Today we’re in 2018. 9 Years ago we saw the Bitcoin white paper and the first Bitcoins were mined, and since we have also seen the sharp rise in prices. The last part of 2017 was full of media writing non-stop about Bitcoin, but mostly with a speculation angle.
We have to admit: we lack serious projects, which has an actual impact. However, as I wrote in my huge 15.000+ words piece, I argued this is caused by we’re currently in the infrastructure phase, not much further than the seventies of eighties of the Internet. This lack of impact seems to let some people believe we won’t see it, and simply neglect the potential.
My personal view, however, is that blockchain will bring a much bigger revolution than even more blockchain-fans seem to believe. I don’t think blockchain will only touch payments, but actually significantly more areas. I don’t believe blockchain just stops in the digital realm. Payments are “easy” because they’re purely digital, but could you do loans on the blockchain? Not today, since what happens if a person does not pay his dues? You cannot force him to pay.
However, take a cryptocurrency such as Dash. Here the mining fee (in doubt about mining fee? Read my huge post which explains Bitcoin and blockchain A-Z), is not going 100% to a miner, but 3 different categories: miners, master nodes who provide various services and a treasury fund which goes to interesting projects helping Dash forward. I see no reason why master nodes couldn’t be a physical object such as a debt collector, voted by the decentralized system. This would allow us to interact with the “real world”.
This post is merely an idea about a potential blockchain usage. I personally believe blockchain will hugely influence many industries people have talked about for years: insurance, patents, gambling and new types of contracts. I believe this will expand further to mortgage, loans, factoring financial services and even social media networks. However, in this post, I will describe a potential project which I find quite exciting: AuthorCoin and replacing publishing houses.
Disclaimer. I’m already busy with a startup, so I’m not doing this. But I’m describing this idea shows some of the interesting use cases of blockchains. And maybe some entrepreneur will see this and make it? Who knows!
AuthorCoin – IPO your book
Let’s say I write a book. Today I will spend hours and hours either home or in coffee shops, and get the beast written. Maybe, if I’m super modern and digital, I will publish a chapter or two online, and try to get feedback. Maybe I will even post on forums and be in user groups with other authors to get feedback.
Then, after writing it, and hopefully getting some feedback – I will try to get it published. I will go to one publishing house to another until someone will like the book and potentially release it. Another option is obviously self-publishing, which could work, but this is very difficult without good marketing skills or at least a following.
Meet AuthorCoin. With AuthorCoin, I would turn my new publication into a blockchain. Let’s say we create one million AuthorCoins for my book. This would be unique for “my blockchain”. If I write about “Blockchain for beginners”, we would make a million “Blockchain for beginners”-tokens. When I make this new publication, I would need to sign on that all future profits would be distributed to those who own the tokens. That means, every time my book is sold through Amazon, and this payment arrives, it will automatically be distributed evenly out based on who holds the tokens. If the payment is one million USD, and we have a million tokens, then the person who owns that a million tokens get them all. But let’s say I give a thousand tokens to some early reviewer, that person would receive 1/100th of all profits the book will ever make.
This gets quite interesting. A huge problem authors have, is they need a big early following. Early followers would come in different categories: those that help during the writing period (early feedback, grammar help, feedback on the story) and those who help advocate the book. Lots of early positive reviews and hype will result in a much bigger success for the book. A class example is when a person such as Anthony Robbins or Timothy Ferris release a new book: they will attend every single media story, guest blog or podcast possible. They know the early hype of the book is extremely important.
But this whole process is today based on goodwill. If this could be replaced by me actually having an OWNERSHIP of the future profits, that would be very interesting. If I owned tokens of a new Timothy Ferris book, I would definitely do anything in my power to help: from reading it early, to help with grammar, sharing it to all my friends and even reviewing it on multiple websites.
This would also bring in early liquidity. Say that we have a famous chef that wants to make his first book. He could start out by publishing that he is going to make this new book, and he would make a token-sale starting out. If he sold out 50% of all tokens, he would bring in lots of cash early – just like when a company makes an IPO.
This is quite interesting. The token would always have a value, which you can sell to others. Just like Bitcoin is worth something, these tokens would always have the value of the expected future lifetime value. And this begs to answer the question: why just books? Why not add music? Documentaries? TV Series? It would be interesting to see how the ownership of the “Wham – Last Christmas” would develop, and if the future expectations of its revenue will develop.
This also makes it possible to pay people for services. Today, you pay a big percentage to publishing houses for their work. And yes, they DO provide services: feedback on book, proof-reading, marketing and distribution.
But why not decentralize this? Why should the same company proofread my book also do the marketing? In addition, if your book shows early promise, it would have a value already BEFORE publishing. By doing this, you could actually PAY for services before the book is released, simply because you could sell off tokens to the proofreader and marketing person.
This, I think, would be very interesting and potentially disruptive for the publishing houses. This is not to say they would go away; they could also provide their services. Just like Bitcoin miners are not amateurs but very serious players with huge investments in hardware, professional publishing houses could provide their services.
And then you can start thinking a bit more. Why stop here? Why not move beyond books? Maybe music makes sense? Maybe documentaries? Maybe films?
I don’t see why such a concept wouldn’t make LOTS of sense, an open a completely new frontier inside publishing and co-creation.
There is, of course, some pretty difficult questions and things you have to solve to make this. First of all, I danced pretty lightly over the “and then all profits is distributed“. You need some company in the middle to actually make sure all the contracts are fine and signed (unless you also digitalize this central party, which should be party using yet another mother blockchain where all the small book blockchains origin from). But most importantly, nothing here is impossible – even with todays technology. This would require some pretty sharp minds and someone who is inside publishing to make it happen.
And this was just an example, and maybe not the most “lowest hanging fruit”. But I wanted to share an EXAMPLE of a usage – and there are thousands.
Hope you enjoyed an example of how blockchain could become a killer app inside publishing!