For years, the powers that be on Wall Street have been questions about whether it would be practicable to move the stock market onto a blockchain, the primary technology behind cryptocurrencies.
The innovators are in a fast moving world of decentralised finance or DeFi. They will not waiting around to see how these discussions open out.
Besides they have built their own synthetic versions of shares that track some of the world's biggest companies. Primarily, the anti-establishment spirit of the cryptocurrency world is being applied to a rough replica of the stock market.
Fake versions of many big stocks like Tesla, Apple, Amazon and others as well as a few popular exchange-traded funds have been created by the projects Mirror Protocol and Synthetix over the past one year.
The tokens and the programming that allows them to trade are set up to reflect the prices of the equities they track without any actual purchases or sales of the real stocks and exchange-traded funds are involved.
Until now, volumes are just a tiny fragment of those on regulated exchanges but for cryptocurrency enthusiasts, the potential upside is huge.
The synthetic equities joins a strange new world of assets such as digital artwork and highlights of NBA games which are now trading on blockchains.
As yet, unlike the modern art and dunks of the non-fungible token universe, these instruments raise questions about how they fit into a global stock exchange market and securities industry governed by thousands of pages of rules from different countries across the globe.
The co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Terraform Labs, the South Korean company that created the Mirror Protocol on its Terra blockchain, Do Kwon fantasies himself as a modern-day Robin Hood of finance in the mode of Vlad Tenev or Chamath Palihapitiya.
Do Kwon said via email that DeFi is so powerful in unlocking financial services for disenfranchised people around the world.
He also said,“it's better to move fast and break things. Waiting for fragmented regulatory frameworks to crystallise before innovating is counterintuitive.”
Kwon also said Terraform Labs doesn't generate any revenue from the amount charged on the Mirror Protocol. That generated revenue goes to users as an incentive to provide liquidity.
Comparatively, the firm earns profits via a cryptocurrency which it created that tends to increase the value as projects like Mirror grow in popularity.