Notes on Token Design Philosophy

in cryptocurrency •  9 months ago

Not actually related to Smart Media Tokens, but these two resources resonated well with what I've been writing and thinking about. It's all still up in the air, but yes, the point is we'll be expressing ourselves through the multistakeholdership of many many many tokens. They'll most likely be abstracted into just a couple of values and we don't have to worry about them. In any case, again, the notes presented here isn't directly related with Steem or SMTs (or EOS for that matter), but I really think they're great contenders for lively, on-the-fly currencies that with the kind of velocity that could surpass the rest of the crowded space to enter mainstream use.

Resource Note #1

Thanks to @abh12345 for the great find and informing me of this in my previous post: In The Future, Everybody Will Have Their Own Cryptocurrency. Great talk by Andreas Antonopoulos about a future where we voluntarily subscribe to many different choices communities / currencies / rules / politics as part of our self expression.

Resource Note #2

Found this riveting article recently written by Daniel Jeffries titled Gamifying the Delivery of Money. Highly recommended read. I think this vibes well with the advent of Smart Media Tokens, as we already have the shape of a killer-good app via social currency operations and ease of deployment. Again, I highly recommend the original article. Here are the highlighted steps, for my own brief notes:-

1. Release Your Own Greed

If you're starting a token, be liberal about initial distribution instead of focusing too much on enriching the self. If you do it right, everybody gets rich together.

2. Build a Massive Loyalty Coalition and Killer App

The coin is secondary. Focus should be on the app. In the case of SMTs, communities or token-communities may need to have clear rules on posting and curation. SMTs may also have good use-cases beyond social platforms and may be used to power the gamification of apps. Collaborate with other projects, especially open-sourced ones - this will get the ball rolling and could do wonders for marketing.

3. Stealth Gamify the App

Something worth considering and more like an art of aligning actions and incentives in subtle ways. I'm nowhere near a successful app developer at any point in my life so it's hard for me to be more nuanced about the ideas expressed in the article. I guess the key is to make the application fun to use. Fun is not easy to engineer, but we can do it through gamification - achievement unlocks, badges, limited-ed virtual items, etc.

4. Make the Reward Token Universal

Perhaps one of the most important points. Tokens should be rewarded to participants to incentivise them to do "what's best for the network instead of what's best for themselves alone". And give it out liberally all over to harness network effects. I've a feeling that Smart Media Tokens have the right token characteristics to carry out the task well enough, at least from a social perspective. Smart contract augmentations may be possible, but that's for another day.

5. The People’s Visa

This is for any currencies to climb further up Zipf's distribution, shooting for dominance. In the case for most SMTs, we can disregard this point in part of the design most of the time, but it might be good to plan ahead. It's all about breaking away from the initial blockchain dependence and coming up with an independent framework, cutting network costs all over and hosting sub-communities (and more features). Of course, this would require a certain amount of popularity and critical mass to make it worthy to pull off.

6. Universal Basic Income

Some might scoff at the idea of UBI, but I think should be one of the conclusions of any major currencies. In the article, there was an interesting talk about playing with the idea of two additional tokens to expand the ecosystem into UBI territory: spender's token and saver's token. Note: even @dan has written about this topic before, which happens to be some of my favourite articles on the Internet. Thanks to @kennyskitchen for the compiled list of article links:-

Track of the day

Artist: Hot Natured featuring The Egyptian Lover
Title: Isis (Magic Carpet Ride)

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@kevinwong - I am a newcomer to the crypto scene but have seen enough on business development in the past in real world. The basic principles from your notes on the second article are all valid. They are about creating 'customer engagement'. We follow the steps -

  • Create something in which customers feel that they are 'participating' (the way to create and distribute tokens liberally as you have mentioned)
  • Create a user friendly ecosystem for the customers to access services ( the killer app you mention)
  • Make it interesting for customers to use the services (apart from the service itself - like the Fun part you mention)
  • Incentivise more use (just like you have mentioned)
    I think you have captured the essential points from those two great sources.
    Thanks for the concise summary. It helps me understand more about crypto and SMTs. Upvoted full.

