Social media started in the early 2000s. Looking back at the first decade of the 21st century, it almost feels like the dark ages. The Internet was young, and most of us had no idea what it entailed to use, or more precisely, to live on the Internet. Like children, we were mesmerized by all that was new and shiny. Suddenly, not only could you communicate with anyone worldwide, but you could send images, share videos, documents, and everything else you had on your computer. Best of all, it was, and still is, “free.”
Facebook and similar online services entered our lives with such wonder that we never thought about what it meant to use such services. At the end of the day, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, and Google are companies, and for a company to survive, they need to earn profit. And how does a company that offers its service for “free” make a profit?
THE ONLINE COMMUNICATION CONUNDRUM
For Facebook, the primary source of revenue is advertising in the form of selling access to their community data without the community’s consent. Their customers are companies, and their product is users. Without people using Facebook and generating data as raw materials, the company’s value is zero.
That in itself is far from an apocalyptic scenario. There are far worse things happening in the world, and as said, companies need to earn to survive. But does that justify you being the product? In a way, you do agree to that by using the service. Nobody is forcing you; it’s your decision.
Whatever your opinion is, one thing holds ground. The current online communication business models and how they serve customers are outdated; they belong to the dark ages.
Up until the cryptocurrency renaissance, what was missing was the digital representation of the user’s interest in the online communication conundrum. A bargaining chip that represents the user’s opinion and, more importantly, provides power.
With cryptocurrency and tokens, users can once again take part in the decision-making process. Instead of the service provider creating services where users’ interests are a byproduct of the company’s interest, the community influences the provider into making community-first decisions. In the digital dark ages, online service was a one-way street. Now, it’s becoming an eight-lane highway.
TOKENS = STAKE
Tokens represent stake. On the basic level, a stakeholder holding bitcoin sees value in that asset. But, due to the nature of bitcoin (being the digital gold), the value is fundamental and rarely goes beyond profit, similar to gold.
According to State of the Dapps, there are more than 3,000 projects on the Ethereum network alone. Most projects have their own token, and each token can serve a different function. Some tokens such as $SUSHI and $UNI are governance tokens used to determine protocol’s direction. Others, such as $FWB and $WHALE, enable their holders with access to social clubs and art collectives.
The assets you hold, represent your interests. If you’re holding governance tokens (example: $SUSHI or $UNI), it’s because you want to take part in the protocol’s decision-making process. If you’re holding $FWB or $WHALE, it’s because you want to be part of a community that shares your social and art values.
But holding said tokens isn’t enough. Such communities need a crypto-native communication platform to organize themselves around specific needs. One that allows you to interact with people with skin in the game. One that allows users to extract value from the community and automate the process to extract it.
SPKZ: THE COMMUNICATION IN THE TOKENIZED WORLD
Made for token communities
Look around you — all forms of value in the world are eventually represented as tokens. Luxury goods. Video game assets. Tickets. Real estate. Time. Even an industry that’s as sluggish towards technology as music is also getting a (much-needed) upgrade. As the world is being tokenized, the communities formed around digital assets are only becoming more abundant.
Why can’t these communities rely on existing communication platforms? As discussed above, the whole point of crypto communities is for the ordinary users to take back the driver’s seat and be in charge. Meanwhile, control sounds like a luxury for centralized platforms. Chris Dixon made the following observations:
““It became much harder for startups, creators, and other groups to grow their internet presence without worrying about centralized platforms changing the rules on them, taking away their audiences and profits. When they hit the top of the S-curve, their relationships with network participants change from positive-sum to zero-sum. The easiest way to continue growing lies in extracting data from users and competing with complements over audiences and profits. For 3rd parties, this transition from cooperation to competition feels like a bait-and-switch. Over time, the best entrepreneurs, developers, and investors have become wary of building on top of centralized platforms. We now have decades of evidence that doing so will end in disappointment. In addition, users give up privacy, control of their data, and become vulnerable to security breaches. These problems with centralized platforms will likely become even more pronounced in the future.””
— Chris Dixon
SPKZ.io was created as a communication layer for token communities, relying on the robust technical power of web3 protocols to ensure alignment of interests in the community. SPKZ allows communities to own the protocol and be aligned around our token and its economy (read more about SPKZ Tokenomics in our Light Paper)
Decentralized & Private by design
Keep in mind that neither Telegram, WhatsApp, nor Discord is made for the crypto era. None of them are private by design. Imagine a regular chat room on WhatsApp as a room with wide-open windows. The platform administrator can poke in and see what’s happening at any given time.
With SPKZ, there isn’t a local server that stores a lounge (chat room on SPKZ). Every lounge is its own node. If you create a lounge, you own your infrastructure. With SPKZ’s lounges, every window has blinds that you control. You choose who can look inside. Additionally, you own the key so that nobody uninvited can get in. This is the first pillar of a communication platform made for token communities and it also brings us to our next point: controlled safety.
While the creator of a public group on Discord or Telegram can set up access criteria and kick out unwanted individuals, that isn’t enough to prevent scammers from exploiting communities. Although admins do exist, online scams are as prevalent as ever as moderation is an ever growing need that can never be fulfilled. With safety measures in place, you’re still opening the doors both for sheep and wolves.
The way SPKZ solves the issue is with token ownership, the platform’s second pillar. Meaning your wallet is your login, and your tokens are the key. You can access each lounge for which you meet the requirements. The requirements can range from tokens you hold to the token amount and the token’s longevity in your wallet.
Imagine an exclusive club that only the selected people can enter. If you don’t have access, it’s impossible to know what happens in the club. Lounges are like that, but instead of providing access to an excessive elite, lounges offer access to the rightful communities — meaning anyone who genuinely shares your thoughts and beliefs.
Let’s say you create a lounge for your NFT art community. You have the power to weed out the preying wolves. You can ensure that your community feels safe without having to act as a security guard 24/7. Besides lounges, the second founding feature is Private Rooms. Similar to lounges, but allowing one-on-one communication exclusively.
While private rooms are here to provide a simple yet critical service of complete anonymity, lounges can expand. Besides chatting, lounges are platforms that combine communication with every other service, such as a ticketing platform or digital asset exchange.
SPKZ Use Cases
This creates a significant number of use cases that will grow as the technology develops further. Uses cases will evolve, but it’s essential to have a decentralized platform where the community makes decisions. The ability to grow without compromising decentralization is the third pillar. Some of the current use cases are:
- Official communication — Interest-focused communication that ranges from finance to entertainment-based communities.
- Holders community management — For crypto trading communities, it becomes much easier to create a safe and trustful community.
- Whales private club — Big holders want to talk to big holders. With the possibility of token-limiting access, big holders have a guarantee that they are talking to other big holders.
- Merchandise drops — Building a community where merchandise exchange is transparent.
- OTC deals — It becomes much easier to verify if the individual you want to trade assets, actually holds the asset.
None of the current platforms have features made exclusively for token holders. Features that make being a token community member even better. Creating a lounge allows the community to interact verbally and organize token-based activities, which is only becoming more essential in a tokenized world.
Communication is the base layer of everything we do. In web3, we can make it right. Hop into the SPKZ Bar here (free access) to and hi to other web3 fellows. We’ll see you there!