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Monetizing CHamoru culture? Tokenize it!

Converge By Jeffrey Marchesseault

For sheer sake of pondering the possible at the outset of CHamoru Month, what if I said that you, your family, and friends could make easy money while helping tilt Destination Guam’s post-pandemic visitor industry toward sustainable growth and better yield? And that you could do so with as much or as little effort as you want, while carrying the plausible expectation of a little extra gravy on the side of your regular job?

What if you could earn a steady stream of passive real property income for a virtually unlimited amount of time from a hassle-free side venture, simply by plunking down any amount of cash or coins once, twice, or as many times as you want over 60 months?

Furthermore, what if you could conveniently track your investment in real-time on your cell phone and pull your money out, or even add more, at predetermined exits and top-up opportunities whenever it suited you? 

How much would you wager for a chance to contribute capital to a worthwhile cause and maybe even make some money back while you’re at it? Would you fork over that big jug of coins on the floor of your closet? How about $100? $500? $1,000 or more? 

How much could you digitally transfer from your checking account either once or every month to support community development with carefully mitigated risk and ample reason to expect some return on your investment as long as visitor arrivals keep climbing into the foreseeable future?


On the digital plane, this is the realm of asset tokenization. By buying up a number of digital tokens that are available to a pool of crowd-funding subscribers, you and other small investors would each get a piece of the action, right alongside the big institutional investors who put up the bulk of the capital. 

The difference is that you decide how much or how little of your own money to devote to the project, usually with very low minimum chip-ins. And you don’t even have to lift a finger to manage the project or the performance of the overall investment, other than to contribute your chosen amounts on time and accept scheduled payouts or dividends.

In the world of fintech (financial technology), there are cryptocurrency coins and cryptocurrency tokens. Crypto coins tend to be used for direct payments in lieu of cash or credit, whereas tokens serve as a store of value with specific use cases and technical applications. 

One of the most common token apps is smart contracts. These digital agreement forms are often used in a variety of electronic financial transactions, especially amongst strangers. They eliminate the need for personal trust and third-party custodians by serving as an automated trust account that only releases funds when certain conditions are met digitally. Think of smart contracts as digital escrow services and you get the idea.

Asset tokenization uses smart contracts to manage money inflows and outflows like a preprogrammed gatekeeper. Say a developer is issuing appreciable crypto tokens in exchange for the U.S. currency it needs to bankroll the construction and marketing of a strip mall. To secure the transaction, a smart contract will be deployed to secure your cash into a digital strongbox that won’t unlock for the borrower until after they upload the exchange tokens into the same strongbox.

Once the cash and tokens are secured in that vault, a preprogrammed command releases the tokens to you and the cash to the developer.

An easy grounder down by the bay

By way of example, let’s say you decide to invest in a small southern village’s iconic revitalization program after the local mayor hosts a meeting at the community center, where project coordinators announce that private citizens will be invited to participate in profit sharing. 

Utilizing a diversified financing package that includes secured loans, federal historic preservation grants, fixed-rate bonds, private equity, and crowd financing over a five-year investment period, the municipality will funnel project funding into a coastal historic subdistrict. It’s a ground-level chance to spread the risk while breathing new life into a small community with a rich heritage and idyllic natural surroundings, but that could use a financial lift to get back on its feet again.

Perhaps you have some leftover expendable income every month after meeting fixed expenses, entertaining friends and family, and servicing your other investments. And maybe you’ve been thinking of rolling some of that leftover dough into a promising passive income vehicle, anyway.

The project aims to turn abandoned seaside homes into long-term rentals and bed and breakfasts. It seeks to synergize a row of empty storefronts into a retail mix that includes a convenience store and gas station, a boutique grocer, a mini museum with a gift shop, a bakery/café, an easy-credit hometown bank, and various roadside concessions that offer everything from souvenirs and antiques to branded clothing and accessories and even fresh produce. 

Parks and public beaches will be refurbished by qualified contractors and maintained by local families who can earn a living as responsible and empowered property caretakers on government contracts. Glamping grounds will be set up near a broad white-sand beach with enough grass and a wooded area for plush air-conditioned tents and charming rustic cabins positioned near shared facilities.

Furthermore, several culturally-themed attractions will be added, along with guided recreational activities. And this whole historic CHamoru cultural district will tell the story of that village through the ages. 

The idea is to create employment and opportunity in an overlooked but deserving tourism zone by building a public-private partnership. I’m talking about a cooperative of stakeholders who harbor a burning desire to make this place so inviting, serene, and attractive that people from on and off island will want to spend anywhere from a single weekend to a month or more at a time just hanging out and unwinding with the locals.

OK, back to reality. I’m dreamcasting here. It could be a while before a savvy developer offers low-cost, entry-level investment positions to residents in any Guam-based development via the issuance of digital tokens. However digital technology has enabled asset tokenization and fractional digital stakes in real estate assets through apps like Arrived Homes, Crowd Street, Groundfloor, Elevate Money, Fundrise, and others.

I’m not qualified to give investment advice and don’t get a cut for naming for-profit investment apps that you happen to download. This write-up is merely designed to spark your imagination about the possibility of investing in sustainable community development, via digital platforms.

Jeffrey Tomas Marchesseault is a lifelong multimedia careerist and former real estate broker and property manager. He now serves as publicist and business analyst for the president and CEO of Guam Visitors Bureau. You can reach Jeff at



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