Outlier Ventures Weekly Brief Issue #40 View Online

Make sure you sign up for Diffusion in Berlin. 2 days of hacking, 17 protocols with a combined 26 million lines of open-source code.

This week LINE, the most popular messaging app in Japan with 80 million monthly users, was approved for a cryptocurrency license.

“The messaging firm said last month it’s aiming to build a “token economy” around its own blockchain LINK Chain. It will offer two tokens – LINE Point in Japan and LINK for other nations – aimed to connect users and service providers. Five decentralized dapps (decentralized applications) will soon be launched across categories including “prediction, Q&A, product review, food review and location review using social media.”

News of a messaging app moving into the token economy is not exactly new news. Kik, Telegram and obviously Facebook are all working on feverishly on new products driven by the need to diversify away from selling ads. But taking a step back, it’s important to get a sense of scale. 

  • Whatsapp - 1.6 billion
  • FB Messenger - 1.3 billion
  • WeChat - 1.1 billion
  • QQ Mobile - 823 million
  • Snapchat - 294 million
  • Viber - 260 million
  • Discord - 250 million
  • Telegram - 200 million
  • LINE - 80 million
  • KakeoTalk - 50 million
  • Kik - 15 mIllion
For comparison daily active users across all dapps is less than 100k. As Kik, LINE, Telegram and Facebook (fine Libra) roll out their tokens, all the metrics around users, transaction volumes, and engagement are going to explode. Not to pick on Zerion or Instadapp which are great experiences, but why would a user download a new app or sign-up for a new service if the same financial services are offered in my messaging app? We already see this in China with WeChat and Alipay. I find it weird than the DeFi movement is stating the competition as banks and existing financial service providers. It’s true that HSBC is unlikely to start staking on behalf of users. But it wouldn’t take much for Messenger to include an Instadapp-like dashboard for managing digital assets + FB brings a billion person network with it. If I am Facebook (Calibra) or WeChat I am just integrating uniswap, maker, compound, and into a single interface. 

For for all the building over the last 10 years and for all of the value already created, distribution and owning the customer relationship is where value will be captured. This was obviously the play for wallets and exchanges, both of which are moving up and down the stack to offer full service solutions. But this is where the messaging and social media companies have the advantage over the crypto upstarts. It doesn't feel like Schumpeter’s gale. More like Schumpeter’s breeze. (I am pleased with that. NB a gale is 7-10 on the Beaufort scale, a breeze is 2-4. And Sir Francis Beaufort also created the Beaufort Cipher.)

Long read: Just got my paperback copy of The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I encourage everyone to read it. 
Short read: The Arc of Collaboration


From The Stack

  • Fetch.AI CEO Humayun Sheikh will be giving a live AMA on 10th September, 1:00 PM (UTC) with Grace Pham from Kiwi Group on Facebook - Link
  • Ever wondered how Sovrin can be used in apps for easy self-sovereign identity verification services? The team has released a post shedding light on the matter - Link 
  • Ocean Protocol crossed a thousand stars on Github this week. Their latest AMA has been ported to Medium with all the latest updates on the team's progress - Link
  • Decentralised edge solutions provider will be integrating Chainlinkto enable smart contracts secure access to Poseidon's off-chain computing platform - Link
  • Brass Golem Beta 0.20.2 is out. It features a much revamped blender verifier component that should make verifying blender results more stable. Read up on the changes in the new release in this post from the team - Link
  • If you are exploring how to build Aragon apps, catch up on the latest solidity tips andtricks with this tutorial from Aragon -  Link
What The Team Is Reading

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