Follow the Coin: Who Stands to Gain from Blockchains Today

The 2008 Global Credit Crises was a crises of confidence in markets, — — but also a breakdown of trust in central authorities. Out of this chaos, Satoshi Nakamoto birthed Bitcoin. This decentralized currency promised to work without requiring parties to trust one another. Other properties of blockchains proved useful in this paradigm including:

  • Ledger Immutability
  • Censorship Resistance
  • Audit-ability with Pseudonymity
  • Trusted computation with untrusted resources

However, conflating decentralization with fairness neglects the reality of the current blockchain ecosystem. At nCent, we’re leveling the playing field by providing everyone with access to a new incentive-fueled economy

Satoshi is Dead: Long Live Satoshi

Before Bitcoin’s price exploded, Satoshi Nakamoto mined the first one million coins almost entirely on a single computer. While the technology quickly became disassociated from the anonymous founder, Bitcoin was initially held held by early adopters. Subsequently, the rapid increase in the valuation of crypto-assets paid off greatly for the early risk takers in the ecosystem.

The concentration of Bitcoin wealth is evidenced by the coin’s distribution across addresses: 99.14% of Bitcoin is held by 10% of the addresses. It is oft remarked that Bitcoin has Gini coefficient (~0.88) consistent with some of the countries with the most skewed wealth distributions. The same of course could be said for the shareholder bases of some of the most celebrated technology giants… but unlike countries and companies, Bitcoin is of course an instrument not of centralized control, but of decentralized protocol — that is indeed the point! While Gini might be theoretically useful to predict social unrest or shareholder revolts, the premise does not hold for a distributed system such as Bitcoin. Indeed, Bitcoin is for the world.

Ethereum: are ICOs a sustainable “killer app”?

Although Ethereum has many obvious merits, the protocol has centralized power to a few development groups like Consensys and others. It is often remarked that Vitalik Buterin is himself a centralized point of failure in the ecosystem. The advent of the “ICO” came with the promise of disinter-mediating the VC model and making investment open to anyone. Instead, it’s resulted in a new order of insider trading cabals, mobster-like centralized exchanges, crypto-influencers and funds generating outsized returns. Moreover, being a styled “jack of all trades, master of none” business model ensures that once something of value is found, there is a strong incentive for all the “right tail” winners to leave the platform and build a new chain optimized for that winning use case.

nCent: Building an Equitable Protocol for Value Attribution

Our focus is different. For nCent to work, we need to have a community that is invested in and has equitable access to our protocol. Our goal is to deconstruct all the value locked and ossified in large corporations — and attribute it back to you via incentive markets. Users, not shareholders are the beneficiaries in our universe. The value of the means of production (i.e. community networks) shouldn’t be owned by a wealthy elite.

As the infrastructure of these systems is developed, blockchain can offer the capabilities needed to create a much fairer system. Essentially, we are commodifying network effects. That will allow the best products and services to stand on their own merits and rise to the top — this is the nature of a market. Ultimately, we are striving to create a decentralized protocol that forms a market for all to participate in, not just the few of the past.

In the coming months we’ll put forward our whitepaper (lightpaper) and a roadmap, we’ll explain the technology and offer a platform for developers, and will produce robust economics to support our plan.

A Call to Action

The work of developing incentive markets at scale is still in its infancy. We need your help, whether you’re a designer, developer, artist or teacher. If you want to see a more fair internet, come join us. Email me directly at [email protected]. To stay in the nCent loop, hear me tweet and join our international telegram channel.

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