Continuing my spontaneous series here. 😁
I have been studying the decentralized space since late June 2017, so nearly four years now. If I was attending college then you could say that I am a graduate in such matters (assuming I acquired all my credits, something I failed to do in real live BUT I DIGRESS).
There’s a certain quality or metric that has seemed elusive to decentralization during that time, and that is adoption.
What’s interesting is that it seems that it is being adopted, but to me it seems that mass (or viral) adoption is not taking place.
Well, in my estimation, the decentralized mindset is so foreign. It is completely different to how you typically approach societal life that it takes a considerable adjustment – much like visiting a foreign country:
- Lost your seed words/password/keys? Tough luck. You’ve now lost access to the entire value of the wallet that stores it. 🤷♂️
- Got scammed out of your entire wallet value? “Should have done your research 🤷♂️” (common refrain from crypto apologists).
- Got tortured with a drill until you gave up your keys? Well, should have known what “being your own bank” really means. 🤷♂️
- Someone guessed your private key? What, you didn’t have the 4-5 years to study this space to find out how it really works? 🤷♂️
🤷♂️ 🤷♂️ 🤷♂️ 🤷♂️ 🤷♂️
These sorts of barriers are difficult to adjust to, and are not for everyone (especially with the prominently cynical & critical attitude from the crypto community, but that’s another topic altogether). This might explain why artists can get their friends and family to onboard onto the NFT hype (adoption) but struggle getting their friends' friends and family to onboard (mass adoption).
While decentralization promotes self-responsibility and individual sovereignty, what it fails to account for is a very basic human truth, particularly in peace time: people are lazy.
Services that account for this laziness and meet the lazy where they are, are the businesses that meet the most success. Look no further than Coinbase. A company that takes a complicated, foreign matter like cryptocurrency and makes it familiar in a centralized way. It was recently valued at $100 billion when opening to the market. Sure, Coinbase is loathed by crypto “Not your keys not your crypto” purists. But do Coinbase users care?
Again, people are lazy and want others to do the work for them. (Behold, the free market to the rescue!) So what if it’s not their keys? They have taken the time to fork over their private information in adherence to KYC and AML laws. They are most likely law-abiding citizens that are simply apathetic to the technical complexity of “owning your keys.” “Not your Bitcoin, not your easy money” is more like their overarching motto.
And that is where Coinbase excels. You can own all the cryptocurrency you want and they take care of the details. Just fork over all your personally private information – you know, like you have done with many other services – and they will take care of the rest. This feels familiar and is almost basically expected, which is part of the reason it is so successful and has been valuated so highly.
That is why we have a free market, after all: to enable an efficient environment where you can create a service that improves the lives of those that use it.
All this to say that what starbeam.one offers is a vision that operates much like Coinbase: make a difficult foreign land more familiar and accessible. Whereas Coinbase specializes in trading and currencies, starbeam.one is their “NFT equivalent” (however it is our view that they are digital licenses, not NFTs.).
Currently, with the NFT space users are forced into a foreign land and if they run into problems, well, better luck next time. This is completely different from what they expect: recourse for when things go wrong. Remember, people are lazy, so when things go wrong they want someone to fix it for them – “right freaking now!”
With a centralized system, this is a piece of cake. We simply reverse the transaction and everything was as before (assuming appropriate and authorized controls, of course). Here, we allow users to utilize a familiar system, get comfortable with it, then offer them the means to off-ramp into their foreign land once they deemed fit and are comfortable with assuming the risk of drill saw torture and other perils.
This gives the user choice and flexibility, something that simply doesn’t exist in the current market, making a foreign land a little less foreign. ✌