Designing your tokenomics canvas

Designing your tokenomics canvas


Designing your tokenomics canvas

Once you know why you need a token token - i.e what problem it solves and how a token can uniquely benefit what you're building, it's time to sketch out your token economy. Your token economy is a document that lists all the different stakeholders in your economy, what they care about, what actions they take and with whom they interact and how.

This is a process that will be intuitive for some, especially if you have a product management background, but foreign for others. The more rigorous you conduct this step, the simpler your future steps will be, both from a tokenomics design perspective as well as for internal collaboration communication.

The goal of this process is to emerge with a document and sketch that outlines your stakeholders and how they interact with each other.

Sketching your tokenomics user personas

First, sketch out the different actors in your system and their personas:

  1. Identify Key User Groups: Start by identifying the different types of users who interact with your product and tokenomics. These could be based on demographics, job roles, or behavior patterns.
  2. Research: Conduct user research to understand the needs, goals, and pain points of each group. This could involve interviews, surveys, or analysis of user data.
  3. Create Persona Profiles: For each user group, create a persona profile. Personas help bring user groups to life to inform discussion, testing and validation of user flows. It should also include their preferred methods of interaction with the product and tokens.
  4. Scenario Mapping: Sketch out scenarios that each persona might encounter when using the product and token. This helps to understand how they would interact with the product in different situations.

There are many ways to sketch user personas, some people prefer a table that answers key questions, others prefer a diagram or flow chart. The deliverable for this step is a user persona map, complete with different users, problems the token and product solves and different interactions each persona takes with your product and token.

Mapping relationships between personas and tokens

Once you've sketched out your user personas it's time to analyze the relationships between them. How do your users interact with liquidity providers? With the protocol? How do frontends interface with the protocol? Do developers have different interactions with users than with other parties?

In this stage you'll want to answer a few questions for each persona:

  1. What actions does each persona take and with whom do they interface for those interactions?
  2. What interest does the persona have when they take that action? Why are they doing it and what do they expect to happen?
  3. When do they take these actions?
  4. What do they have to do to make the interaction happen?
  5. What is the reaction or possible reactions from the acted upon party?
  6. What is the environment for each interaction? Are there constraints, environments or costs involved?

In short, you'll want to understand and map the exact relationship between the different personas to understand who is doing what, when and why they're doing it and how the other players will react.

Note that all of this relationship mapping happens without a token. For example if you have a DeFi protocol where users take out a loan from a liquidity pool it would look like this:

Designing tokenomics canvas example
Designing tokenomics canvas example

The above mapping can be enhanced with additional details such as adding more emotions for users (what they're concerned with when taking an action, more nuanced incentives since we rarely have only one incentive) or more steps in the value chain of an action. I prefer a simple visualization to start with, because it's the basis for our next step of inserting the token, which will begin the iterative process of analyzing the incentives of the stakeholders and how that will change their actions.

Your tokenomics canvas

The process of creating a token economy canvas involves identifying the personas in your token economy and mapping the relationships between them. This involves listing all stakeholders, their interests, actions, and interactions.

Token economy mapping action Items

Identify key user groups for your token economy
Conduct user research to understand the needs, goals, and pain points of each group
Create persona profiles for each user group
Map scenarios for each persona
Analyze the relationships between personas and other entities in the token economy
Insert the token into the mapping and analyze the incentives of the stakeholders.

I design tokenomics for crypto protocols and am putting everything I’m learning into a super in depth Tokenomics course.

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Designing Tokenomics by Yosh Zlotogorski

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