Cryptocurrencies had a wild 2018, tumbling well below some of the record highs seen toward the end of 2017.
Analysts and executives in the industry are increasingly pointing to a fairly new development that could reinvigorate the space: putting securities like stocks and bonds on the blockchain.
So-called security tokens are becoming a new buzzword in crypto. The term is part of a phenomenon in the industry known as "tokenization" — turning real-world assets into digital tokens.
In the case of security tokens, tradable assets like equity and fixed income are transformed into digital assets that use blockchain technology, the virtual ledger of activity that underpins cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.
Security tokens had been talked about for some time, but now one firm is looking to put them to the test.
On Monday, DX.Exchange, an Estonia-based crypto firm, launched a trading platform that lets investors buy shares of popular Nasdaq-listed companies, including Apple, Tesla, Facebook and Netflix, indirectly through security tokens.
Each token is backed by one share of the company traders want to invest in and entitles them to the same cash dividends.
"The crypto community has been talking about security tokens for well over a year now without much progress, so we think the impact will be huge," Amedeo Moscato, DX's chief operating officer, told CNBC by email over the weekend.
"By tokenizing stocks of some of the biggest publicly-traded companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook and more, we are opening an untapped market of millions of old and new traders around the globe cutting out the middleman."