MANTRA Chain Raises $11M for RWA Tokenization with Middle East Tint

The project seeks to be a hub for RWAs in the Cosmos ecosystem.

AccessTimeIconMar 19, 2024 at 12:26 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 19, 2024 at 12:27 p.m. UTC
  • MANTRA Chain raised $11 million to build a network tailored to real-world assets, the buzzy TradFi-crypto crossover that has yet to take off.
  • The project is close to securing all-important regulatory approval in the Middle East.

The flood of investor capital into crypto's "real world assets" sector shows no signs of slowing with MANTRA Chain, a planned network for swapping tokenized real estate and other assets, raising $11 million.

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  • MANTRA, a Middle East-focused project, is in the final stages of securing licensures from Dubai’s crypto regulator VARA, founder John Patrick Mullin told CoinDesk. These approvals will be essential in MANTRA’s plans to build and host a suite of compliance-minded tools for issuing and trading RWAs.

    Plenty of companies in crypto and beyond are betting RWAs will become a multi-billion dollar business by the end of the decade. Much of the trading in "traditional" asset classes that are broadly popular with investors (real estate, stocks, maybe even art) will have to move onto blockchains for this to happen. It hasn't yet.

    Still, projects like MANTRA have raised war chests to corner this market before it takes off. Part of that means defining who can participate in RWA trading, whether it is a free-for-all (like meme coin trading) or more buttoned-up (like the stock market).

    The vision Mullin described to CoinDesk is a more restrictive or "permissioned" environment. "You do have to go through an on-boarding process to get into this walled garden," Mullin said. "But once you're in, you're in."

    Early-stage tech backer Shorooq Partners led MANTRA's round which also included Three Point Capital, Forte Securities, Virtuzone, Hex Trust and GameFi Ventures, according to a press release. Mullin said he's planning to embark on another fundraising roadshow soon.

    MANTRA's network isn't yet live, meaning no one can issue or trade RWAs quite yet. But it is planned for Cosmos, a network of closely linked albeit independent blockchains. Cosmos doesn't yet have a designated so-called app-chain for trading tokenized RWAs, according to MANTRA's documents.

    Once live, Mullin said MANTRA will focus on the "crypto native" crowd, which is to say, the people already familiar with crypto, decentralized exchanges, on-chain borrowing and lending and so-forth.

    Still, Mullin, who said he had to pivot his old crypto business plans after the many industry implosions of 2022, said he was cognizant of the challenges involved in building an enduring product for RWAs, a sector that despite its lofty projections has yet to take off.

    "Right now we're seemingly in a bull market but three months ago it wasn't," he said.

    He's taking what he sees as the safest bet in an exceptionally risky landscape:" build and become the platform that other people utilize when building their own RWA businesses.

    "We don't want to exchange every asset, we don't want to build every dapp, we have to be at the protocol level, too," he said.

    Edited by Parikshit Mishra.


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    Danny Nelson

    Danny is CoinDesk's Managing Editor for Data & Tokens. He owns BTC, ETH and SOL.