Native – Communities at the Core

in originalworks •  11 months ago 

Introduction

 

Oxford Dictionary defines community as:

Body of people living in one district, etc. or having common interests or origin.  

Most will agree that the formation of a community based on physical proximity may have made sense in the pre-internet era but once internet era began community took a whole different meaning. The idea of people with “common interest” came to the fore and new variants of communities started forming. As an example, while a common library community would have been true in a pre-internet era, an author based community formation was feasible only under the internet-era. Think about it, in a brick and mortar library community of 50 people (say), it is difficult to further break down this group based on individual author following. The community is just too small. But in the internet era, the formation of an author based community following Jeffery Archer or Stephen Covey or even Shakespeare was feasible. There could be thousands if not millions of followers of each such communities. So, the internet made community formation borderless, faster, focused, and allowed newer and more precise dimensions to community formation.

But what next?

While such communities were effective in bringing members together, often, across boundaries and ethnic values, it did not set an economy in motion. It was more of exchanges of ideas and opinions but little was done to put things into action. While there were many successful communities which could actually enable economic activities, but then again, it was more dependant on the owner of such a community to decide what could be done there. So, members hardly had a say and in a sense, we were coming full-circle. From a brick and mortar library with limited option of bifurcating a community, we hit the internet enabled community restricted by the will of the owner of such community.

But wouldn’t a community which could regulate itself be a better option? Wouldn’t a community which could decide based on votes of members, what can be done or what cannot be done, be a better option? The question though is what is needed to form such a community? 

The answer is blockchain.

Welcome the Blockchain based Community

The evolution of interaction did not end with the internet. While the internet remains the base, blockchain takes the aspect of member collaboration within a community to a different level. The inherent qualities or strengths of a blockchain makes this possible. Attributes like decentralization (enabling member decision making), immutable ledger (supporting trade within a community), transparency (bringing equality to the community) and scalability (allowing growth of the community) are all attributes which could take community formation to a different level. In other words, much like internet fostered a new era of community building, blockchain ushers the newest of such era in community building and interaction. 

Besides, the other factor is that trade in the real world is enabled by currencies or FIAT currency as we know it. It is also not a rocket science to understand that the value of such currencies is controlled centrally by government authorized entities. These could be central banks or the government itself. Which means the value of the currency in our hand and our ability to trade depends on the centrally run entity. The world has witnessed many crashes under such a system, with the latest being the Venezuelan crash. Blockchain comes as an alternate solution to this. The distributed ledger, allows two parties to safely transact trustlessly and effectively. As such, blockchain can act as a medium having the ability to store and transfer value. In doing so, the need for centralization is undone and the ability to make a common crypto-currency work for different people from different countries is enabled. The solution is so effective that from the time Bitcoin introduced the concept in 2008, the world is already transacting to the tune of USD 220 billion by 2018. Just a decade to turn a concept into billions of dollars of an ecosystem.  

Take a look at the graph talking about capital raised for ICOs:

Further, 2017 witnessed the highest number ICOs and this number is expected to rise for the next five years. As of today, there are already 1500 crypto-currencies and over 200 crypto-exchanges. Besides, traditional banking or financing systems are also showing interest in the crypto-world; Goldman Sachs is an example. So, blockchain is the obvious next step in community building. 

I am sure all the details sound interesting, but do we have a solution which attempts to combine the strengths of blockchain with that of community building? Appears, there is such a solution.

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We are talking about Native

Native is a platform which allows communities to build their own ecosystem over the platform. In other words, communities can create their own tokens, decide on the modus of operation, and methods of interaction. NTV would be the Native token and can be traded directly with the tokens of various communities built over the platform.  

In their own words, the platform is described in the Native whitepaper as follows: 

The Native platform provides the fundamental structure for valuing and operating Communities through their own unique tokens. It includes a set of decision-making tools, and provides templates to suit a variety of Communities to ensure that even those with limited economic and technical knowledge can participate in emerging financial ecosystems.

The key takeaway from the description is the ease of use for a technically less inclined person too. This is a game changer as far as adoption is concerned. Besides, it is not that there is no precedence of a similar approach in the Blockchain world where communities could benefit from local currencies. 

