5 Exciting Ways Digital Tokens are Reshaping Online Transactions!

Terminology is evolving quickly. While bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies are all referred to as ‘digital tokens’ in a generic sense (as in ‘a Bitcoin is a digital token’), a distinction now seems to be emerging between cryptocurrencies, such as BTC and ETH whose coins are tracked on their respective blockchains, and tokens which are usually issued by an issuer during an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) and tracked within smart contracts on Ethereum’s blockchain. The word ‘token’ can mean different things depending on the context in which it is used.

What are tokens? What is a digital token? Why is it important?

Digital Tokens
Image by Satheesh Sankaran from Pixabay

It is easy to understand what a ‘token’ is in the physical world. Think of round plastic things like casino chips, beer vouchers, or fairground ride tokens. Essentially a token is something which is issued by an issuer (the casino, the beer festival organisers, or the fairground) and can be used in a specific context or in a specific marketplace, perhaps under specific conditions or timings.

The token has value because the context gives it value, but if you take the token outside the context the value decreases or falls to zero. While a $5 casino chip is worth $5 inside a casino, it would be worth less on the other side of the world. And fairground ride tokens would not be worth much, if anything, outside the context of the fairground.

But what do people mean when they talk about digital tokens? If you digitise a beer voucher or casino chip does it become a digital token? Is a balance in a PayPal wallet a digital token? Is a bank balance a digital token? What’s special about a Bitcoin?

The characteristics of the different types of token vary widely, and generalisations lead to confusion. In this section, I hope to clarify the different types and characteristics of tokens by differentiating between blockchain-native tokens like BTC and ETH, asset backed tokens like IOUs, and utility tokens that can be spent on goods or services at a later date, usually recorded within smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain as ‘ERC-20’ standard tokens, but may also be recorded on other blockchains.

Owning a digital tokens

WHAT ARE ICOs?, digital tokens

We can be more specific and use the term cryptoasset. Ownership of any cryptoasset, whether it is a cryptocurrency or a token, is vested in the person who has the private key that corresponds to the address with which the token is associated. This private key allows that person—the owner—to create and sign transactions releasing the token and assigning it to someone else. In some respects, cryptoassets are like bearer assets—if you hold the private key, it is yours.

The rules of blockchains require that if a token is to be sent (i.e., if a payment to be made), the transaction must include the digital signature related to the token’s current address. This digital signature is validated by all of the blockchain network participants. The digital signature acts as a single point of authentication to signal that it really is the address owner who is making the payment instruction.

Online banking

With online banking, in contrast, you prove that you are you then instruct the bank to do something on your behalf. You provide a username and password and usually a one-time PIN created on another device—a so called ‘second factor’. Authenticating with a username and password has its benefits. If you forget or lose your password, you can have it reset if you supply more proof that you are the account holder.

With a cryptoasset, transactions must have a valid digital signature. If you lose your private key, you cannot access your asset and you cannot have it reset. If your private key is copied the thief can make transactions on your behalf, and you can’t stop them. In this respect cryptocurrencies are much less forgiving than banks. Not even those who maintain the ledger can alter the balances, because they can’t provide the necessary digital signatures. This is different to a traditional ledger maintained by a bank, which can be alter balances without any kind of cryptographic proofs.

Some people say that with Bitcoin, you are your own bank. You don’t instruct an entity to make a payment on your behalf: you are responsible for making payments yourself.

Categorizing Tokens

Categorizing Tokens

New tokens are emerging almost daily. Their properties vary. While segregation and separation are difficult, I currently think of tokens in three categories:

Digital tokens come in various forms, each with its unique properties and use cases. The first type of digital token mentioned is native blockchain tokens, which are critical for the underlying blockchain to function effectively. In most cases, native tokens act as incentives for block creators to perform their work and maintain the network’s security. Cryptocurrencies are a perfect example of native tokens.

Asset-backed tokens

Another type of digital token is asset-backed tokens, which represent ownership or title to real-world assets held in trust by a custodian. These tokens can be used to represent assets such as real estate, commodities, or even fine art. Asset-backed tokens are designed to provide investors with a transparent and secure way to invest in assets that were once difficult to access or trade in.

Utility tokens are another type of digital token that represents a claim on a service provided by the issuer of the token. These tokens are usually used within a particular ecosystem or platform, where they can be exchanged for goods or services provided by the issuer. For example, utility tokens can be used to access specific features within a software platform, pay for subscription services, or even trade in a particular marketplace.

Onchainfx.com, a leading data website for digital tokens, provides these three categories for organizing digital tokens. By clearly defining these different types of digital tokens, businesses and investors can better understand the role and value of each type and make informed investment decisions.

Currency tokens

Currency Tokens: Currency tokens are native blockchain assets intended to be used as money. Networks classified as currencies typically do not have many ‘features’ beyond those necessary to define and transfer the native blockchain asset.

Platform Tokens: Platform tokens are required to use general purpose decentralised networks that support a wide variety of possible applications. Platform tokens are often used specifically to mediate use of the platform (ie, tokens are used to pay ‘gas’ in order to access the platform’s functionality).

Utility Tokens: Utility tokens are native to decentralised networks that are designed for specific application types. That is, they are open networks but designed with a specific-use-case in mind. For example, decentralised storage and decentralised asset exchange are both use types for which targeted networks (and their corresponding tokens) are being built. The terms ‘Utility Tokens’ and ‘Protocol Tokens’ are often used to describe the same type of token.

Brand Tokens: Brand tokens exist as tradeable digital assets for use mostly on one company/entity’s platform. Some Brand Tokens may evolve into more generalised Utility Tokens over time.

Security Tokens: Security tokens represent a claim on a specific cash-flow, or off-chain asset. Networks which generate fees-for-service that accrue to token holders, explicitly grant voting rights to token holders, or where tokens are said the be ‘backed’ by some other asset, such as gold or company equity, are Security Tokens.

In the section on ICOs we will discuss how tokens may be classified by regulators as financial securities. For now, I will describe my own distinctions between native tokens, asset backed tokens, and utility tokens.

Unlocking the Benefits of Digital Tokens: The Future of Decentralized Financial Systems

Digital tokens, or cryptocurrencies, have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their numerous benefits. One of the major advantages of digital tokens is their decentralization, which means that they are not controlled by any central authority, such as a government or financial institution. This decentralization makes them more secure, transparent, and resistant to fraud compared to traditional financial systems.

Additionally, digital tokens offer fast, secure, and low-cost transactions, which can be executed instantly across borders. They also provide more privacy and anonymity compared to traditional financial systems, which makes them ideal for those who value their privacy. As digital tokens gain wider acceptance, they have the potential to revolutionize the financial industry by creating new business models and unlocking new revenue streams. Therefore, businesses and individuals who adopt digital tokens early on may gain a competitive edge and reap the benefits of this emerging technology. By integrating relevant keywords, such as “digital tokens”, “cryptocurrencies”, and “decentralization”, this paragraph can help increase visibility and attract potential customers through search engines.



Blockchain Technology and Digital Tokens are two of the most transformative innovations of our time. They are revolutionizing industries and changing the way we exchange value online, offering unprecedented levels of security, transparency, and efficiency. By exploring these technologies and staying up-to-date with their latest developments, we can unlock new opportunities and make the most of the digital age. Whether you are an entrepreneur, investor, or simply curious about the future of technology, there has never been a better time to learn about Blockchain and Digital Tokens.