About ITSA

Are there other (international) associations with a similar vision?

Most similar initiatives are private (e.g. within one law firm or consulting company). I have seen other classification frameworks (not initiatives!) that are sometimes presented by people from BaFin, Finma, and OECD. Typically these are presented after providing the disclaimer that they do not represent the company’s opinion but the opinion of the person presenting.

Why is a token standard necessary?

A big problem is the crypto market is the various standards and classifications. The issue is complicated by frequent name changes and sometimes misleading advertisements by some projects. That is why we create the International Token Classification (ITC) to help alleviate this problem. Our International Token Identification Number (ITIN) helps identify projects consistently similar to ISIN for stocks.

What is your internationalization strategy?

By the end of 2019, we plan to achieve at least 20 active members from every continent as well as at least 20 members for each critical industry. In order to achieve this, we rely on the word-of-mouth, placement on relevant industry websites and the quality of our work.

What was your motivation to start ITSA?

Our founding members had various angles to view the same problem. Prof. Dr. Philipp Sandner saw that academic research and the comparability of results was hindered by the lack of a uniform way to identify and classify tokens. The FSBC has worked with multiple clients on token classifications and found that a lot of organizations could use such a database, hence the TOKENBASE was born. Others were motivated because trading and market analysis were difficult without clear identification.

What are our expected results by the end of 2019?

By the end of 2019, we plan for the further development of ITIN, ITC, and TOKENBASE. Additionally, we expect to achieve the following member statistics: At least 20 active members from every continent as well as at least 20 members for each critical industry.

Should the ITC framework become a global standard or do you plan to specialize on a specific region?

Since token markets do not have geographical borders, we aim for a worldwide standard that is implemented and adopted globally.

How widely adopted are your standards?

We are in the early stages, but there are some corporations and organizations that use our ITIN and ITC in their internal analysis. ITIN is also considered by the EU as a possible standard.

How many tokens have been assigned an ITIN?

At present we count about 900 fungible tokens with an assigned ITIN in our database TOKENBASE. This corresponds to a market coverage of approx. 99.99% measured by the total token market capitalization. However, as the markets are very volatile, regular new ITIN assignments are required to maintain this market coverage. We therefore issue about 25 new ITINs for fungible tokens every month.

Note: Coinmarketcap.com carries about 5500 tokens. However, it should be stressed that most of these tokens have an insignificant market capitalization. The top 10% of the tokens listed on coinmarketcap.com account for about 99.99% of the market capitalization, with Bitcoin and Ethereum alone accounting for about 75% and the top 100 tokens for about 95-99% of the total token market capitalization. With few exceptions, TOKENBASE currently covers the top 10% of tokens on coinmarketcap.com.

What is the difference between ITSA and DACIN (www.dacin.org)?

As you can see in our pitch deck, ITSA has a comprehensive approach to promote a universal standard for the global token markets. We offer a unique identifier for tokens (ITIN), a classification framework for tokens (ITC), and a database with quantitative and qualitative data for 800+ tokens. This scope is, to my knowledge, currently unparalleled.

In contrast to that, DACIN focusses only on providing an identification number.

How is ITSA positioned compared to www.blockchaintokenassociation.org?

BTA has no comparable “products” such as ITIN, ITC or TOKENBASE. Also, they do not seem very active. It is hard to read up about them, which makes them a bit dubious. They mention about themselves, that they want to establish best practices and start a dialogue with regulators about ICOs. We cover all types of tokens (e.g. also security tokens) and will provide qualitative and quantitative data about them. Thus, we offer a wider and deeper range of solutions.

Do the InterWork Alliance and ITSA collaborate?

ITSA became a founding member of the InterWork Alliance (IWA). As a member of IWA, ITSA aims to investigate the potential of integrating the IWA token taxonomy parameters into its International Token Classification (ITC) framework. Although overlaps in the agenda of ITSA and IWA exist, the organizations complement each other. The IWA will define tokenization and interworking standards to drive business-level interoperability, multi-party interchange, and trust across applications and networks. ITSA focuses on unique and fork-resilient token identification which is a unique angle in the area of token market standardization.

Do you also classify exchanges in your ITC framework?

No, per definition the International Token Classification (ITC) framework only focuses on blockchain- and DLT-based cryptographic tokens. However, further standards for other integral parts of the global token economy may be developed in the future. Hence, acknowledging the importance of centralized and also decentralized exchanges for the global token markets, standards for the identification, classification, and analysis of exchanges may be the next project of ITSA.

Do you think that national and international regulators will one day rely on or use ITSA?

Yes. The BMF (German ministry of finance) has already asked for details because our classification framework could be interesting for tax purposes. But those are just early talks. However, they are interested and we will see where this will go.

The blockchain ecosystem changes quickly, so we have to adjust our system continuously. This is where DIN/ISO are too slow – although these standards are widely accepted once completed.

