Disruption, disruption, disruption. That has been the name of the game when it comes to new technologies for the better part of the last decade. Virtually every industry has seen this buzzword used in some capacity over the last few years, and rightfully so. New advancements in technology have allowed companies in various industries to attract new customers, provide more value to these customers, and operate more efficiently overall. This has led to a change in the traditional way of doing things as new trends and methods emerge. One industry that is also noticing this trend of disruptive change is the outdoor industry.
When we typically think of the outdoors, we think of it as the antithesis of technology. Instead of being inside wasting away at a computer or tablet screen, we can be outside being active and becoming one with nature. To only look at technology and the outdoors as mortal enemies set to battle against each other until one gives up would be shortsighted, to say the least. In fact, through advancements in technology, we have now reached a point where the outdoor industry can increase its overall value and benefits to outdoor enthusiasts through things like blockchain technology.
Blockchain technology has been labeled as the most disruptive technology of our lifetimes since its creation towards the end of the last decade. Now, as we prepare for a new decade, the technology could be nearing a time of heavy adoption sooner rather than later. Much of the excitement surrounding blockchain happened in 2017, when bitcoin skyrocketed in price over the period of a few months, causing great interest and speculation. Suddenly, every new startup was labeling itself as a blockchain company, such was the level of excitement. Now, roughly two years on things are a lot quieter. The huge speculations are gone, and blockchain technology can begin a new era, characterized by tangible use cases and helping to solve real problems.
The outdoor industry generated nearly $900 billion from annual consumer spending in 2018. Much of this spending was as a result of outdoor enthusiasts, those people getting outdoors on a regular basis and participating in various group activities like hiking, whitewater rafting and more. However, the outdoor industry includes more than just those people who find the time to get outdoors often. It also includes outdoor enthusiasts who love the outdoors but aren’t able to participate in activities for some reason. In both of these groups, you will also find influencers who want to share their knowledge of the outdoors, or people who just find it interesting and want to know more. One company hoping to help all of these groups is Huck Adventures Inc., and they are using blockchain technology to help them do it.
Blockchain allows users to make transactions without the need for third-party oversight. While in the eyes of some central banks around the world this is seen as a bad thing, it actually provides a trustworthy exchange of funds and information for participants. All transactions on the blockchain are recorded as part of an immutable ledger. At its core, a blockchain is a database. However, what makes it special compared to other databases that exist today is the fact that it is decentralized. This decentralization makes it far less susceptible to hacking and malicious attacks and ensures the safety of information.
Blockchain technology also provides a reduction in transaction costs compared to other methods. On the Huck platform, transactions will be recorded quickly to provide transparency to all parties. They will also be reliable and immutable, meaning that they can’t be tampered with.
The Huck Token is an ERC-20 token built on the ethereum blockchain that allows community members to earn rewards by participating in ecosystem activities. The primary use case for the token is the distribution of earnings and rewards to those participating community members. People that spend a lot of time creating content about the outdoor industry will be some of the ones to earn the most. For example, when it comes to outdoor enthusiasts, one of the most crucial parts of the adventuring is the gear that is used. Content creators that create reviews for things used on the platform are able to earn rewards that can be converted into tokens.
Ben Nelson, CEO, and Founder of Huck Adventures had this to say about the company’s involvement in the blockchain industry and why he doesn’t see fiat being the dominant currency of the future. “I wanted to create a reward system and I wanted to plan for the future. I see it being more of a crypto economy and I wanted to make sure that we were creating our reward system with our own HUCK token.”
He went on to give some insight as to how the Huck token would function in their ecosystem. “Our users can be able to use it inside the app for purchasing trips, swag, and gear. But they can also exchange it out of the app on the market and earn cash for their involvement in the community.”
One of the weaknesses of the Huck token and probably a weakness that many projects in the cryptocurrency world have faced is the fact that the average person doesn’t quite understand how blockchain and cryptocurrency work. As such, users on the Huck platform may be aware that they can get rewarded for writing blog posts and reviews, but they might not receive the full benefits of the cryptocurrency by knowing how to trade it on exchanges.
Blockchain in Outdoor Retail
Since most people involved in the outdoor industry are unlikely to be the same ones on their computers trading on exchanges and holding bitcoin, there are no other direct competitors to the Huck token in terms of utility tokens in the outdoor industry. However, there are other companies in the outdoor industry using blockchain for different purposes or incorporating blockchain technology from other companies.
L.L.Bean, a retailer in the outdoor industry, had plans to incorporate blockchain technology into their products with the help of Loomia, a creator of smart fabrics. The clothing created by Loomia would be used to collect data on how the clothing was being worn. Everything from temperate, frequency of wear to motion could be recorded and the data would be shared with Loomia in exchange for rewards. This data would have allowed L.L. Bean to create better clothing items since they will have greater insight into what their customers think. However, due to other changes happening at L.L.Bean the idea was scrapped.
Fjällräven, another outdoor apparel and equipment brand, launched a cryptocurrency as part of a virtual scavenger hunt. The goal of this launch was to increase brand loyalty and engagement. Earning Fox Coins allowed for entry into giveaway competitions hosted by Fjällräven and gave participants a chance to earn some great outdoor gear.
Blockchain technology will continue to be a disruptive force in just about every industry it enters and the outdoor industry is no exception. Companies are always seeking to leverage technology in new ways to improve their products and create a better brand for their customers. The most effective use cases for blockchain in the outdoor industry will be in the creation of a rewards system that encourages participation in an ecosystem or engagement with a brand and its supporters.
(Disclosure: The author is a writer for Huck Adventures Inc.)