Notes from the Token Taxonomy Initiative’s First Public Workshop

Last week at Microsoft’s Manhattan offices, the Token Taxonomy Initiative (TTI) hosted a packed house of blockchain professionals for its sold out first public Token Workshop.  Attendees were taken through the TTI’s mission of developing “clear definition and scope of token concepts, including use cases, taxonomy, terminology, and specifications” and invited to participate in one of two breakout sessions focused on the development, and business considerations, of fungible or non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Marley Gray, TTI’s Chairperson and Principal Architect for Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain, kicked off the afternoon with a comprehensive overview of both the TTI’s latest iteration of its proposed framework as well as a discussion of the group’s approach to developing standards.  And while the work to date has been informed by dozens of companies and potentially hundreds of use cases, the overarching theme of the afternoon was for more companies to come forward and participate in the continued development of the TTI’s proposed standards.

HACERA CEO Jonathan Levi at the TTI Workshop recently held in New York

Speaking with TTI Vice-Chair Jonathan Levi, CEO of HACERA who created The Unbounded Network, we asked him about the importance of tokens and token standards for the continued growth of the enterprise blockchain space.  “Our industry needs a framework which is here to allow parties to define tokenized assets in a clear way, so that we can build portable systems, through a transparent process,” said Levi, “and such a framework can’t be developed in a vacuum. You must have input from as many stakeholders as possible in an effort to accommodate as many use cases as possible.

But what about the existing blockchain frameworks that may already have a token? Especially hugely popular chains like Ethereum? “Ethereum, too,” says Levi, “will benefit from having an implementation-neutral definition for tokens. It will bring people and projects together. ”

Version 1.0 of the Token Taxonomy Framework was released in November of 2019 and people who attended the workshop were provided a first-read of an “in-depth review of the TTI’s Token Taxonomy Framework as a first-principles model for understanding tokens” courtesy of Don Tapscott’s Blockchain Research Initiative and their paper TOKEN TAXONOMY The Need for Open-Source Standards Around Digital Assets.  The publication provides a straightforward, non-technical guide to the current state of tokens, the role of TTI and the Token Taxonomy Framework and the need for standardization and collaboration. You can download the publication here.

Token Taxonomy Framework – Jonathan Levi (HACERA) – Feb 19, 2020 – New York City – Public Workshop

With the dust still settling from the ICO-mania of just a few years ago, a key question the group has been addressing is… why the focus on tokens?  The TTI offers this explanation on its homepage: “Tokens will disrupt global economics and radically change how commerce will be transacted. While various implementations exist for tokens for specific blockchain platforms, the industry is currently lacking a venue for all participants to collaborate on a shared description and approach, resulting in a lack of interoperability, reuse, and common ground to address regulatory issues. The mission of the Token Taxonomy Initiative is to create this venue and develop a clear definition and scope of the token concept, including use cases, taxonomy and terminology, and a specification neutral to the underlying technology.”

“Keeping the TTI agnostic to the underlying blockchain solution and staying focused on the behaviors and properties that are necessary for the tokenization of all kinds of assets, brings more people and organizations together.”

 TTI is also agnostic to corollary services like hosting platforms.  

We are here to provide people and businesses the ability to exchange information across decentralized systems without worrying about vendor lock-in, regulatory issues or future compatibility,” said Levi, “and the TTI’s implementation-agnostic approach empowers the businesses and community members who are driving the standards and innovations to take advantage of specific base layer strengths while keeping their options open.

Gray and Levi hinted at more announcements in the coming months but hesitated from providing much detail other than to say that an updated version of the specification was already in the works and would be published “soon.”  They also stressed the importance of businesses who are actively seeking blockchain-enabled solutions to reach out to the TTI through their website at and get involved as the strength and relevance of the TTI’s framework grows with contributions from the businesses and industries evaluating blockchain technology and the “tokenization of everything.” 

“Ideally, we create as wide a spectrum of stakeholders as is possible to help us create a framework that offers maximum flexibility and optionality,” said Levi, “My passion this stems from my belief that these standards are the remedy for the spate in ‘crypto tribalism’, which make systems not portable. ”

HACERA brings DAML smart contracts to Multiple Blockchains and Clouds

Digital Asset and HACERA partner to enable DAML for Hyperledger Fabric, enabling clients to deploy distributed applications to multiple clouds through the Unbounded Network

New York, June 18, 2019 — Digital Asset, the creators of the DAML smart contract language, and HACERA, a leading blockchain technology provider and a maintainer of the open source Hyperledger Fabric project, announced today that the two technologies have been integrated to allow smart contracts written in DAML to run on the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain framework. This is the second integration of DAML with a Hyperledger framework. Digital Asset announced plans to enable DAML for Hyperledger Sawtooth earlier this year.

