What if, from traveling to shopping, you could use a single digital “pass” to access and purchase everything you needed? This is token adoption at its finest, and it’s opening up an entirely new range of use cases for businesses and individuals alike.
As a single piece of code, a token represents a digital asset or utility and has the ability to be transferred between parties. The token has given rise to a whole world of possibilities on the blockchain, allowing builders a real chance at sustaining a free market.
But if we want to see these digital tokens become more mainstream and accessible, we need to address the current challenges tokens face: users’ dependence on centralized systems, the lack of infrastructure needed to support the token and the high level of trust from the user to make it all work.
So what exactly are these barriers standing in the way of mass adoption that we need to consider, and why do they matter?
Users’ dependency on centralized systems
One of the biggest obstacles to token adoption is users’ reliance on major centralized systems. With every user’s current level of dependence, innovation has become much more difficult to achieve. But in order for a token to become mainstream, it needs to work with the existing internet infrastructure made up of these systems.
This is easier said than done.
To see mass adoption of tokens, the token needs to be integrated with the major web players. And simultaneously, for most major players to integrate with a token, there needs to be widespread adoption of the token.
These centralized entities are not known for being open and transparent. Often opaque in their decision-making, centralized entities don’t share their data or algorithms with the public, making it difficult to know how they operate. Not only does this keep the power within the system itself and the user dependent, but it also creates a barrier to entry for tokens.
As we grow into a more decentralized ecosystem that uses smart tokens across the board, people will begin to experience what sovereignty and real ownership mean. When a token can offer real value without becoming centralized in the process, users will naturally become less reliant on these systems. All it takes are a few consistent, successful token implementations to gain that trust.
We need more interfaces to support the token structure
For tokens to become widely adopted, we need new independent interfaces that can run the required code to support the token structure. Currently, there are no standard interfaces for interacting with tokens, making it difficult for businesses and individuals to use tokens in their everyday lives.
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These interfaces also need to be built in a way that is decentralized, so they can’t be provided by the website itself or another centralized entity. Several programmable interfaces have been designed to solve this issue. These allow tokens to be used on a wide variety of websites, making it much easier for businesses and individuals to use tokens in their everyday lives.
One of the most exciting use cases we're seeing with these interfaces is car tokenization. Car makers are reimagining cars as smart digital tokens on the blockchain, enabling peer-to-peer sharing, service logging, fractional ownership and more.
Imagine, as the holder, seeing a comprehensive view of the current state of your car and using a digital token as you would a key: to lock and unlock the car, start the engine and drive away.
It changes the game.
And as more interfaces to support tokenization are built, tokens will be able to make a broader impact on people’s lives and create even greater opportunities for innovation.
There’s a high level of trust required
As these tokenized interfaces are built and become more mainstream, we also need to see a high level of trust between the user and the token infrastructure. Currently, that trust is lacking.
With token infrastructure still in its early stages, it is not yet as robust or developed as the traditional financial systems most have known their whole lives. This makes it difficult for people to trust that their tokens will be safe and secure.
Consider the Apple Wallet. When a user opens their Apple Wallet, they trust that their money is safe. They trust that Apple will not suddenly disappear and leave them without access to their funds. This level of trust is critical for the Apple Wallet to succeed.
Similarly, when using a token, users need to trust that the token will be there when they need it. Without this trust, people are unlikely to use tokens on a regular basis, if at all.
A company needs to establish a high level of trust with its customers by ensuring the token holds real-world value. As more brands instill a sense of transparency and prove to users that their token is of value and safe, a solid foundation can be established.
Building a more seamless future
In a world where digital tokens are widely adopted, our day-to-day will flow a lot more seamlessly. We’ll trade unnecessary logins and time wasted searching for a specific app for more hours spent experiencing the richness of our lives.
As new interfaces supporting the token structure begin to multiply and integrate into the existing internet, businesses and individuals will be able to use tokens the way they do their credit cards or passport. The way we travel, work and live our lives will be forever changed. But in order for this vision to become a reality, we need to overcome some challenges.
Even in a bear market — especially in a bear market — we can create a solid foundation.
Let’s start here.
Tokenization: We need more infrastructure and trust to see mass adoption, says Weiwu Zhang, the co-founder of Smart Token Labs.
This article was published through Cointelegraph Innovation Circle, a vetted organization of senior executives and experts in the blockchain technology industry who are building the future through the power of connections, collaboration and thought leadership. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Cointelegraph.