Tokenomics Design 101: How To Design A Perfect Tokenomics Model
January 13, 2023
Welcome, crypto project founders and entrepreneurs! In today's fast-paced digital world, new web3 and crypto projects are launching their tokens every week. However, only a few of them survive in the long run. One of the main reasons for their failure is poorly designed tokenomics.
But what exactly are tokens, and why do they matter?
Tokens are blockchain-based digital assets that can serve a wide variety of applications in the blockchain world. Tokens can take many forms, including cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum and Bitcoin, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) such as BAYC and Azuki, metaverse coins such as SAND and MANA, as well as gaming assets like Axies.
The need for tokens for crypto projects is clear—they are the backbone of several decentralized projects and play a vital role in creating a sustainable ecosystem for the long term. However, designing the perfect tokenomics model is not an easy task.
In this guide, we will take a deep dive into the world of tokenomics and explore how you can design a strong tokenomics model for your web3 project.
Different types of tokens
Security tokens are a type of digital asset that represents ownership of an underlying asset, such as a web3 brand or a project. They can be traded on a secondary market, and the value of the token is usually dependent on the performance of the underlying asset.
Utility tokens are a type of digital tokens that give their holders the right to access or use a specific product or service within a particular ecosystem.
They are also called Dapp tokens or protocol tokens because they provide access to certain products or services. Utility token do not represent ownership or investment in a crypto project and are not considered securities.
Transactional tokens refer to digital assets, such as cryptocurrencies, that are primarily used for transactions and are the native form of payment (gas fees) for a specific blockchain network. These tokens are used to facilitate economic transactions within a particular blockchain network.
Commodity tokens are digital assets that represent a physical commodity or asset, such as gold or fiat. The token price of a commodity token is usually pegged to the value of the underlying asset.
Governance tokens are digital assets that give token holders the right to vote on or make decisions about the development and operation of a blockchain network or a decentralized platform.
They are used to create a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) and can be used to vote on changes to the protocol or the distribution of funds in the ecosystem.
What is tokenomics?
Tokenomics is a term derived from the combination of "token" and "economics," which refers to the economic system and monetary policy of a specific cryptocurrency, token, or NFT. A tokenomics design involves creating a set of rules and incentives that explain the issuance, distribution, and circulation of the tokens within the ecosystem.
Your crypto project's token economics play a critical role in defining its success in the long run. The main objective of a tokenomics design is to create a sustainable economic model for the tokens, ensure long-term supply, and inform potential investors about how the tokens will be distributed in the market.
A tokenomics framework is an essential element of a crypto project's whitepaper and litepaper. It provides important information about the token and its economic utility in the project.
Tokenomics has been a critical element of crypto projects since the introduction of Bitcoin's whitepaper, and it is often baked into the token's smart contract during the development phase.
Tokenomics includes various aspects such as token supply, utility, and underlying technology. The token supply refers to the total number of tokens that will be created and how they will be distributed among different stakeholders.
Utility refers to the functionality of the tokens, for example, whether they can be used for transactions within the ecosystem, governance, or staking. The underlying technology refers to the blockchain or other technology that supports the token.
Anatomy of a perfect tokenomics design
In order for you to build a strong and robust tokenomics model for your web3 project, it's important to know and define all the important elements and how they interact with one another.
Let’s look at some of the crucial elements that every good tokenomics design should have:
- Token distribution: This refers to how the tokens will be distributed among different stakeholders, including the founders, investors, and community members.
- Token utility: The token should have a clear and defined use within the project's ecosystem to provide value to holders and incentivize usage.
- Total supply: The total supply of tokens should be clearly defined and limited to prevent inflation.
- Token price stabilization: The token design process should include measures to stabilize the price of the token, such as buyback and burn mechanisms.
- Governance model: The tokenomics design should include a clear governance structure, including mechanisms for community members to propose and vote on changes to the protocol.
- Token economics: The tokenomics design should be designed in such a way as to align the interests of all stakeholders and create a sustainable ecosystem for the long term.
- Token distribution model: How the token will be distributed among different stakeholders like ICOs, IEOs, airdrops, mining, etc.
- Token Standards: Defining the token standard that your project will use (such as ERC20, BEP20, and so on) in your token design.
- Transaction fees and transfer speed: The tokenomics design should have a low transaction cost and a high transfer speed, which is critical for the ecosystem's health.
Step-by-step guide to designing token economics model for your web3 business
Step 1: Define the type and token utility
Different types of tokens can be used for different purposes and in different ways. Hence, it is important to understand the token business logic, properties, and use cases that your token enable for the users.
This includes identifying the specific problem that your project aims to solve, your target audience, the incentives you can provide, and how your token will be used within the ecosystem that you are building.
