Knight Dragon, a London-based property developer owned by Hong Kong’s Henry Cheng, is offering investors a share in the profits of one of Britain’s largest urban renewal projects by using blockchain technology.
Knight Dragon announced Tuesday that it plans to issue 100,000 security tokens. The tokens, named KDB4, will entitle their holders to a share of 80% of the gross profits generated from Knight Dragon’s Building 4. The 191-unit tower is part of the Upper Riverside development, an apartment complex within the company’s landmark Greenwich Peninsula project.
Knight Dragon estimates that KDB4 will be worth £140 million ($172 million), but it has yet to confirm the tokens’ drop date. Holders of the tokens will also be given priority to invest in, or purchase, future offerings in Greenwich Peninsula.
“We have a track record of being business pioneers and the fast-growing blockchain economy offers exciting new opportunities for Knight Dragon,” Cheng, the chairman of Knight Dragon, wrote to Forbes in an email. “Our leadership team is always open to, and seeking, innovative initiatives which can add value to our business.” Cheng added that Knight Dragon will explore the possibility of applying tokenization on other real estates within the company’s portfolio.
Security tokens are a digital form of ownership in traditional assets, such as stocks, bonds, real estate or economic rights. By using blockchain technology to perform the token’s transactions, the underlying assets can be more easily traded among a broader investor base.
“Building tokenization is set to revolutionize the global property industry and we are pleased to be a leader in this revolution,” Sammy Lee, founder and vice chairman of Knight Dragon, said in a statement. “Being the first company to tokenize an entire building in Central London fits exactly with our bold vision for the global property industry.”
Knight Dragon is privately held by Cheng, who also serves as chairman of his family’s flagships New World Development and Chow Tai Fook Jewellery, both of which are publicly listed in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old was worth $26.4 billion as of February, Forbes estimates, placing him and his family at No. 3 on the list of Hong Kong’s 50 Richest.
Knight Dragon said it’s investing £8.4 billion ($10.3 billion) in Greenwich Peninsula, the project that promises to redevelop what was formerly an industrial area along the River Thames in southeast London. The company took full ownership of the 147-acre (6.4-million-square-feet) site in 2013 and has since then laid out a 25-year development plan.
The Greenwich Peninsula project could eventually feature more than 17,500 homes, roughly 84,000 square meters of commercial and retail space, as well as 20,000 square meters of cultural attractions, Knight Dragon said in its annual report for the year ended March 2021. The company’s previous projects include building a luxury apartment tower and redeveloping a 5-star hotel in London.
Security tokens have been gaining ground in recent years as financial watchdogs in some jurisdictions, including the U.K. and Hong Kong, have started to issue regulations covering the assets. The tokens have been increasingly used by companies as a means to raise capital.
Among the companies that touched on the technology was Stan Group, the property company run by Stan Tang, the son of late Hong Kong billionaire Tang Shing-bor. Stan Group announced in 2019 plans to tokenize real estate in Hong Kong, the world’s most expensive property market.
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