From Real to Digital: The Blockchain RWA Surge

Greythorn Asset Management
7 min readJun 11, 2024

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Real World Assets (RWA) are emerging as a significant new asset class within the cryptocurrency industry. As of May 2024, the RWA market surpassed $6.6 billion, indicating a strong and growing interest from investors in this innovative financial product.

The rise of RWAs is closely linked to the expanding use of blockchain technology. Through tokenisation, real-world assets like property, commodities, and intellectual property can be represented as digital tokens on a blockchain. This process offers several key benefits:

  • Fractional Ownership: Previously indivisible assets can now be divided into smaller tokens, making them accessible to a broader range of investors.
  • Greater Liquidity: Tokenisation simplifies asset trading, potentially increasing liquidity in traditionally illiquid markets.
  • Transparency and Security: Blockchain technology ensures secure and transparent transactions, reducing counterparty risk.

RWAs, by being tokenised and brought on-chain, can serve as a source of yield within DeFi. The market for asset tokenisation is expected to surge to $10 trillion by 2030.

Source: Roland Berger

Ondo Finance, with its treasury tokenisation offerings, is well-positioned to capitalise on this growth as investor interest continues to rise. RWAs are becoming central to equity-based, real asset-based, and fixed income-based DeFi markets, with more projects coming into play.

In today’s article, we will delve into Dusk Network, an ‘infrastructure’ project within the Web3 RWA sector, which emphasises regulatory compliance. After extensive development, Dusk’s mainnet is set to launch in Q2 2024, marking a significant milestone for the project.

The Network

Dusk Network is a blockchain platform designed for regulated and decentralised finance. It specialises in issuing digital securities, aiming to automate compliance while keeping user data private and auditable. By integrating privacy and compliance, Dusk Network facilitates secure on-chain trading of RWAs.

Source: Roland Berger

Using a unique consensus mechanism that combines elements of PoS and zero-knowledge cryptography, Dusk Network ensures both confidentiality and regulatory compliance. The platform aims to streamline regulated markets by removing costly intermediaries while still adhering to regulatory standards.

Features

Dusk uses a wide variety of technologies to enhance its competitive advantages:

Regulatory Compliant Blockchain Solution

Dusk Network is designed to meet the regulatory needs of institutions. It’s an open-source, public, and permissionless blockchain, making it accessible to companies of all sizes.

Integrated Privacy on Dusk Network

Dusk provides a privacy-focused system for tokenizing, clearing, and settling financial instruments. They developed Citadel, a protocol that integrates a self-sovereign identity system into the Dusk Blockchain, and an off-chain version called Shelter for private KYC for institutions. Users can selectively disclose their information and protect their data.

Confidential Smart Contracts

Dusk is one of the first blockchains to feature native confidential smart contracts, allowing for the creation and issuance of privacy-enabled tokenized securities. This streamlines business operations by automating audit trails, reducing administrative and legal costs, and enhancing overall efficiency. Institutions can also use these contracts to leverage the benefits of a public network for financial applications while maintaining compliance.

Source: Roland Berger

Zero-Knowledge Utility Token

Dusk utilises Zero-Knowledge Proof (ZKP) technology, which allows verification without revealing underlying data. By incorporating PLONK, a cutting-edge zero-knowledge cryptography, Dusk ensures robust privacy.

Source: Dusk Network

Competitors

Dusk Network is a unique player in the Real-World Assets (RWA) sector, focusing on regulatory compliance with a strong emphasis on privacy. Here’s a comparative overview of its main competitors:

Source: Greythorn Internal

Dusk’s advantage lies in its privacy-enabled blockchain, confidential smart contracts, and regulatory compliance, making it ideal for financial dApps and institutions needing privacy and compliance. However, Dusk faces several disadvantages: it is less well-known, has a smaller market cap, and is still in its early stages. Additionally, its focus on privacy and regulatory compliance may limit its appeal to more general blockchain and DeFi projects.

Tokenomics

The DUSK token is central to the Dusk Network, serving various essential functions:

Market Metrics

  • Market Cap: $220.72 million (based on the circulating supply and price).
  • Rank: #271
  • FDV: $237.65 million (based on the total supply and price)
  • Rank: #350
  • Circulating Supply: 469.62 million DUSK (46.96% of Max Supply). Tokens held by the team or controlled by the Dusk deployer are not considered part of the circulating supply.
  • Total Supply: 500 million DUSK
  • Max Supply: 1 billion DUSK, 500M pre-mainnet, 500M emitted over an 18–36 period to stakers in mainnet.
  • Next Unlock: Fully unlocked as of April 11, 2022

Token Utility

  • Stakes & Rewards: Lock up DUSK tokens to earn rewards and enhance network security.
  • Transactions & Gas: Pay transaction fees and gas costs for network interactions.
  • Payments & Collateral: Use DUSK for payments within the network and as collateral for issuing digital assets.

