Republic Crypto is accelerating the growth of web3 by supporting its most ambitious builders and investors.
Dogecoin. BitTorrent. Shiba Inu. are examples of coins that supporters lovingly refer to as Altcoins. Pejoratives have a more notorious name in mind - Shitcoins.
Welcome to the era of pump-and-dump, where at least one new Shitcoin (or multiple) pops up every single day. In 2021 alone, 8,070 new coins were created, a literal doubling of the entire token space since 2008 within a single year. While it was once impossible to imagine a world where Netizens managed dozens of utility tokens in their everyday life, the current Web3 paradigm has created this new reality.
In such an era of coin proliferation, intention becomes irrelevant, sustainability a focus. The most unanimous issue that Shitcoins face is their lack of any kind of discernable purpose. Then, there are its short-term price increases coupled with immediate price plummets. This intentional volatility perpetuates the vicious cycle where founders look for the next cash cow to prey upon, and investors try to outsmart the next fool.
Current bear market sentiment coupled with impending regulations has made it quite clear that such volatile coins need to be eradicated. If not, they pose a significant risk of leaving a permanent black mark on the legitimate concept of Tokenomics. Entertaining the logic that consolidation can lead to greater adoption, the question becomes: which few tokens can survive? In our eyes, only those that can monopolize user attention, and integrate as many use cases and utilities to fit a culturally cohesive user narrative. Thus, our solution of Shitcoin Minimalism is proposed, where our main focus shifts to how we can get the fewest tokens to accomplish the most.
As its name implies, the Super Token will effectively function as a one-token-fits-all. Its open-source compatibility will take form in our SuperApp, which will provide a framework for open dialogue, tech development, value exchange, and distribution, which not only helps users of all member projects easily navigate their experiences but also drastically reduces the cost of project development (economies of scale reduces marginal cost). The goal: how do we achieve the scale and user retention of a SuperApp like Wechat (for other regions, think Rappi, Kakao, & Revolut who are not demonstrated monopolies yet, but have potential), while still preserving the equitability of a multi-party ownership structure? Completely open-sourced, the SuperApp would effectively operate as a multichain API wrapper running on top of multiple L1s. Similar to WeChat’s mini-programs, these APIs can be thought of as sub-programs within the SuperApp, where each API would ideally use the Super Token as its native currency.
The fundamental incentive a potential API player has to fly under the wing of another (or potentially multiple) super token is bootstrapped distribution and de-risking. Why put in all the operational and capital expenses to silo user attention, only to fall short at the hands of first-movers or Web2 incumbents? With Super Tokens and their Super Apps, a distribution platform and token performance is offered that can be piggybacked on for adoption. If you end up garnering a loyal following, even in the worst-case scenario you could spin out again to be your own Super Token candidate.
Our SuperApp has three infrastructural layers: the ledger, the access layer, and the financial machinery. All three potentially aggregate and abstract away layers of complexity on the backend from the consumers.
The ledger keeps the tokens and the smart contracts, preserving the three key properties we mentioned above. The Ledger could be a network of different L1’s and L2’s connected with trustless bridges with some additional notion of shared security. Or, in a perfect world, it could be one super-scalable ultimate L1.
The access layer consists of nodes and indexers, providing tamper-proof access and historical aggregation, both to the end-users (e.g. to user wallets) and service applications (e.g. arbitrage bots). The access layer is the closest we can get to an established world of high-load Web2-era software: after the index is built, it can be replicated for the purpose of horizontal scaling without much trouble. Eliminating centralization bottlenecks in chain history storage, node access, and event scrapers is a task for the near future, with projects like Pocket Network leading the charge.
Finally, financial machinery hides away conversions between internal assets, much like how the derivatives market (on a good day) fills the role of de-risking businesses and industries and increasing overall capital efficiency. The existence of the Super Token does not mean application tokens don’t have a place; it simply obscures the presence of said tokens from the user. This layer exists at an intersection of finance and engineering, unifying pricing functions, automating token conversions, and building in derivatives and hedges in order to provide an integrated end-to-end experience.
At its core, infrastructure is what gives a token value. If the hub is successful at capturing certain traffic and user engagement, then its token may become super if it facilitates usage of that infrastructure in a meaningful way (preferably for both the suppliers and consumers of goods and services going through the hub). A conglomerate of user-facing applications would be incentivized to collectively invest in public goods infrastructure that benefits everyone at the end of the day.
Doing away with the vision of users holding dozens of utility tokens, we enter the realm of payment mechanisms that can take a user from a fiat/major crypto entry point straight to receiving utility from the app, without additional steps and crippling fees added on top.
At this point, it should be clear that the goals of a Super Token are not fundamentally different from that of any successful utility/currency. Who recognizes its value? Who is willing to exchange their goods/services for it? What are the chances it loses all of its value overnight (worst even, for good)?
While these questions seem like high school economics topics, it’s clear that fundamentals have been forgotten and that sobriety is the scarcest resource among projects and their token designers. To focus and build protocols and businesses that last the generation, we need to tune out the noise and stick to historically validated fundamentals, where we can look back on the wildly successful Web2 era for inspiration.
By Republic Crypto: Alex Ye, Alexander Bokhenek, Anna Li, and Emily Tang