Back to the Future with Network Markets

Awake created Shoptype to power a new world where the networks are themselves markets. Finally, anyone can monetize their relationships via their personal and professional networks. After all, it is the natural way.

As it turns out, we can apply this technology in all aspects of work, life, and play. And we can also apply it to fixing politics and government. After all, ask any politician worth his salt: it’s (always) about the economy, stupid.

So, the most critical thing to understand about our world then is its very fundamental nature. That fundamental nature reflects not only across the whole of the known universe, but across each one of us as individuals, the participants in the Great Market. Indeed, the whole universe is really connected as a single Universal Market. The coronavirus pandemic is demonstrating the truth of this, even as I write this.

When we return the Internet to such a programmatic network of networks, all kinds of magic can be unleashed. In order to understand the extent of what is about to happen in the coming couple of years, let’s start at the beginning with a quick tour through the history of the market.

2nd Century BC

The Silk Road was a network of trade routes connecting China and the Far East with the Middle East and Europe. It stretched from Asia to the Mediterranean, traversing China, India, Persia, Arabia, Greece, and Italy.

It was dubbed the Silk Route because of the heavy silk trading that took place during that period. This valuable fabric originated in China, which initially had a monopoly on silk production until the secrets of its creation spread. In addition to silk, the route facilitated the trade of other fabrics, spices, grains, fruits and vegetables, animal hides, wood and metal work, precious stones, and other items of value.

In 2013, China announced plans it would revive the Silk Route, connecting it with more than 60 countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.


Construction begins on the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, where today it covers 61 streets and handles over 500,000 visitors visit daily, and nearly 100M annual visitors.


Established by the Dutch East India Company, the Euronext Amsterdam is the oldest modern securities exchange, and it dealt with printed stocks and bonds. It was subsequently renamed the Amsterdam Bourse and was the first to formally begin trading in securities.

Prior to that, the market existed primarily for the exchange of commodities.

1801, 1817

The LSE is one of the world’s largest and oldest exchanges. It was founded in 1801 but companies were not allowed to issue shares until 1825, which hurt its growth in the initial years. Today, it has more than 3,000 listed companies with a combined market value of $4.6 trillion. It was the world’s largest exchange until the end of World War I, when it was dethroned by the NYSE.

The NYSE is the largest stock exchange in the world with a market capitalization of $22.9 trillion. Some of the world’s largest corporations are listed here. Unlike London Stock Exchange and many other exchanges, the NYSE began trading stocks from the first day of its launch in 1817.

Due to its strategic location and little domestic competition, it quickly became the most influential exchange in the United States. However, the NYSE has been facing tough competition from NASDAQ, which was founded in New York City in 1971.


The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) was the first wide-area packet-switching networks, and the first network to implement the TCP/IP protocol. Both technologies became the technical foundation of the Internet.

This modern network became the basis of the world wide web in 1989, bringing the promise of global information access to all.


And then in 1989, Tim Berners-Lee created the HTTP and WWW protocols, laying the foundations of the modern Internet as we know it.

We went from the ARPAnet to something recognizable as email and the web, and this digital platform became the new real estate for capturing the eyeballs and minds of billions of people globally.

1994 & 1995

Amazon started in 1994, and eBay a few months later in 1995.

What momentous events, from humble nerdy beginnings to maniacal monopolization of the commerce sphere. We’ve written about this before, and they seem to have taken more than a cue from 1984.

2010 to 2019

Millennials came of age, and powered the Rise of Influencers. Social Media goes from being “friends” with media to “frenemies” of media and commerce, to then to outright enemies as they seek to take over the world.

Facebook and their ilk are now worth trillions of dollars, numbers previously unimaginable, just a few years ago. Their non-linear advantage with AI and global resources makes them a naturally formidable force against the rest of society, natural because it is the logical extreme that capitalism and intellectual liberalism promotes.

Ultimately, we are moving from one set of global super powers towards a new set – net states that have more consulates than many countries, not to mention economic and AI power that is vastly superior.

We should be worrying less about American or even global politics, but more about these new digital countries that are rising fast thanks to borderless digital trade and seamless exchange of people, goods, and services.

Today, as the world media plays along with the story of capitalism vs socialism, it is in fact a mere red herring.

The truth is that the most dangerous enemy is the one within, the capitalism-powered virus that we have infected ourselves with, it has become a cancer and morphed into Feudalism 2.0, where only a few own most of the lands and resources, and the rest of us pay rents and taxes and can only do so much, and our voice is heard only if we have money.

