Tokens are for the Web3 what websites were for the WWW in the 1990s. While it has become easy to create a token with just a few lines of code, the understanding of how to apply these tokens is still vague.

Shermin Voshmgir, Token Economy


This is the second edition of the book “Token Economy” originally published in June 2019. The basic structure of this second edition is the same as the first edition, with slightly updated content of existing chapters and four additional chapters: “User-Centric Identities,” “Privacy Tokens,” “Lending Tokens,” and How to Design a Token System and more focus on the Web3. This book attempts to summarize existing knowledge about blockchain networks and other distributed ledgers as the backbone of the Web3, and contextualize the socio-economic implications of the Web3 applications such as smart contracts, tokens, and DAOs to the concepts of money, economics, governance and decentralized finance (DeFi). Read more on how second edition differs from the first edition in this blog post.

The book builds on the assumption that tokens – often referred to as cryptocurrencies – can represent anything from an asset to an access right, such as gold, diamonds, a fraction of a Picasso painting or an entry ticket to a concert. Tokens could also be used to reward social media contributions, incentivize the reduction of CO2 emissions, or even ones attention for watching an ad. While it has become easy to create a token, which is collectively managed by a public Web3 infrastructure like a blockchain network, the understanding of how to apply these tokens is still vague.

Part one outlines the fundamental building blocks of the Web3, including the role of cryptography and user-centric digital identities. Part two explains Web3 applications like smart contracts, DAOs & tokens. The last two parts of the book focus on tokens as the atomic unit of the Web3, explaining the properties and functions of money and outlining the emerging field of decentralized finance (DeFi) that might power a potential future digital barter economy. Use cases such as asset tokens, purpose driven tokens, BAT (Basic Attention Token), social media tokens (Steemit, Hive and Reddit), privacy tokens, and stable tokens are explored, including the role of CBDCs (Central Bank Digital Currencies) and Facebook’s Libra.

It caters to an interdisciplinary audience and is also an ideal practical primer to the technology and token use-cases, which could also serve as a textbook for students. It is blockchain/DLT agnostic and covers the technology basics from a token perspective. The book builds on the legacy of our work at the BlockchainHub, the ongoing educational posts which culminated in the Blockchain Handbook published in 2017 that has had over 60.000 downloads.

If you find mistakes in the book, here a link to the errata page, where you can give feedback to both the print book and the ebook.


Second Edition (English), June 2020
Available on all Amazon and other online bookstores.

First Edition (English), June 2019

  • 2nd amended Printing, July 2019 (minor typo corrections and additional chapter in appendix on Libra)
  • 3rd amended Printing, Dec 2019 (minor corrections and updates of text)

German Edition, Dec 2020
Available on all Amazon and other online bookstores.

Book Tour

Crypto Asset Conference, March 2020, Frankfurt
Crypto Monday
, Dec 16 2019, New York
International Monetary Fund, Dec 12 2019, Wahington
International Finance Forum,  Nov 22, Guangzhou, China
Soho House Berlin, Nov 11 2019, Berlin
Soho House Amsterdam, Nov 6 2019, Amsterdam
The Next Web: Hard Fork Summit, Oct 17 2019, Amsterdam
Kunsthalle, Sept 20, Vienna
Siliconalps, Sept, 17 Graz
Techfest, Sept 5 2019, Copenhagen
Token Engineering Global Gathering, Aug 23 2019, Berlin
1E9 Conference, Jul 12 2019, Munich


Table of Contents

About the Author

About the Author:Shermin Voshmgir is the Author of the Book “Token Economythe founder of Token Kitchen and BlockchainHub Berlin. In the past she was the director of the Research Institute for Cryptoeconomics at the Vienna University of Economics which she also co-founded. She was a curator of TheDAO (Decentralized Investment Fund), an advisor to Jolocom (Web3 Identity), Wunder (Tokenized Art) and the Estonian E-residency program. Shermin studied Information Systems Management at the Vienna University of Economics and film-making in Madrid. She is Austrian, with Iranian roots, and works on the intersection of technology, art & social science.
Find selected Author pictures here



Design: Justyna Zubrycka
Production: Caroline Helbing
Copy edit: Paisley Prophet
Layout print book: Carmen Fuchs
Reviewers: Susanne Guth-Orlowski, Valentin KalinovJakob Hackel, Kris Paruch, Sofie Schock, Michael Zargham and many more.