Finance infrastructure through blockchain-based tokenization

Abstract

The infrastructure finance gap has long-standing implications for economic and social development. Owing to low efficiency, high transaction costs, and long transaction time, conventional infrastructure financing instruments are considered to be major contributors to the increasing mismatch between the need for infrastructure development and available financing. Implemented through smart contracts, blockchain tokenization has shown characteristics that are poised to change the capital stack of infrastructure investment. This study analyzed the first SEC-compliant energy asset security token, Ziyen-Coin, from the perspective of the key participants, relevant regulations, and token offering procedures. Results show that tokenization can improve infrastructure assets liquidity, transaction efficiency, and transparency across intermediaries. Conventional infrastructure financing instruments were compared with blockchain tokenization by reviewing the literature on infrastructure finance. The benefits and barriers of tokenizing infrastructure assets were thoroughly discussed to devise ways of improving infrastructure financing. The study also found that the potential of tokenization has not yet been fully realized because of the limited technical infrastructures, regulation uncertainties, volatilities in the token market, and absence of the public sector. This study contributes to the present understanding of how blockchain technology can be implemented in infrastructure finance and the role of tokenization in the structure of public–private partnership and project finance.

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Correspondence to Yifeng Tian.

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Tian, Y., Lu, Z., Adriaens, P. et al. Finance infrastructure through blockchain-based tokenization. Front. Eng. Manag. 7, 485–499 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42524-020-0140-2

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Keywords

  • infrastructure asset
  • blockchain
  • tokenization
  • security token offering
  • smart contract
  • public–private partnership
  • project finance