Public Democracy plans to use blockchain to better harness the value of positive human engagement and share that value with those who create it.
The Public Democracy team has worked to harness the value of positive human engagement for over a decade, and we intend to combine our proprietary data assets with blockchain technology to build the new currency of engagement: Umatr (pronounced, “you matter”).
The recent deflated crypto-currency bubble coming on the heels of the unregulated ICO craze of 2017 has resulted in some healthy skepticism of crypto-currencies and blockchain. But we have always believed the amazing power and potential in blockchain was not in its ability to create currency but in the transformative power of smart contracts and tokenization. And so while the market shifts following the crash of Bitcoin have extended our horizon on development, we are still quite bullish on blockchain.
Unlike many crypto-projects, we’re starting with more than an idea. Over the past decade, Public Democracy has built one of the largest and most advanced values and behavioral databases in America.
We’re doing a lot of things differently as a certified B-Corp, but one of the most significant is that we plan to launch the Umatr ecosystem by giving Umatr (and all those who will eventually own and use Umatr utility tokens that reflect its value) an ownership stake in that database.
We understand that each of our data points represents a valuable moment when we connected with a real person—where that person’s willingness to engage provided us a glimpse into their values, hopes, and sometimes fears. Every engagement recorded in our database reflects a moment when a person believed that something we were offering them could make a difference and that their voice could matter.
The value of our data and behavioral models built from it is a reflection of those moments when people sought to make a difference, pursue their purpose, and promote the common good. We believe they should share in the value that has been created.
That’s the core concept in our system: the more those who create value can directly share in its benefits, the more they want to create.
Scarcity vs. Usefulness as a Determinant of Value
Much of our economy is based on the value of scarcity, i.e., something has value because there isn’t enough of it to meet demand. Scarcity as a measure of value reflects the primary goals of those who first established the rules of our economic system. It has proven to be an effective means to preserve and store preexisting value. But it is an inefficient way to grow, share, or build value.
When value is measured by scarcity, we create economically-inefficient incentives for individual actors to hoard and concentrate resources based on an underlying assumption that value is determined by a zero-sum approach. It is in the self-interest of all those who hold a scarce resource to reduce the use (circulation) and availability of a scarce resource to ensure demand exceeds supply. Furthermore, if a resource is valuable because it is scarce, actors are incentivized to extract all the value they can out of it, rather than seek to grow more of it.
There is a better, if more challenging, way to collectively measure value: assigning value based on how useful something is.
We believe that scarcity is the wrong measure of true value. Instead, the best measure of value is whether it makes a difference and is useful, individually and communally.
This usefulness measurement is how most of us assess the value of the things (and people) in our lives when we are not thinking in terms of fiat currency. When we talk about the “value” of something in our life, it is not because the thing is scarce or because the person is available only to us. When we are not thinking in terms of money, most of us recognize that value is based on how useful, comforting, or beneficial a thing or relationship is.
By building an economic system based on a value-measure of usefulness, rather than scarcity, we will both utilize a more valid measure of value and one that better aligns the interests of individuals actors with those of the broader economic system.
Modern currency is designed to measure an individual’s value based primarily on what they own and what an employer is willing to pay them. These are valid measures, but they fail to reflect all the other valuable contributions individuals make to society through their engagement in community, civic, and social spaces. This shortcoming skews incentives and is a major economic inefficiency.
Umatr will change that by tokenizing human engagement through the blockchain, securing those tokens with our massive data assets, and sharing that newly-realized value back with those who created it.
This will allow us to both harness the unrealized value of positive human engagement and increase that value by creating a liquid means of exchange for it. And we will do all of this within a crypto-economic system that is designed to reward empathy and collaboration over vanity and hoarding, to establish selfish reasons for individuals to seek the common good.