I blog mostly on wildlife awareness based on my original photos and my musings. I am not per say, qualified to comment on crypto issues. Kindly excuse me if I have expressed views which are wrong. Also - I request you to take a look at my blogs and guide me if you have time. Looking for suggestions for improvements. Thanks




Biz dev skills are especially useful here, and I think looking into cryptos should be encouraged, which is why Steem-like currencies are especially useful and relevant for the mainstream domain. Really doesn't matter if you're technically inclined or not - we can all have good conversations about these stuff lol. Basically, if you have any problems worth solving, try including tokens as part of the solution! It wouldn't work 99% of the time, but it'll be great if 1% of the experiments work :)

Maybe Steem's already the killer core app, just needs time to grow and mature in other ways, adding to its utility. But I suspect SMTs will alleviate some of the burdens of community conflicts and such, make them more niche and separated. Maybe not.. will see lol.


There is such a saying "How to call a ship, so it will float" .So the design should be approached very seriously.

After reading your post I definitely have new insight and understanding into the merits of a "personal coin". I'm pretty sure this was the underlying intent of the WAVES platform (well that and making money), and how you refer to "release your own greed", as at least one mechanism to successful implementation - I like it.
As an American with somewhat non-typical Marxist "tendencies", the concept on the surface sounds great - but I wonder if some of the same destructive forces that always dismantle genuine social movements, will once again have the same effects here. Your statement that the individual should do;

"what's best for the network instead of what's best for themselves alone"

Is indeed the underlying principal of those ideals. Maybe with the blockchain, we will finally have the egalitarian (ish) society we deserve... (I had to throw that caveat in there for the capitalist - which I also believe in ) ... :) Great post - thanks...


I think with so many networks, there's bound to be some for every flavour where an individual's is better aligned for the "greater good". There's bound to be some destructive forces in the mix, but I guess it's all about generating a net positive as a whole..

Btw, here's an interesting excerpt from The Sovereign Individual in chapter 8 about where society's heading (which seems to be somewhat more egalitarian, but in a different way):-

For no very good reason, most twentieth-century sociologists have assumed that technological progress would naturally tend to produce increasingly egalitarian societies. This was not true prior to about 1750. Beginning around that time, innovative new industrial technology began to open job opportunities for the unskilled and increase the scale of enterprise. The new technology of the factory not only raised the real earnings of the poor without any effort on their part; it also tended to increase the power of political systems, making them more able to redistribute income as well as more capable of withstanding unrest. Taking a longer view, there is no inherent reason to suppose that technology always tends to mask rather than accentuate the differences in human talents and motivation. Some technologies have been relatively egalitarian, requiring contributions of many independent workers of approximately equal utility; others have put power or wealth into the hands of a few masters while most people were little more than serfs. Both history and technology have shaped different nations in different ways. The Factory Age produced one shape, and the Information Age is producing another, less violent, and therefore more elitist and less egalitarian than the one it is replacing.

Dude when you first told me "Individuals should have their own tokens" I honestly thought you were crazy, it sounded so insane to me.

But I've been thinking about it pretty hard for the last week to try and understand, and after watching that whole Andreas speech from this post... I think it makes sense now! The example of how middle schoolers might mint their own digital tokens as a literal popularity contest is helpful.

Another useful analogy was that of bloggers - how we used to rely on people with printing presses to spread knowledge, and now we have decentralized bloggers where anybody can have the right info. Currency can work the same way - we're making it so anybody can have a "printing press" for digital money.

Individuals with tokens is a lot more reasonable than I thought at first... This really could be the ultimate use case for SMTs when they launch in early 2018.


Individual SMTs = better form of Patreon.
Yeah it's crazy lol but if we're to shoot for mainstream adoption, then the commercialisation of token creation and distribution is a must, hence i-SMTs..

Check this out in support of UBI:

As for the whole debacle of commodities, electronic or otherwise, yes the very first point is wholly in line with the idea of Currency (see the article on called Commodity or Currency) but all other points are counter to Currency and describe the same mechanism by which our current "fiat" or even "resource/commodity"(oil/gold) backed currencies are leveraged against us by Suppliers, though they are painted as "gamifying" but in actually they will always be simply Hoarding/Hedging/Betting/ and ultimately controlling the Unit Creation as is and as has been for all such systems.

I think that by understanding the functions which a Currency is tasked with accomplishing and how they cannot be accomplished by Value itself we will avail ourselves of much of the confusion regarding these matters, most specifically realizing that all we have done our entire life was to barter one commodity for another, and maybe we can look back in time when Currency existed (tally sticks, knots) and examine the implications of those systems and why we have moved away from that! a couple articles before the one above it, also thought you might find interesting!


Thanks for the links! I might sleep over the shemitah stuff though lol (not big on numerological stuff). And for what it's worth, I think currencies are not what we think they are (or what the ancients think) and it's still being defined by emerging coins and use-cases. There was an interesting write by @itchykitten (The Myth of Barter) which I thought was interesting as well.

