The Post-dated Check #4 – Privatokens

What’s happening? Add to your story! What’s on your mind? Those not-so-free free social media platforms keep on exhorting us to market our virtual existences as often as they’d like, so they can sell our personal “brand” provided for free to their algorithm-picked advertisers… Let’s be clear, I’m not talking about getting paid for content creation a-la YouTube, I’m talking about the provision of our intellectual property (aka our digital lives) for free to support the wealth-creation aims of the various social media platforms. These are the same platforms that exalt the value they attach to their “communities” – which is true, one can read all about that immense value in their annual reports and corporate filings.  

The general trend with technology, though, is that it ultimately democratizes access to networks, information and knowledge until the access itself is worthless. It eliminates all the gatekeepers in between and concentrates wealth and market share at the platform-owner level. The more access, the more small but incremental profits are created. After all, a billion cents a day is still ten million dollars a day. Any concentration of wealth in a market, however, inevitably leads to new or would-be competitors wanting a slice of the lucrative pie. And new technology-based competitors don’t always have insurmountable barriers to entry especially if they’re going after niche markets. Who wouldn’t want just one of the four and twenty blackbirds baked in a one owner pie? Some might even be willing to forego a juicy part of that one measly blackbird they’re eyeing just to have any tasty morsel, never mind the whole luscious blackbird or, praise be, the pie. And, so, the sharing economy will encourage competitors to share a portion of the lucrative social media profit profile in an effort to carve out their own right of existence. It’s a story as old as the hills: You’re charging for caller line identifying? We’ll offer if at no charge! You’re charging handling fees for shipping? We’ll throw that in for free! You’re charging for monthly banking services? We promise a lifetime of no service fees. 

You’re offering a metaverse for free so long as you let us market and monetize your brand? We’ll pay you royalties on whatever we make from your digital privacy. You tell us what we may use from your brand and what not. The more the better we can and will pay for that privilege, but it’s up to you because we’re conscious of the value of our community and their digital privacy.  

How long before the first platform, metaverse or not, breaks ranks and admits that they could still make out quite well by sharing the wealth creation with the “community” they so energetically profess to value? A scenario of willing participation in the monetization of our personal brand assets in return for a share of the spoils is possible, maybe even probable. Its likely that this monetization will come in the form of tokenization coupled to smart royalty contracts where our permission to make use of our digital privacy will be rewarded with crypto-based tokens. Privatokens, if you will.   

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