User Equity

Mercury – a bank built for startups, recently published their crowdfund campaign primarily with a goal to allow the customers of the bank to own equity and financial upside in the success of the bank.

Mercury acquires >60% of their customers with word of mouth or referral from their existing customers. As customers become owners of the bank, they are far more likely to refer other startups to bank with Mercury. Hence it is fair to say that Mercury has, in a way, delegated part of the job of customer acquisition to their customers which is very fascinating for me.

I’ve previously seen this model a lot in the crypto & DeFi space. For example anyone who ever traded even once on a decentralized exchange Uniswap was airdropped the Uniswap governance token.

Or if you’re a market maker or liquidity provider on PancakeSwap, you are rewarded with the CAKE governance/equity token.

While any business is only successful as long as it has customers or users, yet for centuries, we hadn’t seen an economic model which rewarded the customers with the financial upside of the success of the business.

We started to see a little bit of it in the past few years. For example content creators on YouTube have an economic incentive to create content and publish on YouTube. However, their financial upside is limited to the revenue generated by their content alone. In addition, the viewers of the content have no financial upside. Even though, both are users of the platform and make it successful.

On the contrary, with Uniswap, even the traders and not just market makers earned governance tokens for simply trading on the platform.

With this new customer/user equity model, users can have financial upside across the entire product and hence they have an economic incentive to work towards the success of the business.

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