The development of the framework presented in here was a collaborative effort between me and several of my Untitled INC fellows. Peter Trapp was heavily involved in all aspects of the creation, including lending his surprising design prowess to it. Prof. Dr. Andranik Tumasjan of the University of Mainz (and formerly Technical University Munich) provided very valuable feedback and ideas, as did Dr. Oliver Krause, Dr. Karl-Michael Henneking and Daniel Pichler.
Blockchain, ICOs and bitcoin’s wild ride have been some of the hottest tech topics in 2017. Yet, while people spent billions of dollars on cryptographic tokens, the understanding of the different token types out there is still limited. Even among regular investors and long-standing members of the blockchain community.
One reason for it — a quite common one in emerging domains — is the lack of clear, generally agreed upon terminology and definitions. For instance, I regularly come across people who refer to all tokens as “cryptocurrencies”. Which, as we are going to see in a minute, isn’t precise. Which is somewhat problematic because precision in language and terminology is the basis for an informed, nuanced dialogue and good analysis.
Whether you want to develop a token or evaluate one, it’s critical to understand the nuances of the subject. Moreover, the blockchain community is growing and maturing. As a result, it is increasingly getting in touch with “the real world” (aka people who are new to the subject). Investors, regulators, politicians and decision-makers in businesses are all taking the space increasingly serious. Many are in the process of formulating their positions and strategies for dealing with the subject. Clarity and accessibility of relevant knowledge are key to allowing those actors to make good, informed decisions.
This is why we, the Untitled INC team, set out to develop a framework that a) reflects the various existing token types, b) allows to classify and analyze tokens in various relevant dimensions, and c) fosters a better, nuanced understanding of crypto tokens. Today, we are presenting the first iteration of the Token Classification Framework, the result of our effort. In this post, I’m going to walk you through the framework and explain the work and thinking that went into it.