We live in a digital-first society.
A society in which social media and digital interactions carry more weight than ever before.
The number of accounts on Facebook has surpassed two billion, Instagram has taken over as one of the primary spaces for marketing to consumers, and Linkedin has set a new precedent as a career-defining platform.
Ten years ago, these platforms meant nothing in comparison to the definitive roles they play in the world today.
Yes, many ethical questions still need to be addressed in relation to the ubiquitous nature of these platforms; whether it be in the context of of their revenue models (highly targeted advertising), or in the context of data protection and GDPR compliance.
Either way, regardless of whether particular platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin fall away or continue to grow for many more years (which they most likely will), it is the behaviour that they have created which has become a fundamental and integral part of our society.
Where do most people share life events?
Whether it be the passing away of a loved one or the birth of a child, the wedding of a best friend, or the finding of a stray cat, people invariably turn to platforms like Facebook and Instagram to share real insights into their life.
People open up within the spaces provided by social media platforms.
As such, I would say that we as human beings are forming a ‘collective mind’ on the internet - an interconnected web of shared fractions of our otherwise-disconnected lives. A collection of multiple lives being either lived, or witnessed, simultaneously.
With this in mind, I would go so far as to argue that we are witnessing a paradigm shift in the grand scheme of human behaviour - a shift towards not only digital interaction - but interaction that is, by nature, more social. Specifically, our behaviour has become more social in the sense that our interactions with other people have increased dramatically since the inception not only of smartphones, but of social media- and messenger-platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp etc.
Yes, the quality of our ‘digital’ interactions may differ from face-to-face human contact, and the question of whether or not being more social is a good thing can be left to the philosophers, psychologists and anthropologists in our society.
From a pragmatic point of view, however, this shift is most definitely occuring, especially in light of the democratisation of smartphones and internet access that we are seeing today. In the developing world, with regions like Sub-Saharan Africa and India in mind, smartphones play a crucial role in helping poor people gain access to financial services, or providing much-needed assistance with health or agricultural needs.
Filling the gaps
As omnipresent as what social media has become, with actions like ‘sharing a post’ being second nature for many people, the world of tech, with trading platforms in mind, have not yet fully-integrated the culture of ‘being social’ into their ecosystems. In other words, although many platforms or applications allow users to ‘share’ certain actions, notifications or milestones on platforms like Facebook or Twitter, such platforms aren’t inherently social - they don’t facilitate social interactions between users within their ecosystems.
A domain in which the role of social media has changed our behaviour is that of personal finance and investing.
Investing used to be a private endeavour - tucked behind the doors of corporate banks, financial advisors and investment brokerage firms. In a digital-first age, however, our behavioural patterns around personal finance and investment have changed. With more and more of one’s personal life in the open, people have taken a more social approach towards the way in which they invest.
In recent years. people began investing collectively, socially, and often in an emotionally-triggered way. This could be in the form of investment pools - money being mobilised amongst many people in order to invest in high-value assets such as real estate. Alternatively, this could be in the form of influencer investing - successful traders and entrepreneurs sharing their insights and skills on social platforms such as Youtube, Facebook, or even Instagram.
A large part of this has to do with learning. Many people are intrigued by the prospects of financial investing, but want to do so in a setting in which they feel secure, and in which they can learn for the sake of personal- and financial-development. At this point, it seems logical for group dynamics and collective behaviour to come into play.
In the context of cryptocurrency trading, this social aspect can be seen in the many Telegram, Reddit and BitcoinTalk communities out there - filled with a mixture of beginner and amateur traders that share insights into each other's’ successes and failures.
However, when we look at trading platforms specifically - most of them inevitably have beginner users and advanced or experienced users, but with little to no engagement happening between such users, especially within a platform itself.
This could be something as simple as a built-in messenger that lets users communicate with each other, empowering them to use the platform in a social way. A more advanced form of this could be social trading - incentivizing experienced (and verified) traders to share their knowledge and skills with beginner traders looking to better their understanding of financial and trading models, strategies and best practices.
Ultimately, this consists of stimulating engagement on the platform, allowing users to interact with each other through rich media, and facilitating the creation of unique and meaningful content.
What could trading look like in the future?
With the above points in mind, we see social trading as the next logical progression in cryptocurrency trading.
Although existing platforms do facilitate interactions between users (by allowing beginner to copy experts), they do so in a way that is not necessarily intuitive to the beginner user in the first place.
At a basic level, this relates to the fundamentals not having been implemented correctly: smooth UX flows, simple explanation of features, and overall transparency about security and credibility.
At a deeper level, existing trading platforms haven’t embraced social mechanisms yet - enabling users to communicate or express themselves in a way that a social media platform would. Think of rich content like videos, visuals, emoticons, memes and more.
A more human experience
With social elements, the world of financial investments as a whole becomes more human, more relatable, and most importantly - more accessible. No longer just 0s and 1s, but human-to-human engagement.
Therefore, the potential exists for a trading platform that genuinely combines the positive elements of social media - liking, sharing, engaging, and communicating - with the elements of a great trading platform - security, ease-of-use, fair pricing, and overall transparency.
At Blockport we're exactly building this. Our team is combining the best of both worlds - trading and social media - to stimulate user engagement and the creation of unique content. In doing so, we’re facilitating a knowledge-sharing community
Sebastiaan Lichter, Founder - Blockport
Blockport is an easy-to-use cryptocurrency exchange that bridges the traditional world of finance with the new digital economy of cryptocurrency.
The Blockport 1.0 platform allows users to buy, sell and exchange leading cryptocurrencies directly with Euro.
Blockport is launching an official STO in March, conducting their first equity raise to facilitate global expansion and market penetration.