An Introduction to the InterWork Alliance

No technology background required

The InterWork Alliance is very centered on using business requirements to drive standards development. Our approach is to model real-life business use cases into contractual flows that represent assets of value as cryptographically secured digital tokens. This business modeling is then encapsulated into technology-neutral frameworks that support all industries.

These educational series deliver a complete view of the technical constraints that digital tokens are designed to relieve, a business-level view of tokens and how tokenized business processes operate, and how InterWork Alliance members collaborate to turn business requirements into actionable standards frameworks for building and certifying products.

We understand how valuable your time is, and have therefore crafted all of this education into easily consumable modules of approximately five minutes each. The education is best consumed linearly; you can watch a module or two and come back at any time to continue. All of this material can be consumed in less than one hour total.

Series 1: Changing the World, the IWA Way

Series 2: How Tokens Simplify the Interchange of Value

Series 3: Standardizing Use Cases Before Technology

Changing the World, the IWA Way

How could you make the world a better place if your vision for interchanging value was not impeded by technological constraints?

1.1 Tokenized business processes will change the world

The theme for this series is “How could you make the world a better place if your vision for interchanging value was not impeded by technological constraints?” We’ll explore this theme in two parts – in this module, by asking you to visualize what you dream of achieving but can’t due to technological constraints. Then in later modules by showing where those constraints came from and how the members of the InterWork Alliance are working to free you from them so that you can fulfill your dreams.

1.2 Why is it so hard to turn your dreams into reality?

The core technology you need to fulfill your dreams for a better world exists, but established practices and systems for interchanging value are in fact inhibitors to your ability to change the world. This module will explore why human interchange of value has become so tightly bound with transactional systems. We will show that, for 8000 years of interchange, what has never changed is the concept of a ‘transactional’ system of interchange: point to point, centralized, and scrupulously recorded by each individual.

1.3 A new paradigm for multi-party interchange is required

This module will explore how the complexity level of interchanges has increased in recent times, and will examine why transactional systems are no longer sufficient for supporting the forms of multi-party digital exchanges that are emerging today. We explain the need for a new form of digital solution that guaranteed trust among all parties, allows all parties to immediately agree on the scope of an interchange, ensures transparency in how that interchange was started and agreed-to, and is carried out without chance of being overturned.

How Tokens Simplify the Interchange of Value

The approach that can best address your challenges is based upon representing assets of value as digital tokens.

2.1 You are already very familiar with tokens

Having discussed the shift in focus from transactional systems to newer forms of multi-party digital interchange, the second series explores the theme that “The approach that can best address your challenges is based upon representing assets of value as digital tokens”. This module introduces tokens as representations of value, and how tokens can be used to decentralize and democratize trust and authenticity in digital interchange. It concludes by opening a historical view of how the perception of tokens has been distorted by a number of misconceptions that must be understood and addressed.

2.2 The token world is far broader than cryptocurrencies

This module tackles several issues that must be cleared up in order to fully appreciate the value of digital tokens in helping to make the world a better place. First, the misconceptions that all tokens are cryptocurrencies – they’re not – and second, that all tokens must run on the same blockchain technology as cryptocurrencies – they can, but don’t have to. Tokens can address virtually any business use case from any industry, and can operated on any underlying platform – whether it’s a blockchain, another form of distributed ledger, a simple database, or something else – as long as it exhibits certain properties that will be explored.

2.3 Expressing the music of tokens

In this module we will show how the InterWork Alliance is redrawing the focus on tokens into a more business-oriented light. Using an analogy to music composition, we reshape the discussion around digital tokens to one focused on using them as a worldwide means of interchange for any use case. The InterWork Alliance Token Taxonomy Framework is introduced for the composition of tokens based on their elemental parts.

2.4 An introduction to token composition

Continuing to dive into the Token Taxonomy Framework, this module introduces the four key concepts that you must understand in order to use the Framework effectively: classifications, properties, behaviors, and contractual relationships. This module will cover the first three, and the next module will introduce contracts. In order to keep these modules from becoming quickly outdated, we will concentrate on explaining the organization of the Taxonomy and some of the most common elements – leaving the details for further discovery via the tooling and documentation.

2.5 Just a few words on contracts

Having built a solid grounding in the composition of tokens based on their classifications, properties, and behaviors, this module concludes the second series with an overview of the relationship between tokens and the smart contracts that allow for multi-party interchanges to use them as representations of value.

Standardizing Use Cases Before Technology

Your best path forward is to work with other IWA members to model your use case’s definition and flow of value, and encapsulate into technology-neutral frameworks that support all industries. Achieve your vision by building and certifying products to IWA specifications, ensuring interworking within and across multi-stakeholder ecosystems regardless of technological choices.

3.1 The critical value of industry organizations

This final series illustrates how the operational processes within the InterWork Alliance have been designed to ensure that our Frameworks support all of your relevant business models, and enable you to realize your dreams for making the world a better place. The Alliance is committed to producing the common standard for describing digital assets across all industries – an absolute requirement for enabling reusability and interworking between applications from different vendors produced for different platforms.

3.2 Setting an example - Wi-Fi

Are industry organizations such as the InterWork Alliance really that important in helping new technologies achieve web-scale adoption? Yes! But it is useful to step outside the world of tokens for a moment and use a technology that we are all familiar with – Wi-Fi – to understand the true criticality of industry organizations in bringing acceptance to emerging markets. This module will focus on how the Wi-Fi Alliance transformed a fledgling technology into something that today we cannot live without. The InterWork Alliance follows a similar model for building web-scale adoption of tokenized assets.

3.3 Inside the IWA - a peak under the covers

This module provides a more in-depth look into the InterWork Alliance as the industry organization with the mission of empowering all organizations to adopt and use token-powered services in their day-to-day operations, across use cases and networks. To establish mass global adoption of tokenized industry use cases that will interwork across all market segments, there must be a common way to define market innovation of digital interchange across all technologies and across all use cases. The InterWork Alliance has this responsibility.

3.4 A visual tour - and wrap-up

To make it easy for anyone without a technical background to both understand as well as contribute to the definition of a token and the contractual actions that can be taken on it, InterWork Alliance members have enhanced the Token Taxonomy Framework with a suite of visual design tooling. This module takes a look at the tooling currently available for inspecting and designing tokens that adhere to the Framework.

We end with a quick review of key points covered in these educational series.