Berkshare is such an example of local currency which grew in stature to be recognized and accepted globally. So a concept starting from a local community does have the ability to be globally recognized. As we speak, Berkshare is currently accepted by 400 businesses and 8 local bank branches in the Berkshire region of Massachusetts. The reason is simple, the capital created and used locally creates an environment conducive for local businesses to use and grow. That’s the same fundamental which Native plans to use. 

Here’s the founder Jake Vartanian elaborating on Native’s Vision:

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How will Native change the way communities are able to start and grow?

Native plans to bring together local or digital like-minded people to start a community benefitting each member. Now, if we were to look at the traditional approach of starting an online community it would involve the following steps: 

  1. Seeking investment for the online endeavor 
  2. Centralized decision making by the community owner/builder 
  3. Marketing the platform to reach global audience (not to mention investments here too) 
  4. Make money (not necessarily for members) 

However, the paradigm changes under the Native Umbrella. Here are the possible steps:

  1. Raising capital through token issuance on the platform (This also forms the marketing initiation. So no double investments) 
  2. Collective decisions can be enabled through members through polling and escrows 
  3. Ability to trade tokens within the community as well as with Native tokens. This benefits not only community builders but also each member

This is testimony enough of the benefits that Native brings to community building. Not only do members enjoy being in the community of their choice but also are able to earn and trade.  

Initially, Native will focus on the following five general categories of communities. These are:

Events: Funds raised will be used to fund events which are recurring in nature. Like, for example, a monthly review of local environmental policies or an annual roadshow. The frequency of the events can vary. 

Charity: Funds raised over here will be used to operate the particular charity. It is in a way the operational expenditure is met through the charity. For example, a charity for old age home. 

Local Theatre: Funds raised is used to pay for production costs. In a way, this promotes art and theatre 

NGOs: Funds raised are used to enable projects that the NGO supports 

Community Funded Projects (CFPs): Funds raised are allocated to specific projects capable of generating additional value or revenue.

Also, the table shows the expected split of the communities and the Reserve Allocation

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What makes up a Community? How is the Platform Architecture?

Much like any community having administrators and members, so does a community within Native have Curators and Members. The roles are slightly different. 

Curators 

Curators can be looked at as the real soul-keepers of the community. They were the ones who participated when the community was being formed and continue to manage the community content. They ensure that the community continues to stand for what it was initially envisaged. Therefore, they can approve or deny the work of members. 

Members 

Members are the strongest and the basic denominator of the community. They are also the powerful ones because they can vote in or vote out contents, as much as change a curator, if necessary. In other words, they balance the community including the curators. They decide on the capital deployment and critical decisions.

So, if we look at such communities we can see that they have a natural power-balancing between members and curators. This allows the continuity and growth of the communities on the originally intended path.

Platform Architecture 

Let’s take a look at the pictorial representation of the Native Ecosystem.

Let’s get to understand the basic elements of the Ecosystem. The Native Ecosystem comprises of Native tokens and individual community tokens. Both have similar purpose. 

Native Token

Native (NTV) will be the base token and it holds a reserve denominated in Bancor Network Token (BNT) initially. Native holds the right to change the reserve breakdown subject to the agreement of the members through a community poll. The break-up would be 50% community fund, 50% smart token converter and Native will maintain a 10% converter weight to ensure liquidity.  

Community Tokens 

Community tokens are, in turn, the tokens that each community will use to interact. They would hold NTV as reserve.

Connector Reserve and Token Pricing 

It is easy to fathom that a token’s pricing would depend upon the reserve, supply, and weight between tokens. This is what decides the token price. The three parameters are: 

Connector/Reserve Balance – This would be the value of base token in reserve 

Outstanding Supply – This would be the number of tokens available in circulation 

Connector Weight – This would be Connector Balance divided by the Market Capitalization 

Therefore, the token’s current price is computed as follows:

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Which community would I like to hear about?

The Native Platform offers a possibility of forming a fan club of Michael Schumacher, the Formula 1 Legend. There are so many different media talking about him, yet there is a lack of a single platform to bring together all such voices. For example, there are YouTubers who have uploaded so many videos of so many of Michael’s races. Then again, there are so many individual websites run by fan/fans talking only about Michael Schumacher and yet these two online communities (YouTubers and website owners) hardly interact. These are just two and there are many more variants of fan-base. 

