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Mobilizing Hidden Wealth to Reconstruct the Sharing Economy

Check back each month for the Original Thinker Series as we explore local innovation in entrepreneurship, the arts, and our community one pioneering mind at a time.

Thanks to the pioneers of the sharing economy, we have begun to recognize the value of things like the unused seats in our cars and the empty rooms in our apartments. Today, with the help of platforms such as Uber and Airbnb, we can harness the power of these assets to generate income.

But this revolution has come at a price. On one hand, traditional merchants such as taxi drivers and hotels have suffered from lost business. On the other, the owners of these new platforms have profited greatly without needing to provide employee benefits to their drivers and hosts. In both cases these are win-lose scenarios.

What if the sharing economy could be a win-win scenario for everyone?

Enter the economic evolutionaries behind Scryp, a platform for mobilizing untapped value—for good.

“The issue with the initial sharing economy,” says Scryp Co-Director, Susan Belchamber, “is that the economic pie has not necessarily gotten bigger.”

Transactions are still win-lose and the wins are confined to a small group of the powerful.

“Imagine if Uber was a co-op where for every ride there was more value in the system,” says Adam Lupu, CEO at Scryp, “so every rider and driver was benefiting.”

It all begins with a simple premise: there is more to wealth than money. Susan, Adam, and their co-founders at Scryp are challenging us to notice the hidden wealth all around us.

Think about an empty seat in a classroom, surplus produce, or an old cell phone. These things might be left unused by their owners for any number of reasons but in the right hands their value could be resurrected. Or a volunteer hour, for example, might be given freely but has real, quantifiable value for the recipient organization.

Scryp plays matchmaker, in Adam’s words, “finding hidden wealth, matching it to unmet need in communities and then distributing that power to those people in those communities.”

The idea is that by adding and confirming their “gives” and “gets” on the blockchain-powered network users earn Scryp tokens. These tokens operate as a dual currency allowing merchants to accept Scryp alongside dollars. Users benefit from the extra purchasing power and merchants can centralize loyalty programs while rewarding socially beneficial “giving” activities. It is a win-win.

“We can’t have social justice without economic justice,” says Susan. “Essentially we are also pushing forward a new vantage point […] a new paradigm thought process about what is valuable.”

If your mind is exploding with questions about how a transaction would work or how value is verified you are not alone. The Scryp team is still developing the system and some of these elements have to remain TBD in order to allow for a fluid and collective decision-making process before the official app is launched.

“We’re not like the Federal Reserve making decisions about values,” says Susan, “it is really the community.”

This is your invitation to be a part of the sharing economy 2.0. “This is a build-together process,” says Adam. “Who wants to build together with us?”

To learn more or to help with pilot testing visit scryp.io.


Written by Christopher Christenson, Program & Event Coordinator, at the James J. Hill Center.  Have an idea of a person or organization to feature in this series? Send your recommendations to 
[email protected].

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