Machine NFT: Revenue Security in the Age of Automation


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The dark side of automation was once a product of science fiction, where fears of intelligent machines taking over the world were unleashed. Now, there is a very real feeling that intelligent machines pose a real threat to humanity – or at least a real threat to humanity’s earning potential.

In 2021, McKinsey estimated that a quarter of the US workforce could lose their jobs to automation by 2030. As things stand, only a handful of people will benefit from increased automation. As machines take over the manual, repetitive tasks that humans have traditionally performed in most industries, there are concerns that the parties controlling them will undermine the incomes of a quarter of Americans and further widen the wealth gap.

One opportunity to collectively benefit from the age of automation lies in blockchain technology. For many, “blockchain” may still seem like a niche buzzword on Twitter. Maybe it reminds you of your cousin’s crypto investments or celebrities buying Bored Ape NFTs for hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, have use cases beyond collecting digital art. These are unique tokens stored on a digital ledger that can prove ownership, and connecting real-world machines to NFTs may be the answer to machines taking our jobs.

The issue of ownership

The problem at the heart of the dystopia we’re heading towards isn’t automation, it’s who benefits from automation and who doesn’t. Most people don’t own machines or don’t have the capital to buy them. They use machines as a way to earn income, but when cars can drive safely, Uber drivers will be a thing of the past. Drones will make delivery drivers redundant. The robots will cook, prepare and serve food and drinks etc. Machine NFTs represent hope for a future in which that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

NFT machines allow forms of democratic ownership of machines. A Machine NFT is a contract on a public ledger that proves ownership of a machine, a fleet of machines, or fractions of the above. In theory, they can allow anyone to verify that they own a machine or an interest in a machine without the need for centralized authority, although relying on NFTs for this instead of governments is a few years away. . More interesting and imminent is the use of Machine NFTs which represent participation in a pool of machines. Anyone with an internet connection can hold a share of the machine economy, so the more machines there are, the more NFT machine holders earn.

Instead of Uber, imagine if communities collectively owned their neighborhood’s self-driving vehicles. Each member of the community would receive a share of the ride fares earned by the vehicles. The community could also decide to sell the data collected by the vehicles for additional profit or allow them to deliver packages and groceries when demand for groceries is low. The machines would provide passive income to the community, which could cover the costs for the community to use those same services.

Suddenly 2030 is an idyllic world where anyone can enjoy automation. While robots go to work, humans can devote themselves to more meaningful or creative work without suffering a loss of income. We live in the age of abundance and the means to support this already exist, it’s just currently concentrated in the hands of a few Web2 companies.

The rise of machine NFTs

NFT machines allow forms of democratic ownership of machines. A machine NFT is a contract on a public ledger that proves ownership of a machine, a fleet of machines, or fractions of the above. In theory, they can allow anyone to verify that they own a machine or an interest in a machine without the need for centralized authority (although relying on NFTs for this instead of governments is a few years away). ). More interesting and imminent is the use of NFT machines which represent a stake in a pool of machines. Anyone with an internet connection (and some cash) can hold a share of the machine economy, so the more machines there are, the more NFT machine holders earn.

Instead of Uber, imagine if communities collectively owned their neighborhood’s self-driving vehicles. Each community member who invests money would receive a share of the ride fares earned by the vehicles. The community could also decide to sell the data collected by the vehicles for additional profit or allow them to deliver packages and groceries when demand for groceries is low. The machines would provide passive income to the community, which could cover the costs for the community to use those same services.

Suddenly, 2030 is an idyllic world where anyone who can afford a stake can profit from automation. While robots go to work, humans can devote themselves to more meaningful or creative work without suffering a loss of income. We live in the age of abundance and the means to support this already exist, it’s just currently concentrated in the hands of a few Web2 companies.

Web3: Hope for a bright future

Web3 is about verifiable ownership of assets through the internet without the need for trusted third parties. Most people have no control over assets, such as their data, on existing Web2 social media platforms like Facebook. These centralized platforms dictate terms of service to users and leverage their data. Platforms are free for users to use because users are the product. The history of Web2 is full of data misuse scandals and personal data leaks. Web3 is here to change that and the way we interact with the internet as a whole.

NFT machines will be used to align stakeholder incentives in today’s “thing economy” and the rapidly approaching era of autonomy. Manufacturers, investors, owners and users will have access to a stake in the machine economy. NFT machines ensure that people still have rights of profit, ownership and governance in the age of autonomy, and everyone in a community will be able to extract increasing value from the machines that run the things – without Big Tech companies needing to step in. Automation is an issue that needs to be viewed from a human perspective, not just as a tool to increase profit margins.

NFTs have burst into mainstream conversation through digital art and collectibles, but the full potential of this technology has yet to be unveiled. After all, non-fungible tokens are just another token format – they aren’t artistic per se. Digital art has demonstrated its viability. Over the next few years, the practical role that NFTs can play in abundance distribution will become clear. NFTs will become a crucial connector of the physical and digital worlds, giving individuals and communities independently verifiable ownership of the world around them.

Max is an entrepreneur, writer and co-founder of peaq

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