Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers and general information.

About ITSA

Are there other (international) associations with a similar vision?

Most similar initiatives are private (e.g. within one law firm or consulting company). We have seen other classification frameworks (not initiatives!) that are sometimes presented by people from BaFin, Finma, and OECD. Typically these are presented after providing the disclaimer that they do not represent the company’s opinion but the opinion of the person presenting.

Why is a token standard necessary?

A big problem in the crypto market is the various standards and classifications. The issue is complicated by frequent name changes and sometimes misleading advertisements by some projects. That is why we create the International Token Classification (ITC) to help alleviate this problem. Our International Token Identification Number (ITIN) helps identify projects consistently similar to ISIN for stocks.

What is your internationalization strategy?

We have active members from every continent for each critical industry. ITSA is very active publicly writing articles, giving talks, attending conferences and meetups. We also rely on word-of-mouth, placement on relevant industry websites, and the quality of our work.

What was your motivation to start ITSA?

Our founding members had various angles to view the same problem. Prof. Dr. Philipp Sandner saw that academic research and the comparability of results were hindered by the lack of a uniform way to identify and classify tokens. The FSBC has worked with multiple clients on token classifications and found that a lot of organizations could use such a database, hence the TOKENBASE was born. Others were motivated because trading and market analysis were difficult without clear identification.

Should the ITC framework become a global standard or do you plan to focus on a specific region?

Since token markets do not have geographical borders, we aim for a worldwide standard that is implemented and adopted globally.

How widely adopted are your standards?

We are in the early stages, but there are some corporations and organizations that use our ITIN and ITC in their internal analysis and products. ITIN is also considered by the EU as a possible standard.

How many tokens have been assigned an ITIN?

At present we count more than 9000+ fungible tokens with an assigned ITIN in our database TOKENBASE. This corresponds to a market coverage of approx. 99.99% measured by the total token market capitalization. However, as the markets are very volatile, regular new ITIN assignments are required to maintain this market coverage. We, therefore, issue about 25 new ITINs for fungible tokens every month.

Do you also classify exchanges in your ITC framework?

No, per definition the International Token Classification (ITC) framework only focuses on blockchain- and DLT-based cryptographic tokens. However, further standards for other integral parts of the global token economy may be developed in the future. Hence, acknowledging the importance of centralized and also decentralized exchanges for the global token markets, standards for the identification, classification, and analysis of exchanges may be the next project of ITSA.

Do you think that national and international regulators will one day rely on or use ITSA?

Yes. The BMF (German ministry of finance) has already asked for details because our classification framework could be interesting for tax purposes. But those are just early talks. However, they are interested and we will see where this will go.

The blockchain ecosystem changes quickly, so we have to adjust our system continuously. This is where DIN/ISO is too slow – although these standards are widely accepted once completed.

Do you work together with regulators?

We are currently in contact with authorities such as the Bafin. The current legal environment is still uncertain in specific areas. Therefore, we consciously excluded topics with still fluctuating regulations – for example, we created our own definition for “investment token” instead of “security token”, as the legal definition still varies from country to country.
The Bundesverband Blockchain and thinkBLOCKtank already deal with the legal classification as part of our founding members.

How should the International Token Classification (ITC) be referenced?

For referencing the International Token Classification (ITC) simply write “ITC (2019)” or with more detail:

International Token Classification (ITC), version of April 2019, International Token Standardization Association (ITSA), see

For referencing the International Token Classification (ITC), the following text passage can – as an example – be used within a manuscript in the written Text:

More specifically, the International Token Classification (ITC) was used. This classification system was established by the International Token Standardization Association (ITSA). For the specification of ITC classes, see Sandner et al. (2018).

Then, in the reference list, the following source can be mentioned:

Sandner, P., Ketz, C., Tumasjan, A., and Lentge, K. (2018), A Taxonomy for Classifying Cryptographic Tokens. SSRN Working Paper, International Token Standardization Association (ITSA).

How should the daily database for token markets (TOKENBASE) be referenced?

For referencing the token database TOKENBASE in a short version, simply write “TOKENBASE (2019)” or with more detail:

TOKENBASE, version of April 2019, International Token Standardization Association (ITSA), see

For referencing the token database with all details, the following text passage can – as an example – be used within a manuscript in a written text:

For data on tokens and their daily prices, the worldwide token database TOKENBASE was used. The version of April 2019 was employed.

Then, for example in the footnote, the following source can be mentioned:

The worldwide token database (TOKENBASE) is available under license from the International Token Standardization Association (ITSA), see for more information.

Can I use the data for educational purposes?

Yes, both educational and academic usage is covered by our academic plan. Commercial usage, however, requires a special license which is included in our business membership.

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About the Membership

How and to what extent can I join your efforts?

Currently, we offer membership options for individuals, companies, and other organizations such as academic institutions. Members support the association with their membership fees and know-how. We welcome especially those that want to actively bring their contacts and know-how into the initiative. We mention institutional members on our website.

What do I get as an associate founding member of ITSA?

As an associated founding member (active membership) you have full access to ITIN, ITC, and TOKENBASE, voting rights and can participate in our working groups.

Is there a refund policy?

No, feel free to play around with the free data until you are certain. Send us a message to get a sample of our TOKENBASE dataset.

How are the working groups organized?

Working group meetings will be held mostly virtually (as we have a very international list of founding members) on a bi-weekly basis. 

How does active and passive participation in the working groups differ?

Active participation in a working group in the context of an active member means that you have a vote in the elections and polls. You may also lead a working group.

If you are a passive member of a working group in the context of a supporting membership, you may join working groups and inform yourself. You may even bring in an adequate amount of proposals. However, you will not have a voting right and you cannot lead a working group.

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