Temporary credential issued by Identity Provider to perform operations against Resource Servers on behalf of Resource Owner and with the consent of the Resource Owner. Access
token is always tied to a particular client application, it has limited scope and lifetime. Access tokens are not intended to carry information about the end-user.
Within cryptocurrency, we see this concept applied as a use case with some blockchains. In Hive, for example, one of the native coins ($HIVE) works as an access token when it is staked. This provides users with the ability to engage with the network.
From this perspective, a cryptocurrency that acts, at least in part, as an access token can derive great value on the open markets. Price can appreciate as the user base grows or activity on-chain increases. In the digital world, this can set of the network effect, sending activity parabolic.
This can be enhanced by development on the second layer. While that is often separated from the blockchain's base layer, often data is transmitted to the chain. This means that some of the access token is required to facilitate those transactions. We often see this with gaming where things such as battle results might be sent to the blockchain.
One of the ways this can be utilized is that access token allows for one to participate. The most obvious is like a ticket. In fact, many have theorized that the future of ticketing for sporting events and concerts is non-fungible tokens. But we can go beyond this. It can apply to anything that has to allow participation.
A big area where this will apply is with voting. Access tokens can be issued to those who are involved in some type of governance. For example, it could be granted for a vote in an election for a homeowner's association. Each household would get on token to vote with.
An access token can be a unit of incentivization. They can be used to provide people with premium or exclusive rights that are not commonly available. This could be based upon the buying of the token, i.e. putting up money to gain entry, or through achievement.
Upgraded membership could be tokenized to allow those individual to access certain features of a website or areas the general visitor cannot see. For example, Twitter introduced the Blue subscription under Elon Musk. This entities users to different aspects of the platform in return for a monthly payment. Since Twitter is a centralized entity, it really doesn't matter since they control the accounts and all is resident on their servers.
But what about a decentralized system? Here is where access tokens come into play.
On networks where there is decentralization, nobody is in control of the system. Typically, the software is running on many different nodes, operated by people who are not related. This means that access based upon company guidelines or approval is not possible.
Access tokens solve the problem. Within cryptocurrency, the software simply reads the wallet of the individual. If there is the required token resident, the person is allowed to proceed with whatever benefits are related to that. Of course, if one is trying to gain access without the proper credentials, i.e. the right coin, a rejection is forthcoming.
This provides developers with another layer of identification and accessibility. Cryptographic networks have private keys associated with the individual wallets (in a blockchain system). Here is where someone can be approved to access the network. As we see, this is just one layer.
If we want to add another level, an access token can distinguish between those authorized versus the one's who cannot.
Token gating is a term that captures this concept. It is the idea of using a non-fungible token as an access token.
Some of the things that can be tied to it:
Under such a scenario, the network has to see the proper NFT to allow access. This is a rather simple process.
- the user links his or her cryptocurrency wallet to the application or website
- verification of the NFT in the wallet is provided
- the token-gated benefits are unlocked to the individual
This is going to be an important part of the Web 3.0 experience.
Access can be either permanent or temporary. Due to the immutable and transparent nature of blockchains, time stamping is available. For example, a token might be distributed that provides access for 5 days. This starts from the transaction time delivering the token. The users has 120 hours from that point to enjoy the benefits.
Subscriptions were a large part of Web 2.0. With access tokens, we are seeing the Web 3.0 version of this. Under the former, the company's server looks up the payment of the individual trying to access the secured area and, if approved, grants access.
With Web 3.0, the wallet is checked and if verified, approval given.