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Institutional Investors and Wealth Managers Embrace Tokenization and DeFi

In a recent survey conducted by Nickel Digital Asset Management (Nickel), key insights emerge on the growing traction of tokenization and decentralized finance solutions (DeFi) among institutional investors and wealth managers. Founded by industry veterans from Bankers Trust, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan, Nickel’s research offers valuable perspectives on the evolving landscape of financial investments.

The study, encompassing respondents managing a collective $816 billion in assets across prominent financial hubs including the US, UK, Germany, Switzerland, Singapore, Brazil, and the United Arab Emirates, underscores a robust enthusiasm for embracing the potential of tokenization and DeFi.

A striking 75% of respondents anticipate a notable surge in the adoption of tokenization for investment funds and asset classes over the next five years, with a remarkable 14% envisioning exponential growth within this timeframe.

Furthermore, the research highlights a prevailing sentiment among industry professionals regarding the transformative impact of DeFi on traditional finance institutions. An overwhelming 81% of respondents anticipate DeFi to revolutionize conventional business practices, with 15% predicting a significant disruption.

Despite the optimism, the study uncovers lingering concerns inhibiting the full-scale integration of DeFi within institutional circles. Notably, issues surrounding know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) compliance emerge as primary barriers, cited by 62% of respondents. Additionally, technology risks (47%), tax implications (46%), and liquidity constraints (45%) are identified as significant obstacles.

Respondents also emphasize the need for regulatory clarity (36%) and secure custody solutions (31%) to facilitate greater institutional involvement in DeFi. Alarmingly, one in five respondents (18%) express a shortage of specialized talent capable of navigating the complexities of DeFi investments.

Anatoly Crachilov, CEO and Founding Partner at Nickel Digital, acknowledges the industry’s cautious approach to embracing DeFi while highlighting the potential rewards for early adopters.

“Tokenization and DeFi investments are gaining significant momentum among investors, with the research indicating a growing interest in these opportunities,” states Crachilov. “While apprehensions persist, institutions stand to reap substantial benefits by venturing into this nascent space.”

Conducted in January 2024, the study involved 200 institutional investors and wealth managers across diverse global financial centers, commissioned by Nickel Digital and executed by market research firm Pureprofile

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