IBM, Intel, J.P. Morgan and Microsoft join others on new blockchain token spec

A new specification to allow businesses to create blockchain-based tokens for international trade and finance has been published – and businesses have already tested digital money based on it for cross border payments and settlement.

The Token Taxonomy Framework v1.0 (TTF) was developed by more than two dozen businesses and overseen by the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA). Its goal: give  businesses and developers access to a set of reusable, cross-industry components to create usable tokens.

The Token Taxonomy Initiative (TTI) was first announced in April.

The participants sought to create a non-technical, standard definition of what a token is, and to establish a common set of terms and definitions for cross-industry business use without employing industry jargon or coding.

“In practical terms, a business user or consortium can select a base type of token and choose from contributed lists of behaviors and properties and assign them to the token, just as you might drag and drop icons on a screen,” said Marley Gray, Microsoft’s principal architect for Azure blockchain engineering and a member of the EEA’s board of directors. “The framework enables a business person to create a token visually using a design tool without writing any code whatsoever and allows them to tell developers, ‘I want one of these.”

Creators of the specification said the digital currency is different from Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency, whose launch could be hampered by intense regulatory oversight in the U.S. and Europe. Seven of the founding members of the Libra Association, Facebook’s non-profit governing council for its planned cryptocurrency, have jumped ship amid increasing regulatory scrutiny.