I’ve followed the development of personal tokens since Tatiana Moroz famously became the first person to tokenize herself in 2014. The concept always showed great potential, but I honestly didn’t understand personal tokens’ true necessity until I actually worked in the industry full time with a number of prominent ICO projects a few years later.
Working in the space, I quickly realized that many individuals, like Austin Griffith, were becoming powerhouse builders, capable of generating more value on their own than many of the development teams, who raised tens of millions of dollars from a whitepaper. The problem was… many of these builders, like Austin, were creating open source software tools and infrastructure that didn’t actually have a formal business model of their own. Austin, whose burner wallet was used at nearly every Ethereum conference for the last 2–3 years, generated Austin exactly \$0 for his innovation.
This is when I came to the conclusion that personal tokens had the extraordinary potential to revolutionize the way each of us makes a living online — they can help us monetize the uncaptured value we create each and every day.
As a result, I developed a protocol for personal tokens, called meTokens. It’s one of many types of personal token protocols I imagine will eventually become part of our everyday lives.
The Age of Self-Issuance
While we currently live in an age of self-publishing, personal tokens promise to usher in an age of self-issuance. In the age of self-publishing we’ve learned to use different social media platforms in combination with one another to achieve a coordinated communications strategy. For example, we upload videos to YouTube, share them on Twitter, and publish teasers to Instagram.
We don’t just have one social media account; we have many. Similarly, in the age of self-issuance, it makes sense that we will have more than one type of personal token, as well, and that we will strategically use them together, just as we’ve done with our various social media profiles.
meTokens are a novel type of personal payment token. They allow people to speculate on what the demand for another person’s labor will be in the future, by giving users an opportunity to mint a payment token for that person today.
Each person has their own meToken, which is worth more to them than it’s worth to anyone else. This is done through a process of token wrapping, similar to Wrapped Ether ($WETH). To create a meToken for somebody, an investor wraps Ether for that specific person (the issuer). Once Ether is wrapped as a meToken, only the issuer of the meToken can ever unwrap the ETH for the full amount.
Anyone else who attempts to redeem another person’s meToken incurs an unwrapping penalty. Unwrapping penalties are a fee paid in ETH to other meToken holders. The penalty ETH is airdropped into the remaining meToken wrappers, effectively increasing their tokens “spendable” value. In this way “true believers” (who will actually hire the meToken issuer) are rewarded on the backs of speculators (who only want to sell their tokens for a profit).
Wrapper rates are fixed along a bonding curve, which means folks who wrap early and often get the best rates on the individuals they invest in. This encourages communities to competitively generate meTokens for people who are the most productive, popular, or who show tremendous potential. The competitive process of meToken generation is a similar incentive structure to token mining (PoW, PoS, Liquidity Mining, etc) — except in this case, it’s the labor of talented people who are being mined.
meTokens are, therefore, designed to be a trustless base-layer for all other personal tokens. They capture the total demand for a person’s labor in a single token from which all other personal tokens can (optionally) be derived and paid for. This is similar to how raw materials, such as gold, stone, and wood, are the base-resources for all other types of goods.
Types of Personal Tokens
From Economics 101 we know there are exactly 4 types of goods, which are defined by their rivalrous and excludable nature. Here are some examples of how we categorize goods according to this quadrant in the real world:
All consumable goods fall within these four categories — tokens included. The only exception being that due to the nature of blockchain, it may actually be impossible to create public tokens. At any rate, here are some examples of tokens that exist in the three remaining categories:
Predictably, personal tokens follow a similar template of categorization. While this growing sector is still in its early stages, we have already seen at least one type of personal token populate each possible category:
A simple way to understand these three categories is as follows:
- Private personal tokens — limited products created by the issuer. Once they’re consumed, they’re gone forever (the token might be recirculated, but the good the token represents is gone).
- Club personal tokens — grant users access to issuer’s personal brand (a person’s personal brand is their club). There is virtually no limit to the number of people an issuer can let into their club. Value is instead derived from the discretion and curation of the issuer.
- Common personal tokens — used to purchase anything from the issuer, including other tokenized assets (eg, their private personal tokens, club personal tokens, etc) and non-tokenized assets (time, attention, labor).
Payments are at the root of all economic activity. So it makes sense that the base-layer token for a person would be a personal payment token. Monetary theorists have long believed personal currencies would one day exist. Today we have many types of personal tokens, and for personal payments we have meTokens.
meTokens are currently live on Ethereum mainnet. You can issue your own meToken at StakeOnMe.com or you can buy the meTokens of other issuers, including CoinFund founder, Jake Brukhman; Raid Guild member and Moloch V2 contributor, Ven Gist; MetaFactory creator and designer, MetaDreamer; and NFT Digital Artist, SkipperGemX (check out his work on Rarible!).
Of course, you are more than welcome to also check out my meToken, $CBOB. And if you have any questions or just want to chat about personal tokens, feel free to reach out to me anytime on Twitter @CBobRobison.