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Cryptoeconomic Geographies and the Security Token Offering (STO): Is Tokenized Equity More Equitable?

Authors: Jillian Crandall*,
Topics: Economic Geography, Cyberinfrastructure
Keywords: blockchain, cryptocurrency, real estate, fintech
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Cryptocurrency has often been associated with scams and securities law violations from Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) - a type of crowdfunding for blockchain-based startups. However, the ICO’s successor - the Security Token Offering (STO) aims to mitigate risk and avoid regulatory complications. In doing so, crypto has recently become enmeshed with existing markets such as real estate. The STO is a new digital vehicle for planned spatial appropriation via blockchain technology. The STO combines both crowdfunding and venture capital with cryptocurrency to create a “tokenized venture capital fund” tied to tangible assets, such as ownership rights in real estate or land. With the STO, blockchain is proposed to be used as the technology underlying new forms of land/property documentation, ownership, and inhabitation - from conducting and recording land surveys, to title creation, to land registration, to transference of land and property rights.

Using case studies from different global contexts, this paper tackles two lines of questions: 1) how does blockchain (via the STO) change geographical boundaries of ownership, residency, and transnational or non-local citizenship; and 2) does tokenization of real estate open up purchasing power to those typically excluded - does it engage new or existing democratic ownership structures such as cooperatives - or does it instead concentrate power for venture capital investors, or perhaps even encourage new forms of colonization?

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