Crypto off the Chain
It has been a bumpy path over the last few years but cryptocurrency is finally starting to hit the mainstream. Crypto began as a bunch of nerdy looking people spending their time and energy “mining” something called “bitcoin”. People laughed at it. Now, it is able to be traded for tokenized stock fractions on major stock exchanges. This is a massive development and has implications far beyond the size of your digital wallet.
Before we get too much into crypto itself, let’s take a moment to understand the tokenized stock concept. When the stock market got started way back in the late 17th century there was the idea that nearly anyone would be able to participate in the ownership of a company. Over time, some of the biggest companies grew so valuable that they were priced well beyond the capability of most people to ever own more than a couple shares, if any at all. Tokenized stock ownership allows a person to buy a fraction of a stock (much how one can buy a portion of bitcoin), returning the stock market to its original, decentralized intent.
So, how does the concept of partial ownership relate to cryptocurrency? They both contribute to a decentralized economy. How? First, the simple act of allowing more people to own more things puts more money and more freedom into the hands of more people. Secondly, cryptocurrency operates without a central bank. That means that it is much harder if not impossible for anyone to control or manipulate. The only fluctuations in the worth of the currency are based on the market, just as it should be. And with cryptocurrency becoming more mainstream, it will be able to be used for more and more purchases. Imagine a world where you don’t need a bank to make major purchases like a car or a house? The payments and the records of ownership are all kept in the blockchain, cutting out middle men like banks and title companies, even the filing system at city hall.
Of course, some will raise security concerns. That’s understandable. However, the nature of blockchain is such that you have to fool every node at once in order to steal or manipulate someone’s crypto. This is something that is only possible in theory as the computer power necessary is more than anything out there. Of course technology will continue to develop but that means the blockchain and its security will also.
Ah, but what about things like a solar flare or emp that could destroy enough of the nodes to make a difference? Honestly, what do you think is more likely, that city hall with all of its records burns down or a massive solar flare wipes out half the computers on the planet?
The real question is why has it taken so long to gain traction? Why has it taken this long to move out of its mom’s basement and into the real world? For that answer, you really only need to look at who is opposing it. That would be the Warren Buffets, and the big banks, the major governments and organizations that thrive on regulation, on control. These entities are too used to the way things have been done since the early 20th century. And hey, who can blame them? They’ve made a ton of money in that older system. That success does two things. One, you can easily dismiss crypto advocates as people jumping onto a fad, as people just looking to make a quick dollar, or as people who have been duped. Second, success can easily block a person’s ability to see another way of doing things. Pride gets in the way and makes people blind to what should be obvious.
What should be obvious is that people are wanting to decentralize, to break away from the major systems that need us to interact in a certain way, and keep us tied to one place. TARTLE is a major part of that, and not just because we use bitcoin. TARTLE is the first company to seriously take on the task of returning control over data to the individuals generating it. That power is placed not in the hands of world-spanning companies but in you. If your data is shared or traded, it’s because that’s what you want and it’s you that gets rewarded in the process.
What’s your data worth?
Antitrust and Amazon
Recently, the European Union filed an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon. The premise is that Amazon’s ubiquity gives it an unfair advantage in selling their own products. Amazon is of course most famously known for selling everyone else’s stuff. Tons of retailers and manufacturers use Amazon as both a storefront and distribution network. You can even get products from Sam’s Club on Amazon. That isn’t the main issue in the lawsuit though. What the EU is alleging is that Amazon’s vast network and data gathering capabilities give it an advantage in that they use all that data to better refine their own products and then market and distribute them. The fear of course is that no one could possibly compete with the way that Amazon operates.
There are a couple problems with this lawsuit. One, Amazon doesn’t actually make that many branded products. It’s a smattering of smart devices like their tablets, streaming sticks, and the Alexa devices. That’s about it. It’s also worth pointing out that despite the marketing and distribution advantages, the Fire Phone was hardly a raging success. In all honesty, this case could be better made against Walmart that has a whole like of products of many kinds that it distributes through its massive network of brick and mortar stores and online shopping.
Finally, this is just Amazon being smart with the data that they can gather. Why wouldn’t you pay attention to what sells, what features are most important, and what price points people buy at when you are designing your own products? It’s as if you were building a house and someone gave you a free blueprint for exactly what you were looking for, but instead you threw it away and figured it out from scratch. See how that doesn’t make any sense?
Amazon’s success isn’t really a matter of forcing competition out but looking at the way things are going and getting there first. In the early days of the internet, they saw the potential in selling small items like books. Suddenly, bibliophiles didn’t need to spend years combing used book stores for a particular work, they could just look it up and order it. And anyone could do it, used bookstores, major publishers, or even just the soccer mom with a few old books to unload.
As capabilities increased, they branched out, streaming music, movies, and of course selling ebooks and their own e-readers, practically speaking the tablet market into existence. And let’s not forget that they developed partnerships with hordes of retailers around the world allowing them to sell nearly anything under sun.
This has actually been the case on the distribution side of Amazon as well. In truth, that is the real secret of Amazon’s success, its ability to get almost anything almost anywhere in the world in just a couple of days. Sometimes, they can even get things delivered in a matter of hours. They realized that people would be willing to wait a little bit if they didn’t have to deal with going to a store, especially if they knew they were getting what they wanted, instead of just hoping to find it. Just like with internet streaming, they gradually increased their capabilities and now Amazon trucks are all over the streets of America, dropping off packages by the millions. Naturally, things haven’t stopped there. Noticing the rise in the gig economy (only natural since they helped bring it about) there is now Amazon Flex, which allows anyone to pick up and deliver packages under the Amazon banner and make a little side money. The next step of course is for Amazon to start using drones to deliver packages. That project has been underway for years already and as soon as they can get FAA approval, you can expect to see Amazon drones buzzing around the skies.
How does all of this relate to TARTLE? Like Amazon, we are a marketplace, with you the individual as the retailer. We see the trends towards accessibility in terms of ownership, the desire for greater personal control of data and the growth of cryptocurrency and are eagerly adopting them. Even better, we want to take you along on journey, to get out ahead of the trend and lead the way into a future where everyone has more direct control over what goes on in their lives.
What’s your data worth?