Token Allocation and Vesting Overview

The vesting period ran from May 2019 to April 2022.

Source: Dusk Network

Team, Fundraising and Ecosystem

Dusk Network’s team combines technical and business expertise, led by founders Emanuele Francioni, Fulvio Venturelli, and Jelle Pol. They bring experience from leading institutions and companies. The 17-member technical team and a 9-member advisory board support their innovative efforts.

Source: Duck Network

Dusk Network has raised substantial funds: $1 million in their 2020 ICO, $8 million in a 2018 private sale backed by Binance Labs, and $1 million in seed funding from BlockVenture.

In partnership with NPEX, Dusk Network is pioneering Europe’s first blockchain-powered security exchange. This initiative positions Dusk for growth as Europe embraces digital tokenization, projected to reach $3.7 billion by 2032.

The latest Dusk Roadmap, unveiled on September 7, 2023, outlines the path to the Mainnet launch in 2024. Key milestones include the Incentivized Testnet (ITN) and an extensive auditing process.

Source: Dusk Network

Bullish Fundamental Factors

  • Strong RWA Narrative: Major companies like BlackRock are showing interest in Real RWAs, highlighting their potential.
  • Opportunity in Private Markets: Digital assets in private markets present significant opportunities, which Dusk seizes by combining privacy and compliance for secure on-chain RWA trading.
  • First European Blockchain Stock Exchange: Dusk holds the title of being the first blockchain-based stock exchange in Europe.
  • Diverse Programming Support: The Dusk blockchain supports multiple programming languages, including Rust, C, C++, and Go, running on Piecrust, Dusk’s ZK-friendly virtual machine, optimising for privacy and efficiency.
  • Dusk Grants Program: Named Thesan, this program commits 15 million DUSK to support developers building on the Dusk network, fostering innovation and growth.
  • Mainnet Launch: The Dusk Network roadmap is progressing towards a mainnet launch in Q2 2024.

Bearish Fundamental Factors

  • Competitive Pressure: ONDO is leading the RWA narrative and is likely to continue capturing most of the attention and market share, especially with its close ties to BlackRock.
  • Lack of Smart Money Interest: Our internal team hasn’t detected significant interest from smart money in buying and accumulating the DUSK token, though this will be monitored for any changes.
  • Strategic Risk: Dusk’s specialisation in infrastructure for real-world asset tokenization is a narrow focus that could pose strategic risks.
  • Regulatory Challenges: Navigating complex legal frameworks for tokenization across various jurisdictions is challenging. Dusk’s use of confidential smart contracts exposes it to regulatory hurdles related to smart contract enforceability and aset classification.

Disclaimer

This presentation has been prepared by Greythorn Asset Management Pty Ltd (ABN 96 621 995 659) (Greythorn). The information in this presentation should be regarded as general information only rather than investment advice and financial advice. It is not an advertisement nor is it a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any financial instruments or to participate in any particular trading strategy. In preparing this document Greythorn did not take into account the investment objectives, financial circumstance or particular needs of any recipient who receives or reads it. Before making any investment decisions, recipients of this presentation should consider their own personal circumstances and seek professional advice from their accountant, lawyer or other professional adviser. This presentation contains statements, opinions, projections, forecasts and other material (forward looking statements), based on various assumptions. Greythorn is not obliged to update the information. Those assumptions may or may not prove to be correct. None of Greythorn, its officers, employees, agents, advisers or any other person named in this presentation makes any representation as to the accuracy or likelihood of fulfilment of any forward looking statements or any of the assumptions upon which they are based. Greythorn and its officers, employees, agents and advisers give no warranty, representation or guarantee as to the accuracy, completeness or reliability of the information contained in this presentation. None of Greythorn and its officers, employees, agents and advisers accept, to the extent permitted by law, responsibility for any loss, claim, damages, costs or expenses arising out of, or in connection with, the information contained in this presentation. This presentation is the property of Greythorn. By receiving this presentation, the recipient agrees to keep its content confidential and agrees not to copy, supply, disseminate or disclose any information in relation to its content without written consent.

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Greythorn Asset Management

Melbourne-based asset management firm specialising in Technology, Web3, Cryptocurrency, and Blockchain. Subscribe for our latest industry insights.