Steem Business App - POS(Point of Sale) & Rebates
It's not solely about the upvotes
Some very smart individuals have been sharing some ideas lately on how to build a business on the STEEM blockchain. One of top witnesses, @aggroed, recently started a contest based on this very thing. This post of mine is not really an official entry, but rather my contribution to these ideas.
As we have it today most if not all businesses that are being built on the STEEM blockchain are based around upvotes. In other words, the idea of how to "make money" on STEEM has more to do with the allocation of the reward pool than bringing more investment into the blockchain. The reasons why this is problematic should be obvious, but it might be enough to say that this model itself can never be truly sustainable, because it relies on currency inflation, which is fixed, and not increasing the value of the currency, which is not capped of course.
Let's think about this for a couple of minutes and draw some dreadful conclusions. If all businesses on the STEEM blockchain were built on how to get more of the reward pool directed to a particular initiative or business, then when will the reward pool not be enough? Now, I'm sure that answering this question is not really that easy, and it's probably not meant to. The valuation of STEEM of course has a lot of to with if a business can thrive of fail on this blockchain, but as we know, the valuation of STEEM is something reliant on speculators almost exclusively, at least at the moment.
The important question here is: How can we change that? - Is there a way we can use the STEEM blockchain as a payment method as well? I mean, the advantages of this blockchain are pretty obvious to us all, the three second blocks, the "free" transactions, the ease of use, all these things we know and love about STEEM but how can a restaurant, a retail store or any business for that matter participate of this with us?
POS - Point of Sale
Even if you've never worked in a restaurant or a retail store, there is almost a 99% chance you've seen one of these nifty little machines. Specialized computers with a simplified interface that allow the waiter or salesman to generate the sale, charge, print the receipt, etc.
Needless to say this is nothing new, and of course implementing something like this on STEEM is not really that difficult. As a matter of fact @asbear long ago gave it a good go, and created http://steempay.co for this exact purpose. The interface is quite simple to use, and the process of paying is also very intuitive, as it just generates a QR code that can be scanned with a phone directing you to steemconnect.
To me this idea was nothing short of genius, but as with many things on this blockchain, it probably came before it's time. It's still functioning of course, but as far as I know It did not catch on, and that's probably because the other elements of this particular idea were not present as of the creation of this POS system.
I won't go into more details regarding https://steempay.co , but I do believe it's in everyone's best interest to go to the website and explore it's functions. You can create products, set exchanges, create carts, etc.
This of course solves the issue on how to make a POS system efficient, at least partially, but it can be fine tuned to fit any business, and I'm sure that a talented developer would be able to do this in a very short time granted the source code for steempayco was to be made public. (I've not confirmed at the moment if it is or not)
But we need fresh money, right?
Not that there is something wrong with existing steemians using this type of system to buy food, clothes or whatever business accepts STEEM this way. Regardless of the POS system, which of course is necessary for efficiency, what is probably more crucial is to get none steemians to jump onboard and take advantage of the benefits of using STEEM as a form of payment.
The rest of this post/idea is somewhat impossible at the moment, at least in my country of residence, but this is probably going to change soon. I speculate that if coinbase was to list STEEM, the issues for pragmatic conversion from STEEM to fiat would be solved, and thus the implementation of this system would be cake as they say.
However to continue my point, allow me to pretend there are no legal hurdles we must overcome for that particular aspect of this business idea. I know for example STEEM monsters does accept credit cards for the purchasing of cards and free accounts, but I'm not sure this would apply to a POS system at a restaurant that sells you STEEM or SBDS to replenish your account, in very much the same way we use gift cards.
Not really, not in the "traditional" sense at least, but somewhat similar. Imagine if you will that @crimsonclad opens up a heavy metal t-shirt store in her home city. She loves STEEM, she loves metal, she loves T-Shirts, it all pans out, right? Ok, now imagine that when people come to her store to buy merchandise she can give people the option to buy STEEM accounts loaded with a particular amount of STEEM or SBD.
For the sake of argument, let's say that her t-shirt business is called @crimstshirts and that she as a business owner setup this account with 2000 SP and 200 SBDS to begin with. These numbers of course, I'm pretty much throwing out there with the idea of painting a scenario and not because they've been carefully calculated with sales volume or ticket average, but bare with me for a little while longer.
Now, someone walks into the store, they see that @crimstshirts accepts STEEM and that you can get your STEEM account for free, if you load it with 20 STEEMS to begin with. Keep in mind that at this point the POS system would have to be able to charge FIAT for this very transaction and that the POS system would also be able to create easily and account for the new Steemian.
Every time @crimstshirts sells STEEM tokens or SBDS to her clients, she would be effectively cashing out the STEEM she holds, but of course she would have to constantly be replenishing the STEEM and SBD she is selling via this method. In theory, this would create a constant STEEM buying cycle that would be beneficial to the blockchain, granted it's not too complicated for the business, in this case @crimstshirts, to buy more STEEM.
People would walk away with brand new STEEM accounts, minted right there on the spot and with the ability to transact with STEEM right away.
I know what you are asking, Why would people buy STEEM with Fiat to buy T-shirts? I'm glad you asked.
Time to get creative
This last leg of the equation would have to be decided by the business and pretty much can be as flexible as possible. The advantage to the business as we all know is quite simple to see, they get instant settlements of STEEM when they sell merchandise, but also can gain valuation of the tokens they elect to hold on to.
However the benefits depending on the operation can be many more. Off the top of my head I can think of a mechanism of incentives that should make a thinking sapiens love the idea of holding STEEM to purchase t-shirts from @crimsonclad.
Wanna win STEEM back for your purchases?
That could be something, and something quite tasty. Who doesn't like discounts? People who are not right in the head I tell you, that's who. So imagine that this POS system could on the STEEM blockchain, upvote the transactions that the users are generating when they purchase things from @crimstshirts. Would that not be something?
So picture the scenario:
- Me, the client, goes to Crimmy's store.
- I buy 40 dollars of SBD;s and get my free account.
- I make 5 purchases in two weeks (I'm a fan)
- Everytime I do it's posted on my STEEM account (think reviews, pictures, whatever you want)
- I win rebates in the form of upvotes for buying the stuff I wanted to buy anyways.
How is that not a win/win?
Granted for my example, my little idea of how @crimsonclad could moon selling t-shirts, I'm using Crimmy, someone who is very familiar on how the blockchain works and would probably require no help. But, a system of the sort for a mom and pops would require technical support and thus a team of people that could provide it.
So in order for this to work, or at least the way that I see this working, the developer of said app, said POS system could also offer its services as technical support. The employees of this new POS system company could very well be steemians as this would make the most sense, but not necessarily bloggers, vloggers or what have you, just people who grasp the blockchain.
How would this company, the one that developed the system make any money? Where is the profit? Well, this also has to be thought of, but off the top of my head it makes sense to me that this company would charge either a small fee for each transaction, and I do mean really small. Or that most of the money would be made in the form of curation for the stores working under the umbrella and/or technical support.
These last two bits are the ones were the lines become a little blurry, but just because I'm trying to think of ways to make the process as frictionless as possible. We can't in the name of making money suggest a system that is too complicated or more costly that paying the 2.7-3.5 Percent that normal credit card processing companies charge, because I'm sure such ideas would be turned down faster than lightning.
At any rate, If you got this far, if you had the visual stamina to read my crazy little idea, first: Thank you, and second: Tell me what you think about it? Could it work? Should Crimmy sell her old T-shirts? How much would you pay, etc?
As always, much love my friends