Slideshare Of The Week: State of Tokens

AVC regular William Mougayar posted a slide deck he calls State Of Tokens this week.

I like the deck a lot, particularly slide 34 (it’s a 36 slide deck), where he posits a timeline for the development of the blockchain ecosystem and where we are right now.

Here it is:


Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    As do I and went through it carefully yesterday.Appreciate the care and thought put into it.Two comments:-His view of where we are going is mostly in contrast to the majority of ICO pitches at the ICO 2.0 event in Santa Monica that I watched yesterday. He is holding to a much different standard. Just saying.-I don’t agree that there is a mismatch between a stable transactional payment system that can not only handle the unbanked but will leverage its way into challenging the gateways.This is needed greatly.I say this as a personal geek and potential new investor in a project in the CBD world. Some thoughts here on that segment–Crypto, CBD, Cannabis and the broader markets

    1. William Mougayar

      I’m not sure I understand this part “mismatch between a stable transactional payment system that can not only handle the unbanked”.

      1. awaldstein

        From your post (below).That to my reading is saying that to use something Dash-like to go after the now forecasted $96B Cannabis and the already (legal,unbanked) $700+M CBD market is ‘dead on arrival’,Don’t agree with that. Replumbing the gateways and reimagining the pricing structures of credit cards is something that is sorely needed.From your post.”Tokens as an in-market payment instrument is the most un-imaginative model out there. Sure you can take any existing business, slap a token to pay for this and that, and claim a token-based model. But that’s not nearly enough innovation to move the needle on value creation and attracting new users. Projects based on the token-as-payment model are dead-on-arrival, and will fail in my opinion…unless there’s a lot more to the token than being another currency.”Please clarify.

        1. William Mougayar

          Actually, the main thing I’m saying here is that slapping the “Token” as a payment option is not enough to incentivize new users, unless there’s more to it.Every time I hear “unbanked” I hear “boil the ocean”, another red flag signal. There are reasons why they are unbanked.

          1. awaldstein

            Always good to disagree.It is going to take a hell of a lot more than slapping something in place to solve the problem I am thinking of.And significantly transformational.

          2. William Mougayar

            I think we agree. What I was saying: I’m not hopeful about using the token just as a payment mechanism.

          3. awaldstein

            We can chat sometime if u like.I’ve thought a lot about the tokenization of behavior where we probably agree but where we diverge is that u seem to be saying that these economies must be circular and self contained implying that there will be an endless number of them.I’m not certain.And I feel that some solution sets like that needed in the CBD world are as well valid.

          4. jason wright

            Boil the ocean?

    2. Matt A. Myers

      I wasn’t sure if you were referencing the same CBD I am familiar with, until I confirmed by your blog post.I take CBD oil every 6 hours, a 1:25 ratio THC:CBD in a coconut oil base to help counter inflammation as part of chronic pain I still struggle to cope with. I recently started on additional anti-inflammatories (diclofenac) which has further helped, however unfortunately it doesn’t prevent the executive function disruption that the pain causes. It’s too expensive still here in Canada, mainly as has only legally been available through medical marijuana prescriptions – though will legalize in Canada soon, and hoping the price drops; I pay $90 CAD for a 40ml bottle. Likely shouldn’t be more than $20. My family has a fair amount of land in Nova Scotia that my father always had said would be good to grow hemp – or Christmas trees. If I am ever able to move forward with my health-wellness-social ecosystem, I would likely get into production as well and use the audience as a marketing channel.Re: CBD – A point I usually include when telling someone about CBD, which I didn’t see in your blog post (I only skimmed it so far mind you) – is that CBD actually counteracts the psychoactive properties of THC, so in the 1:25 ratio I take – there’s no impact from the THC; the THC and CBD do however open up pathways because of reducing inflammation, so people who haven’t had THC before should start on a lower dose and slowly increase — breaking through the initial inflammation can feel strong because of the initial contrast.

      1. awaldstein

        I’m informed and a user and a believer.My son is an expert herbologist and exec at one the best natural liposomal CBD companies out of the Boulder area.

  2. kenberger

    I too clipped slide 34 when @william sent this in an email this morning.It could be neat if Wm juxtaposed the previous slide onto this, where he mentions the Web analogy. I’m often asked where are we today in crypto– is it 1994, ’96, or ’98?I also feel like the first time period on slide 34, “selling the vision”, actually extends parallel to maybe all the others– starts well before 2013 and extends maybe even ALL the way up, or at least for a couple more years, just as it did all the way into at least ’98 in the first bubble. Sure, that’s true of the others too (building, implementing, realization) but feels to me like the selling/acceptance is the most critical (and driving) one.People have woken up, and will wake up, at many different points in the timeline, and will extoll different bouts of skepticism, excitement, and perhaps even go back and forth, until eventually we have true global adoption (or never get there, as some will claim).

