2 min read

Usable assets

Some investment assets are meant to be bought and sold. They don't provide any particular utility while you hold them, so you just hold until the price is right. Stocks and bonds are the obvious examples. Sure, you might get dividends, and you get to vote on certain things if you have enough stock to matter, but there's no real utility that allows you to use the asset. Compare this with cars and houses. You might buy real estate to flip a property, but if it's a long term investment, you're going to live in it or rent it out.

Most cryptocurrency follows the stocks and bonds design. It's meant be held, not used. We love to talk about the utility of tokens, but most of the time using it means you're spending it. $ETH and other native tokens let you utilize the network, but you have to spend some of the token to use it. This financially disincentivizes benefitting from its utility.

Most NFTs are similar. Sure, you can make an argument for the utility of art, but NFTs are a digital representation of the asset, not the art itself. You can enjoy the JPG without owning the NFT. Most of the utility offered to NFT holders is entirely off-chain. You get access to private community chats, private events, exclusive merchandise, etc.

Probably my favorite NFT project right now is Orb Land. Eric Wall created this orb concept where the person who holds the 1 of 1 NFT gets to ask him any question they want every week. Only the orb holder can read the answers. You're basically paying for consulting/investment advice services, but fully on chain. You could easily extend this concept to offer different services. It's an asset that represents access to a portion of the creator's skills and/or knowledge. You benefit while you hold the asset.

Koin is my favorite example of a usable token. Because of the mana concept, you don't have to spend Koin to reap its benefits. You benefit while you hold the asset. I believe other usable assets are actually best suited on Koinos because usage doesn't cost gas. Every time you ask a question of Eric's orb, you have to pay gas. For high value activities, that's fine, but it's still additional cost that you can avoid with Koinos.

Koinos will pave the way for more projects like Orb Land and Koin that empower users to actually gain on-chain utility from their investments. When you're incentivized to use the network, usable assets are the best asset class.


P.S. I'll be interviewing Eric about Orb Land on the podcast soon.