The irony is that the new overlords are the very technology upstarts that dislodged the previous oligarchy. The oppressed become the oppressors. And this time, society in general is at a serious disadvantage, stuck in the middle of these new economic wars, increasingly being fought by more and more sophisticated AI.


If you want to launch an online business, or an offline one, and need to advertise, who do you go to? How much do you pay? If you drive transactions through any of the major app stores, how much revenue share must you agree to? What choices does you have in these matters?

The sign of a monopoly and a feudalist society are impossible to ignore. Technologically speaking, if the land and the means of farming are owned by nobility, the remaining populace must by definition become serfs.

If the past 30 years have moved us towards this natural technocracy, the unraveling of this will also come from the same technological frontier. And the past 10 years of Internet trends have also brought about the perfect conditions for a new transformation to occur.

In particular, the greatest trend of consequence has been the Rise of the Sharing Economy.

In the Sharing Economy, one has slowly not needed as many cars (Uber), hotels (AirBnB), office spaces (WeWork), clothes (Rent The Runway), storage (Neighbor), pet care (Rover), errands (Task Rabbit), pickups (Postmates), and so many more things and services.

The disappearance of assets from the books of a business brings about a service that makes appear whatever is needed, whenever it is needed. These service providers eventually become new aggregators themselves, yes, but they have certainly shown a new model that anyone can apply.

Shoptype brings the same type of liberation felt by consumers, now to digital businesses anywhere on the Internet. We took the idea of the Sharing Economy, and stretched it to beyond breaking point, and then rebuilt a new platform with the components we found. The Shoptype AI is the mind and heart of this new digital universe, synchronizing and coordinating the billions of independent agents in real time.

Shoptype is an operating system that creates efficient markets that trade at high volumes and exhibit t-zero settlement speeds, allowing service providers of all kinds to plug in and monetize their wares in real-time.

Effectively, Shoptype unravels the network effect – from the perspective of a business, it no longer matters how large someone else is on the Internet. It turns commerce into a personal and social game where everyone wins, as opposed to where someone winning means someone else necessarily lost.

Social Networks to Market Networks

The past decade began the trend of consumers ditching assets, and preferring experiences and sharing. The same is true for businesses. For instance, businesses used to need to own their own e-commerce technology, now they use SaaS platforms. One can cite hundreds of such examples.

Similarly, influencers figured out that they could get rid of their own website infrastructure, and just wholeheartedly adopt all the social media platforms to far better effect.

Shoptype now does the same thing for products and services, liberating them from having to live inside websites, or indeed, live anywhere in particular at all. Why bother with an office if you can work anywhere? And why bother with a store if the whole universe was your storefront?

Shoptype makes it so that brands do not need a website any more, and while they still can have one (or many!), Shoptype plugs brand catalogs of goods and services directly into the various media and commerce platforms across the Internet.

More importantly, it does so by turning anyone who is inclined to share media with others, either friends or followers, into a commission-driven sales person for brands. Shoptype makes it so that a well-liked product or service with a decent network commission automatically sells more by ensuring all parties of the marketplace are benefitted.

Shoptype handles attribution and settlement, freeing brands to focus on what they do best, without overwhelming management teams with unnecessary complexity. Leadership is now free to set strategic direction, with daily and weekly tactics deployed using this incredibly fluid technology fabric that turns everyone online into an instant sales person. Or even a full marketplace as any node in the network scales up.

This organic, living, breathing network of networks leads to all kinds of new possibilities. As a resilient, self-healing organism, Awake Market fosters a nourishing environment for new businesses. Large corporates plug in, and become scaling partners, and the petri-dish of human experimentation and creative destruction of human innovation continue in tandem in a perfectly self-choreographed dance of market evolution.

After all, like any other type of economic phenomenon, virality can be engineered with the right incentives coupled with provable reliability. And this latter bit needs a strong foundation that can auto-correct itself, and route liquidity around any friction points, including large networks trying to arbitrage the value transfer process.

This is the viral antidote to greed and capitalism, it is the virus of market networks. It returns the Internet to a democratic platform, open for business to anyone with a good idea, and a willingness to make money not just for themselves, but their whole market network.

Welcome to free markets, welcome to an Awake Market.

Powered by Shoptype, launching at Shoptalk 2020.

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