Thanks again, gonna read them tonight :)


Undoubtedly that post is by far excellent but he hadn't delved into actual currencies only barter, fascinating indeed even so since the concepts at the heart of it are very important, as they have always been.

The shemitah is similarly important because of the concepts, I read a post about a currency that would reset all account balances to an equal distribution ever so often, granted the thought would infuriate most who are stuck on "the myth of barter" it's quite valid from the point that such token would provide a UBI if everyone would adapt it, and all profits and losses would be shared by everyone, but then again the point of Free Unit Creation which all Currencies need to actually be a Currency would still make it only a community commodity.

Here's the link about Currency or Commodity which is why I was saying that "all we've done is barter one commodity for another", because interestingly if you follow the inception of Money after the tally sticks you'll come to say "criminal motive for the suppliers, Check and complete total control over Trade, Check!"

I'm gonna leave it at that for now, don't want to bombard you with information :D

I think you make a good point to "Release Your Own Greed" if you want to start your own token.

Be a detective and look for cases where this technology can improve things and actually solve a problem.

I remember Ned made a point in one of his videos recently that there is a big difference from the ico that will happen through SMT as opposed to Ethereum. A lot of ICOs from ethereum are ideas and tokens that most probably will end up collecting cyber dust. SMT is created to go to work right away, its not just an idea, it's a solution that can be applied directly.

This makes me certain that the ICOs that will start through SMT will change the market very quickly and actually makes a big difference as opposed to a good idea that never gets realized.

I know this post was not about SMT only but it worked well to get the point across.

So Kevin, do you have any cool idea brewing of a nice token that you want to make ?


Going for simple memes first, perhaps something along the lines of "food", "love", and "innovate / experiment" lol. I'd think most crypto ecosystems will become better when there's a circular economy - so food trading might be a big one. On the other hand, SMTs for individuals is quite like a more advanced version of Patreon..


All these topics seem interesting for sure ! I especially like "innovate / experiment" . I wonder if something like kickstarter could perhaps benefit by adopting SMT and then each project
That is launched could also choose to create their own project/ company token ? This way people would feel more incentive to put more skin in the game and some projects that might not visually seem the best but makes sense economically could get more funding

good stuff MrWong...

Me and my token might be a good example of everything you should and shouldn't do with "Tokens". I've learned thru trial and error with very little help or guidance from the commmunity.

WangChange On Openledger


Hey @mrwang, do you have a "report" of your findings? In regards to your token :)


not yet but I'm working on it.

Fascinating concepts and futures, thank you, the world could be so amazing if the governments would free their peoples and strive for mutual benefits instead of destructions. I follow some of @scottsantens post on UBI. I think if we envision a world where people have a right to be born into income instead of being born into debt, it makes a lot of sense. A society provides basic resources to its people. I think many have this stigma that it creates freeloaders or something. But in a healthy society everyone will follow their own path for advancements; being the rewards of knowledge, achievements, additional wealth, the arts... whatever is their calling. Peace


It'll take some time for society to start accepting that earth is a common heritage. I think it'll happen, seeing that marginal costs are already tending to near zero over time..

AshToken :D

A Good collection of links to delve into I'm interested in UBI and have blogged about it previously, with a focus on Swiftdemand.

Nice one!


Selective UBI might work better at first ;) I still feel Steem-like currencies are the way to go. Can't unlearn the technology here. Or maybe I'm just too deep into the Steem bubble lol


SMT is going to rock it! 'Battle-tested', we are a year or two ahead of anything else.

While I think Steemit/ are not likely to grow like crazy (we could have even reached the top here, gulp as I prepare to be lambasted!), the tech is in place for SMT, tested, and ready for a huge market.

My blog yesterday was a test case idea, and I'm going to probably put a few more of the like out. I'm pretty excited about SMTs, hold on to your hats people!


I think due to the nature of interactions and tech here, early adoption is only for those that really wanna use, understand it, and accept there's gonna be a whole lot of friction. But i think diversity is ultimately a good thing, at least for the core group. Quicker growth should come from more organised and well-managed communities with specific goals.


Yes I think you are right in saying there will be friction, and plenty to iron out. Hopefully the test case, Steemit et. al. has proved it's achievable, we just need our first brave SMT customer!

As far as I can understand it UBI would require a degree of globalisation much more advanced than where we are today. I see many countries encouraging nationalism and sectarianism. I guess that's why UBI sounds so SF.

