Kicking off the Token Engineering Commons

The TEC envisions a world with safe digital economies that protect and support public goods

Token Engineering Commons
Token Engineering Commons
7 min readSep 23, 2020


To·ken En·gi·neer·ing /ˈtōkən/ /enjəˈniriNG/

1. An emerging engineering discipline focused on holistic systems design and the theory, practice and tools used to design and verify tokenized ecosystems i.e. cyptoeconomic systems and their simulation using tools like cadCAD.

2. A discipline of responsibility; adhering to the highest principles of ethical conduct (from ethical engineering)

3. A community pushing forward the field of token engineering in theory and practice. (See more Modeling Crypto Protocols as Complex Systems, TE Process)


1. Resources that groups of people (communities, organizations) create and manage for individual and collective benefit. These resources are held collectively, not owned privately (see Fractal Ownership, Wiki and Automating Ostrom)

Why the TE Commons?

As DeFi explodes and blockchain technology teeters on the brink of its next evolution, it is more important now than ever, that the crypto and blockchain space turn its attention on building out good Token Engineering (TE) practices.

“DeFi’s active user base allows us to observe the success and failures of economic mechanisms in real life, it’s a large-scale socio-technical experiment for decentralized networks. The big question is how to control the risk of using immature cryptoeconomic mechanisms, and how to leverage the strength of decentralized systems.” -Angela Kreitenweis, Token Engineering Community (full article)

The Token Engineering Commons (TEC) is an open source and collectively governed project that aims to create a token economy that will accelerate the responsible & ethical creation of public goods within the TE community.

This token economy will be based off of 1Hive’s Gardens template and have a bonding curve that feeds into a conviction voting DAO. The TE Commons is an intentionally-designed, dynamic relationship between the TEC token holders, the resources they collectively hold, and the protocols that govern their interactions. By protocols, namely, this includes the smart contracts that tokenize the use of funds as well as the culture and social norms of the token holders that use tokens to fund projects.

A slide from ‘Intro to cadCAD workshop’
A slide from Intro to cadCAD workshop

However fantastic these new technological tools are, they have limitations and depend much on human behavior and our relationships with each other. This is why we focus on the cultural build of the TE Commons. The community is developing processes and tools to experiment with the best practices and culture which enable a resilient ecosystem. The TEC aims to continuously refine its mission, and act in alignment with the community values in the long run of the Commons.

For the last month and a half, TEC contributors have been following this roadmap working towards the launch, planned for December.

Rewarding Contributions & Incentive Alignment

A rewards process has been developed with a few steps to incentivize early stage contributions in the TE Commons:

  1. Praise is dished by multiple members of the community for every contribution.
  2. Every two weeks, two Community Stewards, currently Livia and Griff, go through the Praise spreadsheet, and quantify every praised action into an estimate of Impact Hours based on this tier system.
  3. The sum of the impact hours that each contributor has by the end of the Hatch will be rewarded accordingly, with a percentage of TEC tokens. The exact amount will be based on how successful the TE Commons launch is. Each Impact Hour will be equivalent to $20-$200+ worth of TE Commons tokens. The model is still being drafted but you can visualize an example version of it here: TE Commons Cultural Build Tribute Exploration.
  4. Disclaimer: There is no guarantee that the Hatch will be successful and the TECommons will have enough initial fundraising. In this case, impact hours won’t be financially rewarded.

If you want the deep dive into this process, check out the detailed proposal.

The first round of praise rewarded 42 contributors for the work done until the date of article publication:

This round of rewards is related to the development of the incentive alignment process as well as all the work stated below:

Vision & Mission

A few co-creative sessions were held to identify the TEC Vision, Mission and Values using this Miro board, followed by a-sync work and voting on the Discord Channel.

TEC Initial Vision, as decided collectively by the community, September 2020


The TEC operates from a prosocial human centered perspective. We hold ourselves to high standards of safety, resilience, and integrity. We encourage our members to be radically open source, non-hierarchical, creative, transparent in their intentions and accountable for their actions. We are value driven, (not profit driven) and will strive to support token engineering projects that appreciate the value of public goods and ethical, inclusive economic systems. (See also, the TEC Code of Conduct)

Near-Term Mission

Our primary goal, in the near term, is to launch Token Engineering Commons (TEC), and operating, with a resilient culture once launched, the TEC (smart contracts and culture built around it) will align incentives around advancing the token engineering discipline. There are a many requirements to fulfill, these are just some of the most important:

  • The TEC will be launched by a Trusted Seed, a critical mass of token engineering, decentralized governance, and commons management “experts.”
  • The TEC will consist of an Augmented Bonding Curve (or similar bonding curve) feeding into a community pool of funds that can be disbursed using Conviction Funding.
  • The Token Engineering Commons will be able to be upgradable so that it can improve upon its initial design.

The cultural and technical build are currently happening to ensure a successful launch of the TEC and are the focus, until they are completed and the TEC is allocating funding to support TE Public Goods.

Long-Term Mission

The TE Commons mission is to gather and steward the efficient distribution of funds to projects in the emerging field of token engineering to encourage the robust and ethical design of tokenized infrastructures. The TE Commons will curate and connect projects to the resources they need, while also evolving and maintaining our own healthy culture & regenerative infrastructure where capital supports contributions, contributions create value, value empowers token engineers, and people who appreciate token engineers being empowered contribute capital of all sorts.

These statements will be re-assessed by the end of October to include new contributors perspectives and input from working groups.

Decision Making Process & Governance

A decision making process has also been implemented. We learned that this should have been the first step of the Cultural Build since decisions are fundamental from the start. Although, having this process emerge out of necessity, from group discussions around the best way to make decisions, brought a welcomed collaborative touch to it. We now use a do-ocracy + advice process to make proposals followed by a voting session on the TEC voting channel on Discord. You can check all decisions made by the TEC so far

Roles and Onboarding

We are starting with three roles that can gain more complexity over the time. The intention is for them to continue existing after the launch of the TEC to secure the cultural development. They are:

  • Contributor
  • Subject Matter Expert
  • Community Steward

Each role has a similar onboarding process yet with particular differences. You can learn more about them in the Onboarding Process to the TEC Cultural Build proposal.

Working Groups

Working Groups are a great way to leverage the collective wisdom while focusing on short term goals to enrich the foundations of the Commons and welcome experts. We are moving to this stage of the roadmap and will start with:

  1. Tech spec
  2. Communications
  3. Soft governance/culture
  4. Working Group 0

We eventually add in:

  1. Legal
  2. Onboarding (For TEC)
  3. Tech Team

If you’re interested about any working group topics and would like to contribute, reach out to us! More information about each proposed WG here: Initial Working Groups Proposal

🌱 Join the Community 🌱

We warmly welcome you to join and share:

👋 Pop by our Discord or Telegram channels, introduce yourself and share what you are working on

☎ Say hi on our weekly community calls at 2pm EST / 8pm CET on our general voice channel on Discord — add it to your calendar

💸 Submit a proposal for funding for your TE project

📑 Read more about our working groups and join one

📣 Follow us on Twitter & Medium to stay up to date on the upcoming hatch

This article was co-written by Livia Deschermayer, Jessica Zartler and Griff Green; revised by Angela Kreitenweis and Sebnem Rusitschka.



Token Engineering Commons
Token Engineering Commons

@tecmns 🛠️Building tools for safe digital economies that protect & support public goods 🐣 $TEC token hatch coming soon Discord: