As asset tokenization and blockchain-based financial systems continue to promise new avenues for corporations and countries alike, a consortium featuring the who-whos of the tech and cryptocurrency industries launched on June 2, 2020, hoping to encourage and develop globally-accepted token standards.
Tokens Foray Ahead
Per a press release, the InterWork Alliance (IWA), launched operations as a platform-neutral non-profit seeking to create worldwide standards for “token-enabled” ecosystems. The alliance noted token-based economies show huge promise, with distributed applications holding the ability to “disrupt” global economics.
However, the IWA notes different platform types, and their wide-scale availability, have impeded adoption of tokenization, token-based assets, and other related systems. The consortium believes a standards framework in place would allow firms to “agree on” distributed business models, without spending time on choosing a token model.
The InterWork Alliance will set the standards for building distributed applications, including appropriate frameworks for tokenizing items of value, writing contracts over those tokens, and privacy-preserving analytics of multi-party data.
Launch members feature Accenture, Hedera Hashgraph, NEO global development, Chainlink, among others. The IWA notes all interested participants are invited to join the alliance and advance the token-based economy.
IWA President Ron Resnick noted companies around the world are looking to create token-backed models without a platform in mind. For this, standards need to be meticulously developed and put to work, including defining what a token is and how blockchain-based contracts work.
“The Alliance was created to serve as an organization where this essential work happens. By bringing great technology and innovative business leaders together to deliver the market-driven specifications needed to facilitate interworking, the Alliance can deliver a proven, standard approach that is required to bring consumer trust into this space.”
The IWA will provide the frameworks needed for businesses to create standardized token definitions and contracts in non-technical, business terms, and then turn them over to developers for coding on any platform of choice.
For the uninitiated, digital tokens allow users to use, transact, and exchange both fungible and non-fungible assets. This includes real-world properties, islands, artwork, and even loyalty points.
The above means business partners first need to universally agree on how that token is defined and how its value will contractually unlock through the various agreements and clauses.
Marley Gray, principal architect at Microsoft and IWA Chairman, explains:
“It provides a forum where industry participants can take real-world use cases as diverse as improving carbon market efficiency or trade finance efficiency, and use the technology-agnostic token and contract definitions to foster interoperability and drive widespread adoption.”
The IWA will allow businesses to compose multi-party contracts from clauses that directly correlate to the token standards, enabling communication protocols to be defined and connected to framework components.