Native’s Origin Story: Why Community Matters
Native is a platform committed to supporting a transition in economics towards a framework where communities are the focal point. They can come together around shared values and goals, while expressing those values through collective decision making and their own local currency.
The intersection of blockchain technology, and the future of economics and governance is complex. Native’s commitment is simple: Native promises to all who come to create and participate in Tribes on our platform, to provide the tools that enable you to assemble, govern, and transact effectively and efficiently, within and between communities.
A Conversation About Community
At Native, we think that “blockchain” and “crypto” have become buzzwords that all too often obscure and overemphasize the potential that the technology has. Although Native utilizes blockchain technology, it is as a means to an end, not an end in and of itself. Native utilizes blockchain technology in order to enable a wider range of sovereignty and quality of life for as many beings as possible. Therefore, we are creating a conversation that unpacks these esoteric terms in order to ensure that communities around the world can understand and benefit from the technology and realize the inherent value that they already hold.
Native is founded by Jake Vartanian, who first encountered crypto in 2011 when a college friend told him about Bitcoin. At the time Jake was pursuing a degree in finance, and was intrigued by the notion of software that enabled open value networks, which are systems that enable exchange in a disintermediated fashion. So, he purchased some Bitcoin and sent them to a friend across the country. Remarkably, a few hours later the transaction was successfully completed.
Jake watched as more and more cryptocurrencies emerged, all with similar value propositions: software protocols that created distributed ledgers of recorded transactions. Some cryptocurrencies grew in popularity, demand, and market capitalization. Others fizzled and faded away. It was evident that the technology itself had significant implications, but the technology alone did not logically justify why cryptocurrencies like “Dogecoin” were becoming valuable. Upon reflection, one meaningful distinction emerged: it wasn’t just the technology that was making the coin valuable — it was the quality, cohesiveness, and commitment of the community that was creating the value.
Blockchain technology enables human beings to come together around anything they find meaningful — ideas, projects, or even memes, in unprecedentedly transparent and borderless ways. Because of the common interest, these communities — and therefore currencies — began accumulating significant monetary value. It became clear that 1. what human beings care about does not need external validation to matter; 2. what matters has financial value; 3. there are pools of value that are overlooked, disregarded, or rejected in our current economic system; and 4. blockchain is not only unveiling that value, but allowing communities to build it without excessive intervention and extraction by intermediaries.
Jake continued to closely monitor the cryptocurrency markets and gradually became a respected voice in the sector. Meanwhile, his personal experiences were convincing him that contemporary economic policies and institutions unnecessarily squander significant value, and sometimes even oppress human lives.
An Adventure To Indonesia
During a trip to Indonesia in 2014, Jake visited a Mosque where he found himself seated next to a young man. Eventually, they began to engage in conversation and Jake learned that the young man had aspirations to open an ice cream cart in time for an upcoming festival. But there was a problem. He didn’t have any money, nor a government identification card, which was a necessary document to acquire a loan or bank account. This young entrepreneur’s venture, which required $100 USD to turn into a reality, was unrealizable. Struck by the absurdity of the situation, Jake agreed to invest in the venture and handed over $100 USD.
Two weeks later Jake received a call from the young man, who had since become an ice cream vendor, and who excitedly told Jake that he had profited $100 USD and now had $200 USD. The young man wanted to return Jake’s initial investment since he now had all of the funds he needed to begin a sustainable business. However, given that the young man did not have and could not get a bank account (since he lacked government-issued identification), traditional means of transferring the funds were out of the question. Western Union was their only option; however, upon further investigation they discovered that the Western Union fees are so exorbitant that it made the transaction unrealistic. Jake knew that millions of people around the world are excluded from basic financial services just like this young man. He also knew that with sufficient development, technologies like blockchain had the potential to enhance financial and accounting systems so that secure, transnational transactions could take place with nominal fees, which would empower marginalized populations around the world.
In 2016, Jake began to work on marketing campaigns for token launches. After the first successful raise, he decided to create Cryptodex, the first ever token launch consulting firm. As he continued to advise organizations on their marketing campaigns and tokenomics, he noticed that the technology is a tool for community empowerment. Creating a digital currency is cost prohibitive for most communities. Even if a community is able to establish a cryptocurrency, it is unlikely that the currency would provide enough liquidity and utility for sustainable demand.
In 2017 Jake had the opportunity to work with Bancor, an organization that set out to enable instant liquidity for tokens of any size market cap without needing to be added to a centralized exchange. Through algorithmic market-making functions, the possibility for Native emerged — the ability to create and deploy independent economies for groups of any size, that can build value through the organization of the community, and simultaneously be plugged into a liquidity network that helps to price each economy’s value in a global framework.
Subsequent posts will unpack the concepts introduced in this article, introduce you to the Native ecosystem and expand into the relevant economic, technological, philosophical, and sociological concepts that Native and our society rest on.
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Upcoming articles and videos will explore the numerous applications of Native and the underlying philosophy that guides us so you can see the future that is truly possible for community economics.
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Watch Native Talks Ep 1: The Native Origin Story
In this video Jake Vartanian (Native Founder) and Michael Shaun Conaway (Business Development) discuss how the idea for Native emerged. Subscribe to Native’s Youtube Channel here.