Native is the right platform to bring all these fans together. Imagine an ecosystem which lives, breathes and talks only Michael Schumacher. The ecosystem will be easily one of the largest.  

There are many intangible and tangible things that can happen. Loading of a video earns the owner some tokens while watching it gives pleasure to the audience. These cannot be simply measured. Also, many of the fans could have been in an actual race and could carry memorabilia like race photos or race clarinets. There would be other fans who wouldn’t have been to those races and keen to buy such memorabilia from the ones ready to sell. That starts an instant commercial ecosystem.  

Now, look at the other aspect. Businesses like apparel or shoes or toy-models can actually sell to this ecosystem of F1 Michael Schumacher fans and in effect become part of the ecosystem too. So, the fan base token can now trade globally. What started as a small ecosystem can now spread outwards. Isn’t that fun to just think about? I am sure it is.

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What are the benefits of a platform that connects individuals who have a common interest? What is the impact of having an economy that allows the community to accomplish its goals?

The benefits of the Native platform are obvious and we covered part of them earlier in this article. Obviously, the ability to fund the project through tokens and ease of implementation and community building are some of the factors which form the basic and most important benefit of the platform.  

There are many other intangible factors which translate to tangible benefit in the form of other factors are intangible so to say. For example, a theatre group following Shakespeare could draw in members from across the globe. A theatre act anywhere in the globe can attract members just because they are connected through the platform. The raising of funds for the theatre is a given but the fact that the community is bringing actors and audience together at the same time is a definite positive.

The same platform can actually go on and sell some memorabilia and in the process allow auction and raise more funds. The community on its own, basis the strength of its passion, begins to thrive and grow.

Economy Enabling Community Goals 

Imagine a Non-Profit Organization or NGO setting up a community on the Native Platform to manage “Child Malnutrition”. Like-minded people will join the community and the community could transcend boundaries. Now, few unknown benefits are that a person from a developed country may actually want to contribute more than a person from a developing country. In doing so, the aid enables improving the lives of children all across the world. This could also attract funds from donors who may not be part of the community but would like to donate. Such a community may look at allowing members with limited rights, if the community agrees through a poll.   

In the absence of Native platform, the bringing together of such diverse population would have been a task, not to mention the donors. Also, because the ecosystem functions well, donors of kind like food, clothing, garments, may also tie up with the NGO leading to the economy thriving and benefitting all. A local ecosystem thus goes global. 

Native has in fact, started with 6 pilot communities. They are mentioned below.

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Use Case 

Designers’ Corner 

Fashion Designing is an art and only understood by those ready to see the future of cool dressing today. Clara is one such designer. She has a lot of ideas but not many to share the passion or discuss it. She craves for the company of like-minded designers. 

Clara comes to know about Native and immediately joins and starts her own project of bringing together like-minded people to discuss designing. She gets lucky as more and more members join the group. Her original vision of people to discuss designing get underway. Not only is she able to share her ideas with the group but also give her views about other members’ designs. The best part though is that they end up creating designs which would have not been individually possible. 

Their designs are noticed by big brands which are ready to pay big bucks for the same. The too interact with the designing community and is able to have economic interaction with them. Besides, such conglomerates are also able to give in their needs and have members design to the requirement. It ends up being a potential win-win for all!! 

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Summary 

Native’s basic idea behind the community building is a novel one. The idea of bringing people sharing the same enthusiasm and therefore, a higher energy on the topic can only lead to positive output. This could be in the form of economic benefit or just intangible joy for the community. 

The novel genesis, ensures that the community has a vision behind its formation, unlike the unnecessary rat-race that the world runs only to find itself at life’s end without ever experiencing passion. So, the passion that the world had so comfortably forgotten is re-christened through the platform and what’s more, it ends up making financial gains and is prosperous. 

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It is also recommended that readers understand more about Native through any of the following informative resources.

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This article is written in response to originalworks’ call on authors’ thoughts on Native. It can be read here.

Image Courtesy: Native Resources   

native2018  

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