How does ITSA compare with DIN/ISO classifications?

The two initiatives do not collide. The International Token Classification (ITC) of ITSA is modeled after the triad of Payment Token, Utility Token and Security/Investment Token. A few other classification frameworks (e.g. BaFin or the attempts of the OECD) are similar in this regard.

What makes us different, is that we applied our classification framework to classify over 800 tokens with it (TOKENBASE).

What are the central messages of ITSA (which we can use)?

We strive to bring companies, universities, governmental bodies, and associations together to create market standards for the token markets of the future. Further, we want to offer information for free or for a small fee online so that the above-mentioned organizations can use our knowledge to do their research.

Do you work together with regulators?

We are currently in contact with authorities such as the Bafin.
The current legal environment is still uncertain in specific areas. Therefore, we consciously excluded topics with still fluctuating regulations – for example, we created our own definition for “investment token” instead of “security token”, as the legal definition still varies from country to country.
The Bundesverband Blockchain and thinkBLOCKtank already deal with the legal classification as part of our founding members.

Could the term “investment token” win over “security token”?

Both will prevail. One focuses on the business aspect and the other one on the legal categorization.

That is why ITSA is a great match with the Blockchain Bundesverband, which focuses on the legal aspect.

An interesting thing we found through our research is, that there are currently ca. 20 investment token (equity-like, etc.), that are not legally a security token. This means they have found an interesting workaround.

How should the International Token Classification (ITC) be referenced?

For referencing the International Token Classification (ITC) simply write “ITC (2019)” or with more detail:

International Token Classification (ITC), version of April 2019, International Token Standardization Association (ITSA), see www.itsa.global

For referencing the International Token Classification (ITC), the following text passage can – as an example – be used within a manuscript in the written Text:

More specifically, the International Token Classification (ITC) was used. This classification system was established by the International Token Standardization Association (ITSA). For the specification of ITC classes, see Sandner et al. (2018).

Then, in the reference list, the following source can be mentioned:

Sandner, P., Ketz, C., Tumasjan, A., and Lentge, K. (2018), A Taxonomy for Classifying Cryptographic Tokens. SSRN Working Paper, International Token Standardization Association (ITSA).

How should the daily database for token markets (TOKENBASE) be referenced?

For referencing the token database TOKENBASE in a short version, simply write “TOKENBASE (2019)” or with more detail:

TOKENBASE, version of April 2019, International Token Standardization Association (ITSA), see www.itsa.global

For referencing the token database with all details, the following text passage can – as an example – be used within a manuscript in a written text:

For data on tokens and their daily prices, the worldwide token database TOKENBASE was used. The version of April 2019 was employed.

Then, for example in the footnote, the following source can be mentioned:

The worldwide token database (TOKENBASE) is available under license from the International Token Standardization Association (ITSA), see www.itsa.global for more information.

Can I use the data for educational purposes?

Yes, both educational and academic usage is covered by our academic plan. Commercial usage, however, requires a special license which is included in our business membership.

About the membership

How and to what extent can I join your efforts?

Currently, we offer membership options for individuals, companies, and other organizations such as academic institutions. Members support the association with their membership fees and know-how. We welcome especially those that want to actively bring their contacts and know-how into the initiative. We mention institutional investors on our website.

What do I get as an associate founding member of ITSA?

As an associated founding member (active membership) you have full access to ITIN, ITC, and TOKENBASE, voting rights and can participate in our working groups (our first working group kickoff will be in Q2 2019).

Is there a refund policy?

No, feel free to play around with the free data until you are certain. You can get a sample of our TOKENBASE here.

What kind of founding member can I become?

Working group meetings will be held mostly virtually (as we have a very international list of founding members) on a regular basis. We expect the kickoff for our first working groups in Q2 2019.

Can you send me an excerpt of TOKENBASE?

We are still in the process of setting up and defining the specific data offerings of TOKENBASE with our partner Kaiko. Hence, I can, unfortunately, not provide you with a sample at this point in time. What I can say so far is that all market data (trading volumes, market cap, prices, etc.) will be offered in daily resolution on an aggregate level (for active members and sponsoring members) and as well on exchange level (for active members only) for free.

About working groups

How are working groups organized?

Our working groups will be set up by the executive board, depending on the demand and diversification of our associate founding members. Working groups are led by a chairman and vice-chairman that report to the executive board of ITSA on a regular basis.

When and how often will working groups take place this year?

Working group meetings will be held mostly virtually (as we have a very international list of founding members) on a regular basis. We expect the kickoff for our first working groups in Q2 2019.

How do active and passive participation in the working groups differ?

The active participation in a working group in the context of an active membership primarily means that you have a vote in the elections and polls. You may also lead a working group.

If you are a passive member of a working group in the context of a sponsoring membership, you may join working groups and inform yourself. You may even bring in an adequate amount of proposals. However, you will not have a voting right and you cannot lead a working group.

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