Should you have been hiding under a rock for the last three years - congratulations - you didn't miss anything. For the rest of us, though, you've probably heard of crypto-related buzz words like NFT, DAO, Blockchain, Digital Currencies, FinTech and how "revolutionary" all of this is going to be.
I'd describe all this as "MetaMoney" not because of their use in the Metaverse. The Metaverse - if you were to oversimplify the explanation - is a very immersive videogame that prolongs adult-onset virginity by giving people an indulgence into what life could be instead of what it is. Just like the conversations that throw around the latest set of "money-related" buzz words, most of the discussion is about what things could be or what it's about rather than showing the outcomes or actual uses and applications.
But good news! I've had an idea for how NFTs can become, maybe, one day, potentially, useful.
Pause; I have spent a lot of time trying to understand this Multiverse of MetaMoney over the last two years, and frankly, I still don't get it. But for the sake of context and clarity, here is my shotgun list of keywords and what they mean.
FinTech - Financial Technologies. After Pay is a FinTech.
Blockchain - A glorified spreadsheet with 'view all' enabled.
Mining - People who keep pressing "add 1000 rows" at the bottom of the spreadsheet to make more transactions.
Non-Fungible Token (NFT) - Locking the values of one of the cells in the spreadsheet and then taking that as proof that you are the owner of that cell of values.
Minting - Choosing how many cells you want to lock in the spreadsheet.
Fraud - Someone getting found out for the BS they were peddling. See Theranos, WeWork, Fyre Festival as examples.
Un-pause with a story. I previously worked as a consultant, and fun fact, most of my time as a consultant, was spent making documents. Fancy Word Docs prettily presented PowerPoints and, of course, seductive spreadsheets. The spreadsheets I still "do"... And they are still exciting... I mean. Have you seen a nested formula with an IF and AND condition in it... Oh boy. I need a moment.
For the most part, explaining to clients why the IF statement was important to the report became a big part of the job. Unfortunately, especially when you presented a project internally, two things would typically happen. The first is nothing; the second is a delayed nothing.
Perhaps this is why I wasn't cut out for the consulting world. Because having nothing happen after doing all the work was very frustrating, and all I wanted to do was prove that the idea would work, that my words and pictures and formulas meant something.
At this point, the concept of NFT's sets off an exciting bell because besides the fact that most "NFT art" currently looks like it's been put together by a man-child with the creative abilities of Stalin. This concept of making something digital - scarce, I think, is a very appealing idea.
What if, instead of minting pictures that in a short while will be considered for what they really are - which is crap. What if you "minted" a document. Because if you could "mint your document", you could benefit in the following ways.
First, you'd have something actually valuable and useful, for example, a crop report or demographical insights for a given city or a collection of some guys marketing emails.
Second, if you could digitize, release, and then track a document over time, you could see some fascinating information such as: Who has used this document? How often has the document been used? How much did they pay for it? When they moved jobs, did they pay for it again?
Third, releasing the document to a relevant NFT market means a new way to attach a price to that document and treat it as an asset, which goes beyond what the creator put on the work - to a price produced by the market. Meaning that if the document is valuable enough to become an asset, it even has the chance to increase in value over time. Depending on usage, or in other words, how useful people found it.
Fourth, or maybe we're up to fifth? Anyway, the fourth and or fifth exciting thing is that you could get a cut of the second-hand market. Because if I charge you $5,000 to make a report. The transaction sort of ends after I press send. However, suppose I created something that I then published for you to buy, use, and then trade. I could use smart contracts to take a cut at every transaction in perpetuity.
Smart contracts are like a personal bodyguard for your work. They make sure people pay up for using your stuff even when you aren't around. It means that, rightfully, Bill Withers' estate could keep making dollars for Just the Two of Us in perpetuity, forever. Without the admin costs going to a record label.
I see the following reasons why this won't work (today):
1) you still have to make something useful. As in knowledge or information or something that people want or need.
2) if you pay a consultant to make you a report, it's unlikely that you'll want that information - which likely contains personal company details - to be sent out to the big bad world full of competitors and trolls. Meaning published reports will be watered down and therefore worth-less than if the work was bespoke to the client. Meaning you'll end up hiring a consultant or firm anyway.
3) a consultants report is only part of the job; good consultants will help you do the implementation work, which is less about paperwork and more about people.
4) difficulty of access; sure, today, you can rig up everything together from a technical perspective. But to do so would take an engineering degree and way more time than it's worth.
My statements will change when someone comes, figures out the details, and makes the process convenient and frictionless. However, that's not happening - today. So, Today, I remain a standard level moron instead of the elite that promotes an opinion to get clicks [insert a link to mainstream news pundit here].
I don't know if this is in any way helpful or useful. This article probably won't be worth minting. But I think it was worth talking about since, in two years of trying to find value, this is the first MetaMoney concept I've seen that has the potential to solve an actual problem.