How to Create Your Own Digital CurrencyBy Jeremy Kirshbaum
I recently created my own blockchain currency, JeremyCoin. I had always thought of blockchain technology as inaccessible, but creating a coin did not take any special abilities, and only ended up costing me about $20.
I didn’t create a token to get rich, and I have no intention of doing an initial coin offering (ICO). I didn't even accept any money for my coins. Instead, people could obtain them by forming a relationship of trust with me. People who have known me longer or collaborate with me on projects generally get more tokens, and the allocation is entirely subjective. My goal was simply to experiment with creating my own digital currency. I wanted to share the process of creating the token here in case you are working on something fun and/or important that could use a blockchain token. It's not easy, but it doesn’t take any special technical knowledge.
This guide is meant for beginners, but it will be considerably easier if you know how to buy cryptocurrency and use a blockchain wallet. If you’re interested enough in blockchain tokens to read this tutorial, I would really suggest learning more about those things, too!
Step One: Download Chrome or Firefox browser
If you are using Safari, this won’t work. I hear you can use the new “Brave” browser too. For this tutorial, we’ll be working in Chrome.
Step Two: Download MetaMask
MetaMask is an add-on to your browser that will let your computer easily interact with the Ethereum network. Lucky for us, you don’t really need to know exactly how Ethereum works to use it for cool stuff. Although it does a lot of different things, we will use MetaMask to create and then hold our new token.
You can download the Chrome plugin at this link:
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/metamask/nkbihfbeogaeaoehlefnkodbefgpgknn?hl=en or you can find it at the MetaMask.io site.
Step 3: Download the “Trust” Ethereum wallet app
This app is a “wallet” that will let you hold different kinds of tokens, including Ether (the original currency of the Ethereum network…more on this later), and new tokens created using Ethereum. Don’t do anything with the wallet for now, just download it and we’ll come back to it later. There is a version for both Android and iOS.
Step 4: Buy some Ether
There are a lot of ways to do this, and explaining it in full is beyond the scope of this article. If you are in China, you can use this handy guide on Longhash. If you’re in the United States, a popular way to buy Ether is through a cryptocurrency exchange like Coinbase.com. You don’t need a lot of Ether for now -- the equivalent of $20 is enough to get started.
Step 5a: Put your Ether in MetaMask
When you open up MetaMask, you’ll be prompted to create a password. Do that and you should see something like this pop up:
You won’t have anything in your “sent” or “tokens” tabs, because you’re new! But you do need to transfer your Ether into MetaMask. You can access your address, and use it to send yourself some Ether. Transfer about US $15 to MetaMask.
Make sure you stay signed in to MetaMask as you continue with this process.
Step 5b: Transfer some Ether to your Trust wallet
Open up your Trust wallet and follow the instructions on how to create a new wallet. Since you have made it all the way to step 5 of this tutorial, I will assume you are smart enough to record your password and seed phrase in a safe location. For the first currency I created, I didn’t do this and I lost everything! Don’t be like me — record your passwords and do it safely. Send the remainder of your Ether to this wallet, we will need it later.
Step 6a: Now the fun part! Let’s make a blockchain token.
Now that we’ve set everything up, we can make our token.
First, navigate to www.tokenfactory.surge.sh.
TokenFactory was made by ConsenSys, a blockchain “venture studio” that makes a lot of cool blockchain stuff. I think this is just a little widget they made for fun though, so for their serious stuff check out their website at https://new.consensys.net
When you arrive at TokenFactory, you should see something like this: go to the top and click “Create Token Contract.”
Then a page should pop up where we’ll enter the information for our currency:
Now, what kind of currency do we want?
Supply: This will be the amount of total tokens for our currency. There can never be more or less once we make it, so choose wisely. We’re going to choose 1,000,000 for our token. For this section, you actually need to add some zeros for the number of decimals you want. We want two decimal places, so we’ll actually write 100000000.
Name: For my personal currency, I chose JeremyCoin, but you should choose whatever makes sense for you. For this tutorial, we will call it “Revolutionary And Worldmaking Blockchain Currency for the New Economy” or “RAWBCNE” for short.
Decimal places: This is how many times we want to divide our token into smaller pieces. For instance, the US Dollar has two decimal places. We’ll enter 2 here for 100 divisions.
Symbol: This section is your trading symbol for your currency. For JeremyCoin I chose JCOIN, but you should choose something with three letters. For this tutorial, we’ll use RWB.
Then hit: Create Token.
Step 6b: MetaMask again
Now, when you hit that button, MetaMask should automatically pop up and ask if you really want to do this. You should hit “Submit.” Please note that this is going to cost you some money, something just shy of $15.
BOOM! For all intents and purposes, we’ve created our token.
Step 7a: Finding our tokens
So we’ve created our token. But where is it?
First, go make a cup of coffee and wait for the token to get confirmed on the network. Think about it like your token is an Easy Bake Cake, and you are waiting for it to cook in the oven. This should take less than 5 minutes.
Then, go to www.Etherscan.io in your browser. This is a website with every transaction ever made on Ethereum, including the creation of our currency! Because everything on Ethereum is public, we can just search for our currency in the search bar. For our tutorial we used “RWB”, so we should be able to just type it and it will pop up:
There it is. Isn’t it beautiful?
You’ll see a little section that says “Contract:” with a long string of letters and numbers after it. Copy that code!
Step 8a: Retrieving our tokens
Now we’re going to add our token to MetaMask. Go back into MetaMask and go over to the “Tokens” tab and click “Add Token.”
Then paste the contract address from Etherscan where prompted. The rest of the information should automatically pop up:
Then click “Add” and go back into your “Tokens” tab. You should see your tokens appear! I have a lot of other tokens, which you won’t have, so ignore that part.
Step 8b: Back to Tokenfactory
Go back to TokenFactory, and this time select the “Interact with Token Contract” tab.
Then, when prompted, paste the address that you got at Etherscan.io again.
Then you’ll see your contract pop up with all the correct information.
Remember your Trust wallet? In the “To” field, you’ll enter the address for your Trust wallet. Then you’ll enter the total number of the tokens you created (with extra zeros for those decimals!) and hit “Transfer Amount.” When MetaMask prompts you, hit "Submit" again.
Step 9: You have your tokens!
Wait a second and get another cup of coffee. This is to give your tokens time to travel over to your other wallet. You can picture a passenger pigeon bringing them in a basket, if it’s helpful.
Go over to your Trust wallet, and you should see your tokens happily waiting.
Step 10: Send your tokens to someone else
What’s the point of having a currency if only you have it? Convince your friend to download the Trust wallet, and send them some tokens.
Remember when you transferred some Ether to your Trust wallet earlier? This is why. To send your tokens, it will cost a little bit of Ether, the equivalent of about fifty cents. I guess it’s true when they say you’ve got to spend money to make money.
Just tap your new token, enter your friend’s address, and you’re good to go!
One Hard Step:
A couple of more notes before you run off and do cool things with this.
First, the process we used here is not particularly secure. If you plan on using blockchain tokens for something serious, I’d suggest learning a lot more about best practices for security so your tokens aren’t lost or stolen.
Also, just so you know, there are ways to add many different characteristics to your token besides what is available on Tokenfactory. Using the deeper capabilities of Ethereum, you can create an asset that does almost anything you can imagine.
Creating the token isn’t the most difficult part of the process. Even though creating a token is relatively inexpensive and doesn’t take any special skills, the hard part is using those tokens to do something unique and helpful for the world. Making a token is easy, building a distributed organization is hard. But hopefully you are now one step closer.