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The Decentralization of Monopolized Marketplaces - How Technology Will Succeed Where Politics is Failing

The blockchain will decentralize established economic structures and return profits and power to the people.

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It’s no secret that the majority of marketplaces are owned or at least heavily influenced by a few key players. For instance, almost all US media is owned by just six major corporations — Disney, News Corp, Comcast, Time Warner, National Amusements and Sony. This trend of centralized ownership is reflected in most industries when the ownership of subsidiaries is accounted for. 

Various attempts and initiatives have been attempted by political figures and world governments to tackle monopolies. But these have largely been a failure. Amazon, eBay, Walmart and Apple are the top four marketplaces by a large margin. 

Even with antitrust statutes in Europe, companies like Apple can get away with paying an effective tax rate of 0.005 percent due to having its headquarters in Dublin, Ireland (a tax haven). Meanwhile, Irish citizens themselves pay about 40 percent on income above €35,000. The ‘Apple Tax’ adds 30 percent to Apple products alone and this can be done because their technology is proprietary and commercial.

For a long time, the story has been the same. The politicians pretend to do something while corporations issue statements about the importance of taxes (without paying much of their own) and of abiding by the rules. But soon, industries that were formerly monopolized will be forced to change, or they will risk falling behind as new technologies offer the fairness in society that they refuse to provide.

Related: 3 Tips for Succeeding When Your Industry is Dominated By a Monopoly

Retail and e-commerce

E-commerce is one of the largest industries. As it should be. People will always need to buy and sell physical goods, and it is much easier to do this online. The only problem is, humans have a tendency to centralize. It was inevitable that we would all end up using the same online platform to buy and sell. If someone asks their friend where they got their nice products or good deals from, they might say Amazon.

However, the good quality and competitive deals are beginning to thin out. In spite of breathtaking profits making Jeff Bezos rich enough to send himself into space for fun, prices on the platform continue to rise, and quality continues to decrease. I have seen it with my own eyes many times. The product on Amazon might be $15 with free shipping, but $10 with $5 shipping on the website, meaning the customer would save $5 per consecutive item on the website. Free shipping and Amazon’s commission aren’t free; the cost is passed on to the customer.

That’s how centralized institutions create monopolies. They entice the buyer with low prices and good quality. Over time, very very slowly, the size and quality decrease while the price increases. Eventually, the customer is overpaying, but the competition is already out of business at that point. On Amazon, that point comes rather quickly. Good products are often copied and either censored or listed under the Amazon knockoff. In a truly free market, the best product will rise to the top. But Amazon, the largest market in the world, is anything but free.

That being said, Amazon is one of those above-mentioned centralized institutions that has created value for the world and helped bring us to where we are now. If only a few stooges in charge wouldn’t wring the economy for every drop of profit they can squeeze out, it would in fact be a great asset to society. Rather, it is becoming yet another leech on brands, consumers, and workers.

The world needs a free market. A real free market. Until now, humans have not had the technology to make this happen. We have had close approximations at certain points in history. As critical as I may be of American capitalism, our free markets pushed us farther than Soviet market planning back in the early 1900s. It is better for everyone to put their heads together and figure out the best solution in real-time rather than a few individuals behind closed doors. 

Today, our economy is directed by a few individuals behind closed doors. 

And yes, it’s difficult to direct such massive economies without equally massive control. That’s why China exercises its control with an iron fist. The alternative is the blockchain. If we can create an economy where the rules and regulations are built into the system, then we no longer need to rely on centralized third parties to manage transactions and monitor security. The blockchain can safely and securely manage transactions. The rules of the system can also be voted on by the consensus of the users of the system, not private interests trying to skim profits.

That’s exactly what Splyt will do. It will create a truly free market by tokenizing real-world products as NFTs. By connecting products to the blockchain in this way, it will enable secure, peer-to-peer transactions without the need for a middleman.

Gaming

As an avid gamer myself, crypto in gaming is something that I have been following very closely. Gaming is no longer a side gig or a hobby -- residents of the Philippines used the Axie Infinity platform as a means of earning an income while jobs were suspended during the Covid-19 crisis. The eSports industry is huge and with massive prizes. Now, gaming is being combined with the world of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). I only wish these sorts of platforms existed when I was younger.

But this is only true when rewards are fairly distributed between network participants. This is exactly what Gamerse is doing, with its new ‘share-to-earn’ revenue model. Gamers get rewarded as a result of group activity. Basically, the more that a group participates in content sharing on the Gamerse social network platform, the more it gets rewarded in terms of APY yield. 

The architecture will also provide an NFT marketplace for gamers to trade skins and other items without excessive fees. This will also mean more profits for gamers as a result of a fast and democratic marketplace. No longer will centralized studios own your assets and keep all of the profits from them. And if for some reason the game itself dies, the NFT will remain.

The cross-chain NFT compatibility offered by Gamerse will help individual games like League of Ancients (LOA) to prosper. LOA seeks to become the world’s first free-to-play and play-to-earn MOBA NFT platform. It has stated that it wants to build the best MOBA ever, with gameplay inspired by DOTA2 and League of Legends, a game I have put thousands of hours into when I was young. If they can top or even match League of Legends, they will be in an incredibly strong position.

With current trends, this may only be possible when there is an appropriate NFT marketplace. The NFT community is very fragmented. We need decentralized spaces to congregate and share news and information. The inability to trade NFTs from a certain game could mean that a gamer is throwing away thousands of hours of gaming time. This is most certainly going to be a dealbreaker when selecting a platform to play on. People will gravitate towards the largest communities. 

So if you are a new or long-time gamer, you may want to consider making some money while you play instead of sinking time and money into a hobby that only pays off in happiness, which isn't bad, but adding earnings on top is better.

Related: How Entrepreneurs Can Harness the Power of the Booming Gaming Industry

Immutable equality

Speed and efficiency are important in new crypto projects but are often secondary to equality through decentralization, which is the founding principle. 

Of course, you’ll also find this in constitutions and other pieces of core legislation. Having a balance of power is well known in international relations and state management. This time, however, it is not just words to be circumvented by ambitious parties through clever legal mechanisms. 

The blockchain is a sort of “electronic constitution,” and is immutable. So instead of writing a constitution and creating third parties to enforce it, equality is built into the architecture through math and computing logic, governed by consensus. It is solving age-old problems that we were unable to fix before. Ultimately, we will create a more equitable economy that can't be gamed by powerful individuals. 

Related: How Financial Technology Can Help Move Us Closer to Wealth Equality

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