A Brief Guide to AppCoins and Tokens

Augur

Augur is a decentralized prediction market co-founded by Joey Krug and Jack Peterson. Prediction markets allow users to bet on the outcome of different events and can also be used for hedging purposes. For example, if you own 1 bitcoin that is worth $2,000 and want to hedge that holding, you can bet that the price of bitcoin will be below $2,000 by a certain date. That way if the price of bitcoin goes up your holdings will be more valuable but if it goes down you will offset your losses through the prediction market. There is no centralized source that reports on the outcome of events. This mitigates the risk of a corrupt reporter but also creates a need for a decentralized reporting source.

Augur issued an Ethereum token called Reputation (REP). There is a fixed supply of 11 million REP tokens in existence, 80% of which were sold through a crowd sale raising $5.3 million. These tokens are used for reporting on the outcome of prediction market events. All active REP holders are required to report on the outcome of randomly selected events. This maintains the decentralized reporting pool needed to settle the outcome of Augur’s prediction markets. As a reward for providing this critical reporting function, REP holders receive half of all transaction fees generated by prediction markets on the platform. If someone tries to lie and report on the outcome incorrectly then they will get penalized by having to give up some of their REP. In addition if the majority of REP holders are dishonest then people would not want to use Augur and the value of REP goes down. This incentivizes people to act honestly in the Augur system.

Golem

Golem is a project headed by Julian Zawistowski that allows people to rent out their spare computing power to others. The idea is that by creating a worldwide supercomputer, computing power will become less costly and more accessible to everyone.

Golem issued an Ethereum token called Golem Network Token (GNT). There is a fixed supply of 1 billion GNT in existence, 82% of which were sold through a crowd sale raising $8.6 million. These tokens are required for interacting with the Golem network and is the currency used as payment when renting computing power. Since there is a limited supply of tokens for accessing this network if more people want to use Golem then the value of GNT increases. This theoretically aligns the incentives of people holding GNT with those using it.

ERC20 token

You may hear the Ethereum community refer to ERC20 tokens. The initial ERC20 page “describes standard functions a token contract can implement.” ERC20 is a standard interface for tokens. ERC20 tokens are simply a subset of Ethereum tokens. In order to be fully ERC20 compliant the developer needs to incorporate a specific set of functions into their smart contract that at a high level will allow it to perform the following actions:

  1. get the total token supply
  2. get the account balance
  3. transfer the token
  4. approve spending the token

ERC20 allows for seamless interaction with other smart contracts and decentralized applications on the Ethereum blockchain. Tokens that have some but not all of the standard functions are considered to be partially ERC20 compliant and can still be easy for external parties to interact with depending upon which functions are missing.

Resources

There are many existing and upcoming Ethereum tokens. Below are some links that may help you understand Ethereum tokens further and keep up with the exciting news.

Understanding Ethereum tokens

Keeping up with Ethereum tokens

Thank you to Will Warren and many Coinbase employees especially Jordan Clifford, Reuben Bramanathan, David Farmer, and Dan Romero.

(Source: Coinbase)