The Ownership Economy: How User-Owned Software is Revolutionizing the Tech Industry


Hatched by Glasp

Sep 13, 2023

4 min read


The Ownership Economy: How User-Owned Software is Revolutionizing the Tech Industry


In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, the concept of user ownership has emerged as a powerful force driving innovation and disruption. The advent of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology has paved the way for a new frontier in consumer software, where users not only contribute to products but also have a stake in their ownership. This article explores the potential of the ownership economy and its impact on software platforms, highlighting the benefits of economic alignment with users and the challenges of adoption in this new paradigm.

The Power of User Ownership:

Traditionally, the economic interests of major internet platforms have been centered around their founders and investors, often neglecting the contributions of their users. However, the ownership economy flips this model on its head by incentivizing users to contribute to products in more meaningful ways. By allowing users to have a stake in the ownership of software platforms, whether through ideas, code, computing resources, or community building, a more cooperative economic model is established. This alignment with users ensures long-term sustainability, resilience, and innovation within platforms.

Protocol Innovation and Adoption:

The adoption of new protocols follows a predictable pattern. Early adopters leverage these protocols to accomplish tasks that were previously impossible. To drive widespread adoption, founders must focus on building products that make these new models accessible to a larger audience. The success of Bitcoin and Ethereum, the pioneering user-owned and operated networks, serves as a testament to the power of user ownership. By enabling users to earn the majority of the value generated from their contributions, these networks have disrupted the traditional model of value distribution.

The Importance of Alignment:

While identifying problems is crucial, true value lies in aligning individuals and fostering a collective sense of purpose. In the realm of software development, effective communication, diplomacy, and alignment become far more valuable than simply having the right answer. As organizations grow in size, the ability to get people aligned and working towards a common goal becomes increasingly vital. The focus shifts from knowing the solution to creating an environment where individuals feel empowered to discuss challenges openly. Emphasizing the importance of alignment can help prevent a culture of fear and ensure that problems are addressed effectively.

Overcoming Adoption Challenges:

One of the biggest hurdles for startups and new technologies is achieving widespread adoption, particularly when network effects are critical. The ownership economy presents an opportunity to address this challenge by aligning economic incentives with users. By creating more accessible products and protocols that prioritize economic alignment, startups can bootstrap adoption and encourage active participation from users. This approach allows for better user engagement and ultimately drives the growth and success of the platform.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Embrace the ownership economy: Consider incorporating user ownership into your software platform or product. By allowing users to have a stake in ownership, you can foster a more cooperative economic model and ensure better alignment with your user base.
  • 2. Prioritize alignment and communication: Focus on creating an environment where individuals feel empowered to discuss challenges openly. Encourage effective communication, diplomacy, and alignment, as these factors play a crucial role in driving success and value creation.
  • 3. Build accessible products and protocols: To overcome adoption challenges, prioritize building products and protocols that are easily accessible to a wider audience. By making it easier for users to participate and benefit from your platform, you can drive widespread adoption and create a thriving user community.


The ownership economy represents a significant shift in the tech industry, where users are no longer just contributors but also owners of software platforms. The power of economic alignment with users has the potential to revolutionize the way products are built, operated, and funded. By embracing user ownership, prioritizing alignment and communication, and creating accessible products, startups can unlock the full potential of the ownership economy. As we navigate the next frontier of consumer software, the ownership economy promises to shape a future where users have a more significant stake in the products they use and contribute to.

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