“Watch the Minority Report again,” one fellow attendee of Anarchapulco suggested, “that’s what we’re up against.”
If you’re just joining us, we’re on our third day here in Acapulco, reporting from the annual anarchist’s ball.
Speaking to attendees about their visions of the future reminds us of a conversation we had here in these missives a couple of weeks ago.
You might recall, you and your fellow LFT readers wrote in to tell us your vision of the future — and whether, to you, the future is bleak or bright.
This week, of course, we’re noticing that, again, there’s no single or simple answer.
Some people here are, whether they admit it or not, clearly scared to death of what’s to come. A few say our future is filled with microchips in our brains and retinal scans at every stop sign.
Others, on the other end of the spectrum, believe we are entering a new phase of human existence where the most vicious intermediary ever invented — the State — is slowly being phased out. Or, at the very least, will soon be forced to don the biggest ball-gag in human history.
We tend to lean, thinking long-term, toward the latter. And the companies you’ll learn about today are a small part of the reason why.
As promised yesterday, we’re going to show you three companies that are, using the power of bitcoin and the blockchain, set to murder middlemen in three different industries. And bring the power, autonomy and money back to the productive, creative individual.
That said, these three companies could also, therefore, present some unusual opportunities for you to make some money.
Jeffrey Tucker, in his book Bit By Bit, has dubbed this phenomenon “equipotency” — or the equal distribution of power through technological innovation.
“Murray Rothbard,” says Tucker, “wrote that after industrialization, humankind would never tolerate going back to a world of feudalism, poverty, and dependency. He was right, despite fits and starts on the way toward the gradually emerging anarchist world order.
“That doesn’t mean we don’t have to fight for it,” Tucker makes clear. “But this fight is no longer about muskets and barricades. It’s about innovation, cleverness, and being the revolution in our own lives and economic relationships.”
DISRUPTER #1: HOW TO MAKE YOUTUBE YOUR [EXPLETIVE DELETED].
Good in front of the camera? Have something valuable to say, show or teach? Want to make money online?
If you said yes to all of these questions, we want you, just for a moment, to forget about Youtube.
Youtube, unfortunately, is little more than a digital plantation. Its users farm the land (create all the value), and the landowners make all the money.
And if you don’t play by the rules… and if you peeve off the wrong people… it will cut you off completely from the scraps.
If that happens, all your hard work of building a following and collecting revenue will be shot down like Harry Whittington on a quail hunt.
But what if you could reverse that role? What if those who create the value could make the big bucks while the platform, which is merely a facilitator, takes the smaller piece of the pie?
“Youtube videos,” says the WatchMyBit site description, “are watched four billion times a day. Even though the ad revenue generated is immense — somewhere around 5.6 billion dollars a year — most of it goes to Google. Content creators receive pennies even with thousands of views. Plus, the payout structures are proprietary and confusing.”
The solution, therefore, is to create a place where artists and content creators are paid directly by the consumer. Cut Youtube out of the equation and those producing value can get what they earn, rather than earn what they get.
In this system, each viewer could pay tiny amounts — often less than a quarter — to see the content, paid directly to the creator.
Alas, there’s another bump in the road: With credit cards, it’s impossible to charge small amounts because, again, the middlemen — PayPal, banks, credit card processors, etc. — all want their slice. Thus, taking money away from those who produce for the benefit of those who merely shuffle numbers around on autopilot.
That’s where Bitcoin comes in. Bitcoin allows individuals to transact for free — or for pennies on the dollar — quickly and effortlessly. Therefore, it makes microtransactions possible. Meaning, you can charge tiny amounts for your services which can, over time, amount to a lot.
With WatchMyBit, viewers pay you, the creator, directly (in Bitcoin) every time they watch your video. Since transactions are conducted from the blockchain, WatchMyBit doesn’t even have to touch the money.
Moreover, as a creator, you control how much you make per view.
Take a look at the difference…
“On Youtube,” says the site, “if your video gets 10,000 views, and you allow advertising, you might generate $10 in revenue. If you are a Youtube partner and most people watch a full ad (ya, that will happen — not!) you might get lucky and make $60.
“On WatchMyBit, if you charge just 21 cents per view, and get 10,000 views, you would earn $1,575.”
Not enough? That’s OK. Change the price…
10,000 views at 39 cents makes you $2,925.
10,000 views at 99 cents makes you $7,425.
Don’t want Bitcoin? “No problem, there are several payment processors who will change your bitcoins into cash — often for free.
“Coinbase and Bitpay are just two companies who process the exchange. AND because Bitcoin is used worldwide, you can now get paid from fans in every country on Earth.”
OK. So, we lied. You don’t have to forget about Youtube completely.
A great way to market your video series is to throw sample videos on Youtube and then link to the full versions on WatchMyBit.
This way, Doug Scribner, WatchMyBit’s co-founder told me in between bites of his pollo taco, you can “Make Youtube your [expletive deleted].”
[For more information, visit WatchMyBit’s website at www.watchmybit.com.]
DISRUPTER #2: FLIP iTUNES THE BIRD
Another company we heard about yesterday, called PeerTracks, has the same idea as WatchMyBit, yet applied for musicians.
If you are a musician, you know there’s no shortage of reasons to despise the established industry as it stands today.
“It feels as if the music industry,” one recording artist, Heap, told Fortune magazine, “is a complete mess, a rusty, overstretched, tired machine. Grappling with a lot of old crooked contracts that don’t reflect our times, music services that run on greed to please shareholders smothered in buy-buy-buy adverts, dated accounting setups favoring anyone but the artist thanks to gross inefficiencies, confusing royalty statements and delayed payments… plus patchy copyright databases. It is almost impossible to find out who REALLY gets what.”
Yet, once again, one company is set to fix all of these problems in one fell swoop by automating the burden on the blockchain.
Here’s how it works…
In short, PeerTracks is an ad-free music streaming software (think Spotify) which allows musicians to get paid instantly and directly through tiny microtransactions.
“Artists using PeerTracks can benefit in multiple ways,” Cedric Cobban of PeerTracks writes. “First of all, they can sell their music without middlemen and without entrusting anyone with any funds. It’s pure peer-to-peer. It’s transparent, so you know how many people listened to or purchased your music.”
Moreover, PeerTracks has ways for fans to speculate on up-and-coming artists — through what they call “Notes” — and potentially make money on the artist’s success.
For more information, check out their website here: www.peertracks.com.
DISRUPTER #3: CREATIVELY DESTROY THE DESTROYERS
This might come as a surprise to those who think that Uber and Lyft are “it.” But, Arcade City is, in our opinion, the next evolution of ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft.
True, both Uber and Lyft are great. They allow everyday people to set their own schedules and have more autonomy in their lives. But they’re not as good as they could be.
Again, the platform makes all the money… but, in reality, it’s not the true moneymaker. The blood, sweat and oil are burned by the users. Even so, drivers are paid a pittance of what they earn. And they aren’t given as much autonomy as they could have.
Arcade City wants to change that.
Despite the unfortunate and confusing name (yes, the name could be improved), Arcade City is a fair contender for the popular ride-sharing services Uber or Lyft.
The big difference between Arcade City and current ride-sharing services, as hinted at a moment ago, is that all the power is bottom-up. There are no central directs, thus the consumer and the driver are given more autonomy.
For example, unlike Uber, Arcade City allows you, the consumer, to hail rides in advance, choose your own driver, pay with cash, credit card or Bitcoin, and earn free rides.
The drivers are able to set their own prices, grow regional networks and build a digital client rolodex.
All things Uber and Lyft do not do. (Aside from, of course, paying with credit card — of which you are forced to do.)
Moreover, Arcade City uses the blockchain to connect drivers to passengers without a middleman, bringing the overhead costs down to a minimum and, again, allowing the driver to have more power and get what they earn… not earn what they get.
“The Achilles’ heel of Uber and Lyft,” Founder Christopher David tells CoinTelegraph, “is their centralized management of pricing… You cannot build a long-term relationship with drivers if you are taking away their ability to set their own pricing. Arcade City will decentralize those decisions to the level of the driver and their customers.”
[Arcade City currently operates in 50 markets. For more information, check it out at Arcade.City]
These three companies are only a microcosm of how industries can be disrupted completely by simply cutting out the middleman and giving more power to the “little guy.”
And it’s only three examples of many of the sheer power of human ingenuity we’ve witnessed this week.
Moreover, this is only a small representation of what we believe is to come down the pike.
That is, of course, as long as we don’t let middlemen put chips in our brains and kill us for crimes we haven’t yet committed.
Revolución! Murder the middleman!
Managing editor, Laissez Faire Today
P.S. Have something to say? Say it! Chris@lfb.org.