Why a Decentralized Commerce Platform Is Desperately Needed Right Now | Hacker Noon

OK 2020, enough is enough! The main street is dying, together with local businesses. The pandemic was the final nail in the coffin. Meanwhile, corporations are thriving. Low-interest rates and another round of quantitative easing means another asset bubble: the stock market breaks another all-time high and houses are getting even less affordable. It also means corporations have access to even more cheap capital. This is called the new normal, or the “K shape recovery”.

We’re business owners ourselves. We’ve launched early this year and discovered how incredibly hard it is for a new, independent business without a huge marketing budget to even get in front of clients and customers, not even to close a deal. We’re competing for attention with millions of marketing dollars of cheap capital either from Wall Street or Silicon Valley. The amount of spam, false advertising, fake experts, bids on keywords, bids on domain names, social media bots, paid likes, artificial hype, and engineered buzz is outrageous. Not throw in the pandemic…

The biggest problem with the current system is the power-law distribution of success or, in less fancy terms, the fact that the winner takes all.

Whoever starts with more resources, outbids the competitors and dominates the market. This is evident when you look at FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google), the market platforms that dominate digital content, advertising, customer acquisition, and commerce. They are de-facto monopolies in their respective industries and are taking the full advantage of this capturing enormous value from their users on both sides of the marketplace. Only these 5 companies captured about 10% (!) of the entire global digital content market combined with the B2C ecosystem. The winner takes all rule applies inside these platforms as well: merchants and content creators are desperately trying to be in the top 1% of the top 1% that generates substantial revenues, which in turn can fuel maintaining the status quo and outbidding/outspending the competitors.

de.com

Somebody should do something about this! Create a system, where many small, independent, diverse players (merchants, content creators, ecosystems) can coexist and thrive. A system that keeps track of real reputation and actual attention and sentiment of users. A system where Kevin Kelly’s idea of 1000 True Fans can be achieved with ease, not with struggle.

We haven’t heard of anyone building such a platform, so we started working on it, and BOOM! We present to you our vision for decentralized commerce, or “de.com” since .com (dotcom) has already been taken over by corporations, but adding “-de” to the name allows for buying a cheap domain name (like boom-de.com).

BOOM! is an open, decentralized, virtual, cooperative shopping mall that no single company can control or take over. It lives on the internet, on a blockchain, and consists of open-source protocols and software, free to use software as a service, tools, applications, and open marketplaces for advertising and commerce. We believe that advertising, or customer discovery to be precise, is an essential part of commerce so we’ll start by building the open advertising platform.

Old school advertising or customer acquisition assumes that if you bombard people with enough ads/spam/sales pitches they will finally give in and buy the product. This is the industrial age, linear, uniform thinking based on the assumption that all needs are similar and all products are similar. We strongly believe that in 2020, in the network age, people have very different needs and there are many different, specialized products. This applies to customers, merchants, and also content creators (however weird your thing or activity is, chances are someone has a channel about that on YT). But the advertising is still stuck in the industrial, spray and pray paradigm. The best example of this thinking is still the most popular marketing quote: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half”. This paradigm creates a winner-takes-all setup, where very few are very successful, but there is a very large number of people with unmet needs: consumers, merchants, and content creators.

BOOM!

Boom offers a solution where no money spent on advertising is wasted. On our open advertising platform, merchants only pay when they successfully finalize a transaction. Here’s how it works, in principle:

There are consumers/buyers, content creators/publishers/influencers, and merchants/businesses that offer products and services.

When a merchant publishes an offer on Boom! platform, they define

  • rewards for the buyer/ customer,
  • the reward for the publisher/influencer,
  • success criteria for buyers and publishers.

Example: a) “My Digital Coupon give a 25% discount to every buyer who deposits a Digital Coupon (DC) while buying my product.” b) “I will pay 10% commission on every transaction generated when the DC is deposited.” c) “Buyer successfully buys my product and deposits my DC.”

A publisher can browse offers from merchants. They can pick offers that are the most interesting based on their interest, the number of other publishers who already accepted the offer, rewards, reputation, and other criteria. Once the offer is accepted, unique Digital Coupons (DC) are created on the blockchain for the specific offer, merchant, and publisher. Publishers then offer these specific Digital Coupons to their audience (the potential buyers). Buyers collect DC in their digital wallets.

Buyers can freely exchange them with other buyers (family and friends). When a buyer redeems a DC during a transaction, this information is visible to the publisher who issued the DC and merchants pay them a sales commission.

This is quite similar to affiliate marketing, but greatly improved by the blockchain technology that guarantees auditability, security, and transparency eliminating issues with reward/sales attribution, expired cookies, unaccounted transactions. The platform is also decentralized and cheaper to use.

We expect this solution will be a viable source of income for the independent content creators and publishers (like YouTubers, Twitch players, local radio stations) that have a small, niche but loyal and engaged audiences. Boom! also works with any existing social media and e-commerce platform and can be an additional source of revenue, on top of the existing structure.

Merchants gain access to very specific, focused groups of the potential buyers at no extra cost or risk. They only pay transparent, risk-free, performance-based commissions after they sell their products. It’s no longer about spam and “wasting half of advertising money”, but about reaching the right audience through influencers/content creators that really care and believe in their products.

Finally, buyers receive rewards and incentives for trying new products from local or independent merchants they can trust based on the persistent reputation built into the Boom platform. They can also support their favorite content creators without the need of spending extra money on donations or suffering through ads they don’t care about. Win-win-win. The only loser in this situation is the FAANG monster…

$11.6 trillion

The open advertising is Phase 1 of our platform. We need it because customers follow content, and no business can function without customers. After breaking the corporate advertising monopolies we’ll be able to venture into the loyalty rewards space and B2C marketplace to help merchants build trusted, long-term relationships with their customers. Finally, creating an open content platform would be in order. Boom! can be a decentralized alternative for the digital content and B2C marketplaces ecosystems that are expected to generate $11.6 trillion by 2025.

The success of this vision would create a world where many independent, specialized players can find their niche and co-exist better serving loyal customers. A world with much less spam, stupid ads, cut-throat competition, and price/quality race to the bottom. A world with equal access to opportunity for entrepreneurs and creators who are selected based on merits and reputation, not biases or opaque algorithms.

Call to Action (Yes, We are Very Transparent)

We do realize how outrageous this idea is. A small group of (business) hackers taking a swing at the biggest companies in the world worth nearly $5 trillion. But, as they say, “shoot for the moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars”. Any progress we can make on this journey will be worth the efforts and will at least create a stepping stone for others who believe in a better world.

Photo by Jed Villejo on Unsplash

Now, the question is what do you think? Do you think it’s dumb, don’t care? Is someone else is already doing this? Let us know in the comments.

Do you like it? Please use the 4 icons and share this with others. Organic growth and word of mouth is our only chance for starting a movement.

Want to get in touch and join the revolution? Join our Telegram and/or Discord, check out our website and join our mailing list. You can also reach out to us directly on our (centralized, yuck! 😉 ) Twitter.

Are you a content creator, an influencer, a publisher and want to join the rebel alliance? Email us at [email protected]

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