Christmas Special: Chat with Lisa Tan on Fundamentals of Token Economics

Maths of Token Engineering & DeFi, and her path to publishing the 1st Textbook in this domain

Lisa is a lively torrent of knowledge in Applied Token Economics, DeFi, and the Mathematics of it all. She just published a textbook with - not 11 but - 26 chapters, for educational purposes, for project teams, retail investors, as well as regulators.

Watch the Interview

Don’t miss any specials on our path to crowd-publishing a community-sourced and crowdfunded book:

After a short intro of her background, Lisa goes on to explain the ingredients: Game Theory and its reverse twin Mechanism Design, Market Design, Financial Engineering - and the “Human Input.” I really enjoyed her remark that we do not need all of every discipline. Applied Token Engineering is almost like mashup culture of Science & Engineering in the Information Era. Not everything in each discipline is relevant. We are now collectively mining for the gold nuggets. Lisa has created a legendary collection in 26 chapters!

From Minute 10, Lisa gives an overview of the textbook. The 1st half is fundamentals of token economics and applied token engineering. The content of which has mainly built up in the past years through her research and courses at Economics Design Inc. The 2nd half took shape this spring, when people finally came knocking to learn more about what she’s been preaching these past years - applied in DeFi. So she initially added a chapter, of which every section “accidentally grew into a chapter of its own” :D Hence 2nd half of the book is on DeFi.

I’m telling you, she’s a torrent - a force of nature certainly to be reckoned with in building out and disseminating our transdisciplinary knowledge base - in her words, “the blueprint” of future societal digital infrastructures.

From minute 25, we also dive into Ethics and parts of Market Design, in which incentivization is tabu. There are only very little markets that work like this, e.g. organ transplantation, hence very little literature - but they do exist. This in turn motivates me even more to take time to work out the case study “Invisible Economy” into the Token Model Generation Chapter of A Hitchhikers.

Lisa also speaks about challenging herself with the question: “What kind of systems are we creating?” and also partly why she didn’t publish earlier (she took her time of almost three years of curating and synthesizing this knowledge): There seems “No definite answer” but interesting personal insights on the “Ethos of Token Engineering”. The best we can do now is “to cast a wide net,” Lisa says. Especially, when it comes to levels of automation and human deliberation, and the spectrum in between. Certainly not to be left to scientists and engineers alone.

From minute 50, she tells the genesis story of every legendary book opening a new field: No one wanted to publish it :D Lisa goes the self-publishing path, and actually also uncovers some fundamental insights - which will save us a lot of head aches, too. The best insight is “authors do not have the network of publishing houses.” However, when it comes to token engineering - no publishing house has this type of network - WE DO! We are the network :) Every person on earth who is interested in Token Engineering related books, today, are at most 3 hops apart from each one of us. So also listen to that part of the interview and let’s figure out what parts are we going to play in redesigning the game of knowledge sharing: