‘Blockchain-enabled’ WisdomTree consumer app goes live in 21 states
$93.6 billion fund group seeks to ‘de-silo the investing and financial experience’ by having different asset classes on common infrastructure, executive tells Blockworks
WisdomTree has rolled out its new financial app that mixes crypto, digital funds and tokenized physical assets such as gold.
The company — a fund group with $93.6 billion assets under management — has vocalized its bullishness on tokenization and blockchain-enabled wrappers over the last two years.
WisdomTree had first revealed in January 2022 its intention to launch the “blockchain-native” mobile app, called WisdomTree Prime. The app went live in 21 states Wednesday.
In addition to tokenized gold, users of the app can buy and sell bitcoin and ether, as well nine WisdomTree digital funds. The company’s in-house transfer agent keeps a secondary record of investor ownership of the digital funds’ shares on the Stellar or Ethereum blockchains.
Every dollar, ounce of gold or unit of blockchain is based on tokenization technology and moving value around on a blockchain, said Jason Guthrie, WisdomTree’s head of digital asset product.
Behind the app’s gold-trading mechanism, for example, WisdomTree is utilizing “a little private corner” of the Stellar decentralized exchange (DEX), using tokens issued for the liquidity of the firm’s end clients. By using a DEX, it offers near-instant settlement.
“The idea really being that we get a familiar experience and lay it on top of this new technology innovation for storing and moving value around to try to smooth the edges off that experience today,” Guthrie told Blockworks.
By having dollars, gold, crypto and funds on a common infrastructure, WisdomTree’s hope is to “de-silo the investing and financial experience,” the executive noted.
Though the firm could choose to add exposures to the app, it sought to keep the app’s offerings focused on the “building blocks” of a cross-asset portfolio, Guthrie said.
“One of the big issues we see with a lot of the brokerage services today — definitely with a lot of the crypto providers — is the sheer number of things that exist on the platform and the fact that it’s an intimidating and confusing experience for your average person,” Guthrie said. “So we think there’s an opportunity to deliver something that is more focused.”
The launch signals the latest development of financial companies wading deeper into crypto, coming a month after BlackRock filed with the SEC to launch a spot bitcoin ETF. WisdomTree has tried to launch such a product previously, and renewed its bid in June.
But unlike BlackRock’s surprise ETF filing, WisdomTree Prime was talked about for about 18 months.
Regulators approved WisdomTree’s Short-Term Treasury Digital Fund (WTSY) last year. Executives on various company earnings calls have said that blockchain-enabled digital wrappers are the future of asset management.
“Regardless of how different consumers use it…by being first in tokenizing the underlying exposures and by being native to the blockchain in our design, WisdomTree will deliver unique and better functionality,” CEO Jonathan Steinberg said in April 2022. “Nothing can potentially scale faster than a successful mobile app.”
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