Nike is launching a blockchain product. Telegram is launching a blockchain. Samsung is reportedly planning to launch its own token platform; building with Ethereum for the S10 wasn’t enough. Facebook is getting into blockchain. Google still hasn’t done much with it, but JP Morgan now uses it. The list of major corporate names edging in on the crypto space is staggeringly long. Should we be excited or turned off?
BIG DEAL OR NAH?
For one thing, the development of all these new tokenized platforms is a lot of money. I’m not going to make a maximalist argument about how there should be only one smart contract platform in the form of Ethereum or Tron or EOS, but I will say that these projects are preferable over projects that are controlled by a single entity, like the Telegram Open Network, or whatever the hell Facebook is building. We want more transparency and openness in the space. We want more decentralization and empowerment of individuals. Now, these big players are coming around and, instead of getting in line with the mentality and at times grandiose vision of the crypto movement, they’re bringing all their old-world detritus with them.
Regular corporations developing blockchain applications will spend billions of dollars. Why not spend it in ways that help the whole world, like developing on existing platforms, or at least making inter-operable products? With Ethereum, for example, it’s possible to launch a token platform without starting a whole new blockchain. Wouldn’t we prefer if companies like Telegram and Samsung just did that?
But back to Nike. Perhaps there could be some novel use-cases for the blockchainization of a shoe giant. For one thing, we could eliminate the shoe theft epidemic. Sarcasm, but really: non-fungible tokens could make your shoes truly yours. If someone steals them, technology could be used to track them, and the blockchain could be used to prove your ownership. I myself own a really decent pair of Air Force Ones. I’d be pretty upset if they went missing. If only this Nike product were about real-world use cases instead of what amounts to marketing-via-blockchain.
WHY NOT BUILD SOMETHING BETTER WITH ALL THAT MONEY?
On reading about the Nike blockchain product, I was immediately reminded of something I saw on Twitter recently: some kind of shoe trading marketing place, where you make your shoes virtual and have the ability to sell them, buy them, etc. For rare shoe collectors, this is, of course, the thing they’ve been waiting for. But it’s also the type of thing that could desperately use some blockchain in its life. I’m not sure if GOAT was the one I saw advertised, but it’s the same idea.
A whole blockchain network could be built around the same idea as GOAT, with authenticators playing a role in the network and buyers and sellers playing their obvious role. Real money could be exchanged using stablecoins. After all, a pair of Air Jordans from the 80s can go for thousands of dollars.
Blockchain buzz is beginning to pick back up. Everyone and their mother are getting into crypto. For those who’ve been here long enough, this means a slew of scams are about to happen, combined with an influx of literally hundreds of projects aimed at fixing everything, overpromises, and all the rest. According to Circle Research, security tokens will be the new buzz. The SEC has its work cut out for it, but the unregulated market will be just as large if not larger.
Let’s hope at least a few decent projects come out of the woodwork before the inevitable bust.