Microsoft, Ethereum Group Launch Token-Building Kit for Enterprises

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The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) and Microsoft have corralled the major blockchain providers behind a new project to help businesses design and create the right sort of crypto tokens for their particular needs.

The EEA, which is focused on creating standards and specifications for business users interacting with ethereum technology, stressed it is merely the host for the so-called “Token Taxonomy Initiative,” an entirely catholic and technology-neutral project which crosses ethereum, Hyperledger, R3’s Corda and Digital Asset’s DAML.

Announced Wednesday, members of the Token Taxonomy Initiative include Accenture, Banco Santander, Blockchain Research Institute, Clearmatics, ConsenSys, Digital Asset, EY, IBM, ING, Intel, J.P. Morgan, Komgo, Microsoft, R3, and Web3 Labs, among others.

EEA executive director Ron Resnick explained that in essence, this is a composition framework which is open and accessible to technologists and non-technologists alike. It will comprise workshops as well as a GitHub repository where findings and test data can be linked to existing token implementations on various blockchain networks, said Resnick, adding:

“We are doing this for the greater common good. Standardizing tokens across all networks could hold the key to one of the greatest economic opportunities in modern history.”

Marley Gray, principal architect at Microsoft, who came up with the idea, explained the inspiration for it arrived from two directions.

On the one hand, Gray said his team ended up fielding lots of questions from internal businesses at Microsoft, keen to explore how software licenses (traditionally complex holographic product IDs that you have to register) could be tokenized and imported into smart contracts.

At the same time, through his involvement with the blockchain activities of Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform and the EEA, Gray said he was often in touch with various industry consortia who were spending a lot of time trying to work out how best to tokenize a barrel of oil, for example.

Gray said his team would have many rather repetitive conversations trying to describe tokens and the particular properties desired by users – “we would use analogies like airline tickets a lot” – and how these requirements relate to existing blockchain platforms.

As such, a kind of hierarchy of characteristics and behaviors was established: fungible and non-fungible; transferable and non-transferable; subdividable and non-subdividable; mintable and burnable, and so on.

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