  1. Peak uncertainty in financial sector
  2. Dump into cryptos
  3. Multi-trillion dollar distribution
  4. Zero marginal cost society
  5. Win

Lol, yes it's very SF.. just like whatever we have today compared to a few hundred years ago..

I agree with you that when you open any project at the first stage, you need to involve users with free tokens, that you can try them out and understand the advantages and disadvantages, and if you start selling right away, you can just fall into a bad story. Thank you @kevinwong

Why "stealth" gamify? Can't we all out gamify?

Also, how fast do you think the masses would pick tokens up?

For sure, I believe many would be in the "Nahhhh this sounds too good to be true" train.


I think social currency is quite like stealth gamification already. But yeah that point is a bit nebulous which is why I mentioned the nuances might be hard to grab. All out gamification could end up being something like bejewelled and any 3-match games lol.. If the distribution and frequency of use is commonplace as with the case of content and social interactions, then mass adoption will be quick. One of the reasons again Steem is appealing. Many might not think so because the size of community might not be able to cover all distributions and interactions, which is why niche communities through SMTs might work better.


Nicely explained. Thanks!

Interesting discussion! I agree with you about the greed part :) Thank you for sharing ^_^


Greed is okay, but often too much unnecessary greed .. thanks for dropping by! ^^

Well i am new to the crypto world, so i just go about learning new stuffs about cryptocurrencies from posts like this,, i must i really grabbed something good from this post ... Thanks


Thanks for taking the time to read @tony-duke :)

Great article sir @kevinwong, you're very knowledgeable when it comes to cryptocurrencies. Nice discussion!


good luck for you.


Thanks for dropping by @chingpherd. But I think I'm beginning to know less the more I try to get to understand cryptocurrencies lol


You know better than mine.. lol

I don't have any idea for that but thanks to you, i can now know a little bit. Looking forward.! :)

I love this part

The People’s Visa
This is for any currencies to climb further up Zipf's distribution, shooting for dominance. In the case for most SMTs, we can disregard this point in part of the design most of the time, but it might be good to plan ahead. It's all about breaking away from the initial blockchain dependence and coming up with an independent framework, cutting network costs all over and hosting sub-communities (and more features). Of course, this would require a certain amount of popularity and critical mass to make it worthy to pull off.

This is gonna be awesome


This part is only for the 0.01% that makes it far enough :D

Thanks for the info, but even more thanks for the song! This is awesome! :) Digging this a lot!

Random, but I saw you updated your cover photo... I like them... they kinda look like things are just floating in space. :)


lol i thought that track is somewhat fitting. cover photos are fun! never done this in any sites before haha


hahah yup I love how Steemit is the perfect place to express yourself! :) Will you be at Steemfest? :)

Hi @kevinwong, I'm interest with your post. Can I translate your post to my language Indonesia?

I maybe a veteran at Steemit but it comes to crypto I am still a newbie. Most of the things that I learned about crypto, I learned it at Steemit, thanks to all the great and informative like this one. I think that i will write a post about how Steemit is educating me about crypto.

Cryptocurrency is now in the top. Nice article 👌👌👌

Nice post

I never thought about this topic when it comes to Bitcoin. Thanks for sharing this. I can see this happening if mass adoption occurs. Nice song at the end by the way.

Thats great post @kevinwong...always for waiting another post from you...thanks

Some really cool point's to note thanks for sharing that nicely explained !!

Great part. You are is knowledge men on Steemit, nice article...
Good job and success is always for you @kevinwong

interesting your post, Your post @kevinwong is so inspired for me.
thank you for sharing
good luck for you.

thank you for sharing. its very useful for me.

Great article bro! This is an area that I have been thinking about for the past month. After exploring this area, I realize how little I actually know about money and currencies and how much we take these tools for granted.

I think many a time, people will think creating your OWN coin is ludicrous, because we truly don't understand monetary supply, and how the powers that be in this world are essentially doing that, and using their created money as a means of control over society. I'm still learning to grasp and understand this concept, as I have been a fiat user all my life!

I do believe, once inter-exchanging currencies are less cumbersome and doesn't cost so much, the adoption of paying and receiving cryptocurrency can truly go main stream. Really interesting to see how the whole ecosystem is constantly developing.

Side note: A Kevin C(K)oin maybe?

Kind Regards,


i like your posts. interesting things become my choice for comment .. good job.

Not everyone can to think like philosopher, you can to conclude articles that was posted by others. I need to study again.