On April 17th, the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), which works to streamline enterprise development on its namesake’s blockchain network, announced the Token Taxonomy Initiative — a “blockchain-neutral” project bringing together mainstream companies and crypteconomy stalwarts to standardize the tokenization arena for enterprises.
EEA will host the project but it will not be Ethereum-centric in kind. R3, IBM, JP Morgan, and Digital Asset (DA) are among the effort’s launch members, and all four have respectively built or supported other notable projects in the blockchain space.
R3 are the builders of the Corda distributed ledger, and DA have created the Digital Asset Modelling Language (DAML). Tech titan IBM is a high-profile backer of the Hyperledger ecosystem, and banking powerhouse JP Morgan has developed the Quorum blockchain. These projects will likely be involved in the campaign, too.
Other prominent members abound, as Fortune 500 companies like Microsoft, Intel, ING, Banco Santander, EY, and Accenture have joined the initiative, while Ethereum venture studio ConsenSys, Web3 Labs, and the Blockchain Research Institute are some of the group’s crypto-native founders.
The project, which will be chaired by Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain head architect Marley Gray, will be focused on defining terms and specs and building a Token Taxonomy Framework (TTF) so as to guide enterprises in deploying tokens to address real-world use cases.
In their own words, the group explained:
“The Token Taxonomy Initiative will address the need to develop common definitions and scope for a business-grade standard for tokens with interchangeable currency-like properties or unique assets such as plane tickets. Also, the group will explore ways a standard business application may need to manage multiple token types, including any combination of fungible tokens, non-fungible tokens or other hybrid configurations.”
It’s all about taking tokenization to the mainstream and unleashing blockchain’s potential in diverse industries, Gray added:
“With a standardized global approach, the Token Taxonomy Initiative will form the foundation of critical standards in tokenization that could streamline the way entire industries and ecosystems work on a blockchain.”
Initiative Member EY Hard at Work on Tokenization
“Big Four” accounting firm EY made a flurry of blockchain-related headlines this week, one of which centered around their announcement of Nightfall, a privacy protocol designed to let enterprises transact privately via the Ethereum public network.
EY said their review of Nightfall’s code was entering its final phase and would be released to the public domain sometime in May 2019. The firm’s sprawling blockchain team devised the protocol, which relies on zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs) to conceal Ethereum transaction details, as a way to facilitate companies to securely shift their operations to token-based systems.
EY’s blockchain innovation lead Paul Brody has confirmed that Nightfall will leverage Microsoft Azure’s cloud and will be linked with software from German multinational SAP to provide a superior and mainstream experience for its customers.
To that end, Brody said:
“The most efficient way to maximize blockchain adoption is to release this work to the community as a true contribution, with no strings attached. The only way that blockchains deliver upon their true promise to the world is if public blockchain networks are the preferred path for enterprises and investors.”
EY’s membership in the Token Taxonomy Initiative is thus only the high-profile firm’s latest bid to make that “preferred path” a reality for public blockchains.
With developments like these being driven by major backers like EY and Microsoft, it seems as if 2019 is already shaping up to be the most important year yet for the march of tokenization.
As things stand, these large enterprises are set to serve as conduits via which they introduce many other mainstream companies to the possibilities that tokens can bring. It’s an important thread to watch going forward.