A major use of the Internet has been to match customers to businesses. Advertising is what drives the revenue streams of the internet's megaliths Google and Facebook, and the intelligent use of customer data to advertise is what Amazon's retail empire is built on. A result of this is extreme personalisation: the information that we receive through these services is attenuated to our historical tastes and preferences. Algorithms, these days, do the job of figuring out what you would like to buy, and selling it to you. On the other hand, customers are savvier, and more information is available on product reviews, prices and service complaints.
But what if your marketing problem is intractable? Push advertising doesn't work because the product is already well known and supported, and pull advertising doesn't work because brand loyalty is well developed. Do these intractable marketing problems even exist? Here is one that is local to South Africa and it might be global too: Post the 2010 world cup, there are a handful of very modern, exquisitely designed, stadia in the country. They were built for two purposes: to host the world cup, and to create facilities for the local Premier Soccer League. The trouble is that seven years later, unless the big teams are visiting, it's a struggle for clubs to fill all those seats. For those South Africans who support local sides, it's relatively cheaper to buy a satellite subscription than to buy a season ticket and, then, there's the cost of travelling to the games and the paraphernalia that goes with it. Sure, most of the money in sports is tied into television, but how can one get bums into stadiums and off couches?
Project UBU (if you haven't heard of it already) is a block chain based Platform as a Service business that aims to deliver a Universal Basic Income product to the market. Translating the jargon, this means that you get some tokens as a reward for downloading the UBU app and participating in the project. Then, as a token holder, you can exchange these tokens with participating vendors for products that they are willing to price in UBUs. More specifically, the vendors can advertise these products to you directly through the UBU app.
Now, an empty stadium seat is an economic waste and a game without stadium atmosphere looks terrible on television, but traditional marketing cannot fix this problem. Those that are loyal to the brand, especially lower and middle income South Africans, have a more cost effective substitute than going to the game directly. What can UBU do? In theory, the lost value of an empty seat could be priced in UBUs and then advertised using push notifications to people in the vicinity of the stadium through the UBU mobile application. People could buy tickets immediately in UBUs instead of fiat currency, and what would have been a dead economic loss for the customer and the vendor could be transformed. The fiat cost of the game has already been paid for by television advertising so getting paid in UBUs for those empty seats is a net benefit for the vendor. And, this is but one example, there is significant economic waste in the world because vendors can't find customers for their stock before it expires or willing customers don't have the available liquidity. More generally, if we think of the stadium ticket problem as a moribund, expiring stock, problem for the vendor, then it is easy to grasp what Project UBU can do for business: Project UBU aims to solve every instance of the stadium problem, all over the world, through a massive collaboration between vendors and customers. The project is creating a complementary currency that can unlock lost value and deliver that value back into the economy; especially to those in need. Now, isn't that fantastic?
If you would like to invest, the Project UBU ITO is currently underway and many more details can be found in the white paper. The goal is 500 million users in 10 years, and worldwide vendor engagement. It’s ambitious and a bit unconventional, but global poverty has not yet been solved using conventional means.
About the author: Viroshan Naicker is a mathematician with a background in graph theory, the formal study of networks. He is the author of the UBU and UBX yellow papers which provide the mathematical formalism for Project UBU.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended as investment advice nor will the author be responsible for any investment decisions that are made on the basis of this article. Cryptotokens are speculative investments that are not for the risk averse.
Photo by Veronica Benavides on Unsplash