If you pick any historical period, you will see that most forms of marginalization have been built on economic systems that establish and sustain the asymmetric distribution of capital and profits. Spencer Dinwiddie ‘s goal of tokenizing his NBA contract foreshadows a monumental shift in how money and power are distributed by leveraging blockchain technology.
History has been defined by leaders trying to optimize government and social institutions to maximize happiness. Humanity’s institutional relationships have changed substantially since the Romans. Subsequent government structures were built by the elite in all flavors – monarchy, theocracy, dictatorship, etc. Ultimately, the ability to maintain dominance was bolstered by principles of instilling fear of breaking the rules while providing the bare minimum societal benefits to prevent rebellion.
However, for the first time, blockchain technology allows people to be their own banks and gain trust in trading with partners around the world in a seamless fashion. While these industries are still in their infancy, the hesitance of the NBA to approve SD8, the US government’s reluctance to accept Bitcoin, and trillions of dollars in negative interest rates all prove that we are doing something right. All these events are part of the same underlying story – people are becoming more powerful, and that scares legacy power structures that have been ingrained in society for generations.
The Era of the Black Fives
The Black Fives era was replete with all-black basketball teams, most notably, the New York Rens and their 83%-win rate over 25 years (including an 88-game win streak). Since the introduction of basketball to African Americans in the early 1900s, the sport served as a microcosm of the struggle for equal rights. The basketball games, however, manifested a community ethos to social change.
Funding for creating teams and organizing games were often sponsored by cultural organizations such as churches and social clubs (e.g., the Y). Basketball games were a place everyone could come together to share ideas for improving their communities. Basketball was a tool for minorities to fight cultural imperialism by reclaiming their identity, and it worked.
As the Black Fives games became increasingly popular, the National Basketball Association eventually allowed African Americans to play in the NBA. Seven decades later, hundreds of millions of dollars are now paid to black athletes in the form of sponsorships and salaries. A good piece of that capital has been successfully filtered back to local communities through both investments by the NBA and coaches/players. NBA Cares promotes the well being of local communities across the country. Still, substantial work needs to be done. While around 70% of NBA players are African American, it was not until 2010 that the first black majority team owner was named. That name is Michael Jordan.
The recent passing of the legend Kobe Bryant has cast a spotlight on a career built on mental fortitude. His vocation exemplified the drive to succeed both on and off the court and to achieve a state of constant improvement. From the age of 17 when he was first drafted to the Lakers, Kobe Bryant blazed the trail for a new generation of athlete-entrepreneurs. His mantra is being harnessed by the newest generation of professional athletes like Spencer Dinwiddie. Because of leaders like Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan, athletes are now expanding their goals to include both business and on-court success. For each of life’s challenges, Kobe remained motivated to do better.
“I’ve always been told that as basketball players, the expectation is that you play. This is all you know. Don’t think about going into business. Don’t think that you want to be a writer. I got that a lot.” – Kobe Bryant
The beginning of another monumental shift in the power structure of contract negotiations started with Lebron James’ controversial television special, ‘The Decision.’ Although widely mocked as an arrogant display by Lebron, the next generation of superstars benefited from this transition of power from teams to players. With the new collective bargaining agreement in place, players enjoy more earnings potential and flexibility than ever before. Rather than deemed as assets ‘owned’ by a team, players are reshaping the equation and ‘renting’ their talents to the highest bidder or best opportunity at hand.
New leaders like LeBron James and Spencer Dinwiddie are crafting an ecosystem to ensure that players’ voices are heard, and finances are secured. It is a startling statistic that about 60% of NBA players declare bankruptcy 5 years after retirement. The focus is shifting away from just earning a high salary to maximizing the value of one’s talents and over their career.
Dream Big: Spencer Dinwiddie and SD8
As LeBron James’ ‘Decision’ did for disrupting the relationship between owners and players, Spencer Dinwiddie’s SD8 token will alter the relationship between NBA owners and players – and their fans. Bringing liquidity to contracts enables players to invest better, plan ahead, and more easily repay fans for their loyalty.
This trend is now likely to accelerate. Leveraging blockchain technology by building transparency into each offering minimizes rent-seeking in today’s outdated financial system. One of the vital advantages of the SD8 security token is the uncorrelated returns (relative to the general market). Placing faith in the talents of players is an attractive hedge against the macroeconomic background of our unsustainable central banking system. The uncorrelated nature of the SD8s will preserve the demand for and continue to shift power in favor of the players, reversing the age-old wisdom that ‘owners’ create value for the NBA.
“I’m passionate about blockchain as a whole, decentralized finance as a whole…For the fans, thank you for believing in me. So really it’s just tying everybody together, kinda trying to show the community and fan base, even though the league tried to take a lot of that out, it’s really showing what it means to bring people together because we’re more powerful when we’re together.” – Spencer Dinwiddie
Tokenization of talent and skill can accelerate the process of democratization through the replication of the SD8 process for various industries. Blockchain technology empowers people to tokenize their talents and seamlessly raise capital from around the world and contribute more positively to society. The world’s trend towards a gig economy will likely further decentralize talent away from larger organizations as workers are learning how to leverage their unique skills to make a living on their own.
These increasingly positive trends point to a social system that can be deconstructed and rebuilt by and for the people. The next generation of civil rights leaders will no longer be labeled rebels; they are respected thought leaders with a global voice using new technologies like blockchain to put the power back in the hands of the people.