“Hyperledger Fabric and Hyperledger Sawtooth are two of the most widely adopted blockchain platforms. Hyperledger members collaborating to integrate open source projects increases each of their value to more than the sum of the parts, enabling developers to write DAML applications once and choose which platform to deploy to,” said Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director of Hyperledger.

DAML is an open source platform-agnostic smart contract language designed for use in multi-party business processes. DAML abstracts away the underlying complexities of blockchain platforms, allowing developers to focus purely on the business logic of the applications while giving clients deployment flexibility as well as application portability.

HACERA is the third Digital Asset partner to use the DAML Integration Toolkit, an open source suite that enables the adoption of DAML by third party platforms. Following integrations with Hyperledger Sawtooth and VMware Blockchain, HACERA makes it possible to create, test and deploy DAML-driven applications on Hyperledger Fabric. The integration will be available under an Apache 2.0 open source license and will be submitted to the Hyperledger community.

“We’re very excited that HACERA have integrated DAML with Hyperledger Fabric, which has one of the largest developer communities of any blockchain platform,” said Dan O’Prey, CMO and Head of Community at Digital Asset and Chair of the Hyperledger Marketing Committee. “We look forward to continuing to work with the Hyperledger community to increase interoperability, standardization, and application portability.”

The integration with Hyperledger Fabric will be commercially supported by HACERA’s Unbounded Network, a decentralized network that connects public and permissioned blockchains across clouds, which brings leading blockchain technologies, organizations, and projects together.

“There are multiple blockchain platforms, each designed for different needs. When we started developing Hyperledger Fabric in 2016, it was with the mindset that there wouldn’t be a single blockchain for all types of distributed applications,” said Jonathan Levi, Founder and CEO of HACERA. “When Digital Asset open-sourced DAML, it aligned with our mission to enhance and secure distributed applications, allowing participants to collaborate. By supporting DAML applications, Unbounded Network now provides an easy way to deploy DAML applications across multiple blockchains and clouds.”

In April, Digital Asset announced that it had open sourced its DAML language, runtime, and Software Development Kit (SDK) under an Apache 2.0 software license, enabling third parties to modify DAML and integrate it with other platforms. In addition, the DAML SDK Developer Preview is now available to all developers, following a private beta program announced last year.

Next week at Synchronize Europe, HACERA will unveil the ALPHA version of its multi-platform DAML deployment capabilities on the Unbounded Network – where they will demonstrate porting, migrating, and moving a DAML application from a script editor to a cloud environment, in just a few easy steps. The public release of the full Enterprise-grade component is expected in September.

Digital Asset co-founder and CTO, Shaul Kfir, HACERA co-founder and CEO, Jonathan Levi, and Hyperledger Executive Director, Brian Behlendorf, are lined-up to speak at IMN’s Synchronize Europe in London on June 18 at the etc. venues, St. Paul’s at 200 Aldersgate, London, EC1A 4HD. To register, please visit the Synchronize Europe website.

About Digital Asset

Founded in 2014, Digital Asset is a leading provider of distributed ledger technology (DLT) solutions that solve real-world business challenges. The company combines deep industry expertise with advanced technologies, including DAML, an intuitive smart contract language, to help clients streamline multi-party business processes on distributed platforms. To learn more about Digital Asset, please visit To learn more about DAML and download the DAML SDK, please visit


Founded in 2016, HACERA is a multi-national blockchain technology provider that release-managed Hyperledger Fabric 1.0 with IBM Corp. HACERA has products in the following categories: Identity, Governance (credential management, policy, and privileges), Privacy (using Zero-Knowledge Proofs and side-channels) and Clearance & Settlement. To learn more about HACERA, please visit:

Unbounded Network is a decentralized platform that brings leading blockchain technologies, organizations and projects together, including IBM Blockchain Platform, Oracle Blockchain Platform, Microsoft Azure and AWS. To learn more about The Unbounded Network, please visit:

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HACERA Combines Enterprise-Grade Security, Privacy and Interoperability Capabilities to Fuel the Next Generation of Blockchains

“It was very clear that collaborating and contributing to various blockchain ecosystems was the best way to accelerate our value creation. The first years had bitter roots, but sweeter fruits. With so many moving parts in this space — optionality is key!” — Jonathan Levi

At times, what’s heralded as the greatest breakthrough of distributed ledger technology — its ability to store information transparently and publicly — can also prove a significant drawback. The ability to record transaction history on an open blockchain is very powerful, but without the right access control features to prevent unauthorized parties from viewing data, distributed ledgers are a non-starter for some organizations. Yet, blockchains are extremely effective in allowing enterprises to interact with trust and relevant transparency.

