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Barbarian’s new computer corporation: Easing brands and agencies into Web3

Finally someone bridging the gap between Web2 and Web3 in a clear concise manner. This is what many brands and agencies, overwhelmed with news of Web3, have been waiting for. The New Computer Corporation has developed an open-source suite of foundational tools for the ‘new internet’. 

The New Computer Corporation is founded by Benjamin Palmer, leader of the band of daring digital creators at The Barbarian Group, and the agency’s former technology officer Aubrey Anderson. The Barbarian Group went on to open offices in New York and San Francisco; by the decade’s end, Cheil acquired it, and in 2016, Palmer announced his departure. “I’m not leaving you for anything specific, just gonna explore and make some rad shit,” he posted to Instagram at the time. The New Computer Corporation marks this break as Palmer and Anderson open it with a lot of rad shit designed to help marketers and agencies transition into Web3. The pair’s The New Computer Corporation is offering a suite of tools designed to help any company or entity quickly move into the world of Web3.

NCC’s tools are centred on a noble goal: to use blockchain technology to solve some very old problems for creative professionals, such as those tied to attribution and compensation. At the same time, they promise to be incredibly useful for brands and agencies because they offer transparent means of tracking content views, and they present an easy way to deliver targeted messages and deepen connections with consumers who actually want to receive them.

NCC also appointed as chief growth officer Greg Bresnitz, former global head of business development at Ace Hotel and a Vice Media vet, and brought in as chief creative officer Noreen Morioka, the co-founder of celebrated firm AdamsMorioka and former design lead at Netflix and Wieden+Kennedy, who for now is focusing on “creating a visual language and thread that holds all [NCC’s] products together,” she said. 

NCC’s investors include Algorand Foundation (creator of the blockchain upon which NCC’s tools are built), Borderless Capital, Eterna Capital, PEER, Hivemind Ventures and Noise DAO. Its collaborators include Ryan Schreiber, the founder of Pitchfork, who is currently developing an undisclosed project with NCC tools.

The project started as a fun new consumer experience that Palmer likened to “GeoCities 2022.” But as they got further into development, “quickly we realised there weren’t really low-level tools to accomplish things like collaboration, payments, tracking, messaging and identity wallets,” he said. So NCC shifted to building “everything that we want and could imagine us or other people wanting in the future as APIs that plug into a Web2 architecture.”

All of NCC’s tools are built on Algorand, which was founded by MIT professor Silvio Micali and is widely recognized as one of the world’s greenest blockchains. Last month, in the runup to the World Cup, FIFA announced it would debut its NFT platform on Algorand. 

NCC’s products include an embeddable wallet, Inkey, which simplifies the onboarding process to the company’s decentralised apps (dApps); Stoi, another offering that creates a DAO (decentralised autonomous organisation) around a specific piece of content, allowing all those involved in creating it to reap compensation or rewards from its success; Project Rodeo, a project management tool that tracks the contributions of all those involved in creating a piece of work or content on the blockchain; TTM—token-targeted messaging—a way for creators, entertainers and brands to connect quickly and directly with its customers and fans; and Bricks, a decentralised streaming media ecosystem.

STOI – Song That Owns Itself

“What we’re doing is taking the tools that have only been used for currency and financial transactions and building all of these individual features for additional functionality,” said Palmer. For example, the tool STOI, an acronym for “Song that owns itself,” creates a smart contract attached to a fixed number of tokens for any piece of streamed music, enabling artists, collaborators and fans to share in the ownership of the song and its future earnings. Genius. A token represents an individual’s percentage of ownership in each song’s DAO, and transactions will be paid according to that smart contract.

“If five or 5.000 people create something and payment comes in, it splits out accordingly,” Palmer said. “Music is meeting decentralisation and disintermediation,” said John Woods, chief technology officer of Algorand Foundation. “Algorand is the first chain fit for this purpose—secure, robust, scalable, fast and cheap. We’re excited to see where NCC takes this.”

Some of NCC tools were originally conceived around music creation and distribution, but they can be used on any work, such as an ad, allowing creators to be compensated according to their contribution to that work. 

Another tool, TTM, (Token-Targeted Messaging), allows any entity, such as a band or a brand, to forge deeper relationships with and direct specific messages to individuals who have already demonstrated loyalty or affinity for them. For example, an individual who purchases a pair of Nikes would receive a token for that purchase. That token could then give them access to new drops or a ticket to a promotional event or experience. 

While tools similar to those created by NCC are out there, such as Gnosis Safe, a digital wallet that manages assets on Ethereum, and DAO voting through Snapshot, “they’re all individual companies that you kind of have to Scotch tape together and they don’t really talk to each other,” Bresitz said. NCC delivers a sense of collectivity to these tools.

“What we’re building is a group of decentralised APIs (dAPIs) built on Algorand that are all interoperable and all talk to each other. So this is going to be the first suite of tools that are not only done by one company; they’re also done on a chain that is built for scale and utility. We’re taking care of a lot of the really foundational infrastructure stuff that most people either can’t build, because they don’t have enough devs, or frankly, they don’t want to build and they just want to get to it […] It is not just about making it easier for people to build on Web3, but enabling composability and the development of products and services that until now were confined to the Web1 or Web2 stack,” said David Garcia, CEO and managing partner of Borderless Capital, one of NCC’s investors. “We are excited to back NCC and their vision of democratising access for builders and creators that want to be part of the new internet.”

Similarly to other Web3 enthusiasts comparing this current Web3 rise to the early days of the internet, The NCC duo are also excited about how blockchain technology is allowing them to revisit their aspirations from the early days of the internet.
“What we liked about that era is that we had the opportunity to be generous and create value through generosity,” Anderson said. “[Today] we’ve been through 20 years of people trying to generate value through secrecy, which doesn’t feel good on the consumer end, and now, we found a technology platform that lets you differentiate with generosity again.”

As for how NCC will sustain itself going forward, “we have a philosophy that we should make money when other people are making money,” added Palmer. The company will take a modest, single-digit percentage transaction fee when money goes in and out, similar to a credit card processing fee. NCC will also be helping to incubate other businesses, during which it may take a small equity split. Further down the road, the team plans to revisit its original aspiration of creating consumer experiences, which will provide another revenue stream.

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