After watching the videos from Steemfest4 and looking further into some of the projects that were presented there, it is now evident the path we are on.
I am not sure people realize how revolutionary things are here and what is about to take place. While we are all excited about the Smart Media Token Protocol, and for good reason, we should be equally as excited about Communities.
This one feature has the potential to completely change the Internet as we know it. Everything from users to advertisers to information seekers are going to see a difference. In short, we could be looking at a new form of search.
To start, let us determine what a community is. How many communities are you a part of?
In reality, it is more than you think. A community is nothing more than an interest, an attribute, or a label.
For myself, just off the top of my head, I am:
Like baseball and football
Futurist and technologist
Met and Giant Fan
PSU football fan; SJU basketball fan
Freedom lover, slavery hater
Anti Democrat, Republican, and establishment
80s Rock fan
Interest in Classic and Opera
House of Cards and Game of Thrones fan
Ex Booze hound
As you can see I just shot off 25 or so. Each of these could possibly be a community. The reality is that we each fit into few hundred of them. We all have a diversity of likes, experiences, and attributes.
So how big a market is this?
Using Reddit as an example, according to Wikipedia, there were 1.2M Subreddits as of July 2018. Of that total, 138K were active.
With approximately 300K monthly users, it is obvious that the community idea holds a great deal of attraction to people. Also, anyone who did research on any major topic most likely entered a Subreddit. It is a great way to find out information.
On its own, this is a very powerful concept.
Another term for community is the "network".
Today, because of the expansion of technology, we usually think of network as one that is created for our devices. For example, we use the network at work or our home WiFi. This is only one form of networks.
I think it important to cover the three aspects as it pertains to this.
The second layer of the network idea is not only the hardware that make it up but, also, all the applications that go with it. For example, Apple has a very strong network with the infrastructure coupled with the app store it assembled.
Finally, we can add in the users. They are a network of people. They all come together for a particular idea. In the Apple example, it is to use the Apple products and services. For the a Chamber of Commerce, it is to foster better local business relations.
Networks obviously have a lot of value as Reddit proves. The company is worth billions. Not bad for a site that is basically nothing more than a place to post links. It just shows there is great value in giving people to ability to assemble while finding the information they desire.
What separates Steem from this is the unleashing of another layer that will completely alter the landscape in my opinion.
While networks have great value, markets are worth even more. When a network becomes a market, what is created goes up in value exponentially.
Communities that are tokenized instantly become markets. Thus, built in at the base layer is the ability for anyone in the community to transfer value without the use of a third party. Commerce is now an integrated component.
Let us look at Communities from the commercial perspective. Take as an example the Alabama Crimson Tide Football community. This is a popular college team and could easily have 500K members. Obviously, not all are active or going to do a lot of posting but it is a location to find people associated with that interest.
What if I own a bed and breakfast near the college? Obviously, for the Auburn game, I have little to do since the rooms will be booked. However, what about a lesser matchup like the Kentucky game? Perhaps that does not get the attendance and I need to fill a few rooms. I could go to the community and try to make them aware of what is going on.
If I am offering a special, I can put it on my website. The question is how do I get them there? In this instance, I use the token I created for my Inn. This is not a token that is meant to get rich but one for marketing. I airdrop a token to each of the 500K people with a link to my website. This could allow me to bring in some traffic. I could even offer the discount to only those who stake a certain number of tokens. We also could set up levels for other discounts or preferential booking.
Another way could be straight forward advertising. A company could place ads on the community site. This could be a revenue stream for the community owner. However, forward-thinking individuals will do something to benefit the community with that money. The most obvious is to use the proceeds to burn tokens. This increases the stake everyone has in the community.
Consider the fact that a community will have members who are being paid each day in the token. In other words, you have a bunch of people who are getting money, what are they going to do with it? Obviously, some astute entrepreneur could set up a marketplace catering to that community. Here we could see goods and services sold. Of course, there is no limit to the number that could be set up and linked. A large community could have dozens of marketplaces with all kinds of different offerings.
Now, expand this. What if there are 10,000 tokenized communities of varying sizes. We essentially have 10,000 markets with a token that is freely traded. That token can be converted to any of the other 10,000 to allow access. In addition, if 20% of them have marketplaces (stores), this opens the door for a lot of economic activity.
We could even go big money. How about real estate? This could get very specific, say, "Miami Beach Real Estate". Obviously, everyone associated with this market would have an interest. Buyers and sellers could come together. Contractors could participate as a way to foster relationships with developers and other heavy hitters.
And then there is the cross community applications. What if I developed an app that could settle real estate transactions via blockchain? I certainly would be wise to advertise/promote in the different real estate related communities.
As we can see, this all brings up some entirely different scenarios. We are going to see thousands of tokens established over the next few years. The number of use cases will be only limited by the collective imagination.
By providing most of these the market component, we could see a massive explosion in the way commerce takes place. I can foresee a shift towards this model very easily. There will be many reasons for people to come together since motives will vary. However, the bottom line is the applicable benefits are too much to overlook.
The turning of networks into markets (or mini-economies as @roadscape called it) is very powerful. Without the need for a third party to complete the transaction, people are free to assign value to whatever they see fit while eliminating the friction usually associated with commerce in this manner.
It is all a novel idea that has enormous potential.
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