Research / BFI Working PaperJul 30, 2018

Tokenomics: Dynamic Adoption and Valuation

Lin William Cong, Ye Li, Neng Wang

We provide a dynamic asset-pricing model of (crypto-)tokens on (blockchain-based) platforms, and highlight their roles on endogenous user adoption. Tokens intermediate transactions on decentralized networks, and their trading creates an inter-temporal complementarity among users, generating a feedback loop between token valuation and platform adoption. Consequently, tokens capitalize future platform growth, accelerate adoption, and reduce user-base volatility. Equilibrium token price increases non-linearly in platform productivity, user heterogeneity, and endogenous network size. The model also produces explosive growth of user base after an initial period of dormant adoption, accompanied by a run-up of token price volatility. We further discuss how our framework can be used to discuss cryptocurrency supply, token competition, and pricing assets under network externality.

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