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In 2014, my mother passed away, and my siblings and I had the task of cleaning out her house.
The sad truth is that so many of her belongings ended up at the dump. Sometimes, you can’t even give things away.
We did, however, discover amazing photos that we’d never seen before. Wedding photos, rare childhood images, and old photos of relatives long past; many with detailed notes. What would become of her precious memories and our family history?
If we boxed her memories and stored them, or even if we displayed them in albums, would they deteriorate, be lost, or burnt; or would a future custodian just dump the collection of deteriorating paper anyway?
My solution was to scan the photos, then store them on USB sticks for family members who may want them – and maybe store them in the cloud with notes, stories, and other historical information.
The idea grew when I decided to also pass down a digital file of my life, a record for distribution to relatives and anyone else who cared to have it. My digital autobiography if you like.
And in contrast to my mother’s photos, very little scanning would be needed, because never in history has technology enabled our entire lives to be recorded in such detail with a multitude of photos, videos, and memories.
I imagined my descendants, thousands of years from now, seeing photos and videos of my life and times, hearing my voice, reading my stories, and learning about the life I lived. As if they’d care – perhaps I really need to get over myself?
But then I imagined how awesome it would be if I could access records of my grandparents, great grandparents; and my great, great, great, great grandparents – and so forth! I know precious little beyond the virtually nothing I know about my great grandparents; and I expect most people are the same. Because in the end, we all become stories – most of which fade into oblivion.
Nowadays, those interested in genealogy turn to services such as ancestry.com to seek information about their relatives, but the invention to be created goes way beyond.
Ownership & Control
I use Facebook to connect with friends, but also as a quasi-diary.
However, as a diary, Facebook lacks flexibility and wasn’t really created for that purpose – it just partially caters for it.
Facebook posts appear in the order they were created, even though they don’t necessarily reflect life in a chronological order. For example, if someone posts a childhood photo of themselves, the post is made now, not inserted to a date when the photo was taken.
It is what it is, but even used as a quasi-diary, Facebook posts are records I don’t own and can’t control. If Facebook is superseded and discontinued, or if Mr Zuckerberg cancels me for whatever reason, my Facebook memories are gone. Discarded like an old photo album.
Imagine if you could truly own and control your images and stories. The invention to be created will enable true ownership and control.
Level 1 (Traditional, web-based): The invention will be a social media platform, enabling stories and chapters to be created like posts containing photos, videos and/or stories, and evolving as a digital book.
Level 2 (NFTs): The invention will enable books, or assets within a book (e.g. photos, videos, music, stories and/or chapters) to be minted as NFTs, for storage on the Theta blockchain, and available for withdrawal or transfer.
Level 1 (Traditional, web-based)
The author of the book will generally be the owner and subject of the book, writing and creating their own digital autobiography by design or accident. However, there are many other possible use cases (e.g. The author may be writing on behalf of an owner, and the subject may be a company, organisation, another person, or a fictional character).
The platform may also be used to write traditional books, but with the flexibility to release chapters as the book evolves; and to insert them into the book at a time, and in a position, as determined by the author.
The author may also add hyperlinks to other books, where permission may be granted by the other book’s owner to access a story, chapter, or an entire book. As such, different descriptions of a story may be referenced (e.g. multiple stories of the same subject or event, such as a concert, may be sourced from an unlimited number of other books).
Membership will be free, and authors and owners may invite members to subscribe to their book(s) (e.g. “follow”). As such, a member may subscribe to as many books as a member wishes to read. In fact, a member may never become an author or owner, choosing to participate as an observer only, as per the behaviour of many users on today’s social media platforms.
Each story and chapter, and each book, may be acknowledged by members as per other social media platforms (e.g. “liked”), and member feedback such as “comments” may be enabled or disabled by the book’s owner.
Additions to books, such as new stories or chapters, or an updated version, will generate notifications to all subscribers, generating traffic to the book. Likewise, notifications may be created to announce and advertise an upcoming release.
The invention also contemplates genealogy in the form of family trees, linking an unlimited number of books to a tree, where permission is requested and granted by another book’s owner. By bringing the family tree to life, a new and vast dimension is added to greatly expand genealogy as we know it today. That said, the invention does not seek to reinvent the wheel, but to demonstrably improve the vehicle by integration with an existing service such as ancestry.com.
Level 2 (NFTs)
The invention enables owners to mint NFTs, or a series of NFTs, at the click of a button. Owners may then deal with their assets (e.g. withdraw to a wallet; offer for sale at Theta Drop; etc).
Sales of personal computers grew exponentially with the introduction of user-friendly software (e.g. Microsoft Windows). It is similarly envisaged the invention will introduce NFTs to every-day people.
1. NFT Mint & Marketplace
Those who lose everything in natural disasters, sometimes escaping with nothing more than the clothes on their back, tell a story that surprises no-one; and we all understand absolutely.
It is that they can rebuild and replace most "stuff", but they can't replace rare family photos and precious heirlooms. These losses are the hardest to take.
In other words, items which may have little intrinsic value (e.g. paper and ink), are often the items of greatest worth.
So in recognising that one person's junk is another's treasure, we may realise the key to generating mass adoption of NFTs.
Most people will never understand the value of Secret Pineapples, yet they value images and assets that perhaps have no value to others.
In the era of social media, true ownership, and the protection of one's precious online assets, is a value-proposition that most people will now get, grasp and adopt.
And soon, they'll be buying Secret Pineapples! Or more likely, a limited edition of a song, movie scene, podcast, or book cover - or whatever they find of value.
And for those celebrity owners with newly minted NFTs to sell to fans and collectors, Theta Drop is the NFT shop; and the automated generation of high-value stock listings is a mouth-watering proposition.
Wide-ranging NFT revenue streams include, but are not limited to, fees for minting, storage, withdrawals, sales and transfers.
2. Book Distribution
Where an owner has offered a book for distribution, it may be offered to members for free, or for a price, being a once-off fee for a complete book, or an ongoing subscription for an evolving book.
Most books will be of little interest to the wider market (e.g. offered free to interested friends and family members), but it is realistic to expect that some books will generate high demand. These may be books offered by celebrities or social media influencers; or traditional novels by famous authors (e.g. Imagine a Harry Potter book, let alone the series, being gradually released to a congregation of fanatical and obsessed readers).
Although prices will be determined by owners and the market, it is reasonable for the distributor to earn a percentage of the price for generating revenue for the owner via its platform, because major steps, barriers and gatekeepers in the book publishing and distribution process, have been eliminated.
The value of control and self-publication for authors, and especially up-and-coming authors, is golden.
Like other social media platforms, considerable revenue from advertising may be expected when membership reaches a critical mass.
The advertising opportunity is a potentially enormous business, with unique opportunities to flow from the success of members.
In keeping with the "ownership and control" appeal of the invention, protecting the privacy of users is critical to establish trust and integrity for the business. Responsible advertising will create a very acceptable environment for users, high appeal for advertisers, and huge profits for the enterprise.
In a Nutshell
Theta is the leading blockchain in the media and entertainment space.
Evolution Books is the social media platform, designed to utilise and promote most, if not all, of Theta Labs' core products and competencies. It opens the door for every-day people to get involved in NFTs, cryptos and the Theta ecosystem.