Brevan Howard, Hamilton Lane Back New Tokenization Platform Libre

Freshly out of stealth, Libre is also working with Nomura’s Laser Digital unit and has been built using Polygon’s chain development kit by tokenization pioneer Avtar Sehra.

AccessTimeIconJan 10, 2024 at 10:10 a.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 7:37 p.m. UTC
  • New tokenization platform Libre was born out of a combination of Nomura's Laser Digital and the Alan Howard-Backed WebN Group, with Hamilton Lane and Brevan Howard announced as the first users
  • The startup is built using Polygon CDK and headed up by tokenization pioneer Avtar Sehra
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  • Heavy hitters from the world of institutional cryptocurrency investing like Nomura’s Laser Digital, Brevan Howard’s WebN group and private markets giant Hamilton Lane are foundational partners and the first users of a newly established tokenization platform called Libre, the companies said on Wednesday.

    Libre emerges from stealth mode under the leadership of tokenization pioneer Avtar Sehra, and is constructed using Polygon CDK, the blockchain development kit of the Ethereum-based scaling network.

    These days, tokenization – the creation of a virtual version of a real-world asset (RWA) on the blockchain – is all the rage, and the big financial firms working on it seem to accept that public blockchains are the general direction of travel, even if they remain queasy about fully embracing that reality.

    Libre aims for full-on decentralization from the outset, taking inspiration from the achievements of decentralized finance (DeFi), Sehra said in an interview, which means the two most important types of institutions, issuers and distributors, are allowed to interact completely on chain without any other platform.

    “This decentralized infrastructure needs to have compliance built into it,” Sehra said. “It's not just about adding KYC and AML in the form of a single flag stating whether a user is whitelisted or not. It has to have a lot more nuance to match the right user to the right instrument and a lot of factors come into play: what instrument are you actually issuing, and who can actually hold that? How can it be marketed and to what type of investors in which jurisdictions?”

    Libra is looking to go live in the first quarter with a hedge fund type of asset of the sort Brevan Howard focuses on and, on the Hamilton Lane side, a private credit fixed-income type product, Sehra said. Thereafter, the roadmap for later this year includes collateralized lending and separately managed accounts, allowing users to balance portfolios on-chain.

    “Over time, our goal is to take operational costs down to near zero, from an average of around 100 basis points for an alternative asset,” said Sehra. “The aim is potentially to start making money on the protocol purely from value-add web services like collateralized lending and secondary transfers etc.”

    Libre grew out of WebN Group, an incubation hub for fintech and Web3 innovation backed by Alan Howard, a co-founder of Brevan Howard, and Laser Digital.

    Edited by Sheldon Reback.


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    Ian Allison

    Ian Allison is an award-winning senior reporter at CoinDesk. He holds ETH.