March 18, 2019
It seems obvious that there will be a next evolution of companies on the Internet that are truly Internet-native. The closest thing today is startups that use Stripe's suite of tools for creating and running their companies.
I can go to Stripe Atlas and set up a company. Then I can use Stripe Checkout to start accepting payments. Eventually, maybe I can even use Stripe to pay my employees, pay for things on behalf of my company, or raise money.
All this happens on the Internet, but it's not what I'd call "Internet-native." When I click that button on Stripe Atlas, I'm actually filing paperwork and creating a Delaware C-Corp. When I receive a payment on Stripe, I'm really waiting for a transfer for happen between a credit card processor or a bank.
I think we're going to reach a point where there are pure, Internet-native versions of all the above. And yes, it will probably happen on top of blockchains / crypto infrastructure.
While the above systems are pretty smooth, they only work for a small number of people. Today, I don't need anyone's permission to deploy code to the Internet. But I do need the right citizenship and resources to form a corporation. And I do need a corporate bank account to be able to accept payments in my product. It's too much friction.
In the future, I'll be able to click a button and instantly spin up a new Internet-native company, most likely embodied in a smart contract on a blockchain. Then I'll deploy my code somewhere, click a "Start Fundraising" button, and get my company funded from other Internet users, using Internet-native money. Next, I'll use a checkout on my website or app that takes Internet-native money for payments. Maybe I'll use that same money to pay my employees and automatically share profits with my investors.
From where we stand today, this seems pretty crazy, and really difficult to achieve. The current solutions already work pretty well. The crypto ones are super clunky, and we still don't know whether or not scaling them is technically possible. Many people, including myself, are skeptical of near-term adoption.
But from another angle, it seems crazy that we use the existing systems to run businesses on the Internet, that the friction to starting them is so high, and that most people don't have access to them. From that angle, a future full of companies that are truly Internet-native seems inevitable.
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