Tokens enable the exchange of value and have done so for centuries. They date back two to three millennia to the use of cowry shells as a form of payment in the trade networks of Africa and Asia. The shells had inherent value as physical adornments, as did the gold and silver coins that succeeded them. As currency and banking systems evolved over centuries, tokens with inherent value were replaced by fiat currencies, whose value was defined by governments.1

Fiat has brought widespread benefits in the form of economic stability and safety, but it has limits. Among the most relevant drawbacks to digital environments are its physical form and denomination—fiat transactions have a literal low end (in US denominations ...

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