    1. William Mougayar

      Well, the first one is depicting the status of the technology pieces.I’ve been saying we are probably in Web year 1998 (to make it easy, rounding to 20 years), but one could argue we are rather in 96-97.

      1. kenberger

        Agree: 96-97 is exactly what I’ve been saying. Including the recent supposed crypto downturn.People who didn’t go through the dot-com boom don’t understand that it wasn’t completely up & to the right:I remember sitting in my HP Cupertino office, watching the July ’97 Asian financial crisis, many people declaring the end of the dot-com boom then.

  3. cavepainting

    Three other questions that hang over the space are distribution, friction, and bootstrapping the network. All of them are inter-related.1. Even assuming there is some kind of token market fit (which is a big if), how is anyone going to find the decentralized app or service? What is the equivalent of google or the app store for the blockchain world? Is it Toshi and Blockstack or do we see opportunities for cross-blockchain plays?2. Is it easy enough to download, activate, use and get value right away? And come back again and again? For this to happen, all the complicated stuff (on-boarding, wallet, key management, data locker, etc. need to work like a breeze and of course, the utility that comes on top needs to be real).3. The hypothesis that rewards and incentives can drive early adoption is an interesting theory, but yet to be proven. There is a distinct possibility it can attract a) the wrong type of users or b) set the wrong expectations for user time/data/attention to value trade-offs. Either can lead to growth hacking type spurts that eventually dissipate because of low retention.Nevertheless, it is early days and one would be foolish to bet against this ecosystem succeeding, given its size, speed, and geographic span.William, Great presentation. So much more sobering and pragmatic than the slick, gung-ho ICO pitches that have taken over the town.

    1. William Mougayar

      Thanks. Let me attempt to answer.1/ I think initially there will be the equivalent of Dapp stores that will aid in the discovery, but then some big Dapp will emerge and own their own brand awareness, so you will go straight to them (e.g. OpenBazaar or CryptoKitties)2/ Yes. The good ones will simplify and hide these complexities. 3/ Correct. There will be anti-gaming features that are built-in. Steemit for eg. mitigates against user abuses. Definitely still early days.

    1. Vivek Kumar

      Thanks. That did provide a lot of clarity.

      1. Matt A. Myers

        clearity to clarity 🙂

    2. Ben Longstaff

      @wmoug:disqus can you comment on what you think on chain governance models are doing well and where they have issues ? Particularly in relation to projects like Dash and NEM that use master nodes.

      1. William Mougayar

        Not sure about dash or nem specifically, but in general on chain governance is still in its infancy.

  4. jason wright

    slide 6;”Tokens 2.0 – Inventing what we don’t see”.This is the most important point. So much (almost all) of what is going on in the space is a function of not seeing.

  5. JimHirshfield

    William always impresses.

    1. William Mougayar

      Thank you Jim….not intentionally 🙂

  6. Joseph K Antony

    Pretty superb thinking. In the long run one suspects, tokens could be a more stable instrument than cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies are vulnerable to the efficacy of the underlying technology; bitcoin is a purely technological innovation on the Blockchain protocol. Nothing prevents a superior change to substitute for a cryptocurrency. Well designed tokens will not be exposed to this risk.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      Sorry, what’s difference from an incentivized crypto-asset (“cryptocurrency”) and an incentivized token?

      1. William Mougayar

        Similar. A token is like a cryptocurrency that has a special purpose, and is more engrained into a given business model.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          It’s still always incentivized, though, yes? At least I imagine it would have an incentivized structure if engrained into a business model?

          1. William Mougayar


          2. Matt A. Myers

            Okay – thank you.

    2. William Mougayar

      Yes. Tokens are cryptocurrencies, with a special purpose.

  7. creative group

    William Mougayar:Excellent work. Informative….Captain Obvious!#UnequivocallyUnapologeticallyIndependent

  8. Vitomir Jevremovic

    From where we are now, it looks that user adoption will be the biggest challenge for new apps that have Dapp features. Crypto is still unknown to many. Forcing users to adapt to crypto so that they can use a new or existing app will drive them away scared. D(apps) will need to be very gentle in approaching new users and expanding their reach in society while at the same time introducing new models of handling money (crypto) and value exchange. There are not enough crypto-enthusiasts yet to enjoy every use case that was proposed by ICOs recently. The fight for (and education) of new users will be the biggest challenge of the new crypto-companies.

