One of my colleagues owns a vacation home on a lake in North Carolina.
It’s in a sleepy resort town where they filmed the ‘80s movie Dirty Dancing.
He spends a month there every summer. Sometimes he visits for a weekend in the off-season.
The rest of the time, he rents it out on Airbnb or Vrbo.
These internet platforms let owners rent out rooms or an entire house.
With the income he generates from renting it out, the house pays for itself.
Renting out a room or a second home is part of the new sharing economy. Airbnb has 660,000 listings in the U.S. alone.
This is the information age. Now, any two people can engage in commerce.
The sharing economy pairs riders with drivers (Uber and Lyft). It also helps people find local handymen (TaskRabbit and Handy).
Statista expects this market to grow to $335 billion by 2025. It was only $15 billion in 2014.
The sharing economy provides digital platforms for physical assets such as homes and cars.
But it also works for digital assets such as videos, music and photos.
And there are also digital resources. These include:
- Cloud storage.
- Network bandwidth.
- Computational power.
The next phase of the information age will let owners of digital assets and resources share them.
Just like how my colleague can rent out his vacant house.
Getting Rid of Gatekeepers
The world is going digital. This shouldn’t be a surprise.
We were heading in that direction, but the pace accelerated with the pandemic.
It forced us to do more things online, such as shopping, working and learning.
This is creating a boom in digital assets such as photos, music and videos.
Currently, gatekeepers sell or rent these assets to you.
Streaming music needs Spotify or iTunes.
Watching a movie requires Netflix or Hulu.
Even storing photos requires Apple’s cloud service.
These centralized platforms keep track of who owns what. They also ensure that consumers pay for their digital assets.
That’s because this technology keeps track of who owns what.
It also allows “smart” assets. That means the creator automatically gets paid when their content is shared.
That means you won’t need Netflix. You’ll be able to get content directly from the creator.
Blockchain Gives Power Back to the Creators
The blockchain will allow the sale of music and videos directly to the consumer.
Music companies and streaming services will no longer take a cut of the revenue.
We’re already seeing this happen with nonfungible tokens, or NFTs. A creator can sell an NFT directly to a consumer via OpenSea.
The consumer can take this NFT and sell it elsewhere. And there’s no underlying platform that’s necessary to use this NFT.
Bitcoin showed that we could transact without a middleman. But the next iteration will take that concept one step further.
Airbnb and Uber let us share our physical assets. And blockchains will do the same for our digital assets and resources.
Editor, Strategic Fortunes
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