If we want to get rid of an item, some of the options we have are eBay, Amazon, or some pawn shop or consignment shop. eBay and Amazon have opened the world of retail to the masses. And that's great. Some new startups, piggybacking off of the success of companies like Uber, Airbnb, and other similar projects have also sprouted up.
For profit operations are always an option, and I'm not opposed to for profit operations, by any means, but they don't necessarily do the best job, especially for people who want to use the service frequently. In past articles, I've discussed how for profit operations are not the best ones for freelance workers. Similarly, a cooperative approach is probably the best option for those who have a lot of material that they acquire and want to trade, such as art collectors, people who collect coins and stamps, or trading cards, or similar collectibles.
A Trading Cooperative
Regardless of which is better, we should have a choice. Just as banks and credit unions offer their own benefits and weaknesses, we need a cooperative alternative to things like pawn shops and consignment shops. And that's where Project Outpost comes in. The goal is to create individual shops across the nation, if not beyond, where people can go in, get their products appraised, get loans on their items, or sell them on consignment, and maybe even through auctions.
One of the main issues with pawn shop loans is that they are incredibly expensive. One reason why pawn shops charge such a high rate is because there's a lot of overhead with storing an item, risk of damage, failure of loan repayment, and the lack of ability to easily sell an item that has been pawned. An item can sit in a pawn shop for a long time after it is abandoned. One of the benefits of blockchain assets is that they can subsidize and distribute risk. Essentially, the holders of the currency take on the risk, and get dividends in return. This method, along with the non-profit nature of the cooperatives, will reduce the cost of pawn loans and other services offered by the shops.
Appraising can take a while. It would be nice if people had a place to hang out and relax while their items are appraised, or while they're waiting for other services. A number of banking operations have started to create mini-cafes in their branches, so the idea is nothing new, but it would be nice to have this kind of service as well. It can add to the atmosphere, and also bring in more people who might take a look at the items available.
Crypto Conversion and Credit Union
The final goal of Project Outpost is to expand the operation to being a full exchange and credit union, where people can come in and convert between crypto and government issued fiat, physical assets, etc, as well as having access to the traditional services of a credit union, including a checking and savings account and loan services. This phase of the operation would be the most difficult, as it can take hundreds of thousands of dollars and going through a lot of red take to officially charter a federal credit union.
Why "Project Outpost?"
Finally, one might wonder why I decided to name the project "Outpost." It's a reference to trading posts or outposts, that was once relied for trading of goods on the frontier. We are entering a new economic frontier, and trading outposts will be needed again, but for very different reasons. So there you have it. It will take a lot of work, and a lot of support, but this kind of cooperative will help so many people. Feel free to comment, and check out other projects by the World Builder initiative.
Also published on The Future Vision Publication on Medium.