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A functional store of value.

February 24, 2021 (Syndicated From

TLDR: Can entire software applications be NFT’s?

I have been diving into the world of crypto art also known as Non-fungible tokens (NFT’s).

If you’ve never heard of them before an NFT is a special type of cryptographic token which represents something unique. Tokens can be bought and sold just as any marketplace. People can buy crypto art that they enjoy aesthetically, or with the hope that it will go up in value, or to support a specific artist.

I’ve been fascinated by a lot of young artists publishing their art on these platforms. As a person who writes code I’ve been considering what a code-based NFT’s would look like. I think about which are amazing JavaScript art projects within themselves. Why can’t something like that be a NFT? How would that work?

It seems that blockchain is translating into the physical art world, and for good reason, there are many parallels. Minting art tokens, is the same as creating a limited run of a piece of art.

What I’m interested in is a functional store of value, currently stocks, crypto currencies, and NFT’s don’t have any function. In most cases they represent a number. While I believe that NFT’s are great for artists and can revolutionize the way that creatives make a living.

The first thing that comes to mind when I consider a functional store of value is apps. Software itself. Imagine I made a weather app I published and minted 100k instances of the application. You can buy and sell instances. When you purchase an instance of the application you gain access to it. This is the same idea as a piece of crypto art. Ideally you buy the application with the intention to use it, support the developer, and hopefully it goes up in value and you can sell it at a later time.

The promise of a app marketplace like this is that you a purchasing something that is a commodity, and you own a part of the application, and perhaps that reflects and allows people some level of power / decision making control in future of the app like a Governance token. Just as a PNG can be an image on the internet, and be a token, whole repositories can be both open source, and tokenized. With insight into how the code behaves, certain practices could be discouraged like selling ads, or collecting metadata.

What I’m thinking about is a paradigm shift in the way we create applications and the way we use them. The era of passively using applications should end, and we should see a future where people directly get paid for using software, and providing data to a platform.

This all reminds of me Jaron Lanier’s ideas of Data Dignity.

When you realize that data is the new oil when you realize that this thing being taken from you that you don’t think about is the future economic value is your future economic value it’s your future economic power.

What do apps do?

They take data -> ⬛️ -> they produce data.

Data is just like any service that produces a resource, oil, gas, electricity.

So what if the metric used to judge an app’s value in a marketplace was the amount of data it produced, and the value of that data?

The circle

  • Apps are available to buy and sell
  • Apps produce data
  • You have control over how your data is used, and you get more or less for it.
  • The data production for an app is public and it’s going rate is public as well.

For instance take a fictional dating app on this platform, an individual purchase 1 instance of the app, and can use the platform (perhaps needing more instance to perform certain actions). They can throttle how much of that data is used exported out of the service, and are given the going rate for the data.

Here’s a theoretical graph:

market instances250,000
app price$3
app valuation$750,000
data production1.45tb/month
data rate$12/gb
monthly consumption rate30
monthly data consumers200
data sales$864,000

This hypothetical application has 250,000 instances and is producing 1.45tb of data a month, and the going rate for that data is $12 a gb.

In a world like this the user of this application is simultaneously an investor, owner, on the board, and working as a data farmer.

If you’d like to chat more about NFT’s, or the future of apps / data send me a message on Twitter @thomasreggi.