Interviews

Charles Miller

James Belding: Building the backbone of a new global financial system

James Belding was an electrical engineer, working in the oil and gas industries in Australia when cryptocurrency caught his attention back in 2013. He was hooked – but it was only last year that he decided to devote himself full time to understanding how crypto works and to try to “add something to it, to make it better”.

He wanted to start a business to help people to set up smart contracts. But he found there wasn’t an easy way to add contracts to the blockchain: “I was getting a bit frustrated, thinking ‘surely someone’s going to come up with this’ … but no-one did. So I started designing it myself”.

James assembled a group of four colleagues with a wide range of skills, from the technical to the legal. The team, spread around Australia and Singapore, have worked together to create Tokenized, which he believes can become “a sort of a commercial Internet on which all commerce is done”.

Tokenized offers protocols for over 40 separate kinds of contract, with all the necessary legal parameters specified. That’s meant he and his team have had to study commercial law, and have lawyers combing through their work, making sure it’s all watertight.

But Tokenized is not just for big financial or legal contracts: it could be something as ordinary as selling movie tickets. It’s a “structured template so that everyone involved in tokenized transactions knows what to expect.” It guides you to fill in the information that’s required in order for a contract to be valid. “I want to make it easy enough that anyone can do it and anyone can benefit from it.”

After the recent Bitcoin SV network upgrade which allows more data to be carried in an individual transaction, the Tokenised team have been upgrading their protocol to use the extra space to improve the legal and financial protocols that Tokenized will include. He says they’re “creating what we hope will be the backbone of a new global financial system, one that has no barriers to entry and is ultra-convenient and low-cost.”

And, using that extra space for data, a single token transaction can now involve different assets and different parties. This means, for instance, that you’ll be able to buy or sell shares or bonds on the blockchain, even if you’re nervous about converting fiat to crypto – because you’ll be able to trade with stablecoins, which are tied one to one with fiat currencies.

Tokenized will be releasing the documentation for the upgraded version of the protocol in the next couple weeks. And meanwhile they’re continuing to work on their commercial platform and will be announcing a release date soon.

Listen to more from James Belding on the CoinGeek Conversations podcast:

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