But by focusing on highly secure and scalable access control, authorization and auditing features for blockchains, HACERA is seeking to make distributed ledgers usable for organizations that require tight control over who can see the data that they place on the blockchain. Furthermore, HACERA has dedicated itself to solving cross-chain interoperability to bring public chain technology to the enterprise space, particularly among the leading blockchain platforms, including Hyperledger Fabric, Ethereum and others, using very strong cryptography for identity protection.

This approach puts HACERA among the handful of companies that are leading the charge to bring blockchain technology to the enterprise world in a major way.

Realizing a Compliance-Friendly Blockchain

Jonathan Levi, a computer scientist and former executive director of core quantitative strategies at Goldman Sachs, founded HACERA while still in graduate school at Stanford in 2014. At the time, Levi was avidly experienced with blockchain technology as a Bitcoin core contributor in the project’s early days. Eventually, he turned his aim to enterprise markets. He launched HACERA with the goal of helping institutions meet regulatory requirements when they adopted blockchain technology.

That was a relatively novel concept at the time. Bitcoin dominated the world of blockchain technology in 2015, and few Bitcoin stakeholders were concerned with staying on the right side of regulators.

“When I talked about know your customer [KYC], anti-money laundering [AML] and the need to go through all the mandatory due-diligence procedures that many regulated sectors are subject to, people in the Bitcoin community thought I was crazy,” Levi recalled.

In early 2016, IBM and other sponsors of the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric project were happy to have Levi’s company helping develop the platform through IBM’s security research department.

“It was very clear that regulated entities needed a permissioned blockchain,” according to Levi. “At the same time, we already had our secure layer for authenti- cation, authorization and auditing services to blockchains.”

Access Control for Distributed Ledgers

Working with the Hyperledger Project prominently exposed HACERA to the entire growing ecosystem of enterprise-focused blockchain solutions. Today, HACERA focuses on solving two distinct challenges.

The first is the issue of access control for data that is stored on a blockchain. HACERA provides the ability to set access control policies in a granular way for data on a distributed ledger.

“It’s a highly secure approach to enabling companies to share transaction history across a distributed ledger, but ensuring that specific data about the transaction is only viewable to those participants who are authorized to view it,” Levi explained.

As noted above, this type of solution addresses a deeply embedded challenge within blockchain technology. A blockchain is powerful because it allows data to be stored openly and transparently, minimizing the risk of fraud. Yet for some use cases, it is important to ensure that the data itself cannot be read by anyone who has access to the blockchain — which, in the case of most major blockchains, means anyone in the world, because they are public, decentralized ledgers. HACERA enables companies to leverage the transparency of public distributed ledgers without compromising data security.

HACERA’s second chief value offering is integrating data and transactions between Ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric and other leading blockchains. Those first two blockchains have garnered the greatest attention from leading enterprises thus far, Levi said, and the ability to share information across blockchains is important for companies that want to avoid being locked into one platform or that wish to leverage both blockchains within the same application or workflow.

“We believe that the near-term enterprise ecosystem will be inhabited by multiple permissioned chains, and our strong conviction is that Hyperledger Fabric and

Ethereum are the most robust platforms available for enterprise adoption, so we took an early stage approach at ensuring blockchain platforms could communicate with each other no matter which platform was used,” Levi explained.

Ensuring Compliance Through Privacy and Confidentiality

Staying ahead of compliance requirements as regulators turn an increasing amount of attention to blockchain technology remains a core focus for HACERA.

“We’re participating and contributing on the regulatory front,” Levi said. “We’re very accustomed to highly regulated industries, having come from the banking world, and we expect our customers to expect a structured regulatory environment and demand compliance to that environment.”

Levi added that HACERA is designed not just to satisfy the requirements of the current regulatory landscape but also to remain effective if regulations related to blockchains become more rigid, which they likely will.

“Our approach to the entire HACERA platform anticipated a much more regulated environment than where we currently are,” Levi said. “HACERA can accommodate most of what we would expect to see in the coming months and years: More AML/KYC capabilities, more auditing transparency and, of course, the ability to ensure that data is secure with specific access control, policy enforcement and confidential transactions across blockchain platforms.”