In the next decade, your customers will pay for goods and services in ways that sidestep traditional currencies: with tokens, block chainenabled and distributed units of value that businesses can issue to transact with customers. A current example is Civil, a decentralized network for news with for-profit and nonprofit arms that’s raising capital through token sales to fund some of its work. Those who own Civil’s tokens can use them to start their own newsroom on Civil’s platform. And they can also use those tokens to barter with others on Civil’s platform to, for instance, build out adjacent services and apps.
The value of tokens is set by their issuer, but that value won’t rise unless there’s market demand for them. Think of them as a privately issued currency that skirts traditional issuers, so what was once controlled by governments will soon be available to all, thanks to blockchain technology and clever cryptocurrency entrepreneurs. In the near future, we’ll see new token-based business models, which could revolutionize not only how payments are made but also pricing. That’s because blockchain technology can facilitate micropayments with no transaction costs: No smart merchant should accept a two-cent credit card charge, because that cost is higher than the price. But future businesses might charge tiny amounts for certain goods and services—all facilitated through tokenomics.