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NIST IR 8301 (Initial Public Draft)

Blockchain Networks: Token Design and Management Overview

Date Published: September 2020
Comments Due: October 30, 2020 (public comment period is CLOSED)
Email Questions to:


Loïc Lesavre (NIST), Priam Varin (NIST), Dylan Yaga (NIST)


Traditional data and operations management across organizations and on the web can involve inefficient transaction reconciliation between siloed databases, password fatigue, and single points of failure. This often results in concerns over interoperability, security, and privacy of data that affect both users and businesses.

Blockchain technology has enabled a new software paradigm for managing digital ownership in partial or zero-trust environments. It uses tokens to conduct transactions, exchange verifiable data, and achieve coordination across organizations and on the web. Data models with varied capabilities and scopes have been defined to issue tokens. By allowing for the design of programmable digital assets that can represent different forms of ownership, these models enable users to store, move, and even create value on top of shared or public digital infrastructures.

NIST announces the release of Draft NISTIR 8301, Blockchain Networks: Token Design and Management Overview, which provides a high-level technical overview and conceptual framework of token designs and management methods. The document highlights the different types of tokens and how they are held in custody. It then examines transaction management under three fundamental aspects: validation, submission, and viewability. Infrastructure tools used to develop applications that integrate blockchain networks and second layer protocols are also reviewed. Finally, the paper presents deployment scenarios and use cases for tokens before concluding with potential breakthroughs in privacy-preserving verifiable data exchange. The terminology, concepts, properties, and architectures introduced in this work can facilitate understanding and communications among business owners, software developers, cybersecurity professionals within an organization, and individuals who are or will be using such systems.

We encourage you to organize and submit your comments using our comment template.

NOTE: A call for patent claims is included on page iv of this draft. For additional information, see the Information Technology Laboratory (ITL) Patent Policy--Inclusion of Patents in ITL Publications.



blockchain; cryptoasset; cryptocurrency; data portability; decentralized governance; digital asset; digital token; distributed ledger; fintech; off-chain scaling; smart contract; state channel; payment networks; tokenization; transaction reconciliation; transaction confidentiality; user-controlled wallet; verifiable credential; zero-knowledge proof
Control Families

None selected


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Supplemental Material:
Comment template (xlsx)

Document History:
09/29/20: IR 8301 (Draft)
02/09/21: IR 8301 (Final)


Security and Privacy

cryptography, program management