The notion that the U.S. dominates the global media market may be a thing of the past. For audiences abroad—such as in Asia and Africa—viewers have been consuming more local content than ever before. In the past ten years, media markets have rapidly expanded in Asia and Latin America. In many countries, such as South Africa and India, spending in the entertainment and media industry has grown faster than the states’ gross domestic product according to a study by PWC. Nations are also catering to local tastes and languages that have fallen off in the U.S. market. Although the U.S. remains the top media provider, nations have been catching up, so much so that international film markets may eclipse the U.S. film industry. China is geared to replace the U.S. as the world’s largest market for box office revenue, with spending on media reaching nearly $170 billion in 2015. With the impact of large global media, U.S.’s grasp of the industry may be slipping, but as new industries emerge abroad, countries have new opportunities to foster growth. India is one of the many countries that have stimulated growth from their entertainment and media industry. India boasts an 18.5-billion-dollar media industry size, growing nearly 10% in the past five years, according to a study by the KPMG. India’s rapid growth stemmed from an unlikely source. In comparison to China, Japan, and South Korea, India is one of the least digitalized, but the non-digital market is soaring. In India, the low level of internet access has cultivated a market for physical media including newspaper, magazines, and physical videos. India’ rich middle class consumes large quantities of print newspapers and magazines, replacing international markets in the consumption of traditional media. With the cheap cost and production of newspapers and magazines in India and the variety of languages offered in print media, the market is anticipated to amplify by 12-14% according to data from  PWC. Print media is not the only sector that may present a feat for the U.S.: Hollywood productions may be replaced by locally made films abroad. In cinema advertising revenue alone, South Africa has increased its profits by 40%. In 2016, South Africa locally-produced films grew by 55%, according to a report from South Africa’s National Film and Video Foundation. The trend has been emulated in Asian markets as well. The PWC reported that South Korea has increased in cinema advertising revenue by 40%, with the locally made films grossing 81% of its film revenue. In India, domestic films are also overwhelming the market. India’s domestic box office accumulates 74% of the total revenue. India is one of the biggest producers of films as well, creating around 1,500-2,000 films in 2015 in comparison to the 700 films produced by Canada and the U.S. However, India and other less-developed countries have faced obstacles in generating film revenue. In India, development is halted by rampant piracy, regional cinema, taxes, censorship, and low ticket sales. The number of screen availability is rare as well because of the lack of infrastructure available to cater to India’s booming population. In comparison to 23 screens per million people in China and 126 screens per million people in South Africa, India only offers 6 screens per million people, according to a report from Deloitte.  Although the resources and appeal reflect potential, India’s film industry will not rise until the country creates better infrastructure and becomes more digitalized. While the India film market catches up, China has emerged as the U.S.’s top competitor in the film industry. China is already the second largest theatrical market and the film sector is set to double up from $5.8 billion in 2015 to nearly 10 million in 2019, according to a report from the International Trade Administration. In the U.S., film industry executives and leaders from the Chinese American community have already examined how America will prepare for the incoming changes in the international film industry. In a panel discussion hosted in April by the Committee of 100, an organization focused on promoting productive relations between U.S. and China, production heads noted the new threshold of responsibility China will hold when it topples the U.S. as the top film producer. American film producer Robert Simonds said “America is great at exporting culture because we were the only country in the world with a big enough domestic market to have a muscular, vibrant movie and TV industry. That is about to change. For the first time, another country besides America is going to have a giant domestic market. China is about to become a major player in terms of storytelling.” However, the panel mentioned that Chinese media industry may still adopt other cultures and may not be representative of the tastes and styles of their country. Jim Gianopoulos, chief officer of Paramount Pictures said, “If China is going to develop an export business, it needs a willingness to accept diversity or the possibility that it may not be as rooted in the cultural form that it started with. That may be something to learn from Hollywood.” From China’s surge to one of the largest film sectors to small bursts of growth in small Asian countries, pieces of the global film industry are now being distributed to more domestic and localized sectors. The growth of these countries’ media has translated to massive economic expansion. In China and India, the advancement of the entertainment and media sector is coupled with a growth of countries’ compound annual growth rate, according to the PWC. While research indicates that the domestic media industries will only continue to progress, media companies face a challenge ahead in competing with emerging markets. The media industry is indeed changing and unlike other industries, the sector is looking less western and more of a global melting pot.  

But it’s difficult to think about value when we have no buoy for understanding it outside our traditional lenses: for example, our time, our job, and what others tell us they are worth in cash. This, largely, is the world’s paradigm for value so far. But understanding what value really means changes everything—and will be at the center of the decentralized revolution in global coordination that will unfold over the next decade. So, where do we begin?

Let’s start with gold.

Gold is an inherent value. When backing a market, gold allows us to grow a balanced economy well into the trillions. But why does it allow for massive stable markets to form around it? It is gold's permanence that creates stability. We understand that gold will always have value, because it is inherent in all of us, not just in one part of the world, but everywhere, not just today, but tomorrow and for the long haul.

In the 1930s when the gold standard was removed, we learned that the U.S. dollar didn’t need gold to back its economy to flourish. We learned that it was just a symbol for U.S. citizens to decentralize their coordination around the United States economy.

