THE UNLOCK: On Emerging Incentive Theory & The Tokenization of Markets
Multiplayer Futures: Toward an Emergence Economy (part 6)
This is part 6 of 7 in Multiplayer Futures: Toward an Emergence economy. You can read installments 1-5 here, read the entire paper in full here, and collect it on Zora here.
And if you already know this is something you’d like to be a part of, join RADAR.
We’ve already painted the picture: visions of the future are powerful memes. They can tell us collective stories about what the world could look like. They can inspire millions of pathfinders, groundbreakers, and early adopters to bet on them; directing time, energy and resources into making those visions a reality. They can tip the scales of culture.
They also, if timed right, have the potential to be immensely valuable, creating new markets and motivating first movers.
Netflix, Uber, Facebook, even AirBnB. None was first to its category; but by combining clarity of vision and sense of timing, each was able to capitalize on new behaviors and cultural tailwinds in category-defining and market-leading fashion.
And while these exceptional innovators had the foresight (and, yes, the good luck) to make the right bets, they are the exception, not the rule. Far too often, ideators, innovators, and builders miss these opportunities. Left to the devices of a world in single-player mode, they’re disconnected from market demand, gatekept away from critical resources, and unable to tap into network effects — and so their individual visions fail to propagate. Too early, too late, too misunderstood to have an impact, their visions fall short of capturing culture-market fit.
But timing the market just so is easier said than done, right? Otherwise brands, institutions, VCs, and tech companies wouldn’t be investing billions trying to crack it.
So what if we could create a market for a future to emerge?
In ‘Cultural Liquidity: The Rise of Cryptomedia,’ Rex Woodbury outlines web3’s unique ability to turn culture — a previously illiquid and nebulous ‘asset’ — into something liquid, hinting at the ability to unlock resources from thin air and allowing culture to be bootstrapped, traded and speculated on.
In Life After Lifestyle, Toby Shorin looks at how the ‘vibe economy’ (a term coined by Dena Yago) allows members of a given subculture to turn the intangible into social or financial capital, in turn making cultural economies an investable asset.
In recent weeks, we’ve seen Jacob Horne and Packy McCormick circling around a connected notion: how new web3 models can create positive sum games in prediction markets.
Typically, prediction markets require there to be a winning and losing side; whereas equities, on the other hand, are positive sum: you don’t need someone to take the other side to invest in a startup. Packy asks, what if prediction markets behaved more like equities, allowing anyone to invest in a prophecy of the future?
In Prophecy Markets and Startup Prophecies both Jacob and Packy propose a use case where NFTs serve as a tool to make predictions on future outcomes. By unlocking equity in the moment — which can be public, traded and also used as a cultural identifier — this approach would allow creators and collectors to express and reflect their belief in what the future holds.
Packy’s piece ends on a provocative set of questions:
Could a positive sum market of Startup Prophecies be self-fulfilling?
Do more people start working together to make something a reality?
If they do, would it tip the scales enough that a bold company might succeed where they otherwise might have failed?
Would ownership and community involvement provide enough activation energy to turn people into advocates?
These are questions we’ve been working on and thinking about deeply at RADAR, and we believe we can go even further…
What if we could turn visions of the future into the cultural liquidity to actually build them?
What if we could launch self-fulfilling futures by incentivising adoption with ownership?
Not just for specific startups, but for entire markets of emerging culture.
In our effort to accelerate better futures, each emergent vision would have an associated token representing ownership — allowing anyone, anywhere to become a stakeholder in the vision: aligning behind, supporting and building toward the vision, while being symbiotically incentivized to make it a reality.
Ownership over the future = co-creation, freedom and autonomy to make it a reality.
But now you’re probably wondering, how could you possibly time these shifts to manifest new markets of culture?
At RADAR, we’re creating an infrastructure to do just that.
This has been installment 6 of 7 of Multiplayer Futures: Toward an Emergence Economy. You’ll find the final installment in your inbox tomorrow, and if you missed it, you can read the previous installments here.
As a reminder, we’re extending availability of our Patron NFTs for those 7 days. If the vision laid out in these pages resonates, we invite you to take part in the inaugural cycle that will bring to life our theory of Multiplayer Futures: Play. It’s the first of many more to come.
See you tomorrow 🔮