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Business giants including Microsoft, Nasdaq and IBM reveal new token standards association

The InterWork Alliance is an NGO that is working on the development of a standardised framework that will allow businesses to adjust to a token-enabled ecosystem faster

The InterWork Alliance (IWA) formally began their operations as a platform-neutral, non-profit organisation focused on creating the standards that frameworks need to foster an environment for innovation across token-enabled ecosystems.

The IWA already has 36 members, many of which are high-profile firms in the tech, banking and blockchain industry. This includes IBM, Accenture, Microsoft, ING, SDX, UBS, Nasdaq, Digital Asset, Neo Global Development, Hedera Hashgraph and R3.

IWA Chairman Marley Gray, also the principal architect for Microsoft, discussed the future of the organisation as well as the intentions of the alliance in an interview with Forbes contributor Jason Brett.

When asked about the “interworking” aspect of the alliance, Gray explained that it is a “state or an instance of two or more things working with or being made to work with each other.” Accordingly, the goal of the IWA is to develop the “interworking” that businesses need to push for the widespread adoption of tokenisation.

To advance tokenisation in the workplace, the IWA is working on allowing organisations to “describe their core business processes in a neutral way, without committing to a technology platform as the first step.” According to Gray, the development of a tech-neutral approach allows the challenges of implementing tokenization to be addressed at a higher, business-process level, where developers can work on the needs of each platform.

The main challenge the IWA is currently facing surrounds the lack of a standardised set of common terms, definitions and business level specifications.

The IWA’s goal in the long term is to focus on sustainability, trade finance, derivatives, security and the supply chain. In the next few years, the organisation hopes to use tokens to buy, sell, and exchange all sorts of goods and services.

Ron Resnick, President of the IWA, highlighted how companies are eager to create token-based business models without having a platform technology in mind.

“For this approach to work, standards are urgently needed around defining what a token is and how its contractual behaviours will work,” he said.

Gray noted that while the concept of tokenised value is not new and originated from the blockchain space, its utility is not limited to powering cryptocurrencies.

“It was pretty clear to us that there’s no need to tie tokens to blockchains, and that blockchain is really just the first step in what is a much larger, more ambitious approach to looking at how organizations work together.” Gray explained.

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