Individual brands becoming their own “crypto-banks” not a far off possibility …

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Data from OANDA, a brokerage, sees the dollar, euro, and pound values of Bitcoin continued their climb this week. The BTC/USD pair increased by 6.4% from 45,657.60 USD on 1 March 2021 (10:30 am EST) to today’s 48,609.70 USD. The BTC/GBP pair jumped 6.6% over the same period, from 32,761.20 GBP to 34,919.20 GBP. The BTC/EUR pair was not to be outdone with a 6.7% increase from 37,809.80 EUR to 40,353.90 EUR.

The Ethereum trade saw higher increases percentage wise. The ETH/USD came in today at 1,532.36 USD, up 7.3% from 1 March. The ETH/GBP and ETH/EUR were up 7.4% and 7.6%, respectively, over the same period.

Volatility will remain an issue for some time as the business media reports cryptocurrency as prominently a speculative play even as mainstream investment bank willingness to facilitate trade in cryptocurrency increases. What will quiet volatile moves in cryptocurrency prices is if more consumers see crypto as part of the mainstream payment system.

A recent article in Vogue sheds some light on that possibility. The article addresses up front the taint that crypto has to shake; that it is a medium for money laundering, drug trafficking, and tax evasion. But the article also points out that activity such as online gaming and the issuance of nonfungible tokens (NFT) are driving Bitcoin resurgence.

A NFT is published on an Ethereum blockchain ledger, is certifiably singular, and prevents replication by others.

The article points out that fashion is making inroads into the metaverse, the virtual world where participants interact via avatars, and following the trend where physical assets e.g., collectibles, are represented in digital form.

The takeaway that got me excited was the finding among individuals interviewed in the article that platforms and individuals are moving toward issuing their own currencies. “Cryptocurrencies are like air miles in that they can only be used within the infrastructure of specific companies, ” notes the author, Kati Chitrakorn. Firms are taking the opportunity to launch their own currencies where their inventory is limited and they provide their fans with short windows on certain purchases.

“Imagine only being able to purchase a must-have product via the brand’s coin or getting access only if you hold a certain amount of these coins”, says Mahesh Vellanki of Rally, a blockchain platform. “Brands and creators might prefer to use their own tokens to build their own economies and interact with fans on their terms.”

Another takeaway from the article is a third way for the consumer to obtain Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. We are familiar with the mining aspect, where as part of validating a transaction a mathematical problem is solved by a “miner” who receives Bitcoin as compensation. We are seeing a lot of buying as the second option. The third option often overlooked in mainstream media is obtaining a loyalty token on certain platforms.

In the short term I see where operating within the current jurisdictional environment places a severe limit on these platforms to grow and their currencies maximized. Large platforms such as Amazon and Facebook already start with a huge advantage as non nation-state platforms were goods and services are exchanged. For the individual sovereign, their wealth generated by their ability to leverage their brand to issue currency is limited by the taxing authority they reside under.

Question is, can the individual, as a physical asset, digitize into an alternative space and create their own jurisdiction?

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