Ensuring the future of millennial retail with cryptocurrency

This is an opinion piece by Jeremy “JJ” Khoo, CEO of iFashion Group. He is also involved in crypto project MegaX.

This is a follow up to the previous piece I wrote titled “Candy Crush, Instagram, Netflix, then maybe Walmart — The attention economy and the millennial retail problem

Covered in the previous piece were the challenges faced by both online and offline retailers in engaging the millennial generation of consumers — smartphone driven and attention deficit.

One of the suggested ways to complement retail is to future proof it by embracing new technologies — not the least of which is the advent of cryptocurrencies.

When blockchain and consequently Bitcoin was introduced, it immediately brought about a fascinating premise — the ability to create a trust-less, decentralized currency, owned and transacted by entire communities or movements. This could not be accomplished with fiat (or traditional) currencies currently in circulation — if you are everything to everyone, you usually end up appealing to no one.

For one of the first times in modern history, communities can be served by currencies they choose to be associated with. This goes beyond geographical boundaries, and can interweave people from different countries, languages, race and religions — all bounded by the same movement. The currency in turn powers these movements. This is mind-boggling to say the least. A few sacred cows will undoubtedly be slayed.

Without digressing into the multifold possibilities, we will focus on the millennial movement, and further zoom in on the retail transformation at stake.

The millennial movement is fashionable, hyped up, connected and constantly on the move. Its the equivalent of doing a synchronised catwalk in a runway show over hot coal. Truly, the only constant in the millennial generation is change. To bring an entire (or substantial parts of the) millennial generation together under a single movement is almost an unattainable feat. And no. I’m not talking about the Beliebers here.

With all that said, top technology companies have already accomplished a whole lot. Snapchat. Instagram. “Cool” companies that created something novel and exploited network effects among the connected millennials.

As far as these companies and their shiny toys evolve, they are only able to influence their audience as far as their userbase goes. They do not have the actual means to direct their end-users beyond the brilliant filters and vicarious living.

Enter cryptocurrencies. By its key attributes, a cryptocurrency associated with the millennial movement would give them the control and ownership they crave, and to make better choices in pursuit of their life quests. This is a paradigm shift to how influence is perceived. With a millennial-ish currency, you do not have to compete with the smartphone for his/her attention — you got it, way before he/her purchased the phone with the currency.

A well positioned movement with a millennial cryptocurrency would be able to directly influence the daily activity and expenditure of the millennial generation. Adoption of the currency by retail brands, games, f&b would all be governed by popularity and approval of the millennial masses.

By giving millennial ownership and association to their own currency, retail can get the lifeline it needs to transform. The rules may have stayed the same, but the medium changes drastically, and millennials have a direct say to how their community spends and supports the retail scene. Retail gets the much needed shock to the heart with a renewed millennial retail vigour. Brands can also adapt to the shifting sands with more clarity over millennial expenditure.

With a millennial currency, it becomes trendy to shop and spend again.