  9. Tom Labus

    This is like one of the early manned space missions when after the booster rocket peeled off anything could happen. Let’s hope for a successful mission(s).

  10. Matt A. Myers

    A curiosity just crossed my mind: if everyone using a platform/app that uses incentivized crypto-assets, they are then investors – so shouldn’t they have to disclose that they are investors along with whenever they are talking about them?I suppose in all (?) of our societies it’s not law to declare vested interests? If a company however is paying you to wear and promote their clothing on IG, I believe it’s the law in the U.S. now to make sure that’s clear/stated?

      1. Matt A. Myers

        I saw a link to an article online for this – seeing newspaper version is much more impactful for some reason.Really it’s mind-blowing and their effort should be used as a signal of not only motivation but of intent, they’re willful – if future prosecution ever happens.'”You can’t just put your head in the sand and wish away government oversight,” said Jason Weinstein’This is exactly what they’re attempting to do. There are regulators telling them the way it is, and they’re simply plugging their ears or attempting to speak over/speak louder and say it’s something different..I really hope there’s a group of people, journalists, monitoring the regulators to protect society from this scheme – to watch for “changes of heart” or other strange happenings.Richard, I’d love to get your thoughts on the structure I propose in this HackerNews comment of mine:… – and if wanting to read from my parent comment:…I’m also in process of writing another comment — as I was reminded of when @fredwilson:disqus used to talk about The Independent Web. I made a blog post relating to it back then — which I turned a comment I had made on AVC, because Fred had recommended I turn it into a blog post —… — WOW, posted January 2011. How time flies.It seems they’re trying to realize this Independent Web vision through incentivized blockchain technology – to enable “collaboration” – however it’s the lazy method of “building relationships”, and unethical.The only thing that would change my mind if they’re not acting unethically and not lacking intellectual integrity is if they’re truly looking for the best solution for society, and how that happens is to allow for true “decentralization” – which in part means levelling the playing field by fully open sourcing and allowing all the technology to be completely usable by third-parties without payment, etc – thereby the best option for society can come through evolution, without a massive investment needing to try to compete.I’m more and more clearly painting a picture of what the holistic ecosystem needs as its foundation, however unfortunately I’m still struggling with chronic pain and the incompetence built into our health-“care” system that’s slowed my progress with healing, otherwise I’d be further along.

  11. Matt A. Myers

    A random passing thought.. As romantic as the idea of having fluid, decentralized systems that anyone can participate in, you don’t really want everyone to be able to participate – bad actors and the like, at least not if there are no controls or governance of behaviour they’re bound to.

  12. Frank W. Miller

    After reviewing this slide deck, my first reaction was, I probably need to see it presented. I would assume that he fills in many of the details on these somewhat confusing and vague slides.When trying to decipher what the message is the only slide that imho is actually substantive is 21, the acid test. With respect, the rest seem to be a lot of business school generalities that he is trying to apply to this space that may or may not bear out to be true since no evidence is presented. I would suggest expanding on the theme of this slide to discuss how human behaviours get mapped onto application features that are built on top of the blockchains. For example, IBM is using blockchains as a way to do supply chain management as one application. They are likely limiting access to the blockchain to those elements that are involved in the supply chain to address governance. The point is they’ve turned some knobs on the implementation of features on top of the blockchain to target a specific application with specific desired behaviours by the participants. Evolution of blockchains will not progress until engineers (not business people) understand this and begin to study how various behaviours map onto sets of these feature built on top of the blockchain. I refer you to a post I did awhile back:

  13. State of Beanie Babies?

    How about, “Slideshare Of The Week: State of Beanie Babies”?Fred: stop shilling and stop enabling people who shill.

  14. Kirsten Lambertsen

    @will@wmoug:disqus Slide 23. I want to thank you for using “silver bullet” and not “magic bullet.” Just, *thank you.*Have you riffed anywhere on “more blockchain, less tokens?” I would love to read that or watch that video.

    1. William Mougayar

      Thanks Kirsten. Well, that last statement means using the blockchain without a token in the middle. So, you can think of all the use cases with that in mind.

    2. cavepainting

      Supply chain projects and more generally, enterprise blockchain apps built on chains like hyperledger are more blockchain and less tokens.

  15. Guy Lepage

    Nice work @wmoug:disqus. One item that I feel I would have been nice to see in this deck is state of investors and possibly the a breakdown and segmentation. Are most investors newbies? And what the ratio is from newbies to traditional VC’s?

    1. William Mougayar

      I don’t have that data, but others might have it. I’m more of a qualitative analyst. Thanks