Introducing Simple Token, an easy way for businesses to issue blockchain-powered tokens without the drama.

Today we are unveiling Simple Token, the most exciting project I have ever been involved with and one which we believe could have tremendous positive impact on the global business community.

Like so many others, I’ve been enthralled with the technical elegance and vast potential of blockchain technology. Yet I recoil from the recent hype, speculative excess and occasional fraud associated with cryptocurrencies. Early last year, I started exploring how to use this technology to build a branded economy within Pepo, the social advice company that I founded. I found that the possible applications of cryptocurrencies for business are even more powerful than I thought, but the process of creating one is complex, expensive, and fraught with risk. Why do all this just for ourselves, I asked, when we could build a set of tools that is needed by many companies?

Simple Token will fill that need, empowering any company — from a global brand to an emerging app maker — to issue what we call “branded tokens” that can transform its business into a dynamic economic ecosystem. No complex programming. No perilous ICO. No cross looks from regulators. We take care of all the hard work. Using Simple Token is designed to be as easy as accepting credit cards by integrating with an online payment service like Stripe or PayPal.


Branded tokens are digital transaction units, built with blockchain technology, that are customized for the unique dynamics of your business.

You pick the name and set the rules. You can accept them to get paid for your products (instead of cash or credit cards). You can give them to customers as rewards for loyalty (instead of frequent flier miles or reward points). You can offer them to users as incentives for contributing content, data, or even their computing power to your platform (instead of badges or likes). And you can use them as the basis of a marketplace for your customers to trade with each other (instead of PayPal or bank transfers). Using a blockchain ensures openness, transparency and immutability of transactions, unlike the black-box of most proprietary points programs and virtual currency schemes.

The Simple Token solution unifies all of your company’s relationships with its customers. Branded tokens are equally efficient for major purchases or micro-transactions. And unlike so many loyalty-point programs, the value of your branded token is always clear. Customers can spend the branded tokens they earn on your products or to purchase from each other. They can convert them into the branded tokens of any other company using the Simple Token platform and potentially into any other Ethereum-based token. And there is an easy way to cash-out into the national currency of their choice such as dollars or euros.

For example, imagine a digital music service featuring independent artists issues a branded token called SongCoin. A new customer may get 25 free SongCoin to warm her up to the benefits of the platform, but which she cannot cash-out herself. She might then buy 100 SongCoin for $1 and then pay 1 SongCoin every time she streams a track. She could earn 5 SongCoin every time she writes a review that others appreciate. And she could support musicians she likes by buying tracks at 99 SongCoin each. The artist, in turn, could use the SongCoin he earned to get music from other bands. He could spend his SongCoin at a coffee shop that has issued its own Simple Token powered branded token. Or he could convert them into his home currency to pay the rent.

We can give companies the power of cryptocurrency without the complexity because we have developed a two-tier structure. We have built on top of Ethereum, which has a sophisticated software stack, vibrant community, and ever more liquidity.

First, we are creating our own cryptocurrency called Simple Token, abbreviated ST, an ERC-20 token on the Ethereum mainnet. ST will be freely tradable with a value that fluctuates.

Second, companies buy ST and then mint them into their own branded tokens, also ERC-20 tokens recorded on open scalable side-chains.

The branded tokens are only tradable within the brand’s community, providing a safe and scalable environment for participating companies. A holder of a branded token can always exchange it for the corresponding amount of ST, which in turn could be converted into other branded tokens, cryptocurrencies or national currencies. Our technology allows branded token transactions to be processed quickly and efficiently at high volumes, unlike the Ethereum mainnet, which currently has significant capacity constraints and high transaction fees.

We intend to publish the core code that drives the creation of branded tokens as an open-source protocol called OpenST. It will be governed by the nonprofit OpenST Foundation. This allows any developer to build powerful experiences with branded tokens that can interoperate with any other system built on OpenST. Developers will be able to use OpenST to mint branded Tokens as early as November 2017.

Most companies will want value-added services and customizations on top of what the OpenST platform provides, and that’s where The Simple Token Company comes in. We will offer a sophisticated suite of branded tokens setup, management, fraud-detection, and analytic tools. Our vision is for a robust on-demand suite of software that gives you everything you need to create and manage your branded token economy without your developers having to learn blockchain code.


This introductory post only scratches the surface of the work we have put into the Simple Token project and especially and how OpenST and Simple Token technology work.

If you are interested in learning more, I encourage you to check out the Simple Token project website and review our 58-page Simple Token Project Deck / Whitepaper.

You may also want to check out the talk we gave recently at the Immutable event in Hong Kong.

The technical white-paper which presents the OpenST protocol has been under peer review and will be published on the Simple Token project website very soon.

We will also continue to publish more detailed information about Simple Token technology and what you can do with it in blog posts here and in papers and videos posted to the Simple Token project website.


None of this would be possible without the amazing team of consumer internet and blockchain technologists and advisors that have come together for the Simple Token project, including:

  • Nishith Shah, my longtime technology collaborator. We co-founded Social Median and Fab.com and Hem.com together.
  • Benjamin Bollen, most recently was at Monax in Berlin as the lead developer for Hyperledger Burrow, where he worked to enable enterprise-grade applications on a permissioned blockchain node following the Ethereum smart contract code specification.
  • Lionello Luneso and Antoine Cote, who run the blockchain technology firm, Enuma. have worked on smart contracts and core technology for projects such as OpenANX and EOS.
  • Sunil Khedar, who has worked with Nishith and I for 10+ years. He is also a founder and the CTO of Pepo.
  • Partners on the Simple Token project include Smith & Crown, Kenetic, King & Wood Mallesons, Perkins Coie, Sparkchain, and Duoh!.

We are currently hiring in Berlin, Germany and Pune, India. Contact us to learn more about our open positions.

We look forward to sharing more information about Simple Token and to answering your questions. We encourage you to join us in our Telegram channel, on our Facebook page, on LinkedIn and on Twitter.


DISCLAIMERS

OpenST Ltd. Also referred to as “The Foundation,” or “OpenST” is a limited by guarantee company incorporated in Hong Kong. It proposes to operate as a not-for-profit company, with all surplus revenues to be used to support the mission of the Foundation. The Foundation shall be separate from any for-profit ventures, including the separate for profit activities of The Simple Token Company. The Foundation shall have five impartial directors on its board, with oversight over token supply, token distribution, and allocation of Foundation resources. The Foundation’s intended purpose is to promote the real world application of the OpenST protocol and its implementations, referred to as “the OpenST Platform” or “the Platform.” It will have its own robust governance model.

The Simple Token Company. “Simple Token Company” or “The Company” is a for-profit Hong Kong incorporated company that is developing software and value added services based on the OpenST Platform. The relationship between The Simple Token Company and the Foundation is on a as-mutually-beneficial basis only and non-exclusive. The two companies are distinct and all services that may be provided would be on an at arms-length basis.

For more details about governance and the relationship between OpenST and The Simple Token Company, see this Simple Token Project side-paper on Governance.

This blog post is for general informational purposes only to describe the intended utility of the OpenST Platform and other key aspects of the project. It may change as the OpenST Platform is developed over time. Simple Token or ST is not intended to constitute a regulated product in any jurisdiction. This explanatory note does not constitute advice to purchase any ST or Simple Tokens, nor should this note be relied upon in connection with, any contract or purchasing decision. See https://simpletoken.org/ for further information.