Step 2: Establish the total token supply
Define the total number of tokens that will be created, as well as any future plans for creating more tokens (e.g., through mining or staking), define rules for maintaining supply and demand, and implement the token burning mechanism to maintain inflation.
Step3: Define your token distribution plan
This step involves determining how and when the tokens will be distributed, as well as to whom the tokens will be distributed. For example, the tokens can be distributed to investors, community members, or the development team.
Types of token distribution strategies:
1. Initial Coin Offering (ICO): In an ICO, a project creates a certain number of tokens and sells them to the public in order to raise funds for the project.
2. Initial Token Offering (ITO): An ITO is similar to an ICO but with a slightly different focus; it sells tokenized assets or equity to early adopters.
3. Initial DEX Offering (IDO): IDO is a method of launching and distributing a new cryptocurrency project on a decentralized exchange (DEX) rather than through an initial coin offering (ICO) or initial token offering (ITO).
4. Mining: Some tokens are distributed through a process called mining, where users provide computational power to validate transactions on the network and are rewarded with tokens.
5. Staking: Some tokens have staking mechanisms that let token holders "lock up" their tokens to verify transactions and earn more tokens as a reward.
6. Airdrop: An airdrop is a distribution of tokens to a large number of wallet addresses, usually for free. This is done to increase awareness of the project and to incentivize users to hold and use the tokens.
7. Bounty programs: Projects often give tokens as rewards for doing things like spreading the word about the project on social media or finding bugs in the code.
Another important aspect of a token distribution plan is setting up a token lockup, and a vesting period, which helps to align the interests of the development team, investors, and community members, and prevents a situation where the tokens are dumped in the market, which is harmful to the projects' long-term value.
Step 4: Build your token mechanics
This step involves developing the rules and incentives that will govern the use of the tokens within the ecosystem, such as how they will be used for transactions, how they will be bought and sold, and what role they will play in the overall functioning of your crypto project.
You need to focus on the overall user experience, define token mechanics for circulation, design your incentive mechanism, define economic policies, and plan token launch strategies.
Step 5: Implement the tokenomics model
This includes creating the smart contracts that will govern the issuance, distribution, and circulation of the tokens within the ecosystem. The smart contracts should be carefully designed to ensure that they align with the token design and that they are secure and reliable.
Once the smart contract is created, the next step is executing your token distribution plan. This involves listing the token on exchanges and launching the token into the market.
This requires careful planning and execution to ensure that the tokenomics design is aligned with the smart contracts, making sure the token is accessible to potential investors, and ensuring that the project is able to raise funds and distribute tokens correctly to investors and the community.
Step 6: Monitor and adapt your token economics model
Defining a tokenomics model is not a one-time thing, and many projects make the mistake of not changing their tokenomics according to industry trends.
It is important to keep an eye on the performance of the token in the market and adapt the model according to it; this could include adjusting the token supply, re-balancing distribution, and adjusting the token economy.
Mistakes to avoid in your token design process
A poorly designed tokenomics model can run the crypto project into the ground. There are several common mistakes that crypto projects can make when designing their tokenomics models, including:
- Not defining a clear use case for the token: Failing to define a clear token utility and how it will be used within the ecosystem can make it difficult for your users and investors to understand the token value.
- Having an overly-inflated token supply: Having an overly-inflated token supply can dilute the value of your token, making it difficult for the token to gain value in the long term.
- Not allocating tokens to key stakeholders: Failing to allocate tokens to key stakeholders such as developers, early adopters, and liquidity providers can limit the potential for network effects, which can hinder the growth of your crypto project.
- Failing to design a viable token economy: Designing a token economy that doesn’t support your crypto project’s use case can fail to create value for your users making the token less useful, and less attractive to investors.
- Not designing the token burning mechanism: If your tokenomics doesn't include a way to burn additional tokens, it can lead to an oversupply of tokens and decrease the overall value.
- Failing to comply with regulations: Failing to comply with regulations can result in legal issues and negatively affect the project's reputation.
- Not aligning the tokenomics with your project’s needs and milestones: Your tokenomics should align with the project’s goals and objectives. The team should consider the needs of the project and the milestones that need to be achieved before designing the tokenomics model.
Marketing for your token launch
Marketing your token launch effectively requires communicating the unique value proposition of your project and how it solves real-world problems. Highlighting the key features of your tokenomics and how they benefit potential investors and users is essential. Building a strong community of supporters through engagement is crucial.
If you're planning to launch your own token, it's important to have a comprehensive understanding of tokenomics and its various elements. If you need assistance in marketing your token launch, or developing a crypto roadmap, we can help you.
Our team of experts has the experience and knowledge to help you navigate the complex world of crypto marketing and position your project for success. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you reach your goals.