When comparing brick and mortar from the past 20 years to today’s global $2.8 trillion market for e-commerce, there is one thing that immediately stands out.
Retail and its digital equivalent have not evolved. eCommerce is stagnant.
E-commerce models the paradigm of traditional brick and mortar retail so closely, that it cannot imagine what post-retail could mean. Consider that our online shopping experience is designed based on a metaphor of a physical shop, mirroring the experience of going into a store where we browse, inspect the item we like, keep shopping if when we want more, and then checkout and pay. With e-commerce, rather than carry the item home our order is shipped to us. Brick and mortar retail, as well as e-commerce is naturally constrained by physicality, raw materials, manufacturing plants, shipping, the speed of a plane, ship or truck carrying the items, and how much space we have in our house to store things we buy.
A post-retail world: virtualized physical goods
Post-retail, on the other hand, is based on a digital goods that are acquired, shared, or gifted from a video game. Digital goods don’t have the same constraints as physical items. When it comes to in-game digital items, we can have 10 or 10,000 in our account and cycle through them on a whim as we play games. When it comes to virtualized physical goods (i.e the dApp vIRL, see https://govirl.io/), though the physical item is manufactured, we can own many more than we could personally store since they’re digitized and stored elsewhere. vIRLs are the digital twin of a physical item that trade like an NFT and allow the holder to redeem them for the physical item at any time. This is great for fans, collectors, or businesses making money selling or trading these items. We could own 500 pairs of vIRL sneakers and keep them in our WAX Account, and never have to worry about moving them, security, re-authenticating them each time they trade hands, cross border shipping, customs costs, etc.
Digital goods are the future of commerce and will define post-retail. If you grow up in a digital world, do you want to own something physically or just have access to it when you want it? Do you want to have a digital representation of ownership you can trade or sell instantly? Do you want to know the items’ chain of custody and authenticity? Do you want to show the items off on your avatar or interact with them in AR or VR? We think the answer is a resounding yes to all these questions.
The WAX Platform powers digital and virtualized real-world item trading
Our focus on the market for virtual goods led to building a suite of tools that allow developers and other businesses to build marketplaces quickly and easily. Video game customers spending $100+ billion per year on virtual items are painting a clear picture of the future of retail. Consumer products are just easier to manage when they are virtualized and traded just like in-game skins. Ask a Twitch or YouTube streamer giving away merchandise or selling it. They reveal immediately that customers overwhelmingly love digital goods. Their viewers want to trade them, share them and sell them, quickly and easily.
Neither brick and mortar, nor its stunted descendant (today’s typical e-commerce) have the ability to do any kind of trading and instant sharing. And that’s why we created the WAX Platform.
The WAX Protocol Blockchain and suite of microservices
WAX Platform has two components: a high performance DPoS WAX Protocol Blockchain and a specialized suite of microservices. The WAX Protocol Blockchain is necessary because the market wants transparency, decentralization, true ownership and a token-based economy wherein customers can directly influence the platform through voting and staking. The suite of microservices are business critical because they are necessary to run a successful digital goods business. And this is not some set of services created in a vacuum. We battle-tested the microservices ourselves the past year to finely tune them to work together at scale.
We are the only company in the world that uses its own blockchain in running its primary business every single day. As of June 2019 prior to mainnet launch, the testnet of the WAX Protocol Blockchain has 90 million transactions of valuable NFTs under its belt with vIRL and VGO dApps. 90 million transactions is far more than any other testnet has conducted prior to mainnet release -- and many orders of magnitude more than any other NFT or digital goods marketplace.
The founders spent years building the most successful marketplaces in the world for video game items and skins, and have applied that experience to the design of the microservices and the associated WAX Blockchain.
The easiest way to understand what the WAX Platform is by our project codename: W. A. S. P.
W.A.S.P. comes from the:
- WAX Protocol Blockchain
- Amazon-like decentralized marketplace
- Steam-like decentralized virtual item trading
- PayPal-like decentralized global account
The microservices are the “ASP” part of the W.A.S.P., available as part of mainnet release:
- WAX NFT Creator: https://creator.wax.io/create-collectible
- WAX Account: https://wax.io/blog/a-sneak-peek-of-wax-account-features
- WAX All Access (OAUTH): https://wax.io/blog/wax-all-access-is-now-live
- WAX ExpressTrade: https://trade.wax.io
- WAX Marketplace (e.g. OPSkins.com): https://opskins.com/
- WAX Explorer: https://wax.io/blog/reimagining-the-block-explorer-with-the-wax-explorer
- WAX Random Number Generator: https://wax.io/blog/how-the-wax-rng-smart-contract-solves-common-problems-for-dapp-developers
The WASP product roadmap includes numerous other features, but the direction is already clear. The guiding principle of our roadmap stems from a fundamental question:
What good is a blockchain unless it has all the services that accrue value for its customers?
By delivering on WASP, we fundamentally believe the world will transact many times more digital goods than it does today, both purely digital skins, and virtualized consumer products like sneakers or collectible cards. The enthusiastic and incredible adoption from our audience so far has shown us what’s possible.
In the near future, when looking back at today, the need for innovation to a post-retail world will likely seem obvious and just the way things ought to have evolved. Just as we consider Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, or Google as services we cannot live without, millions of customers will say that about the WAX Platform.
Stay tuned for more on WASP!
Let us know what you think by joining the WAX community: