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The Cohere Newsletter #8 - Should we talk about blockchain? We should probably talk about blockchain.

The Cohere Newsletter
The Cohere Newsletter #8 - Should we talk about blockchain? We should probably talk about blockchain.
By Bill Johnston • Issue #8 • View online
Greetings lovely community people!
I’m not going to sugarcoat this - today we’re talking about blockchain.
Hear me out - it’s an important topic for community leaders and one that most are not paying enough attention to. Admittedly, conversations about blockchain and “crypto” can feel irrelevant at best, or like you are trying to decipher the secret code from a club you don’t belong to - “scalable sharded chain”, anyone? 🤡
There are practical examples of blockchains being used to create real value, particularly with distributed supply chains. There are also plenty of impractical examples - in the last 6 months activity related to NFTs, or non-fungible tokens has exploded in the art and collectibles space. Cryptocurrency trends are now firmly embedded in the mainstream news cycle. Like the early Internet, I suspect what looks like play now is actually the work of figuring out next-gen business models (more on NFTs below).
For Community Leaders, the reality is that blockchain technology could be used to solve many critical problems for communities and networks, and will likely drive the next evolution of the web - what many are referring to as “Web3”. It’s time for us to start learning, discussing and experimenting.
  • Member Identity: Currently, member identities are tied to the host’s community platform identity system. Blockchain would allow individuals to create a central identity they manage and share all or specific assets with any community.
  • Member Contribution: Contributions (Answers, content, digital artifacts, reputation, accomplishments) are tied to a member’s account on the host community system. Storing (or referencing) content on a blockchain would allow for “create once / publish anywhere” with total creator control.
  • Value Transfer: Community members essentially give ownership of contributions to the host platform and have no control over the value of their contributions, no ability to make a claim of ownership on contributions, and no way to control the value exchange for their contributions. Blockchain (and NFTs) allow creators to add their creations to a chain, and control the sale, licensing, and distribution of content.
In short, blockchain offers a decentralized and programmatic way to manage identity, ownership, credentialing, and value exchange.
Blockchain / crypto / NFTs / DAOs - it’s all a lot to take in. I know.
So, consider today an introductory session and set of resources.

Blockchain Fundamentals
Crypto fundamentals and NFTs (Google Slides) by Patrick Rivera
Crypto Startup School - Andreessen Horowitz
Non-fungible Tokens
NFTs, explained: what they are, and why they’re suddenly worth millions - The Verge
NFTs Were Supposed to Protect Artists. They Don't. - The Atlantic
Web3 and a New Type of Disruption
Who Disrupts the Disrupters? - Not Boring by Packy McCormick
Thanks for reading! Got feedback? Questions? Feel like going deeper on this topic? - feel free to drop me a line:
PS: although things are looking up, I know many are really stressed and struggling. If you need support, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
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Bill Johnston

Exploring the future of online communities and business ecosystems

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