The vast majority of crypto-innovation to date has been focused on coordinating digital communities and economies; however, tokens also create opportunities for innovation in capital formation and human coordination that extend beyond the digital world and into the physical. Our first investment within this thesis was Helium, and today we are proud to announce our investment in 3DOS.
3DOS is breaking down barriers to entry for independent entrepreneurs selling physical products that traditionally would be manufactured overseas(think small, low cost products like iphone cases). Via on-demand manufacturing capabilities, 3DOS has the potential to leverage crypto-economic incentives to re-introduce trust into complex supply chains. 3DOS tokens act as proof of physical work in order to pay for manufacturing real goods, effectively creating new market demand for 3d printing worldwide.
Physical to Digital
First, let’s take a step back and explore some similar experiments within the proof of physical object blockchain space. There are various projects attempting to connect the physical and digital worlds, which is a solid indication that blockchain technologies will eventually find product market fit here in some capacity. Phygi.io is one example, which simply allows you to turn your NFTs into physical posters. There is certainly a market for this, but the opportunity here is much larger. Another project with a bigger vision is the Galileo protocol, which allows for the creation of pNFTs(tokenization real world assets). This will unlock additional demand at the margin through the fractionalization of assets. This is great, but it still does not solve the proof of authenticity problem. The problem needs to be solved at the source of creation to enable real proof of authenticity and the fair distribution of royalties to creators and designers.
3DOS enables one-click print for any brand trying to spin up a merchandising effort, making the process seemingly effortless. You can imagine a world where existing 3d printers and hardware companies leverage the 3DOS software layer to further extend their own capabilities. It is symbiotic at its core for companies like HP and Stanley Black & Decker.
Connect a bunch of machines, and allow a decentralized group of designers to create and monetize their work. From there, businesses will drive demand because 3DOS introduces an easier and more cost effective way for them to spin up a merchandising side project. This will reduce fixed cost overhead, drive additional demand to existing 3d printers, and enable small businesses to own 3d printers if they so choose. This should expand utilization of existing hardware, while increasing productivity and cost effectiveness.
3DOS has begun to penetrate the market, starting with celebrities’ proof of concept programs. This physical, high margin, high value, high visibility activity should draw in the eyeballs(act as a bootstrap mechanism) needed to bring the 3DOS software marketplace layer to designers, manufacturers, and brands worldwide. This could play out in a similar fashion to Open Sea(starting with a niche and then expanding), creating a massive explosion in economic activity for physical to digital blockchain use cases. 3DOS is starting to work with smaller mom & pop brands, before moving into more enterprise type of use cases.
A Key Challenge
A main challenge for 3DOS will be onboarding designers onto the platform. How will 3DOS incentivize designers to join the platform? Achieving critical mass with a 3 sided marketplace is no small feat. Onboarding manufacturers seems to be no problem at all, given the companies’ existing relationships with enterprises such as StanleyX and Forecast 3D.
What does the future hold?
The 3DOS DeFi protocol aims to create a decentralized capital market which allows anyone to manufacture at any place in real time. 3DOS proposes to create a decentralized finance infrastructure and blockchain ecosystem which facilitates the transition to a decentralized manufacturing economy. This will allow anyone to procure 3DOS tokens(pay for print access) which ostensibly will create new demand for 3d printing machines from a previously untapped and unreachable market of consumers and brands. This will allow any brand or business to spin up merchandising efforts at a fraction of the current cost, and reduce reliance on overseas manufacturers.