It turns out, common agreement is a philosophy for building shared economy.

And so it seems inherent value is a marker for us to begin exploring what the future could look like—a future beyond gold and the existing realm of credit. And so what else has inherent value? Is education as valuable as gold? What about healthcare? What about a vote that can’t be tampered with? What about an ID that can’t be stolen or erased? What about access to nutrition or clean water? You will find value everywhere you look.

It turns out, we’ve already done the legwork necessary to uncover the most elemental inherent values: The Sustainable Development Goals are commitments grown out of the drive to bring to life basic tenets of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—the closest possible social contract we have to a global, common agreement.

We’ve already agreed, as a global community, to ensure inclusive and equitable access to quality education. We’ve already agreed to empower all women and girls, to ensure pure and clean water access for all, to promote health at all stages of life, and to end hunger.

We’ve already agreed.

Our agreements are grounded in deep value centers that are globally shared, but undervalued and unfulfilled. The reason for this is our inability to quantify intangible value. All of these rich, inherent values are still nebulous and fragmented in implementation—largely existing as ideals and blueprints for deep, globally shared common agreement. That is, we all agree education, health, and equality have value, but we lack common units for understanding who and who is not contributing value—leaving us to fumble in our own, uncoordinated siloes as we chase the phantoms of impact. In essence, we lack common currencies for our common agreements.

Now we find ourselves at the nexus of the real paradigm of Blockchain, allowing us to fuse economics with inherent value by proving the participation of some great human effort, then quantifying the impact of that effort in unforgeable and decentralized ledgers. It allows us to build economic models for tomorrow, that create wholly new markets and economies for and around each of the richest of human endeavors.

In late 2017 at the height of the Bitcoin bubble, without individual coordination, planning, or the help of institutions, almost $1 trillion was infused into blockchain markets. This is remarkable, and the revolution has only just begun. When you realize that Blockchain is in a similar stage of development as the internet pre-AOL, you will see a glimpse of the global transformation to come.

Only twice in the information age have we had such a paradigm shift in global infrastructure reform—the computer and the internet. While the computer taught us how to store and process data, the Internet built off that ability and furthered the conversation by teaching us how to transfer that information. Blockchain takes another massive step forward—it builds off the internet, adding to the story of information storage and transfer—but, it teaches us a new, priceless and not yet understood skill: how to transfer value.

This third wave kicked off with a rough start—as happens with the birth of new technologies and their corresponding liberties. Blockchain has, thus far, been totally unregulated. Many, doubtless, have taken advantage. A young child, stretching their arms for the first couple times might knock over a cookie jar or two. Eventually, however, they learn to use their faculties—for evil or for good. As such, while it’s wise to be skeptical at this phase in blockchain’s evolution, it’s important not to be blind to its remarkable implications in a post-regulated world, so that we may wield its faculties like a surgeon’s scalpel—not for evil or snake-oil sales, but for the creation of more good, for the flourishing of commonwealth.

But what of the volatility in blockchain markets? People agree Bitcoin has value, but they don’t understand why they are in agreement, and so cryptomarkets fluctuate violently.  Stable blockchain economies will require new symbolic gold standards that clearly articulate why someone would agree to support each market, to anchor common agreement with stability. The more globally shared these new value standards, the better.

Is education more valuable than gold? What about healthcare or nutrition or clean water?

We set out in 2018 to prove a hypothesis—we believe that if you back a cryptocurrency economy with a globally agreed upon inherent value like education, you can solve for volatility and stabilize a mature long lasting cryptomarket that awards everyone who adds value to that market in a decentralized way without the friction of individual partnerships.

What if education was a new gold standard?

And what if this new Learning Economy had protocols to award everyone who is helping to steward the growth of global education?

Education is a mountain. Everyone takes a different path to the top. Blockchain allows us to measure all of those unique learning pathways, online and in classrooms, into immutable blockchain Learning Ledgers.

By quantifying the true value of education, a whole economy can be built around it to pay students to learn, educators to create substantive courses, and stewards to help the Learning Economy grow. It was designed to provide a decentralized way for everyone adding value to global education to coordinate around the commonwealth without the friction of individual partnerships. Imagine the same for healthcare, nutrition, and our environment?

Imagine a world where we can pay refugees to learn languages as they find themselves in foreign lands, a world where we can pay those laid off by the tide of automation to retrain themselves for the new economy, a world where we can pay the next generation to prepare themselves for the unsolved problems of tomorrow.

Imagine new commonwealth economies that alleviate the global burdens of poverty, disease, hunger, inequality, ignorance, toxic water, and joblessness. Commonwealths that orbit inherent values, upheld by immutable blockchain protocols that reward anyone in the ecosystem stewarding the economy—whether that means feeding the hungry, providing aid for the global poor, delivering mosquito nets in malaria-ridden areas, or developing transformative technologies that can provide a Harvard-class education to anyone in the world willing to learn.

These worlds are not out of reach—we are only now opening our eyes to the horizons of blockchain, decentralized coordination, and new gold standards. Even though coordination is the last of the seventeen sustainable development goals, when solved, its tide will lift for the rest—a much-needed rocket fuel for global prosperity.

“Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair.”  —George Washington
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.