|technology, knowledgehub

What Are Utility Tokens?

What Are Utility Tokens

Utility tokens are an important aspect of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. In this article we will delve into the definition of utility tokens, their operation, their necessity, their common applications, potential advantages and disadvantages, utility token examples, and more.

Simply, utility tokens are tokens used to access specific products or services within a blockchain-based ecosystem. They do not represent ownership or investment stake in a project and are native to the platform they are used on.

They are often used to incentivize users to participate in the network by offering rewards or discounts. But, how does the utility token work? Let’s find out the answer!

How does the utility token work?

When a new blockchain project launches, it often sells utility tokens through an initial coin offering (ICO) to raise funds for development. Platform users can then use these tokens to access applications, content, and services hosted on that blockchain.

For example, file storage blockchain projects may distribute tokens to pay for cloud storage space. Social networks could incentivize user engagement by rewarding them with tokens that they can utilize within that particular economy.

Why are utility tokens needed?

Utility tokens provide a mechanism for blockchain projects to both fund development and incentivize network growth. By selling crypto tokens ahead of launching products and protocols, teams raise capital without relying solely on private investment.

The tokens distributed also create built-in demand as early adopters recognize their future utility. This network effect allows protocols to scale more rapidly. For example, Brave Browser has rewarded over 30 million users with Basic Attention Tokens for viewing privacy-protecting ads.

What are utility tokens used for?

Common uses for utility tokens include:

Access and usage

Allowing holders to access services like computing power, file storage, social media engagement, and more.


Serving as currencies to make micropayments within decentralized application marketplaces or to purchase digital goods and services.


Earning rewards by locking tokens into proof-of-stake consensus algorithms securing blockchains.


Granting voting rights to determine the future development and protocols of decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs).

utility token

The roles of utility tokens

When designed effectively, utility tokens serve important roles like bootstrapping networks, distributing value to participants, and aligning economic incentives.

By being spendable on protocol services, they create built-in utility from day one rather than relying solely on future speculative value. This gives tokens roles as both currencies within app economies and tradable assets on exchanges.

The benefits of utility tokens

Potential benefits of the utility token model include:

  • Accessible funding for open-source blockchain projects through ICO and IEO crypto token sales
  • Incentivized network growth as token value increases with adoption
  • Built-in demand and economies of scale for protocols and applications
  • Distributed governance for decentralized autonomous organizations
  • Censorship resistance can be achieved by avoiding dependence on traditional financing

Utility token issues and challenges

However, utility tokens also encounter challenges such as:

  • Spenders face volatility risk if token prices swing significantly.
  • Difficulty developing real utility before products are overfunded through speculation
  • Regulatory uncertainty around tokens and tokenization classified as unregistered security tokens
  • Reliance on strong network effects for protocols to become useful at scale
  • Risk of lost tokens from hacking or private key exposure

By understanding both benefits and challenges of utility token, projects can design tokens that balance incentive alignment with usability and compliance.

Common questions about utility tokens

Is an NFT a utility token?

While non-fungible tokens (NFTs) share similarities to utility tokens, they are not quite the same. NFTs represent unique ownership of digital assets like art, collectibles, domain names, and more.

Their scarcity and one-of-a-kind status differentiate them from fungible utility tokens. However, some projects explore hybrid NFT models that include specific utilities for token holders.

Is a utility token an altcoin?

Altcoins are alternative cryptocurrencies to Bitcoin, including many early utility token projects. Today, the term "altcoin" is fading as the ecosystem matures.

Utility tokens, as fungible and programmable network access tokens, represent a distinct category from payment/store of value coins and NFTs, even if some overlap exists. Their primary purpose is to enable decentralization through blockchain-based protocols and platforms.

Is ERC-20 a utility token?

ERC20 is not itself a token but a technical standard used to issue fungible tokens on the Ethereum blockchain, including many utility tokens. Following this standard facilitates the easy tracking and transfer of new tokens between Ethereum wallets.

utility tokens

What is the most common utility token?

No single token dominates the utility category, but Ethereum-based tokens see the most use due to the network's first-mover advantage and large developer community.

Examples like Chainlink's Oracle service tokens or Wrapped BTC's ERC20 representation of Bitcoin point to Ethereum's growing "Internet of Blockchains."

What are the best utility tokens?

Here are some utility tokens with strong use cases for research:

  • Chainlink (LINK) provides crypto market data oracles securing smart contracts
  • Brave's Basic Attention Token (BAT) is a digital advertising and tipping browser economy
  • Filecoin (FIL) is a decentralized cloud storage network
  • Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) is an ERC-20 version of Bitcoin for DeFi use
  • The Graph (GRT) is a decentralized API network for blockchain data.
  • Chiliz (CHZ) provides fans engagement for sports and entertainment

It's also worth exploring the role of EURK euro stablecoin in bringing stability, security, and transparency to crypto markets. However, crypto service providers are as important as the utility tokens. Cryptobunq is a secure, one-stop-shop crypto service provider that you can trust in this regard.

Cryptobunq offers solutions including custody and wallet, crypto exchange API, crypto checkout and invoicing, crypto batch payments, tokenization, and more. By integrating these solutions into your crypto and blockchain projects, you can grow your business and store and manage your assets securely.

The bottom line

Utility tokens power the decentralized applications, networks, and economies that blockchain technology enables. By serving defined purposes through their respective protocols, they distribute value, align incentives, and provide accessible funding models for open infrastructure development.

With increased real-world adoption and a growing diversity of innovative use cases, utility tokens are playing an increasingly important role in the next wave of crypto networks.

Be sure to do thorough research into any projects before participating to best understand their token economics and risk factors. Moving forward, focus on well-designed tokens with strong teams that are actively developing real products and active communities.

For the next steps in exploring crypto further, make sure to become a partner with a secure crypto service provider, such as Cryptobunq. Benefit from CBQ solutions to adapt your business to the future. Check out our expert case studies and contact us today!

Link Copied!
Trusted By Top Institutions Globally

Trusted by top institutions globally

Over 50+ institutional clients has chosen Cryptobunq to store, trade, invest, stake and grow their digital assets

  • Speedy logo
  • The Kingdom Bank logo
  • Jeton logo
  • Guardian Bank logo
  • Vibes logo
  • Digicorp logo
  • Bank of Central
  • Jetonbank logo
  • Speedy logo
  • The Kingdom Bank logo
  • Jeton logo
  • Guardian Bank logo
  • Vibes logo
  • Digicorp logo
  • Bank of Central
  • Jetonbank logo

Discover more

Our product overview

Cryptobunq Wallet Custody
Trusted By Top Institutions Globally

Schedule a call with our team

Schedule a call
Cryptobunq as a service
Crypto valley member

© 2023 Cryptobunq Incorporated, LEI code: 8945003NN6TMUCNVXW94, All Rights Reserved. JCS CH GmbH, This company is a member of SRO. Gartenstrasse 6, 6300 Zug, Switzerland 🇨🇭

Cookie Consent

We use cookies to improve your experience. To find out more, please read our Cookies Policy. By clicking “Accept”, you consent to our Cookie and Privacy Policy. Or you may click “Decline” to refuse to consent.