There are many economics papers on bootstrap equilibria, for instance if agents in an economy expect it will do well, maybe that translates into actual results through the mechanisms of confidence, investment, and so on.
Right now we have a huge and unprecedented laboratory for testing claims about bootstrap equilibria, namely crypto and in particular the markets for tokens. Imagine you are a private entrepreneur, and you have a new idea for how a money or store of value should be run. Yet, to give your asset some value, you need to convince others your idea is valid.
One option is to write better software than that governing existing crypto-assets.
Another option, increasingly popular, is to use your market power in some good or service to make your “gift certificate” (read: token) more focal. Let’s say for instance that you have invented a new computer game that in some regards is better than that of the competitors. The “old school” approach was to sell the game for a profit, and of course that still often goes on.
Yet there is now another option. Try to cash those potential profits into yet higher profits by using them to build focality for a new money. Issue tokens that can be used to play the game. You hope that will create a demand for the new money you are issuing and thus bootstrap its value. If requiring money to be used to buy a “get out of jail card for having paid your taxes” works for Uncle Sam, might not “get to play this computer game token/card” give your money positive value too?
Let’s say the market can support 4000 different monies, one public the others private. In equilibrium, which are the services that get tokenized? Is it?:
1. The services with high mark-ups? Low mark-ups?
2. Big consumer bases?
3. Well informed and well coordinated consumer bases?
4. “Influencer” consumer bases, in the Gladwellian sense?
5. “Trivial” consumer bases, that you don’t mind risking?
6. Some other properties? What I observe so far is that crypto-assets are being created by nerdy tech types, and thus they are linked to goods and services that also are created by those same nerdy tech types — a classic economies of scope, lack of trust on the supply side question. I doubt if many of the top executives at Nordstrom are sitting around wondering whether their next Fall sale should be attached to a crypto-token. But exactly why not? This probably boils down to trust issues, rather than any intrinsic suitability of the product.
Is there any good theory paper on these questions?
Note that Heinrich Rittershausen, writing in the early twentieth century, thought that eventually most goods and services would be self-financing through their own currencies.
What theory of bootstraps can we divine from the data on which tokens meet the market test? (Or is it too early to say?…but surely we can start in on a measurement…) Am I correct in thinking that the really successful consumer products just want to take the profits and run, without bothering with tokenization? There is no such thing as an Apple token, is there?
Help! And no, I am not giving away free tokens…for any good or service.