Tokenizing the human potential
I believe the education system worldwide needs to radically change to unlock the full human potential. What about we let teachers and other mentors participate in the success of their students?
Imagine that the identity of each child is registered on the blockchain and automatically launches its own token as soon as it enters the government’s education system. Now, all teachers and other people working closely with the child will periodically be rewarded with a certain amount of the child’s personal token.
Once the child turns into a young student and finally grows up and contributes to the economy it’s time that teachers and mentors will get back a reward. A tiny percentage of the salary can now be distributed back to all the people who had a significant effect on the students personal development and skill shaping.
This will create a long-term financial incentive for people working in the education sector as well as for other members of society who are ready to help young people become successful.
We can push this thought experiment one step further. If every human will have its own token that is tied to his very own economical success, then we can even give it a market price. In school it will already become clear which students have acquired the necessary skill set to succeed in the education system and will therefore most likely earn money in the future. On the other hand, some students might get on a bad path and it is possible that they will eventually need to be supported by taxpayers money.
Therefore, the token of successful students will appreciated in anticipation of future success — just like a stock of a publicly traded company does. The token of a less successful student will be traded on a discount. This creates tremendous opportunities for teachers, mentors and investors to jump in, buy more of that token, and provide extra support in all areas needed.
The biggest supporters
It’s possible to change young people’s lives if only they are surrounded by the right people, have access to the world’s intellectual resources and over time create a positive attitude, hope and believe in a better future. If an investor now scouts hidden talents or sees potential in any kind of skill that the society appreciates, he can directly invest in the token of this young person and therefore directly participate in the future success. Not only that, I believe most investors would turn into the young people’s biggest supporters since they will also be financially rewarded later on.
An investor can choose to buy tokens from top students but will have to pay the premium since the possibility of future economic success is high. Through this incentive system, I believe hidden talents in students from all walks of life will get discovered a lot earlier and a lot faster and will be boosted through direct support of teachers, mentors and investors. Society will greatly benefit through this system. Since tokens of bad students will be the cheapest in the free market, the highest upside will be found exactly there. This will encourage teachers, mentors and investors to bring as many under-supported students as possible on the right track because it is not only the right thing to do but also financially lucrative.
This concept very much sounds like the venture capital (VC) world we live in today. And rightly so, the system has proven to be very successful for our economy and therefore also our society. Why wouldn’t it be successful if every human is seen as its own micro-company? VC firms are fantastic in scouting talents. They have a tremendous understanding of who has the right skill-set to build a startup and what teams and ideas might succeed. Not only provide VC firms funding for those startups, they support them through various ways over many, many years.
They push teams hard and demand a lot from them. They manage to make good teams even better but at the same time are also there with support and ideas if things do not go as planned. VC firms have specialised in certain areas, meaning that some VC’s only invest in agriculture startups while others only invest in tourism startups because they are themselves experts in those fields.
If we imagine a world in which every person has its own token traded on the public market then maybe new VC firms will be pouring huge amounts of money and resources into the education sector. The biggest beneficiaries might be exactly those schools or those young people that are off the radar right now and therefore start with a handicap into life.
As mentioned above, the token prices of students in bad neighbourhoods and with a bad track record would trade significantly lower. Investments there would yield much higher returns and therefore VC firms could diversify their portfolio through investments into those students.
Even a single investment in only one of the students would benefit the entire class and maybe even the school and neighbourhood. Because the learning of one individual can create a ripple effect within a friends circle or an entire class. Teachers and other people who are close to the most talented students will detect certain skills or a positive change in mind-set early and therefore can jump in before the professional VC’s do and therefore also financially benefit.
This could again create a ripple effect, meaning that friends could encourage each other to do better in a certain field because their token price will go up.
Initial Token Launch
The token could be programmed in various different ways to further incentivize certain social behavior. The initial token launch should be initiated by the government. At a very young age only teachers and other trusted members are allowed to acquire tokens of the child. This can easily be coded into the smart-contract. Once kids develop strong personalities and get old enough to make their own decisions the market should open for all participants. It’s important that mentors and investors can participate as early as possible since that support is critical at a young age.
The issuer and holder of the token is the government. Once the public gets an opportunity to buy the tokens the government will earn money through the sale, which it can directly reinvest into the education system. It should even consider to redistribute a part of it back to the school of the child — therefore creating an even bigger incentive for the entire local school staff to do well.
Dividends and pay-out
Once the tax office is registering income by a person who was entered on the blockchain ten or fifteen years earlier during the creation of the personal token, money will be automatically distributed back to all token holders — therefore to all teachers, mentors and investors. This can be compared to a dividend as it is recurring income for all token holders every time there is a taxable event.
It’s even possible that financial products would be created to increase speculation on the tokens, meaning that people could buy options to bet more money on the future outcome of someone. In most cases this should be positive for the individual as well as for society.
Over decades, the market price of a token would go lower as people are slowly approaching the official retirement age. This again can be compared to a stock, which also goes through different periods — from a wild and highly speculative startup period to a more established and mature period in the public market. The price of a stock usually decreases when the outlook for future earnings sinks. The same will happen for tokens that are connected to a human identity and its income.
We have now seen some major benefits it could bring to our education system. It potentially is a new paradigm shift for our society and the biggest revolution in the sector. It would bring more equality and fairness to students. It would allow teachers and people in the education sector to financially benefit tremendously if they manage to shape a young human and bring them on the right track. It would maybe even motivate more people to become teachers since unlocking other people’s talents could be financially rewarding.
But what about the downside of this system? As a society we do not only want to create a money driven workforce. We want to create a society that cares for each other, that is kind to each other, is peaceful and plays fair. Also, I am aware that not everybody is gifted with the same skills and talents at the point of birth. I am convinced that in todays world people can make it very far in life even when starting with a disadvantage. This new system would allow exactly those people to get the desperately needed support to accelerate in school and reach their full potential early in life.
Reputation or voting system
Almost everything can be programmed into a smart contract. We could discuss a reputation system that punishes bad actors, misbehaving or cheating. Or, we could discuss a system that benefits people who contribute to society with skills that are not always easy to monetize — think about artists, musicians or families. If we can agree that a person contributes positively to society than the early backers of that person should also benefit. A possible solution would be to redistribute some of the society’s gains to the early supporters.
I do not have all the answers for potential flaws in this system. But I would like to trigger a conversation and read more thoughts from people in different fields and with different political views.
My feeling is that this new system allows millions of individuals to get much needed support faster, more direct and more early in life while the current education system completely lacks incentives for people working in the sector.
Today, pupils and students are taught and treated as anonymous groups or classes and the results never have any positive or negative consequences for anyone who was part of their multi-year journey.
Tokenizing the human potential would greatly benefit the entire spectrum of our society and therefore set the right incentives for teachers, friends, family or just anyone to help someone else develop skills.
I am convinced it will have a dramatically positive effect on our society and for our country.
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