digital environment.

Examples of assets that undergo this transformation include real estate, art, commodities, and even intellectual property.

The scope of RWAs is vast, covering a spectrum of tangible and intangible assets. Real estate, a cornerstone of traditional investments, can be tokenized, enabling fractional ownership and expanding investment opportunities.

Art, with its intrinsic value, becomes more accessible as ownership shares are represented by digital tokens. Commodities, such as precious metals or agricultural products, can now be seamlessly traded on blockchain platforms.

Even intellectual property, a cornerstone of the knowledge economy, can find representation as tokenized assets in the crypto realm.

RWA visualized. Source: Crypto Com

Tokenization Process of Real-World Assets

The first critical step in the tokenization process is the identification and valuation of the real-world asset slated for digitization.

Whether it's a piece of real estate, a masterpiece of art, or a commodity with intrinsic value, the asset's worth is determined, laying the foundation for subsequent token creation.

Tokenization is versatile, spanning across diverse asset classes. From the solidity of real estate to the aesthetic value of art and the tangible nature of commodities, each asset class brings its unique characteristics to the digital frontier.

Understanding the nuances of these classes is paramount in crafting effective tokenization strategies.

Smart contracts streamline the entire lifecycle of tokenization, from the creation of digital tokens to their management and eventual trading. Automation ensures efficiency, accuracy, and adherence to pre-defined rules encoded within the smart contract.

What is the Tokenization Process?

Choosing the Right Blockchain

The choice of blockchain platform is pivotal to the success of the tokenization project. Ethereum, with its robust smart contract capabilities and a vibrant developer community, is a popular choice. However, other blockchain platforms with specific features may also suit the project's requirements.

Factors such as the features of the chosen blockchain, scalability, and the vibrancy of the developer community play crucial roles in determining the suitability of a blockchain platform for real-world asset tokenization.

Token Creation

The heart of the tokenization process lies in the creation of digital tokens. Each token represents a portion of ownership or specific rights over the real-world asset. The digital representation ensures divisibility and accessibility.

Following established token standards, such as ERC-20 for Ethereum-based tokens, ensures compatibility and interoperability within the broader blockchain ecosystem. Adhering to these standards enhances the token's usability and acceptance on various platforms.

Ownership Record

A transparent and unchangeable ledger on the blockchain serves as the repository for ownership records. This ledger ensures a tamper-proof history of ownership transactions, fostering trust and preventing fraudulent activities.

The blockchain's decentralized nature allows for the tracking of every transaction involving tokenized assets. This transparency significantly reduces the risk of fraud and ensures that ownership records are accurate and secure.

Custody Solutions

Safeguarding the physical assets that underpin the tokens requires robust custody solutions. For tangible assets like real estate, physical security measures are essential, while secure storage solutions are crucial for digital assets.

Protection against theft, fraud, or mishandling of assets demands a comprehensive approach to security. Physical security measures, encryption for digital assets, and adherence to best practices are essential components of a robust security strategy.

Exchange and Marketplace

With tokenized assets ready for market interaction, the creation of a dedicated platform becomes imperative. This marketplace serves as the hub for buying, selling, and trading tokenized assets, providing participants with a seamless and secure environment.

Integration with Cryptoc Exchanges

To enhance accessibility and liquidity, integration with established cryptocurrency exchanges is a common practice. This integration ensures that tokenized assets can be easily accessed, traded, and converted into traditional cryptocurrencies.

Role of Real-World Assets in DeFi

The integration of Real-World Assets (RWAs) into the realm of Decentralized Finance (DeFi) is a pivotal development that bridges the gap between the digital innovations of blockchain technology and the tangible value of physical assets.

Linking Digital Blockchain Technology with Physical Assets

Real-world assets play a crucial role in the DeFi landscape by serving as a bridge between the digital and physical worlds.

While DeFi primarily operates with digital assets and cryptocurrencies, the inclusion of real-world assets allows the decentralized access, trade, and utilization of assets traditionally associated with the established financial system.

The integration of real-world assets in DeFi goes beyond mere tokenization; it opens up avenues for decentralized access to a wide array of assets, including stocks, commodities, and real estate.

These assets, represented as digital tokens on the blockchain, can be traded and utilized within the DeFi ecosystem, providing users with a more diversified and inclusive financial landscape.

Advantages for DeFi

Real-world assets introduce a new dimension of diversification to the DeFi ecosystem. DeFi users, traditionally exposed to the volatility of digital assets, can now leverage the stability and market behaviors of established assets like stocks and commodities. This diversification not only mitigates risk but also attracts traditional investors who may be more accustomed to dealing with tangible assets.

The incorporation of real-world assets contributes to the stability of the DeFi ecosystem. By including assets with well-established values and market behaviors, DeFi becomes less susceptible to the extreme volatility often associated with purely digital assets.

Examples of Existing Real-World Asset Platforms in Crypto

Here is a list of crypto projects actively working with RWA.

stUSDT (Smart Tokenized USD Tether)


Platform for tokenized real-world assets on the TRON network.
Represents a money market fund product.


Users stake USDT to earn stUSDT, proving investment in real-world assets.
Managed by RWA DAO, generating yields from government bonds.

Ondo Finance


RWA protocol with significant traction.
Invests in multi-billion dollar, highly liquid exchange-traded funds.


Users exchange stablecoins for USD, used to purchase assets.
Offers 4.5% to 7.76% APY based on risk level.

Source: Binance

Backed Finance


Tokenizes structured products tracking publicly traded securities.
Issues bTokens backed 1:1 by equivalent securities.


Tokenized Fixed-Income (e.g., Backed GOVIES, HIGH Corp Bond).
Tokenized Equities (e.g., Backed Niu Technologies, Coinbase Global).



Active protocol integrating real-world assets into operations.
80% of fee revenue generated from real-world assets.


MakerDAO Endgame plan for acquiring Physically Resilient RWA.
Ensuring control and resilience against potential regulatory scrutiny.

MakerDAO’s Asset Portfolio.

Creditcoin (CTC)


Protocol integrating with fintech lenders for DeFi investors.
Records borrower loan performance on-chain for transparency.

Parties Involved:

Creditcoin, Borrowers, Investors, Gluwa.
Enables trustless and transparent financial auditing.

Maple Finance (MPL)


Institutional capital market infrastructure in DeFi.
Facilitates loans for institutional borrowers through DeFi.

Parties Involved:

Institutional Borrowers, Lenders, Pool Delegates.
Allows undercollateralized borrowing based on whitelisted borrowers.

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